Happy 18th Birthday Buddy (my last one…)

Dear Levi,

Today, Buddy, this would’ve been it. THE. BIG. EIGHTEEN! 

I started this letter last night–after I left Denver to find an obscure bar in a small town so that I could think, and write. Without initially knowing where I was going, I ended up finding this old country-style Saloon in a town called Nederland.

It was perfect.

Natural wood timbers throughout, tinny-sounding speakers overhead pelting out Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, and Don McLean overhead. Everyone that walked in was greeting by name, hugs, back-slapping, and catch-ups on how their week went.

As the only outsider, I camped out at a booth in the corner with my laptop open while typing away in WordPress, basking in being an unknown entity in a bar where everyone else is anything but that. It would’ve been a fun place to take you for some Dad / Son time.

Realizing today you’d be 18, and “officially” an adult male (becoming a man is something very different than just turning 18…) also makes me reflect on my own stage in life. Everyone is out of the house and into orbit, and now I feel really solo…

It’s a great feeling and sense of awe watching your kids grow into the next stage of life. It’s also a bit lonely, too. At least every week, I have the thought that I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Royce is finishing up her junior year at Colorado Christian University, and is doing such great work: volunteering (even went to Guatemala last summer) and studying so incredibly hard–countless hours, far more than I ever did–and is super involved in her church. She has such a heart for God.

Zoe moved out in July after graduating high school and is going to an Academy in California to become an Esthetician. It makes me so unbelievably happy to see her find something that she’s super passionate and excited about. And that kid, not only incredibly hilarious but so encouraging.

I’m so proud of both of them. They would have absolutely adored you as the baby boy in the family.

If you were here and sometime around your Birthday, I’d take you on a drive to the mountains for a weekend of trekking to a cabin where we’d have some “Hey Levi, so you’re becoming a man…” talks and Dad / Son time.

I’d share with you a lot of the mistakes I’ve made and try to give you some insights about how you can (and should try your best to) skip the stupid, careless, reckless, and selfish things I’ve done over the years.

We’d talk with you about finding your purpose. To try not to get distracted by worldly things, many of which are roadblocks to achieving your greatness.

And I’d encourage you to invest in people and relationships–especially a spiritual one with God, someday a romantic one, to continue building your family ones, and to be sure to develop great relationships with other men. As a man, there is something especially epic about hanging out with other dudes. Some of my best memories from the last year were from connecting with some great men I’ve known over many years (along with some new ones as well).

Of course, we’d also binge watch the TV Series “Friday Night Lights” where I’d probably have picked up, or created, some cringe-worthy (but perhaps a badass) Dad-version of “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” for our ‘lil family. This was my and Zoe’s favorite show. It would’ve been so fun to watch it with you, too, and then watch you play sports and see life through the experience of a teenage boy (though I also had the gift of watching Royce and Zoe play sports for many years as well, and it was incredible).

Since starting your Birthday letters, I’ve spent far more time writing about you than I ever have speaking openly about you. It’s been cathartic. That this is my last Birthday letter to you is something I’ll miss.

It is a strange experience of getting to almost have something, only to have that taken away, so that you never got to experience it–apart from all the mental maps of what it could have, or would have, been. Of course that’s how I feel about you, but there’s nothing unique to me about that experience. We’ve all had it in some form or another, usually many times over.

In my last letter, I’m mostly grateful and a little bit sad. And quite a bit suppressed. There’s so much more that I want to write and say, but, I’ll save it for the book. This may be my last Birthday letter to you, but it’s not my last writing. Every year I say I’ll get the book done. One of these years, I’ll make that true (the picture with Royce and the book “I love you Levi” is a kids book she found and bought for me…so adorable).

A year after your birth I was having breakfast with a guy I knew from my business world who had lost twins shortly after birth and he asked “So, how are you doing with it now?” Since I knew he could relate, it was easy to lay it out and say “Honestly man, it’s not getting any better. It kind of just, is…”

He looked at me and said “Yeah, ten years later…me too. That’s kind of how it goes. I don’t know that it’ll get any better from here on out, it’ll just be different…” And so now, for me, on your 18th Birthday, I don’t know that it feels any better. It just feels different. I’m good with it. Even grateful for it.

“It” being all the hope and excitement leading up to your birth. All the aspirations of having a son and another dude in the household, coupled with all the longings and dreams I’ve had for you since.

