Value First

Value First. That is probably the one of the most significant things you can do with your business and your relationships to be successful. Put value first, before the sale, before you present, before you try to “close the deal”. When somebody sees the value in how you conduct your business then they will buy from you.

Best story I could share of this is when I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. I had to bring the broken bike into Harv Wiens at Life Cycles bike store in Abbotsford to have it checked out. I also had a triathlon coming up in a week and a half.

What value did I get from Harv? He not only leant me his personal Specialized Roubaix bike but he also made sure I was fitted properly for the bike. He took care of me first, before he know that the bike was a write off and I was going to need a new bike. It’s a pretty amazing story of value first and I’m now a loyal customer. Kicker is, Harv isn’t the cheapest bike shop. Doesn’t have all the flashy marketing. He is a guy who loves bikes, loves getting people on bikes and loves servicing his customers with value. And this story is not unique to this man. If you know people who know him you’ll understand that he does this type of value first living  more often than not.

Value first. Impressive.

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Black Friday 2012 & the #23

I am a huge Michael Jordan fan. Grew up on a steady diet of watching the Bulls win championships. I dreamed of being like Mike, I wanna be like Mike. (Insert Gatorade commercial here). I love using 23 on my usernames when my full name isn’t available. I choose 23 when I can and I think it’s a lucky number! I love Mike. Even to the point that I put his team logo on a tattoo on my left shoulder. (Paying for that mistake of not making it the flight symbol or something 23..)

Jordan Flight Logo

Regardless, the number 23 has taken a turn for me. Our family has recently embraced tradegy. I say embraced because in the midst of tradegy you can either let the river of emotion sweep you away or you can swim with it, find the bank and climb your way out.

I embrace the opportunity to swim with it. I embrace the opportunity to keep my head above water, all the while hoping that this was just a dream. Reality is it’s not a dream and we recently had our two sons Tom Walter and Tank Walter leave us to be with Jesus.

It’s been hard. It’s been a fog. It’s been challenging to keep to the positives in life but that is what I want to do. I really want to serve Jesus by walking through the journey, embracing the tradegy and showing everyone that I don’t walk on my strength but on God’s strength. I’m not sure how I am doing this but I can tell you it is in a large part to my wife Carleigh. She is an amazing woman.

Photo on 2012-11-06 at 11.36 #2

Yes, I had to endure things that no one ever wants. Yes, I felt part of the process as well as a helpless bystander as I watched the incredible staff at Woman’s Hospital provide Carleigh, Tom and Tank with the best possible care. It was tough but…

I didn’t have to endure the first 23 weeks of pregnancy.

I didn’t have to endure the laser surgery to correct the Twin to Twin Tranfusion Syndrome.

I didn’t have to endure the pain of so much that happened on Black Friday in 2012.

I was a “bystander”.

Carleigh was the champ. She confidently walked with me and Jesus as we had to make hard decision after hard decision on both trying to save our boys as well as keeping her safe. In it all, she cared for our boys, loved our boys and would endure anything for our two boys. Any of our kids for that matter. But when you hear her story and see how much she had to endure and how much she loved our boys, you would understand the strength and resolve of her faith. She could have been broken and angry instead she was broken with grace. That is amazing. Amazing still is to be a woman who chooses to love God and believe that he is in control in all things in the midst of the storm.

Trusting that we as parents did all we could for our boys, I feel insignificant as a man and as a person.

Her strength and resolve through it all was unbelievable. She was a force of love for Tom and Tank that wouldn’t let anything stop her trying her best to keep them alive and well. Unfortunately her body couldn’t agree with her spirit and since the Dr’s had fumbled the referral process, the hospital failed to deliver a report and were unable to see the signs, there was no stopping the delivery our boys.

23 weeks for a premature baby is too early. That we were sure of.

Maybe it was Jesus sparing us the hardache and pain of watching them go through life challenged. Maybe this crazy world would be too much for them and it was going to be too hard on them. I don’t know why, but I trust that Jesus spared my boys pain in order to save them and us from bring them to life everlasting. I trust…

I spoke with a friend in the last couple of weeks. He knows grief and loss. He lost his dad in his prime and as a boy he was only 13 when a drunk driver brought an end to his dad’s life. He is all too familiar with the struggle of why’s and what if’s. And yet today he shared a verse with me. A verse that was Isaiah 57:1-2. “the righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly, enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

No one knows for certain why this happened and yes there were medical errors leading to the chance of the boys survival to be minimal. But what do we really know about what happened except that you have a family in grief and trusting in their Lord? I’ll tell you it isn’t me and it isn’t my strength as a person. My testiment to that is the amount of red wine I have been drinking to help myself sleep!

