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Kindred Connections, Issue #004 -- Second Place
April 05, 2009

In this newsletter

Editor’s note (That’s ME!)

Recent website additions

A Short Read – “Second Place”

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Editor’s note

{Some of what I've been up to...}

I am pleased to announce that the much-anticipated

Family Reunion Planner

has finally arrived! It's a practical book that acts as both a planner and a guide to help you plan your own family reunion The planner is available in 2 formats: as an e-book for $11.95 or as a wire-bound planner for $19.95 (plus shipping).

Dana reports that:
"Everything is in chronological order and makes perfect sense."
What will you say?

The second news item that brings me great pleasure to announce is - has gone interactive! You now have the ability to share, comment and vote on family reunion ideas, suggestions and stories. And you're invited to join the conversation.

You can also create a web page for your own family reunion right from the site. (How cool is that?) Create reunion conversation with your family by announcing your plans and inviting suggestions. You can even upload pictures. No family reunion plans currently in place? No problem. Use your page to generate excitement and interest. It's easy and there are no fees, contracts or long-term commitments whatsoever. Create your own page here.

Last but not least, I posted 2 new family reunion clip art images for newsletter subscribers. They can be accessed here. If you've forgotten the password, let me know. I'd be happy to send it again.

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback - simply reply to this email. Enjoy the e-zine!

Heritage Makers

I recently created this family tree poster through Heritage Makers for our family reunion. It measures 18"x24" and cost only $14.95. Isn't it great?

family tree

Visit to create an account and make your own personalized project. April is the month to think about Mother's Day and graduation and Heritage Makers offers unique and meaningful gift solutions for both occasions. To learn more, you and your friends are invited to attend this month's online workshops:

April 7th, 10:00 AM, Mountain Time

April 9th, 7:00 PM, Mountain Time

New additions to the website

Storybooking teaches family values, builds self esteem
Storybooking as a family history project identifies ancestral role models, documents family heritage and creates a family legacy. Sign up for a free Heritage Makers account and exclusive templates.

Share your Family Reunion Ideas
Submit your best family reunion idea and rate your favorites for a chance to win a FREE t-shirt. The next winner will be announced May 4th.

Check out the ideas submitted this last week -

Dr. Suess:

Survivor Theme:

Planning a Family Reunion
Planning a family reunion starts with identifying your family’s level of interest and generating excitement.

My Family Heritage: Documenting Family History with Heritage Makers
Documenting your family heritage has never been easier. Heritage Makers believes that when we are clear about where we have been, we become certain of where we are going.

Attend an Online Workshop with Heritage Makers
Online workshop schedule with Heritage Makers. Learn how to complete amazing and beautiful family history projects.

A Short Read

by Lydia Stucki

I hate coming in second place. Maybe it's the competitor in me but I'm an all or nothing kind of gal. I cook on high, drive fast, like to be the first in line and am always tired. Go figure. Striving for perfectionism is an exhausting endeavor!

Wiktionary says "to compete" means to seek the reward for which another is striving. In other words, I want what you want. Why? Well, because you want it. Webster's Dictionary says competition is an active demand by two or more organisms for the same resource in short supply.

While competition can be good for the economy and advantageous for the consumer (Haven't we all gotten a good deal from our favorite store because we used another store's coupon?), it's not so healthy for families. Competition within the family can be all-consuming and debilitating.

I come from a competitive family and the self-induced pressure of "keeping up" hangs like a noose around my neck. I often wonder what my siblings and I are competing over. Is the love and attention from our parents really a limited resource? And, regardless of whether or not that's the case, why do I spend more time worrying about things outside my circle of control than monitoring my own behavior?

Since constantly contending for that perfect first place within the family can release poison, it's time to reevaluate. How do you channel the family’s competitive nature and an individual's competitive drive into something that can strengthen relationships and family bonds?

SPEND TIME TOGETHER. We live in a go-go society and simply "spending time together" is easier said than done. For example, even if you're physically present at the dinner table – are you there emotionally? In his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families," Stephen Covey points out that if you want to change a relationship, you must first change yourself. And no change will take place within the family until family is a priority.

When miles separate you from your extended family, get creative. You'll probably need to do more than just attend the family reunion. Plan on knowing your relatives before you arrive. Between visiting face-to-face, help your children send email to their cousins, create a monthly family letter, or visit via a web cam.

FORM A TEAM. Rather than working against each other, unify as a team and fight together against a common enemy. For example, join the fight against cancer and participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fund raiser. Or work side-by-side on a community service activity such as planting flowers or cleaning a park. Participate in a team athletic event such as a triathlon or basketball tournament – those who don't physically participate can coach or cheer from the sidelines. As the Chinese proverb states, "A family in harmony will prosper in everything."

THINK WIN-WIN-WIN. "Synergy" is a term that describes two people working together on a final outcome that is better than either person could have accomplished on his/her own. Simply stated, it's 1+1=3. We tend to mold people into our own image - expecting them to be or behave a certain way. Instead, we should learn to appreciate and celebrate our differences. Establish new family traditions while practicing the Golden Rule and thinking "we" instead of "me."

It's like gymnastics scoring. Athletes start each routine with a score based on that particular routine's difficulty. Gymnasts then strive to meet that pre-determined number. One athlete's "perfect" score may be lower or higher than another's "perfect" score simply because of where they started. Participants are friendly and encouraging to their opponents because they are competing against a perfect score, not necessarily against each other. There is no defense; only offense.

I'm good at coming in second but not so good at being satisfied with second place. My head is often down - sulking and looking at the accomplishments of friends, family and strangers, when in reality, I should be standing tall and monitoring my own improvements. I should be competing with myself, doing my best and rejoicing in the progress I have made.

That same concept could be applied to the family as a collective group. Rather than focus on the achievements (or lack thereof) of individuals, we should focus on the accomplishments of the group and celebrate the uniqueness of US as compared to the world.

I highly suspect that my individual perception of being in "second place" has really been our family coming in first place all along.

All the best,

{Add meaning. Make memories.}

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