Orange County

One of my favorite movies is “Orange County.” When I was in high school, I would put the movie on and watch it until I went to bed at least once a week. I don’t know why I liked it so much, but I just thought it was an incredibly entertaining movie.


If you haven’t seen it (which may be a good thing. It’s PG13, but that doesn’t mean it’s wholesome by any means), this is the basic premise: A high school surfer-dude, Shaun, from California finds a book in the sand. This book is written by a professor at the University of Stanford, who quickly becomes Shaun’s hero. After reading the book hundreds of times from cover to cover, Shaun decides that he no longer wants to be a pro surfer, but a writer. His first step after graduating high school is to study with this professor at Stanford. Although he’s got the grades that would cause your grandmother to smooch all the saliva that she has onto your cheeks, the movie goes on to follow the adverse situations that cause this task to become unattainable.


One thing that I love about this movie is the fact that Shaun decides he will be a writer, despite the opposition of his friends and family. His only advocate is his girlfriend, who he claims is too supportive to be of any real help.

[Spoiler alert – which is fine. Cause I don’t condone the viewing of this movie anyways. Haha] In the end of the movie, Shaun randomly bumps into the professor from Stanford. Unbeknown to Shaun, the professor that changed his life had read the book that Shaun sent to him. Not only that, but the professor was incredibly pleased with his writing ability. Shaun then comes to the realization that he never wanted to go to Stanford in the first place; all he really wanted was to receive the affirmation from this professor.
Sometimes we have all these ambitions and goals, which are GREAT. Without goals, we would get stuck in monotonous living and probably give up on life. However, when our sole focus is on these goals, everything else in life is peripheral. I think Shaun finally realized that. I don’t recommend trying to get your affirmation from some random professor, but perhaps the affirmation of whom we’ve been searching for has been supporting us from the very beginning. When we give our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord, we’re able to surrender everything else and live for the only thing that matters. Our goals change with time, but He will always remain constant.

Do Not Hide

The things that have hurt us in the past end up shaping our thoughts about life. We typically pretend that we have no remembrance of our hurts, but what ends up happening is we just shelf them as far back in our mind as possible. I have found that when I do this, I am unable to allow those pains to heal. They fester and grow as I neglect the abandoned wound.


For whatever fallacious reason, we assume that intangible wounds heal themselves. Our ideas of restoration are as abstract as the lacerations in our soul. But the truth is, healing never seems to come quickly. The One person that can help us through our struggle is the last person we want to talk to.


After years of running from the most stable thing I knew, the very ground where I stood seemed to be crumbling beneath me. I was not interested in renouncing what I thought was “freedom.” All the while, I could faintly hear the words “do not hide from me.”


I chose to ignore those words. I was completely unaware that the Lord wanted to use my life in a positive way. He wanted the best for me, while I only wanted a life of mediocrity for myself. I finally chose to turn towards Him, and in turn, He gave me an overflowing life full of blessings. I can not imagine where my life would be without His favor.
That is what inspired me to write, “Do Not Hide.” It is through the perspective of Christ, as He gave His life for the purpose of spending an eternity with us. He doesn’t want to take away our freedom and joy, he wants to take away our pains and replace them with true life.

Coffee Conversations with Ron

What is your favorite activity outside of music performance?


“Wakesurfing, for sure. I’ve been out on the lake quite a few times in my life, but I wasn’t introduced to wakesurfing until this past summer. I’ve also started to get into longboarding. But, I mean, I’m still just getting into it.”


Is wakesurfing similar to wakeboarding?


“Kind of. Instead of being like 70 feet behind the boat while you’re holding onto a rope, with wakesurfing, you only use the rope to get started. Once you’re up, you throw the rope into the boat and just surf cause the wave pushes you forward. Obviously, it takes a while to figure out how to surf your first time. So you’ll be hanging on that rope for a while before you ever throw the rope in. Look it up on YouTube, it’s pretty fascinating. Haha”


So, would you say playing guitar is your favorite indoor activity?


“Yea, probably. I really like playing board games with my wife though. So I’d say it’s a tie between those two.”


How long would you say you practice a song – from conception to perfection – before you perform it live or record it?


“Ha ha ha . . . a long time. But I guess it depends. If I’m just going to record it, I actually don’t even have to have the song completely written. I’ll usually have like three-fourths of the song done and then iron out the rest as I’m recording. The thing about [recording], especially when you’re doing it yourself, is you can easily play the chorus 30 times before you get it to sound how you want it to.  But I guess that’s the luxury of recording.”


Wow. So how long does it take you to record one song?


“Probably no less than 20 hours. I mean, I’ve recorded a song in like 2 hours. But that was for a song that was only acoustic and vocals with no layered tracks.


This song that I’m in the process of recording has a really complicated drum part that I’ve been working on for probably 7 hours alone. Granted, I’m not a drummer. If I was, it would probably go way quicker. Ha ha.”


That’s crazy. When did you start playing guitar?


“In 2010. It’s kind of crazy how it happened, actually. I didn’t have any intention to learn to play, but while I was going to school at VBI, they had me take a placement test for music theory. Theory was no problem for me since I’ve played piano for years and years, so I got a 100% on it. I was told I could either take voice lessons or learn to play guitar. For once in my life, I declined the voice lessons.”


So you’ve been playing piano for years. What made you want to make guitar your primary instrument rather than piano?


“I’m not sure; it’s just really fun to play. Piano’s cool, but there’s just something about playing guitar. It never gets boring. You can even ask my old roommates or my wife – I can sit around playing the same chord progression for hours.  As stupid as that sounds, that’s pretty much how every single one of my songs  is created.”


Before we leave, is there anything crazy or interesting about you that most people wouldn’t know?


“Hmm. I don’t know, I’m sure my wife could think of 100 things though! Ha ha.
I guess, simply by my tattoos and piercings, most people don’t realize that I thoroughly enjoy singing and listening to choral and classical music. I sing for multiple professional choirs here in Tulsa and it always makes me laugh cause I can only imagine what people are thinking when they see me up there singing with them. Ha ha. I never take out my lip ring or gauges for performances and I’m pretty sure all my directors are scared to ask me to.”