Back from a DIY marriage retreat

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
Kathy and I recently had our own 3 day marriage retreat in which we worked through "A Biblical Portrait of Marriage" by Dr. Bruce Wilkenson. Last year we celebrated our 50th year in marriage (for the 26th time) and over the years we have encountered our share of delights and challenges, sorrows and joys together. This was a powerful time for us as a couple to review and refresh our thinking and actions with what the Scriptures have to say about marriage. It was also helpful for us as we continue to raise our four daughters and equip them for the future.
A BIblical Portrait Of Marriage.gif
We were introduced to these materials many years ago in a small group study and then again a few years later when we were able to attend a live event. This time, however, we decided to buy the DVD and workbook and go through it at our own pace. This allowed us to skip past the topics we felt comfortable with and take more time on the topics as needed.

There are a few marriage resources that we have found helpful over the years and this one certainly deserves a top spot. We like to alternate between various resources, including the excellent Love & Respect conference series among others.

I cannot recommend highly enough the value of taking a few days away with your spouse to focus on your marriage. And for those who want to know what the Scriptures have to say about this topic, I can unreservedly recommend these materials.

Disclaimer: I have no connection to these materials and receive no compensation for my recommendation. I'm simply happy to recommend what works for me.
Tonight, Kathleen and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary for the 26th time... I love my my princess bride.


Thank you, Kathy, for being my wife.  I love you with all of my heart!
This Tuesday was the last day of school for Amy and Wendy. I drove them to their first day of nursery school almost 20 years ago . . .  

Twins first school day.jpg

. . . and this week I drove them to their last day of school.

The twins' last school day

I'm very proud of them and all that they have accomplished. It's been a privilege for Kathy and me to home school our daughters and watch them grow into the lovely women they have become. It's been a delight to watch them the past four years as they have grown and matured further at The Master's College. While this chapter of their academic studies has come to an end, I know that they are life-long learners and their education will never be complete.

26 years of piano have lead up to today

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Baby grand.jpg
26 years ago, I purchased this baby grand piano for the purpose of hacking it into a computer-controlled player grand piano. Before I could begin that project, however, I married the lovely Kathleen Mullen, who promptly put a stop to the notion of piano hacking, saying that we would need that piano someday for our children to play.

I'm glad I listened to Kathy, as all four of our daughters grew up plunking or playing that piano in one form or another. I believe that having that piano in the center of our home provided endless opportunity to satisfy musical curiosity and encourage musical skill in my children. I never tire of my daughters playing the piano, and I appreciate the special relationship that I have with Wendy as she will often play hymns or other songs to encourage me when I am in my office.

I am so very thankful for the many teachers who played a part in Wendy's musical education along the way. Each gave of themselves as they invested in Wendy and encouraged her along the way. Some even volunteered to do so. All made a tremendous impact on Wendy.

Tonight, we will celebrate the culmination of four years of study in Music as Wendy presents her senior piano recital. Soon, she'll graduate from The Master's College with a Bachelor of Music in worship music ministry and a Bachelor of Arts in music and communication. I am so proud of our Wendy, for her focus and determination and for the lovely woman she's become.

Wendy piano recital.jpg
Not pictured: about 120 people in the audience.

If I may brag for a moment...

Saturday, February 28th, 2015
The Light Princess premier small.jpg
That's Amy in the pink dress in front of the symphony orchestra last night. She's narrating George MacDonald's classic story of The Light Princess, which she adapted into a narrative performance accompanied by a complete orchestral score, all written by her.

She also designed and commissioned the paintings on the screens so they could be displayed while she presents this work. It was very well received, and 700-800 people attended the world premier of The Light Princess.

Not to brag, but Kathy and I obviously have the most talented and hard-working daughters in the world.

For more highlights from the concert, you can check out Amy's blog here.

And a couple more pictures for good measure:

Amy light princess headshot small.jpg

Amy light princess headshot FB.jpg
One of the personal projects that has taken quite a bit of my time lately has been helping our symphony orchestra prepare for their mid-winter family concert.

