Archives for December 2015

December 30, 2015 - No Comments!

Resolve to Accept More Grace in 2016


Ahh, the new year is upon us. How refreshing. Look past the overcast horizon and chilly air you might say the future is [fill in prophetic word here]. New year, new goals, new desires, new workout plan, new dress, new tie: new you. Write those resolutions down, ladies and gents ... and then what?

Self-discipline: check. Willpower: you got more than you think. Commitment: scary, I know. These are virtuous faculties and all, but truth is the accumulation of years of practiced habits (good and bad) are not easily tackled in a one-night stand with your conscience.

There's no quick-fix formula for a "new you." If you really want to change your life, change your mind about how you approach change.

We assume it’s all on us. We strive for goals in order to become somebody we think we ought to be. Always chasing after future versions of ourselves. Always putting so much weight on our own actions. Like every decision leads to absolute victory or failure. It can be paralyzing.

Now, I'm all about about personal growth. What are you doing with your life if you're not stretching yourself with new challenges and experiences? What I'm speaking to are our expectations.

Do you have a brighter vision of what your life would look like if you stepped up in certain areas? Maybe you'd like to create more value for yourself at work or in your community? You know what you need to do because it’s already on your heart. Your dreams are your dreams. Go for them, but don’t get hung up on the outcome.

We paint glamorous pictures in our minds about how life should be, only to get frustrated with the childlike images we actually produce. Relax, kid. Give yourself a little grace. As you narrow your focus on the coming year, try not to be so narrow. Take joy in the process and you’ll be pleased with the product.

Who you become and who you inspire others to become in 2016 will be more meaningful than what you do.

A couple weeks ago the pastor of our church mentioned that we are all called to one of two missions throughout the seasons of our lives: you’re either called to be somebody, or to do something. For the past two years I’ve felt the need to perform.

I wonder if there was a transition I missed, or if this is it.

Life is good. Too good not to enjoy. God is good. Too good not to trust. My goal this year is to stop putting so much pressure on the works of my flesh. Stop being self-led and be more Spirit-led. Start believing that God has it all mapped out already. He’s the vision-caster. He's the captain of this ship and his course will be a fantastic voyage.

Go ahead, gain wisdom and insight. Acquire new skills. Take time for personal reflection. But most of all, trust Him.

When the ball drops, don’t think about how you might have dropped the ball in 2015. God’s bringing the celebration. He’s lighting the fireworks. All we have to do is show up and enjoy his marvelous display.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths."

Proverbs 3:5-6

- Updated on Jan. 7 -

Hungry for more? Listen to Kurt Parker's message on "keystone habits," from January 3. If you're not inspired, go eat something unhealthy. I'm sure it'll go away soon.

December 26, 2015 - No Comments!

My Grandmother’s Eulogy: The Nancy Polka

This is the eulogy I wrote and delivered for my Grandmother, Nancy Golombisky, shortly after she passed away on May 26, 2015. Today, December 26, 2015, would have been her 77th birthday.

We can all learn a lot from the way she lived. Enjoy.

“What then is Appollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

1 Corinthians 3:5-6

This passage touches on the idea that, in life, we all have a purpose. Some of us plant seeds, some of us water the plants; God gives the growth. And when a flower is fully grown, some people, like Grandma, pluck it out of the ground, put it in their hair and say, “Ain’t I pretty?”

That’s how it was for Grandma. She loved life and delighted in it.

Before preparing this eulogy, I considered, “what would Grandma say if she were here today?” Then I realized there wouldn’t be enough time during mass — she enjoyed sharing stories with family and friends too much. Luckily, during a visit with my grandparents in January, 2014, I had the foresight to put my camera on a tripod and record her retelling some of her life stories. This is an excerpt from that video:

Speaking on her life, Nancy said:

“I think that I have a lot of interesting things to say … You go to bed at night and you think, I need to write about myself. What I remember, what I first remember. My farm life. My marriage. The places that we’ve gone. The places we’ve seen. The states that we’ve been to. And about my family and my kids. And then you think, who really cares?! If I did that for all my grandkids and my kids to read, would they really find it interesting?”

You’d be surprised, Grandma. Anyone who has ever felt touched by Nancy’s love can recount a favorite memory with her. Personally, I can’t decide which memory that is. All I can say is that many of my fondest memories in life involved visits with Grandma. She was always there for us. No matter how small or large the occasion — fireworks at the lake, baseball games, music recitals, dinner parties, birthdays, graduations, holidays, card games, summer vacations, first communions — Grandma always made herself available to share time with loved ones. She truly embodied a family-first mentality, and “family” was often a loose term that included extended family, close friends, the local community and an exchange student from France. She was an incredibly loving and equally loved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt and friend.

