Thursday, May 21, 2009

If I could do my wedding over again tips!

Wedding Tips- If I could do it all over again!

1. Go for the dress that you like not the replica of one you think looked good on your friend at her wedding.  Yes, the replica is less expensive but when you see this dress modeled in a fashion bride show and you think "hideous" let that be a clue should take it back immediately! You'll feel better about your choice years later.
2. Hire a better florist who actually listens to one's desires or she may hear "fake tulip drooping down in front of bouquet" instead of "I don't want any fake flowers in my bouquet." This will also lead to the bride and bridesmaid putting together their own bouquets on the day of the wedding.  
3. Hire a good Photographer and preferably one that was not formally an EXPERT at team photos, this will avoid lining up the wedding party from tallest to shortest and taking the group "team wedding shot with basketball..I mean" ugly fake flower bouquet in the middle.  Also, this will avoid having the top of your new father-in-law's head cut off a picture.                                                                                      Team Spears 1995
4. It's always good to double check that the church has not booked  a funeral right after your wedding... this really does not set a good tone for any of the parties involved especially for guests going to both.
5. Give a better itinerary to the father of the bride so he doesn't announce to the guests- "When the Bride and Groom are ready to leave we are going to line up on either side with balloons" In the commotion of everything, people will only hear "we are going to line up now" leaving the bride and groom alone in the reception area wondering where everyone went?
6.  Be sure your luggage is in the right car... if you don't you will get to the hotel and most likely have to sit in the room watching "Bay watch" in your wedding dress (not part of the dream honeymoon plan) why your new groom awkwardly coordinates with the person (brother's girl-friend) who has kindly delivered the the car with the luggage.  It will at least take the whole episode to finally get things settled.
7. When high school students say they are coming to your wedding don't order extra anything.. they most likely will not ALL follow through (which is really understandable) and you will end up with 3 extra sheet cakes.  In fact.. cake is way over rated anyway.
8. When your sister the maid of honor is 7 mo pregnant, don't try and camouflage the look by putting a matching jacket over her bridesmaid dress.. this will only make her feel more huge and look awkward in the pictures. (I didn't say this she did)
9. When the flower girl is 3 and having a tantrum RIGHT before the wedding because it is her "nap time" the mom should bribe her with a bike, she'll be smiling the whole way down the isle and the rest of the day!
10.  The one thing I wouldn't change is the awesome man I married! We celebrated 14 years May 20, 2009.  I think the biggest challenges through our marriage were the years we lost 3 pregnancies one being our middle son Luke's twin, and the emotional strain each loss, each pregnancy, each new baby brought.  Having 3 kids under 4 at one time brought the craziest days but also many fun memories and such a joy to our life.  Our relationship with God and Him being the glue has gotten us through different trials and knowing that our hope is in Him and not letting the little or big things alter our commitment to each-other.  On the days we have not gotten along or we're forgetting the big picture... I remember that Ward chose me to be his wife, he asked me, he didn't have to, he wanted to.  It is in those moments I really feel truly thankful and usually get my attitude in line :).  Interesting how that is a similar picture of how God chooses us and yet sometimes we can take that relationship for granted... amazingly.
May 20th 1995

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Free Thinkers" bring back 80's Neon with a punch!

"You went to Journey's!!" was the excited words when my 11 yr. old opened her birthday gift. I bought Reebok high-tops which were very similar to the one's I may have bought 25 or so years ago, you know.. the one's made popular by the movie "Flashdance?" However, these had bright, I mean, BRIGHT Neon colors on them, an assumed improvement for this generation of "free thinkers". Every where I looked I saw pieces of my past with new face lifts by designers who obviously have way more freedom than the 80's designers who were giddy about hearts in a row teddy bears on a sweater, something every young girl would buy, and they did. I'm waiting for the singer famed 80's singers Tiffany or Debbie Gibson to appear on Amercian Idol as the NEW break out artist. Maybe they will teach this generation how to properly use hair spray to form the perfect wall of bangs.
So we head back to Journey's to exchange the shoes for just the right pair. It is really hard to control my tongue when shopping with my daughter. After all I want her to feel like she has her own thing goin' on, and she does... it's just that the styles are not's just the "distant cousin" of my generation, which finally in the 90's we were really glad it was gone! I'm really concerned about the day we all think it might be ok to wear parachute pants again. Thankfully, I'm blogging this warning so that if ever needed to look back I can remind myself parachute pants on anyone is not a good move EVEN if the fabric is fun and newly improved.
As we left with her new shoes, her feeling "cool" we both had to laugh as she started waddling (much like you see these boys with the low pants). She said "gosh these are kind of clunky". Her skinny little legs extenuated by these big clunky shoes and skinny jeans, looked like if the wind hit her just right she might cause quite the scene. As I watched her waddle to the car I couldn't help giggle and remember what it was like back many years ago when I was a pre-teen trying to figure life out, trying to be myself but mostly following the trend. I was a lot homelier than my daughter ever will be. At eleven I looked like a female version of Howdy Doody... but strangely enough was ok with that. Funny how life comes full circle reminding of us of where we've been and how we became who we are today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

