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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Opening The Doors of History

As Brenda and I continued our family research we stumbled upon a board that connected us to the research work of family members we had yet to meet. This particlur path led to some of the most interesting and engaging stories I had ever read regarding family.

Having taken this unforgettable journey across oceans and the states in just a few minutes online I was even more elated to discover who was responsible for asking just the right questions on this board that led to this rich treasure find. It was my own son!

That's the beauty of doing research online. It always takes you full circle. Around the world. Over seas. From state to state and back. And when you come to journeys end you are all the better for it.

That said, I invite all family reunion planners to pull up a chair, sit down with you favorite beverage and take your own personal journey into the past. Open the drawers of data, letters, video and newsclips that await you. Enter thru digital doors and find fascinating bits of history you never knew you could access.

What kinds of genealogy and history presentations work best? How can kids get more involved and what presentation techniques will keep them intrigued? Start online. Look over photos of family members and the places they lived. Visit a cemetary grave site. Tour a home and the homestead town as it was, compared to what it is now. Look at the world from the eyes of the ancestors. Best of all bring it all to life with vivid sharp clear color with the help of the cinema and theater.

How can we learn more about our ancestors hopes, dreams and aspirations and how can we discover more about oourselves in the process? You'll quickly find out once you've started reading my Family Reunion Planning Keepsake Book and using the companion software - Fimark's award winning Family Reunion Planner. Begin your fascinating journey at

Happy Family Reunion Planning!
Mark and Brenda

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Planning A Family Reunion? Money Saving Tips

Hello family reunion planner.

Are you saving as much money as possible while planning your family reunion event? Brenda and I are making sure of it. Find out how by doing price comparisons using your Family Reunion Planner web application.

After logging on go to the Lookup Panel and search for Reception Halls and Event Supplies using the search boxes. Compare prices and special discounts.

You can also do price comparisons using the Family Reunion Store Panel. The store is organized into several popular categories including the folowing:

Books - Family Reunion Planning
Bags Keepsake Tote & Draw String Bags
Awards - Family Reunion Certificates
Gift Bags
Grill Master Grills
Music - Family Reunion Theme Music
Outdoor Dining Furniture
Party Favors
Personalized Golf Towels
Personalized Water Bottles

With the Family Reunion Store you can compare prices from over 20 stores online and qualify for free shipping and special discounts.

Mark and Brenda are the authors and developers of the award winning Family Reunion Planner web application, CD and family reunion paperback keepsake book now available at Barnes and Nobles and (See links below.)

Fimark's Family Reunion Planner web application includes a detailed event planner with five themes, the timeline planner complete with calendar and task reminder panel, the lookup panel, a family reunion keepsake booklet maker, the family reunion store. The award winning reunion planning web application provides access to the attendee database and t-shirt order organizer as well as downloadable family history research templete documents, and family tree template document. Download the the award winning Family Reunion Planner today at

Just want to order the reunion planning book? Go to..

The book makes a great keepsake gift, reward and a practical fundraiser.
Tell your friends and family members. Originally priced at $29 now on sale for $21

Happy family reunion planning!
Mark and Brenda

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Great Reunion Lunch And Dinner Program Ideas

Want to give your family reunion event more historic appeal. Add one or more of the following activities to your family reunion program:

Historic Skits
Reenactments Highlight pivotal points in a family's history. Participants are introduced to the art of developing a timeline as well as period research with a focus on costume design, customs, dialogue and social, economic and technological developments.

Story Telling
A fascinating art that brings to life tales of ancestors and their accomplishments. Along with stories of legends of the past, life lessons are taught. The meaning behind family traditions are shared while relaying important family history factoids and the ties that bind.

Genealogy Tours
Take the family on an exciting tour of important genealogical hot spots including the family homestead, the towns in which the family settled, the jobs they held, machines they worked, markets they traded and streets they walked as well as social activities they immersed themselves into.

Genealogy Presentations
A Presentation of historic documents and vintage artifacts that identify timelines, economic status, historic events and locations of ancestors.

Fimark's Family Reunion Planner includes a Family Reunion Keepsake Booklet Maker template complete with Welcome page. Itinerary page, family history page, family tree page, in memorium, the reunion lunch/dinner page and more. Download the family reunion booklet maker found inside the award winning Family Reunion Planner at Family Reunion Planner

Happy Family Reunion Planning!
Mark & Brenda

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Family Reunion Planning Tools

I'm proud to present all our family reunion planners with the best family reunion planning tools available online. The "Event Planning and Download Center" is a personal web-based application that gives you access to all the tools you'll need to plan your reunion.

