Since giant gingerbread houses are in short supply at this time of year, we built our own out of wood and thick cardboard. We designed special candies for the front of the house out of tissue paper and colored cling wrap and spray painted the house to look more authentic. On a bright, windy day, the four of us carried the house into the backyard and posed in front of our palm tree (not very Christmassy, right?)
Continue Reading "The Making of a Masterpiece" »
My first semester in college has been a dream-come-true! I am a double major in Worship Music Ministries and Liberal Arts and it has been amazing to be able to focus on areas that I really love. I have just finished taking twenty units which has been intense but incredibly worth it. This first semester I mostly took general education classes and a few of the basic classes required for my major and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Continue Reading "Mack Family Update: First Semester Completed!" »
On Saturday, September 5, 1992 at 5:54 PM. and 5:55 PM. The Lord answered our prayers and brought us two very healthy identical twin girls.
Two years earlier, our Sunday school class did a series on Parenting Perfect Children. That's a pretty presumptuous tittle but the presenters of this class were half a dozen older couples who had already been through the trials of parenting and whose children were a testimony to their accomplishments.
Each Sunday, one couple shared from their perspective the things that had contributed to the well being of their family. One couple who spoke shared how they began to pray for their children before they were born. Not only that, they continued to pray regularly for their children's friends, and even their spouses to be - unknown at the time.
This lesson hit home. I have seen the power of prayer work miracles in my own life and in the lives of others who call upon the Lord. Kathy and I decided that we would begin to pray for a child even though we knew that the time would be far off. During these times in prayer together, we found that we both had a desire to have twins - something that we had each desired since our early days and yet never discussed between us. The Bible says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." PSALM 37:4. Believing this desire to be sincere, we decided to express these desires in our time of prayer.
Keep in mind that there are no twins in either of our families for at least 4-5 generations that we know of. The instances of “twinning” in normal conception are very low. They are hereditary or can be the result of advanced aged (38+) or fertility drugs taken at the time of conception. Neither of these were the case for us.
By the time of our second pre-natal visit to the doctor, Kathy's womb had already grown quite large. We shared with our doctor that we had been praying for twins and that we suspected that Kathy had twins. Our doctor suspected that we had miscalculated the date of conception. An ultrasound examination quickly resolved the issue - identical twins! Identical twins are NOT hereditary but are the result of one fertilized egg that splits during the early weeks. Our babies shared the same sac and a common placenta - which is extremely rare (1 in 30,000 births) and often very dangerous.
By Kathy's 5th month of pregnancy, she was approaching the size of a full term single birth! Our doctors became very concerned about the health of the twins. We began a routine of examinations which would bring us to the hospital once a week and 3 times a week in the last stages of pregnancy. Although the babies were expected to arrive a month short of their calculated due date of Labor Day (no pun intended), the babies held out until Saturday, September 5th.
Meanwhile Kathy kept growing and growing and growing ... Fortunately, the babies remained in good health and both remained in the head down position thus allowing us to plan for a normal childbirth.
Early Saturday morning, I took Kathy to the hospital. She immediately went into active labor. They brought in all of the equipment and staff and everything stopped. After several procedures and another 10 hours of difficult labor, the decision was made to perform an unscheduled C-section.
Twin births are already classified as high risk pregnancies. With a C-section now things really got hopping. The staff at St. Joseph's Medical Center were terrific. Within minutes, a medical team of 9 people were assembled and ready. Moments later, our two daughters, Baby A :7 lbs. 4 oz. and Baby B: 7 lbs. 2 oz. were born. Our prayers for healthy twins had been answered!
Their names are:
BABY A: Wendy Anne Mack
BABY B: Amy Elizabeth Mack
Born Saturday, September 5th at 5:54 & 5:55 PM.
Kathy is greatly relieved to no longer be carrying such large babies. The hospital staff was also quite amazed at their healthy size - apparently uncommon in identical twins. Identical they are. I can't yet tell them apart. If I don't return one baby to the same crib from which I took her - forget it, I'm lost!
Kathy and the girls will remain at the hospital for the next few days. Then the real excitement begins.
Kathy and I want to thank you for your friendship, your encouragement, and your support.
Eric (Proud Papa), Kathy, Wendy, and Amy
Amy and Wendy, I'll never forget the moment you made me a mom - a role I have and always will cherish. I don't deserve to have such wonderful daughters like you two, but I'm thrilled that I do! I've loved every moment of it - pushing you around downtown Burbank in your twin stroller, sitting on the couch at the condo reading to you, and all of the "bonding" moments in Pine Mountain. You have become incredible godly women, and I am proud of both of you! Happy Birthday my precious ones!