In some ways, through this, I got to experience life vicariously through your spirit and what I envisioned it would be. I also got to experience life differently, especially by getting some extra enjoyment out of seeing a Dad interact with his son (an ongoing theme I’ve shared before).

Last Sunday I was running around Sloans Lake in Denver. One of my favorite scenes that often stops me is when I see a Dad and his son doing some activity together. A week ago, it was a Dad and his son on a baseball diamond. He’s pitching to him, coaching him, teaching him how to stand in the batters box, when to square up, “keep your eye on the ball all the way through until you see the bat make direct contact…”

Sometimes I watch for 30-seconds. Sometimes I get lost in time.

But nearly every time I go on my way, I feel a little bit better. As if I got to experience what it’d be like to be a Dad to a son, even if it’s in the most remote and distantly vicarious and interstitial way. And everytime I leave that scene, I say the same thing to myself…”Man, that Dad has no idea just how lucky he is right now at this moment and how badly I’d love to trade spots with him for just one game of catch.”

Life.

It is not always, maybe even often, what we want. But I trust that it is usually, maybe even always, what we need as part of The Great Plan. And I’m good with that.

So, Levi, Happy 18th Birthday, big man…

I know I would be so proud of you today.

It would be incredibly epic, right now, in ways that I can’t quite express, even if for just 60-seconds we could somehow eclipse time and space in a supernatural way that would give me just one chance to give you a long hug, look you in your eyes, and tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you.

Wishing you the best day today, and that somehow, in some way, these letters make it over to you.

Love it. No matter what.

❤️ Dad

Goodbye, Univera

As many of you now know, yesterday with the internal team and today with the entire external field organization I announced publicly my resignation from Univera as the CEO of International. I’ll be wrapping up my time at Univera through the end of May.

I have nothing but the greatest things to say about my time at Univera. The people involved, and particularly each of the field leaders as well as some key people internally (special thanks to Regan, a great boss and friend, as well as my teammates, too many to mention), have been nothing short of exceptional to me–you’ve been true partners all along the way. I’m also grateful to Bill Lee, who has provided me such an incredible opportunity these past four years.

raz-reagan

It’s now been 4.5 years, and after several expanded roles at Univera, I can think of no other job in North America that could have stretched me as much as did these past experiences. From good times to exceptionally tough times, from long-term strategic planning to dealing with urgent “today” issues, from driving to objective decisions based on market data to those decisions related almost wholly to heart, emotion and subjectivity, there is no other job that I can think of which would have been as powerful an accelerator in my personal and professional life as this one. It’s been 15-years worth of experience in a little under five years of time. And while I have learned so much, at the same time, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up.

Which puts me at a place in my professional career where, for a variety of reasons, I have selected to take a different path and move onto the next thing professionally. The dream that has existed at Univera for each of you still remains; for me, however, for now my dream and destiny rests elsewhere (the details of which I’m keeping quiet about for now). While I’m very excited about my future, I’m also bittersweet for the reasons each of you know.

What’s next?

Rich RazgaitisAs some of you recall, at Convention two years ago when I spoke about our goals and dreams, I made a firm commitment to achieve four goals in my life and created a plan in order to achieve each one. Two have been accomplished (a certain business goal, and also my trip back to Kolkata, India), yet two still remain to be completed–and I’m stubbornly determined to accomplish them both, in addition to some new ones along the way.

The two goals? One is to complete a book I am supposed to write, and it needs to be done this year. The second is a physical health goal, specifically to get down to 15% bodyfat. So I’m still going to succeed at these, no matter how frustrated or off course I’ve been with them both (and as an aside, neither should you be frustrated by any delays in your goal setting/achievement…you can still accomplish them, stick with it, keep re-loading as needed…don’t quit, don’t quit!), and those are going to be a focus this year in addition to my new professional endeavors.

And, there’s more writing I’ll continue to do. It’s not for lack of content that I haven’t blogged for the past month, for a variety of reasons I just felt better to let it rest. But I’m going to continue blogging.

And my focus will largely continue to be about personal development–to try to write in an authentic way, without idle BS that so often peppers our talk that gets in the way of truth, and to try to continue to share stories of people who have done either the ordinary or extraordinary, or have learned lessons along the way.

Some of them are stories of the deepest magnitude, a hero who touched–and saved–so many lives, like that of Rick Rescorla during 9/11. Others have been fun filled gifts of laughter and play, like the Forever Wedding Dance couple who taught us a simple lesson about celebration and having fun. And then there are stories about the unbridled passion to make a difference in the lives of kids–like Geoffrey Canada with the Harlem Children’s Zone. None  of those are original content, simply the pulling of stories of others with a few pieces of commentary alongside.

