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Archive for April, 2004

Thanks for the memories.

April 21, 2004 1 comment

At the conference Rhonda and I attended one of the topics was making memories for your kids. Some events and occasions naturally lend themselves for memories but some of the best memories are the ones that come from unexpected things during everyday life. One example of what I am talking about was a memory made by the wife of one of the presenters. One day when she drove to their home, which was in a cul-de-sac, she started driving around and around the cul-de-sac over and over again. Her kids, in the mini-van with her were looking at her like she had lost it. No telling what the neighbors thought!!! On another time, the presenter came home to find the mini-van parked across the driveway the wrong way. When she was asked about it, she replied that she wanted to see how long it would take someone to ask. She said a neighbor had called after it had been that way for about ten minutes. Both of those examples are really kind of silly but she was making memories. I think it is great.

We had our first Barbarian night. The boys didn’t know what was going on. I cooked spaghetti and was starting to serve it up when we took all of the plates and utensils off of the table. (Rhonda had put a plastic tablecloth on the table.) There I was plopping spaghetti on the table. The boys both had the funniest expressions on their faces. Noah thought it was great! images/barbarianTrey, in all of his years of manners-learned and culture, could not believe we were going to eat spaghetti with our hands. We made a big mess (you ought to try it) but in the end had a great time and started what I hope is a tradition at our house. Trey even admitted, finally, that it was fun. I warned him that it might happen again when one of his buddies is over spending the night. He groaned. (He is easily embarrassed by dad these days.) I can’t wait. I am always going to look for opportunities to make memories for our family. Stu Weber calls those moments “eternal instants.” It is a moment when you really connect with someone. It can be a happy moment when a memory is made or at a time of great pain. Either way, I love “connecting” with my boys. They are awesome.

Listening to : A Song For You from the album Kaleidoscope by Rachael Lampa

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Categories: Family

Day 38: Mac set free!

April 13, 2004 Leave a comment

Well, sort of. After 38 long days, I finally have Mac back. Not exactly Mac but a slightly younger cousin to Mac. Man… what a mess all of that was. If you have read what I wrote before you know that I handed my powerbook over to CompUSA to have them repair the screen. I had a warranty on the screen and it was kind of wigging out so I thought I would have them fix it.

I did have a warranty, after all. Well after about a month, this nice girl calls me and informs me that they (the repair center) is sending it back to the store unrepaired because I was sold the wrong warranty. Apparently, the guy at the checkout counter sold me the screen warranty add-on – the add-on to the comprehensive warranty that I did not purchase. I was not even offered the comprehensive plan (and wouldn’t have bought it anyway.) I was led to believe that the screen warranty was exactly what I needed. By this time, I had been sans laptop for over a month.

The service manager at the store said they would take care of me. Problem was… they couldn’t really figure out what to do. The store was going to have to either fix the screen (which they couldn’t) or replace the whole unit. They did replace the unit. I was hoping for a brand new current model powerbook. But what I got was okay. It was just exactly like my old powerbook except the processor is a bit faster. They had it a total of 38 days.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most is that few people seemed to know what was going on with it. I talked to about seven different people during the whole process and it was like it was the first time I had called. Overall, it was a comedy of errors (although there was nothing particularly comedic about it.) The guy sold me the wrong thing. The store said it was covered under warranty. The repair center said it was covered under warranty. The repair center damaged the replacement screen. They couldn’t get another one. Their Corporate office said the warranty was not correct. The General Manager of the store was out for the week. Some the service people had no idea what was going on. I guess it all worked out, though. I did learn two things. It is probably best to not by Apple merchandise from CompUSA. And never, never, never buy a warranty from CompUSA. It is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.

Listening to : You Know Better from the album For The Sake Of The Call by Steven Curtis Chapman

Categories: Web/Tech

A Weekend to Remember

What a marketing success! It was aptly named and really was a “Weekend to Remember.” Rhonda and I attended the two-day event presented by Family Life and hoped to hear a special word that would enrich our marriage. We have been married for 17 years and although our marriage has never been bad or struggling I could say it had grown what I would call “lukewarm.” We still loved each other and were totally committed to each other and our family but our relationship had little excitement and vibrancy. This was actually the second time we had been to this conference. The material covered was the same but the results of the weekend were vastly different.

The speakers were great. One was Doug Martin, the director of marketing and communications for Family Life. The other was Dave Wilson and his wife, Ann. Dave is a pastor of a church in Troy, Michigan and he is the chaplain for the Detroit Lions. And if we are honest, the Lions need all the divine help they can get. These guys were great, dynamic speakers but their transparency is what impressed me the most. They both admitted that their marriages were not “perfect” and they still have issues to deal with. Ann Wilson told of a time that she had lost feelings for Dave for a while. Dave indicated that, even as a pastor, his focus was on the wrong things. He was too involved in his pastoral duties and that his focus had drifted and was not solely on God and Ann. Their relationship had suffered. He didn’t have a clue that Ann was feeling the way she was. When she told him about that (on their 10th anniversary) what he heard was God telling him that his self-centeredness was the problem. He got down on his knees and repented and asked God to help him and He did. Their willingness to share such personal stories amazes me. Rhonda and I both related to parts of this story and to many other stories we heard over the weekend.

