Wednesday, February 3, 2010

{ Inspired by Heather } Keeping it Real!

I read the most amazing post yesterday on one of my quilting friend's blogs. Heather was deep in thought and reflecting on her life and the reason she blogs. She came to the conclusion that some of the best blogs out there are the ones you have an emotional connection with. Written by the folks who "put it all out there" and are not afraid to show life at its finest. I was so inspired by her post that I wanted to share about myself and my family as well. So here goes...

I was born and raised for the most part on the outskirts of the Catskill Mountains in upstate NY. I love simple, country life and the "small town" dynamics this area offers. You can walk out your door and shake hands with almost anyone you meet, know their names and exchange happenings about your family. They have fairs in the little town square during the summer and an ice harvest celebration in the winter. You can't go to the grocery store without spending at least an hour there because you run into everyone you know and they all want to chat with you for a few minutes. It's a great place to raise a family. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

I am the oldest of 6 children, my mother was pregnant with me when she graduated high school. My parents divorced shortly after my first brother was born and they both eventually remarried and continued to raise families. That means 4 of my 5 siblings are from different marriages. For the most part, we are all still very close.

I spent my early childhood living with my mother and seeing my dad on weekends. We would spend summer's with my Nana and Papa (my father's parents) camping. I loved every minute of it. During the weekends when I wasn't at my father's I would spend time with my Gramma Lake (my mother's mother) because my mother had to work. I never knew my Grandfather Lake because he died when I was very young. Gramma would spend hours quilting, sewing and cooking. It was during those times that I developed an interest in all things crafty.

My mother was one of 13 children. My mother's family had large reuniouns every year at the family farm in Ellisburg, NY where she grew up and that is the only time I got to see some of my cousins. We lived all over the place and the family was so big. I have some cousins that I've never met because there are so many.

I love most all forms of music and don't feel like I'm getting anything accomplished unless I have some tunes going in the background. I was in the school band and orchestra in high school and lived for it. I miss playing the trumpet and have been itching to get it out and start playing again. Oh the good old jazz band days.

I am terrified of snakes, spiders and heights and even thinking about them makes my stomach do flips. I am an animal lover and we have 2 small dogs and 2 cats (you can probably find a post about them somewhere). Our house wouldn't feel like a home without them. We'd set plates for them at the dinner table if we could.

I'm not married to my high school sweetheart. College and distance took care of that relationship, but I did marry the girl with the braces who sat next to me in band for 4 years. We were casual friends who started dating after college and fell in love and got married 6 years ago. We had a small wedding and said our vows on the beach in North Carolina at sunset. We've returned to the beach where we got married every summer.

My wife and I have 2 boys ages 4 and 11 months. I just signed my oldest son up for Kindergarten in the fall. I can't believe he's growing up so fast. I don't go a day without telling them both that I love them. We both would love to have more children.

I work full time as a funeral director and my schedule changes by the minute. I spend a lot of nights and weekends working, away from my family, caring for those who recently lost a loved one. My wife also works full time as a program coordinator/epidemiologist. Don't ask me what that means, shes a smartie with a master's in public health. We both would love nothing more than to be able to work from home and not have to send our kids to daycare.

Quilting is a hobby of mine that doubles as therapy for the stresses of life in general. I need to spend some part of each day being crafty to keep my sanity. I'm a lefty who learns to do everything "backwards."

I've never been a sports fan and don't follow teams or playoffs. When I do watch TV, I always have something in my hands whether it be crafty or a kid who needs some attention. I'm a big gum chewer too. I always have a piece in my mouth constantly using up all that nervous energy because I can't for the life of me sit still and relax according to my wife. I drink coffee morning noon and night. I guess you could call me a caffeine junky.

My wife and I live a Christian life and try to pass those core values along to our kids. We believe in The Golden Rule and don't force religion on our children. We also believe that you don't have to go to church every Sunday to have a relationship with God. He is everywhere and in everything we do.