This year, the all of the music including the featured work, The Light Princess" was written by my daughter, Amy, who is a music composition major at The Master's College.

Amy has been working for years on the arrangements for this concert which is called "Tunes, Tales, and Truths." The concert will feature the World Premier of “The Light Princess,” an adaptation of George MacDonald's beloved fairy-tale into orchestral music and narration.

The concert will also include a sweeping suite of original music: pirate legends, great awakenings, swinging jazz, and powerful tales of redemption and new life.

T3 poster - painting with title text

See that painting above? That's an original painting -- one of 10 -- that Amy commissioned for the concert. Working with the artist, Jay Wegter, Amy designed the theme and sketch for each piece of art which Jay then masterfully painted. These will be presented on giant screens during the concert. After the concert, the original score and the 10 paintings will be available in the lobby for closer inspection.

Continue Reading "Of Tunes, Tales and Truths -- and The Light Princess" »
Last week I shared how Kathleen and I met and how we've been making music together for the past 25 years. Today is the anniversary of our engagement.

Kathy shares the story of our engagement as she experienced it:
I had just come through the worst graduate class created on the face of the earth - Anthrolopogical Linguistics. It was the last class I needed to have my clear teaching credential. I'll tell you what, I just did not understand that class. I could not figure out how one African tribe's dialect differed from another's, and why I should care. In 20 years of teaching, I've never needed any of that information. Oh well, that aside. I had just finished the final exam. That's the background information you need to know.

We had arranged to have dinner with a couple with whom we sang in choir. Their daughter was going to be in my kindergarten class the following school year, and they said they wanted to get to know me better. Janet said she would stop by and pick me up, and we would pick her husband up from work before meeting Eric at a restaurant for dinner.

Janet's husband, Steve, was a flight instructor out of Burbank airport. On the way to the airport, about three blocks away, Janet's car broke down - I later learned this was not part of the plan. We walked the rest of the way.

When we got inside the lobby, I told her I was going to find a phone and give Eric a call to tell him we would be late. As I walked across the lobby, I looked out the big picture window and saw Steve and Eric standing outside. I expressed my surprise, and Janet steered me out to where the plane was parked.

Eric pulled out a rose, and told me we were going on an airplane trip to celebrate the completion of my class.

Steve and Janet promptly put on their "Peter Pan" and "Tinkerbell" identification tags, and we were off.

We flew to Santa Barbara, and Steve took the plane to the end of the runway. There was a restaurant there, The Elephant Bar, and we were dropped off. Steve and Janet taxied away. Now I was really confused. Why were our friends, whom I thought were celebrating my class being over, going away?

We were taken to a corner table, where I was presented with another rose - by the way, did I mention that I received roses throughout the day? At work, and in my apartment. Well, the love of my life asked me to marry him, and I was shocked that he pulled off this surprise. I knew the proposal was coming - after all, he had already asked my father, and several times over the previous weeks he would say, "Now, IF I were to ask you to marry me, what would you say?" He really had me believing that it would happen the following weekend, though.

Of course, I accepted, and was given a beautiful engagement ring. The silly waiter snapped a picture of us, and himself, and we had a delightful dinner.

When we finished, Steve and Janet were waiting outside with yet another rose. Did I mention that I love red roses?

We then did something I always wanted to do, fly over the coast and Los Angeles. We even flew down to Long Beach and over the Queen Mary.

Now, along the way, we stopped at the Oxnard landing strip, and were greeted by Eric's friend, Rick. He toasted us, from his tailgate, with sparkling cider and another rose.

When we arrived back at Burbank, we were greeted by another friend from church, who presented me with another rose, and he drove us back to Eric's condo. There, we were set up with more sparkling cider, cheesecake, and more roses!

To say the least, I was absolutely blown away with the attention to detail and love that went into this. So many people worked together to help me feel special, and they did a fabulous job!

So, Eric, thank you for asking me to marry you 15 years ago today. The years have been full of the good and the bad, but I'd do it all over again to be with you. Love you lots!!!

