Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/22/19

Avalon story continued…

$15K out-the-door for an Avalon? Amazing, especially after pretty much every dealer in Northern California laughed me out-the-door for making such a ridiculous offer. Anyway, for the next hour I filled out all the necessary paperwork to make the purchase, but right before signing I made one more demand. I said, Before I sign this, I want you to throw in your best, full-on bumper to bumper warranty with all of the bells and whistles. You told me how great a car this is, and that it should last pretty much forever if I take care of it (in so many words) and do all of the scheduled maintenance requests, etc., so you shouldn’t have any problem guaranteeing it with a nice warranty. If I break a nail in this car, I want a manicure…Well, after a lot of whining on their parts, they threw the $800+ warranty in. So I sign…DONE DEAL!

Now comes the fun part. After a couple of hours, when all the t’s were dotted and I’s crossed, I hopped into the Maxima and drove it back to the Nissan dealership. Upon entering the driveway, the salesman comes out to meet me. Well, how did you like it? I replied, Thank you for your time, but I’ve decided to go another direction. He was obviously disappointed, and I felt bad, but, not too bad…

So, I hop into  Bronco II for the last time (Oh! Did I forget to mention I got a good trade-in amount for the Bronco?) and drive back to the Toyota Zone, and just as I pull into the parking stall, the Bronco II bites the bullet. Yep, full-on engine seizure with knocking sounds, smoke, and everything, followed by dead silence. After 300+K miles (that’s got to be an all-time record for a Ford) it breathed its last fumes. Rest in peaces my faithful companion! I quickly gathered what few personal belongings there were and jumped out of the deceased vehicle, and made a B-line to Jomo’s office, all the while glancing over my shoulder to make sure the Bronco wasn’t on fire…

Handed Jomo the keys to the dead horse and drove off into the sunset in my Avalon. End of story…for now…

The reason I told y’all this story is because throughout the months this was going on, I really didn’t see all the pieces of the puzzle falling into place; the dots being connected; all the other clichés that apply…It was only when the Bronco died in the parking spot that I realized (in utter amazement) God had carefully laid everything out along the path He was leading me on. Sure, I was making choices along the way, but fortunately I was making the right choices by listening to/following His gentle prompts and signs. Coincidence? No, COINCIGOD…

You know when you look back on your life and realize God was alongside you, but you didn’t necessarily know it at the time?

The light inside my head was slowly beginning to come on…the light in my head is on a dimmer switch…

I’m sitting here with Ryan who’s sound asleep; so much so, his eyes are rolled up in the back of his head. I haven’t had that good of sleep in a while. Rest well my son. Rest well…

 

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/21/19

Continued from Friday’s post:

So where was I? Oh yeah, I remember…I told the guy I’d be back the next morning…

The next morning (Saturday), I got up and started getting ready to go back to the dealership. I had a few things to do first, however, one being taking out the trash.. In the driveway, I saw a newspaper laying there. Sometimes companies will deliver a free paper to get you to try to buy one, and while this hadn’t happened for years, I thought this must be the case this time. So, I took it inside. While eating a nutritious breakfast composed of soggy Captain Crunch (It’s the only way to eat Captain Crunch, otherwise it rips the roof of your mouth), some cold pizza (Hey, variety is good), and a glass of orange juice, I decided to look through the classified section in the newspaper to see if there were any used Camry’s for sale. What’s this? Toyota Zone in Walnut Creek? Only the largest Toyota dealership in Northern California. I’d never heard of them. How did I miss them? The answer is simple. It’s not near any freeways and/or restaurants, so there’s no reason I would have passed by them during the course of any given day. Well, it’s on the way to the Nissan Dealership, so I’ll stop in there just to take a look.

Arrive at the Toyota Zone. Jomo, the used-car salesman, caught me getting out of my car and asked (in typical used-car dealer fashion) if he could help me. I gave him the rundown of what I was looking for; Camry w/ 30K or less miles for $15K out-the-door…to which he replied that he had a couple used Camry’s but they were a little more than I wanted to spend. I figured since I was there that I might as well take a look, but neither of them appealed to me, and they were both priced at $18.5K. Then Jomo said, Hey, I’ve got an Avalon over here that has around 30K miles on it, and it’s a really good price at $18K…you should take it for a test drive. Okay, I’ll take it for a test drive. After the drive, Jomo asked me how I liked it. I told him it was nice. Oh, and I like Rolls Royces too, but I’m only spending $15K out the door. He said he’d “talk to his boss” to see what he could do on the price. I know the game. I told him, Look, I’ve got some errands to run. You talk to your boss and I’ll be back in an hour to see if you can do $15K out the door for the Avalon. I don’t want to waste your time or mine, so when I come back you give me either a thumbs up or thumbs down, and we’ll go from there.