The purpose of the conference was to give tools that lead to oneness with your mate. We learned about God’s plan, purpose, and power for oneness. I am convinced that one cannot have a marriage the way God planned it without faith in Jesus. The horizontal relationship (between the man and woman) will never be any better than the vertical relationship (between each person and God.) Only by accepting Him can we experience God’s incredible power to forgive and totally commit to our mate. And face it; forgiveness is a huge part of any relationship. We are all human and imperfect. God showed us both that we have real problems with selfishness. I want what I want when I want it. If I don’t get it I get mad or I pout. Rhonda deals with the same type of thing. As we looked back, a lot of the struggles we have faced have been because of our selfishness. It is something that we both continue to work on. (That was my attempt at transparency.)

We learned about communication, understanding your mate and seeking to be understood, as well as the importance of sexual intimacy in marriage. (The men seemed pleased to hear that this is an integral part of a marriage relationship and that God wants a married couple to have sex.) God spoke to us both when we were separated for the sessions addressing the responsibilities of Men/Dads and Women/Moms. We have renewed commitments to be the kind of spouse and parent that we were created to be. There were two sessions dealing with resolving conflict. We examined how we both react to conflict and how to respond to each others reactions.

The last session kind of tied it all together. It was about the legacy you pass on to your children. Everyone leaves a legacy. It may not be the kind of legacy that you want to leave and some people just don’t care what they leave behind. But for my family, the legacy will be a godly legacy. It is our desire to pass it on to our boys and they will pass it on to their kids and on and on. To me that is what success really is. It is really the only thing that matters.

I do not mean to portray Rhonda’s and my marriage as perfect now. (Refer to my attempt at transparency above) God knows it is not (and so should you.) But this weekend helped us to refocus our eyes and energy on God and each other. I can not tell you what a difference that makes. It is simply amazing.

They mentioned that this conference will be held at the Gaylord Texan again next year in May. I will invite everyone I know. It is kind of expensive. But you know what; we could not afford not to go. How much is my relationship to Rhonda worth? This wonderful, beautiful gift that God has allowed me to be with. My two awesome sons are worth the time it takes to be the best Dad possible to them. This event has eternal consequences and I will always be grateful for Family Life.

Categories: Family

A complex Texas can be proud of.

The Family Life “Weekend to Remember” conference was held at the brand spanking new Gaylord Texas Resort and Convention Center. It literally opened up just hours before the conference started.

I have participated in enough theatre openings over the years to know how hectic the opening weekend is. No matter how much preparation you put into it something doesn’t work exactly right and there are always, always crowd control problems. It is the biggest challenge of a theatre opening – getting all of the people in and out in an efficient manner as possible. It is just something that cannot be accurately planned for. I was reminded of those wonderfully challenging and hectic days as we pulled up to the huge complex. The harried valet guys were running around frantically and the bell-hops were milling around lugging bags here and there. There were probably 30 cars up under the huge entryway and it was a real mess. There were no lanes. We were all trying to get our bags into the hotel or our cars parked and it seemed no one knew what to do. We sure didn’t. The valets were trying to get cars out and were blocked by people trying to get in. The valet guys didn’t seem to have a handle on it. It was crazy. I made me miss theatre openings.

That was just the start of a three day stay at a beautiful place. We were lucky to be at the Family Life conference which was the first conference held at the Grand Opening of this great resort. The Gaylord Texan embodies what Texas is all about. It is huge. There are three atriums all themed, one is the Riverwalk, one is the Lone Star Atrium, and one is the Hill Country. There are two swimming pools, eight restaurants, a number of shops, a full service spa, and a big exercise room. I have included pictures here if you are interested.

We got what was apparently a really discounted rate (conference rates were $99) for the conference because the room rates are about $400-$500 a night for a family. There are probably cheaper rooms and I don’t get how anyone would spend that much to stay there. Maybe they don’t want families to stay there. The property is magnificent, though. That is not to say that there weren’t problems.

There is an expensive steak house ($80/person) in the hotel and somehow the exhaust from there was getting into the clean air system. The hallway to our room and eventually our room smelled like hickory or mesquite smoke. What smelled good at first soon started to annoy us. Not much they could do about it so we just endured it. They didn’t even acknowledge that it was a problem when we told them about it.

The entire hotel was sold out. Every room was occupied. Considering this, another challenge for the hotel staff was getting the rooms cleaned efficiently. It didn’t happen. I guess there were too many rooms and not enough experienced housekeepers to take care of all of that. Our room did not get cleaned until about 7:00 pm. It was cleaned by this polite, yet very tired looking lady. We felt for her knowing that it must be hard to do this on opening weekend having not yet developed a system to do this efficiently. It is just another challenge that will continue to improve as they get use to the job.

Overall, the experience with the Gaylord Texan was quite positive. I am sure, if the hotel had been open for some amount of time, the small problems here and there would have been corrected. It is a great place. We probably won’t be staying there again – I don’t know, maybe next year when the conference returns there. Without some sort of a discount this place is a budget buster.

Categories: Current Affairs