Happy 5th Birthday Buddy

Levi's 5th Birthday
Here’s my annual disclaimer:

The reason I write in my blog is to connect with people. Not just from one segment of life, but from many. Usually the focus revolves around finding your purpose, passion, and renewal.

And as part of the thread of stories I try to share experiences and observations in leadership, volunteerism, wellness, as well as some events that are simply personal experiences that fall in none of those particular categories and, might, at times, be more personal.

Today’s entry is one of those. So if the personal aspect is too much, please skip this one today. The first entry that I made a year ago was here: Happy 4th Birthday Buddy.

Here’s today’s entry…

Dear Levi,

Today marks what would have been your 5th birthday.

This year I’m home instead of on the road, and lots has changed in our life–some for the better, and other parts not so much. But we’ve learned a lot, and we’ve grown a lot. God has been really gracious with us, and me, more than I deserve I am sure.

Royce is getting to be such a great soccer player, and has become so exceptionally good at reading. At night she reads to Zoe, sometimes “illegally.” She has a little flashlight that she pulls out after we’ve turned the lights off and I often catch her continuing to read into the evening. Mom makes her stop 🙂 (as she probably should) but the truth is I sneak in and give her a little thumbs up when I catch her reading and tell her it’s okay. She has such a heart for people, and an exceptional ability to communicate with others. And she’s intense, in a high-achiever way. Perhaps sometimes too intense (that’s probably from my DNA). I admire and love her passion and enthusiasm for life.

Zoe is amazing as well in her own unique way as well, she has such a compassionate heart. And is so incredibly creative. You should see (or maybe you did?) the latest “dog feeder” invention that she made out of who-knows-what materials–I can’t believe what she thinks up! I love it, every day it seems there’s a new contraption for me to scope out. Her ability to develop deep relationships and comprehend complex information is pretty amazing too. She processes so quickly, I love her ability to think thoughtfully and deeply for such a young kid.

I’m so proud of both of them, and so is Mom. And today I know we would be equally proud of you as well. I wish I knew your attributes that I could brag about, someday I’ll find out what those are specifically. I’m sure there would have been, or are, lots.

We talked about you a great deal this week, and more than ever, we miss you.

Yesterday and today, especially.

You might not know it, but Royce and Zoe each have their own “baby song”, which kind of represents them as a kid. This whole thing started with Royce, when she was in the hospital NICU as a preemie and we didn’t know whether she would live–or if she did the kind of life she would have. At many points the outlook was grave. During our daily drive to Morristown Hospital, Mom and I often would hear the song by Marvin Gaye (probably one of my favorite artists) “Aint No Mountain High Enough”, which came to symbolize our confidence and belief that everything would be okay with Royce.

Of course, we still play that song and think about those days. So, naturally, about a year ago Zoe wanted her own “baby” song that represented her! We chose, with a strong bias from Zoe, “I’ve Got a Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas!!! LOL. I think that’s hilarious. You can listen to the song, I think the lyrics are fine, but don’t watch the YouTube video–it’s a little too racy. Especially for up in Heaven. That could be awkward.

So you’re the last one without a song, and yesterday I thought we should pick a song for you on your 5th birthday. I wish you were here to help select it, but I think you’ll dig it. Unanimously we picked “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. Your mom thought of it first, I can’t tell you how much she misses you. It’s beyond words.

Some people have told us that every year this would get easier. And while time helps heal some things, it doesn’t seem true as it relates to missing you. Every year represents another year without you, and we’re both comforted and saddened as the years go by. levis-cupcake

This evening the girls made little cupcakes for you, RoZo decorated yours–it’s the one in the middle, with all the balloon candles. And we went to play laser tag–we’ve never done it before, but the kids thought it would be something you would enjoy doing so they picked it instead of going to some princess movie, which I don’t think you would have liked as well.

There’s one project that I was supposed to do for you several years ago. It’s been on my mind, and I know I’ve been negligent in finishing it and I’m really sorry about it. This is the year. I have to do it, and I want to make a commitment to you that I’ll get it done.

Tonight, as I wrote a year ago, I hope that this message gets to you somehow and in some way. I think it will. Know that we love you so deeply, and we’re so glad that we even had you for a few hours. I wish it had been many years, but the hours and memories that have ensued are better than never having the gift of you in our lives.

Levi, here’s your “baby song.” I hope you enjoy it. Whenever we hear it we’ll think of you.

I love you buddy, no matter what.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Winning Big in a Down Economy

bballIt’s tough to win big in business even in a good economy. It’s competitive and challenging, but it sure is easier in a boom marketplace than in a down economy. There’s never been a more difficult business environment in most our lifetimes than what we’ve experienced this past year.

But what IF, in a down economy, you could win?

And win big?

Take a look at the Univera plan we put forth on January 1st ’09, our collective approach towards “Playing to Win 2009” delivered first half results that any Executive would be thrilled to see even during good times. Considering the challenges of the past year, we’ve got a lot to both celebrate and for which we should also give thanks and gratitude.

Yet, the game’s not over! And we need to place into high gear a new level of hustle and humility so that we can accomplish the objectives we set forth nearly ten months ago. If you’re new to Univera, never heard of Univera, or are a longtime associate, you’ll love the difference–the renewal–that you can achieve through Univera.