The Orange Country register just reported that Disney attendance has dropped 4% for the spring/summer season this year. That's normally Disneyland's busiest time, isn't it?
Why do you think attendance has dropped?
Perhaps it is because the average family's expendable income cannot keep up with your constant raising of the price of the park admission.
When Southern California annual passes were $99, our family of six bought them, and drove the 125 miles each way to go to Disneyland almost weekly. Since we felt we were getting a "deal" we spent money on meals, snacks and souvenirs. Now, they are $239 each - over twice as much! There is no way our family can afford that much in passes, gasoline, parking, AND food to go to Disneyland.
Perhaps you should consult the folks over at Knotts Berry Farm. When they lowered their annual pass prices last year, people flocked to them in droves.
While initially, one would expect the current recession to have an adverse effect on the average family, I have found that my family has grown more creative, closer in our relationships, and wiser in our decisions as a result.
I've heard of studies that claim that television and video games “reduce” creativity and I believe that there may be some truth to that. Several years ago, in order to better manage what we consumed, my parents made the decision to get rid of our cable television. We still had videos to watch, but the television was on far less frequently than when we had cable. Suddenly, my sisters and I found ourselves with abundant time on our hands. We all read more and began to discover interests or talents that we otherwise might not have known we possessed. Although I did not enjoy the home economics course I took in high school, I realized that once I had the freedom to experiment, I loved cooking and baking. I also learned how to knit and have enjoyed making sweaters and scarves for family and friends. We encouraged friends to get rid of their cable subscription and they, too, have found themselves being more creative.
Continue Reading "Recession: A Blessing in Disguise?" »
A magi named Artaban leaves his home and sells everything he has to go look for the Messiah. All the other magi taunted him for his decision. A reluctant servant accompanied Artaban only for a reward of his (the servant's) freedom. Artaban brings three gifts for Jesus; a ruby, a sapphire, and a pearl. Along the way, he stops and helps needy people and gives the gifts away to provide for them. He got sidetracked, and for 33 years, Artaban lived with a colony of outcasts and lepers using his medical skills and farming abilities to help them. Artaban learned that Jesus was in Jerusalem and set out to meet him. Many troubles prevented him from seeing Jesus before the crucifixion. Before Artaban’s death, Jesus rewarded his faithful servant, Artaban, with his heart’s desire.
My dad gave my sisters and me a challenge of how many verses from the Bible we could find to support this movie. He said if we found enough verses, we could earn the new Nancy Drew computer game for the four of us to play together. My dad also said that if we write a blog post about it, we could earn another game. These are the verses and the reasons why that we found:
John 3:16- For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him will never perish but have eternal life. –Answers why Jesus came.
Isaiah 9:6- For unto us a child is born. Unto us a Son is given and the government will be upon His shoulders and His name will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. –The prophecy that Jesus was Born.
Matthew 11:5- The Blind receive sight, the Lame walk, those who have leprosy are healed, the deaf her, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor. –Blind man received his sight
Continue Reading "Are You Wise?" »
She wanted to show us what her chicken will do in the fair. Julie inspected it, so that the judges would know if it is a healthy bird
One of her requirements was to dress up her chicken. Julie decided to dress her chicken up as Minnie Mouse. She has an old Minnie doll dress for her chicken, felt arms with little white gloves. She also hollowed out a Minnie Mouse antenna ball for the ears. The funniest thing was that as soon as the dress was put on the chicken, it pulled its head out - looking like a chicken with its head cut off. When the chicken tried to walk in the dress it would wobble, and turn somersaults across the table. Oh well, at least it has time to get used to the dress!
I am very impressed with my cousin’s creativity!
Well, nothing puts a bee in my bonnet faster than such a ridiculous comment.
Before I go further, I do understand there are single moms who have to work - they have been dealt a tough role - but that is where families and churches need to step up to the plate to help these moms as much as possible, so that she can spend as much time as possible raising her children. Please note, I am not advocating welfare - but time and compassion. Kudos to dads who are raising the children. We need to reach out to you, as well.
BUT...we live in a society where most people feel they DESERVE to have the things they WANT (note, I did not say the things they NEED). In Santa Clarita alone - there are more nail salons than Starbucks (and there are quite a few Starbucks!). I cannot begin to tell you how ridiculous it is to spend $4 on a cup of coffee and a great deal more to have your fingernails and TOENAILS painted. But we deserve it don't we?
