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Art Monk finally enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- To God be the glory

Note: This blog post is from 2008. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I try not to have too many non-technical entries here, but just as I like to share thoughts that may offer new ways of looking at technical problems, I want to offer a similar twist on conventional wisdom, this time with respect to the long delay in Redskin Art Monk finally being enshrined in the Pro Football hall of fame. Why did it take so long? Maybe it wasn't the man-centered delay that it may at first seem (a delay that was hard to take for a life-long 'Skins fan like myself). Let me explain how he regarded it.

The long wait, it had become epic in some minds

First some context: if you watched the inductions last night, you may have noticed comments before and even subtle references in his speech to how his snub for so many years was becoming the stuff of legend.

In fact, to get a clearer sense of the delay and the surprise to many, there's a site that was devoted to making the case for his induction, not so much presenting his career as showing all the many references over the years from many hall of famers who just assumed that Monk would make the Hall of Fame.

Reading that, you're naturally left scratching your head, wondering "why the long wait?" Some will assert various reasons, from his "being so quiet", to some voters feeling justified because of his numbers not impressing them, etc.

But perhaps there's a different explanation that's not been considered by many. Surely some appreciated it. While many may have been moved by his eloquent speech and the 4-minute standing ovation that started it, others will have noted and appreciated his frequent references to his faith in Christ, his heartfelt appreciation for the teammates who first shared the gospel with him, and most to the point here, his acknowledgement of God's being the reason for his success.

But as Art himself said, "what I've tried to convey to those who were upset about the process was that I was okay with it". Why? I'll let him speak for himself. You can read the complete transcript here, and I offer the most significant excerpts (related to this aspect of his speech) below.

So why the long wait? God's Providence

So here's a different take on why his induction may have been so delayed: God's providential hand. By holding back some of the voters, it made the whole matter take on a much more prominent place in the mind of the media, NFL, and fans paying attention.

Surely many were paying more attention to his speech to hear "what's he gonna say?" than may have bothered if he'd gotten in on the first or even first couple of ballots.

But what did they hear as his response to that long wait? Nothing salacious, bitter, nor even much for sound bytes.

Instead, he (and his son speaking just before him) praised God, representing Christ and Christians everywhere wonderfully and without reserve. In a world where Christians are so often lampooned and dismissed, it was a joy to see God glorified on such a national stage.

God orchestrates all things to His glory. I'm sure Art himself may see this eventually (if not already) as his "desert experience": painful in the moment, but with patience and faith, it all works out in the end, for "we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Soli Deo Gloria!

Excerpt from his son's speech

Here's the key related excerpt from his son's introductory speech, unedited here:

"Dad's greatness never came from his ability to play football, but it came because he wanted to be used by God for his glory, above all.

He realized and held onto the gifts and talents that God blessed him with. And the bible says to build your foundation on a rock. Solid rock. For when the storm comes, you will not shake or you will not be moved for your foundation is well built.

Dad built his foundation on the strongest rock of all and that was Jesus Christ.

And because of this he was able to weather many storms and stay consistently strong on the football field, at home, at church, and at work. And from his actions I have learned the following: I've learned that less is more. I've learned not only to become a man of success, but be a man of value; that my decisions should be guided by Christian principles.

It is not hard to make the right decision when you know your value and where you stand. Through the outcomes of hard work and dedication is success. That there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ.

That the reward for hard work is the opportunity to do more. Nobody gets anywhere in this world by just being content with where you are. And that my identity does not come from this world or what people say or write or think about you, but it comes from the one and only Jesus Christ.

So to answer the question, do you want to be like Art Monk when you grow up, my answer is I'd rather be like dad.

Dad, thank you for being the man of God, that God has called you to be and for raising me in the same."

Excerpts from Art's speech

And here are the key related excerpts from Art's speech:

"What I've tried to convey to those who were upset about the process was that I was okay with it. But in all due respect, that as great as this honor is, it's not what really defines who I am or the things that I've been able to accomplish in my life.

I'll always be known as a Redskin.

