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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, December 30, 2014

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

Out with the old and in with the new.  As hard as it is to believe, in a few days we will be living in a brand new year - the year 2015. As year new year starts Brenda and I set goals we would like to fulfill. Most years we manage to scratch off two or three items that have been successfully fulfilled. How? Obviously we make a list. A list of resolutions we can actually fulfill with the resources we have at hand. Next we consider the steps involved in progressively bringing our resolution to reality. In other words we consider each step a goal in itself.

That said, when making any new year's resolution consider setting several small goals as building blocks that when completed fulfill the bigger goal, your new year's resolution. And don't worry if it takes a a little more that a year to fulfill them. The objective is simply to get started and progressively reach your realistic resolve.

Here are the Top 10 realistic new year's resolutions that are not out of reach.

1. Lose 10 pounds by Spring - 1 pound a week - Avoid weight gain foods - drink water

2. Redecorate the living room -  one chair every third month of 2015

3. Plan a fun summertime family reunion - Get the app. Follow one step each week of 2015.

4. Perfect a new recipe each month - Get the app - Select the recipes - Record it on a 2015 calendar

5. Learn to speak another language - Get the app - Play it on the way to work.

6. Plant a garden with the kids - Get the app - buy a shovel - get a hoe - buy seeds - buy plants.

7. Have a yard sale - Get the app - Set a date - Make a sign -Find a big box - Throw in stuff to sell.

8. Spend more quality time with my kids - Plan it out - Say no to more work - Throw yourself into it.

9. Start dating my wife - Plan weekly date activities (Some at home, some outdoors as well as dinner restaurants and theaters) for the next two months.

10. Eat organic - Stop at the organic market. Grow organic foods. Make your own pasta, etc.

How can we set realistic goals that will progressively fulfill the resolution over time?
Let's start with item 1. Lose 10 pounds by Spring.  That's 11 weeks. Set progressive goals to lose a pound a week. How?
1. Cut down by eating on a smaller plate,
2. Drink more water.
3. Walking briskly each day. Dance to a whole song each night.
4. Avoid foods that contribute to weight gain.
5. Reward yourself for each pound lost with a broach, scarf or whatever you like.

Using this method will not only bring your new year's resolutions to reality. You will have learned to keys to planning for the future while developing the self-discipline to reach goals that will reward you exponentially for years to come.

Want to plan a summertime family reunion? First goal. Get the book or web app. Just follow the link in the Profile on this page.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In It To Win It

While I don't like change, I do like learning new things, winning people over,  and the rewards of a job well done. That said I am willing to try new things, taking a fresh look at life and see life from a different perspective if it means getting better results for all involved.

I find that discovering new lands, people, culture, foods and exotic species adds zest to life. Lately I've been learning many new things about life, history and the human condition while researching, producing and directing a new film presentation for my upcoming family night gathering. No this is not just any weekly family night. This one actually includes several different families all under one roof sharing an evening meal and video entertainment together. Why so many families?

As Brenda and I travel the Maryland circuit teaching and being taught, we develop meaningful relationships that last. Our way of keeping in touch is by having family night gathering once every few years. These events encourage mutual support and provide an exchange of guidance and wisdom needed during these challenging time. Our prime objective is to inspire strong family ties, teach kindness and consideration and preserve family and community cohesion. How can we do all that in one night?

After presenting our first film feature we have an open forum. We discuss what we saw, how we felt about it and lessons taught. We ask the right questions to stimulate thought and emphasize comments of practical value.

Successfully building a happy family begins with attitude. An attitude that is contagious. An attitude that inspires. That says I Am In This To Win It.  To aim at being successful as a husband, father, wife and mother. To win the rewards of deliberately sharing mutual filial and loyal love.

To win it requires a trustworthy proven training system, regimen and priority mind set. A life guide, if you will - Personally I find the books of Genesis, Exodus and Proverbs provides the ideal lesson plan that lays the ground work for building a close knit loyal family that stands the test of time.

Here are a few of My Life lessons
Learn and maintain humility - It's a constant process that never ends. If you think you're humble you're probably not.
Live a simple life. Only then will you discover who your family members really are.
Avoid getting caught up in corporate politics and competition, it will only distract you from what really matters - Loving your family from the inside out.
Put some love in it. (Make basic principle of love manifest in all you do.)
Remain united no matter what or who tries to pull you apart.
Cling to hope, celebrate love, honor one another
Take time to look back and cherish fond memories
Take time to look ahead and build new ones
Live in the moment, learn from the past, plan for the future
Save time, save money, save mementos and put away something for the unforeseen
Build resilience and accept challenges
Learn the joy of giving
Celebrate achievements of the heart
Teach your young to feel - To express honor, respect and appreciation
Reward good behavior - Inspire to reach greater heights
Take pride in the challenges you've met and the obstacles you've overcome
Value practical experiences - Reject fantasy and folly.
Quote words of wisdom to your family everyday
Express love for each family member when you end the day

On family night we all come together to enjoy an exciting and inspiring video presentation filled with lessons about family life, love and creation itself.  Last week Brenda, my video editor and respected movie critic, put her stamp of approval on the video feature presentation - The Book of Genesis.   That means the show will go on!  Genesis contains many stories about close knit families who sacrificed much for the sake of loyal love and preserved themselves alive in the process.When she's excited about a presenting our work I am assured that we finally have something worth presenting. While this special event is a mainstay in our bi-annual routine the fact is family night should be enjoyed every night. And that's another story soon to come...