And it will continue to be sprinkled with some personal stories and anecdotes–some involving my business endeavorsTwitter, Facebook, Blogging and others around personal experiences. So those things will continue, and I hope you’ll freely participate along the way. You can also follow me on Twitter (@richraz2) or on Facebook (“Rich Razgaitis”).

What I get absolutely fired up about is to see people pursue their passion, whatever and wherever that may be, so that each of us can find their destiny and achieve greatness (which, has nothing to do with title or money). These can mean radically different things for all of us. The key, though, for every one of us, is to find and pursue with unbridled passion those things for which you and I were intended.

That is when the magic happens.

It’s the reason that I love movies like Crazy Heart. Stories of redemption, personal calling, overcoming a struggle to achieve greatness. I read a great quote the other day: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I love to connect with those who are fighting the hard battle–but also remain determined and destined to achieve greatness. At the same time, I would love to imprint upon others a distaste for apathy in a way that makes them sick. Yes, we should hate apathy (in most all cases) because it’s one of the greatest thieves from you pursuing your purpose. Being apathetic is giving up, it’s not caring. And once we’ve lost the heart and passion to care, well, I don’t know how to reignite that again–let alone help someone win.

So onwards with the stories of perseverance towards purpose.

Erica and the girls are both torn yet excited for our future. They, too, went “all in” with us on this Univera journey. I’m thankful for the sacrifices they’ve made to let me have the time and adventure with each of you. They’re ready for the next move, though, and are resilient and excited despite this being bittersweet.

I will miss each one of you. Tremendously. Together we have gone through it all, especially those of you who have been on this journey with me for years. It is, really, too difficult to put into words without sounding trite or filled with hyperbole. There’s a lot that’s happened. A lot we learned. And even more we gained.

So I’ll leave it at this: together we’ve been through it all, and I love you a lot. No matter what.

Thanks for a great journey.

Your friend,

Raz

fam-hawaii-black-beach2

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. 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 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.

Patrick Henry Hughes

Patrick Henry Hughes

A friend passed this onto me today, thanks Jan, and it’s such “postable” blog material I had to put it up right away but not without a few comments first.

It starts a little slow and just keeps morphing into this amazing story of a determined spirit to succeed, find a passion and commit to it, and make the most of life as well as hand we’re dealt.

In six minutes I was humbled and inspired. And humbled again.

As I heard the Dad tell his story, and the sacrifices he made to help the dreams of his son, it really made me ask myself a question. If put into that same situation as a Dad, would I have the discipline, humility, and determination to do what he has done? I would hope so, but I am just not sure–he is an amazing man.

And, of course, Patrick Henry Hughes is a pretty exceptional young man himself. All these big muckety muck’s (corporate guys, consultants, speakers, trainers; nothing wrong with them either apart from being overrated) work for years on end to try to deliver profound wisdom and in this little vignette rests a story and lesson I’ll remember for the rest of my life from two “normal” guys in Kentucky.

Patrick, you really are The Man. Pretty sweet stuff you’re made of–same with your Dad.

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 health, 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.

Happy Thanksgiving, from the Raz Family

Happy Thanksgiving
Dear Friends and Family,

Here’s our annual family Thanksgiving video, I hope each of you are having a fantastic day.

Happy Thanksgiving, from the Raz Family!

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all day. 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.

Just Do It…And Do It Again, And Do It…

Art Williams, Direct Selling, and Leadership

Art Williams is fairly legendary in the Direct Selling industry; he’s a strong leader, a normal “everyday guy” (who also happens to be #843 on Forbes list of “world’s billionaires”!) and delivered a really strong message twenty years back that still makes its rounds on YouTube.

I know not everybody is going to agree with everything that he says in here, or enjoy the way in which he says it; however, there are also some timeless and universal principles in this message as it relates to leadership–and everyday life.

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 data 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 health, 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.

Happy Father’s Day

Though late in the day, I’m still going to get my Father’s Day post in before “COB”, even beating midnight Eastern time.

My Dad is a phenomenal individual and I really appreciate him (as well my Mom, but today is the Dad’s day) more than words can adequately express. Which might be a good thing, because this week is Convention where a lot of Univera associates from all over North America will descend upon Seattle for a three day event and I am burning time fast, with still much to do this evening. A quick stop at the house for dinner and then back to crank until well into the night, along with a lot of my colleagues who are doing the same thing, to finalize preparations for our annual Convention.