So, I left to run my errands (really errand) over to the Nissan dealership. Just prior to the Nissan dealership, I noticed the Passat and Jetta were gone (That’s what happens on lost-leaders if you don’t jump on them right away. It’s okay by me, because I didn’t like ’em anyway). I get to the Nissan dealership and the salesman comes out with the look of disbelief that I’d actually come back as I had promised. He ran inside, got the key to the car and told me it had a full tank of gas, take it out for the day…bring it back empty if you want. Oh, and he’d gotten approval for $15K out-the-door. I still didn’t really like the car, but it was the right price and if it got me from point A to point B, it’d have to do. So, I drive the Nissan back over to the Toyota dealership and parked it on the street. As I was walking across the lot, Jomo meets me half way and gives me the thumbs down, and said that he tried but could only get the boss down to $16.9K. I politely thanked him for not wasting my time, and that it was okay, because I already got a deal on another car at the price I wanted and that I test drove it over here. Jomo was shocked, told me to wait here, ran into the dealership, came back out and told me $15K out-the-door for the Avalon…

I’m sure you’ve had more than enough for one post, so I’ll save the last section of this story for tomorrow…

It was good to see Ryan today, since I didn’t get to see him yesterday. I love that kid…

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/19/19

I’ve decided to tell a story, which includes miracles throughout…all connected and related…like a puzzle…miracles that prepared me for…well, everything that’s going on in my life now, and forever…I will have to split the story/ies up, because my thumbs will get tired from typing if I try to do too much at a time.

Jeremiah 29:11a   For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord…

You know when you look back on your life and realize God was alongside you, but you didn’t necessarily know it at the time? Well if you don’t, then none of what I say from here on will make any sense. But, I think most of you will follow…and, for those of you who don’t, I hope and pray you will, at some point, follow/understand as well…

In 1996 (I know this is way before Ryan’s incident, but I promise it’s relevant), I worked for a foodservice distribution company called SYSCO. You’ve probably seen their trucks around. I just started a new sales position that covered all of Northern California and Nevada, which was going to require a lot of driving. I decided that, if I was going to be in the car for lengthy periods of time, I should get a car that was comfortable/reliable. I was willing to pay $15K cash (out the door) for a used car, and no more. I began looking at mainly Camrys, for their dependability, good gas mileage, etc., because I thought they would be in my price range. As I was driving around Northern California in my, at the time, older Bronco II, I would stop at every Toyota dealership I saw, flag down the first salesperson (didn’t really have to flag down anyone, because they were all over me as soon as I’d get out of my car) and tell him/her what it was I was looking for; specifically a Camry with less than 30K miles, and for no more than $15K out the door. And, they’d laugh me out the door every time. This went on for a few months. Late one Friday afternoon, on my way home from making sales calls in Concord, I happened to see a Volkswagen dealership with a couple of lost-leader used cars out front; a Passat for $17K and Jetta for $16. At the time, I wasn’t a fan of either of those cars because a couple of friends of mine had nothing but problems with theirs, but it was looking like I was going to have to settle, so I pulled into the lot to take a look. As always, a salesman jumped me just as I tried to exit my Bronco II, and as always I told him what I was looking for. He replied he could probably get close to my terms with the Jetta, and convinced me to test drive it. What a tin can. Disappointed, I left. I then drove a block away and saw a Nissan dealership, pulled into the lot and told the salesman my terms, to which he said he had a Nissan Maxima with 32K miles on it, and that he could most likely work with my offered price. Let’s take it for a test drive. A mile away from the lot, we got onto the freeway, and ran out of gas. REALLY? So, the salesman and I hoofed it back to the lot. Upon reaching the lot, he said he could have the car fueled up within 20 minutes and we could continue the test drive. It was getting late, I was tired, and a major storm was threatening, so I told the salesman I would go home and come back in the morning. They never want you to leave the lot, but I told him I was a man of my word, that I would be back in the morning to continue the test drive…

Speaking of continuing, my thumbs are getting tired (I wasn’t kidding), so I’ll have to continue this within the next couple of days, or so. I’ll be out of town tomorrow, so don’t know if I’ll be able to continue, but I promise to tell you the rest of the story soon…

BTW: Ryan had a good day today. I love the kid…

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/18/19

“Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.”