I've always been a complete horror movie fan. I have a big collection of "scary" movies and books. My wife and I don't miss a single episode of Big Love, True Blood, House, Fringe, or anything on TLC.

I blog because I have to. I feel a primal need to network with others who share my passion for quilting and crafting. My life wouldn't feel complete with out that portion. I find it truly amazing that you can develop great relationships with folks whom I've never met. And am happy to have found my wonderful online quilting family.

And on a final note, I turn the big 30 in July and am having a hard time dealing with the fact that I'm going to be old and responsible and not in my careless 20's any more. And, I hate having my picture taken so that's why you don't see alot of me on the blog!

Take care everyone,


  1. Hey Ryan, I hit 47 in November. My 40s have been sooooooo much better than my 20s and 30s! I credit it to growing into myself, being comfortable with my choices and being true to me. Having been married for 26 years makes me glad I am not in the scary dating world, and our son is 20 now and in college. We have a great relationship and he is not just my son, but also my friend. Don't dread or fear the birthdays. Embrace them and face them with joy! Love your blog! Piece On!

  2. Hey Ryan - nice to meet you. Hold onto your wife and your family they are a treasure!! Happy 30th you have much to enjoy. I love your blog and agree with you about the connections.
    Take care

  3. Ryan, this is one of the most transparent posts I've ever read. Thanks for sharing about yourself and your family. Funny how the girl that sat next to you in band ended up being your life partner. And turning 30 will be adding a new adventure to your life. Enjoy every day of it. Believe me, life really speeds up when you have children.

  4. Being more than TWICE your age, I can tell you not to worry about birthdays. The alternative to having them (as you well know from your occupation) is NOT celebrate them joyfully! I enjoyed reading about you and will look forward to when you make another trip to Lewes so I (and at least one other area quilter/blogger) can meet you and go to the local quilt shops together! GREAT photos in your post today, too! Thanks for sharing your story. Blogging is wonderful and I can't imagine it not being a part of my life now.

  5. Ryan you crack me up! The gum and True blood had me rolling... also a big fan of both!!! It's always soooo interesting to me to find out more about the people that I share so much of my time with each day ( via online )... You and your family are toooo adorable!!!


  6. Ryan, I turn 30 next month too and I don't think you have to grow up & be responsible just because your age shows another decade. (Although I go back & forth between being excited and freaked about 3-0, mainly because I haven't accomplished some of the things I wanted to by 30.)

  7. I love hearing about your life. You and your wife make a wonderful couple.
    I would guess if you are a funeral director that you would need an outlet for the soul and the brighter side of life. Although, death really should be one of the happier times but it is the seperation and missing that person that hurts the most. You have a lovely family!

  8. What a lovely family! It sounds like you have a wonderful life! I may follow in your footsteps and blog about my wonderful life too!
    Keep up the good and important work you do whether it is caring for your family, caring for those who have lost someone or caring for yourself through your creative outlet!
    PS, 30 is not old, though I know how you feel. I am 35 and not liking the number or the facial wrinkles that come with it...

  9. I remember when I was young, probably, around 12, my Dad asked me what I thought old was and I said 30! Can you imagine? Well, yes, you can being almost 30 yourself. I are twice that and every year I raise that age a little higher because I don't feel old, well, THAT OLD! lol
    You have a beautiful attitute and a lovely family!!

  10. i loved reading more about you, ryan!! it is fun to learn more things we have in common. i'm a lefty two, but bat, and cut right handed. :)

    your family is adorable, and how wonderful to have been married on the beach! i absolutely LOVE the beach!!

  11. This is a lovely post, Ryan, and I'm so glad to know a bit more about you!

    And don't feel old at 30! If it makes you feel any better, you are nearly the same age as my *little* brother, actually... he turns 30 in May :) Hm. Now I feel old :)
    ~ Jennie

  12. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Ryan. What a wonderful life you have sewn together for you and your family!