So as I was thinking about a Father’s Day post, and whether to even do one. As I was driving home from working offsite I thought I could share on a lesson I learned from my Dad that I reapplied yesterday during my Saturday run.

The lesson is a simple one: your body lies to you.

He used to tell me this when we’d go running, I remember heading out with him on the weekends at a young age (possibly late elementary school, or was I a bit older?) we’d go out for anywhere from 3-7 miles around the neighborhood. Every run seemed to start the same. The first half mile I’d feel lousy, and I’d tell my Dad and whimper something like “this is hard” or “I don’t feel good” or “my legs are tired, let’s turn around!”

And he’d just look at me and say “your body lies to you”, and would continue with “give it some time and you’ll see what I mean.” So we’d go a bit further. Another half mile and I wasn’t feeling good, but by then I wasn’t feeling so bad either. By the second and third mile I generally felt pretty good. Sometimes great. But, almost always, at least pretty good.

Now, I’m sure someone is reading this right now and thinking “Well, this is blasphemy! You should listen to your body!”

Indeed, sometimes you should.

But I’m not talking about putting my hand in front of a blowtorch and sloughing it off as mind over matter whilst forging forward; instead I’m speaking about the lesson I learned as it relates to being steadfast and doing some of the things you don’t naturally feel like, or want, to do.

Which, for me, quite often, includes working out.

In fact, I think that’s true for most people in that our bodies, and minds to some degree of course, don’t “want” to work out. If you doubt it then consider for a moment why we don’t, instead, have an epidemic of lean, skinny, mile-eating, resting-pulse-rate-of-50, hyper-fit men and women across North America?

After I work out I am always glad I did it. Without exception. I might not always feel physically good afterwards (though, again, usually I do by the time I’m finished). But I’m always glad I invested in doing something good for my health. Over the past ten years I’ve gone up and down with my wellness initiatives, and getting back on the horse is always hard. Staying on is hard, too. 

My body resists, instead it THINKS it wants to sit on the couch, or get a bit more sleep, or eat the Cherry Garcia ice cream in the fridge…along with a few thin mints (thank you, Girl Scouts). So sometimes I have to force myself to get going, and simply realize that, at times, my body lies to me.

So now that I’m in a rhythm of working out and preparing for the Portland Marathon in the fall it’s a bit easier because I’ve got to follow a regimented schedule, and now at this point I look forward to more workouts than those I don’t. During the weekends I usually do my long run for the week, and the longest I’ve done so far is 16 miles. In contract, yesterday’s run should’ve been a breeze, it was only five miles and the pace was moderate.

But there are still occasional days, like yesterday, when I felt as if someone were beating me with a billy club with every stride. And in the last two months that I’ve been diligent about running on my regimen I’ve never once considered ending one of my runs prematurely–until yesterday.

Mile number two, I felt terrible, and I was going to bag it.

Then, as I was running (struggling) I remembered, out of nowhere, the lesson from so many years ago where my dad would turn to me and remind me “your body lies to you, give it some time.”

So I did.

And by the end of the fifth mile I realized that, once again, he was right.

Thanks, Dad, for all the great memories and lessons you’ve taught me over the years. Including one that I used, completely unexpectedly, yesterday during my run.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. 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 health, 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.

Why Seattle???

Today I’m reposting a video from a year ago as we prepare for a really exceptional event in Seattle NEXT WEEK! 

June 26th and 27th (though the 70’s celebration band/bash starts on Thursday night the 25th, as well as some great workshops earlier that afternoon) we’re going to be celebrating Univera’s 10th year anniversary, learning from the best of the best in business building which includes some great keynotes from Paul Zane Pilzer, Neil Offen (Prez of DSA), and Tim Sales. 

There’s personal development with Taylor Hartman and others, a deep reach into our culture where we’ll talk about the great work being done by Serve First and other volunteerism projects, some evening comedic relief with Michael Junior, and a lot of fabulous workshops. 

This entire event is focused on…getting all of us the next level.

Professionally (get to the next rank!), physically (run or walk the 5k, eat healthier!), and culturally (let’s increase contributions to the children needing nourishment, and give more time!). 

So in honor of next weeks event, and all the merits in coming to Seattle, I’m reposting a video that I made last year which is a plug for all the great reasons to come to Convention to experience the amazing city of Seattle. 

