Saturday, June 30, 2007


Yesterday was a good day. Today might be even better.

Sam and I went with our friend, Gene, to Miami last night to see the Braves and Marlins. Sam and I are big Braves fans. Gene is a Yankees fan, but loves baseball. We had GREAT seats. (Section 142, Row 1, Seats 5-7). Gene gets the tickets, I drive and buy dinner.

The only drawback was that we had planned this months ago. As it turned out, this was also the day of the big iPhone release, I was seriously considered getting one, but then June 29th ended up being the release day, and I was going to a baseball game.

Oh, well. Baseball first.

The Braves hammered the Marlins, 12-3. We had a great time, getting back home just after midnight.

So, this morning I went out to see if there were iPhones left. At minimum I wanted to hold one in the store and try it out.

First stop - the AT&T store in Cape Coral. It is the closest to home. They were out. So, I crossed the bridge into Fort Myers and headed to the Fort Myers AT&T store.

Again, no luck.

I called Trudi (with an in-store iPhone, because I had inadvertently left my phone at home) and she offered to call the Apple Store in Coconut Point to see if they had any left.

While I was waiting, I was listening to a VERY disgruntled new iPhone customer complaining about not being able to sync to iTunes like he was supposed to, and the AT&T manager trying to explain that iTunes is Apple software and she has no way to help him with that.

I stood there remembering some of the negative posts I read before leaving the house, and wondered if it was even a good idea to get one yet.

But, in the end, I ended up going to the Apple Store, where the phones must have been plentiful. And, yes, I ended up purchasing this very expensive phone.

And, yes, it is very cool. The picture was taken with the phone's camera. Not a great camera, but I wish I had had it at the ball game last night.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Girls Night Out

Several factors were at work tonight.

- Sam and Shae are currently at Student Leadership 101 in Orlando.
- Big Bunco night at my house tonight for Trudi and her gang.
- A few weeks ago, we went to Pirates 3 and there was no sound for the first few minutes, so the theater gave everyone a free pass to another show.
- Summer and Sawyer (also known as Daisy and Petal) and I were homeless, looking for something to do.

Which is how we ended up at Evan Almighty.

I've heard this was an outreach film. In fact, at the Willow Conference there was Evan merchandise and "outreach" materials.

Yes, a pretty good version of God was in this, and thankfully, it wasn't Steve Carrell. Despite the title, Morgan Freeman didn't grant any supernatural powers to Evan. Morgan Freeman played it well and it was written well. My only objection was a reference to God being "in all things" - a very Buddhist view of things.

But I don't see the real outreach potential of this, unless you're evangelizing for the Sierra Club. Of course, when you start by equating the Creator to the Creation, I guess outreach becomes what you make it.

There were other good messages about "families sticking together" and Morgan-as-God's assertion that "whatever I do, it's because I love you."

Apart from those good nuggets and some funny bits that made me laugh out loud, the movie was only so-so for me. It didn't make me hate it or love it. But it is safe and enjoyable for the whole family, so I would recommend it. Especially if you have free passes.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cool Idea

This video was shown (legally) at the Willow Arts Conference. The group is "Nickelback" and the song is "Savin' Me." Really cool. You might not like the style of music - although I do - but it has a thought-provoking message.

One of the first things I did when I got home from the conference was purchase this on iTunes.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Picture from the Arts Conference

Finally got some pictures from Rich from our trip to the Willow Arts Conference in Chicago. This is the main lobby outside of the Willow Creek Community Church auditorium. Just another little church struggling to get by.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mother Needs a New Dress

Shae and Sam returned this afternoon from Youth Camp, speaking high praise of the camp speaker, Jason Maupin. They seemed to have a great time. Hopefully the spiritual content was rich.

More remarkably, when I dropped them off Monday morning to board the bus, Shae handed me $40. "This is the 'Mother-needs-a-new-dress Fund'." Apparently, the four kids were disappointed that even though their mother got really nice jewelry for Mother's Day, she didn't get a dress. So, they each chipped in, and wanted me to go buy her a dress for this Sunday.