Posted at 5/26/2005 8:57:14 AM by Kathy Mack

The next day, we celebrated our engagement by spending the day at Disneyland.
25 years ago I was pursuing a pretty girl in the choir. I'm still pursuing that pretty girl in the choir 25 years later.

Although we sang in the same choir, we never met until one night when half the singers were out sick and Peter Beers asked everyone to move to the center, which put me right next to this very pretty girl. I promptly introduced myself and struck up a brief conversation with Kathy (sorry Peter). She seemed nice, was very pretty, and appeared to be single -- all good signs for me. Thinking we could go out for a soda (remember when folks used to do that?), I politely asked her what she was doing after choir. She responded that she was going home to bake cookies for her children. Ouch! Next week, all the choir was healthy, so we moved back to opposite ends of the row. Needless to say, I didn't pursue her further at the time.

It turns out she really did have children -- wonderful children, more than 20 of them in fact! (What I didn't know was that she was a kindergarten teacher, and very nice, and very pretty and single.) Many months later I spoke with her again, and once we got that sorted out, I watched for her at rehearsal and on Sundays. Then, I asked her out again. But that's another story for another day.

3D Printer Father’s Day Pop-up Card

Sunday, June 16th, 2013
6-16-2013 3D Printer Father's Day Pop-up CardAll of my daughters delight in making hand made cards. Wendy especially likes to design and engineer hand made pop-up cards. This year, Wendy surprised me with a 3D Printer pop-up card to commemorate my homebuilt RepStrap 3D printer that has been sitting on our kitchen table for the past several months.

Click on the images to see the card and compare it to the actual printer.

6-16-2013 3D Printer Father's Day Pop-up Card - Daddy's RepStrap 6-16-2013 3D Printer Father's Day Pop-up Card Inside

Go Home and Love your Wife! (No excuses)

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Dr. Voddie Baucham discussing the Importance of Marriage...

Love is...

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Opening up the refrigerator to find a plate of freshly iced cookies from my daughter.

Thanks Kelly, you made daddy's day.

Love, Dad.

The Mack Sisters Handbell Debut at Bellfest 2010

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

This summer, Amy & Wendy decided to prepare a special piece to perform at the Master's College annual Bellfest and chose the song "O Holy Night". While they have been ringing bells for a long time, this was Emily and Kelly's first time to ring handbells and they were very eager to learn. The girls had a lot of fun practicing together and filling the house with music and were able to pull it off. It was amazing to see how quickly the piece came together and how smoothy it went.

After an audition, the girls were invited to perform in the Master's college Bellfest and everyone enjoyed it!

The girls enjoyed playing this song on the handbells and the four of them look forward to performing together again.

Andantino - The Fellowship of the Ring

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

This year, Amy & Wendy have the opportunity to experience small ensemble ringing through through a new group: The Fellowship of the Ring. They started this trio last year with their friend Morgan Ruthardt and enjoyed it so much that they decided to continue the ensemble this semester. At the beginning of the semester, the three of them made the decision that the trio would only play music that was either written or arranged by someone in the ensemble, allowing them the freedom to play whatever song they wanted in whatever way they chose to play it. Because all either music majors or music lovers, writing their own music has helped them grow in their musical abilities. It has also given them a better understanding of the pieces they are playing (how they work and fit together) as well as a lot of fun.

I've enjoyed watching this handbell ensemble and I look forward to their next performance.

Amy & Wendy, born September 5, 1992

You can read the full story here.
Because of where we live and the programs our children are involved in, we have two church families, one on the mountain and one off the hill. We have very dear friendships at both.

2010LindaAndRogerReece.jpgLast week, our pastor's wife passed away, leaving a heartbroken husband and congregation. Yesterday, our family attended the memorial service for Linda Reece, wife of Pastor Roger Reece. Linda and Roger came to serve at Pine Mountain Christian Community Church just three years ago and in a very short time they endeared the hearts of the congregation and the community. Evidence to this was the fact that the church had standing room only as people came to celebrate Linda's life and to show their encouragement to Roger and his children.

