April Groves – The Journey of ... Me (and other stuff!)

Kirk and Jeri-Lynn Renovation Project

It is a great benefit of my profession that often clients become friends.  Such is the case with Kirk and Jeri-Lynn.

When I met this couple last year, they were engaged.  Kirk is an officer in the Army.  Jeri-Lynn is a college student. Neither had owned their own home.  Being from out of town, house shopping had to be seriously condensed.  We looked at what felt like hundreds of homes over the course of two days. As you can imagine, that pace is exhausting.  But Kirk and Jeri were such a nice couple, you almost didn’t notice.

They found a cute home.  Perfect starter house.  It was located in a popular neighborhood and the price was good.  However, it had been rental property for some time. As is typical, this meant it needed work.  But Kirk and Jeri weren’t scared – they were actually excited over the opportunity to really get in and make this house their own.

Now, they are no longer engaged – they are newlyweds! I had the opportunity to have lunch with them the other day. Lots of laughs and good company.  Afterwards, they invited me back to the house to see their work.  It was amazing!  Carpet had given way to beautiful laminate.  Kitchen tile had been replaced, wallpaper was replaced by fresh paint, and they had even removed an entire wall to open up the living room!

They aren’t finished yet, but I am sure they will be soon.  I can’t wait to post pictures so you can see why I am so excited for this new couple. I will also share with you some of the funny stories about the cat in the closet and the hole in the wall!

The Newest Member of my Family

As if I didn’t have enough to do, I have adopted a new member into our all ready expanded family. I don’t know why.  Guess I am just as obsessed as everyone else.  They are addictive.

Madison got two for her birthday.  Savannah wanted one of her own.  We spent the better part of a Friday scouring Savannah – nobody had one. Fortunately, Auntie Jennifer had "an extra."  I guess it is common to get more than one. The family grows.

Heard there was a rare place in town that had many of them left to adopt.  So, off I went.  I had to have one for my own.

I introduce to you, Froggy, the Tree Frog, proud member of the Webkinz race and now a member of my family.  I have the adoption certificate to prove it!



Have to go play Webkinz games now, so that I can make Kinz Cash, so I can feed and clothe my newest addition. ‘Cause there’s not enough to do during the day:)

Doctors and Dentist and Children – Oh My!

I was fairly certain that yesterday was gonna be a long one.  I was not disappointed.

The two oldest girls needed their six month dentist checkup – so did I for that matter.  To make things easier, I scheduled them all for the same time.  At the last minute, my office meeting was rescheduled for the same day – ugh.  Drop the kids off at school, get to the office, dash back to pick the girls up for the appointment. Of course they are horrified at my timing.  One would think they would be elated to leave in the middle of the day.  But, unbeknown to me, I had interrupted music and gym class – I should be ashamed!

The girls like the dentist (crazy, I know), so that didn’t make me too nervous.  What I had not anticipated was what they would do to occupy themselves while I was in the chair.  The office is equipped for children – maybe too well.  I hear them chasing each other with the “bug pops out of the bubble gum wrapper” toy.  Not acceptable.  Let’s color.  Savannah decides she wants to be the one to clean my teeth.  She gets to hold the water sucker thing.  She does real good for a minute.  Then she puts in her mouth, tries to suck up things on her shirt and mine, gets bored and drops it.  We need a new one.

Finish up pay the bill (I think my dental insurance costs me more than I save).  Got to get them lunch (they have missed it at school), get them back to class and make it across town because I have a doctor’s appointment myself.  Girls had not considered that they would have to go back to school.  The children that I had to drag out of school now have to be dragged back. Always a pleasant experience.

Get to my doctor’s appointment and the planets must be aligned.  No traffic so I wasn’t late.  Great doctor and she wasn’t late either.  In and out and good to go.  Have to get back across town to round up all the children.  Two oldest – check.  Two youngest – check…wait a minute…

Emily has a fever. She is not happy about it and it is obvious her ear is bothering her.  The change in weather coupled with all this pollen as made her stuff and now I am sure it is in her ears.  Fever gets higher, give her some medicine to help her feel better and watch.  1 AM – fever is back, higher than before and Emily is miserable. Definitely her ears and maybe a bit of sinus.

Today should have been catch up work day after Dentist/Doctor day. Oh well, will have to reschedule that for essentials during nap time. As much as I love real estate, my Emily is way cooler.  I know you are not surprised.

Off to start my Doctor/Mommy day.

My Beautiful Chaos

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
Henry AdamsThe Education of Henry Adams

I have been asked about my tagline “Beautiful Chaos.”  Where it comes from and what it means.  It was born during a conversation with a girlfriend and is the perfect definition of my wonderful life. And I love explaining it and refuse to apologize for it.

I look down at my daily planner, cross check it with the one on my desk, then make sure I haven’t missed something on my Outlook. First thing that crosses my mind as the coffee touches my lips – “yeah, right.”