That's right. And even now as a Hall of Famer, the one thing I want to make very clear is that my identity and my security is found in the Lord. And what defines me and my validation comes in having accepted his son Jesus Christ as my personal savior. And what defines me is the word of God and it's the word of God that will continue to shape and mold me into the person that I know he's called me to be.

So I've learned a long time ago never to put my faith or trust in man, for man will always fail you. Man will always disappoint you. But the word of God says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. And he will never fail you.

And that is what I live by and what I stand on."

And later he would acknowledge those who shared the Gospel with him:

"I'm close with a lot of my former teammates that really helped me along the way. But there's one specific group that has become like family to me. There's Monte Coleman, there's Charles Mann, Darrell Green, there's Tim Johnson and Ken Coffey. Because they're the ones who not only took the time to share the gospel to me, but they also demonstrated it in their lives, which allowed me to receive the gospel for myself.

And this was a life changing experience for me. Their example showed me what it meant to love and serve and honor your wife and to be faithful to her and to be the right example for my children. I greatly appreciate God using them and putting them in my life. Thank you, guys."

But I'd like to conclude my excerpts with another section where he again gave God the glory:

"There's a scripture that I think about almost every day and I've come to personalize it to my life. It says: Lord who am I that you are mindful of me? And the Apostle Paul says think of what you were when you were called. Not many were wise by human standards. Not many were influential. Not many were born of noble birth. And when I look at my life and how I grew up, I certainly had none of those qualities or benefits.

But I understand and I know that I'm here not by in and of my own strength but it's by the grace and the power of God upon my life who I know gave me favor along the way and who provided opportunity and room for me to use my gifts.

So I am very grateful to receive this honor, and I can stand here before you and say, hey, look at me, look what I did. But if I'm going to boast, I'm going to boast today in the Lord, for it's because of him that I'm here and I give him thanks and glory and honor for all that he has done for me."

Amen to that.

If you would ask, what is "the gospel"?, there are various presentations online to learn more. Here's a well-done, reasonably brief yet complete one. Sadly, it can't be communicated in a single sentence, without doing injustice to the complete message. And it's in your interest to hear the complete message, which is indeed the Good News to those who hear and respond to it.

Mourning the tragic passing of Glenda Vigoreaux, trainer/speaker on CF and more

Note: This blog post is from 2008. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I'm sorry to break the news, but I've not seen anyone else blog about this. Some of you may have known Glenda Vigoreaux, a widely acclaimed trainer and speaker in the CF and broader Adobe world. Sadly, she was found dead in her Glendale AZ home earlier this week, of unnatural causes.

I'll have more on that in a moment, including more about her surprisingly storied past (entirely unrelated to training and speaking) that may be a surprise to some (it was for me).

But first I'd like to remember her as I knew her.

Glenda, the acclaimed trainer and speaker

Glenda was an Adobe Certified Master Instructor who had taught Adobe/Macromedia technologies starting in 1998, including ColdFusion, Dreamweaver, Captivate, Contribute, Acrobat Connect and Presenter. She was widely praised and received consistently high marks, working for Roundpeg in Arizona (since 2005) and who before that had been on her own as GVX Technology since 1996.

Glenda was an equally lauded and popular conference speaker, winning best speaker honors at Max 2004 and CFUnited 2005 (we tied that year). You can find a podcast of her 2006 talk on CF printing and Reporting as well as her CFUnited bio of that year. You can learn more of her professional history from her LinkedIn page. She was even a speaker on the ColdFusion Meetup in May 2005, when Steven Erat was hosting.

Suicide? Glenda?

The most tragic thing about the news is that her death has been ruled a suicide. I just can't fathom that. Besides the accolades above, anyone who knew her would say that she would seem one of the very last people in the world you could ever expect of being driven to that. In fact, if you look at the about page of her GVX site, you see that she had a clear passion for life, and for others.

Of course, I'd not talked to her in a couple of years, and naturally people's personal lives can often be masked by their public persona. Indeed there was much more to her background than many may have known (I didn't). I learned of her death today in an email from Steve Drucker (for which I'm so grateful). In it, he pointed to a news article (translated from Spanish).

The story reports that her husband found her with a gun at her side, with the "forensic and physical evidence...consistent with a self-inflicted shooting". I didn't know her husband, named there as Paul Hacker.