Saw this posted on FB today, and it instantly became one of the best quotes I’ve ever read…

Will post about another miracle tomorrow, since no one reminded me to post about one like I asked…xoxo

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/17/19

Eight plus years ago, a few weeks/months (I don’t really remember how long) into writing this blog (if that’s what you want to call it), I renamed it “Ryan’s Miracle Watch”. It took a while, because sometimes it takes time to come up with the “right” words/title/etc. Authors and Song Writers sometimes pen entire books/songs before coming up with just the right title for their masterpieces; if only masterpieces in their own minds.

For years prior to, and ever since Ryan’s incident, I’ve seen miracles almost every day; just like the one I wrote about David Boucher and his father a couple to few days ago. I didn’t write about any of them until then, because it’s always been difficult for me to condense the experiences into a “Reader’s Digest” version; one that fits massive amounts of important detail into a version that doesn’t put anyone to sleep…including myself. “There are simply too many notes, but which ones should I leave out? – Amadeus paraphrase

In the days/weeks/months/years to come, I will share some of the miracles God has allowed me to see, and do my best to be as brief as possible without watering down their “significant magnificence”. Try saying that ten times fast. This won’t be easy, because they are so intricately woven together, it’s sometimes hard to tell one from another. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s all just one miracle…

Tomorrow, I’ll begin telling you about another…

BTW: Ryan slept through my entire shift today. I continue to bore him to sleep with my lengthy stories…

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/15/19

Still not convinced yesterday’s post was evidence of a miracle? Well, fast forward to sometime later that summer for the continuation…

On a Tuesday night, a couple-to-few months after Ryan’s incident, Jacob was at a youth party at one of Creekside’s members’ house. It was my turn to pick him up after the party, so I drove to the house. Now, I always (and I mean always) wait outside for Jacob to come out whenever he’s ready, because I don’t want to intrude on a young teenager’s time, but on this particular night something prompted me to get out of the car and go in. Note to self: I can never say “always wait outside” anymore. As I approached the house, I noticed the back gate was open, so I proceeded through the gate and stood in the opening looking for Jacob in order to make eye contact letting him know I was there. I spotted him on the other side of the backyard, and when he saw me, he nodded his head acknowledging I was there, and went back to doing whatever he was doing. At that moment, I was approached by a shout of, “Hey Bret! I can’t believe you’re here! Have I got a story to tell you! Do you have time to listen?” I replied, “Yes.”, and Doug McBride proceeded to tell me about our mutual friend Doug Abbott’s recent encounter the Saturday before. Yes, two Dougs…try and keep up…

Background: Doug Abbott lives in Alamo and works as a fireman 20+ miles away in Oakland. Doug is also an avid bike rider.

Story (again, paraphrased to the best of my recollection). And, rather than try to figure out where they all go, I’ll leave out most of the quotation marks. Anyway, here goes:

Doug M. begins telling me the story about Doug A: “You know our friend Doug Abbott, right? Well, he just told me about what happened to him this past Saturday. At 4:30 A.M., God told him to get up and ride his bike to work, to which he replied, You’re crazy God. It’s 4:30 in the morning and too far to ride my bike to work. So, thanks for asking, but no. I’m not asking you Doug. Get up. No. Get up Doug! No. Get up Doug! No. Half an hour later, Doug decided God wasn’t going to give up, so he got up and got ready to ride. (EVER WRESTLE WITH GOD?)

So, Doug got on his bike and began riding to work at 5 or so in the morning. Now, it was still dark out at that retched time, and not a lot goes on then either…except on this particular morning. Somewhere along the empty trail to work, another biker rode up alongside Doug and asked where he was going and if he minded a riding partner…to which Doug probably replied something to the effect (and I’m making this up), Sure, as long as your not some sort of cereal killer. A bit spooky, huh? Great! My name is Jim. Mine’s Doug.