In the program, there was a poem by T.R. Buzzard, that sums up the Linda Reece we knew, loved and will miss until we see her again one day:
Our Pastor's Wife
In the shadow of the parsonage stands a figure of obscure.
Just behind the faithful pastor is his wife, devout and pure.
She is with him every moment helping make his work progress,
and you can't discount her portion in the measure of success.
Oft behind the scene of action, often never seen or heard,
yet she stands forever ready just to give a helping word.
It is not in active service that her worth is really shown,
but in the bearing heavy burdens that to others are unknown.
With encouragement and vision she must urge God's servant on,
when the shadows are the darkest and his courage's almost gone.
With her home forever open and her work quite never done,
she is ever his lieutenant in the battles fought and won.
       - T.R. Buzzard
The poem is a fitting tribute to Linda as were the many kind words shared by friends and family during the service.

Continue Reading "An awesome memorial service for Linda Reece" »

Dad, I’m watching you

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Do your words scream louder than your actions? If so, are your actions consistent with your words? That's something I try hard to keep in mind.

As a husband and father of four girls, I try to reflect Christ in my relationships with my wife, my children and others. I'm far from perfect but that's the model I've chosen to follow. As far as my children, I can preach all day long about what they should or should not do but, as this video shows, it's what they witness that will determine what they learn and who they become.

I was humbled to see my daughter's blog tribute this Father's Day. Clearly, things I did not think were important have impacted them. It's a sobering and welcome reminder that they are watching everything I do.

The Unpardonable Sin

Monday, May 10th, 2010
Each Sunday, our pastor provides two sets of sermon notes which the ushers hand out as we enter the church. The first is what you would might expect - a brief outline of the sermon and related scripture references. The second is for children and has a few multiple-choice questions, a family discussion topic, and room to doodle.

Yesterday, Kelly  brought me the her sermon notes and pointed out what my friend Michael Sampson has been telling me for years. (See image)

May 9, 2010 Kid's Sermon Notes. Topic: The Unpardonable Sin.

I'm a sinner.

Continue Reading "The Unpardonable Sin" »

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010
GBC Orchestra and Choir - Easter Celebration 2010

The Mack Family: Wendy, Eric (back), Kelly, Kathy, Emily, and Wendy (Front)

Grace and peace to you from the Mack family as you celebrate this Resurrection Sunday.

A Carol for Today

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

This evening, our local church held their annual Candelight Christmas Eve Celebration. Emily, Amy, Wendy, and Kelly sang "A Carol for Today."

It was beautiful. Wendy blogged about it, here.

Grace and Peace to you, this Christmas

Source: Wendy Mack: A Carol for Today

20th Celebration of our 50th Wedding Anniversary

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Kathy was my kindergarten crush, then she became my princess bride. I have been greatly blessed since.

Today, for the 20th time, Kathy and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We were married only 20 short years ago, but we learned that the 50th anniversary is such a special celebration that we now celebrate it each year.


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.

Thank you, Kathy, for being my wife.  I love you with all of my heart!
Our world is getting smaller.

Allan just pinged me on Skype. That's not unusual, we use Skype to stay connected. However, today, he Skyped me from somewhere over California. He's flying on Southwest Airline and using their new in-flight WiFi. A few minutes later my Skype phone rang and it was him.

This reminded me of a story from about 13 years ago. I used to commute to San Francisco from Burbank and I would call the house from the plane to tell my children to waive at the aircraft as it flew over (at 20,000'). One day, my twins wanted to talk to me, but Kathy told them that they would have to wait because I was on an airplane. They said something like, "No problem, Mommy, just call the airplane and tell the stewardess to put Daddy on the phone".

Now, they would not have to bother the stewardess; they could simply Skype me themselves.

Perhaps next time, Allan's in-flight, we'll have to try an in-Flight OneNote session.


Sunday, July 26th, 2009
This weekend, a friend shared a list of the top ten things a father can give his children.

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

10. ______________

What would YOU add to this list?

Watching Free Willy with my daughters

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
We've got Free Willy playing on the big screen.

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.
Emily receives her Awana Timothy awardKelly receives her Awana Excellence award
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.