Now, I said I couldn’t really pick a favorite memory, so instead I’ll share my favorite story from her early life, which is about how she and Grandpa met.

The short end of it, if I were to recite it in a polka rhyme, would be: Nan met Dan when Dan hired Nan to play in Dan’s polka band.

Grandma met Grandpa as a young farm girl in Owosso, Michigan. Coincidentally, Grandma lockered with Grandpa’s sister, Sharon, for two years in high school. But all Sharon ever said about her older brother was that he was an engineer from Michigan State, and he was cocky. However Grandpa was, it worked. At that time Grandma’s brother, Ben, also played with Dan in his polka band, and when he decided he couldn’t hang with the boys anymore, Ben suggested Nancy play because she was more skilled as a musician. She did, and a year later the farm girl from Owosso milked her last cow on April 21, 1956, the morning of her wedding. Music brought Grandma and Grandpa together, and for the next 59 years music remained the heartbeat of the Golombisky family.

I think it’s appropriate, then, to say that Nancy’s life is comparable to your favorite song: it ends too soon and all you want to do is replay it.

She left an incredible, loving legacy through her husband, her sons, David and Greg, and her grandchildren. And that legacy can be summarized by the joy and zest in which she lived, loved and snorted ... I mean, laughed.

If Grandma were here today, I believe she’d say, “Stay close to your family; cherish your time together; and if life gets you down, just play a little polka and do a little dance.”

December 18, 2015 - No Comments!

Our Life’s Work: Lessons From M.C. Escher

“In mathematical quarters, the regular division of the plane has been considered theoretically ... [Mathematicians] have opened the gate leading to an extensive domain, but they have not entered this domain themselves. By their very nature they are more interested in the way in which the gate is opened than in the garden lying behind it.” – M.C. Escher

Forget your theories and calculations. M.C. Escher had a vision and needed to project it in a very specific way. Simple as that.

In his infinite realm of tessellation, impossible constructions and regular divisions of the plane, Escher merged beauty and complexity with the precision of a mathematician. Unlike scholars of his time, though, he wasn’t concerned with formulas that explained his work. He found something that made him tick and just went with it.

Escher discovered his passion early and mastered it over a lifetime, producing 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings, as well as over 2000 drawings and sketches. By volume then, he is the masterpiece, not the pieces themselves.

While he will always be remembered for his impossible staircases, checkerboard patterns and drawing hands, the most inspiring part of his story is the maturation of himself through his workmanship. His life was the work of art.

We all have this in us. It’s the same for musicians and their compositions, dancers and their choreographies, and even mathematicians with their calculations. It’s an innate desire to express thoughts, feelings and ideas in ways that cannot be done simply, or even sincerely, with words alone.

As proven through Escher, the most authentic way to live is to find out what makes us tick—and just go with it.

Consider these lessons from Escher to begin sketching your life as a work of art:

Perception is reality.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” – Anaïs Nin


See: Hand with Reflecting Sphere, 1935

Everything is connected.

Checkers. Flies. Tiles are reptiles. Bees are butterflies. Fish are boats, and fish again. Farm animals are birds. Mail flies. Birds fly. They both fly to the city. Now let’s play chess.

Did I miss something?


See: Metamorphosis III, 1968-67

We are control freaks.

“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” – M.C. Escher

How often do we box the world in around us in ways that make the most sense to us, rather than observing life with an objective point-of-view?

Image result for escher box

See: Thinking Outside the Box

Let true beauty be.

Escher rarely used his wife, Jetta, as a subject. Though he adored her, he recognized that some beauty can’t be duplicated, nor should it be tampered with. With the exception of Bond of Union (1956), Escher’s pieces featuring Jetta were printed without his signature twists on reality.

The Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg, FL., once hosted a sketch of his nude wife which I haven't been able to identify online. The portrait was drawn with her turned away from the artist and her features are subtle, not exaggerated, as you might find in modern photography for models. From that image, you get the sense that he loved her exactly the way she was and wouldn’t dare alter her appearance.


See: Portrait of Jetta, 1925

It’s all about perspective.

Eyesight vs. mind-sight: Do you judge according to appearances or by interpretation of what you see?

Like many artists, Escher’s early pieces reveal moments of his artistic self-discovery. Coast of Amalfi (1931), for example, is a snapshot of a landscape that became a focal point for many later pieces. Peering under the shade of a tree, into the distance, you get a glimpse of Escher’s curiosity for perspective and vanishing horizons.


See: Coast of Amalfi, 1931

Remember your creator.

Every person is hardwired to create. We’ve been endowed this way because we are designed in God’s image, and He created us. Therefore, we create. We construct. We produce. We make things happen.

So, what's your vision and what are you doing with it?


See: The Sixth Day of Creation, 1926

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