Continue Reading "Mom Vs. Day Care" »
The girls and I were extraordinarily blessed this past week to attend Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita. I certainly had a life-changing week.
Wendy and I shared a sixth grade classroom of 19 girls - in which Kelly was a student. Emily led a table of first graders, and Amy sang and played the keyboard for Outdoor Music.
When the children arrived each morning, we attended a 35 minute assembly of music, drama, and information on the missionary that we were supporting. The contest between the boys and girls was held each day to see who could donate the most money to our missionary, Ashley Ruffner, who works at a school in Ecuador. The over $19,000 the students brought in will go to supply sports equipment, VBS materials, Bibles, and some new sound equipment to the school. The donation also paid for a plane ticket home, so Ashley could see her father who had become ill and needed surgery. Ashley was able to join us at the assemblies on Thursday and Friday.
After the assembly, our group went to our classroom (which our family had a blast decorating with rain forest themed decorations!) for craft time, then outside for some wet recreation time. After a quick snack (some of those 16,000 cookies), we headed in for a message from one of our pastors or a drama group. After that, we headed back to our room for our table time.
Continue Reading "Soil, Sheep, and a Rainforest?" »
The awards ceremony was held at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita. Wendy was the first of three students to speak. She shared what the various stages of Awana meant to her spiritual growth and development. Amy delighted all by playing the piano before and during the ceremony, including two of her own compositions.
Continue Reading "Amy and Wendy Earn the Awana Citation Award!" »
Emily had a blast this year making a DVD of the year's accomplishments (including her participation on the Bible quizzing team, and the game team). The video was presented at the awards ceremony, and the audience enjoyed it tremendously. She's already thinking ahead to making a video for next year.
Way to go Em!
For as long as I can remember, my dad has made it clear that the family is important to him. Dad chose to work at home so that he can spend more time with the family. He welcomes us at all times of the day to show him a craft or a test grade and he works hard to make sure that we don't feel like a nuisance but that we understand that he values our attention.
God has given my dad a passion for teaching. Everything is a lesson, and it is rare that I walk away from a conversation without learning something. A couple of days ago, while setting up a pantograph for my mom, he was excitedly explaining to Kelly and me the device's historical use by President Thomas Jefferson. Family dinners are so much fun - especially now as Amy and I are approaching voting age. We are often discussing or debating something, whether it be our stand on a political issue, or a historical fact, or how our government works. Dad encourages us to pay attention in school by eagerly listening to anything we share - especially about history or physics. It is not uncommon that we find ourselves the teachers and our parents the students! Earlier as he was helping me with some technical aspects of a blog post - he took some time to teach me how to understand some of the code that he was entering. Dad also practices what he preaches. He not only tells us how important education is but he proved it to us by going back to get both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree!
Continue Reading "A Tribute to My Dad" »
Mom’s days are spent serving others, with little time reserved for herself. It is very rare that one can wake up before her as she is up preparing food for the day or working on accounting. I have often woken up to the aromas of fresh muffins, bacon, and eggs with the realization that she woke up early just to make a “family breakfast”. This morning, she woke up at 6:30 to do the laundry so that we had clean clothes to wear - all after going to bed at 1:00!
Continue Reading "A tribute to my mom" »
Here are Some Resources for Terrific Audio Books/Stories
Nothing can top "Adventures in Odyssey"
This company has an incredible inventory
Christian Book Distributors offers these:
In addition to "Adventures in Odyssey", here are some of our very favorites:
Peter and the Starcatchers
Continue Reading "Incredible Audio Books!" »
Many years ago, my husband and I pulled the plug on our television. I must admit, I was initially devastated with this decision. Looking back, I really only watched a few things - I enjoyed the Home and Gardening network, Vault Disney (Disney classics), and TV Land. I was becoming quite dismayed with TV Land, and had to stop allowing my children to watch classic TV shows because they would often broadcast inappropriate commercials, or worse yet, promos for their Showtime movies. These movie promos blatantly offered more information than my little girls needed to know.
Continue Reading "Pull the plug on TV, improve your family, and save $600 (or more) per year" »
1. A Spiritual compass
2. A Biblical self-image
3. Physical affection
4. Roots and wings
5. Marital harmony
6. A positive attitude
7. Purposeful discipline
8. A good role-model
9. A passion for life
What would YOU add to this list?