Kelly’s first fish

Monday, May 18th, 2009
I spend far too much time in my office. Fortunately, I only have to step outside to enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Yesterday, I took the girls fishing at the lake down the street. Within minutes, Kelly had caught her first fish, an 11" Bass.  A wonderful day and a delight to see the smile on my daughter's face when she proudly displayed her catch!

Kelly catches her first fish at Fern's Lake, in Pine Mountain Club, CA

We did see 24" Catfish swimming around, but it was not the least bit interested in our measly worm. Perhaps another day...

Making faces in class

Friday, December 26th, 2008
My home office is connected to our conference room. When I'm not using it for meetings or client work, my wife uses it to conduct homeschool lessons for the children.

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...
Kelly and her magnifying glass in school

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)


Happy Birthday, Mickey!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Wow, 80 years old! It seems like just 20 years ago that the kindergartners of room 19 celebrated your birthday with Miss Mullen.
Miss Mullen and the kindergartners of room 19 wish Mickey a happy 60th birthday!

A stockholder letter to the Disney Corporation

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008
My daughter, Emily (11) wrote this letter to the Disney Company. I asked for permission to blog it. I think she touches on several very important points...

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

Emily Mack

No response yet, but I look forward to seeing how they respond to this young stockholder.

The Wealth Wall Street Can’t Touch

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
I always appreciate how my friend, Michael Hyatt, places things into perspective.

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:
  • 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.
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.

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
Kathy was my kindergarten crush, then she became my princess bride. I have been greatly blessed since.

Today, for the 19th time, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.

Blood Sucking Leeches

Thursday, September 4th, 2008
My sister Roxanne needs a blog, but since she's too busy hiking in the rain forests of Malaysia I offered to post her story here...
(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" »

It happened...

Saturday, July 26th, 2008
45th Birthday Cards

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
(Guest post by Kathleen Mack)
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.  
KitKittredgeAmericanGirl.jpgThis 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" »
Mother'sDayBible.jpgPastor Roger gave a fitting sermon for mother's day in church today. After the usual formalities, including reading Proverbs 31, extolling the virtues of  The Excellent Wife, Roger asked this question: How can a husband can honor the mother of his children'?

Research has been done that says that the most number of things we can remember is seven plus or minus one. Well, guys, let's start with two;. I want to take a look at two things we can do as husbands to love the mother of our children:

How can a husband honor the mother of his children'?

1. By recognizing his own God-ordained role in the family

Men, we have a responsibility to lead our family, to care for our family, and to protect it.  Too many of us fail to do this. It's more than a missed opportunity -- it's our responsibility.

2. By loving the mother of his children with sacrificial love

Men, we are called to love our wives as Christ loved the church. (Ephesians 5:25) Our children are watching what we do and how we treat their mother; they will learn more from what we DO than what we say. This will impact them and future generations (our grandchildren). Are you loving the mother of your children sacrificially?

Of course, there is much more that we can do, but I think these two points get to the core of our role and responsibility.  Still, there are so many areas in which I can improve. How are you doing with this?

I'm blessed to have a wife that is a living and godly example of an excellent wife to her children. She is my Proverbs 31 wife. (yes, including Prov 31:21). I hope and pray that my daughters will grow up to be like their mother.

Her children do call her blessed and she deserves my praise.

Happy Mother's Day, Kathy.


Thankful for many things, including Skype

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
This is my first time to miss Thanksgiving, ever. A bowl of rice noodles and food I like but cannot pronounce, no matter how delicious, is just not the same as a plate of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and gravy. (I'm getting hungry just typing that.)

20071124_ThanksgivingCards.jpgThanksgiving, however, is about more than food; it's an opportunity to thank the Lord for His loving kindness and provision for us, and that I can do from anywhere. I indeed have much to be thankful for: my family, friends, the opportunity to live and work in the United States of America, and for the freedom I enjoy.