We All Have Our Fears-Letters From Dad

 WE ALL HAVE OUR FEARS- Mick Hergert 2009


Tradition is something many of us hold dear to our hearts.  Sometimes

traditions last for a long time, or they can be short, transitory

episodes of one’s life that when looked back upon, are remembered more

fondly than traditions that go on year after year.

 When my wife Donna and I started attending the Oregon State fair, we

enjoyed the variety of things to see and do, the animals, exhibits,

various foods, entertainment, and of course the people who make up

much of rural Oregon.

Naturally we wanted our two oldest grandchildren, Chelsea and Jake to

go with us at about the time they could begin to appreciate and

understand some of the things that drew us there. Somewhere in those

years a tradition began, and as Chelsea and Jake became older, and

other activities would not allow them to accompany us, they were

replaced by other eager grandchildren, who found out that grandpa and

grandma were paying for all the rides, food, and goodies that were

allowed them by their parents.  Many were the times, when Donna and I

were leading three to five little ones around the fairgrounds from

ride to ride, and food booth to food booth.  And when we left the

fairgrounds, usually when it was growing dark, we would all troop,

generally in a happy mood, to the car with whatever souvenir those

small hands could carry.

It was on one of those early forays to the state fair that I learned a

lesson from Jake that I have never forgotten.  I have only recently

come to realize the truth of what he told me that day .

It was a beautiful August evening, the sun was below the western

horizon, and all of the evening lights were turned on in the

fairgrounds.  It was a brilliant and colorful end to the day.  I

suggested that we ride the gondola cars, an aerial tram thirty feet

above the ground, over to the other side of the fairgrounds.  Jake and

I captured a gondola and my wife and Chelsea took the one behind us.

It was one of those magical moments in time that you get with your

grandchild alone, that you can talk with them of many things, and you

have time for it.

As we were moving at a leisurely pace, high above the fair-goers, we

could see all the movements below and around us.  The rides, lit up

around the grounds, were easily visible.  As Jake and I chatted about

the day and the activities of the summer, I couldn’t help but notice

in the distance the brightly lit Ferris wheel.  I pointed it out to

Jake and as he looked at it I asked the question: “Jake, would you

like to go on that Ferris wheel?”  He turned directly to me, his blueeyes looking into mine, 

hesitating, as if thinking about what he

thought I might want to hear, and then said “no”.  He turned away, and

I asked him “why?”  Turning back and without  hesitation he said

“Papa, we all have our fears”.

How profound for a second grader. We certainly do have our fears.

Some are real and some imagined.  Nonetheless, real in our own world

view. Fear will stalk us, try to overtake our souls, and inevitably

paralyze us from living, if it can.  Most of us have trouble

describing the emotion of fear adequately, but we all know when we

feel it.  It can be a cold dread that sweeps over us, a foreboding

feeling that something is not right, or a sense that something bad is

going to happen.   It is the unknown of something, the uncontrollable

“thing” out there, the unseen.

Fear is almost like a person.  You can see him in other people’s eyes,

their actions, and their words.  Fear has sat with countless soldiers

in foxholes , in prisons, in dark alleys, in homes, on the athletic

field, and in Ferris wheel seats.  It sometimes runs right at you, or

is in the form of an inanimate object, like a baseball coming at your

head at 90 miles and hour, or an elevator door.  It is proportional to

one’s situation, but none the less, very real.  How we respond to fear

is a good measure of the internal peace that we may or may not possess.

Sometimes fear is good.  It can keep us out of trouble.  We can fear

things or situations that are seen as well as unseen and make

decisions not to engage in an activity for fear of harm in some way.

That was Jake’s fear.

In February of 2009 I experienced a ventricular fibrillation attack of

the heart that  was a near death experience. Fortunately, I had a

defibrillator device in my chest, implanted the year before because of

previous heart problems, that brought me back from certain death.  I

describe this experience as “Ten Seconds From Eternity”, the time it

took for the entire episode to play out.

 I don’t know when it hit me, but at some point in the following days

I began to feel tentative about myself.  A thought would come that the

next step, the next word, anywhere and anytime, could once again be

the overwhelming cloud of unconsciousness I experienced.  It was

especially evident when I approached the elevator doors in my office

building, the scene of my attack.

