Sunday, December 21, 2008

Demotivators 2009 Calendar

I always enjoy the humor from the folks at Demotivators (actually, Despair). They produce a yearly calendar that you can customize yourself with all sorts of dates, and you can have your pick of which Demotivator to use for each month. Goofy website called Think Geek has their own Demotivators calendar, and I thought their list for the calendar was worth sharing (each phrase is accompanied by a corresponding pic that makes it even funnier):

January - Government. If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions.
February- Propaganda. What lies behind us and lies before us are small matters compared to what lies right to our faces.
March - Blogging. Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.
April - Customer Disservice. Because we're not satisfied until you're not satisfied.
May - Tradition. Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
June - Procrastination. Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.
July - Opportunity. I am Dr. Adewole Aremu- a director with the Union Bank of Nigeria in Lagos - and I wish to speak to you most urgently about a matter regarding the sum of $39,000,000 US Dollars...
August - Hope. May not be warranted at this point.
September - Sanity. Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine.
October - Give up. At some point, hanging in there just makes you look like an even bigger loser.
November - Meetings. None of us is as dumb as all of us.
December - Corruption. I want either less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Humbled & Speechless

This past Sunday night, my wife and I were treated to an incredible evening of reflection, stories, laughter, and tears as our congregation we've served for 16 years had a good-bye reception. Let me first say that I enjoy a good pat on the back as much as anyone. But over-doing the thank-yous and kudos is borderline uncomfortable for me. Sure its nice and I don't want to diminish it, but I've never been a "much ado about me" kind of person. I know people who are....and I don't particularly care for that sort of mentality. So I resist it.

But this is a little different. I can't tell you how great it feels to know you're respected and valued, and that your efforts over some span of time made some sort of difference. I supposed that's a big part of why I got into this 'business' from the get-go.

To say that they pulled out all the stops would be an understatement. Many of the funny things that were done were full of insider jokes that wouldn't make sense here without a lot of explanation. But they put together a program that they hoped would last 45 minutes, and it finished around 1 hour and 45 minutes, with a dessert reception to follow. It was and is all very humbling, and I can't tell you how blessed my family has been to have been a part of such a wonderful community of believers. If you read this and you were involved in some way - wrote one of the letters we received, helped plan the evening, were part of a video or testimony, helped with the very cool scrapbook that was assembled, or were one of the many in the crowd who just showed up - I can't thank you enough. I only hope I can mirror your heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all you've done for me as Vicki and I have "grown up" in your presence.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Wish I Had Known Nick Nischan

From the title, I assume you know from the outset that I never actually met Nick Nischan. His family arrived at my alma mater just after I graduated, and I only casually met his dad on random visits back to the university. But where the title of my thoughts tonight might mislead a bit is that I feel like I know Nick Nischan, especially after the events of the past few days.

Nick's funeral celebration was this afternoon in a crowded church of family and friends. His battle with brain cancer for the past 6 years of his life has been well documented in this little corner of the the world, though his influence has gone far beyond Eastern Kentucky.

For the past several years before I arrived back at my alma mater to assume employment, I had heard about this kid named Nick. What set him apart was not that he was dealing with a sickness that was robbing him of being, in a physical sense anyway, what any 13-year-old boy wanted to be. But words that I had always heard were "courageous," "inspirational," "brave."

After the events of the past few days, I can only assume that was all true. As I sat through the funeral - which was actually more of a celebration service - I heard those descriptive words used over & over again by the several who spoke at the service. I can't imagine the funeral service for one of my own children. But to actually get up and speak.....remarkable. And yet, both Dad & Mom took their turn. I wish I could script out for you their was beautiful, well-said, and very touching. I'm beginning to sense that this remarkable little boy was one of those "apples that didn't fall far from the tree" as they say. Nick's mom, Tammy, is a prolific blogger, and has been documenting this 6-year journey at it wouldn't surprise me if she posts the manuscripts of both her talk and Tim's. If you get a chance to read some of her posts, it won't be a waste of your time.

The service itself was as unique as the life it commemorated. The four-piece band did an instrumental version of Audio Adrenaline's 'Big House' as a prelude. I didn't put two and two together at first. But if you know the song, the lyrics refer to the "big, big house, with lots & lots of room...with a big, big yard, where we can play football." Nick was a huge football fan, and reference was made later in the service to Nick playing football in that big, big yard at his father's house. I don't know if the Audio A guys ever dreamed that song, or any of theirs, would be used at a funeral. But it was perfect. In fact, it was used as an invitation song at the end. Again, this won't show up in any handbook on how to perform a funeral (neither would the video tribute to Nick sent from Chuck Norris!). But Nick's life was celebrated tonight much like it was lived. Full of life. Taking advantage of every opportunity and every moment. Pointing to Jesus all along the way.

Click the picture of Nick for a very good article written by our college president about Nick and his family's journey.

I never knew Nick Nischan. But in a whole lot of ways, I feel like I know him now. I just wonder if any of us will leave a legacy after we're gone like this 13-year-old inspirational young man.