  13. So enjoyed reading about you and your family. I've been enjoying your blog for some time and wondered how you got your interest in quilts and crafts. Now I know.
    Your family is lovely. Thanks for sharing.


  14. Yay I turned 30 yesterday it wasnt that bad!! Promidse.

    I think I am going to do this as well heather really is an ispiration .Thanks for sharing your family is beautiful!

  15. Ryan,
    I really enjoyed your post. I just recently started reading your blog. First of all, your a puppy, the best is yet to come, embrace it! Second, what a career, I admire that. Third, what a beautiful family!
    Take care and thanks for the insites.

  16. Thank you for putting yourself out there Ryan. It was so nice to read about your family and your life. A funeral director huh? Wow, I had no clue!!!
    I might have to rip a page from your story and do one on myself. Thanks for sharing.
    Peggy in NJ

  17. What a great intro. You have a lovely family, and a great talent for creating beautiful things. I'm glad you share them on this blog and I look forward to more visits!

  18. Oh my, now I really feel OLD! If you think you're having trouble turning 30 this year what are you going to do when you turn 50?!?! Sign me -- turning 52 in a month!

  19. Wow, Ryan, oh Ryan. Thanks for this post. You really do have a family out here in cyberspace. As an only child, I am thrilled to get even a few comments once in a while. I do remember when I turned 30. I tried dying my hair and it turned orange! Learned my lesson, let life be. enjoy every minute. As your job shows you, it can end quickly.

  20. Ryan, thanks for sharing a little glimpse in the real "you". Ugh, at the age of 48, I am old enough to be your momma. You are just a baby. Such a fine young man you are.

  21. Great post! I can totally relate to sending your oldest to Kindy--my 4 yr. old also starts this fall(small tear-LOL) & my youngest is 15 months--so not too far off from your youngest. Kidders are just the best. =)

  22. Ryan, it was really interesting to learn more about you.

    I would never have guessed "funeral director" - just saying, although most of the ones I have known away from work were really LOTS of fun.

    As for the age, 30 nor 40 nor even 50 is fatal. Actually, it can even get more fun. And at my age, (lots older than you) I am starting to take up pennywhistle. I already play piano and guitar rather "not so well" so I am having a blast learning a new instrument that I can flub up on. Ha ha. So pull that trumpet out and record us a ditty!

  23. Hi Ryan, you have a beautiful family. It sounds like you grew up in a small town like I did, but I'm from western Iowa. My kids are grown and I have 5 grandkids plus another one on the way. I always wanted a big family, but health wise I couldn't. It's nice to hear about people I read about on their blogs. I liked reading yours because of getting a man's point of view. Keep it up.

  24. Ryan,
    Your post was so lovely to read. I believe you are correct about the emotional connection. I had one with Kerri's blog a week or more ago with the country song-and I normally mute the sound when I am cruising the blogs. Having a place to share projects and inspirations is so much better because the people who are interested in your work appreciate the time, talent and effort it takes. Thanks for sharing.

  25. You have a lovely family and I enjoyed reading about you.

  26. Thank you so very much for sharing yourself with us/me. I enjoyed reading your story and appreciate getting to know you better.

    Perhapes we should all do a post like yours and Heathers so we can all get to know one another better....more than just our hobbies and appreciations.

    Thanks :)

  27. Ryan enjoyed reading about you and your lovely family. Turning thirty isn't so bad my girlfriend use to call them the dirty thirties... Life is good and keeps on moving. It sounds like you embrace life and enjoy what comes you way. I too feel that connection you were talking about.

  28. Thank you for being so open about your life. It was wonderful to find out a bit more about you. Oh and I can imagine you would be a fabulous funeral director, you seem very caring and loving.

  29. Thanks for sharing! Love the pics of your wedding and the pics of your sunny sun faces :) I just turned 32 and I feel like I am 22 well sorta, my body doesn't lol BUT I still think 22...I think :P that and I think what did I do for 10 years lol :P

  30. Thank you for sharing your story! I agree - blogging is both therapy and a way to connect.

    And I'm a lefty too - yay!

