Thursday, July 19, 2012

We've come full circle as Landlords

We spend a lot of time joking about how we own 3 homes...and wish we owned one. Being a landlord is a means to an end for us. We've been very fortunate in recent years to have great renters.

Most of our friends know about how our experience as a Landlord started. Our first renters were Meghan's best friend Beth and her husband. Less than a half year into their time renting our Rochester house, we had a catastrophe. Sewer water flooded the house and destroyed our entire lower level and tons of Beth and Karls property. In the coming months, God came through in amazing ways for both us and them though and in the end it felt like we were being blessed through the tragedy. Our faith was increased greatly through that event.

A year or so later, we decided to relocate back to Minnesota. We struggled to sell the house and thought (incorrectly) the market was bottoming out so we decided to rent out our house. It was our first time renting to strangers and we had NO clue what we were doing. We were so excited to get renters and move on that we overlooked things and made a poor decision. In the end our poor decision cost us over $5000 in lost rent and damages. After trying to amicably collect this from the ex-tenants (who moved out willingly) we gave up and sent it to collections about 4-5 years ago. We wrote it off mentally as a loss, money we'd never see again but hoped that eventually these people would want to restore their credit and their name and would pay us back the money owed. Today, amazingly, I received a check from our collection agency from this renter. I literally couldn't believe my eyes. I hope they continue to make these payments (looks like they are making 10 payments) but the fact that they even made one payment is amazing to me.

We only get half of the debt (the agency earns the other half...which I am happy to pay them for actually collecting on it) but almost $3000 is way better than NOTHING. Feeling so blessed and hopeful this continues so it can end with a happy resolve!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

There are so many things that bring me joy, its hard to narrow it down but these are clearly some of the biggest ones!

  1. My wife: Meghan and I have an amazing gift. We can spend entire days around each other and not drive each other crazy. I know not every couple is like this, but I consider it a gift. I am a homebody and I couldn't be if Meghan and I couldn't live around each all the time harmoniously. She is my best friend and my one true love.
  2. My kids: Its amazing how much I love these kids. Sure from time to time they make me crazy but the next moment they can completely flip it back and bring me so much joy. There is nothing like getting up in the morning and snuggling with them. I love being a part of their lives and having this extra time right now to be with them so much, I know its something I won't have for long so I am trying to cherish this time I have!
  3. Summer: I love summer. I love the warm weather, I love wearing shorts and tshirts and swimming and being outside all the time. I don't know why I live in MN since I love the warm weather so much, but MN is just home to me. 
  4. My small group at church: I can't imagine a more grouping...God was clearly a part of putting this group together. I love that our kids are all right around the same ages and just love playing with each other so much. We all have unique backgrounds and goals but our friendships are amazingly deep because they have God at the center. I couldn't imagine my life without this group of people in it! 
  5. Sports: Whether its playing or watching, I love sports. I will choose playing basketball, ultimate frisbee, or football over just about anything (except maybe the four things above this on the list). I wasn't blessed with the most athletic body but I love the challenge of competing with people and winning! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.

Ugh of course this would make me go back to high school, the least favorite years of my life. I think a lot of mine are going to be re-affirming myself as that is the age where I really started to make some smart decisions in my life. This is the age where I really figured out what would be important in my life and who would be important in my life so here we go:
  1. You are making the right decision in dumping ALL your friends and investing in the kids at church. These kids are going to be amazingly important in defining who you are and who you will become. Many of them will be people you keep in touch with throughout college and even as an adult through this great invention called Facebook (its on the internet which is this great tool you know very little about but will one day take up a little too much of your time).
  2. Try to find some more challenging jobs. Sure working at Mr. Cinders was an interesting experience but its not going to get you a career as a waiter, Al doesn't like male servers. Just go look for some jobs in the business world that will get you an edge in the future! 
  3. You are right, prom is WAY overrated and not worth your time. I know there were a lot of factors about why you didn't go (not interested in anyone at that time, anti-prom, a little bit afraid of rejection, etc) but honestly as you suspect its not something you will ever regret missing. 
  4. Be more bold. This affects a lot of areas of your life but you were kind of a chicken in high school and it extended into college. Be more bold in asking girls out, rejection isn't THAT bad and its fun getting to know people one on one like that. Share about your faith and the things that are important to you. If you don't open yourself up you are stunting your growth as a person! 
  5. Work on forming good habits now. Start spending time in the Bible every only gets harder when those habits aren't there. 
  6. Find a best friend. I know you just dumped all your friends but you need someone that you can talk to about anything. You didn't really have one of those in high school, so find one and invest heavily! 
  7. Brush off the jerks. Honestly kids in high school are so insecure they are usually picking out the things they are insecure about and projecting it onto you. Don't let their insecurities change who you are! 
  8. Do stuff to make the world a better place. Take advantage of not having responsibilities and get out there and experience the world. Do missions trips with church. Help out those who need help. These are the things that mold you into a great person.
  9. Listen to your parents. Believe it or not, they are pretty smart people and only want to see you succeed in life. One day you will realize this and wish you would have shown them all the love and respect they deserved (though you were pretty good to them compared to others). 
  10. Keep pursuing music. Sure you won't make a career out of it but heck Karaoke is a blast and it makes you feel good about yourself that you are great at something! 
So there we advice to 16 year old Trevor who was actually a pretty well adjusted kid. It was a challenge but a fun exercise to look back at what I would have changed or re-affirmed! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Describe your relationship with your parents...

