The Beauty of Pixar

A very nice compilation.

Great to be…

Quick post in the middle of a really busy week (while I wait for some video to render – that’s a story for another time. Follow me at if you want the play by play.)

The real story is the Gators – back in the championship game. And this is how they got there…

"It will be a big deal." – Urban Meyer

Great to be…

Other games might not go so well. (LSU and Georgia are on the schedule)

But it’s always great to play Tennessee. Neyland Stadium is beginning to be like another home game. The Gator Sports Shop should set up an outlet store there.

The best part of winning any rivalry game is to read the newspaper of the opposing school afterwards. This article is good…but the comments at the bottom of it, from loyal fans of the Stumbling Vols, are priceless.

This picture, from the Gainesville Sun, of a guy going with the Heath Ledger/Joker look…how appropriate, if not a little creepy.

Go Gators.

McCain, Obama, or…?

You just never know who might run for political office!

Wiilationships on iTunes

After several attempts, we were finally able to begin recording in our Sunday school class last week. The audio still isn’t great, but at least if you are not able to be with us, you can listen in.
Our class is called “Wii” and the broadcast is called “Wiilationships”, not because we play the Wii in class, or even talk about it (much), but because the idea of playing well together is what we’re trying to accomplish.
You’re invited to listen, comment on our blog, and play along.

36 – Day One

By reading the previous post, you probably know two things:

1) I’m in North Carolina, again, for the annual Southeastern University tournament at the Pearl in Calabash, NC. A group from our church has come to this tournament every year for the past several years.

2) I’m posting on my blog again. At least, I am during this tournament. If I have pictures to share. Otherwise, I’ll be updating everyone via Twitter. The easiest way to use Twitter is by following.

This picture shows Mark Carr, Phil Goss, and Wendell Williams at a very picturesque hole. I don’t think my iPhone quite captures it.

Another Great Idea I Wish I Had Thought Of First

Joshua Cody at Church Marketing Sucks pointed out a relatively new blog that is absolutely one of the best blogs I’ve ever seen.

Prodigal Jon is a pastor’s kid and advertising person who has a couple of other blogs – that I guess were mildly viewed. But this one – Stuff Christians Like (* fixed link: 4/12/08, 1:12pm) – has caught fire. And for good reason. It’s hilarious.

I’ve spent the last few minutes trying to go through all his posts – he’s up to #141 and he only started the blog in January. The reason to read all the old posts are that they are timeless – and true. His topics have been varied, but all skewer the things Christians like, such as – Love Offerings, Saving Seats at Church, and the Side Hug.

Post #139 is about the Choir Side Step Dance, in which he writes:

Choirs invented this move in 1973 when they realized they wanted to dance a little but they didn’t have room on the stage. So they came up with this side move so they could still express about 12% of the funk without bumping into each other.

This is one of those sites that I know if my sister Tammy had seen it, she would’ve already emailed a link to me by now. (Check it out, Tam)

Wii Did It!

Count the McDaniel household among those that have come under the influence of the Wii.

After several months of casually looking, I walked into WalMart last Wednesday afternoon, only to be confronted by SIX Wii’s. I had promised myself – unbeknownst to Trudi and the kids – that if I saw one anytime, I would purchase it…if I still had the cash.

I’ve been saving birthday, Christmas, and casual money for a couple of years. My first goal had been a killer sound system for our big-screen TV. But that had been replaced by the goal of a new iMac. However, since I hadn’t been able to save a big enough amount, I had finally settled on purchasing a Mac Mini the next time they are updated.

Unless I saw a Wii first.

I did, so we are now the active owners of the Wii. I also got a couple of games and everyone has really gotten into it. Here you see Shae – who was unhappy to have her picture taken, but not enough to stop playing.

THE Tournament

I have four brackets. I kept them pretty consistent, with only a few minor variations between my picks. A few games are still going on tonight, but currently:

Picks of Faith bracket (church league)
Current score: 19 (tied for 8th out of 12)
Leader score: 21
Best pick: Davidson over Gonzaga
Worst pick: Cal State Fullerton over Wisconsin
4 of my sweet 16 have already been eliminated.