20071124_ThanksgivingSkypeCallFromManila.jpgBut mostly, I'm thankful for my family, who love me very much as I do them. And, I'm thankful for the opportunity to be here, in Manila, to serve the people here. This morning (it's 4:20 AM local time) I enjoyed a wonderful Skype video call with my family as they were about to celebrate Thanksgiving at home.

Indeed, I have much to be thankful for, even Skype.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

GTD and the Ironing Board

Friday, May 5th, 2006
Well, you would think being the wife of David Allen's "Technology Guru", Eric Mack, that I would have attended countless GTD seminars over the years.  Due to child care restraints, it just never happened for me.

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" »
This year, Amy & Wendy had the opportunity to perform with a new handbell ensemble, Fusion:

- Fusion Bell Concert 2.jpg

Continue Reading "Fusion Handbell Ensemble: The Original Heavy Metal" »

Update on Kathy’s Mom (12/05/2005)

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005
Our family's been going through some amazing times as we deal with helping my mother-in-law recover from her stroke. We could not have made it this far without the prayers and assistance from friends and family. While I'm grateful for the assistance we've received, I'm most touched by the prayer support from many faithful people - many of whom I have never met. God is sustaining and strengthening not just Kathy's mom, but all of us. Here's an email Kathy sent me from the hospital to share.
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)" »

The wife of noble character

Friday, October 14th, 2005
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. - Proverbs 18:22

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" »

Will he really wear it?

Sunday, June 19th, 2005
For Father's Day, my daughers presented me with some really wild shirts and ties. Yes, ties. I've got one with hand prints all over it, one with pink stipes, some with vivid colors and still another with Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat. The shirts are equally unique. My daughters were not sure I would wear them; they were concerned that these might be too over-the-top for a professional to wear. Well, today, I proudly wore one of the new shirts and ties. Why not. My kids gave them to me in love, and I will think of them each time I put one on.

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.

My proposal to Kathy

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005
May 26th, marks the 15th anniversary of my proposal to the kindergarten teacher in room 19.

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?

The party’s begun!

Saturday, May 7th, 2005
For months, billboards around Southern California, have been building up the excitement and counting the days to the 50th birthday anniversary kick-off at Disneyland.


This week - in-between lots of client work, two final exams, and day-to-day life - I found time this week to whisk my wife away to the Magic Kingdom for the special event. Julie Andrews was a delightful hostess and every attraction in the park that was 50 years old, had a gold element to it. The entire park was decorated with plenty of hidden Mickeys to find all over the park. Many of the rides had a special element, created just for the celebration.

Kathy and I enjoyed the nighttime show at the castle. Tink no longer flies in a straight line one time. Instead, she interacts with the events from high above. (Think 30 years ago -- Wonderful World of Disney.) It's best to watch this from the central plaza, as there are now activities (i.e. fireworks, lasers, etc.) going on all around the park. An amazing exchange of laser firepower between the castle and the top of Space Mountain. Perhaps I'll post some video clips. It was spectacular!

It was also a celebration for Kathy and me, as it was almost 15 years ago to the day that I proposed to her.

The next day, we went to Disneyland to celebrate our engagement.

Many thanks to those who helped make this special day possible.
I missed Happy TV-Turnoff Week and I did not even know. Many years ago, we shut off our TV; we've never looked back. It was difficult for about 3 days. Since then, we've found better things to do with our time - like visiting, playing games, and just being a family.

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.

Use the force at breakfast

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005
A delightful way to make your 7 year-old happy is to eat your cereal with a Jedi light saber spoon - the kind that glows red while you're holding it.

[Update: 12:20 PM: Due to popular request, I've uploaded a photo:]

Jedi Light
Saber Spoon.jpg

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.

Two lessons I learned today

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005
1. Never leave your children unattended in the tub. Even for a moment.

2. It is a bad idea to place the grand piano on the main level, directly below the children's bathroom.

Plenty of Wiggle room ...

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005
Where can you take your young children where they are encouraged to make lots of noise, get out of their seats and move, and interact with the folks on stage?  A Wiggles concert!

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!

Losing hair for a good cause

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005
This past week, our seven year old, Emily, did something remarkable.  She cut off her hair to donate to Locks of Love, an organization that makes hairpieces for children who have lost their own hair due to cancer and other illnesses.