On the first 5 minutes of the VHS tape there is a music video by Michael Jackson and a commercial for the "Save the Whales Foundation."
Let me get this straight:
In the commercial, the Save the Whales foundation is sponsored by BumbleBee Tuna?
Sounds fishy to me.
We recently attended the Awana year-end celebration. Part of the activities include recognition of each child's accomplishments.
Emily (11) earned her Timothy Award through the Awana Bible club program. She has been a part of Awana since she was 3. To earn this award, Emily spent the last four years memorizing 438 Bible verses! Emily also participated in Awana Bible Quizzing this year, and her team earned a second place ribbon.
Kelly (9) earned the Awana Bible club Excellence Award. Like her sister, she has participated in the Awana program since age 3. Kelly spent the last two years memorizing 190 Bible verses. She also represented our church at the Awana Games tournament, earning a third place ribbon, and at the Awana Bible Quizzing event, where she took home a first place medal.
Next year, Amy & Wendy will earn their Citation awards for their accomplishments, including memorization and reference of almost 800 verses.
The Awana program has spent the last 60 years helping churches and parents raise children and youth to know, love, and serve Christ. It does this by teaching them to hide God's Word in their heart (Psalm 119:11) - by memorizing the Scriptures and by study, Q&A, and games. Each week more than 1 million children and youth, and 250,000 volunteers participate in Awana in over 17,000 U.S. churches, and in over 100 countries.
I am thankful for the Awana program which helps parents teach their children to hid God's Word in their hearts. The Bible teaches us that God's Word does not return void. No doubt, this knowledge will serve them well throughout their lifetime.
We did see 24" Catfish swimming around, but it was not the least bit interested in our measly worm. Perhaps another day...
The laughter level was higher than usual - perhaps too much to stay focused. As principal, I decided to step in to see what the commotion was all about...
It seems that Kelly had discovered the face-distorting potential of her magnifying ruler...
Continue Reading "Making faces in class" »
My wife, Kathy, is a life-long Disney fan and we love to spend time at the park. A friend of hers arranged for this dedication.
Via: Sun 7 News (Click on the link below)
November 10, 2008
As a stockholder of the Disney Company (that means I own two shares of the Disney Company), I think we should:
Bring back Disney magazines
Lower prices on things
Have Santa visit
Put cotton candy in the candy store
Make Fantasmic a little less violent
Under the huge Christmas tree, put a stable with Mary, Jesus, and Joseph
Bring back submarines and the Country Bear Jamboree
No response yet, but I look forward to seeing how they respond to this young stockholder.
Recently, Michael posted a beautiful piece on the impact of the market's downward slide. He proposes that we can have two responses: we can focus on what we have lost or on what we have. Michael's started a list of some of the things most important to him:
...I also realized that I have a choice: I can focus on what I have lost or I can focus on what I have. I started making a mental list:Michael is blessed. As I read through his list, it reminded me of just how blessed I am, too. With the exception of bullet point #3 * , I could have written the same list. It fits me perfectly.
- I have my health.
- I have a loving wife, who is also my best friend.
- I have five wonderful daughters, two sons-in-law and (so far) two beautiful grandchildren.
- I have several profound friendships that encourage and challenge me.
- I have meaningful work that I would do even if I wasn’t getting paid.
- I have incredibly competent co-workers whom I truly love and respect.
- I have a church that grows dearer to me with each passing year.
- I have a relationship with God that is endlessly fascinating and fulfilling.
We have so much to be thankful for.
I encourage you to read the full blog post: The Wealth Wall Street Can’t Touch
* I have only four daughters, none are married yet. That's a good thing. Daddy's not quite ready for that yet. :-o
Today, for the 19th time, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.
(An alternate title could have been: "One more reason not to visit your sister in KL.")
Sept. 1, 2008
Dear Friends and Family,
Saturday morning marked our first encounter with leeches. Granted a 3-day weekend to celebrate Malaysia’s Independence Day, we were inspired to go for a hike in KL. Our task was to trek through the rain forest. Our reward would be a dip in the ponds above a local waterfall. The only challenge, beyond cardiovascular, was to avoid the teams of squishy tubular blood-sucking leeches that lined the trail.
It turns out that leeches are keen at sensing movement and are actually drawn to our carbon-dioxide rich exhalations. In the wettest parts of the trail, the leeches “stood” upright, dancing in our path…reaching towards us, desperately trying to throw themselves aboard our mud-soaked shoes. Once aboard, they would inch their way to softer territory. Sometimes, that meant they would climb up our legs. Often they would squirm their way between shoe and sock. Then, unbeknownst to us, they would gorge themselves on our nutrient-rich blood.
