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Merry Christmas from the Mack Family!

You probably have already noticed how young the girls look in our Christmas photo this year.  We had decided over a year ago, that when Kathy’s mom passed away, we would honor her on our Christmas card, since Christmas was her favorite holiday, and many celebrations were spent with our family prior to her stroke in 2005.  Doris Mullen went home to be with her Savior on July 21.  She got to see all of Kathy and Cindy’s families before her final breath.  Amy and Wendy were at her side when she left us.  We are all blessed to have been able to call her Mom or Grandma.  She left an indelible mark on all of us, for which we will always be grateful.  We are even more blessed to know that we will see her again in eternity.

2013 Christmas Card: Prarie Christmas

Friday, December 20th, 2013
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The Making of a Masterpiece

Friday, December 28th, 2012
The Final ProductEvery year, we love to create clever themed Christmas cards to send to our friends and family.  Each year has been a bit of a challenge to create, but this year's card posed some unique problems.  Namely, the theme was of the four Mack girls posing in a gingerbread house in a winter wonderland.  The problem?  We now live in Santa Clarita where it doesn't snow...ever.

Behind the scenesSince 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" »

2012 Christmas Card: Gingerbread House

Thursday, December 20th, 2012
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Sing We Now A’Wassailing!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
The Fellowship of the RingThis past Christmas, The Fellowship of the Ring had the incredible privilege of performing in The Master's College 2011 Come Christmas Sing. Our quartet, which consisted of Lindsay Christoph, Wendy Mack, Amy Mack, and Morgan Ruthardt performed both outside as the audience was standing in line waiting to enter and inside during the concert. The theme of this year's concert was the 1920's, so during the prelude our quartet dressed in fur coats and top hats and stood in front of the building. We performed numerous four-in-hand pieces that Amy arranged for our group.

As part of a class project, Morgan Ruthardt and I edited a handbell piece arranged by Paul Ellsworth. We auditioned the piece and were accepted into the concert. We had a wonderful time being a part of Come Christmas Sing in this way and we are looking forward to hopefully doing it again in the future.

2011 Christmas Card: The Night Before Christmas

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
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2010 Christmas Card: Carol of the Bells

Sunday, December 19th, 2010
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Ringing in the Christmas season

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
This Christmas was full of music for Wendy and I as we performed with seven different groups over the holiday season.  All but one of the groups were in handbells - the most handbells groups we have ever been in at one time.  
Amy watches the conductor during a handbell performance
Through The Master's College handbell groups, we had the privilege of playing in the annual Come Christmas Sing concerts - a week long concert series put on by the college and featuring a wide variety of music and instruments.  We were also able to expand our musical abilities under the direction of Professor Claire Blackwell and enjoyed playing songs such as, "Angels We Have Heard on High", "The First Noel", "Joy to the World", and even a funky version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".

Continue Reading "Ringing in the Christmas season" »

What Child is This?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
This past semester, our handbell trio The Fellowship of the Ring  had the opportunity to perform in the prelude of The Master's College annual Come Christmas Sing Christmas Concerts.  We performed Wendy's and my arrangement of "What Child is This".

From left to right:  Wendy Mack,  Amy Mack, Morgan RuthardtThis particular song really stretched the three of us as we had to come up with creative ways to cover as many bells as possible while still making the piece look easy and sound good to the audience.  The song included everything from the very lowest bells (weighing nearly sixteen pounds apiece!)  to some of the highest and each of             us covered over an octave of bells.

Through this semester we have been able to expand our repertoire as well as enjoy practicing challenging pieces together.  This next semester we are looking forward to playing a Lord of the Rings medley (since our group is named after it) and to pulling off another fun song!

Bah Humbug!

Friday, July 30th, 2010
20100617 - Hand writing letterThumb.jpgDear Mr. Iger,

Why is there no Christmas store at Disneyland anymore?  It was charming when it was in the castle, but bigger and better stocked when moved to Mickey-Mouse-Santa-Gifts.jpgNew Orleans Square, it kind of got put back in Fantasyland, although it never seemed to be open when I was at the Park.  Other than a few odds and ends at World of Disney - there is nothing!!!  It can't be for lack of sales - I had to fight crowds and stand in line every time I shopped there.  Let's bring back the Christmas shop - what could be better than a combination of Christmas and Disney?

A Carol for Today

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Tonight, my three sisters and I sang at our local church for their annual Candlelight Christmas Eve Service.  The song we chose to sing was "A Carol for Today".  The song recounts the story of Christmas and asks us this challenging question:  "Can we like the shepherds and angels say... Glory to God on high"?  Christmas is not about Santa, presents, decorations, or even about visiting one's family.  It's about God's incredible love for us.  Love so strong that He was willing to come to earth as a baby to pay for our sins through his death and resurrection.  So we on this night - as we should every night - praise God and say "Glory to God on High!"