The two began talking, and sometime during the ride, Jim looked over and asked Doug if that was a “Love For Ryan” bracelet he was wearing? (Remember those green and white rubber bracelets we made for Ryan that had the inscription “Love For Ryan” on one side, and “Only Hope” on the other?).

Doug said, Why, y-y-yes it is. H-h-how d-d-did y-y-you know that?

Well, said Jim, my son is Ryan Buchanan’s best friend from kindergarten.

What’s your son’s name?

David Boucher. (WHOA!!) How is it that you have a “Love For Ryan” bracelet on?

Doug: Well, I attend Creekside Community Church in Alamo, the same church Ryan goes to, and I have been wearing it ever since I got it. You know? I met your son David a couple of months back.

Jim continues: My family and I have noticed something different about David these past couple of months; ever since he came home from the prayer vigils (yes multiple: the prayer vigils continued for many days following Ryan’s incident…not just the 1st Sunday night). He’s been spending a lot of time over at the church, and for some reason unbeknownst to us, he’s been a lot happier. You know? My family and I have never been much into church. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we ever went to church. On top of that, I’m not even sure we believe in God, but seeing David the way he’s been, there’s got to be something to it. Would you mind praying for me?

So, Doug and Jim pulled over to the side of the bike trail and prayed at 5-something in the morning…

FOOTNOTE: A few years later, while driving to San Luis Obispo to drop our boys off at college, I heard firsthand from Doug Abbott the story of his encounter with Jim. It gave me the chills then, as it does each and every time hear and tell it…

 

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/14/19

On June 25, 2011, in the back seat of a car on the way down to a beach near Santa Cruz for a youth group event, Ryan told a friend he “wanted to touch just one person for Jesus” that day. Y’all know what happened to Ryan later that day…

On the evening of June 26, several members of Creekside Community Church in Alamo, along with friends and community members (somewhere around 4-5 hundred people), gathered at the church for a prayer vigil for Ryan. Through tears of laughter, joy, sadness and fear, many people stood and shared stories about Ryan; about what he meant to them. After those who wanted to share finished, one young man got up and shared the following (and I’m paraphrasing to the best of my recollection):

“Hi, My name is David Boucher, and I’ve been one of Ryan’s best friends since we met in kindergarten. Throughout the years, Ryan has never been afraid to share with me, or anyone, about his faith, but never pushed it on us. On many occasions, he invited me to come to youth group events, and I would go sometimes. And, it just so happens, one of those times was yesterday at the beach when he got injured. To see all of you come together tonight and pray for and love on Ryan in a very tangible way, has really touched me. Until now, I didn’t understand what Ryan’s been sharing with me all of these years; about God’s Family, His Love, His Grace, His Mercy…and about His Salvation…WILL YOU PLEASE PRAY FOR ME, BECAUSE I WANT TO BE PART OF GOD’S FAMILY.”

Little did Ryan know when he uttered those words in the back seat of the car earlier that day, that God would honor his request…and, almost immediately…

MIRACLE ONE

To be continued…

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/13/19

Didn’t post yesterday, because I went on a ride-along with a police officer last night. Left before I remembered to write anything, and got home at around 2 A.M. Don’t remember being this tired after a night out when I was younger. Go figure…

Anyway, remind me to tell you a story tomorrow of the first “miracle” the day after Ryan got injured. I will forget if you don’t remind me. I can’t even remember what I set out to say at the beginning of this post…

Ryan did have a good day today, as he has had since coming home from the hospital back in April. Thank you LORD!!

Lord, Thank you for another day! Your favor has rained down upon us in ways our finite minds could not ever imagine. We praise you for allowing us to see your glory unfolding; but not too much lest we turn to stone. Revelation 5:13   Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

AMEN!

Ryan’s Miracle Watch 7/11/19

TIME   something you can’t hold onto

Our children grow up waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy to quickly! Let that sink in for a moment…

Proverbs 4:7   The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

A big part of wisdom is knowing the value of time and learning to make the most of it.

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” – Benjamin Franklin

Happy Birthday Matt Fisher!!