Continue Reading "Blood Sucking Leeches" »
This past weekend, our family went to see the movie "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl." Our two youngest daughters, ages 11 and 9 are big American Girl fans.
This is the first time this franchise has released a movie to the theaters. They have previously released videos straight to DVD. Several months ago, we watched the movie based on the "Molly" doll. The movie, set in the WWII era, was incredible. To borrow the colloquialism: We laughed, we cried. It was a well written and entertaining story that did more than entertain, it made the personal history of families who lived through WWII very real.
The "Kit" movie does the same thing with the Depression Era. For those of you who are uninitiated to the American Girl series, each doll represents a time in our nation's history - Josefina represents the early days of the southwest, what we in California call the "mission era"; Addy is a slave girl from the time of the Civil War; Julie represents the 1970's, and so-on. The various series of books, that go along with each doll, don't necessarily teach history through dates and facts, but through the emotions of a family, and especially a little girl.
Continue Reading "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" »
In March, a dear aunt stepped forward to watch our children, and I headed with my husband to Santa Monica for David's RoadMap seminar.
The night before David's seminar, Eric told me about some of the questions that David would ask in the seminar. He asked me..."If tomorrow's RoadMap seminar were a wild success, what would that look like?" He wanted to know what I could walk away with that would make my life easier/better/organized, etc..
Continue Reading "GTD and the Ironing Board" »
As many of you know, our world changed dramatically at the beginning of August. While traveling with our family, my mother suffered a stroke. A CT scan in the emergency room revealed that she had a 9x4 inch cyst in her brain, and surgery was scheduled to remove that cyst and take the pressure off of her brain. The surgery went well, but Mom was in a coma for ten days. A frightening time, as you can imagine, as some told us she might never come out of that state. She did, and I believe God listened to the prayers of many.
Twenty-six days later, we took Mom back to her home town via ambulance and checked into a nursing and rehabilitation facility. Unfortunately, we were ignorant as to their lack of care, and Mom came down with pneumonia six days after arriving there. That night, when they wheeled her into the emergency room, my sister and I had to decide whether or not to stop life support. God gave us both a peace that we should keep fighting. Mom left that hospital two weeks later, and we transferred her to a different nursing facility.
Continue Reading "Update on Kathy's Mom (12/05/2005)" »
Kathy, as we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary for the 15th time, I took some time to reflect on my blessings from a biblical perspective:
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good not harm
all the days of her life.
- Proverbs 31:10-12
Continue Reading "The wife of noble character" »
These are not just ordinary ties. These are the ties that bind.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.
PS. This week's shaping up to be a busy week. Several blog entries, podcasts, and comment responses in the draft queue. I'll get to these soon.
The proposal was tricky. It involved short-term deception, an airplane, mystery, lots of roses, and many accomplices.
Fortunately, she said yes.
We've been through a lot together: better and worse, sickness and health, richer and poorer. Through it all, God has blessed our marriage. I've been faithful to her from day one and I will continue to be so. (She only has to share me with a robot, four daughters, and now, a Tablet PC. )
I am honored that she's my wife.
Perhaps I should see if she would agree to share the story?
I do miss the history channel, but not the commercials - it's just not worth it. I can buy or rent quality programs. I can also check them out from the library. Life is too short to fill my head much of the garbage that the networks and their sponsors want me to see. Even when we did have broadcast television in our home, there was so little that represented our values, that Kathy and I spent most of our viewing time previewing and screening shows and their commercials from our children. Even our favorite classics on Nick-at-Nite (were talking many years ago) were routinely punctuated by commercials unbecoming a responsible network. It seems that the networks (or their advertisers) see little value in programs that are not violent, degrading, or graphic in more ways than one. Well, I'm not watch'n it and I care too much about my children to let them watch television that won't show them what a functional home and marriage can be like.
Recently, we purchased the entire Little House on the Prairie series on DVD. I'd never seen this; I must have been too busy playing with computers. What a wonderful program -- and without commercials. Each week, we watch one episode with the children and then we talk about it. We've had a great time and we still have many seasons left to see.
Kathy and I have learned to be much more careful about what comes into our home and into our minds.
If you've not tried it, consider turning off your TV for a week. You may not miss it.
[Update: 12:20 PM: Due to popular request, I've uploaded a photo:]
Michael, you can get your very own, inside a box of Apple Jacks. Let me know if you can't buy AJ in NZ, and I'll send you one.