Looking for some family fun winter vacation activities everyone's bound to enjoy?

Something else new. Starting January 2015 I will include in each post an excerpt from our book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Keepsake, my reunion event planning eBook, which is also part of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social Web App.

Get more info at

If you have any questions about the content of this article contact Mark at

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

21 Ideas To Give Back This Season

Want to do something special this season? Many are considering how to give back to the community.  Often they consider donating to a worthy cause. Here are 21 gift giving ideas that keep giving back.

Neighborhood Outreach Dinners for the Homeless
Big Brother Big Sister Mentoring
Online Fund Raising
Health Awareness Seminars
Farmers Market Outings with Seniors
Group Canning
Bake Sales For Fund Raising
Winter Wonderland Outings
Winter Fest Activities
Fall Fest Activities
Autumn Crafts
Fall Festivals
Charitable Organizing
Government Aid for Education
Scholastic Achievement Awards
Bible Travel Tours and Creation Sight Seeing
Crafts For Gift Giving
Group Bible Study by Skype
Door to Door Bible Ministry
Motivational Speaking
Bible Drama Movie Events

Check the items you've considered, share it with someone you know has experience participating or planning such an event.  Take action! Get the ball rolling and discover a 2000 year old truth. "There is more happiness in giving then in receiving."

My Gift to you. Brenda and I are active in Group Bible Study, Door to Door Bible Study, Motivational Public Speaking, Fall and Winter Fest Activities, Online Fund Raising, Crafts for Gift Giving, Bible Travel Tours and Creation Sight Seeing, Bible Drama Movie Events.  If you would like to support our work feel free to send us a modest donation.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Sunday Evening

Happy Sunday evening to you. I hope each of you are having a cozy relaxing night with your loved ones. It's a coconut cake and warm coconut milk night for us. What ever you do, just keep putting some love in it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Family - How To Stay Connected

This is the perfect season to start planning your 2015 family reunion. At this time of year family tends to keep in touch as visits, letters, phone calls, Skype, cards and thoughtful gestures increase.

How can you take advantage of the engagements of the season to stay connected? One way is to use this time to get your family reunion plans off the ground. Here is a helpful short list to get the ball rolling.

Reunion Start-up Short List
Update and organize the past two years of family photos according to event.
1. Update your family contacts on Facebook or Google+
2. Send a theme and activity questionnaire to all family members
3. Select your family reunion planning committee from first responders to the questionnaire
4. Schedule and hold a family reunion committee meeting within the next two weeks.

Consider their ideas on activities everyone will enjoy. Now the fun begins. Some activities may include providing entertainment at the event such as Family Reunion Ball. Skits. A family reunion talent show. Have volunteers send demos acting out or demonstrating their talent via video or Skype. Have the committee come together to view the demos as well as organize the main event. Sound exciting? It gets better. 

The committee gets to vote on the entertainment, talent and skits while enjoy pot luck meals to be featured at the reunion event. And there's more... Take a virtual group tour of some of the hotels and banquet halls to be considered right from your arm chair. This is bound to inspire ideas for the banquet hall dinner program.

5. Get inspired. Read my book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Keepsake or get the reunion planning web app featured on this blog for pre-written itineraries, dinner programs and associated activities.

Both the book and app contain vital information tips and tools you'll need to have an informative and productive family reunion planning meetings.  The book and app contain detailed departmental worksheets for each member of the committee according to their duties and assignments.  The app explains how to take advantage of specific social networking tools and features to prepare for and manage the reunion planning committee successfully.

So there's no reason to put off having your next family reunion meeting since you now have the tools you need to get the job done and get it done right. This is the season for getting in touch. Find out how planning your next family reunion will help them stay in connected.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Early Family Reunion Planning Strategy

They say the best laid plans do not always work out. Why? Experts say timing can be a contributor to a plans success or failure. Often because these plans require several hands on deck, getting full support is often the key to getting any idea off the ground, up and running.

So you talked to your family over dinner this past November and presented your ideas for the next family reunion. They liked what they heard and you've heard nothing more from them about it sense. Not to worry. That's typical. Likely they're both preoccupied with the everyday task of survival or they're just waiting to hear what your next move will be.

So what is the next move? Now would be the time to have a handy family reunion planning guide to lay out the course.  Why an event guide? These guides often are written based on an experienced reunion planners tried and proven event planning strategy.  A strategy that will get everyone inspired and motivated to pitch in and get the reunion event planning wheels turning full speed ahead. That said, enter Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app. This app presents a step by step method of planning your reunion event and via it's ebook feature it outlines how to get all in the family involved.

Best of all you don't have to download it and install it to your device or PC. Just go to the URL and sign-in. Next follow the steps one by one and you'll have your reunion plans up and running in no time.