I thank God for my dad, Robin Roberts. Today is his 75th birthday!! What a joy it is to celebrate him and his life. He is dearly admired for his devoted love and service to others, his quiet and humble spirit, his faithfulness to God and his family, his fun-loving nature, and his deep appreciation of all that is good and meaningful in life and creation.
Of the many things that I appreciate about my Dad, the thing that I am most thankful for is his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nearly forty years ago my Dad gave his life to Jesus Christ and he has walked with God ever since. Now at 75 years of age, he and his wife of over 50 years have two children, two grandchildren, numerous extended family members and scores of friends who are faithfully serving the Lord—and it all ties back to the day that he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
“A life well-lived casts a huge shadow . . .” and the sun hasn’t set yet. Press on.
Happy Birthday Dad!
On Saturday of Labor Day weekend Dina and I went to Twin Falls, Idaho and visited one of my heroes—my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Vira Amende. Mrs. Amende is 98 years old and resides independently in a beautiful continuum of care facility. We found her apartment, knocked on the door and she opened it and greeted us warmly.
She had no idea who we were. I was in her first-grade class at Washington Elementary in Twin Falls, Idaho in 1972—a mere 47 years ago. I remembered her as being taller—but back then I was a lot shorter. I showed her my first grade photo and asked her if she remembered the student in the picture. She immediately replied, “Oh that is Ryan, I always loved him.”
I then told her that I was the kid in the picture. She was stunned, gave me a big hug and invited us in for a visit. She is a long-time friend of my Great Aunt and has kept up on me, and my status, over the years. She was amazing—just as kind and cheerful as I remembered her being so many years ago. Her mind is razor sharp. She immediately asked me about my sister and where she was living, and she even remembered the name of the road that I lived on in Jerome. (We moved to Jerome the summer after my first-grade year.)
I shared with Ms. Amende that she was my favorite teacher. I shared that whenever I think of her, I remember the time, care, interest, patience, kindness and love that she extended to me so long ago. I told her that she was my inspiration to be a teacher, and that she is one of my heroes.
I shared with her that I distinctly remembered her husband visiting the classroom a couple of times during the school year. He was always dressed professionally and he was so kind and funny. With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Amende shared that her husband, Robert, to whom she was married for over 60 years, worked at Farmers Insurance and always liked to drop by her classroom to visit her students.
Dina and I sat in her living room and talked with her about our two daughters, our time in South Korea, and about the fact that Dina and I were both working as public school teachers. She listened with great interest and asked us engaging questions. She shared that she loved teaching; however, she only taught for seven years at the schools, Washington Elementary and Sawtooth Elementary in Twin Falls, Idaho. As we were talking about the year that I was in her first-grade class she asked, “Was that the year that we made butter?” Yes it was. I remember getting the chance to work the churn and eating some of that butter on toast that we made in the classroom. Wow, what a great memory!
Mrs. Amende said that even though she didn’t teach long, she loved teaching and loved all of her students. However, she did say that she liked teaching little boys a bit better than little girls. To explain this, she said that little boys would come in from recess, red-faced and sweaty after a rough and tumble time outside, and they would shrug it off and ask for a pencil to do their work. Whereas, little girls would come in from recess and the first thing they wanted to do was to tattle and complain that so-and-so wasn’t being friends with so-and-so. She loved all of her students, but she said that she would have been fine with a room full of boys.
I am thankful that I was a student in Mrs. Amende’s first-grade classroom. I don’t remember a thing she taught me, but I will never forget how she made me feel. Her kindness, encouragement, care and love still resound warmly in my 53 year-old heart and mind. Mrs. Amende is my hero.
Practically perfect in every way. — Mary Poppins
Today is Dina’s birthday. What a joy it is to celebrate her. Dina is a source of light, peace, strength, care and love to her family, friends, students, colleagues and the world around her. She would never say it, but to me she is “practically perfect in every way.” I thank God for the good gift of her life.
Happy Birthday Dina!! I love you. —Ryan
A week ago, as I was driving to work, I noticed that I had chap stick on my lips. I seldom use chap stick and thought to myself, “Where did I get chap stick?” And then I remembered that I had just kissed Dina goodbye as we both left the house.
She had chap stick on her lips.
For the rest of the drive, I felt and tasted that chap stick and was overwhelmed with love and thanksgiving for my wife.
Dina is my best friend, my partner in all things, an amazing mother to our daughters, my delight, my helper, my safe place, the love of my life and a precious gift from God.
What a joy and blessing it has been to be married to her for these past 31 years.
Happy Anniversary Dina, I love you.
Bring on the chap stick!
Yesterday I slipped away from school for a couple of hours and attended and participated in Volney Johnson’s funeral. It was a grand occasion, celebrating a life well-lived and remembering an amazing man for the Lord. He lived for 95 years. He was a man of prayer and loving boldness in sharing the Lord with those around him.
As his granddaughters stood and shared memories about him in the memorial service, I heard a recurring theme:
"Grandpa was all in, all the time. He was at our games, teaching us to do things, working with us on chores, always present—physically and relationally, spending time, giving attention, speaking life."
I guess the adage is true,
that "children, and grandchildren, spell love, t-i-m-e."
What a powerful testimony his life was. What a challenge and inspiration it is to me. With thoughts of Volney on my mind this morning, I was captured by these words in Ps. 119: 28-32, MSG,
. . . build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me . . .
I’ll run the course you lay out for me . . .
just show me how.
[Help me to] stay the course . . .
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Volney’s life, although not influential and powerful from the standpoint of the world, was and is, a shining star in God’s economy. He ran the course for Jesus—all in, all the time—his whole life one long, obedient response.
God help me.
I thank God for Volney Johnson.
Today is Leona Roberts' 70th birthday!
To her friends and family she is a fun, crazy, beautiful, passionate, hilarious, talented, caring person who is a joy, a hoot, a gift and a blessing to all.
She is a lady filled with lots of love and compassion for the world around her. Her love is strong for her Lord, her husband, her kids, her grandkids, her cats and her shoes.
Today we celebrate her!
Happy Birthday Mom.
I thank God for your life, your love and your faith in God.
The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear of God.(Prov. 31:30, MSG)
Today is Dina’s birthday. What a blessing she is to her family, friends, students and colleagues. The fruit of her life fills the world around her with beauty, care, fun, comfort and love. She is a gift from God and it is a joy to celebrate her today.
Happy Birthday to the one I love with all my heart. —Ryan
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. –Annie Dillard
My Dearest Dina,
Look at us in this picture—just a couple of kids starting out on the adventure of life together. Wow, I loved you lots then, but nothing compared to how much I love you now. We have shared some wonderful adventures together, and some tough ones too.
The alchemy in it all is the word: together.
What a joy it is to live each day with you; to make memories together, to laugh together, to learn together, to pray together, and to love together.
Today is our 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years have come and gone all too quickly, but I thank God for every single moment, because I have spent my days with you.
With all my love,