My relationship with my parents has always been great. I've been blessed with wonderful parents who were (and are) amazing...sure not perfect but very very good! When I was young, I never remember them not being there for me and supporting me. I tried the sports thing and realized that I wasn't going to excel as an athlete...not sure if that was disappointing to my dad but I never saw that once. They always encouraged me to pursue music as it was clear that was where I was gifted.

I am very close to my parents. I've always been very close with my mom, your typical mother/son kind of bond. She was my source of unconditional love and a person I could always count on to love me and be there for me. My dad was the provider for our family which unfortunately meant he wasn't around as much. I never once thought it was a reflection on me though. He made it a point to be very involved in my life despite being very busy. He and I got a LOT closer after I left for school though. He was a source of wisdom and advice for me as I pursued my career in business. He's the first person I call when I am struggling with something for work and the first person I call when I have something exciting happening.

My parents are amazing. I can't imagine having anyone else in my life. Seeing them interact with my kids is something I get so much joy from! I wish we didn't have so much distance between us so they could see even more of each other. I am very blessed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Describe 3 legitimate fears...

Okay so I forgot about the blog thing so we'll try this again. haha Day two a week or so later is about describing three legitimate fears you have and how they became your fears.

  1. Losing Job/Being Unemployed - This is a tough one because I am living through one of my biggest fears. Back in February I got a tough call from my boss that they were letting me go as part of a reduction in workforce. My world began to close in on me. See as a man, the leader of the house, and the primary money maker of the house, I get a lot of my pride and joy out of knowing that I am providing for my family. Right now, my income has taken a dramatic hit, that is hard to adjust to. Its also a pride issue. Being out of a job, even if its of no fault of your own, makes you feel like somewhat of a failure... failure to myself, my family, everything. God has something great in store though and I still have full faith that something great is coming down the line but this has been a tough, learning experience. 
  2. Something Happening to Meghan - This one is kind of obvious. There isn't a more important person in my life. She is my best friend, the person I spend the most time with, and the last person I talk to every night before bed. I can't imagine how my life would change if she got really sick, hurt or died. Not only would it change how I lived but it would affect me emotionally like nothing else.
  3. Something Happening to the Kids - I was watching a preview for a new movie and they said "You haven't truly loved someone until you've wiped someone's butt" and while its funny, its so true! I can't even put into words the depth of love I have for these two kids. If someone harmed them, I would go absolutely crazy on that person. I can't imagine getting up in the morning and not getting hugs from them. I can't imagine not hearing "I love you daddy" from one of them. 
So these were somewhat obvious but I don't have a ton of fears. I worked through my fear of speaking in front of people and now actually enjoy it and seek out jobs that will allow me to be in front of people. I do have a legitimate fear of heights doesn't stop me from things like roller coasters or tall buildings BUT bungee jumping or skydiving are OUT of the question. What are your fears!?!?

Monday, May 7, 2012

List 20 random facts about yourself.

Day one is to list 20 random facts about yourself. I think the hardest thing about this is figuring things that people wouldn't already know about me!

  1. I've lived in four different states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Illinois
  2. My first car was a Ford Tempo, maroon interior and maroon stuff! 
  3. When I was a bachelor my roommates and I wouldn't rent an apartment if it didn't have a nice sized hot tub there that we could use! We were down there all the time, it was great.
  4. I can't gain weight. I know ladies hate away but I could eat all day and never gain weight (or so it seems). 
  5. I enjoy wife hates it. I like seeing things get transformed into something new and exciting.
  6. I lead a small group at my church. Its challenging at times (especially finding child care for all our kids) but I love our group, its my favorite part of the week.
  7. We own THREE homes. I wish I owned only if anyone wants to buy one of them, make me an offer and I'll probably take it! :-)
  8. I make spreadsheets for everything. I am very organized and need to have order for me to get everything accomplished, in fact I used to keep a to do list in my pocket at all times when I was in college.
  9. My first job was at McDonalds.
  10. I hate Old Country Buffet...and really buffets in general.
  11. I am a San Antonio Spurs fan...sounds strange but it dates back to the David Robinson days.
  12. I love Karaoke. I don't get out to do it very often anymore but its something I love to do!
  13. I was a HUGE baseball fan as a child but gave up on the sport in 1994 during the strike and literally didn't watch a game for over decade until I met my wife and she convinced me to give it another shot.
  14. I've only told one woman (that I am not related to) that I love her...and I later married her! 
  15. I hate clutter. I am constantly cleaning things up...that doesn't mean my desk or dresser don't get messy at times but it drives me NUTS!
  16. I love comedies...I'll choose a comedy over any other genre of movie. 
  17. I am President of my home owners association...impressed yet?
  18. I had a cat poop on my bed once! 
  19. I lived with the same person for 8 years and the person wasn't related or married to me.
  20. I never went to prom. I intentionally took on work shifts each year I could have because I had no interest in going...and I don't regret it at all. I never even asked anyone to go with me. :-)