Keep in mind SOME of the content is outdated. For example, the dates themselves. 🙂

And the theme, though you can still “Dream, Achieve, Live” if you want to. 

But, there are even more benefits to the program we’re putting on this year for you and your business, and all the virtues of coming to Seattle are still alive and well. So, come and enjoy–and I look forward to celebrating with you soon.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all day. 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 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.

Hard Work at a Cutting Edge

logging1

This article really humbled me, for a few simple reasons.

I gained a real appreciation for some of the very hard work that people do across the world, in this case in the States, to make a living. At times I think I’ve worked pretty hard in my life. And then I read an article like this, and I think I hardly know the meaning of hard work. 

I was really enamored to read about how someone finds their passion, a calling and love for a certain job, in an industry where you wouldn’t think of it as an industry of passion (the article is about logging, which I am sure for some is a controversial subject–but unless you live in a Yurt or Tent, then the reality is you probably live in a structure that somehow ties back to the logging industry). Sure, there are jobs out there–in any Company and industry–where people are just punching a clock. But, then, there are those certain people who have a passion for what they do (these people are the “magic” in an organization).

And, as it turns out, this includes the logging industry. 

This story also reminded me of a few other things personally.

In the Fall of 2000 I was working as an Exec at a start-up company in Manhattan. It was an incredible job and opportunity, but the hours and intensity were pretty brutal, I can’t quite describe it and unless you’ve been in that environment you can’t understand it. During the week I rarely got home before midnight (maybe one night a week, two if I was lucky) and it was pretty normal to get home in the middle of the night or early morning. Yet, I loved it and it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. But with every job there’s a bit of “downside” and the time required for this job was one of them. 

Then one day I was feeling a bit fatigued, and was probably even pining a bit to myself about the magnitude of our task, and that same day I stumbled onto a Wall Street Journal article. It told the story about two Chinese citizens living in the rural countryside, and the amount of work they had to do daily just to earn enough to afford a shanty for their family along with simple rice and chicken as food. Above the story there was an oversized picture of these two men working; I remember one guy was 67 years old. He looked 80. And the work in the rice fields appeared backbreaking. And there was no future, for them it just looked so hopeless. Even though it was a sterile B&W photo from 10,000 miles away in an environment I’m unfamiliar with, their exhaustion poured off of the page I was holding in my hands. That day I took that picture and posted it on my wall at work (and have kept it ever since) as a reminder of the privilege I have been given. 

The story below reminds me a bit of that article from nearly a decade ago, and it gave me a new appreciation for the hard work that goes on across the world, and also the passion that people can find within it. 

Hard Work at a Cutting Edge
In any gathering of men who take down trees for a living you will see a few battle wounds. Sliced digits. Crooked legs. Scarred faces. Chain saws are fast, powerful and unforgiving, and the ones that the professionals use resemble what the ordinary citizen buys from Home Depot about as much as a Chevy off the lot resembles the Impala SS Jimmie Johnson drove at the Daytona 500. Then there are those dead limbs — “widow makers” — that break off as a tree is coming down, whipping through the air and occasionally landing on a logger who considers himself “lucky” if he is merely injured. Hazard also comes from the heavy equipment for bundling logs and moving them out of the woods on greasy skidder trails and along narrow dirt roads. Those bundles can roll over and crush a man if he isn’t careful, or even if he is.

In “Brush Cat,” Jack McEnany offers a vivid account of the “wood economy” of New Hampshire, never stinting on the danger in this line of work. “According to the U.S. Department of Labor,” Mr. McEnany writes, logging is “the most dangerous job in America,” handily beating out the number-two killer profession, commercial fishing.

So why do it? What, to use a term from Econ 101, are the incentives? Looking for an answer to that question, Mr. McEnany spent some serious time with loggers — both in the woods and in the bars where they restore themselves at the end of the day. The answer turns out to be simple — they do it because they love it. Why they love it is a little harder to figure out.

Click here to read the full story.

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 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 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.

R Angel

R Angel helping Zoe and Royce read their new book
R Angel helping Zoe and Royce read their new book

Today’s a really great day, and not just because of our birth mothers (though I’m particularly appreciative of my mom and my wife) but also because of all the other great literal or metaphorical mothers out across the world–there are some of you who have done as much as any other mother, but for kids otherwise not your own.

And late this morning we had brunch with just one of those people.

