The Power of Trust: Fostering Strong and Meaningful Relationships

Are you tired of the lies?  It seems everywhere we turn, everybody's word is called into question.  Our most trusted institutions from religious leaders, to volunteer organizations, law enforcement  and even our doctors have been called into question.  

Trust is the cornerstone of every successful relationship, laying the foundation for love, friendship, and collaboration in both personal and professional spheres. It serves as the glue that holds families together, deepens friendships, and fuels success in the workplace. The importance of trust cannot be overstated, as it forms the basis of healthy, enduring connections and inspires confidence and loyalty.

Within the family unit, trust creates a sense of security and belonging. When family members trust one another, they feel safe to express their thoughts and emotions openly, knowing that they will be respected and understood. This kind of trust fosters strong bonds, deepens connections, and creates a nurturing environment for personal growth. Trust within the family unit sets the stage for open communication, conflict resolution, and the effective navigation of life's challenges, ultimately leading to a harmonious and supportive familial atmosphere.

In friendships, trust is fundamental in the creation of a strong and enduring bond. Genuine friendships are built on mutual respect, reliability, and confidence in each other's intentions. Trust empowers friends to confide in one another, provide unwavering support, and share life's joys and sorrows without fear of judgment or betrayal. When trust is present, friendships flourish, creating a network of emotional support and camaraderie that enriches the lives of all involved.  As scriptures remind us, "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret."  (Proverbs 11:13)

In the workplace, trust is a catalyst for productivity, creativity, and overall success. When colleagues trust each other, they collaborate more effectively, communicate openly, and work toward common goals with unity and purpose. Trust in the workplace fosters a positive culture, where individuals feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best efforts. Moreover, trust is essential for effective leadership, as it cultivates a sense of loyalty, inspires confidence, and motivates teams to achieve exceptional results.

The value of being trustworthy is immeasurable. It is a quality that enriches every aspect of life, from personal relationships to professional endeavors. Trustworthiness is built on integrity, reliability, and honesty. When individuals consistently demonstrate these attributes, they earn the confidence and respect of those around them, paving the way for enduring, meaningful connections.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship."  Have you ever lost a friend over this issue? Then you know the importance of trust.

The significance of trust in family, friendships, and the workplace cannot be emphasized enough. It is the cornerstone of healthy, thriving relationships, nurturing environments of love, support, and cooperation. By prioritizing trustworthiness, individuals lay the groundwork for stronger, more meaningful connections, fostering deep, enduring relationships that stand the test of time. Trust is a precious commodity, and those who embody it are destined to enrich and elevate the lives of those around them.  

A Look at the Alaska Real Estate Market Going Into Winter 2023

As we find ourselves in November and 2023 coming to a close, it may seem tough to find things to be thankful for but as Alaskans, we're resilient and determined. Having good information can go a long way. As we prepare for our winter hibernation time, keep in mind, always, people are always buying and selling homes and properties in Alaska!

We Know Inventory is Low.

One prominent trend in the Alaskan real estate market (and across the USA) is the decline in available homes for sale. Over the past year, the number of homes on the market has decreased by 12.0%, resulting in only an average of 2 months' supply. This scarcity of options places buyers in a competitive situation, where they must act swiftly to secure their desired property. However, there is a silver lining as the recent months have seen a small but steady increase in the number of homes becoming available, providing hopeful prospects with more choices.

Fewer Homes are Being Sold.

In line with the decreased inventory, the number of homes sold in Alaska has witnessed a significant decline of around 22% year over year, as reported by industry research. This decline can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the limited supply of homes and rising prices. Buyers may find themselves facing challenges in finding a suitable property due to the reduced pool of available homes.

Location Matters All the More.

When considering a home purchase in Alaska, location plays a crucial role.  Sellers need to keep this in mind too. Anchorage, as the largest city in the state, boasts a median home price of approximately $430,000. In contrast, the average home price in Fairbanks stands at $184,000. While Alaska ranks somewhere in the middle in terms of median home prices across the United States, these variations within the state offer a range of options to potential buyers. However, it is important to look beyond the price tag and consider other factors such as access to amenities, neighborhood culture, and overall cost of living. Each location in Alaska has its unique charm and characteristics that can greatly impact the quality of life for homeowners.

