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Being a Realtor, you tend to travel a fair amount.  You are always traveling back and forth showing homes, meeting with clients and going to closings.  This is one reason that I love being a Realtor so much; I am not tied down to my desk from 8-5 Monday through Friday.  Now the flip side to this is that every since gas prices have started to rise over the past few months, all that traveling really starts to cut into the wallet. Here in west-central Indiana gas prices are right around $3.99 a gallon (is that supposed to make us feel better instead of the shock of an even $4.00 I wonder?)  Nevertheless, when I was taking a break from my hectic day today, I happened across an article discussing gas prices across the world.  You can view the article here:

Gas Prices Around the World

The one thing that I noticed is that right now, the US is tending to hit roughly the average of all of the countries featured in this article.  Turkey was the highest listed at $9.96/gallon (ouch) though on the other end of the spectrum Venezuela’s gasoline only costs an incredible $.08/gallon.  So obviously gas prices prices could be much better, but at the same time they could be a whole lot worse. 

Gas Prices, Gas, Economy

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Lightning Storm WeatherThis morning I was awoken by the big, deep booming sound of thunder.  Now I don’t know how you all feel about storms, but I love them and I find that there is not much more relaxing than waking up on a Saturday morning to the sound of rain and thunder.  It’s dark outside, I’m still warm and cozy in my bed and the rain is very calming, luring me to stay in bed and sleep more.  To me, it makes me forget about everything that I need to do today, and the other “storms” that I may have going on in my life, if even for just a little bit.

We all do wake up some days with storms that we have to deal with.  It may come in the form of a presentation at work or school, financial issues, problems with your children or any other thing in life that may be stressing you out and giving you hardships.  Sometimes these storms have been going on for a long time in your life and you’re wondering when they will come to pass.

When I wake up to “storms” that I have to face in my daily life, I think of those before me who have had to do the same.  I also think of the great verse Mark 4:37-41:

   37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

The disciples and the others on the ship woke up to one really nasty storm.  Obviously they feared for their lives and knew if something didn’t happen they would die.  Even though Jesus used this as a teaching tool as it were, He still kept them safe with only speaking a few words.  I for one, find this to be utterly fantastic.  Think of how easy it is for us to speak words and now think of just how powerful (yet easy) those words of His were to calm the winds and sea.  This is precisely why I put forth my faith and trust in Him.  I know that no storm in my life will be too severe if I believe.

Government ShutdownI briefly looked over some of the freshly pressed blogs on here as I normally do.  One caught my eye more than the others though.  It was written by CNN about the government shutdown.  I’m sure by now, many of you had heard about this and know that if this does happen all the national parks and government service branches and industries (minus social security and the military) will be shutdown and its workers will not get paid.  One reason that I really became concerned about this though, is it will affect a lot more than just those who work for the government.  I had read that parts of the government including the Federal Housing Authority and government lenders such Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be included in the shutdown.  This poses a huge issue as if this happens, I will basically be out of a job too.  Being a Realtor, if my clients can’t get their financing, they can’t buy their homes and if they can’t buy their homes, I’m not going to get paid for brokering and closing transactions.  I also think of all the other professionals related to the real estate industry that will be facing the same predicament as myself as well as other industries that no doubt will be in the same situation of having the shutdown ripple into their livelyhood even though they don’t directly work for the government.

I obviously feel very bad for all of those government workers who are caught in the middle of this situation.  They can’t help their situation and are at the mercy of the lawmakers who will inevitably make the decision as whether the country gets shutdown or not.  It is also quite irritating that even if the government shuts down, the lawmakers WILL still get paid.  I think that there should be a law against this sort of action.  If they do not work, they shouldn’t get paid just like the rest of us.  If the situation was to get into their wallet and bank account, you can be for sure that they would find a way to keep the government running.  Nevertheless, hopefully they can come up with a solution before we all suffer the consequences of their actions.

I recently went on a short vacation.  My initial thoughts were that it would be good to get away from real estate and the job, though that didn’t seem to happen as my phone unfortunately kept me tied to work.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the vacation; going down to Georgia to the Masters golf tournament.   I have been to other professional golf tournaments, but this is the first time being at the Masters.  It is also the first time that I’ve been down to the southeastern part of the US for quite some time.  I love it down there and if I had to move anywhere else it would definitely be there.  One reason for this is that the people seem to be very nice and really show that the saying of Southern Hospitality is really true and still alive.  I was amazed of just how friendly total strangers can be, especially to women.

One example of this was when after we had bought our food at one of the many concession stands out on the golf course, we couldn’t find a table to sit at; they were all full.  So we were standing around waiting for a table to open up, when I hear a gentleman ask my mother, “ma’am you can sit your cup down here at our table so you don’t have to hold it.”  My mother, being slightly surprised, politely refused.  It wasn’t long after that, that a man, seeing we were looking for a table, said, “please ma’am take my seat, we’re getting ready to leave” and got up so she could sit down.  There were similar things like that all day of good old fashioned southern hospitality.  It definitely made me think of that old, famous quote by  Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) of “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” in A Streetcar Named Desire (1947).  After spending a couple days down in Georgia, I definitely think that if you had to depend on the kindness of strangers, the south is where it’s at.