Her name is “R”, at least that’s what she tells us everybody calls her. And somehow around the house we started describing her as “our Angel”, so I suppose her official name given by the Raz clan is “R Angel.”

How we met is an odd occurrence.

In the Northwest we got a nasty winter blast back in December, it really pounded on us. I think we might’ve gotten up to 15 inches in one day, on top of other accumulation days before. Many establishments were closed but I threw chains on each wheel on the Landcruiser and we were off and running around town having fun and running a few errands (really, it was an excuse for me to get to drive around in crazy weather w/ chains–Erica and the girls just humored me).

It was about 6:30pm, dreary dark with snow continuing to pound down. At this point any semblance of a sidewalk has been buried in a massive snowbank. The streets themselves are packed with fresh snow underscored by ice, cars are slipping and sliding everywhere. People with SUV’s (without chains) are having a difficult time driving.

And as I’m driving up to Pacific Avenue I see in the faint distance what looks to be a woman hunched over, wearing all dark clothes, with a walker making a slow attempt to cross a very busy street. Slowly, ohhhh so slowly, she’s making her way across with cars sliding everywhere, with her walker she’s somehow trying to dredge through over mounds of snow, and she’s crossing in the middle of a four laned street (NOT at an intersection or crosswalk).

As I’m driving closer, I’m still squinting and can’t believe what I’m seeing–then the words that came out of my mouth were something like…

“HOLY SNAP! THAT LADY IS GOING TO GET HERSELF KILLED!”

So I stopped in the street blocking two lanes of traffic and went out and helped her across. I was half in shock and half in humor what with the oddity of the situation and all. She was probably about 80-years old, slowly got across with me, said to me gently “Thank you dear, you’re a sweetheart–isn’t this amazing weather, and so beautiful!” and then went on her way.

But as I was walking away I couldn’t leave, it was like something kept nagging at me. So I turned back and asked her “How’d you even get here?”

“The bus” she replied while still walking, ever so slowly, to the shopping center while stumbling and and finagling around with snow, her bags, the walker, and a hunched back.

“Well, how are you getting home?” I asked back.

“The bus”, as she smiled.

So I walked over and said, “My friend, buses aren’t even running anymore; we’ll take you home. You can’t try to get home on your own.”

The point of how we met is something I’ll reference back to.

So over the past four months we’ve gotten to know R, what started as a quirky introduction led to her being a bit of an adopted Grandmother (which is great because we don’t have any relatives nearby).

Today for Mother’s Day we took “R Angel” out to brunch; Royce and Zoe made pictures and crafts for her, and we talked. When we arrived she was dressed so nicely, and she spoke softly with her Audrey Hepburn-like voice that waved and waned, and it was clear that though her body might not have been keeping up her mind had carried well. 

And over our food she spent a lot of time talking with, and reading to, the girls. And as we asked she told us stories about her husband, to whom she’s been married 52 years and is living his final days in a nursing home near her house. And, even though he no longer remembers her name, I learned something through how she talked about him with such great love and compassion.

And when it came time to talk about her kids, we learned that all three of their children has already passed away through a series of tragedies which threw a knot into my throat–yet in this sadness, I also learned a lesson from her, as she also told us with such sincerity about how blessed and fortunate she was.

And, finally, when we dropped her off today, I realized that when we stopped to help her back in the wild winter months I thought we were doing her a favor. And, as is always the case with Mother’s, she was the one that ultimately did us a favor. Through the gift of her relationship, showing compassion, and giving us light into a positive perspective–which is something that, at times, only Mom’s can do. 

Happy Mother’s Day, to all those of you who have done so much in so many different ways to make an impact on our lives. 

 

Royce, Erica, and Zoe on Mother's Day
Royce, Erica, and Zoe on Mother's Day

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Just In Case…

 

Al Keranen and Glenn "Big Daddy" Hubbard
Al Keranen and Glenn "Big Daddy" Hubbard

 

…you missed it and you’re a Univera associates (or interested in making some extra money), here’s a replay. 

Normally, I reserve my blog for topics related to leadership, service, and wellness–mixed in with some personal stories. Yet so much of my life is Univera and the related activities spillover continually–and this is one of those. The following was a really fun announcement (Glen and Teresa were great thanks to you both) to make via a simulcast to well over to 1,000 Univera associates who watched LIVE from all over North America–and on a Friday night to boot. In addition, we had about 150 people attending the Executive Invitational this weekend who were also in the audience.


Watch live video from Univera’s channel on Justin.tv

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 health, 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.