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.
All 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.
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.
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.
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.
Last 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.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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!
We did see 24" Catfish swimming around, but it was not the least bit interested in our measly worm. Perhaps another day...
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
No response yet, but I look forward to seeing how they respond to this young stockholder.
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.
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.
(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. 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.
Pastor 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.
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.)
Thanksgiving, 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.
But 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.
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..
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
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.
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
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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!
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 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.
Nik Chapapas, posted this question
about teaching children how to be productive on his Living Life forum:
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
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
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
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.
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
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 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
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 ...
A diversion from productivity or technology
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...
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!
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
or my current hobbies, such as robotics,
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 ...
I wonder if it still fits... Now, I feel like watching Darby O'Gill
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Amy & Wendy put the finishing touches on their robot.
My wife left me early
this morning to join her sister at OsFest.
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
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
I miss her already, and it is only day one of four.
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,
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.
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.
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).
Wendy and Amy later participated in a skit with the Dapper Dans - Disneyland's