BQ Bracket Busters (Bible quiz league)
Current score: 20 (5th out of 11)
Leader score: 23
Best pick: Davidson
Worst pick: South Alabama over Butler
Again, 4 of my sweet 16 are gone.

Hoops Gurus (league with Gary Robles)
Current score: 100 (7th out of 7)
Leader score: 168
Best pick: Davidson
Worst pick: CSUF
Only 3 of sweet 16 gone, but I’ve lost interest in this bracket. Rules were changed after tourney began, with players allowed to change their picks before today’s games, though I didn’t know it. Weak.

Google (my bracket, no league, just to test the iBracket widget on the Google home page)
Current score: 42
Best pick: San Diego over Connecticut
Worst pick: Georgia over Xavier
3 sweet 16 picks gone, the worst being Drake, whom I had making it to the Final Four. Crazy, but what did I have to lose?

Bobby Kingsley

(See yesterday’s post for an explanation.)

Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley had always loved children. It was not the love of the idea of children. Theirs was not the case of a couple who wanted to have children, but were prevented from doing so. No, they loved children through experience. Two years after the wedding their first child, a daughter, was born. Two boys followed within the next three years.

While having children by natural birth was very fulfilling to the Kingsleys, they knew they were made for more. They eagerly pursued the avenue of adoption. A girl from South America was first, followed by another from the Pacific Rim. From the outset there was no distinction within the Kingsley household between “natural” and “adopted” children. All were loved, disciplined, nourished, appreciated, and respected. It was understood and unquestioned – they were a family.

A family that grew even larger when Mrs. Kingsley delivered yet another daughter and, shortly afterwards, the paperwork was finalized for the adoption of a boy from Eastern Europe.

Four girls, three boys, two very proud, and very satisfied parents. Of course, it takes more than love to pay the bills, but Mr. Kingsley had succeeded in business, so finances were never a concern. And even with all the demands of young and growing children, time had never been much of a factor either. Mr. Kingsley was fond of saying, “There’s always time to do what’s important,” and the strength and attitude that was evident in their home seemed to prove him right.

That strength and attitude would be tested most severely.

Of all the Kingsley children, Wally, the eleven-year-old, and third of the Kingsley clan, was the one who could brighten any mood. Perpetually sunny in disposition, quick in thought, compassionate in relationships, Wally was not only the peacemaker in sibling squabbles, his ability to bring a smile and his lack of self-preoccupation invited the admiration of his younger brothers and sisters, and the protection of his older ones.

Unfortunately, their watchful eyes didn’t see the car that crushed Wally’s bicycle as he rode to a friend’s house. The driver never stopped and the Kingsleys would never know precisely what happened. They only knew the result.

Even in their courtship, both Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley had decided that, when their time came, they would be life-givers. It was on each of their driver’s licenses. A real discussion , then, wasn’t even necessary in Wally’s case, only signatures on a form. As hard as losing a child was, the Kingsleys’ grief was lessened, if only slightly, by knowing that other children would live as a result. The strong and kind heart of their child would power the life of another.

Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley met Bobby several months before Wally’s accident. Orphaned at birth, left at the front door of the local firehouse without a note, Bobby was without any clue to his background or his lineage.

The system had cared for Bobby in the twelve years since. Cared is probably overstating what Bobby had experienced. “Tolerated” or “kept” might describe it better. Bobby had never caught the eye or the heart of any prospective parents. He had been carried along by the bureaucracy, existing, but not belonging.

Despite the lack of warmth and affection that nourishes and sustains any young child, Bobby was relatively well-adjusted, even hopeful. He had experienced more than his share of disappointment and rejection, pain and loneliness. He lacked any real knowledge of what a loving family could be like. Not knowing what he was missing, it was said, Bobby missed it less.

It was shortly after the Kingsleys met him for the first time that Bobby’s kidneys began to fail. The medical professionals disagreed on the cause, but were certain of the prognosis. Bobby needed new kidneys. He was put on the list.

Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley normally sought to adopt a child as an infant or toddler, but felt inexplicably drawn to the case of this pre-teen with daunting medical needs. They had a vision to meet the great need of children from other countries, but felt compelled to touch this child from their own community.

They hesitated. Then came Wally’s accident, and suddenly tragedy and opportunity intersected to make their decision for them.