Emily's beautiful
snip, off they comeEmily with the locks she will donate

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?

Monday, November 1st, 2004
Nik Chapapas, posted this question about teaching children how to be productive on his Living Life forum:
Management Training for Children?
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.
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.

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.

Image:Management Training for Children?
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.

Celebrating 50 years

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
Tonight, Kathy and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We were married 15 years ago, but we learned that the 50th anniversary is such a special celebration that we now celebrate it each year.

Image:Celebrating 50 years

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)

Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fame

Monday, August 9th, 2004
Kelly and I were honored to be in the wedding of a close friend of mine. Kelly was the flower girl while I stood up front and thought about what it will be like to escort each of my daughters down the aisle someday.

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.)

Image:Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fameImage:Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fame

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 ...

Image:Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fame

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

It just occurred to me ...

Friday, July 30th, 2004
For years, I have bragged about what a blessing it is to have 4 daughters.

A friend of mine, who happens to be getting married soon, recently shared with me what a wedding costs today ...

If you would like to sponsor a future Mack wedding, I will add your name to the credits on the back of the invitation. I will also list your name on a special section of this blog.

PayPal accepted.


Even with this realization, having four daughters, is still a wonderful blessing and I would not have it any other way!

Wiggle Party

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004
A diversion from productivity or technology posts: Michael Sampson revealed to the world that I was celebrating an anniversary of my 29th birthday. July is a month full of birthdays in our  home. Recently, I helped two of my daughters celebrate their Wiggles Theme birthday. Kathy "volunteered" me to be Captain Feathersword, the fun-loving, kindhearted, singing and dancing pirate. So for the Sampson family, here I am as the captain...

Image:Wiggle PartyImage:Wiggle Party

 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.

Image:Wiggle Party

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!

What will you leave behind?

Monday, June 14th, 2004
A hundred years from now, when people stumble across the archaic things that we once called blogs, what will matter the most? Will future generations really care which model PDA you wore on your belt, what kind of car you drove, or how many hours you put in each day at the office?

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.

Imagination required

Saturday, May 22nd, 2004
At a time when the average American family did not own a color television, kids still had their play stations.  (If you instantly thought of Sony, then you may be too young to remember what this blog entry is about.)

Back in the days when the words "Some assembly required" meant that you had to have a tool-box, we had to use our imagination to play and there were a variety of basic toys to help us do so. I was lucky enough to own a toy that sparked my imagination -- it was an all-metal, recumbent ride-on rocket-plane, by Mattel, designed to look like the then-popular X-15 supersonic aircraft.

Image:Imagination required

This toy was special to me because it was given to me by my grandfather, who was a fuel systems specialist at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in support of this amazing aircraft. Little did I know then that someday I too, would have the opportunity to work at Edwards - not on planes but on computers as a technology consultant and trainer at the Flight Test Center.

Image:Imagination required
Here I am, flying over my front yard

With flight stick in hand, I would cruise down the sidewalk, sometimes for hours, carrying out various missions to defend our country.  Then, I would bank left and head for home to a glass of Nestle's, a plate of fresh baked cookies, and to catch up on the latest episode of Gilligan and Batman on our 13" black and white television. Finally, I would return to the skies and to complete my next mission.

A play station, was whatever was in front of us at the time. Whether it was a cool toy such as my X-15, or a pair of make-shift collapsible swords, made from a broken set of rabbit ears, there was always adventure to be found at play, and the best toys did not require batteries, Just imagination.

Those were great times.

Thanks, Grandpa.

Mother’s Day Tribute

Sunday, May 9th, 2004
This weekend, we enjoyed a wonderful Mother's day. I took my family to visit my grandmother and grandfather and my aunt and uncle.  As we visited together I took the time to observe how each of my children were behaving and interacting with one another and with their great-grandparents, great-aunt and great-uncle, and their cousins.  I took time to reflect on each of their character and grace.

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!