The following list of event planning reminders includes the use of the "Event Planning and Download Center" part of Fimark's award winning Family Reunion Planning Package.

1. Using the "Timeline Planner" Panel find out what tasks need to be completed this month. Simply move the calendar to January and click on the dates with links. Plan to have this months tasks completed by months end and move on to February tasks as soon as possible.

2. If you're booking a reception hall or picnic area follow up on this now. Use the "Lookup" Panel of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner to find the ideal locations for your event.

3. Order supplies as soon as possible, taking advantage of off-season discounts. Use the "Family Reunion Store" Panel to compare prices from over 20 popular stores online and in your area.

4. By now everyone should know how much family reunion dues are and most of the funds should be collected by months end.

5. Using the "Tshirt Designer" Panel in Fimark's Family Reunion Planner commence designing the reunion tshirt and taking in orders now if you have not done so. Use the Budgeting Panel to calculate all event related costs with the help of the adjacent supplies and services checklist.

6. Record tshirt orders using the "Attendee Registration - Tshirt Roster" Panel. You'll need time to examine a sample tshirt, approve
it and have them start printing. When the shirts arrive you'll need
to check each one and return a few for replacements. Plan to have your
t-shirts on hand by April.

7. Touch base with all committee members to make sure they are making progress on assigned task. Committee and departmental worksheets can be found in the "Workbooks" Panel. Simply download the MS Word Workbook "Family Reunion Planner" (contains worksheets) at the "Workbooks" Panel.

Now you're getting organized!

Get your copy of Fimark's award winning Family Reunion Planner complete with the "Event Planning and Download Center" at and get started planning now.

Happy Reunion Planning Everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Incoming 2012

1. Incoming 2012
2. Making Plans - Making Memories
3. Reunion Preparation Reminders
4. Raising Funds

Here is a shout out to family reunion planners in Canada, Australia, Trinidad
and Tobago from the U.S of A. - Welcome aboard.

1. Incoming 2012
Can you believe that 2011 has come and gone? It was back in 2008 that we
lamented how we quickly moved thru January 2007. "Before you know it we'll be
sipping a frosty glass of lemonade to the beat of "Family Reunion" on a warm
Sunny day while the young'ns laugh and play." Well 2007 thru 2011 has come and
gone. But we do have our memories don't we? And that's what it's all about. Yes
the cup of 2012 will soon be half full and the rest about to be swallowed.

That said don't gulp down your refreshing cup of life to quickly.
Learn how to savor every moment. Enjoy the family and remember the good times.
All we really have are our memories, the present time, and those we can only
hope to make tomorrow. As you go, instead of living someone-else's life or
trying to recapture the past in our present time, focus on creating memories
from the here and now. Only then can you look back fondly and enjoy that memory
rather than have regrets over a botched moment or missed details.

Much of your success in creating a memory has to do with good planning and
keeping things simple enough to enjoy the present. Give yourself permission to
enter that moment, that day and hour and make the most of it with the ones you
love rather than fussing over endless details.

What are your New Years resolutions? How close are you to meeting your goal?
Here's a popular one or two.

1. Spend more time with family even if it means writing letters, making phone
calls or video conferencing.

2. Don't just talk about what you want to do. Make it happen with good planning.
Begin by putting an event planning date on your calendar.

2. Making Plans - Making Memories
Brenda and I put on a family night show last month for family and friends. My
purpose in doing this was six-fold

1. Bring our family back together purely to celebrate family values that would
leave us all feeling good about ourselves and our roles.

2. Teach friends the importance of putting family first.

3. Teach our youth solid relationship skills while building character and
unbreakable bonds.

4. Provide a positive pro-active outlet to direct all of our creative energy and
inspire our youth to think about what they want to do with their life.

5. Fill the need for paternal affection and heal aching hearts needing to
confront family loss.

6. Celebrate new life.

We spent three months planning, rehearsing and crafting the props. It was a
truly multi-culteral/international event with cast and guests from Tobago,
Trinidad, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania. It was the best time I had in
years, if ever. Why? Because despite several setback we pulled it off and
succeeded in addressing all six parts of our mission. Hearts were penetrated.
Now a ripple effect has begun, a cascading of healing, mending and bonding is
taking place.