I wasn't sure that I really wanted to. I wanted Trudi to have new clothes - I didn't really want the kids to have to pay for it. I decided that it was a great thing for them to do.

But this week was busy. So I waited until today, and when they got back from camp, I took Shae to the store so she could pick out the dress.

Trudi loved it. She looks great in it.

We've got great kids.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Home Again

We arrived back in Fort Myers late last night after a good trip and good conference in Chicago. It got off to a rough start, because of my mistake.

Originally, our group was to include Ray, the guy who heads up our set construction for Scrooge. I had Ray scheduled for set building workshops at the Arts Conference. However, things changed for him, and he had to back out at the last minute.

So, we added Mark, our music pastor, to take his place. But AirTran wouldn't let us simply change the name on the ticket - we had to cancel Ray's ticket and purchase a ticket for Mark.

I had been through the process of purchasing a ticket for Mark twice before actually attempting to purchase - first, to check the price, and second, to re-check the price. On my third time through I was going to purchase, but something happened in the system and it gave me an error message. So, now it's my fourth time through, I've picked the correct flights three times in a row, so I don't look too closely at what I'm selecting. My time is running out and I need to get home to pack. Bang - I get the tickets, send Mark a copy of the confirmation and run to get my stuff so we can get to the airport.

When we get to the airport, Mark has to check one bag, and we all go to the gate to wait for our flight out of Fort Myers. That's when Mark discovers that although we are all on the same flight to Atlanta, his flight to Chicago is TWO HOURS after ours. We are scheduled to arrive at 9:30pm - he's not scheduled to arrive until midnight.

We didn't have time to address it, because boarding began, so we figured we'd fix it in Atlanta. In Atlanta it just got worse.

That's where we found out that once you check a bag, you can't change flights. I should have remembered that from an episode of The Amazing Race.

Then delays started happening. Our flight got pushed back - but so did Mark's.

In the end, we landed in Chicago about midnight. Rich and I took everyone to the hotel - about 50 minutes from the airport - then returned to the airport to pick up Mark, when his plane landed about 2am. We got in bed about 3am - 4am our time.

Thankfully, things improved from there.

I told my nephew, Luke, this story. This was his reaction.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pier Pressure

Hello from the Windy City...although I haven't felt much wind, but we did see the city tonight!

I'm here with Rich, Trish, MJ, Jon and Mark for the Willow Arts Conference. It's been a good conference and I think everyone has enjoyed it. The conference began yesterday, we went to Willow's New Community service last night, more conference today, but tonight was free.

So we took a very long ride into the city to find something to eat. One long traffic jam and many minutes later and we ended up at the Navy Pier. We ate at Joe's Be-Bop Cafe & Jazz Emporium. We had a good time, laughed a lot, ate a lot, then headed back to the hotel for the night.

Tomorrow we end the conference, then fly back home. I hope to have some pictures posted in the next few days. (This one's not mine...borrowed off the web.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Christi is the sister of my wife, Trudi.


She died a year ago today, succumbing to a brain aneurysm.

But I won't say she was Trudi's (and Julie's) sister. She still is.

Not only is she still alive with Jesus, but I see her quite frequently in the mannerisms of Trudi and my three girls. (Yes, Shae, you, too.) You can hear her in the inflections of their voices, especially when they are excited about something. I see her in the intensity my girls sometimes display when happy, angry, disappointed, or delighted.

We see her all the time, yet we still miss her.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy Birthday!

I'm in another airport. Atlanta Hartsfield. It's 9:15pm - our flight was supposed to leave at 8:10pm - and we're waiting for some sign that we might leave soon.

But this post is for my sister, Tammy. Happy Birthday, Tam! This is the only picture I have with me - I offloaded all my other pictures onto an external drive that's not available at the moment. She's probably glad I don't have access to any of those.

