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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, March 27, 2012

Learn How To Get Those RSVPs

2012 Family Reunion Planners. Have you received all RSVPs? If not it's time to send out reminders via facebook, email and  texting. Fortunately this only takes a few minutes using your Attendee Registration database in the Family Reunion Planner spreadsheet/workbook.

The Attendee Registration database is an excel spreadsheet database that includes input of names, ages, t-shirt size, number of shirts per person, RSVP status and dues balance as well as polling results for desired reunion location and activities. Entry of Department assignment and committee status is included in the workbook.

The Attendee Registration database spreadsheet/workbook can be uploaded to your Google Docs account and shared for live viewing and editing when consulting with attendees and committee members. It's a great program for running polling and status reports when conducting committee meetings.

Your goal should be to have all t-shirt orders in by months end and distributed in April. Suggestion: Send out an RSVP reminder today and another Saturday morning with March 31 as your deadline. If your looking for fun activities for your event consult your Family Reunion Planner Keepsake Book.

Want the Family Reunion Planner book and software with the Attendee Registration database spreadsheet/workbook? Go to

Happy Family Reunion Planning!

Mark And Brenda

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Few of Our Favorite Things

1. Union vs Reunion
2. What We've Learned
3. Do More Than Compromise
4. Schedule a Date Night 
5. "A Few of Our Favorite Things"
6. New Keepsake Book Soon To Be Released

Union vs Reunion
When marital union and family union is strong Family reunion is all the more sweeter. As ordained ministers Brenda and I have the special privilege of assisting in organizing and officiating wedding ceremonies while  providing family counseling for the newly wed couple. This season we are assisting several couples in one way or another to keep putting their hearts into their union. That's our calling.

What We've Learned
Too often couples get so caught up in their jobs, careers and past-times, like all engrossing sports, bands and clubs of the day that they begin to see their spouse as someone who is getting in the way of their fun and begin spending less meaningful moments with the love of their life. This can happen to anyone. At first it's just a casual oversight. But over time hearts break, silence becomes the loudest spoken word and the two drift apart emotionally and spiritually.

Do More Than Compromise
This past Sunday we talked to a very special couple married for over five years. He's contending with a new job and new congregation responsibilities that sometimes leaves them both a bit overwhelmed. That said, we reminded them both to prioritize each other and asked them both to consider this... When they come together for fun, do more than just compromise! Spend time doing things that they both enjoy doing together instead.

Schedule a Date Night 
Ask any truly happy couple what kept them together and they'll tell you that they're still dating. They eat together. Listen to music together, joke and tell stories together. Dance together. But the key to making date night work is not just doing something together as some activities can actually drive a couple apart. So what's the key to an enjoyable date night?

"A Few of Our Favorite Things."
Sometimes we are too tired to think about what we have in common and we settle for what ever comes to mind for a date night activity. We all love the musical called "The Sound of Music." Particularly the part we fondly call "My Favorite Things." It was that moment in time that the family bonded. So it is with a young couple.  Everyone likes to eat. Everyone likes music. Most like movies. On date night, share a favorite dessert you both enjoy. Watch a movie you both will like. Select music that has meaning to both of you. If you're at a loss as to what to do this would be a good time to consult the "favorite things list."

Soon To Be Released
In our newly written book "Fimark's My Keepsake Wedding Planner" Brenda and I have dedicated three pages to a keepsake list called "A Few of Our Favorite Things." It's a keepsake checklist of the things the couple has in common. Things the couple both enjoy doing together in the area of music, books, movies, sports, food, etc.  This "favorite things list" is something we feel a couple cannot do without. Our book "Fimark's My Keepsake Wedding Planner" is now available at

Whether you've been married for a few months, 6 years or 31 years, whether your a single parent or a house of siblings, we all can do better than compromise. Discover things the whole family has in common  and turn it into a traditional activity. When you're really having a good time together you're happier and enjoy better health. Loyalties solidify and love deepens. A happy, healthy family union is a happier family reunion for everyone involved.

Happy family reunion planning!

Mark and Brenda

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Weekend Like No Other

This weekend was a very special one. Brenda and I bonded with our granddaughter. Needless to say she is a cutey. But this weekend was extra special because it was just Brenda, our grand-d and me. We ate at a favorite restaurant and discovered that she loves all things  coconut - just like me. She remembers parts of conversations and repeats the dialog with precision timing. She slept over for the first time. No fuss.

