My Long, Strange Journey

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) DRE# 00949880

I was a very skinny kid.  At least, that is what my parents told me before I had my tonsils removed.  That was the last time anyone called me skinny for a very long time.  I did not get sick much any more and I celebrated with food.  Picture a heavy kid with black, horn rimmed glasses, wild hair and a poor fashion sense.  Add to that my very shy demeanor.  I actually made Raj on The Big Bang Theory talking to a girl seem like he was articulate.  Couple all of the above with the unfortunate word that rhymes with Ray.  It all made for some very bad days. Some days I would run home worried that some big kid would catch me.  Some days the big kid did catch me!  It sounds bad, but I really was blessed.  There were a lot more good days than bad.

Lesson #1

My mom and dad were 18 when I was born so they always worked hard.  It was a great example for me.  My dad worked as a landscaper and painter on his off days, so I was a landscaper and painter.  I remember sweeping the gutter and telling my dad, "Hey, it is fine.  It is just a gutter."  My dad responded, "A great job usually just takes a few minutes more."  Every time I want to take a short cut, his words haunt me in a good way.  It has served me well in life, as well as, business.  If you are going to do a job, do it well.  It does not take that much extra time.

Lesson #2

We were on vacation and my dad was studying to be one of the first paramedics in Stockton, CA.  I was surprised that he was studying so hard on our vacation and I asked him what he needed to pass.  "An A," he said and I was shocked.  He followed up with, "What? Do you want a guy trying to save your life to pass with a C."  Point taken, dad.  I was not a great student, but I worked very hard, surrounded myself with smart friends and I made it through college.  Hard work and persistence overcome a lot of short comings.

Lesson #3

One day, I was invited to an exhibition of Krav Maga, a form of Martial Arts, at my son's Karate Class.  Remember, I was still pretty much afraid of my own shadow, but I was fascinated.  They invited me onto the mat and I was hooked.  It did not go well at first.  I would basically duck and cover, fearful of the consequences.  Adolph, an ex-sparring partner for a professional fighter befriended me.  He was big and fast.  We were sparring one day when I realized why they call boxing the sweetest science.  His movements were beautiful.  My fear had turned into admiration.  Fear goes away if you train long enough.  Yes, his punches and kicks still hurt, but so did mine!  By the way, I am no longer that shy and I can speak in front of a crowd. 

Picture of my Mixed Martial Arts Days

Our instructor, Mr. Patrick Kelly, helping Adolph, Danny and skinny me celebrate our advancement to Black Belt status.

Lesson #4

The Great Recession hit and Mixed Martial Arts had to be cut out of the budget.  Life held some difficult challenges again and I was content to go to work, watch TV, eat and drink beer.  I was gaining weight and, much worse, I was fine with it.  I was watching TV one day when my wife walked in the room and told me to get my tennis shoes on for a running group we had joined, Runnin for Rhett.  This did not go over well with me.  I hated running, but I did go just to humor her.  I figured my knee would hurt and I could get out of it.  I trained with several people that had their own challenges.  Challenges that were even more difficult than mine and they stayed so positive.  They inspired me.  They challenged me to run a 10k.  I did.  They challenged me to run a half marathon.  I did.  They challenged me to run a marathon.  I did!  They challenged me to run an Ultra Marathon.  I did NOT do it!  Hey, I do have certain limits. 😉  In life and in business, it really pays to have a wonderful network of friends that encourage you to work through tough times and stay focused on better days ahead.  My friends Randy and Beth, the founders of Runnin for Rhett, exemplify that more than anyone that I know.  They lost their son to a terrible disease, Cerebral Palsy and turned their loss into a wonderful non-profit organization dedicated to getting kids to Move Into Life!