I returned to work searching to find a reason for what happened since

the doctors said that it was an “unknown episode with no known cause”

and it could happen again.  I thought that an electrical field around

the building elevator was the culprit, setting off my device since I

had previously been instructed not to operate chain saws or power

equipment close to my chest, or even lean over a running auto engine.

I felt that there was a time bomb sitting in my chest, waiting for the

right circumstance to detonate it.  I thought there must be a rational

or physical reason in spite of what the doctors said about this

trauma.  The only solace or comfort I felt was knowing that I had a

“paramedic” in my chest, but I was still fearing another traumatic

episode because of the violent nature of de-fibrillation.

I approached the elevator doors where “it” all happened.  I hesitated,

stretching my right hand for the up button.  Then I felt something in

the base of the neck and it began to go up into my head.  I stepped

back in fear, thinking that “I was right”.  I stepped back a few more

feet, my head cleared, the elevator door opened and I rushed in to

escape the area, not thinking that if there was an electrical field

force of some type, it had to be in the elevator also.  I stepped onto

the third floor, relieved and realizing it was my body responding to


The feelings of the first day diminished over the next two days. By

then I was charging up to those big doors praying that the they would

open immediately,  which they did to my relief.  Then, one week later,

I had to wait.  The elevator is not a fast one.  It is the slowest in

America.  I often told fellow riders that you could brew and drink a

cup of coffee before you went the three floors, up or down.

When the elevator doors would not open immediately, my fear processes

started and then stopped, as the thought came to me, “who is in

control here, is it God or is it the author of fear?”  Knowing this, I

finally felt freed up and have been able to boldly approach that

elevator with a reminder of God’s presence.

The scriptures are full of references to fear.  The Angel of the Lord

said “fear not” or “do not be afraid” to Zechariah, to the shepherds,

to Mary, and to Joseph.  The beautiful 23rd Psalm says “ I will fear

no evil, for you are with me” and the 27th Psalm starts with “The Lord

is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear, the Lord is the

stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”

Fear can be impelling to death, or it can be as insignificant as the

fear of failing a task.  It doesn’t matter, fear is fear.  And it

causes our body to respond in strange ways, like paralysis, tight

muscles, crying, nervous laughter, a tense neck, we all identify with

that. The Bible tells us in 1st Timothy 1 Vs.7.  “God has not given us

a spirit of fear, BUT a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, and a SOUND MIND”. 

Is this just a feel good verse, or can it be a reality in our lives?

How do we deal with this spirit when we know it is coming upon us and

the flesh gets in the way?

When Jake and I were in the gondola talking about fear, his immature

mind couldn’t grasp the thought of his fear as being silly, and out of

proportion.  It was out there and he didn’t want anything to do with

it.  I couldn’t just say, “ Jake, get over it, God will take care of

us”, because it still happens to me, to all of us, and at different

times and circumstances in our lives, especially at night. As a player

and coach in athletics, I knew what fear could do to a player.  The

step is not as quick, the intensity is lower, thinking functions

diminish, rationalization occurs, and if things are going to go wrong,

they do.

Psalm 91 speaks of dwelling with the Most High, resting in the shadow

of the Almighty, the declaration that He is our refuge and fortress, a

God we can trust, and in vs.5, 

“We will not fear the terror of the


For me fear penetrates most deeply in the dark of night.  It is that

same fear that drives me to the Lord more intimately  with my own

tears of worship, lying on my back, my arms up raised, singing in my

mind to not wake my wife, and praying to our Lord for His will to be

done in my life.

Fear is not always an isolated event .  It spills over to those

closest to us.  Over the last ten years, since my heart attack at age

57, my wife has had to face her fears, like the five times that she

has followed an ambulance with me in it, and what  a phone call may

bring.  Fear does not have to defeat us. First John 4:18 says that

“perfect love drives out fear.”  Who represents perfect love?  I give

you one guess.  You are right, good job!  Fear is real and lives in us

almost daily, but it will not defeat us if we know who our redeemer is.

Fears will come and go depending on the circumstances. BUT, are we

more than conquerors?  Romans 8:37 says “in all things we are more

than conquerors through Him who loved us”, and Vs 38 & 39 , “that

neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present

or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything

else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God

that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.  Isn’t that powerful?  They are my

favorite life verses.

I pray that someday I will have another gondola-like experience with

Jake, or one of the other seven grandchildren, when they turn to me in

their innocence to express their fears,  . . . or even their joys,

hopes, and dreams of life.

Mick Hergert    March 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Economic Stimulus Plan..Ditch the Party Bags!!