Vivien Leigh, Blanche Dubois, A street car named desire

Numbers

This post might be a little random but hopefully entertaining nonetheless.  I find it interesting how numbers can strike so much emotion in people.  Your credit score, just a little three digit number, can bring joy in the ability to own a new home or sadness in destroying that dream.  Someone saying the date of your birthday, marriage or other significant event can trigger great happiness; or somber feelings sometimes if it does involve your birthday and maybe you’re hitting the big 5-0.

This came to me today when I ran in the grocery store.  I grabbed a couple things for lunch and when it rang up, the total was 3.16.  I stopped and stared at it for a minute.  Even though it was simply my total for groceries, it had a much deeper meaning for me due to Christianity.  I don’t know maybe it’s just my analytical nature, but nevertheless, it really got me thinking of how just looking at a number can change your mood and your day.  What was up to that point a normal day, became one with more meaning.  Have any of you had any experiences like this, or am I just weird?

DiamondsDid you ever wonder into a situation you thought might turn out bad, only to keep on going and find out your initial thoughts were right?  That’s kind of what happened yesterday with me.  Yesterday, my girlfriend and I went up to Carmel and Castleton on the northeast side of Indianapolis to do some shopping and relax for the day.  For those of you who don’t live around here and know, Carmel and Castleton is a very nice area.  I honestly just like to go up there to check out the cars that people drive around up there.  Anyway, one of the malls we visited was the Keystone Fashion Mall.  It has a lot of fancy and expensive stores in there that we can’t even begin to afford, but it’s still fun to walk around and the like.  One store we happened to wonder into was Tiffany & Co…yeah, about that.  It was beautiful.  It was magnificent.  It was expensive.  We initially were just looking, but one of the sales people told my girlfriend to try on a couple of rings.  Well what girl isn’t going to try on a diamond ring, especially a Tiffany diamond ring? 

One of the first rings she tries on was “only” $6,500.  Not bad, I think.  A little more than I planned on spending for an engagement ring, but not that bad.  Well the next one she tried on was definitely nicer.  I didn’t know how much nicer until I hear her exclaim, “that’s how much I spent on my brand new vehicle last year!”  This diamond ring was priced at a cool $25,000.  After I had a brief heart palpatation, she took it off and we continued talking with the sales person.  Just for the heck of it (well all of it had been for the heck of it up to this point) he pulled out another diamond and let her try it on.  It was a rock.  A stunning 2 or 2.5 carat diamond with more diamonds down the band.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bigger diamond in person.  I also am not sure I’ve ever seen a bigger price tag – $75,000  My girlfriend was wearing a HOUSE on her finger!  After safely putting the diamond away and telling the sales person thanks for a good time, we walked out laughing and stunned of what she had just tried on. 

 Luckily for me, my girlfriend doesn’t have really high taste or expect anything nearly that expensive, even compared with the cheapest ring she tried on.  We both try not to be real materialistic either, but rather invest in things that really matter in life; mainly charity and church.  I mean isn’t Jesus more precious and desirable than $75,000 rings?  Psalms 19:9-10 states:  “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”  So according to this, just His judgements alone are worth more than the riches of this world.  Also, can you put a price on salvation?  All the money in the world can not buy you into heaven.  Furthermore, I’m sure most of you have heard the famous Bible verse of the rich man who asks Jesus how to enter heaven and the lesson afterwards; Matthew 19:23-24 ” Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Reading that makes me happy to not be rich.  I don’t need expensive stuff in life, just an assurance of a place in heaven and a “rich” afterlife.God, Jesus, Salvation

Days Gone By

Whew, I’m back!  It’s been at least a week (if not more) since I’ve been on here.  It’s amazing what all can happen it a week’s time; a whole nation and its people devastated by a tsunami, escalating military engagements in the Middle East, and a whole host of other major and trivial stories that have came out within the last week.  I have also taken on a few more clients within the last week as well (hence the reason I have been absent.)  One of my new clients really struck me in a real, heartfelt way the other day though.  My broker and I traveled over to her home to give her a bit of a presentation as well as discussing selling her property with us as well as the whole process in general.  What I didn’t expect was how much I was to learn while being there. 

The owner of the home was a widow and her husband had died late last year from cancer and other medical problems.  After we had spoken for a while, she opened up and talked more about her husband and the home which she is now looking to sell.  We found out that her husband had literally taken care of everything while he was alive. Now since he is gone though, it has put her in the situation where she has to take care of things that she never had to deal with and so it has been difficult for her.  Nonetheless she is accepting of things and she is slowly learning how to function more for herself and is getting along better now.  While she was telling us their story and the home’s story, she did tear up and cry some.  It was so sad to listen and watch her.  I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to hug anybody so badly just to comfort them.  It was that moving.  It made me think of what kind of a man her husband must have been and wish that I could meet him.  For him to take care of her and work so hard to give them the life that they had together really told of his character. 

I could tell that she was an active Christian by all of the little verses, pictures, and church newsletters posted around.  Those and the whole situation around made me think of a verse:  Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”  Even though he might be gone, her husband is still taking care of her even to this day.  His pension is giving her more income on a monthly basis and he did everything that he could to set her up so she would be taken care of after his death.  It really gives meaning to the saying “Love knows no boundaries.”Holding hands in love