Veteran’s Day Remembered

Today, November 11th, is Veteran’s Day – a celebration of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1918 that marked the end of World War I in Europe and is now a special time to remember all of the veterans who have served our great country in every war. I am especially thankful for the sacrifice of a few of my relatives who have our country in the military and for the friends I know who have also served. Every Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day, I have three specific thoughts that come to mind. First, I am reminded of the sacrifices that millions of American’s have made to give our country the freedoms that we enjoy every days as well as the sacrifices they made to share that freedom with billions of oppressed people in our world. Second, I have a somber though in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice that my wife Kimberly’s cousin Ben made when he lost his life securing freedom in Iraq.

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The third thing that always comes to mind is a lighter though and comes from my days in elementary school when we would celebrate “Great American’s Day” every November 11th. Each student would write an essay about the sacrifices and exploits that made each individual a “Great American” and would dress up as that person for a contest and program at our school on Veteran’s Day. This activity is something from my childhood that I will never forget and always made me more appreciated of the diversity and sacrifices that so many have made for our country. A few of the people I can remember being were Neil Armstrong, Blackhawk, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone and Norman Schwarzkopf (I hope you enjoyed some of these pictures from my much younger days!).

Now as a real estate agent, I know of the some of the great programs that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs offer to greatly assist veterans who would like to purchase homes and have had the privilege to work with some veterans to make use of these programs. I may not like every way that our government spends our tax dollars, but I am thankful for every dollar we spend to help those who have sacrificed for our country!

Thanks for reading and if you have any special memories for Veteran’s Day or ways you thank veterans for their service, please share!

By Kyle PfaffeREALTOR® e: KylePfaffe@kw.com m: 512-636-9707 w: AustinHomes4You.com

How to Prepare for the End of Daylight Savings Time

This Sunday at 2 AM, Daylight Savings Time will end. For me, this will probably mean that my kids will be in my room waking me up at 6 AM. For some of my friends, I know it will be even earlier! Here are a few tips on how to better prepare for the DST transition, especially if you have kids.

  1. Gradually adjust your schedule. For the few days before Sunday, you can gradually put your kids to bed 15 minutes later and try to let them sleep in a little later Sleepingas well so that when Sunday comes around, they are already used to going to bed at the new time (and waking up at the right time!). You can also adjust your meal schedule – eat supper a little earlier each night to get them ready for bed sooner.
  2. Prepare your sleeping environment. With the change in time, the sunlight will be shining in your child’s room an hour earlier – something that would surely wake my kids up. Prepare their rooms by making sure they have adequate shades to darken their room and keep the sun from waking them up too early.
  3. Get extra sunlight. Sleep consultants say that getting less sunlight can make kids feel less energized. Make sure your kids are exposed to plenty of sunlight, especially on Sunday morning, to help their internal clocks adjust.

Good luck adjusting and I hope your kids let you get the sleep you want! With the debate that surround DST every time we spring forward or fall back, who knows how much longer we will continue the tradition.

By Kyle PfaffeREALTOR® e: KylePfaffe@kw.com m: 512-636-9707 w: AustinHomes4You.com

Reflections and Lessons on My 30th Birthday

Today is my 30th birthday and, as a general reflective person, I cannot help but look back on the 30 (short) years of my life and make a notes on my thoughts. I am writing this because I am flushing out my thoughts on paper, an exercise I find gives me focus and allows me to see the big picture of my life and experience much clearer. Who I am and whom I aspire to be is shaped by my God, my parents, my closest friends and, most importantly, my wife, who, as my constant and my critic, has lovingly prodded and inspired me to be a better husband, father and man.

I find it interesting that I have probably learned more about life in my last 4 years than in the previous 26 years combined. I left college at the age of 22 and was determined to change be successful and make a name for myself. Among other lessons, I have found success to be defined very differently now than I defined it then and that life has so much more depth than previously perceived. With this in mind, my reflections are as follows:

Time is the Most Valuable Commodity

I understand that there are more valuable things in life than time, but nothing so clearly illustrates your priorities and heart than how you spend your time. As I have worked a second job (sometimes more full-time than part-time), had two amazing kids, become more committed to spending time with my wife (which unfortunately was not always true) and been more involved with our church and friends, I have found time to be at an ultimate premium. As with everything else as well, How much time I spend with my kids and with my wife reflect on the true weight I put on their part in my lives. As more and more things have vied for my attention, I have learned to be fully present in every moment. That leads me to another lesson I have learned…

Focus

Focus, or the lack of it, can impact me in two primary ways. First, as more and more things and people vie for my attention, I have found that I must focus on the moment, task or event at hand. Whether I am distracted by work when spending with my family or vice versa, I am never as effective or make my time as profitably as when I am fully present where I am. I also owe my focus to those who in that same moment are giving me theirs.

Secondly, I have learned to focus on those things that are most important, the things that I am best at, or the things that will give me the most return on investment. I have tendency to want to try everything and excel at everything I do. This can be a benefit, but it can also dilute my time even more and prevent me from make the most of the things that deserve my time and focus the most.

Experience Does Matter

When I first started working in a full-time job, I saw little benefit in experience and especially felt that should hold little weight in a hiring manager’s decision process. I remember losing out on a promotion and receiving the explanation that “you were very close to the person we chose over you but he/she had more experience in certain key areas.” My initial thoughts from this? “How absurd. These decisions should be based solely on talent and ability. I wouldn’t want to be part of of a company puts more weight on experience and tenure anyway.” I now see how naive and ignorant I was.

I never saw the value of experience until I had some. I now see experience as an extremely valuable tool in all areas of life. I have learned how to more effectively deal with customers and clients, and situations based on actually experiences I have been through. Each one shapes and sharpens me for the next.

These few lessons are only the highlights of what I have learned and now reflect on after 30 years. Thank you to everyone who has a part in my first 30 years! I truly appreciate you and your impact in my life and look forward to sharing the next 30 years with you!

By: Kyle Pfaffe

Why is This Guy Writing About Something Other Than Real Estate?

Why is a real estate guy writing on anything but real estate? Good question. Before any other explaining, I first want to say that real estate is a huge part of my life, but my world is bigger than my job (it better be, with an amazing wife and two adorable kids) and I know that my readers think about real estate even less than I do. With that in mind, I hope I appeal to one’s desire to be balanced in life and work. That being said, I also like to write about things sometimes that interest me. So Why Starbucks?

  1. Excellence Inspires Me – I strive to be the very BEST is whatever I do and despise mediocrity and apathy. Watching and observing others who are the top of their game motivates me to reach for more. I consider Starbucks to be at the top of the made-to-order premium coffee business (I’m sure someone would disagree with me) and am therefore interested in what they do as a business and coffee shop.
  2. Innovation Fascinates Me – I never satisfied with the status quo and am always looking for ways to do things better and more effectively (see my post on IKEA’s Pre-Built Homes). With this new store, Starbucks is putting itself on the leading edge of its business and looking for ways to improve and adapt its business model before it is forced to do so in the future.

If you are inspired by excellence or fascinated by innovation and leading edge design, I can identify with you and I hope you and others enjoy the few words I ever write on subjects such as these.

Kyle Pfaffe, REALTOR® e: KylePfaffe@kw.com m: 512-636-9707 w: AustinHomes4You.com