Archives for December 2007

April Doesn’t Want Your Kids to be Stupid Either

I wish I could tell you that Lani and I planned these postings – but that would suggest far more organization than we even come close to having. Nevertheless, Lani penned a great post inspired by a Lifehacker find of Wendy Piersall’s Educational Games for Kids. I will follow up with one inspired by the newest Joyful Jubilant Learning author, Angela (not her first name) Maiers. Angela also writes a blog of her own – you should go check it out.

First, the video

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As a parent, I find the data shocking. Unfortunately, I know little about how to combat it. The major reason for this post is to do the same thing as Angela did – ask for ideas. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere…bureaucracy maybe…I don’t know. But there has to be a proactive idea out there that has worked.

I am wondering – is it time to reinvent the wheel? Or, has it already been done and not enough people know about it?

I know I have some educators, parents, and all around smart folks that honor me with visits here. If ever there was a time to kick in your two cents – now is it.

Turn Around Tuesday – Christmas Edition

Charlie Brown: Isn’t there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?

Linus: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'”.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

-A Charlie Brown Christmas(1965)

From our family to yours, we wish the warmest of holidays and the grandest of celebrations. May this day be full of love, peace and good will that lingers over into tomorrow.

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

The Best Christmas Present!

Christmas is always a special time of the year. Spending time with family is always a great treat.

This year, our family has grown. Saturday, my baby sister and her husband welcomed my niece, Phylisa, into the world. She was a bit early, and at 4lbs, 7ozs, she will need a little extra attention. But, she and mom are both healthy and beautiful.

Merry Christmas, Phylisa!

Christmas Eve Instructions

Those versed in the military way of life will appreciate this. Those who aren’t, I am sorry I had to post this. I recieved this from a client of mine whose husband is currently serving in Iraq.

JaeLynn – Thank you! Many blessings you and Seth. I hope he enjoyed the coffee and can share a cup with you very soon. He is always in our thoughts.

MEMORANDUM FROM: MG CLAUS, Commander, Joint Arctic Operations Detachment

Subject: Distinguished Visitor
Date: Sunday, 16 December, 2007

1. An official visit by MG Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December 2007. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during the visit:

a. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This will include indigenous mice. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions will be obtained through normal command channels. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the office of OSURG, Veterinary Services.

b. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December 2007, Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, cotton, light, drowsing, with kerchief, general purpose, camouflage; and Cap, camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from CIF prior to 1900 hours, 24 December 2007.

c. Personnel will utilize standard ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. This item will be drawn from the servicing dining facility.

d. Stockings, wool, cushion sole, will be hung by the chimney with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit Safety Officers will submit stocking hanging plans to this headquarters prior to 0800 hours, 24 December 2007, ATTN: AEAGA-S, for approval.

e. At the first sign of clatter from the lawn, all troops will spring from their beds to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and thrown open the window sashes. DCS G3 Plans (Saint Nick), Reference LO No. 3, paragraph 6c, this headquarters, 2 February 1995, will be in effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. Division chiefs will familiarize all personnel with procedures and are responsible for ensuring that no shutters are torn open nor window sashes thrown prior to start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 2400, 24 December 2007, all personnel will be assigned “Wondering Eye” stations. After shutters are thrown and sashes are torn, these stations will be manned.

g. DCS G4 will assign one each Sleigh, miniature, M-66, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of MG Claus’ driver who, in accordance with current directives and other applicable regulations, must have a valid SF 46 properly annotated by Driver Testing; be authorized rooftop parking; and be able to shout “On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, up Comet, up Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen.”

2. MG Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M-6, from DCSENG, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulator units will be requested on Engineer Job Order Request Form submitted to the Furniture Warehouse prior to 19 December 2007, and issued on DA Form 3161, Request for Issue or Turn-In.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed on shouting “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” This shout will be given on termination of General Claus’ visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of division chiefs.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Sunday Stroll

It’s a few long trail finds for you.

Donna has a fantastic list of things I want…in a different post over there, she mentions Transformational Girlfriends who inspired me to think about my own red shoes.

Amy Weber started a neat post at Blog Catalog and I followed Spirited Strider (new to me). Found a great conversational piece about Civic Responsibility.

Liz Strauss has published Week 113 SOBs. There I found Telling it Like It Is that ushered me to the only funniest Dysfunctional Family Letter Maker I have ever seen – have I ever mentioned that I love Mad Libs? Hat Tip to Dr. Heidi.

