Joy Ryan

When You Have NOTHING to Call Your Own

When You Have NOTHING to Call Your Own

My parents were products of the Great Depression. The real one, in the 1930s. The recession of the 1980s was bad, but a pretender compared to what people endured before. Many in the United States simply had nothing. Nothing.…

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The Ranch's "first family," Ida and Louis Butt

The Ranch's "first family," Ida and Louis Butt

In 1952, a group of remarkable women at a small country church in rural North Dakota were concerned about the number of boys who were "out on their own." Boys as young as 9 or 10 were in the workforce, particularly as farm labor, because their families did not have the means to support them. Many were "half-orphans," whose fathers had died in WWII, or whose mothers had died in childbirth or of illness. These children were in survival straits, just trying to make it from day to day.…

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A Prayer of Gratitude

A Prayer of Gratitude

I've mentioned it before that every day, 365 days a year, the Chaplain at the Ranch, Rev. Rick Jones, sends a devotion and prayer by email to all Ranch staff. It is always the first thing in my mailbox every morning. The devotionals are always insightful and the prayers often make me catch my breath.…

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Orchids and Dandelions

Orchids and Dandelions

So many things are all about perspective, right? I don't know if you've ever read or remember the Far Side cartoons. One of my favorites was a drawing of a car's outside rearview mirror from the driver's perspective. The words "Objects in the mirror may be closer than they seem" were clearly written across the bottom of the mirror. The only reflection in the mirror is one HUGE eyeball. The "reality" of what might be really close always makes me giggle.…

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Mentoring Others to Impact the Community

Mentoring Others to Impact the Community

Every Monday, I send an internal e-newsletter to Ranch employees. As one part of that newsletter, I ask individual Ranchers to share their thoughts about how they in their individual roles, help fulfill the mission of the Ranch. The mission, "to help at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ," is pretty lofty. It is not something anyone of us can accomplish alone, but rather we all have to do our own part.…

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Remember the Children at the Ranch

Remember the Children at the Ranch

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving AND it was also National Family Week! Boy, those two go together perfectly don't they? Family is the basic unit of any society. The people who accept us, support us, challenge us, and love us unconditionally are the people who shape our view of the world. Whether by birth or by choice, those we call family create the context in which we live our lives.…

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"I Am Grateful for Life."

"I Am Grateful for Life."

I have a glass bottle in my office that was a gift from a treasured friend. Written on the brown glass is "take a moment to acknowledge something you are grateful for." I also have a little stack of paper slips. Whenever someone asks me about the bottle, I encourage them to write down something they are thankful for and push the paper through the narrow neck of the bottle to "join" the other notes of gratitude. The simple act of stopping to think about the gifts we have been given can brighten a whole day.…

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