Runnin for Rhett Race

It is ironic that many of the things that change us come from such unexpected sources.  Who would have ever thought that teaching me to clean a gutter well when I was a little guy would inspire me for life?  It really does not always make sense.  It does reminds me to always be mindful of my actions.  You never know who is watching and how you might make their journey easier.  Is that lesson #5?  Maybe it is the most important lesson.

Russell and Ryder

Thank you, Anna "Banana" Kruchten and Carol Williams for inspiring us with this month's challenge and for all of your hard work hosting it!

Posted by

             eXp Realty of California, Inc

Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, e-Pro

Past Client Testimonials   

3412 Babson Drive

Elk Grove, CA 95758




Comments (46)

Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Ray Henson  loved your response to my comment, when I was a little boy my father used to call me the old man:) so when we went through all the drama I shared yes I grew up fast, Endre

Sep 01, 2023 09:29 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Sep 02, 2023 07:02 PM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

Your father taught you to take pride in your work and it has stayed with you over the years. So many people these days do just the bare minimum to get by but you learned the value of a good work ethic at a young age. He was obviously wise beyond his years.


Sep 02, 2023 08:37 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Roy. Takes a few extra minutes to do ti right! Need an "A" since nobody rally wants the guy who shot a "C"! Your dad ws one smart dude and you followed win his footsteps. Well done! Enjoy your day.

Sep 03, 2023 05:41 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

You are too kind, Kathy Streib!  Thank you for featuring my post!

Sep 03, 2023 05:49 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I feel like I am still too young to raise kids, Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate.  I have no idea how my mom and day did it at 18, then with two kids at 21.  They were just kids themselves. 

Sep 03, 2023 05:51 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you very much, Wayne Martin.  When my friends meet my dad, they think we could be brothers.  After they talk to him a bit, my friends look at me and say, "you are adopted!"  I did follow in his footsteps in a number of ways, but he did a good job letting me, be me.  

Sep 03, 2023 05:53 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Ray,

My take on your life lessons is how much we learn from our parents and how it follows us through life.  You were fortunate to have parents who taught you well.

Sep 03, 2023 09:09 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Thank you for sharing and truly enjoyed your Dad's comment about why studying for an "A" was better than accepting a "C."

Sep 03, 2023 09:48 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Ray, for sharing some of your personal story.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Sep 03, 2023 12:36 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Ray:

I really enjoyed your post and the valuable lessons you learned, all shared with a bit of humor! Your parents, and particularly your Dad, were clearly powerful, positive influences in your life. 


Sep 03, 2023 01:24 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I feel very fortunate, Sheri Sperry - MCNE® and thank you!

It does put things in proper perspective, Leanne Smith and it did keep me buckled down on my own studies. 

Sep 04, 2023 07:56 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you, Roy Kelley.  Our weekend is going very well.  I hope you are having a wonderful extended weekend as well.

I appreciate your thoughts, Jeff Dowler, CRS, thank you.  I have been lucky!

Sep 04, 2023 07:57 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Congratulations on completing the marathon, that is an achievement, as is getting your black belt. Life's lessons always come from unexpected directions, some are easier to learn than others, but yours have been well explained and shared, thank you.

Sep 05, 2023 12:30 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you, Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543.  I think things come to us when are open to them.  Mixed Martial Arts and running were two endeavors that would have never crossed my mind to start.  It makes me wonder what other things that I have never tried that I might enjoy.  

Sep 05, 2023 02:02 PM
Ricardo Mello
Manhattan Miami Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent



Sep 11, 2023 11:10 AM
Ricardo Mello
Manhattan Miami Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent

Great post!

Sep 11, 2023 11:11 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I loved reading your story here - your parents, food, friends - all of it -  It is fun to get to know each other a bit more.  

Sep 13, 2023 01:57 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you, Ricardo Mello!  I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. 

Sep 13, 2023 05:59 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you, Lise Howe.  It is always a challenge deciding which stories to tell and which stories to keep for another day. 

It is good to hear from you and I hope you are doing well!

Sep 13, 2023 06:00 PM