My first surprise birthday party

Entryway Normal
This is how our entryway normally looks.

This is how it looked when I got home today.
Entryway OperationSurpriseMarc

My wife took me out to see Les Miserables at the cinema. I balled my eyes out.

Then we were going to go out for drinks. But she checked in at home first and, told me, that our youngest felt a bit sick and wanted us to check in on her.

When we drove onto our street, I started to feel a bit put out by the neighbor who apparently was having a party. Why couldn’t they park their cars somewhere else? Not in front of our house. In our driveway.

I can be pretty slow, huh?

You see, in my 17+ years of marriage, I’ve never had a surprise party. Ever.

My wife and my kids are amazing. They’d been orchestrating a surprise party for most of the week. They were even sharing a Google doc to do the planning without me knowing!!

I was blessed to have people from so many different parts of our life in our house. With lots of adults and over 20 kids.

What a wonderful way to celebrate more than four decades on this planet. (I turn 41 tomorrow.) And being part of a wonderfully cool family. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now to drink through the multiple gifts of beer that people gave!

A birthday gift for a 90th birthday: What do you get?

My wife’s grandmother turns 90 next month.

But what do you get a woman who’s turning 90? Nana is spry and full of life so somehow an “Official Nonogenerian” t-shirt doesn’t seem quite right.

Twitter and Facebook friends came to the rescue again!

Here are their replies:


Aren’t these great?! What would you add?

Thoughts on turning 37

Today’s a big day for me, not just because it’s Epiphany. It just so happens that 37 years ago today, I was born.

Not that I had much to do with it. Dad and Mom were largely responsible. Mom says it was a very long labor. I’m sure she would’ve preferred doing something else for more than 33 hours!

I just know that, to this day, all my fingers and toes are in the right places. Pretty amazing given the migraine medication my mom was told to take during her pregnancy. Not to mention the presence of a Dalkon Shield!

The odds were certainly stacked against a healthy birth. So, I’ve been thinking a lot today about the hand of God in my life even then.

A co-worker just popped in and said, “Let me be one of 300 to say ‘Happy Birthday.’ The world is a better place because you’re in it.” All I could think of was how honored I am to be here. I’m humbled by what God’s allowed me to accomplish in the first 36 years. And I’m pretty excited about what He’s got instore for the next hundred or so.

And I love that He chose to have me be born on Epiphany. On this day, we celebrate God’s revelation of His incarnate son, Jesus, to the Magi. It would’ve been enough if He’d just come for the Jewish people. But He was so excited, He couldn’t wait to get the word out! So the first leaders to worhsip Jesus were really smart goyim from a long way away.

I want my life to be like that. I want to be used by God to help really smart leaders see His reality in tangible ways in their lives.

And, being born today, I like to think He wants that for me too.

Could your church be caricatured?

Seth Godin has a great post on brands and caricatures.

He points out that to have an effective caricature you need to have “exceptional features” you can accentuate. These become your brand.

He goes on to say:

As Nixon discovered, when the caricature becomes negative, it’s almost impossible to escape (glad I’m not Bob Nardelli or a shareholder at Topps hamburgers). Worse than avoiding the negative, though, is the tendency for most organizations to resist creating a brand that can be caricatured. It doesn’t feel safe or responsible or prudent. Coloring inside the lines and pleasing most of your customers most of the time almost guarantees you’ll be bland.

It’s a lot cheaper and faster and more effective to have a big nose.

What about your church? Could it be caricatured? And could you handle it if it were?

I think the Vineyard Church of Waterville could be caricatured. Check out this 5 minute VCW 3rd Birthday video and see if you agree.