I have to admit I am detail oriented when it comes to these things. Just as we
were getting close to the day of the event several unforeseen occurrances
crossed our path. As a result we lost a whole day of prep time and hours were
cut of the event program due to delays.

Needless to say much of what I personally planned and created had to be put
aside and discarded. In addition there were many needless distractions with
details unrelated to our purpose. But the essence of what we put into the show
was well preserved in a single soundtrack, the props and the talent of the cast.
That said "the show went on" and our Family Night event was the most wonderful
and beautiful moment that I and most of the attendees had ever experienced.

My most gratifying memory is that the whole thing was conceived by Brenda and I
on our family summer vacation.

3. Family Reunion Preparation Reminders
Planning a family reunion is a great reason to come together. Be it to quilt,
knit, exchange ideas, photos or reminisce. When you think about it the time
spent in preparation for a family reunion is much like the days leading to
graduation. It's a time to reach back and savor memories, accomplishments and
pay our respects to those who've come and gone in our lives. When the reunion
days have passed you realize just how much the event was needed for all

Now is the time to check where you are on the "Family Reunion Timeline
Checklist". Wrap up collecting photos, stories, genealogy research and
start making definite plans to put together your photo and genealogy
presentations. Plan to have it all completed by the end of February or
early March.

If you're booking a reception hall follow up on this now. Order
supplies early or when materials are least expensive. By now everyone
should know how much family reunion dues are and most of the funds
should be collected by months end. Commence ordering T-shirts now if
you have not done so. You'll need time to examine a sample, approve
it and have them start printing. When the shirts arrive you'll need
to check each one and return a few for replacements. Plan to have your
t-shirts on hand by April. Touch base with all committee members to
make sure they are making progress on assigned task.

4. Raising Funds
By now you should have a good idea of how much funding is needed to
pull of the reunion event. First look for ways to cut down on
expenses without compromising quality. Is there a need to have more
funds on hand? Consider having an auction to raise money. Start
planning now. A great time for an indoor Auction is during the cold
season. Outdoor auctions are good for the warmer dryer season.

What will you sell? If you have crafty family members ask them to donate items.
Check out some flea markets for collector's items you know certain family
members will have to have. Put up some items you own that some of your family
members have shown an interest in. Create
gift baskets. Order bulk greeting cards and sell them in packs. Have
someone bake a few pies. Others can sell family coupons for home
cooked Sunday meals. Make it clear how much your looking to get with
the sale of each item. Your aim is to meet or beat that goal.

TIP 1: Have a family member erect a goal score board and write out the
goal and how close you are getting to the goal each time an item is
sold. This will focus attendees interest on meeting the goal and
encourage participation.

TIP 2:Have you inspected and appraised the family heirlooms? Perhaps a
few family members are willing to pay a few bucks for the honor of
temporary ownership. Most of all enjoy the moment of planning. Before
you know it, it will all have passed and you will have made many sweet
memories to savor.

Get your copy of the award winning Family Reuion Planner at and start creating memories, drinking
up life and living in the moment.

Happy Reunion Planning Everyone!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Got money to burn? Neither do I. That said, if you could plan your entire family reunion for free I would be the first in line to tell you how. But in order to please the masses of family and friend attending you can at least spare yourself needless costs by taking the time to shop around in stores and online expecially when free shipping is available. So how can we Family reunion planners do our absolute best at saving money while planning your family reunion? In a word. Window browse first. Well that's three words, but you get the idea.

1. Compare prices
2. Buy bulk
3. Take advantage of free shipping

And here's one you may not have expected. Good planning. That's right, good planning saves time and money. Last minute running around wastes time gas and prevents you from taking advantage of all the best off-season deals offers available right now.

So where to start? Three steps.

1. Get you hands on a good family reunion planning book. I suggest Fimark's Family Reunion Planning Guide and Keepsake.

2. If you like web apps for your desk-laptop I recommend you download Fimark's Family Reunion Planner. It includes a great weekly timeline planning application with very practical money saving alerts and tips to use as you go about planning your reunion event.

3. Start comparing prices and hunting down those off-season party supply, picnic, summer gear, BBQ equipment and Cookout accessory deals online.

Happy reunion planning!