She loves all things mechanical. If there is a button to push a knob to turn or a door to open She's on it. She seldom cries unless she's awakened abruptly. She likes to play with books and cards and loves to sing and dance to music. We took pictures with our smart phones. I think we're up to about a thousand pics.

I composed a lullaby that features a little ditty her father (the son who did his own genealogy research online.) made up when he was about her age. I added the very first song I made up at the age of 8. When she immediately broke into her happy dance it was obvious we had a hit on our hands. She loved it. So that just makes me love her more. Another fond memory made.

Making Family Reunion Keepsake Booklets
In a recent newsletter we discussed where you want to be on the "Family Reunion Timeline Checklist". Complete ordering t-shirts. You should have also collected photos, stories, genealogy research and have started on your photo and genealogy presentations. These can also be added to your family reunion keepsake booklet.

Collecting Photos
You will want to do one of two things with your photos.
1. Scan them into your computer
2. Take a picture of the photo using your digital camera, camera phone or cell phone and transfer them to your computer.

Now that your photos are on your computer use your photo editing tools to crop (cut-around) the images into a perfect square.

Documenting Family History
Next, from your family history files put together two paragraphs of information about your ancestors from the earliest records available. Include full first names, middle and surnames of both father and mother, marriage dates, education, trades and employment, residents, migration and births leading up to the eldest living family member.

Putting together your family reunion keepsake booklet can be one of the most rewarding projects associated with the event, so remember to get the family involved.

Happy Family Reunion Planning!

Don't have the latest version of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner?
Get your copy of the award winning Family Reunion Planner 3.0 at

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Great Fundraiser Ideas

Hello Family Reunion Planners! You're family reunion event is just arround the
corner. Do you know where your family reunion money is?

Time to put deposits on reception rooms, picnic areas, tourist packages and
entertainment? Ideally you would have collected 75 to 90% of registration funds
by now. But this may not be the case. If you don't have enough funds to cover
the deposit expenses don't panic. Your fellow family reunion planner has the

It's time to start putting together a fundraiser! A well-organized fundraiser
can bring in as much as $500 to $5000 in 
just a matter of hours. 

What To Sell?
Many attendees are frugal and will only put money on an item that
will likely help them save money on the family reunion event. That
said, sell baskets of coupons, a collection of gift cards and the
ever-popular Entertainment Book which sells at a discount and
free shipping this time of year. Have a bake sale, yard sale or art sale. Have
an heirloom exchange auction or sponsored games. Ask for family members to
donate cars, bikes, tool sets, musical instruments or sell books.

Books, CD's, DVD's and more Books
Nothing sells better than books, CD's DVD's and more books. Does your family
like to read or be entertained? Who doesn't. Sell best seller books they always
wanted to read

Rallying Support
Send out flyers, emails, text messages and invitations at least three weeks in
advance and a reminder each week until the event. List
some of the items or categories that will be available. Have those
who will attend the fundraiser also share in organizing and managing
some aspect of the event to ensure that they will be present to bid.

Remember, your fundraiser is to raise reunion funds not to spend reunion funds.
That said, make sure that all who attend bring a dish, drinks and supplies to
equalize the expense and prevent having to dip into the reunion account.

A Fantastic Fundraiser - "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner A Reunion Planning
Guide Workbook & Keepsake"

Making a family heirloom that will last for generations has never been easier, more meaningful and practical.  
An heirloom is  more than a scrapbook or hand-me-down. It is a dignified personalized token of your love and your generations life made specifically for the generations to come. 

It's an event planner. A book of poetry. A recipe compiler. A journal and family
genealogy research documentation tool. 

Put it all together and you have a very personal family heirloom for generations to come. What could be a more ideal fundraiser and gift? "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner A Reunion Planning
Guide Workbook & Keepsake" 

Best of all it's now 55 percent off the original price for a limited
time.  Go to for our Early Bird Fundraiser Special. Order
multiple copies and get free shipping at Spread the word!

For more ideas to get your fundraiser off the ground consult
"Fimark's Family Reunion Planner A Reunion Planning Guide Workbook & Keepsake" -
Don't have one? Go to at