Goodbye, Randy Pausch. Thanks for playing all your cards.

Randy Pausch died yesterday.

It was totally an expected event, as he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. He was 47-years-old, and leaves two small children and a loving wife. And it was his incredible gift to them that ended up inspiring the world.

If you have not heard Randy’s gift, you must –you absolutely must— give yourself the gift of watching. The gift was something college professors often called “The Last Lecture,” an old tradition of giving one final speech before retirement. That name took on an entirely new meaning when Randy delivered his on September 19, 2007.

You can watch it right here…

It’s a long view (more than an hour…) in that it’s a real college lecture.

But, trust me, it’s worth it. Sometime today, probably even this morning, it will very likely pass 4 million viewers.

Randy titled this lecture: “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”

Here’s the direct link.

Randy’s lecture was turned into a book, called “The Last Lecture.” There’s a great website here.

Near the end of the life, Randy liked to quote one of the lines from the Disney movie, “The Incredibles.” (In fact, the entire family dressed as the Incredibles last Halloween.)

The line is: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

Thank you, Randy, for not giving up, and instead for giving this incredible gift to your family and the world and embodying the true teacher. Thanks for playing every card.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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