LOL Cat Fave of the Week

moar funny pictures

Lani Wants Your Kids to not be Stupid…

As our oldest approaches his 17th birthday, we have to cross our fingers and hope we’ve taught him about money, business, faith, integrity, etc. well. Our other kiddo is only 10, so we still have time to teach her the fundamentals.

In addition to Lifehacker’s great find on educating your children about business, I would like to share with you some of the theories we’ve taught our children:

1. The quarter rule. All income is split four ways- (1) charity (2) savings (3) needs (4) wants. Our oldest only understands the fourth income hole while our youngest only understands the first and second. No child or parent is perfect!

2. It’s not just hard work that gets you ahead. It’s also networking, learning integrity, being empathetic, generous and sincere. But, mainly networking.

3.It was never yours to begin with. We’ve taught our children to be charitable with time and money because God gave you that time and money. Be smart, but never forget what’s really important.

4. Take risks. In business, if you always follow and never innovate, you’ll always have a boss. Be creative, have hope and never be satisfied (meaning always know that you can do better and better).

5. Don’t be scared to ask. If you don’t ask for help, ask for a mentor, ask for an iPod for Christmas, but most importantly for help, you will never know what you don’t know (to steal a line from Jeff that he surely “borrowed” from someone smarter than both of us combined).

In addition to the 14 games Lifehacker shared with us to teach the kids about business, how do you teach your children about business?

How do you compete against that?

Awhile back I saw this guy, Paul Potts, and was moved to tears – both by the performance and the story.

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Then, Athol introduces me to this lovely 6 year old, Connie Talbot.

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Later, when looking for the video on YouTube because my 6 year old wanted to see it full screen, I made a personal discovery – both of these vocal powerhouses were competing during the same season! What a piece of bad luck for the both of them.

I watched Paul sing with such mastery and emotion. Brilliant. Then I watched Connie do her “Over the Rainbow” and couldn’t help but think, “Sure he’s great. But how do you compete with that?” She’s sweet, cute, and talented. Plus, she’s 6. How do you compete against 6 year old?

The same way you compete with anyone else – don’t.

If there was a more perfect example of why using others as our personal measuring stick is a bad idea, I invite you to share it – we can always use more reminders.
Competition against others allows you only to be “better than.” It is no testament to your actual potential. There is little success in beating out the competition. However, there is greatest awaiting when you tap into your own possibilities and set your mind to being better today than you were yesterday.

While competition maybe great for price control, service quality, and other capitalistic ventures, it falls short when attempting to determine your personal value.

There’s a difference between Clients and Cohorts – Gasp!

Ok, so that’s a bit sarcastic, I know. But seriously, who among us has not discussed our business with friends and colleagues in a way vastly different than anyway we ever present it to our clients and the public at large. It is the thing that made Dilbert an office icon for crying out loud.

A Little Background

Fists are flying all over over the real estate bloggy world about this video by Daniel Rothamel, which led to this post by Lani Anglin and this post by Jeff Brown and this post by Joel Burslem, which generated this comment by Greg Swann

Not to rain on everyone’s parade, but Daniel Rothamel’s video is the polar opposite of good marketing. Given that it appeals to you, to Lani Anglin and to Jeff Brown on BHB, that should tell you precisely whom it will not appeal to. The video is pandering and condescending, insulting to consumers. I have huge respect for Daniel and his skills, but this is a good example of how the incestuousness of the leads people astray. There’s nothing wrong with being cordial, but if we’re so interested in courting each other that we can’t see when we’re sneering at our clients, we’re playing entirely the wrong game.

Which in turn generated a myriad of arguments discussions including (but not limited to) posts by Lani Anglin, Benn Rosales, Greg Swann and The Tim. The best by far is this one which features another video created by Daniel’s wife, Kari. If you are going to clicky clicky, don’t skip the comments and be wary of some of the language if you don’t like that kind of thing. It’s not awful – it’s just there.

If you don’t have that kind of time…here’s the skinny as I see it.

The Skinny

There is a well know real estate issue that some agents have with some clients when determining how to price a particular home. It’s called “overpricing” and it makes for a difficult situation. To most individuals (unless it is your home in question) this is a no brainer. Homes that are overpriced are harder to sell.

Daniel created a video that is for sure funny in certain circles. However, there is another school of thought that says the video is condescending and not client friendly. I’ll agree that point also has merit.