As winter approaches, Alaskans interested in the real estate market find themselves in a low-inventory environment with interest rates hanging around 8%. By staying informed and considering crucial factors such as inventory, home sales, and location, potential buyers and sellers in Alaska can chart a course toward making informed decisions about real estate as we head into 2024.  Stay informed and reach out to me and our team at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Dream Makers...Making Dreams Realities!

Photo Credit: Andres Ramos @

The Power of Gratitude: Embracing Thankfulness

Photo by wewe yang:

In this chaotic and fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the never-ending cycle of stress and worry. However, amidst the chaos, there is a simple yet powerful tool that has the potential to transform our lives – gratitude. Being thankful and cultivating a sense of gratitude can enhance our well-being, foster positivity, and bring a smile to our faces. So, let's embark on a journey to explore the importance of gratitude and develope a new habit that has proven to improve your life and outlook!

Gratitude is like massaging our souls (and who here couldn't go for a good massage!). Our souls are so often ignored but many faiths speak of the soul as the root of our true self.  Expressing gratitude, being thankful, shifts our focus from what is lacking to what we have, enabling us to fully appreciate the blessings around us. When we practice gratitude, we train our minds to discover joy in the smallest moments and see the silver lining in challenging situations. It reminds us that life is not a collection of problems but a mixture of blessings to cherish. 

My favorite book in the Bible is the book of Proverbs as it reminds me the Bible is not just a source of spiritual guidance but also a treasury of wisdom.  That wisdom is found in more than just Proverbs though.  In the book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul reminds us, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17, NIV). This verse encourages us to infuse gratitude into every aspect of our lives, recognizing that thankfulness can be an act of praise and a way to honor God.

To experience the true power of gratitude, let's embark on a small challenge. As part of your daily routine this month of November, take a few moments to reflect on three things you are grateful for. These could be simple things like a warm cup of coffee in the morning, a kind gesture from a stranger, or even the sound of laughter. Encouraging ourselves to find reasons to be thankful every day helps rewire our minds and fosters a positive outlook on life.  I'll start since I'm throwing this out at you:

1.  I'm thankful for my wife, Lauren. She has to put up with me!

2.  I still have most of my pinky. ;)

3. Living in Alaska.

Now, each day, think of three more things.  Large or small. Personal or impersonal.  You can note a reason or not. But be honest!

In a world filled with challenges, expressing gratitude is a powerful way to bring about positive change in our lives. It cultivates contentment, strengthens relationships, and promotes mental well-being. So, let us not forget to stop, reflect, and express our thanks for the simple joys that often go unnoticed. Remember, gratitude paves the way for a brighter tomorrow, and it all begins with appreciating the blessings that surround us today. Let us face each day with a grateful heart, a cheerful spirit, and a smile on our faces. 


You Got This!

The Complexity of Life Decisions: Two Strategies for Making the Right Choice

Life is a series of decisions. Even before my wife, Heather died, I made quite a few.  Afterward, it was even more difficult.  You see, some are small and inconsequential, while others have the power to reshape our entire future. These pivotal, life-altering decisions often come with a significant amount of pressure and uncertainty. It is in these moments that we realize the complexity of decision-making and struggle with finding the right path forward. I have been thinking a lot about this subject and need to explore the reasons why making life decisions can be difficult and propose two strategies to help ease the decision-making process.

The Complexity of Life Decisions:

1. Uncertainty:

One of the primary reasons making life decisions can be challenging is uncertainty. When faced with choices that have long-lasting implications, it is natural for doubt to creep in. We fear making the wrong choice (God knows, literally that I have dealt with this), and this fear can paralyze us into inaction. The fear of the unknown can make it difficult to weigh the potential risks and rewards of different paths, leaving you stuck in a state of analysis paralysis.