The Wiggles are Australia's best export in the world of children's entertainment. Are these friends of yours Richard?
Greg, Jeff, Anthony and Murray wiggle, giggle, sing and dance their way into children's hearts. Parents love them because their songs are about safety (how to cross the street), healthy eating habits (Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy), and excercise (Shaky Shaky Shaky).
Tonight, Kathy and I took the girls to see The Wiggles perform a live concert in Bakersfield. We were soon clapping, singing and dancing along with them (even our 12 year olds caught Wiggle fever - but don't tell their friends!).
According to their website, they are currently touring the west coast, up through Canada. If you want to experience pure childhood entertainment, without the crassness Hollywood has thrown into the movies and television shows, then I encourage you to catch the Wiggles in concert. You are never too old to have fun!
Emily set this goal for herself about 18 months ago, and took good care of her hair until it was long enough to donate. Each time Mommy brushed out the tangles we reminded ourselves that someone was going to enjoy having her beautiful hair.
It is no secret that Kathy and I are truly proud of our four daughters, and we take great joy in the delightful young ladies they are becoming.
Management Training for Children?Nik's question is an appropriate introduction for today's blog entry. I believe that Nik already has what it takes to teach his children, and in fact, he's already doing it.
As I continue to practice the methods of Getting Things Done, I'm reading of people being successful in teaching their children these methods. I'd love to see my children learning this, but question if I have the right words or practices to teach them.
One of the best ways that I know of to teach a child anything -- good or bad -- is simply to model it. Desirable behavior or not, they will copy what they see. I try to have my children see me in a variety of situations; one of them is dealing with clients. I will often allow one of my children to study or read in my office, just so that they can be with me, see what I do, and observe how I serve clients on the phone or even in a video conference. I never cease to be amazed and what they pick up without my even saying a word to them. It's a great lesson for them, and a good reminder for me.
This weekend, I had to take a brief trip to see a client a few hours away. I knew it would be a casual event, so I decided to invite one of my children to come along as my "helper." This time, it was Emily's turn. We had a great time, the client was friendly and gracious to her, and Emily and I got to spend several hours together in the car, just talking about stuff.
Equally, if not important to the things we discussed, were the things that she observed. I could lecture about principles at length, (been there, done that), but in the end, what is more likely to stick is what she has observed.
All dressed up and ready to go...
I consider myself blessed to be able to make a living doing what I do, and serving the people that I serve. I'm even more delighted to share this blessing with my kids. If you ever have the opportunity to invite your child to come to work with you, consider doing it. It will be a learning experience for both of you. Whether or not you are able to do this, know that your kids are watching your every move. They know what is real and what is not and they are quite perceptive. Next to knowing that God is watching, I cannot think of anything more humbling.
I am grateful to the Lord that He has given me the desire of my heart and that He has blessed me with a Proverbs 31 woman - a wife of noble character.
I am equally delighted that when I proposed to my kindergarten sweetheart, she agreed, because tonight, we get to watch that classic movie once again.
Thank you, Kathy, for being my wife. I'll always be your prince charming and I look forward to celebrating for many years to come.
(Disney fans, see if you can you spot the hidden Mickey)
During the rehearsals, Kelly walked so briskly that Kathy and I both encouraged her to walk more slowly. On the day of the wedding, Kelly did just that; she took her sweet time; so much so, that the wedding procession was almost done by the time she reached the altar, yet the bride was still in the aisle. (Oops.)
There was some concern that the bride and groom might not find their way out from the reception, so we added a pilot-car sign to Kelly's gown ...
The wedding went well, and my friend and his new bride did not stop beaming the whole time.
The only problem (for me) was that Wendy caught the bouquet ...
Application for permission to date my daughter
Thoughts on how to pay for a wedding
I love watching pirate movies. In fact, just last night, Kathy and I watched the Pirates of Tortuga. I have a large collection of pirate movies I like to watch, including, Pirates of the Caribbean, Crimson Pirate, and even the VeggieTales Pirates who don't do anything. I have no problem dressing up to play the part of a pirate, but I draw the line at a dancing pirate. (I have my professional image to maintain.)
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with The Wiggles, they are a group of entertainers from Australia, who for the past 13 years have been entertaining children, young and old[er], as they encourage them to eat their fruit salad, hot potatoes, cold spaghetti, mashed bananas, and crunchy munchy honey cakes.