What it is, is God walking closely beside my family. He has given us so much. i am thankful for so much. I have three healthy children, a lovely wife, a great job, a house that has too many unfinished projects but i have a house! I have food for my family and a ton of close friends who are willing to walk along side us at any given moment. I cannot even begin to list the friends who have shown us compassion and love.

I am thankful. I also need to be thankful for the poor things in life. the bad things that leave me in a fog. The challenges that leave me numb to my core. Then can God really care for me, hold me and my family and give us the joys that he wants to. Another friend told me to try to welcome and be thankful for the tough things in life, because that is what we are called to.

I want to be called to righteousness and I want to be refined by fire. I think that it is happening. Although I am human and I am drinking a little too much wine in order to find sleep at night, I know that I am saved by grace. I am loved and I am cared for. Now I need to do the same for the people in my family who remain and be strong, love, and growth with because they are still my gifts that remain. I may hurt, but i have so very much to be thankful for, and I just pray I don’t lose sight of that grace.

I’m thankful for this one…

IMG_3350

And this one…

kathleen 228

Especially this one…

DSC_0323

They are the ones who remain…they are where I can focus my love. In the meantime I am working through where I want to put my new tattoo.

Unfortunately this one will have 23…

and it could be the start of my era of body art.

This is what I’ve come up with so far…

TANK&TOM2feet1pair

And this…

TANK&TOMWALKARM

I’ll never forget, I will heal, I will fogive, and I will continue to be thankful for God’s Grace…

And her name is Carleigh.

Movember in a Dress

Well, it’s kinda of embarrassing to have a mustache on my lip with $0.00 raised to date. Poor showing on my part for both my mustache and my fund raising.

That’s when I came up with this great idea…actually a guy I work with, Mike Wood shared his friend’s great idea. His friend was raising money for movember by having a tip jar out and whoever bid the most won the opportunity to choose the colour he was to die his mustache! Pretty great way to raise donations.

What if I told you I’d wear a dress to work for the day? How much would that be worth to you?? What if it was a dynamic sequence dress that my Grandma used to wear to all of our family weddings & functions? Would that be motivating for you to donate?

Ma Mere’s (Grandma’s) Dress!

Well if donations on my movember page reach $2500.00 I’ll wear this dress to work for a day. To take it to the next step if donations can reach $10,000.00 I’ll wear this dress AND shave a mohawk for at least a day of work…

Here’s a little video of the proposal… http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wYJAOqZYgU8

I’ll document everything from that day, blog throughout the day, and post as many pictures as possible on as much social media as possible to make this worth while.

So I’m throwing it out there…dress for a day if you’d like to support my ugly little mustache for Movember.

….not sure if this goes against the pricinples of the manly mustache Movember but hopefully it raises awareness and money for a good cause. And it’s not just another plea for a donation…

Things that are broke…

I just kinda find this funny. I know she’s really busy, three kids, demanding husband, two foster kids, one pet (who leaves us very unpleasant gifts…story to follow) and a myriad of many other responsibilities. But here’s the funny part…her last blog post so many moons ago…

or is it Carleigh's broken blog post...

Last item she forgot to mention that is broken…her blog.

Just so it’s clear…she hasn’t blogged in a long, long, long time. Oh and I forgot one other thing she does…works with this fun and quirky guy! 🙂

Zaney Zane!

He’s a one man back wrecking crew!

Friends…

It’s summer time and the best part of it is getting together with friends. Enjoying the back patio and a little bbq (vegan of course) although this may have been a cheat night…

We grilled up some veggie burgers and had friends bring a delicious green salad, a potato salad and some other odd sides… The potato salad Sam Kirk brought looked really good, can’t be rude right? I don’t want to be that weird vegan guy…what’s wrong with a little eggs?

It turns out Sam made this as the world’s best breakfast potato salad. Huh? Is that bacon? and hash browns? and eggs? Oh well, that was an amazing cheat! Thanks Sam, it was really, really, really good.

I also forgot to mention that we had our good friends Scott, Corina, Sofie and Penny Werdal along with Sam and Lana Kirk. It was a really great night. But before we got into the bbq… I suckered Sam and Scott into helping me build a small 8×8 porch for the kids new playhouse.

We moved it off of our back deck and over to the corner of the yard under a big maple tree. I waned to keep it off of the ground so it wouldn’t rot. But part of me was thinking of why we didn’t move this here in the first place.

That brings me to this part of the story, maybe it’s familiar. It goes something like this:

Carleigh says I’d like it here

I move it there with a “are you sure?”

Later she says she would like to move it…again…

You say sure but you’re not all that happy(and you think why not in the first place and this new spot isn’t that great…if not worse)

You move it,

she suggests tweaking the move,

you grumble,

she smiles

and in the end…

you see where she’s decided to move it and it’s probably the best possible spot it could’ve been placed…Dam I hate being wrong! Not really and it’s funny how much I like the end result of everything Carleigh has me do.