Bobby could be taken off two lists at the same time, gaining two titles – organ recipient and son.

Only hours after losing one son, the Kingsleys would participate in the possible gain of another.

They never thought of Bobby as Wally’s replacement. Just as they had loved each of their children specifically and independently, they saw Bobby through an exclusive lens. This was simply making the very best out of the very worst.

The surgery went better than any of the medical team had hoped. The unusual step of replacing both of Bobby’s kidneys was an unqualified success. Rather than rejecting the transplanted organs, Bobby’s system responded vigorously. It seemed that he was almost instantly cured of whatever had caused his original condition. Recovery would be brief.

The grief of the Kingsley family was more prolonged. The loss of Wally was profound, piercing. Those feelings of emptiness were mixed with the hope of gaining Bobby. In time, the children were introduced to their potential sibling, and Bobby and the Kingsleys became acquainted.

In the next twelve months, the Kingsley clan gradually regained their footing, and the addition of Bobby to the group was another step to healing. Even the youngest Kingsley sensed a bigger purpose, as if it was all calculated in advance.

From Bobby’s perspective, it was nothing short of overwhelming. Having never known the benefits of belonging, he was given a wonderful taste of what it would be like to be a brother, a son. He liked it. He couldn’t wait to be known, not just as Bobby, but Bobby Kingsley. It was all miraculous, too good to be true. But if Bobby ever doubted the reality, he only had to touch the scar that signified the sacrifice and provision he had received.

It was exactly a year to the day of Wally’s accident – coincidentally – that papers were signed, and it was official – Bobby Kingsley, the newest , if not the youngest, Kingsley child. A bittersweet day, to be sure.

Mealtimes were always the best times at the Kingsleys, No better food could be served than what was prepared by Mrs. Kingsley, but it was more than food that made mealtimes special. Mealtimes were a time to laugh at the stories of the day, a time to look in each other’s eyes, a time when connection became the most real.

In the years following, as the family grew yet again, those family dinners bonded them ever closer. There was one more baby, a boy, to close out Mrs. Kingsley’s child-bearing years, followed by twin – yes, twin – girls, orphaned by a terrible east African civil war, now adopted into positive American civil bliss. Then the grandchildren began to arrive.

It was the empty place at the table that created the difficulty.

Of course, there was never any physically empty place at the Kingsley table. Space was too precious for that. The emptiness was felt, if not seen. No matter how many other Kingsley children and grandchildren made their place at the table, the emptiness was real and tangible. It was the place their brother should have occupied.

No one could explain why he rarely did.

In the days after his adoption, Bobby had quickly meshed into the fabric of Kingsley life. He enjoyed everything about it. Even discipline was administered with genuine compassion and charity. That’s what he loved most. They really cared.

That’s why it was only a little unusual when he started asking if he could spend the night back at the orphanage. Surely he just wanted to share the new attitude and sense of belonging he had discovered with some of the kids he left behind.

It wasn’t long before everyone realized that there must be more to it. Nights became weekends, that quickly became weeks. And each time he returned, Bobby acted less like a son, more like an orphan.

How could a twelve, now thirteen, then fourteen year old boy decide where he was going to live, who he would listen to? And why, having experienced the love, belonging and close-knit unity of a family, would he choose the cold loneliness of the orphanage?

The excuses were varied, if not predictable, until at last the excuses stopped being offered. Instead, there was silence. And the empty place at the table.

Every once in a while, their paths would cross, Bobby and one of the other Kingsleys, though the younger ones didn’t recognize him, and couldn’t know that the man with the prematurely graying hair and slight limp was one of their own. They might make the connection if they caught sight of him on the fringes of the annual family reunions, held – not by coincidence – on the anniversary of a very special day. Even Bobby wouldn’t miss that day.

But he would miss most everything else about being a Kingsley.

Married for over sixty years, sharing life, love, tragedy, loss, and great joy, it surprised few people who really knew them when Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley passed away within a few hours of each other.

At the reading of the will, the room was abounding with Kingsleys. Their family had grown quite large, and Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley had planned on generously blessing each family member at their passing.

Their testament mentioned each by name, from the youngest to the oldest. In most cases, there was included a favorite story about the family member, along with the qualities Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley had most admired. There were many tears, but many laughs as well. It was as if Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley were still there, with the rest of the family gathered at the old mealtime table.

