My wife, Judy and I were driving home from St. George Island, FL yesterday and were talking about the twists and turns our lives have taken us. If it weren't for what we thought were the bad times, we wouldn't appreciate the good things we have been blessed with now. We have four grown children, seven grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. As far as we know all of us are in good health.
We live on a small farm in Bonifay, Florida with a few cows, chickens, a dog, and three cats. Our neighbor has a three acre garden that we can have plenty of fresh vegetables to eat whenever we want. We have a new car, a truck and a 5th wheel camper and are able to travel some in our "spare" time. These are some of the things we were talking about being grateful for. But a lot of hard work came along with this.
I grew up on a farm in southern Indiana with Dad, Mom, two brothers, and two sisters. We had a dairy farm, and had to get up about 4:30 in the morning to get the cows ready for milking before running to catch the school bus. We raised beef cattle and when we got home from school, we had to feed the cattle and do our chores and milk the cows again. We filled silos and baled hay for the cattle. We had corn, soy beans, and wheat, and raised a tobacco crop. Early to bed, and early to rise. Dad instilled hard work ethics in all of us and taught us that you can achieve your goals if you work hard, stay focused, and be honest.
I have achieved so much in my life, and wish my Dad and Mom were still alive so I could tell them how grateful I am and how much I appreciate their guidance. At the time I thought they were too strict, but it has paid off with all I have accomplished. It's gratifying to constantly strive to do better.
I joined the Marines when I was 17 thinking it would be better than farm work. But I quickly learned that farm work was a breeze compared to the service. But it made a man out of me, and assured me with gratitude that we live in the best country in the world. That lead me to my passion of flying, and I now have over 10,000 hours of jet time. I was a Colonel in the Georgia Guard for many years, and in the 1990's had a flight school in Georgia and it was gratifying to help others achieve their passion of flying. I have owned several businesses throughout the years, but with each venture led me to something better.
I thoroughly enjoy volunteering to help our community. I worked with the Volunteer Fire Department, the Emergency Management, various functions around town, and at my church as a trustee, and taking care of the sound and video for church service. It is gratifying to help others in their time of need.
Our fluctuating economy through the years took a toll on many companies and changed my direction. I started my own real estate company in 2004 and worked with developers, selling the land for condos, and then selling the condos. I made a mistake by deferring my commissions until the condos were sold, and now I urge agents not to defer commissions. When the housing market crashed, our developers lost their developments and their money along with ours went away. As you know, real estate as we knew it was gone. Instead of laying down and rolling over, I have a drive inside me if one door closes another one opens.
An opportunity came along and we started Rowlett Real Estate School with online courses, and classroom courses in Panama City Beach, Destin, and Pensacola, Florida. It is so gratifying to watch something you have created grow and grow. We are grateful to have had the help of a special friend, Paula Stone, that worked many hours to help us build the school. We couldn't have done it without her. She still works many hours every day with our school and is constantly striving to make our classroom power point the best it can be. She is there to help with anything we need her to do. We are so thankful to have someone to depend on that is so dedicated to our school.
I am grateful for my family and friends, and for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. I told my wife when thinking of all I am grateful for, that there's so many things it's impossible to list them all.
I am grateful the sun came up this morning, and it's another day to work on and achieve my goals.
For 2015, my goal is to complete my new office and video studio we have started building. My plan is to make Rowlett Real Estate School the best real estate school for Florida.