The Truth as I see It

The video is fun to some, awful to others, and a non issue to the rest. It is what it is. Love it, hate it, enjoy it, call it a waste of time and move on.

There is a difference between clients and colleagues. You could play this in an office meeting but never at a client appointment. Why? Because clients deserve personal attention to their particular circumstance. Whether it is a house, a car, a puppy, or a lollipop – clients come to me for a professional opinion on their current need – not a comedy routine. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have clients that would find this hilarious – if we were discussing someone else.

Marketing is marketer specific. This video debuted on Daniel’s blog that he created for his audience. Maybe Daniel doesn’t particularly like working with clients that wouldn’t find this funny. Maybe Daniel has more business than he can handle. Maybe he thinks his honesty will generate more business. Maybe Daniel feels his thoughts on the matter are important enough to rate a simple, to the point assessment of the situation. Who knows? It’s his spot on the web, his clients, his business. He can make any video he wants – especially if his wife keeps joining in – I am telling you that video was funny!

Explanation of “the Blog”

I have been involved in a few conversations lately about how Blogging Richmond Hill works and why it is so different from the blog over at Bryan County News. I’ll try to explain the best I can.

The blog at Bryan County News is designed to support forum style discussion. While these venues are typically called “forums,” BCN chose the “blog” moniker. Whatever they call it, it’s great. You can create an account, log in and type to your heart’s content. It is a wild time over there. If you haven’t been, you should really check it out.

Blogging Richmond Hill is set up as weblog. Blogs are typically single author with open comment sections for discussion. You can check out Making Life Work for You (shameless plug) to see an example of this. You can also go through the blog roll (labeled “The Essentials” on the left hand side) to check out other blogs I really like and you’ll get the idea.

Going through the blog roll, you’ll find a few multi-author blogs. In fact, a friend of mine also writes with me at My Beautiful Chaos (another shameless plug). When you see this, typically the blog owner has invited someone to be a contributor on the blog. This usually happens when the blog owner likes the writing style of someone who may think a little different or sounds a little different to add diversity to the blog. It also eases the burden of the blog owner to produce all the content.

Why is it done this way? Well, blogging is more like a magazine I guess. The owners work very hard on them, spend good money for them and strive to protect content, readability, and readership. So, while anybody can comment, suggest and discuss – the posting is left up to the author(s) or guest posters.

However, while Blogging Richmond Hill is currently a single author blog, this author is open to a lot of ideas.

  • Are you a writer? We can talk.
  • Do you have article ideas or community questions? Send them over.
  • Do you just have something to say on a particular post? Comment away – I turned off all the requirements for identification as anonymity seems to important to some folks in this small community we live in.

I hope this helps clear up the differences. Blogging is a neat device with lots of tools. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, or just want to learn a little more about how to navigate through the blogging community – feel free to give me a call.


Lani Needs Your Input

I need your help!  A Realtor posted a simple black and white viral marketing video this morning.  I uploaded it to a site I write for.  Now, it has stirred controversy.

Since many of you guys aren’t related to the real estate industry, I would love love love if you would head over to Agent Genius and take a minute to get caught upThen, I would really love love love if you would opine in the comments there.   So far, it’s all Realtors yarping over the affects of the viral marketing video and we could all use your insight!

Big Thanks to Santa Claus

And the guys from the South Bryan County Fire Department. As is their tradition, the firefighters ride Santa around through all the neighborhoods. Last night, our neighborhood was on the list.

I saw the sign posted at the subdivision entrance after I dropped the kids off at school. It just said, “Santa will be in your neighborhood tonight.” Great – except I didn’t know when tonight. Getting four kids fed, bathed, and in bed is fun – add to the mix watching out for Santa – wow!

So, I called the Fire Department. They were the nicest folks (I am not surprised – I just wanted to make sure it got mentioned). They said 6:30 and they rolled through with sirens blaring right on time.

Well, Mrs. Claus must of told her husband he needed some exercise or something (you know how wives can be). I only say this because Santa didn’t simply ride on the firetruck. When the sirens went off, kids came running out of houses. The truck stopped and Santa came down. He talked with the kids, gave hugs, tool pictures, and handed out candy canes. He walked along the sidewalk, down the street where all the kids had gathered, firetruck following behind. The kids were thrilled.

Thanks, Santa and South Bryan County Fire Department – you made the kids’ night!