Ok.. so that might seem a little harsh and shocking to "gifted" party planners, but after putting on several parties for our kids I have decided party bags, favors, and parting gifts, whatever you may call them, are completely over-rated, unnecessary, and WAY too expensive. In fact throwing an "acceptable" kids party has evolved into a monster of a task, especially when the comparison parties seem to be bigger, better, more expensive, more more MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!! augh I'm already tired and broke thinking about it.
Remember going to parties when you were a kid? I was invited to only a few parties of our neighborhood friends. We wore our best party dress, brought a small gift, wrapped it in the comics newspaper and off we went.
We looked forward to arriving at the birthday friend's house (of all things imagine a party at a house), played the usual pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs

where there was only ONE winner for each game.
That person got a very small prize, usually a color book, super ball or a pencil. After games we went into small kitchen crowded around for the homemade cake, vanilla ice cream, sang the song, and then got in a circle to watch our birthday friend open gifts, which most gifts were never duplicates because most kids only got things on their Birthday and Christmas. That was it! The funny thing is that it was fine that THAT WAS IT! I didn't expect anything in return for coming to the party because it WASN'T MY BIRTHDAY! interesting concept! (picture of my friend Sara and me at my 5th birthday holding my home-made "bird" cake. Way to go mom!)

Fast forward about twenty years, somewhere along the line of parties some clever little mom with a nanny and personal assistant had an idea! NOW we have to have a theme and with that theme comes, matching plates, napkins, cakes, balloons, table clothes, and every party favor to go along with it, and of course the games coincide with the theme and each guest is sent home with a wonderfully thought out parting gift. "WHAT?? who came up with the parting gift for the guests, I've never heard of that and how much?" was my husband's response. I don't blame him at approximately $5 a kid that adds up quick and of course when they get into school the new rule is you have invite everyone in the class to be politically correct and make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. That element always brings confusion of how many party bags, who did and didn't R.S.V.P and "OH NO" someone showed up and didn't R.S.V.P. and I don't have a party bag for them!" Home party grand total = $200.00 and one sad kid who's mom forgot to R.S.V.P and left without his party loot. I thought I was saving money doing the home party option, which is why suddenly the home party started losing its appeal to many. After all, for about the same price you can go to the bowling alley and they even clean up. Well, sooner than later that was scooped up by marketing too and the cost for any party outside the home will run about $150-250 plus extra food and party bags! Seriously?? that is after I spent a lot already on gifts for the my own child!
After 3 kids and several parties trying to be creative and "top" the previous ideas, I decided to put that party fiasco to a halt!!! Unfortunately, my youngest feels he got the short end of the stick here so we are careful not to show him old pictures of past parties.

I really am amazed (astonished really) when I go through a back pack after school and find a blank envelope with a invite inside to a kid party from a random kid in the class that I don't think has ever said "BOO" to my child until now. Sorry... not going to shell out $15 bucks on that one! Which brings me to my other point.. what in the world do we buy friends we hardly know, who have everything, who only play video games, and that will pass the test of "cool gift" for $10-15! It's one thing if they are actually friends but seriously this "invite everyone " has gotten way out of hand. Just invite a few and REALLY we are totally ok with not getting invited, and totally ok that our kids don't connect on a deeper level at age 6.. it's really ok!!
About a month ago, my two boys were invited to a new friends party they didn't k
now very well, but none the less wanted to go to the party. There was no RSVP on the invite, just instructions to the house "call if you have questions." Well... we showed up and asked when the boys should be picked up? Much to my surprise the dad said "oh whenever", it was 5:30 so I'm thinking hmm.. 7? 7:30? "What about 7:30" I offered, he said surprised "OH at the earliest really just whenever" so I said "oh about next week"? That's where the "whenever game" stopped and I was given a strange look. So we decided that 8:15 would be a healthy pick up time. When we got there, kids of all ages were running around, there were a ton of finger foods, and lots of adults mingling, wow it was a normal party how odd for 2009! There was no theme, just a bunch of friends and family getting together for a chance to play and have fun together in honor of their son's birthday. My boys came home without a party bag, no candy, full tummies, sweaty hair and clothes from all the chasing and said "that was the most awesomeist party!"
Kudos to those parents who didn't get trapped into the "marketing" of putting on a child's birthday but just made it an enjoyable normal birthday with no grand finally. I wish I could do it all over again and not create the expectations of a "good party" that my kids seem to have. Hopefully this will be a warning to new parents of what not to do, even though m
arketing and the movies does such a great job of making it look worth and the thing you HAVE to do for happiness. How about we wrap that lie up, put it in a HUGE party bag!