Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami

It seems odd that in today's media entrenched society that it would be four days before word reached me of the Tsunami in Asia. It serves to remind me of so many different lessons. Foremost is how narrow the "average" person's area of concern is. When the Towers were hit on 9-11 I was called by nearly everyone I hold dear before the second tower fell. How dare this happen on American soil?!?! Here 11 countries suffer fatalities, over 77,000 counted dead already, billions in damage done. 4 days later I am astonished that no one mentioned it to me.

I went to my husband (he actually gets some news) and said, "What is this about a tsunami?" He casually said, "Yeah, there was a tsunami over in Asia. so?" "SO?!?!?! The death count is expected to rise over 100,000! It was a 9.0 earthquake that caused a tsunami and tidal waves in 11 countries. It hit Africa 6 hours after the earthquake. 6 hours!"

Aparently this was all new to him. He had heard about the disaster but had only registered that something bad happened far way and had nothing directly concerned to anyone he knew. The rest were details blurred out. Sadly, this was not an isolated reaction. Even within my very ruffled self I know deep down I would care more if it had happened in say, Hawaii and hit California. I would be very concern and scared for my friends and family down there. I would have known immediately and been dialing like a mad woman. However are those 100,000 in Asia any less precious than 100,000 American lives? No, they are not.

If you would like to help please check out the list of supporting organizations.

Cute Honey

My Cute Honey is a very talented man. Although a bit strange by "normal" standards, he is the best husband for me possible. He is a great Dad as well. He's fun, thoughtful, loving, and best of all open to suggestions.

Jim has several VERY popular blogs himself: BSDG (for computer geeks), Extrapolated Facts (for fun), Permanent Customers (for businesses) and more!

Check him out!

Who's problems?

It has been said that if we all threw our problems into a giant heap,
and could pick any problems we wanted, we would end up picking our
own. Some say this is because they are familiar. Some say it is
because only we can solve them. Others say it is because they are
ordained of God. I can only come from my own experience, but that
experience has taught me that when I try to take on other people's
problems it does't help them and only weighs me down. However, when I
face my own problems, and deal with those challenges, I grow. Through
this growth I am then able to help people find a way through their
problems and lighten their load. So it would seem that it is always
most beneficial to work through my own problems.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Vivid Vision

Hey Sis.

I'm writing you from the desk in my NEW log home. I am so pumped! I can't wait for you to come visit. Since I know it's hard to schedule a trip I thought I would send you some pictures and descriptions. Enjoy. :)

The first picture is taken as you are coming up the gravel drive. Notice all the trees. Yes, those are leaves mixed with the pines, not like back "home." We are set quite a ways back from the main road. Although there isn't a lot of traffic up here in this part of the mountain, it's still nice to have some space. Besides, it allows for a great veiw of the lake. (picture 2)

Picture 3 is standing in front of the house. The covered parking for the RV and truck are off to the right there. We also built it big enough to keep the wood pile there. We have the garage attatched to the house as well; it's turned sideways so from this picture it looks like that set back part on the left side there. We wanted a big porch. The builders had to motify the roof line some to accomadate the large porch. Isn't it cool? The large window on the left is the "family room" and the one on the right is the "living room." (When we walk in though, you'll see it's all open in this part of the house.) Close your eyes for a minute and imagine you walked up those wooden steps and sat down in that porch swing. We would be sitting out here drinking hot chocolate talking about the kids. You can smell the freshness of the mountain air. You can hear the birds singing, a squirrel climbing a nearby tree, and if you are real still, the stream babbling along about a hundred yards to the south there. You're gonna' love visiting here.

Ok, picture 4. This is standing in the front doorway. In front of you are the stairs going up to the master suite and kids rooms. Like that little landing about 5 steps up. I designed that little turn there. I love it. Also, the "open" loft-style walkway on the second story there was my own doing. It doesn't really come across in the pictures, but there are vaulted ceilings in this part of the house. Also, you can't hear in pictures so I'll tell you we have the house wired with speakers throughout so I keep soft music and nature sounds playing in the backround a lot.
picture 5 is standing on that landing looking at the fireplace in the "living room" area. All that rock work is custom done. I have a real mantel! Can't wait for Christmas! Picture 6 is looking th other way into the "family room." Bookshelves, bean bag chairs, the kids easel and art stuff. Not your typical family room, huh? If you were standing in the "family room" and looked towards the back of the house you would see a door (slightly visible in the earlier picture from the front door.) That is the guest room. It has a queen bed, dresser, a little tv, and a bathroom with shower. That's where you get to stay when you come. :)

OK, if we go upstairs to the left is the door that goes into our room, ok our suite really. Picture 7 is from my door. You can't really see the veiw in this picture, but it is beautiful. It looks smallish from this angel, but the room goes to the right here. Picture 8 is my "sitting area." That door with the big windows goes out onto a balcony. (That's where picture 2 was taken from.) Beyond is the bathroom. Wait until you see it! I love the jetted tub! The walk in shower is big enough for both Jim and I to be in ther with shower heads installed custom for Jim with the head being at 6' 6", not the pipe mind you, the shower head! There are also several "heads" that spray in lots of different directions. It's so cool. ANyway, enough about that.