Merry Christmas from the Mack Sisters!

Emily, Amy, Wendy, and Kelly

2009 Christmas Card: Gifts under the tree

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

How Santa Gets Things Done in Time for Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
Have you ever wondered how Santa maintains perspective and control over everything that has his attention? I mean, with all of the letters, a toy shop to supervise, flight plans and air travel restrictions to deal with ... and the weather! It's enough to drive any normal person crazy.

I always thought Santa must have a secret to staying productive. Apparently, he does.
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2006 Christmas Card: The Girls Visit Santa

Friday, December 1st, 2006
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2005 Christmas Card: The Angels Choir

Thursday, December 1st, 2005
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2004 Christmas Card: Children at the Toy Shop

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004
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Santacam 2003

Thursday, December 25th, 2003
Mack Family News Network

We Got Him!

The Mack family department of homeland security is pleased to report that it now has photographic evidence of Santa's visit on Christmas Eve.  The Mack children are ecstatic to have photos of Santa, captured during his brief visit to deliver presents.

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A total of five of internet-enabled webcams were set up in the living room and automatic capture software was used to record images at brief intervals.  Web visitors were able to select any of the 5 cameras and view them from their web browser.  This morning, after a review of many of the thousands of images captured last night, Investigators Amy & Wendy Mack (age 11) shared the photos with their sisters.

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Amy and Wendy have tried on two previous occasions to capture pictures of Santa. On their first attempt to capture Santa, several years ago, Santa was captured briefly on tape as he munched on cookies and milk and unloaded presents near the tree. On their second attempt, no images were captured, as the camera mysteriously tipped over sometime before Santa's arrival.

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"This is the most successful capture of images ever," said Amy Mack.  "It's just great!" says Kelly Marie, Age 4.  Emily Danielle, age 6, when asked what she thought of Santa, reported "He's nice."

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Advent 2003

Thursday, November 27th, 2003
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Greetings!  2003 has been a very busy year, with ups and downs, but always full of lots of love.  
We are grateful for all of the blessings God has given us. Here are some highlights to share with you.
Please enjoy our web site.

Grace to You!
Eric, Kathy, Wendy, Amy, Emily & Kelly

2002 Christmas Greeting

Friday, December 20th, 2002
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Our littlest angel, Kelly

We have truly been blessed by the opportunities that we have been given this year; we have had a full plate almost every week in school and at home and Eric and Kathy have been very involved with the girls in their activities.

This year, we actually managed to get our house decorated for the holidays before Thanksgiving!  The girls have all enjoyed helping to decorate and enjoy the festivities.

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Our Christmas Musical

Our homeschool drama group presented its musical this month.  Kathy ran the sound system and Eric recorded the event on video.  In the play, Wendy played a reporter, Amy a palace servant to King Herod, Emily was Mary and Kelly was a little angel.  (She still runs around the house singing "Angels We Have Heard on High" every day!)  The production went very well and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved.

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Mommy mans the sound booth

As we shared at the beginning of this letter, this year has been a challenge financially as Eric's business has been severely affected by the post 9/11 economy.  While it has been stressful and even nerve racking at times, God has been faithful to provide for us and to help us keep our roof over our heads, and the bills paid; but it has been very difficult.  We are grateful for the key clients that Eric still serves on a regular basis.

While Eric receives many client referrals; fewer businesses are able to make the investment in his services at this time. We hope that next year, we will see a recovery in the economy and in business in general.

The details we have shared above tell of some of the highlights of our activities and events this year, but not of the truly important things that we have experienced.  We have felt God's presence in our lives so very strongly.   He has helped us build a strong marriage over the years; one that could truly be celebrated and enjoyed this past year.  He has given us good health - most of Eric's health problems from past years have been absent this year.  God has given us a family that loves each other deeply, enjoys encouraging each other, and truly relishes being together.

Our faith has been challenged and we have grown a lot this year as we learn to rely on God, rather than ourselves.

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Christmas 2002

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, we pray that you have the peace of knowing our Lord.  May your Christmas be a joyous blessing of His love.

p.s. As I conclude this letter, it is 2:00 am, there is 4" of snow on the ground, the gingerbread is almost ready to pull out of the oven, and the kids will be awake in  5 1/2 hours. Tomorrow is another day.

Since I not employed outside of the home, many have asked "what does a homeschool mom do with all of her free time?"  

Now you know. :-)

2002 Christmas Card: At home by the tree

Sunday, December 1st, 2002
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Getting ready for the Christmas season

Saturday, November 30th, 2002
Amy and Wendy took communion for the first time this month.  What a joy, as a parent, to participate in such a holy event with our daughters.