She came from a famed family, tragically notorious in Puerto Rico

But in that story (and with additional details found in sources mentioned later here), we learn that in fact Glenda came from a background of both notoriety and family tragedy. I never knew that hers was a celebrity family in Puerto Rico. Not only were her father and mother famous there as a TV producer and actress, respectively, but tragically, her father was brutally murdered and her mother convicted of it and jailed for 13 years. Apparently, all this was big news in Puerto Rico.

Indeed, the wikiepedia entry on her mother has even already been updated to reflect Glenda's death, and her death is listed as well in Wikipedia's 2008 deaths page with references to her notable family members, all this just 3 days later as I write. Again, clearly this was significant news to some people.

As further sad testament to the notoriety of all this, the news article above even says her house in Glendale and her family's in PR were both "full of paparazzi" (representing Puerto Rican press, I'd suppose).

I was almost tempted to doubt if we were talking about the same person, since these things all referred to her as Glendaly Vigoreaux Echevarría (the latter being her mother's famed last name). But then I found this memorial page which had that same "Glendaly" name but with happy pictures of her. Yep, that was the Glenda we knew.

A one-time TV star in Puerto Rico

The page goes on to offer still more about her family, their tragedy, and her life. It says that she herself had been a child TV star and later host, comedienne, and singer with her sister Vanesa on Puerto Rican TV shows.

That doesn't surprise me. She was certainly so full of life, which makes this all the more surprising.

R.I.P., Glenda

So today we remember the passing of a member of the CF community, a stellar trainer and speaker, mystified by the asserted cause of her death...while a segment of the celebrity gossip world instead regards it only as another tragedy for a notoriously troubled celebrity family. It just doesn't make sense.

She will be sorely missed.

Some personal trivia about the CFUnited location, Bethesda/Rockville

Note: This blog post is from 2006. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
In my last post, I referred to CFUnited as being in DC. I said that simply because most people don't know what you mean if you say Bethesda, Maryland. I do, because I was born there, 6/4/62, at Suburban Hospital on Old Georgetown Road just down the street a couple miles. :-)

That reminiscing got me thinking some thoughts that others might enjoy on the eve of CFUnited.

First, I'll say that I used to buy burgers at the "Gino's" that was near the spot where the conference hotel now stands. Here's a trivia question for my fellow long-time DC folks: do you know where Gino's (a burger chain now long gone) got it's name? I'm told it was Gino Marchetti from the Baltimore Colts. Wikipedia backs me up. :-)

Here's another: the large open air shopping center behind the hotel on Rockville Pike used to house a large Korvette's department store. Ever wonder about that name? I was told it was formed by some former KORean VETerans. :-)

I grew up skating at Congressional Roller Rink, which was also just up the road a mile (now long gone) in Rockville. It was the center of our lives for many of us, and a great, safe place to grow up. Well, we'd hop the train back and forth to either Rockville Mall or White Flint (which had just opened in the 70's), and I suppose that wasn't too safe. But we could find great old beer cans on the tracks--anyone else ever get into that collecting? Still have mine. I recently started a site to connect with others who may have skated/grown up at the rink, http://congressionalrollerrink.com. :-)

Moving forward a couple decades, those who have attended the Maryland CFUGs, where I used to speak often before moving to Atlanta, will know I've told the story that my ancestors farmed property just a mile away from the conference facility, across the street from where we used to hold the Maryland CFUGs on Parklawn Drive. In the 50's they sold the land and soon thereafter arose the big black Parklawn building.

One last bit of trivia, that few could answer: where and when was the first place I spoke to a CFUG audience? It wasn't the DC CFUG, run by FigLeaf, where I spoke often while I worked there in 1999-2000. It was the Maryland CFUG, back in Feb 1998. Sadly, the records of those early meetings are missing from the archives, but I have it at my old Systemanage site list of past presentations.

OK: one more piece of personal CFUnited trivia. Last year it was determined that only one person (other than Michael) had attended all the CFUnited events, back to when they were first called CFUN and held at the NIH facility. Um, guess who? :-)

If you have other fun CFUN/CFUnited memories or trivia, please do share.


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