Not easy being green

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004
Many years ago, Kathy (the former Miss. Mullen) wanted me to wear something green to a St. Patrick's Day party, hosted by our choir.  The local haberdasher did not have any green tuxedoes, so my wife set out in pursuit someone to sew a fine green tuxedo for me, along with a matching dress for her.  I told her if she could find someone to sew it, I would wear it and ...
Image:Not easy being green
I wonder if it still fits...  Now, I feel like watching Darby O'Gill

Kindergarten Crush

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003
Like many people, I had crush on the Kindergarten teacher in room 19.

Image:Kindergarten Crush

Unlike most of you, however, I did something about it... I proposed to her.

She said yes.


50th Anniversary

Saturday, October 25th, 2003
My grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary tonight.  We had a wonderful family celebration in Riverside.  Kathy and I put together an evening of entertainment, along with slide show to pay tribute to their more than 50 years together.   Kathy and I enjoyed the celebration so much that we are now planning to celebrate our 50th Anniversary next year and each year thereafter.
Image:50th Anniversary
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.

Princess Bride

Tuesday, October 14th, 2003
Today, Kathy and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.  I thought I would share this story about how Kathy passed "the tests," during our courtship.  For those of you who have not seen the movie this may make no sense at all. The photo may make even less sense -- unless you like The Princess Bride and Disney and enjoy fantasy, romance, and fun.
Image:Princess Bride
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.

Disneyland, here we come!

Sunday, October 12th, 2003
The girls have been saving all of our loose change for a year. They also had a garage sale and sold Lemonade.  Finally, we were able to purchase annual passes to Disneyland.
Image:Disneyland, here we come!
Emily, Kelly, Amy & Wendy hang out with Mickey's Brooms

LEGO 2003 Kickoff

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003
This year, I will again coach a team of seven home educated girls, and this week we kick off the season for the U.S. First Jr. Robotics LEGO Competition. Last year, the girls won the Judges Award at the competition, held in LEGOland, California. This year, we again will endeavor to do our best. The theme is "Mission to Mars" to coincide with NASA's missions to Mars.  It will be a great deal of work, a lot of fun, and a good education -- for all of us.
Image:LEGO 2003 Kickoff
Amy & Wendy put the finishing touches on their robot.

My wife left me

Thursday, August 7th, 2003
My wife left me early this morning to join her sister at OsFest.  
Image:My wife left me

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.  

Mr. Mom.

Here horsey ...

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2003
Image:Here horsey ...Image:Here horsey ...
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.

Father Daughter Banquet

Friday, February 7th, 2003
Tonight, I took Amy, Wendy, and Emily out on a "date."  We went to the Father/Daughter banquet at our church.  The theme was 50's, and while we were over dressed for the part, we had fun taking pictures.
Image:Father Daughter Banquet

The Count

Sunday, June 30th, 2002
The Count of Monte Cristo has to be one of my all-time favorite novels. I have the book as well as a large collection of movies which have been made based on this story. My favorite version is the 8 hour French miniseries (in French) with Gerard Depardieu.

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.

Bring on the Magic!

Monday, December 10th, 2001
This month I was able to make one of my wife's dreams come true - we purchased annual passes to Disneyland!
Image:Bring on the Magic!
The Mack sisters, enjoying a break in New Orleans Square

When Pigs Fly

Saturday, September 30th, 2000
This month, we made our annual trip to the Kern County Fair, where I was able to see my favorite event: The famous Alaskan racing pigs!  
Image:When Pigs Fly
I love watching and cheering for my favorite hams as they run the course and fly over the hurdles.
Image:When Pigs Fly

Back to the Happiest Place on Earth

Sunday, September 10th, 2000
We took a family trip to Disneyland.  While the Park was a little too hot to enjoy, we did have some memorable experiences.  Amy, Wendy and I were chosen to participate in the parade down Main Street U.S.A..  It was probably the first (and last) time anyone will see me in a pink tutu.  (Sorry, no pictures).
Image:Back to the Happiest Place on Earth
Wendy and Amy later participated in a skit with the Dapper Dans - Disneyland's barbershop quartet.