I won't say how old she is, but 1970 was a long time ago.

Like I said in my last post, I seem to have an overload of birth and death things on my mind at the moment. That's not a bad thing. Thinking about life and death in a healthy way can keep you focused on what's important. It doesn't have to be morbid.

Birthdays - rather, your original birth day - is one of the beginning steps to your death day. Okay, that might be a little morbid. Trite, but true - you don't live forever - at least not in this life.

But your birth day is also one of the beginning steps in your forever days. Eternity is out there. The only question is how you plan to spend it - with whom and where.

This would be the Rev part of RevMcGator - are you living right now with your eternity in mind? Live everyday as a birthday - a new birth day, in the realization that every day God gives us the opportunity to live out the reality of the new birth of grace we experience in him.

{We finally left Atlanta just after 10pm. But the rest is a story for another day.}

Monday, June 11, 2007

What's so interesting about an empty sky?

In less than 20 posts it seems I've been doing a lot of writing about life and death. With our summer schedule, and the things that have been happening, it's almost unavoidable.

Tomorrow I leave with five others for the Willow Arts Conference in Chicago. Another departure. We fly AirTran, not the most luxurious airline around. We're all looking forward to this. It should be fun - even if I have to go without Trudi {frown}.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my friend, Bob Bean, passed away last week. Tonight we attended the memorial service. I was privileged to have a small part, representing the family and sharing their words with the congregation. Although I've spent the last week thinking very hard about what I would say, and what personal anecdotes I might share, I ended up not saying very much at all.

For one thing, there were four preachers behind me that were all going to take a turn, so I didn't want to preach. And most of the stories I could think of wouldn't have meant a whole lot to anyone else. After I sat down, I wished I could've had another shot at it. (There's a lesson in that, isn't there?)

Mentally, and maybe a little emotionally, I was having a bit of a battle with the whole thing - and not like you would think.

Part of the problem was, I wasn't sad. I'm still not. Maybe I will be. But I haven't been able to see Bob a lot in the last few years, so I'm used to him not being around. And I know that he is one gatrillion percent happier right now.

I realized as I was coming home - and maybe I've heard this illustration somewhere, but I don't remember - that it was sort of like going to the airport and seeing a relative depart. There are hugs and best wishes, and perhaps some tears. You watch them walk through security and towards the gate. You might wait and watch the plane take off. Then you stand around and talk with the rest of the family awhile, stopping by Starbucks on your way out, and drive home.

That was what the hospital was like.

The memorial service was like going to the airport a week later, standing in the terminal, talking about what it was like before we went to the airport the first time, and how we're dealing with the departure. We might see other planes taking off, but he's not on any of them. He left a week ago.

We're just standing there, looking out the window at an empty sky.

Yes, just like Acts 1. "Why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky?"

Luke doesn't record the disciples' verbal answer. It was probably something like, "Um...we were just - thinking. Remembering. Wondering. (pause) I guess we better get going."

Me, too.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Odds and Ends

Thanks to everyone who has expressed their opinion in the current poll (The big blue one on the right side of the main page.) There's still time to vote. I'd love to know what you think. About this.

Thanks to Shae, I've changed the settings on this blog so anyone can leave a comment, without having a Google account. Love the comments. The one restriction I have is that I moderate every comment. That just means that I make sure no one is spamming the blog - I won't change anything you write.

Don't know how you feel about it, but an unnamed family member is a little skittish about the whole blog thing and the posting of family pictures and names and such. Hmm. I obviously don't agree, but I'm not willing to start a fight, either. I'll have to think some more about that.

In the meantime, thought I'd post one more family pic.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Our Place

No picture with this post - but there is a new poll!

The question I asked myself was - if our family were to have a website, what would the name be?

For some reason - I can't remember why - I went to bed last night wondering if my name was available as a dot com domain. That is, is available? (It's not, although no website comes up when you go there.) How about (No.)

