The first in a two-part entry over the decision to name our daughter Emma Rosa.

Warped Tour 2016 was going to be lit. Some of my favorite acts including Mayday Parade, Sleeping With Sirens, and Issues were going to be there. I was especially in love with Too Close To Touch, and their song, “Nerve Endings”, had been my #1 jam for months.

Nerve Endings

“‘Nerve Endings’ is about the internal conflict between an individual’s heart and mind. It’s about the feeling of desperation inside of yourself to regain clarity you once had. We wanted this video to truly make a bold statement and expose the darker side of unhealthy and destructive ways people cope with their vices.” – Keaton Pierce, Too Close To Touch Frontman, in a 2015 interview with Alternative Press

“Nerve Endings” resonated with me on a deep level. I had an adoring wife, a fairly cushy job that paid well (by 23-year-old standards), and a supportive circle of family and friends. I also had a penchant for self-destruction, a taste for alcohol in large quantities, and significant discontent with life. I’d been this way for a couple of years – living weekend to weekend, getting drunk out of my mind and generally making a fool of myself. Spending time on my hobbies didn’t feel good, success at work didn’t feel good, feeling good didn’t even feel good.

This chaotic cycle came to a head in May of 2016 when, in a single day, my drinking resulted in a missed lunch date with my wife and her family, the loss of $800 in a backroom blackjack game, a fight with the client I was drinking & betting with, and removal from the bar in which I’d gotten wasted – all before 4:00 PM. Something had to change and quickly.

Flash forward a month – my best friend, Blaze, and I drove to Dallas for Warped Tour the weekend of June 24th. It was especially hot the day of the show, so shortly after watching Issues knock their set out of the park, Blaze and I decided to catch some shade in the covered pavilion area to check out a band I’d previously heard but not really followed – Emarosa.

Emarosa’s set was pure, unbridled energy. Frontman Bradley Walden belted out track after track with a furious passion – I knew I was hooked when he climbed the backdrop of the stage and sung the majority of their last song while perched roughly 15 feet in the air.

After the set, Bradley announced that a limited number of copies of their upcoming album, 131, were available at their merch tent. I happily bought one intending to give it a whirl on the drive home to Odessa. I don’t think that album left my car’s CD player for a full year.

One track on the album stood out, in particular:

Never

THIS.

Since my standout day in May, I’d felt a tremendous amount of shame and guilt. Shame for having let my behavior and habits get so out of control that I could embarrass myself as publicly as I did. Shame that I wasn’t the son my parents had raised. Worst of all: shame that I wasn’t the husband that my beautiful wife, Paige, married or deserved.

In one song (lyrics here), Emarosa summed up:

  • The sorrow and guilt I felt – Verses 1 & 2
  • The second chance I hoped and asked for – Chorus
  • The second chance my wife granted – Verses 3 & 4
  • The redemption I desperately needed to make a reality – Verse 5

From the moment I heard the song, I made a concerted effort to become a man that Paige could be proud of. To become a man that she could raise a family with…

To be continued in “One Little One in Our Hands”.

This is my first blog post and, hopefully, a nice teaser of what to expect in the coming days/months/years. Obviously, asking for your time and attention is a big deal and I don’t take it lightly. If you’re reading this, you likely have some questions:

Who are you?

I’m honestly not sure. My name’s Ryan McGuire. I’m a husband, father, son, and Christ-follower. I’m 100% imperfect. Things get hazy beyond that, but hopefully the more I share, the more we’ll learn.

Why did you start this blog?

I’ve had a lot of experiences over my lifetime – good, bad, and everything in between. Just like you. I don’t have a strict agenda to follow with what I write here, but I intend on being as honest, raw, and forthcoming with information as possible. My wife is consistently baffled by my tendency to overshare with anyone and everyone, so this will serve as an outlet for me, a potential headache-reducer for her, and will hopefully resonate with you.

Who is this for?

Everyone and no one. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone. I wish I could promise that you’ll agree with everything I write, but I can almost assure you that won’t be the case. And that’s a good thing. Disagreement leads to growth in perspective, so let’s embrace it.

Why “Work by Lamplight”?

My favorite setting to work in is a comfortably-sized desk under lamplight. There’s nothing quite like the soft lighting that a properly placed lamp can provide, not even natural light. Lamplight gets my creative juices flowing and I can pound out hours of work under its glow, especially if I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, cold beer, or glass bottle of Topo Chico within arm’s reach.

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My current setup.

What’s next?

These are topics floating at the forefront of my mind, so expect to see them sooner rather than later:

  • Entrepreneurial Depression
  • Why I Stopped Drinking Energy Drinks
  • Commendation v.s. Congratulations
  • Love v.s. Tolerance
  • Grave Expectations

There’s more, but that’ll do for now.

Thank you for giving this a chance. I hope the words I write speak to you so we can grow together. If there’s anything you’d like my opinion on, shoot me a message. Talk soon.