We’ve put together a few key components to drive the second half to even greater heights. In fourteen minutes, you’ll see what we’ve done and how we’re going to finish the second half of this year in a VERY big way. Take a  look, get engaged, and let’s finish the second half of this game playing all out!

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Random Update

dc

This has been the longest I’ve gone for quite a while without a blog update.

I’ve missed writing, and am also a bit embarrassed for the time that’s passed. So as I was thinking of blogging topics I thought better might be a quick highlights from the past week. So this particular entry isn’t focused on volunteerism, leadership, or even a specific musing–it’s really just as the title says. A random update (side note: I think in the past I’ve titled something “A Random Update” so in this case it’s “Another Random Update”). 

Last week was an absolutely PACKED schedule, much of it oriented around some great things we’re working for to roll out at Convention–as well as the event itself. This years event is going to be very business focused; from our guest speakers to our tools to our workshops and to a few other things, it’s all oriented around helping those who attend focus on ACHIEVING THE NEXT RANK. Getting the “what’s next” that will lead to their success. But, it’s not all business of course. And even though much of the business focuses on the things I mentioned, it doesn’t mean that it excludes things like the product or cultural piece. That’s also part of getting to the next rank. B

It’s my feeling that, strategically and topically, this is going to be our highest impact event ever for those that go–and particularly for those who go AND bring one, two, ten, or twenty people with them. Your business will grow–it’s that simple. 

So that consumed a lot of time. I’m also running more, and decided to sign up for the Portland Marathon in October, so am in the midst of a training program that actually takes quite a bit more time than I realized. So I’ve simply committed to making my wellness goals and the preparation for this event a priority (one of many, but it makes it up higher on the list than before). And, truly, as a result I feel the more I’ve applied myself towards this the more focused, productive, and creative I’ve been. More for another posting, someday. 

I left Oly on Wednesday morning, along with Dave Nash, and we arrived into Montreal late that evening and spent the following day with our Montreal team where we worked on the integration plan–a lot of good stuff. We had a great time working together, and on the Montreal side it included Bijan, Rob, and Jonathan–three exceptional individuals who know a lot about this industry. 

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From there it led to a great event Thursday night at the Montreal office, and despite the language barrier (the entire meeting was done in French; of course, with the exception of myself and Nash). Was good to see both familiar and new faces. The next morning we flew to Halifax, my first time in Nova Scotia. Rainy and a bit cold, but still beautiful and the people are charming. Friday afternoon I did a Q&A session for the local leaders, and later that evening enjoyed a fantastic dinner (and even some celtic music later in the evening) with Univerians. 

 

Dave and Harry smiling and dialing at the leadership dinner
Dave and Harry smiling and dialing at the leadership dinner

 

 

The Saturday morning attendance was good, probably about 300 and quite a few first-timers; I had to jet to catch my flight to NJ right after I spoke, so I’m sure the event went well but I was off for the great Garden State of NJ. A Newark arrival and rental car with 2.5 hours on the turnpike led me to the BBQ in South Jersey being hosted by Glen Crawford and team where a really nice setup of great food and activities for kids was hosted by the local associates. By 8pm I was on my way to DC and arrived, feeling just a tad spent, close to midnight last night. 

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Charles at the mic during the NJ BBQ

DC is a gorgeous city, I love the geography but also the political energy of the city. It’s a bit like the feeling you get driving into Manhattan. And what’s amazing are all the exhibits and museums, most of them totally free. This city is such a great reminder of the privileges of the freedom that we enjoy. 

So I woke up this morning on what really was a perfect day and went for a long run–it was fabulous to be able to run through the streets of DC and see the White house and Capitol, many memorials, the Washington Monument, and even the West Potomac Park is spectacular. It helped me realize there are so many virtues to the simple ways to exercise, whether it be walking or running, which include that’s pretty darned cheap and a wonderful way to spend time breathing fresh air and there are incredible sights to see. When I think about my travels from the last few years, one of the things I remember most are some of the runs I’ve been on–from the chaotic streets of Beijing on a weekday morning to the salty seaside of Carlsbad my runs have served as a good way not just to get exercise but to see and enjoy various travels, or even my hometown. Plus, running is a good appetite suppressant, which is something I need more of if I’m to hit my bodyfat goal of 15%. 

So to conclude this “random update” my afternoon consisted of participating in a DSA meeting. I sit on the Strategic Planning Committee for the Direct Selling Association, and the role of this committee is to put forth the key strategic recommendations and objectives for the DSA for the following years. There are about 10 Executives that sit on this committee and it’s an exceptional opportunity to learn from peers as well as contribute and give back to our industry. Today we spent some great time discussing and debating some of the most critical strategic drivers for the industry over the following few years.

Tomorrow begins the first of two days of general session DSA meetings, which will be kicked off by the Executive Director of the DSA: Neil Offen (who is ALSO one of our many exceptional speakers at the end of June at our annual convention).

Despite the sheer quantity of activities and initiatives ongoing it was a really engaging and rewarding week.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

One Last Look…

I know what you’re thinking…

“Hey, Raz has yet another one of those Susan Boyle/Paul Potts videos for us.”

Well, actually I do but not for today.

Though as I’m on it, there’s another really great video with a super touching story about an American guy who has a special relationship with his mom and just seems like the sweetest man. But that’s for another posting, I can’t do three of those blog entries in a row.

So today? One last look…at the Road Tour. Thanks to everybody that made this such a success.

And a few “behind the scenes” looks at the Road Tour.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.