I'll be honest when I first saw Jeff Dowler, CRS July contest What a Difference a Decade Makes – The July Challenge for You! the first feeling I had was sadness, which is so unlike me when it comes to participating in contests. That's how I knew how big the past 10 years have been for me. I gave it a few weeks to look back and consider what had the most meaning to me. There have been a lot of business changes but to me the more important changes are the personal changes, so I'll start with those. I have a feeling it might get a little wordy but it is what is....that's life at times.
My Parents Wedding Day & My Uncle and Aunt
The sad changes are that my beloved Father and 2 brothers died. My Dad was elderly and hadn't been feeling well and had had Alzheimer's for many years, so we had been expecting him to make his transition at some point. My Dad was a huge influencer in my life and to this day I can feel him reminding me of different philosophies, business ideas and ways to create all good in my life. He was a Captain in the Army and a very successful business man. He gave us so many opportunities to be open to new ideas, travel, learn and do all kinds of interesting things. He also taught us how to meet A LOT of people easily from all over the world. He was smart, inclusive of everyone and a very kind man! I could tell a lot of great stories about my Dad but that would take a long time! Love you Dad!
Anna, Mike and Rose
My older brother Mike had had health issues for sometime but appeared to be doing really well a month or so before his death. He enjoyed a week of golfing in Florida and was the life of the party - which was So Mike since we were kids! Since he was doing so well he decided to go to the Dominican after the FL trip to visit my brother Joe. Again he had another great week golfing and he felt great. On the day he was going to return to his home, he passed away suddenly at my brothers home. Needless to say it was quite the shock for all of us. I think of all his 'Mike-isms' a lot!! He was the best big big brother a girl could ever have and I'm grateful for that! I miss his never ending sense of humor. He had a knack for turning funky times into good times. He was so funny and persistently positive! I can still hear his laughter and his smart a** jokes!! Love you Mike!
Pete ( si-keen)!
My youngest (baby) brother Pete had had leukemia but we all thought he was in remission and doing very well. 5+ years later it came back with a vengeance. During that 5+ years we had spend a lot of time traveling and having fun together as a family. My sister was visiting me here in Phoenix and we had had a lovely week together - until. The day before she was going to leave we received the 'call' on Mothers Day. Pete wasn't going to make it and he had a few days to live. What? It turned our lives upside down, needless to say, but we got through it somehow. We all do, don't we...
Pete was bigger than life.....and an absolutely amazing and generous guy! He owned several businesses and was very successful. I swear, everywhere we went people knew Pete (just like my Dad taught us all)! We rented out the country club ballroom for his Celebration of Life as we knew there would be way over 500+ people coming. People came in from all over the country to honor Pete. The stories I heard from a lot of strangers were about all the kind things, big and small, that Pete had done for them. They all felt Pete was their best friend, and he was. There isn't anything he wouldn't do to reach out, be kind and help out however he could. His Celebration of Life was the BEST I've ever experienced!!! Pete loved the Chicago Bears, so you got it, we started the celebration with the Chicago Bears theme song! Everybody stood up and cheered for Pete as if he was coming out of the locker room!!! I still miss him today and I know he's doing fine and going around making a ton of new friends and starting up new projects.That's who Pete was and IS!! Love you Pete!
OK so this post is getting long so I'll try to make the next 7 big changes shorter. I don't want to put you all to sleep!!
In 2009 we had a big office with agents and staff working with us. We started the business in 2006, after being in the business for many years. Low and behold the timing wasn't the best after the real estate market PLUNGED down into an abyss. Money was going out and not much was coming back in. We understood that we had to dump as many expenses as possible so that's what we did to make it through that crazy time. We ate some big losses, which was a first for us, but hey, we managed to keep the business going and work our way up again. In 2010 we gave up the office (gratefully) as our lease was up and moved it back to our home offices, with glee I might add! Most of the agents hadn't faired so well during the down turn and they had to move on to support their families and find another job. By that time we were ready to scale way back with the management end of things. And honestly we love our new business model. We got our life back after that crazy real estate market - and we are very grateful!
Many of us broker/agents could tell horror stories about the days of short sales and foreclosures. All I can say - it really did suck! I liked helping out the folks in tough situations - that was the good part. I was ever so happy four years later when I said I AM SO DONE with short sales. And I never looked back! The business went up up up from that point on! Chose and move....
Another big change was I started having foot issues about 10 or so years ago. So it's been a challenge to learn how to manage the pain and keep on going no matter what. It did take a toll on my weight as I couldn't exercise and hike like I'd always done all of my life. I so miss hiking up and down the hills behind our home! I've recently turned a big corner and figured out what other things I can do without standing on my feet for very long, such as modified yoga and rowing. It's been fun!
SO.... now here's the BEST thing.... in the last 10 years we had 4 grandchildren!!!! We only wish they lived closer to us so we could spoil them on a regular basis. We are thinking of buying a beach home in their state which would be a great adventure! They are a handle to say the least!! And so darn adorable! We facetime with them quite often and it's always a crazy mad house going on in that home- which we love it! It's fun to see each one of their personalities come out and blossom as they grow up! And it will only get better!
Gary is thinking about retiring after many years as a managing engineer with Honeywell. This past 3 months his retirement plan took a sharp right turn. They asked him to take on some airline issues in Europe and a few other places. We're staying here in Phoenix as we love our home and area. He's not sure when he'll make the 'big move' to retire as his new position needs a lot of attention right now. Personally I'll love it when he does retires so he can spend his time 100% on real estate! He's the coolest guy I know, smart, fun, kind and full of adventure! A true gem!
The last of my top ten is definitely ActiveRain! Being part of this community has been an amazing journey, and that wasn't expected at all!!! I've met so many great people over the years and consider them my friends. Many of us get together here in town and around the country. And of course, it goes without saying that I learned how to market online with excellence by participating consistently on ActiveRain. The ActiveRain community is a great place to be!!
Ok if you got this far reading this novel I owe you lunch!!
What a difference 10 years makes....