Many of you may remember, about 6 years ago, our Christmas card picture showed Amy as an angel, Wendy as Mary, and cousin Steven as Joseph, in a manger setting.  We were honored this year when our friend, Pastor Frank Riley, asked if they could use that picture in a local newspaper ad to let the public know of their church's Christmas schedule.  It has been one of our favorite pictures.  (You can see the original in the "Christmas Card Section of our web site)

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Away in a manger...

Our LEGO team had a busy month.  They appeared on the front page of our local newspaper, and participated in a scrimmage at CSUN.  Kathy, Emily, and Kelly attended, as well, to cheer the team on.

Our drama group gathered together to begin practicing for our annual Christmas show.  This year our director bravely chose a Christmas musical.  Many of us were quite surprised at the talent these young children have!

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Wendy & Amy, serving at the Angel breakfast

Thanksgiving was spent with Eric's family.  On Thanksgiving Day, we gathered at our home, and the following day at Eric's sister's home.  It was great to see all of our family and extended family.

Kicking off the Advent Season

Friday, November 22nd, 2002
The day after Thanksgiving, we attended an Advent celebration at our church where we made a beautiful Advent wreath to take home.

The Mack family would like to wish you a
Blessed Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!  
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Grace to You!   Eric, Kathy, Wendy, Amy, Emily & Kelly

Christmas Tree Cam goes live

Monday, December 24th, 2001
This afternoon, the girls and I set up a webcam in the living room so that we can share our Christmas tree with you.

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Our Christmas Tree as of 12/24/01 4:30 PM

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Posing for one last photo as of 12/24/01 8:50 PM

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Christmas Morning 12/25/01 7:55 AM

The Night Before Christmas

Monday, December 24th, 2001
Wendy decided to record the classic story, "The Night Before Christmas" to share with the family.

Songs of Christmas 2001

Sunday, December 16th, 2001
This afternoon, our family decided to put together a CD of some of our favorite Christmas Songs. There's even a surprise patriotic song from little Kelly Marie, age two. We asked her to sing "Away in a Manger" and she launched into the full version of "God Bless America."

With songbooks in hand we sat down around the table and recorded the songs for the CD. It's not very fancy - just songs from the heart. We had a lot of fun making the CD between takes, double takes, and outtakes.

Here's what we recorded on the CD:

Introduction (Eric)
Joy To The World (Emily, Wendy, Amy)
Away In A Manger (Kelly & Mommy)
Away In A Manger (Kelly)
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Amy)
Angels We Have Heard On High (Eric & Kathy)
Jingle Bells (Kelly, Emily, Amy, Wendy)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Amy, Wendy, Daddy)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Wendy, Amy, Daddy)
Oh Come All Ye Faithful (Emily, Amy, Wendy)
Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem (Wendy & Amy)
The First Noel (Wendy & Amy)
We Three Kings (Wendy, Amy, Daddy)
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Amy & Wendy)
Silent Night Holy Night (Emily, Amy, Wendy)
Twas The Night Before Christmas (Read by Wendy)
Closing (The Mack Family & Lassie)
God Bless America (Surprise song by Kelly Marie, Age 2)
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Santa caught on video, delivering presents

Saturday, January 1st, 2000
Simply put, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In our home, that is first and foremost. But the Macks, who enjoy a bit of whimsy and tradition, clean out the chimney every year and set out the cookies and egg nog to welcome Santa. This Christmas, Amy and Wendy asked Daddy to take our webcam and point it at our Christmas tree. We set the webcam to snap a picture every five minutes from 8:00 pm on December 24th to 10:00 am on Christmas Day, December 25th.  

02:08 AM, December 25, 1999: that spry old elf was caught in the act!
Our webcam, which we set up to catch Santa, has been taking pictures of our living room and Christmas tree every five minutes throughout the night. This morning, we logged in and found that we had captured Santa in two of the many frames snapped during the night.

SantaCam  12/25/99  02:03:16 AM
SantaCam  12/25/99  02:03:16 AM

SantaCam  12/25/99  02:08:34 AM
SantaCam  12/25/99  02:08:34 AM

SantaCam  12/25/99  02:13:11 AM
SantaCam  12/25/99  02:13:11 AM

SantaCam  12/25/99  02:18:33 AM
SantaCam  12/25/99  02:18:33 AM

We love you Santa!  Thank you for the presents, we hope to "see" you next year!

1999 Christmas Card: The Mack Sisters & Lassie

Wednesday, December 1st, 1999
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1998 Christmas Card: Let it snow!

Tuesday, December 1st, 1998
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1997 Christmas Card: Santa’s Workshop

Monday, December 1st, 1997
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1995 Christmas Card: The Nativity

Friday, December 1st, 1995
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1993 Christmas Card: Our first visit to Santa

Wednesday, December 1st, 1993
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