At the top of the stairs to the right is a little hall. Down there are the kids rooms and their bathroom. The boys sometimes wish we would have built the girls their own bathroom, but the girls are learning to be considerate. It helps that they have their own "vanity area" in their room for hair and make-up. All the men of the house are happy we opted for the instant hot water system and the larger hot water tank. I don't think this thing ever runs out!

Back down stairs. Picture 8 is the dining room. This is shot with my back to the fireplace. I had the half wall built to help break up the space a bit. On the other side of that wall is the kitchen.

Picture 9. This is the kitchen. Marble countertops. Although the main living areas have real wood floors I opted for the highest grade Pergo in here. Tough, stain resistant, scratch proof and cleans very easily. Gotta love it. The island is bigger than normal so all 4 of the kids can eat breakfast there in the morning. We eat at the dining room table in the evening, but mornings they tend to have varying schedules. Check out the flat range top. It is so easy to clean! Tons of cupboards, the world's largest dishwasher, I swear, and a walk-in pantry! It's so cool.

At the back to your left is the "mud room." Picture 10. Sis, you so need one of these. It's fashioned a bit after Trina and Edgar's. It's almost as big as the kids old bedroom. Right by the back door are cubbies and hooks for coats, shoes, backpacks, and anything else they feel the need to bring in and out. The shelves right after that are for sorting their clothes. The washer and dryer are to my left while I am taking the picture so you can't see them. I pull the clothes out of the dryer right onto the folding table. As I fold they get sorted by owner or hung on the bar over the folding table. Then it is everyone's responsibility to put away his or her own clothes. It's working pretty well so far.

So, off the kitchen is the stais leading down to Jim's office and the rec room. The kids have had friends just "hanging out" every week-end for the past 2 months. The pool table and ping pong tables are down there as well as the big screen that Jim decided "the kids would really enjoy." My favorite part is the snack bar area. I had a jukebox put in and a wood dance floor. Just 6x6, but fun none the less.

Next, picture 11, we are out on the back deck. Gas grill, brick fire pit off the side there, lots of built in benches for bar-b-ques. Off to the right where it looks like another door going in the house actually goes into the shop end of the garage. There is a bathroom there with a shower for cleaning up after hot tubbing.

Picture 12 is the last picture. It is in an upper level above the garage. This is our school room. We talked about putting the kids in private schools, but it would be so hard pulling them out for all the traveling we do that we decided on a private tutor for them instead. It helps them a lot to have a seperate place to study and a set schedule. The boys still go part time to a local school for a couple of subjects and sports, but the majority is done here.

So, that's basically the house. Yeah, it's not your dream, but it fits us perfectly. I really look forward to you coming up and seeing it first hand. Next time you have a 3 day week-end perhaps you can fly up. I love you, Sis. Take care.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Real Estate

Well, I am so excited I can hardly belive it. I'm nervous too. Real Estate investing has excited me quite a bit for a couple years now. I've never actually closed a deal in that time, but I have put in a few offers.

I have found a great guy who is willing to teach me while I help him find properties. He knows my market well and is really friendly. He also wants to help me make money while I'm learning. Just "getting back in the game" has me pumped.

I found a wonderful deal yesterday. I have no idea how to get it, but I want it. It's a HUD repo so "creative financing" isn't much of an option. This takes me back to my reoccuring stumbling block, financing. Real Estate is about Find It, Fund It, Flip It. Well, I'm not bad at the first part, and haven't overcome the second part yet, so naturally haven't got to do the third yet. I WILL THOUGH!

My intention is to have at least 5-7 properties by the end of 2005, over 20 by the end of 2006 and 100 units by the ends of 2007. I know this seems "impossible" and crazy. BRING IT ON!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Child's Play

Last year my husband introduced me to a new charity. A young man decided he was fed up with people saying computer gamers were warped angry geeks and yadda yadda so instead of getting angry he decided to prove "them" wrong. He opened a request to the gaming community asking for game systems, games and toys to donate to his local children's hospital. He was BLOWN AWAY by the response. Over $250,000 in toys and cash was donated. It was so incredible! I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

Well, this year it has expanded, and it will only continue to grow. There are now more hospitals to donate to and a partnership has been formed with Amazon. It is all a very cool way to help a lot of sick kids. Check it out at www.childsplaycharity.org

Charades

I live charades. My daughter will be 2 at the end of next month. Our communication is still somewhat lacking. In other words, she speaks but I'm just not getting it. (It's confusing when 'shoe' and 'juice' sound the same. 'Daddy' and 'Doggie' go hand in hand too. They are differentiated by the panting that follows "doggie.") Poor kid just gives up half the time, grabs my hand, pulls me to where I need to be, and points as she repeats whatever it was I didn't understand in the first place. Then we revert to the 'yes/no' thing. "Oh, are you thirsty?" "mmmm" "Did you want water?" "no" "milk?" "no." "juice?" "mmmm" The last one is always accompanied by the proud smile that a mother might use the first time her kid ties her shoe. Well, yeah for me!