  31. Wow, Ryan way to go to be transparent and put yourself out there. Praying for many hopes, blessings and more swapping for you and your family. :)

  32. Ryan,
    I have your blog saved in my favoites along with many more and try to catch up with them all every week or two. I loved reading your story today. You have a beautiful family. Don't feel bad about turning 30. My b-days never bothered me but this year in January my baby turned 30. Now I feel my age but other than some back problems am healthy and have a great family so I have much to be thankful for.

  33. Thank you Ryan, lovely to see more pictures of you and your family and hear where your love of craft and quilting began.

    I too was in the funeral industry - I used to paint and decorate coffins with designs of flowers, skies etc. Anything people wanted and I was able to render, made the coffins just that more individual.

    I am 48 in May and was ok until read the comment that said I could be your Mum!! Oh my, that is what the numbers mean - LOL I just realised that I was leaving school as you were born. I will be returning to formal study this year after a gap of 30 years - so wish me luck. I am training to be a counsellor.

    I say I am may be getting older but that does not mean I have to grow old!

    Welcome to the other side, jump in the water is fine. :)

    Looking forward to more sharing, all the best for you and yours,

    Sydney, Australia

  34. Hi Ryan,
    You are such an interesting character! I loved reading your latest entry, and am happy to see a fellow leftie!! :)
    I agree that it is the emotional connection we make to other people through their blogs. All such different walks of life, yet somehow connected..

  35. Hi Ryan,
    Don't sweat your 30th birthday, it's just another milestone. My daughter will be 30 in less than two years, I can hardly believe that's possible! I see your family reunions are held in Ellisburg, NY--I lived in Ellisburg for quite a few years, now I live in North Carolina. I love the farms and open fields of Ellisburg, if it weren't for the massive amounts of snow, I'd probably still be there. I love the stories you put on your blog, especially about shopping at quilt stores with your grandmother.

  36. Thanks for sharing your story Rijan. It showed that the US are not always mega big, mega fast, huge skyscrapers, fast food etc. but that there are also people who live a quiet rural life. I love that.
    And turning 30 isn't that bad. I remember dreading that day but after all life got better the older I got. Now I am over twice that age and still feeling great!

  37. Ryan, what a wonderful post! I agree that the blogs that reveal more of the person behind the quilts are more rewarding to read. It is so nice to meet you. And don't fear the big 30. My 30s have been the absolute best years of my life, and I'm hoping that the 40s (right around the corner) will continue that trend. I look forward to continuing to read your blog with this new insight into you and your life as a backdrop.

  38. Love your blog and love that you are crafty. 30 isn't as bad as you think it will be. I'm closer to 40 now and still feel as young as ever. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Ryan,
    You have a wonderful family. I am just getting on to quilting. I love quilts and will eventually get more. I do a lot of cross stitch and crochet. I am glad to meet you :)

  40. I turn 30 this year too. It's kind of aweful to think about...we are old! LOL But I love that you love scary movies! My husband doesn't care for them at all and I never have anyone to watch them with. True Blood is one of my favorite shows and I can't wait until summer when Season 3 starts!

  41. Hi Ryan!

    I just found your blog through Quilt Dad, and I've already added you to my reader! I think this is my favorite blog post that I've read of yours so far - I love getting to know more about quilters, especially the few male quilters out there. :) It's so interesting to see where peoples' love of quilting and crafting comes from, and the many things that we all have in common.

    As a fellow lefty, and a hobby junkie, I am curious just how common it is to be lefty and crafty!

    Thanks for sharing so much about your life. I look forward to reading future posts of yours. And I already have that fabulous pillow tutorial on my list of must-do projects!

  42. Hi Ryan

    I just found this keeping it real post. It's so nice to find out more about my awesome pillow talk swap partner! BTW we are all loving that pillow!



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