That made me ponder...if our family - me, Trudi, Shae, Sam, Summer, and Sawyer - were to have their own web site, what would it be called? So, I set some ground rules...

- It would be a .com - not a .net, .org, or any other dot something. A website with a .com just sounds better.
- It has to be relatively short. You don't want to have to enter a long name. That eliminates That was Summer's first suggestion. (It's available.)
- It has to be easy to understand when you say it. You don't want to have to spell it out every time you say it. is short, but you would definitely have to spell it out when you're telling someone about it. (Say it out loud. See?)
- It has to be easy to spell. Shae's favorite was Could you spell it without looking at it?
- It has to relate to our family somehow.
- It has to be available.

With those basic ground rules, I came up with a short list of possibilities and created a poll for everyone to vote on. That's what you see on the right side of this page. Here is a brief explanation or comment on each choice.

- McDanielTribe. I think that was a Shae suggestion.
- McDanielNation. Like GatorNation.
- McDanielCentral. Basic.
- McDanielSix. It's already Trudi's web address, so we have a connection.
- TimandTrudi. Eventually the kids will be gone and have their own web sites.
- GatorMonkeys. On the other hand, they're still here, and they've always been my little monkeys.
- SixMcs. Pronounced "sixmix", thereby violating rule #3, but it sounds nice.
- Other. That's what you choose when you have a better idea.


Please vote. I'd love to know what you think. And if you come up with a better name, let me know. Either send me an email or post it in the comments. Don't know that we'll ever use it, but it'll be fun for me to think about.

(The poll generator lets you vote once a day. The poll results page comes with ads...not mine, just part of the poll generator.)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

...and Onward!

I'm Mr. Mom for the next couple days as Trudi helps her Mom in Wildwood.

Today's picture is of Summer, the dodgeball queen, and Sawyer, the 7-year-old princess. I was picking them up from Upward camp at the church. After a rough first day of camp - neither of them wanted to go back - they have enjoyed the rest of the week.

Sam has also been there, working as one of the camp leaders.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Growing Up

[With this post I will attempt to make it standard practice to include some piece of media (picture, video, cartoon, etc.) with every post. This was suggested by Jason Van Orden in one of his recent podcasts. Good idea.]

Congratulations to Nathan and Brandi on their recent engagement. For those that don't know, Nathan is my nephew and Brandy is his lovely Oklahoma bride-to-be. (Notice the multiple spellings of Brandie, since I don't know how she spells it. Maybe I should just wait until she spells it M-r-s G-r-i-e-p-p)

Yes, that's Nathan on the right.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Blessed are Those That Haven't Seen...

More departures and arrivals.

This could be the theme for the summer, since I have a few more trips to make. Just noticed the time, and realized that Sunday has turned to Monday. It was an eventful Sunday.

Starting from the end and working my way backwards...

Looks like Billy Donovan might be having a change of heart (and budget) and staying with the Gators after all. I thought his leaving was good for him. I would've been upset had he left the Gators for Kenyucky or some other rival, but had no problem with leaving for the NBA. (and I like Dwight Howard.) So is he really staying with the Gators?

I'll believe it when I see it. (I don't know Billy.)

Shae returned from El Salvador. They had a great time and gained perspective. I'll be looking at her pictures tomorrow. Maybe she'll let me share one for the blog. Several people told me how impressed they were with her on the trip.

I wasn't there to see it, but I believe it. (I know her.)

My friend, Bob Bean, whom I spoke of in an earlier post, passed away Sunday at 3pm. Trudi and I were privileged to be there with his wife, Chris, and their son, Willie, as Bob officially went to be with the Lord.

It was very painful on the one hand, experiencing the pain of separation. And, of course, it was joyful to know that Bob is where he most longed to be, with God.

I've never been there, but I believe it. (I know them both)

The Lukester

My nephew, Luke. His appearance in this blog is overdue. Future Hall-of-Famer. The picture isn't the most recent, but it's still cute.