Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer 2009 has been a blur

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stella and Jonas

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stella Elisabeth Mackie. Born June 10, 2009

We’re home! Stella came home from the hospital on Friday. We are all doing extremely well. Christine is feeling great. Big brother Jonas cannot stop talking about his baby sister. He never misses an opportunity to hold his baby sister. It’s just so cute.

Here are a few pictures of Stella’s first two days.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gettin’ Closer!

The Mackie household is on full alert for the arrival of Baby No. 2. Christine put me on notice yesterday that a trip to the hospital could come at any moment. Quite frankly we are surprised we made it through the night. Our bed time reading last night involved going over our birth plan. Better late than never I guess. I sort of expected my lovely wife to say "now would be a time to get serious about this pregnancy Jeff."

The second time around has definitely been less eventful. There have been no emergency trips to the hospital. It has, for the most part, been smooth sailing. Also, our energy has been focused on Jonas. There are moments when I look at Christine and can’t believe she’s almost 39 weeks pregnant.

In some ways I am more excited for the birth of this baby simply because we don’t know if it will be a boy or a girl. Either way, we’ll be ecstatic. We really have no preference. I still believe it will be a boy, mostly because my dad’s side of the family have been giving birth to males for several generations. Only recently was that streak broken when my cousin Greg and his wife Amy had a girl. Who knows? Perhaps it is the start of a new streak.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Let’s talk about the weather

I live in Timmins, Ont., where it has snowed non-stop for two days straight and four of the last five. The temps have been in the -5 C range, with significant wind chills. There are no signs of spring to speak of. We had a week in March in which the temps inched above zero and the snow began to melt. It was heaven. It really was. We are heading to southern Ontario for Easter Weekend and looking so forward to seeing grass, and maybe wearing shows and (gasp) spring jackets. Here is the evidence of our winter of discontent. These were taken on Saturday from our front window.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Today, I started a new job

Since leaving The Hockey News, I’ve bounced around a bit. I’ve been everything except an ivory dealer. Well, I recently accepted a position as an education counsellor with the Credit Counselling Services of Cochrane District. I will be conducting seminars about managing money - a very important topic in today´s tough times. This is a great opportunity for me - eventually I will become a certified credit counsellor and bankruptcy counsellor. I will be counselling people on how to manage their debt.

For those of you scoring at home, I still have three jobs. In addition to the new gig, I’ll still be writing my weekly hockey column and of course there is our health and wellness business that will keep me busy. It’s all good, though, because I still have plenty of time to spend with Jonas. Because the new job is so close to home, I can easily make it home for lunch. I don’t have to leave until 8:15, so I will still get Jonas up and eat breakfast with him. Hopefully I’ll be home by 4:45 most days. It’s a good situation for a working parent.

Christine is now on sick leave from her job. Our doctor suggested it’s best that she rest as much as possible in the three months leading up to delivery. Everything is fine, but the stress of 12 hour nursing shifts, many of them nights, is incredibly hard on the system. The silver lining is that Jonas will still have a parent at home with him. The little guy adjusted well to having me leave early this morning. He kept telling his mommy: "daddy go work." Tonight as we were tucking him in he said: "daddy go work again." It was very cute.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Attitude is Everything

The following is the text of a speech I delivered to Porcupine Toastmasters on Feb. 24. Can you believe I actually enjoy doing this?

Good evening fellow toastmasters and guests.

I stand before you tonight, a man who, until recently, felt frustrated with his lot in life. For a long time my mind was a jumbled mess of negative and self-defeating thoughts. It was as though my feet were stuck in quicksand – no matter how hard I tried to move forward, I just couldn’t get ahead.

After much soul-searching, I came to the conclusion that I was my own worst enemy, that I was the one holding myself back. My intentions were good, I worked hard, and I was honest, but that just wasn’t even enough. Problem was, deep down, I just didn’t believe that I could be successful.

I’ve made a decision, therefore, that 2009 will be a year of change for Jeff Mackie. I’m on a mission, not to find myself, but rather to re-create myself. And the more people who know about my desire to be a better person, the better. That way, my feet will be held to the fire, so to speak.

Tonight I’m going to share with you some of the little things I’m doing differently. On their own, they won’t change my life, but when combined, I’m confident they’ll give me a powerful new outlook.

First of all, I took the advice of sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer, and wrote a personal mission statement and placed it above my desk, where I see it every day. This statement has started me on the road to discovering my purpose for being on this earth. So here it is:

I am Jeff Mackie

I am a father…
I will encourage my children and help them develop self-confidence

I am a husband…
I will treat my wife like my best friend
I will shower her with affection

I am a friend…
I will treat all my friends as though they’re my best friend

I am an entrepreneur…
I will never miss an opportunity to approach someone about a business partnership, for what I have to offer is of great benefit. And when they become customers, I will treat my customers like gold

I am an amazingly positive person…
I will smile often
I will make people laugh
I will sincerely complement others
I will be the person everyone remembers AND
I will be a voracious reader of positive books

I am a hard worker…
I will work when I don’t feel like working AND
I will make good decisions with my time

I am healthy…
I am committed to being a healthy and happy person, both physically and mentally AND
I will exercise my mind, body and spirit on a regular basis

I am Jeff Mackie

Repeating my mission statement over and over again while rehearsing for this speech has really crystallized it my mind. I’m really glad I decided to share it with everyone.

Moving right along, I followed the advice of author and speaker T. Harv Eker, and wrote out a list of 10 things I’m grateful for. I read this list out loud every day. The rationale behind the list is this: until you are truly grateful for what you have, the universe will not give you anything more. Here’s my list of the 10 things I’m grateful for:

1) I am grateful for my wife’s unconditional love.

2) I am grateful for a healthy and happy little boy.

3) I am grateful that my health has improved in recent years.

4) I am grateful that our home is warm and comfortable.

5) I am grateful for my parents support.

6) I am grateful to be Canadian.

7) I am grateful for the love and support of great friends.

8) I am grateful to be living in northern Ontario.

9) I am grateful for the education I’ve received throughout my life.

10) I am grateful for the opportunity to write about hockey – and get paid for it.

That’s my gratitude list. If you don’t already have one, you should. It just takes a few minutes. Say it aloud to yourself at least once a day. Trust me, it will help you feel better about yourself.

Well, I’ve shared with you my mission statement and gratitude list, and now I’m going to share a few other important techniques with you.

First of all, at the end of the day, I highly recommend that you conduct a debrief of your day. Write down one thing that went right, and one thing that went wrong. Then, write the answers to the following question: How did I create each of these situations?

You see, we’re all responsible for own actions, and the actions we take are responsible for the results we get. It’s pretty simple, really. This exercise is an invaluable tool for helping you take personal responsibility for your actions. And it takes just 5 minutes.

Here’s another technique that will help you control your negative thoughts. It might sound a bit crude, but believe me it works. Whenever you catch yourself saying something negative, do this. Whenever we think and say negative things, we’re essentially slitting our throats financially. Now this doesn’t mean we can’t offer constructive criticism, or stand up for ourselves if we’re being taken advantage of. But we do have to pay attention to our tone and body language.

Let me ask everyone a question: Do you want others to think of you as a negative person? I bet the answer for everyone is no. Therefore, we must always be aware of the attitude we’re presenting to others.

There’s no shortage of books to read on the subject of attitude. I’ve mentioned just a couple of them, but there are countless others. In conclusion, I encourage you all to pay more attention to your attitude. Learn how to think more positively. You’ll feel better about yourself – and if done correctly – you’ll be rich before you know it.