14 Things That I Learned In 2014:

You knew it was coming….the last day of the year.  I warned you and now it is on us.  Of course, like any one else is probably doing, I am reflecting this morning.  Reflecting on the highs and lows of 2014…and there were a lot of both.  And of course I am asking myself “What was it all for?”

I really don’t have a spot on answer to that question.  And, no…I am not making a list of resolutions that I won’t keep throught the weekend.  I am trying to really absorb what I have learned this year versus what I may be revisiting next year due to failing the test.  I know for me, it is all about the life lesson and application whether it is good or bad.

Each of us most likely can share some life lessons that either left you feeling victory or defeat.  If you can’t, you weren’t paying attention.  Without getting into specifics of said life events, I would like to share with you 14 things that I learned in 2014:


1.  Little victories add up to bigger ones…and there is a prize in perseverance.

2.  Out of major mistake can come major blessing.

3.  By doing the next indicated right thing, I have to explain myself a lot less.

4. Simplify.  It’s not overrated.

5. There is no such thing as idle time.  Make the most of it all.

6. Hurt people hurt people…if I know this, it stings less.

7. I can do whatever I set my mind to, just like they said!

8. Receiving can be way harder than giving…but it is necessary to have healthy relationships.

9.  Without direction I am going nowhere.  Literally.

10.  There is no way around it, only through…and I am stronger for it.

11.  It is not necessary for me to be my children’s best friend.

12.  Money is a tool, not a possession.

13.  Love anyway.

14.  If I focus on the future me, it is only a matter of time before I become her.

Of all of these, I think I like 14 the best…and it is apparant that we become what we think.  Yes, I get stuck in a rut just like everyone (coming out of a rather large one now) but in general I try to keep my thinking “forward”.

So as 2015  rolls around tomorrow, I have set myself some high and lofty goals and will be demanding silence from the “Nay-sayers”.  Even if I do not accomplish what I set out to do in these next 365 days, I have not failed if I keep moving in the right direction, do the next indicated right thing, act from a place of love and put doubt in it’s place.  Happy New Year.

South Lake Tahoe Christmas Eve….Wonderful!

th-1At least they waited until 7am.  This is my sleep in week, and although I am not very good at the sleeping part I can justify staying in my room just a little longer to get some things done.  7am rolled around and they were banging on the door.   Tomorrow will be more like 5am…they will hardly be able to contain themselves and the morning of anticipation will comence with a mass unwrapping.  7am on Christmas day hits and I am struck with a feeling of anti-climactic shock…and for what??!  Stuff.  Stuff and things.

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite, hands down.  When the Spirit of Anticpation is at its fullest, I am glowing with a level of  excitement and joy that I don’t tap into on any other day.  I get to be kid like in my adult world and it is liberating!  We spend the day doing things that we love, the kids are all home, the fire is warm and the yummy food abundant.  It is truly the best gift of the season and I live for the days in the year where we lay it all down and come together.  God has wired me to be connected to my tribe and that tribe goes far beyond blood.

This year we were blessed with a little snow and a little more on the way.  A White Christmas is a real possibility!  The skis are ready in the event of a miracle…and I believe in miracles!

There is something entirely special about Lake Tahoe at Christmas time and that point is validated when I look out on the highway to see a constant stream of cars coming down Echo Summit before the holiday.  People love it here and build a tradition with their own by making an annual pilgrimage to the mountains for some together time.  You could offer me a trip of a lifetime anywhere in the world for Christmas and I’d turn you down….this is the only place I desire to be and I am so blessed to call it home.

It is my prayer that each of you carry the Spirit throughout the entire holiday and that it is not deflated by the unwrapping of stuff and things.  I pray that you make lasting and fulfilling memories that will sustain you for the year and beyond…and that you are connected to your loved ones in a way that goes deeper than flesh and bone…for this is a precious gift and no holiday is needed to receive it.

Attention First Time Homebuyers: De-mystifying The Process!



Maybe you have decided to stop throwing your money away on rent and buy a house.  Where does one start??  Buying that first home can fill a person full of fear and trepidation!  And for good reason…the entire situation is full of uncertainty and everyone around you seems to be speaking a foreign language!

I have a friend who recently to me that he thought that if there was a sign in front of a house that he liked, he had to call the person who’s name was on the sign and buy it from them.  He also thought that by having a real estate agent help him buy a home, he’d have to pay them a salary.  Anyone thoroughly confused by escrow and closing costs?  Or how about disclosures and contingencies?  If you have never gone through the process you may just not know.

When venturing into the real estate abyss, it is imperative to have someone who is patient, knowledgeable and ready to serve.  You will have questions…lots of them, and you want someone who can walk you through them.  Below are some of the more important steps when thinking of taking the big step.

Know your money: Make sure you understand the new costs that you will incur such as taxes, homeowners insurance, utility bills and repairs. This will help determine the maximum price you can spend on a house.  If you need help managing your finances, talk to a financial planner.  Have them help you understand the tax benefits of home ownership.
Hire a Realtor: Although the internet is a wealth of information, don’t be fooled into going it alone. Find an agent who listens to what you are saying and will advocate on your behalf.   He or she can line up properties to view, answer your multitude of questions and help you get connected with homeowner resources. Also, agents usually know what is coming on the market before it hits, giving you an advantage in an aggressive market.

Be ready to take a risk: Realize that there is uncertainty in everything, but no matter what happens, you will deal with it. Seek wise counsel and ask trusted, competent individuals about first time home buying experiences. Be sure to keep some cash in the bank as a prudent reserve. And remember, you have homeowner’s insurance for a reason.
What is it that you “must have”??: Have to be in a certain neighborhood? Are you adamant about wanting a garage, a fireplace or an amazing deck? Make your list of what’s important to you and look for it. You may find that you are willing to sacrifice one feature, if the rest is spot on. If you are not crazy about the house, don’t offer. You will know when the house is right, when the time is right and when the price is right!
Be ready to make an offer: Regardless of the market, great houses don’t stay on the market long. Sometimes one open house leads to three offers. If you love it, be ready to make your best offer…and if you really love it, make sure not to offer low in hopes of negotiating to somewhere in the middle.  You may not get that chance! Buying a house can be a highly emotional process, keep your head on straight!
Enjoy the reward of “Pride of Ownership”: Owning a home can be one of the most exciting and satisfying things you’ll ever do in your life.  It brings a great personal freedom and stability.  You will no longer have to ask the landlord for permission to have a dog, paint a wall or plant a garden.  It’s your corner of the world, so go for it!!