30 days and 30 posts

Recently a friend of mine started doing this and I thought it was a pretty interesting way to get back into blogging and have some interesting things to write about. I don't know if I'll get around to doing one of these every day, but I'll try! The list is down below, the more comments I get, the more fun and motivated I'll have with it!

We've had a lot going on in life lately but I am sure I'll cover a lot of it in the next 30 or so days with all of these posts.:

  1. List 20 random facts about yourself.   
  2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears. 
  3. Describe your relationship with your parents. 
  4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could. 
  5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now? 
  6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced? 
  7. What is your dream job, and why? 
  8. What are 5 passions you have? 
  9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how. 
  10. Describe your most embarrassing moment. 
  11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have. 
  12. Describe a typical day in your current life. 
  13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have. 
  14. Describe 5 strengths you have. 
  15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why? 
  16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments? 
  17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at? 
  18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive? 
  19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? 
  20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood. 
  21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first? 
  22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? 
  23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
  24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
  25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
  26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
  27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
  28. What is your love language?
  29. What do you think people misunderstand most about you?
  30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We are so fortunate

We have two wonderful amazing times they stress us out, but in the end of the day, we are so very blessed by them. Meghan and I can pretty much have a baby at will...or it feels that way. Sometimes we feel like its a curse, but really its a blessing. Today, I think of my friends who haven't been so fortunate. We have a few friends who try and try to have a baby and can't. Some of them finally did after a year of trying and others, well I guess it wasn't in God's plan for them right now. We've also had some friends who have gotten pregnant only to have soul crushing news delivered to them.

We are SO fortunate to not have had to go through these things. I never want to forget that or take it for granted.

Everyone has their trials and tribulations that they go through, they are necessary for growth and refinement of our character. Most recently a college friend of mine, Kris Heller, blogged about their latest trip to the OB, they were so excited to find out the sex of their new (first) baby. Here is an excerpt...
We told the ultrasound tech that we wanted to have the baby's health & measurements done first before finding out what the sex of the baby was. We wanted to save the best for last...

Within two minutes, our whole world crashed.

The ultrasound tech paused, saying that there was a problem. All I remember was my heart beating so fast & loud that I thought it was on the overhead sound system. I thought I was going to pass out as she focused on the baby's head. She measured the baby's head... there was more fluid than usual in her head. That wasn't the only thing. There was a small fluid cyst on the back of her head, too.

My husband was on the verge of passing out. He was seeing black spots, feeling dizzy.
I've gotten some bad news in my life (the call from Beth and Karl about our rental house being filled with sewer water would be right up there) but this would be at a whole new level. I imagine my life if either of our two amazing kids hadn't made it through to be with us. My life would be so different. My outlook on life might be so different. The doctor sent them to a specialist...40 minutes away. What an awful car ride that must have been.
We had to drive 40 mins to the specialist... so many tears. I think our hearts cracked right in half that day.

At the specialist, I don't remember walking up the stairs or if we took the elevator. We waited while the ultrasound tech there took a million ultrasound pictures and they were too hard to look at. I could see exactly what was wrong...  

The tech there asked if we wanted to know if it was a girl or boy.. I looked at my husband not knowing if I even wanted to know at this point. He said yes, and she said it was a little girl..

My little girl. The one I'd been hoping for... the one I dreamed about.. and she has unbelievable problems.

The Specialist came in and was very matter-of-fact. He spoke as he went over the pics and did an ultrasound at the same time, yet again, pointing out the horrific problems...  the problems didn't stop there. He highlighted her kidneys saying they were enlarged, not really functioning... barely any amniotic fluid being produced. The prognosis: lethal. "Not viable to sustain life."

Imagine hearing that..
I want to ask everyone that reads this...which might not be many since I don't blog anymore (I really enjoy it though and need to just remember to do it) say a prayer for Mike and Kris. Say a prayer for all your friends that are pregnant or who want to be pregnant. Lord willing I will never have to see another one of my friends have their dreams come crashing down on them like this again!