The Laundramat

Poor TJ was sick awhile ago; sick enough to throw up on his comforter. This meant a trip to the laundramat. Now, going to do laudry is not real exciting, but taking 3 kids with you can make it quite the challange. Fortunately we have a system worked out. (No, this is by far not the first time.) We go in the morning when it's usually empty and the kids have free run of the place. By the time the clothes go in the dryer the kids are just starting to get bored so out come the Smarties. They have to sit quietly at the table to have their candy, but they just climb right up like little angels.

Well, this time was a tad different. Two things changed. They may seem small, but around here we celebrate all good things. First, Mem was peeking in the front loading washers having a great time smashing her face against the glass door. Then all of a sudden she's straining to climb in the machine saying, "Mine. Mine." I go over to see what she is talking about and she's reaching for a penny. She was perfectly happy taking the penny and letting Mommy have the other 37 cents. Well, isn't that just nice. :)

The other nice thing happened while the clothes were in the dryer. A very nice middle aged hispanic woman came in to do her laundry. She just loved talking with the kids. She just carried on conversations with them as if they were a couple of her best friends. It was cute. (Yes, she gave off a good "vibe," but I stayed close anyway.) Then for no reason at all she TJ if he would like to get a snack out of the machine to share with his sister. So, she just gave him a dollar. She visited with us all a few more minutes then we all went our seperate ways.

It was all in all very cool. We came out with a fresh clean blanket, a bag of Goldfish Pretzels and an extra 63 cents between the 3 of us. I think it was by far our best rip to the laundramat ever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Finding Inner Power

My husband and I just returned from Wealth and Wisdom, a seminar put on by an amazing company, Peak Potentials. The speakers were all amazing and of an astounding calibur. One of the speakers, Paul Scheele, was speaking about the conditioned robot mind that tries to protect us and the infinate intelligence we all have inside us. He said often our "R2" mind protects us from finding our true power by hiding it in our greatest fears. Well, I think he may be right.

Last fall I was privilaged to discover my passion in life. (As of yet I am not sure how it will manifest itself, but I do know what it is.) During the course of the seminar I found myself frequently feeling faint. It was the oddest thing. After watching and pondering it occurred to me this would happen ever time I was feeling moved toward that feeling of purpose and power. Since I was no longer afraid of the power my "R2" had decided to simply shut down my body so I could not experience it. How very creative! However, awareness in the key to change. Once I realized the trigger, I mastered the effect. The remainder of the time if I felt woozy for even a fraction of a second. I would simply choose not to go there and instead felt a great surge of energy.

Discovering this I was able to apply it later. A long time fear of mine has been hypnotism. I hate the idea of not being in control of my mind. Even stage shows were scary, after all they pull people out of the audiance. It was because I instinctively knew my mind is very open to suggestion. I realize now that is a wonderful power. Tell me it is possible to be rich, I belive it. Same for helping people, growing intelligence, buying real estate, starting a business, ect. If someone has done it, it can be done. Well, now I program myself to know if someone else can do it, so can I! My world is about to change incredibly. I am so hyped to see where I am in a year or two. My inner world is changing so my outter world automatically HAS to change! Woo Hoo!

God's Rules

My darling son demonstrated a great compassion and forgiveness to me a while ago. He tries so hard to be my big helper. I asked him to go shut off the tv. Emily, his almost 2 year old sister decided she wanted to watch it. Rather than coming and telling me what was going on, he physically blocked the tv from her. Well, in her mind she took the logical course of action. She bit him on the arm, HARD. He screamed and came running into to my arms. Poor little guy. His arm was already turning purple and you could see the teeth marks deeply. He cried and cried. I explained to him that she didn't know it hurt him. She came in and looked very puzzeled. I showed her the bruise and told her "Owie. You hurt him. Biting hurts." She kissed his arm and hugged him, but of course he was still crying. It hurt really bad.

After a while he calmed down. We put some aloe vera on it, which actually really did help. He forgave her. They went off and played together. I really admired him.

The real lesson for me came later that day. Someone had stopped by for a visit. During that time TJ came out and showed his arm. "Mem bit me. She's little so she doesn't know God's rules." I was a little suprised. I had only said she didn't know better. He went on to explain God says we should be nice and not hurt each other, but Mem didn't know biting would hurt and that's not following God's rules. He still loved her and completely forgave her because he accepted she did not intentionally hurt him.

What a lesson. What if we, as "grown ups" could assume other people don't intend to hurt us? What if we could so quickly forgive others even if they emotionally bruise us? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could acknowledge we aren't all playing by the same rules? The world would be an incredible place if we all accepted there were a set of "God's rules" and all agreed to follow them. TJ created one of our family rules. It reads, "Be nice." Maybe we could just start with that.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Wisdom of a Child

I was watching PBS with my 3 year old son a while ago. In between the shows they have the sponsor messages. This show was sponsored by Chuck E Cheese. They were doing their little plug where they say..."because we know the most important thing a child can learn is how to laugh." He bust out laughing! "That's so silly! You don't learn how to laugh. You just do it!"

How very perceptive.