Some may think it is a defeatist attitude to start the day knowing that 10% of your “to do list” will still be left to do tomorrow. Not me. I am a busy woman with lots of priorities. I will get to them all – eventually. I will leave the “performance guilt” for somebody else.

My husband adores me, my children think I’m the best, my friends depend on me, and my company regards me as valuable. Who cares if I failed to chart the steps or follow the action plan? So what if there was a day (or week) my house was messy, or my desk cluttered. I love my beautiful chaos!

Liberty County pursues “Entrepreneur Friendly” State Designation

It amazes me each time I am out with a new home buyer and they ask, “How are the business opportunities in the area?” The courage of people who will move into a new area and begin a new business is impressive. It is a trait I admire and so I was excited to hear Kenny Smiley address the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s plan to help these folks out.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Small Business & Innovation Division has implemented a procedure facilitated by the Regional Project Managers-Entrepreneur & Small Business (RPM-ESB) to help communities build a framework for entrepreneurs to find information quickly, easily, and effectively. The outcome of this, hopefully, is to provide a better start for new businesses and increase collective economic growth. 

The steps to the plan are centered on creating a comprehensive and user friendly step by step guide to starting your own business in said town. The efforts are then reviewed by the RPM-ESB and they will issue the designation of “Entrepreneur Friendly” is successful and assist in the plan implementation. 

Only a handful of counties have achieved this designation as of this writing. More are in the process and many have not even started. It should be a credit to Hinesville, and Liberty County as a whole, that they are taking the leap and putting forth the effort to produce a system where tomorrow’s entrepreneurs have a head start on the road to success.

Go the Distance

If you stop this fight
I’ll kill you.”

Rocky Balboa in Rocky

I am a huge Rocky fan – even Rocky V. I love his optimism, sincerity towards his fellow man, and his never-say-quit attitude. Even when he is beaten, he is not broken and he is not a loser. He doesn’t come from affluence, he is not educated, he doesn’t even have a plan. But he believes in himself when no one else does and in others when they don’t believe in themselves. Rocky gets his shot against the heavy weight champion of the world. They beat each 0ther mercilessly. Even Mickey wants him to quit. Rocky then becomes the first man to go the distance with Apollo Creed. He doesn’t win the fight, but at this point,  who cares?

How do you define success? More importantly, what are you willing to do to get there? If the opportunity is not there, that’s just a fact of life. But, if the opportunity is thrown away because it becomes too hard  or we get lazy, then it is a waste. Commit to the fight. If it wasn’t worth it, you would have never stepped in the ring. You owe it to yourself to go the distance.

Imagination Sparks Creativity

“. . . you can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Spring is here!  Aside from the pollen, it is a wonderful time of year.  The window at my desk finds more children playing now that the weather is nicer.  Work is slowed by the distraction, but the added inspiration is worth the wait.

A child’s energy can often spark the imagination.  They force us out of our “adult brain” box.  Trees become castles, bikes are fast horses, and bushes become the jungle of peril.  The art of make believe creates a wealth of ideas and problem solvers.  These are two of the things most of us would say we need more of in business and in life.  Many times we are paralyzed by that project that won’t wrap up or that issue that has no resolution.  Frustration makes it worse.  Productivity and success suffer.

Take a minute to enjoy the spring.  Watch the kids play, the flowers bloom and the sun shine.  Exercise your imagination and watch your accomplishments soar!

Blog Freeze

The feeling. How do I describe it? You know when it is really hot outside and you say to yourself, “Self, let’s go get an ice cream.” So, you go get the biggest ice cream you can
find because, after all, it’s hot outside. The guy dipping the ice cream has this way of doing it that makes you want to grab the cone and the scoop and do it yourself. He is taking FOREVER! By the time you get it, the sweet treat is melting all over itself and you hurry to lick it all up before it sticks up your hand. So, you take the big bite and then BAM! Brain Freeze! 

That’s as close as I can get. I have Blog Freeze. I have jumped head long into a world where I know little more than how to type. I was fairly certain that being able to put nouns and verbs together in a semi intelligent way and the desire to write would be enough. So, I took a big bite. Now, here I am, holding my head even though I know I just have to wait it out. So I will type about whatever, surf wherever, and read whoever until the pain and swelling subsides. Then one day, when the dust settles, I can only hope the chaos will be beautiful and the new road an adventure.


There is magic associated with springtime in the south. It is called Azalea. These beautiful flowers dot the bush unassumingly. They behave like beautiful young girls who pretend to be coy. They have perfected the art of modesty while all the while being completely aware of the spectacle they create. 

In hours just before the sun begins its journey to regain its throne, powerful in the Southern sky, the azaleas sleep. The crickets sing the lullaby and the mosquitoes have not yet been forced to hide from the heat of the day. The dew begins to collect lightly on the leaves. A gentle cleansing for the fair maidens by the attending servants. As the sun warms the ground, the blooms begin to do their dance. They pretend to be shy. It looks as if they never want to open, self conscious of what they will look like when exposed. But it is the game that the sun and the Azaleas often play.