It was almost incidental when the endowment of material possessions was finally mentioned. Almost. For nothing that they had known of the Kingsley patriarch’s generosity and financial acumen prepared them for what was to come.

They were rich. Each and every last one of them. From the youngest great-great-grandchild – for the record, Emma, born only three weeks before and, actually, the only great-great grandchild – to the oldest daughter, they had all become instant millionaires. Multi-millionaires, to be more precise, who, if they followed the advice handed down to them as well, would eventually approach billionaire status.

One name was conspicuously absent, a fact not lost on anyone that were present.
He stood near the back of the room, moving little, saying nothing. At the beginning of the evening he was hopeful, but not expectant. He hadn’t seen any family member, much less the parents, in the few months preceding their deaths, but the scar was still there, the one that reminded him of the first gift they had ever given him. He was hopeful for one more.

But as the night wore on, and the names were read, and everyone swam in the rich sea of family memories, it occurred to Bobby that perhaps he had already missed the real inheritance. When he finally heard his name, he couldn’t help but hold his breath.

“…and to Bobby. We still love you. You heard us say, there is always time to do what’s important. We were wrong, because now there is no time for us to know you as our son. We wish you had joined us for dinner. It was more than a meal.”

Illustration Post Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I will be posting a short story. It was an illustration that I originally wrote for the sermon last night. I am doing a series on the book of Numbers and last night we were in Numbers 9:1-14.

The illustration turned out to be quite long, turning into a short story, which I’ve decided to post here.

The basic idea I was trying to illustrate was this: what is it like when someone says, I like God, I just don’t like the church? Or, I’m a Christian, but I don’t have to go to church for that.

In Numbers 9, God makes it clear to the Israelites, if you don’t partake in Passover, you have no place in the congregation, and if you have no place in the congregation, you have no part in me.

Check back tomorrow.

Wasting Time Because the Days are Short

(I think I may have misquoted that verse.)

Anyway…it’s been a very busy 2 weeks, but I made it past tonight. Pastor was out of town, so I had the rare fill-in at the pulpit. (Part 8 of my series on the book of Numbers.)

So now I should be in bed, but I’m wasting time with this ridiculous game, which I first noticed on

It’s the CD Cover Art game, where you make a CD Cover for your imaginary band.

Here’s how it works:

1. Band Name – The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Album Title – The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. Album Cover Art – The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

The idea is to take those three elements and use Photoshop or some other graphics program to create “your band’s” Album cover.

I think I’ll be signing all my correspondence as “Don Nachbaur” from now on. (The original picture was of the Tulim Ruins. Who knew?)


Super Day

BUSY weekend. Here are some pictures from our annual All Church Picnic, the one that happens to always fall on the same day as some big football game. Of course, because of the picnic, we have to cancel the evening service.

Really. It’s the picnic’s fault.

But we always have a TON of people. The free hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts, and soda probably has something to do with that. And people bring a lot of other food, too.

I’m in at 6:30am – Jack, our breakfast chef, always beats me in – and I’m last out, about 5pm. It’s a long day, with a lot of work in between.

But everyone has a great time. Glad it’s over.

Picture #1: The guys wait to test their muscle.

Picture #2: Sam gives his “Of COURSE I’m going to hit the bell” look.

Picture #3: Pastor Pete, master of the fun.

Picture #4: Dalton is SO STRONG, he bends the handle! Or my iPhone doesn’t do action photography. One or the other.

Picture #5: Sam hits one out of the park. Or to the cat. Again. But not the bell. At least he was happy about it.

Bowling with Sam and Shae

Spent New Year’s Day at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, cheering for the Gators and Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow. Shae and I wore Tebow jerseys. Unfortunately, the Gators lost. We had a good time.

Shae as we wait to get in. You can see Sam sitting in the background

Sam was tired after staying up all night.

Actually, he was happy. He’s just serious about eating.

This is on the ramp on the way to our seats. Sam would make a new friend shortly after this picture.

Ashley Pounders and Shae.

From our seats, high in section 312.

The Gators on the field.

Fireworks were at eye level.

Apache flyover

My favorite picture and memory of the whole day