The Wiggles are quite popular in our home, surpassed only by the VeggieTales. (That's another story!) If you have children under the age of 6 in your home, then you have an excuse to watch the wiggles. Highly recommended. Oh, thanks for the birthday greeting, Michael!
After you are gone, would someone who knew you well be able to say that during your lifetime you accomplished the things that were truly most important to you? How would they know?
Chances are that your children's children and perhaps even their children will know of you. Verbal family tradition, a personal journal, and even your blog, (if you had one), as an active journal of history, will help paint a more vivid picture of your life than perhaps you currently have of your grandparents. But, what will these say about you? What kind of legacy will you leave behind? What will your children be like?
A hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had, nor what my clothes were like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child. - Dr. Forest E. Witcraft
If you have spent any time perusing the archives of this site or my family web site, you know that beyond my work, or my current hobbies, such as robotics, or CNC, my family -- my wife and my children -- mean the world to me. Other than the spiritual element of life, it is my family that I live for. The primary reason that Kathy and I have chosen to home educate our children is more than just to be able to provide our children with a sound education: we want to provide them with a heritage, rich in the knowledge, skills, values, and faith that we consider most important for a successful life.
Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it. -- Proverbs 22:6
David Allen challenges us to focus on the "Successful Outcome." Stephen Covey tells us to "Begin with the end in mind." Whatever you call your process of long-term contemplation, I believe that you cannot truly be "on-purpose" in your daily life without a clearly defined objective and a strategy to get there. Without a road map (or compass), pointing me to my destination, how could I possibly hope to know how to evaluate the opportunities or tempting situations along the way? I could accept that CTO offer, I could, move to ..., I could pursue [fill in the blanks].
Many years ago, Kathy and I decided to sit down and map out the mission, vision, and purpose for our marriage and our family. Knowing that life can seem like a series of course corrections, we wanted to make sure that at least we were both heading for the same destination and that we were clear on how we expected to reach it. Using our 30th wedding anniversary as an initial milestone, we prayerfully wrote out our family mission statement; a picture of what we desired our family to be like 21 years into the future.
The legacy that Kathy and I hope to leave behind is our family mission -- not on paper, as I will share it, but a living testimony in the lives of our children. The true measure of our success as a family, will be in whether they choose to pass on this legacy in the lives of their children and if their children in turn, choose to do the same.
With a clear picture of our successful outcome in mind, we worked backward to the present and translated our family vision into measurable outcomes in specific areas of our life, and we committed to work towards each of these. From this family mission statement, I have developed my personal and business vision. When faced with difficult decisions, I have found great clarity in reviewing these. I wish I had had the maturity to have done something like this when I was much younger.
Having a clear sense of direction has given Kathy and me a clarity and unity in decision-making that we would not otherwise have had. It has influenced our decisions about everything -- where we live, our career choices, (even including which clients to serve), and how we play. We review it aloud regularly, and we now include our children in the process.
How will we do living out our family mission statement? Certainly better than we would do without one. Check back on this site in 15 or 20 years.
P.S. I would like to encourage you to develop your own family mission statement and to reflect upon it regularly. It will change your life. If you would like to see ours, you are welcome to view it here or on our family web site.
I'm very proud of my children -- not for any accomplishment on my part, but for the delightful young ladies that they are growing into. They are graceful, compassionate, kind, intelligent, caring, eloquent, and fun. Most of all, their love of the Lord can be seen in their countenance. As I thought about all of this, I realized that these are the very characteristics that had first attracted me to Kathy 15 years ago, and that through her example, these were now manifest in my children. What a fitting tribute to my wife on Mother's day.
I'm very honored to have Kathy as my wife and I count our daughters among the many blessings in our marriage. Thank you, Kathy. Happy Mother's day!
I wonder if it still fits... Now, I feel like watching Darby O'Gill
Unlike most of you, however, I did something about it... I proposed to her.
She said yes.
The trip to and from their party was a bit nerve-wracking, as we had to travel amidst the many Southern California fires. While we were in no danger, the smoke and ash made it a pretty uncomfortable trip.
When I was dating, I had several "trials" that the woman I would eventually marry would have to pass.
Separate from a long list of spiritual and family considerations which were key, and certainly most important, there were several light-hearted but valuable tests.
These included, in no particular order:
1. If we went on a formal date, did she wait for me to open the door for her, or did she do it herself? (Did she want to date a gentleman?)