They are like teenagers who have just discovered the opposite sex and have begun their flirtation with desire. The flowers pretend to protest and the sun pretends to be convinced. So the courting continues. Eventually, and with great deliberation, the blooms open and the squares downtown burst forth with color. The variety of the sight proves that the rainbow is not the only spectacular natural creation.

They sit there, gliding in the wind, proud of themselves. They know what sparks they provide. They are the backdrop for the historical tour. They are the vision out the window at work that reminds of a simpler time.  They are the special something that makes the picnic with your lover special. They are the reason you chose to say your vows and kiss the bride outdoors.

Azaleas are the roses of the south and they guard their title with fierceness. The blossoms appear to be modest in their brilliance but are boisterous in their display. Do not let the subtleness fool you, for they are cunning. They are jealous little beauties and will not settle for anything other than center stage. Without regret or remorse – and with complete intention – they will steal your heart. If you encounter them on vacation, they will be the first thing you mention when you return home. If you have grown up around the flower, they will cast that spell that ensures they are what you miss when away.

They smile and preen. Anxious to be for you whatever you want them to be. The one beautiful thing in your day that makes you smile. Their effort is tireless. And they always try harder if they have been picked by the hands of a child. It is as if the pudginess in the young fingers provides a second life for the flower off the bush. They find the ability to make the color brighter, the smell sweeter and the enchantment deeper.

You would think that the flower would be devastated. Plucked from the root of life and thus condemned to wilt and die prematurely. One would think that such a proud flower would balk at the displacement. That it would be in revolt in spite of itself and wither to dust immediately rather than endure a slower, less graceful death. But the azaleas glow and rise to an occasion that they have waited for since the beginning of the blossom. Like an adolescent girl that has just been chosen for her first dance. They know they will soon be in the place that makes all their efforts worth while. They have begun the portion of the journey that takes them to that coveted spot. The spot of adoration and appreciation that only a child can provide.

The fat fingers hold tight to the stem and pull and tug till the blossom gives way. The child squeals with delight and places the flower delicately to his nose to feel the tickle of the soft petals. The smell is sweet and the child will not realize for quite some years that this smell has infected him for the rest of his life. The child’s only concern right now is the destination. With an energy reserved only for children, he dashes towards the house as fast as his small legs will carry him.

“Momma, Momma, Momma!” he shouts as he throws open the screen door with one hand and an outstretched flower in the other. The azalea knows the moment of glory is near. Momma looks down and sees the gift. The child’s wide eyes look up, searching with anticipation for what he is sure will happen next. Momma smiles with her whole face, gently accepts the token and kisses the child on his round, sweaty face. The child’s mission is successfully completed. With one movement and full of satisfaction, he is off again to resume his exploration of the southern outdoors. Momma turns around and places the azalea in that spot. The one spot that all flowers long to find. The place of unconditional love, admiration, and devotion. That stained glass vase in his Momma’s kitchen window.

Mitt Romney

On January 3rd, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney filed his paperwork to form his presidential campaign exploratory committee. This was not a surprise to many. It has long been speculated that Romney would attempt to win the ’08 Republican nomination. I must admit, I do not know much about the man, but I am attempting to learn about all the hopefuls in order to make an informed decision on who I can really get behind. I am very afraid of the major players on the Democratic side and find it unrealistic that a third party candidate can win. So, I began the investigation of Mitt Romney. So far I like what I see. But, I am not inspired yet to discuss his stand on the issues, but rather how people will view his reasons for his stands.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon.

This single fact has blanketed all others in every Mitt Romney discussion. I could hardly discern what his actual view was for all the discussion concerning his religion. And the question was asked, “Does a person’s religion affect the way they govern?”

Powerful question. Not a real easy answer. Personally, I think it depends on a number of factors. What religion are we talking about? What are the core beliefs of the religion and how rigid does the person hold to these beliefs? Then, like many things, I applied the question to myself. How do my views reflect my belief system?

I believe that right and wrong are not relative. There are certain things that are right for all people and wrong for all people, regardless of what you think, believe or feel. There are certain absolutes. There are certain ideas of behavior that can and should be legislated. Some of these ideas may coincide with religious ideas, but that fact alone does not negate the applicability in common society. Off on the rabbit trail I continued.

I think of the beliefs that I hold that are stereotypically tied to religious argument – abortion, stem cell research, alcohol sales on Sunday, marriage, child discipline, prayer in schools, and the like. As an aside, I didn’t say how I felt about these topics. Do you think you could peg how I feel about them all based on what you know about me?

At any rate, I think on these subjects and I have begun a quest for myself and a challenge to you all. On the issues, can you defend your position without the use of religious arguments and subjective moral platitudes? Should you be expected to? Should presidential hopefuls be expected to? Would you vote for someone of a different religious background than you? Where do you fall out where the issues are concerned? How is that going to affect the way you vote? Does any of this even matter to you?