So that’s done, new deck, new location for the playhouse and time to enjoy the bbq with friends…

Friends who come over and help you throw together a make shift deck and lift a playhouse off of your ‘big’ deck. Friends I would like to see more but don’t because I let life keep me too busy. You both agree it should be more.

But as the guys talk, we realize that the girls are getting together 2-3 times a week while we’re at work. That’s 3 time/week for the year! ( 2×52=104 times) Scott and I only get together maybe half a dozen times, if that. Hmmm that’s a bit of a rub…While I’m at work slaving away she gets to do play dates meet up and connect with our friends. What the???

But the reality sets in and it really is…

No way I would trade my job to be a stay at home Dad!! 🙂 The amount of work Carleigh puts in with the kids is awesome and insane all at the same time. And to be honest my 100% would only be around Carleigh’s 35% so our kids would be that worse off.

Instead, I’ll just make more of an effort to get together with my friends. Or at least call or text them when I’m thinking about them.

That’s a short shout out to all my friends, love and miss you all!

Vegan…for at least a couple of weeks anyway.

After vigorous urging from my brother in law Duane Larmand (he actually bought it for me!) I finally read the book Eat to Live. It outlines the horrible eating habits we have and the habits we get into because of cravings and the accessibility of refined and processed foods. Here’s where I tell the truth, I love a movie night with red vines, chocolate, chips and maybe even some soft black liquirish. Yep, all at once. Put on a movie, settle in, and get eating. It is such an emotional experience that the escapism of the movie and the sugar high of all the candy is like a drug… and just as bad for me.

So this book…

I’ve recently become a “John the Baptist” type of messenger with this one. It’s hard not to. I know it’s only a single book but many of his findings are backed by research and they just plain make sense. Look at the FDA approved nutritional guide…it’s whacked! So when you put a little thought into things and you see what he FDA is approving as a vegetable (yes, they recently approved pizza as a vegetable serving, you know tomato sauce which makes the whole thing healthy). I could go on but the coles notes on this one is simple: eat as many raw and cook vegetables as possible (1lb a day of each!) and you’ll lose weight, de-tox your body and get healthy. Some meats are ok but by some I mean moderation not selection. Yes beef and chicken are better than “steakin'” (it’s what our son Bo calls bacon) but we shouldn’t eat much more than a couple of times a week and only in 2-3 oz portions.

At first I thought it would be tough but I’m five days into full vegan eating and I have to admit…I feel like crap! The book mentions that when your body starts to detox you may have a few bad days before it can clean itself out of the garbage. Well, I’m having one of those days and although I don’t have cravings tonight I am tired and lethargic. I’m going to hang in there and keep this up to see if it does work but…we’ll see.

Tomorrow is a new day and unfortunately we are having  an Italian bbq being sponsored by our accounting department. It’ll be a tough day. Tons of delicious but not vegan food going on. Hopefully I can hang on…

Until next week when I am feeling better and I pray to God that Kathleen’s scale actually let’s me get under the 182lb mark…I will keep eating to live.

Health + Happiness = Spiritual and Physical Wholenss

Procrastination Equation

It only took me 8 months to read…

It’s not the greatest picture but it’s a decent story…short story.

I was given the book “The Procrastination Equation“. It’s actually a very good read and it helped to normalize that 95% of the population actually procrastinate. It might actaully be higher but the other 5% just aren’t aware of it. Truth is we all do it and we all do it to different levels. It just matters to what sense of value we put in what we need to do and how quickly we get on the task. Plus if we do get started quickly and see high value but eventually lose that steam.

Ironicly, this book was just that for me. My boss gave it to me as a fun read…at least that’s what I tell myself. I think it’ll be great because truth of the matter is my procrastination doesn’t rear it’s ugly head until I’m 80% done a project. Just ask my wife Carleigh or my housemate Kathleen and they’ll tell you about the half of dozen projects around our house that is done well to 80% but still not complete. Crazy…

Here’s the start of one of those said projects…

Old Bathroom Reno

It’s the project that was only supposed to last five weeks…

So I was able to dive into this book and get 50% of it done in a week and a half…then the ugliness of procrastination rears up again. 32 weeks later, a Jeffrey Gitomer Yes! Attitude Course and a commitment to five of my co-workers to get it done, finally gets me across the finish line. If nothing else it helps to reinforce the book’s principles and the equation above. It’s the idea that expectancy and value/ implusiveness + delay will define how we tackle things to get done.

I’m done the book but it’s good to get back to its principles. It helps me live the life I want to live, be the dad I want to be and kick my own ass to get some projects done around the house.

I highly recommend it…it prevents putting off what you really want to become.