2. How did she do on a date at The Magic Castle? (Could she behave with style and elegance in a formal setting?)
3. How did she do on a date to Medieval Times? (How well did she do eating messy food with her hands while knights jousted below)
4. How did do on a date sailing on my boat with only 20 minutes notice? (Could she have spontaneous fun or did she need 2 hours to apply make-up first?)
5. What did she think of eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese on a date? (The only kind in my book. This was a test to see if she could be satisfied with little and with much.)
6. How did she do with children? (Being a kindergarten teacher gave her an easy "Pass")
7. What did she think of the movies "The Princess Bride" and "The Count of Monte Cristo?" (Need I explain?)
Finally, was her father the kind of man who would allow me to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage? (He was and he said "yes." Then I asked Kathy and she said "yes." I'm glad that she did.)
Kathy was unaware of these trials at the time. However, she had a list of her own expectations which I was equally unaware of. I am happy to report that my wife passed all trials. Fortunately, I passed her long list too. (Going to Disneyland was just one item on her list)
While life has certainly thrown us many challenges in our marriage, finances, and family life, our faith has been the unifying factor.
All of the secular criteria above have helped to allow us to laugh and have fun together during these times.
The theme of "The Princess Bride" played a big part in the nonreligious part of our wedding and my bride really got into it. At our wedding rehearsal, our pastor opened the evening in a very serious tone, with the statement "Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethaw today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam..."
At our wedding prior to my entrance in the church, the organist played the traditional "Pachabel Canon" followed by the Disney classic love songs including "Once upon a dream." I entered the sanctuary during "Someday, my prince will come." When my bride came down the isle, my heart melted. It still does just thinking about it. The audience cheered when we kissed. A beautiful hand-blown glass sculpture depicting a Minnie and Mickey bride and groom graced the top of our wedding cake. The wedding ring which Kathy gave me, has the words "As you wish..." engraved inside the band.
For our honeymoon, we traveled to the South of France where we stayed in rented castles and palaces while we toured the chateaus of the Loire Valley. I took Kathy to the Chateau D'If off the coast of Marseille. We retraced the steps of young Edmond Dantes. But that is another story.
Emily, Kelly, Amy & Wendy hang out with Mickey's Brooms
Amy & Wendy put the finishing touches on their robot.
For the next four days, Kathy and her sister will be in Hollywood and then at the Universal Hilton, (Part of the Universal Studios complex) ,celebrating the unveiling of the latest star on the Hollywood walk of fame, dedicated to a leading entertainment family. The evenings will be filled with star-studded, white sequined jumpsuits, dinners, variety acts, possibly a surprise visit from Andy, and lots of home movies.
As for me, no such excitement. I get to stay home and really appreciate just how hard my wife works, day in and day out, tirelessly educating, cooking, and cleaning, and helping me with the business. She is truly an amazing woman. Perhaps I should nominate her to run for governor of California.
I miss her already, and it is only day one of four.
Elisabeth Vernand, one of the wonderful people I work with at The David Allen Company, invited our family over to see her miniature pony farm, Ojai Painted Minis.
The girls thought it was fun to play with full grown ponies that were shorter than they were. Kelly especially liked being bigger than something for a change. We had a lot of fun and it took the rest of the day to explain to the girls all of the reasons why we were not going to bring some home and let them live in our house. I did not have an answer to their question "But why do you let Lassie live in the house?" Thanks, Liz.
The fun part was that there was a raffle for a china doll. As soon as they started calling off the number, Emily started running to the stage, just sure she had won. Imagine her delight, when indeed, she was holding the winning ticket! She is now the proud owner of a china doll dressed in 1950's attire.
On our honeymoon, my wife and I stayed in rented castles in France. (Think bed and breakfast, only these happen to be castles where you can rent a room or a wing for the night).
Back to Dumas, I took my new bride to the Chateau D'If just so that I could show her the room where a young and innocent Edmond Dantes spent so many years of his life.
Of course, Kathy has a completely different take on the whole experience - that of having to suppress bodily function for hours, for lack of proper "Western" rest-room facilities on the island. I explained that the holes in the ground had been used for centuries and that they were authentic. She said that they looked and smelled authentic and managed to survive until we got off the boat in Marseille to more civilized facilities. She has no desire to return.
Looking at the clothes on their backs and the sandals on their feet, you might conclude that it was warm and sunny outside. Actually, it was 30 degrees at home, and we had to trek through deep snow to get out to the car. Fortunately, they did not get frostbite!
Wendy and Amy later participated in a skit with the Dapper Dans - Disneyland's barbershop quartet.