2. Multiple Factors at Play:

Life decisions are rarely influenced by a single factor. Relationships, financial stability, personal values, and long-term goals are just a few of the many variables that come into play. Managing and prioritizing these factors can add complexity to the decision-making process. Balancing the often-conflicting needs and desires can be overwhelming, making it challenging to reach a definitive conclusion.

As I have thought about my journey, two strategies for making the decision easier, come to my mind that were really helpful.  When thinking about my decision to take leave from full-time ministry, these two REALLY helped:

1. Define Your Core Values:

Before making any significant life decision, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your core values. These are the principles that guide your life and shape your sense of self. Take the time to reflect on what truly matters to you, what you strive for, and what gives you a sense of purpose. By aligning your decision with your core values, you ensure that it is in harmony with your authentic self. This alignment provides clarity and a solid foundation upon which to make the decision. When faced with multiple options, evaluate how each aligns with your core values and eliminate those that are incongruent.

2. Seek Guidance and Gain Perspective:

One of the best ways to overcome the complexity of decision-making is to seek guidance and gain perspective from trusted sources. Consult with friends, family members, or mentors who have experienced similar choices. Their insights and perspectives can shed light on factors that you may not have considered. Additionally, consider seeking professional advice, such as career counselors or therapists, who can provide unbiased guidance and help you navigate the decision-making process. Their expertise can offer valuable insights and help you see the bigger picture.

Making life decisions can be an incredibly challenging and intricate process. The uncertainty and multiple factors at play can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the right path forward. In my experience, by employing strategies such as defining our core values and seeking guidance, we can ease the decision-making process. Remember, it is okay to take time to contemplate and gather the necessary information before making a choice. Embrace the complexity, trust your instincts, and know that with the right strategies in place, you can navigate through the mess of decision-making and find clarity or at the lease, confidence it is the best option. Remember, it is through the choices we make that we shape the direction of our lives.  Don't shy away from the road less traveled. 

6 Simple Steps to Winterize Your Home BEFORE Winter

As the chilly air creeps in and the days grow shorter, it's time to prepare our homes for the cold and frosty embrace of winter. Welcome to our blog, where we delve into the importance of winterizing your home and how it can save you from costly repairs and keep you cozy throughout the season. Winterization is not just about sealing drafts or insulating pipes; it's about safeguarding your property, maximizing energy efficiency, and ensuring the well-being of your loved ones.  Here are 6 practical solutions to help you make the most of the winter months and protect your home from the harsh elements that lie ahead. Get ready to hibernate in a warm, secure, and energy-efficient haven.

1. Clean gutters and downspouts

- Ensure gutters are free of debris to prevent ice dams or leaks.

- Clean downspouts to ensure proper drainage.

2. Prepare outdoor faucets

- Shut off water to outside faucets and drain any remaining water.

- Consider using insulated covers for added protection.

3. Drain water-utilizing equipment

- Drain hoses, sprinkler systems, pressure washers, and other water-related equipment.

- Properly store equipment to prevent freezing and costly repairs.

4. Guard against cold air in fireplaces

- Close the damper to prevent cold air from entering.

- Use a piece of cardboard to cover the opening if there is no damper.

5. Insulate windows and doors

- Check windows and doors for proper locking to create a seal.

- Assess window stripping and caulk as needed.

- Consider adding storm windows or using plastic window insulator kits.

- Use window film to insulate windows and improve comfort.

Bonus: Protect against cold drafts indoors

- Use a draft snake to block drafts from coming under the door.

6. Ensure garage doors are properly sealed

- Check the bottom gasket of the garage door for proper sealing.

- Inspect the sides of the garage door for any gaps or leaks.

Bonus #2: Additional steps for winterizing

- Inspect and insulate outdoor pipes.

- Consider adding insulation to attics and crawl spaces.

- Service your heating system and replace filters.

- Seal gaps and cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors.

- Protect outdoor furniture and equipment from winter weather.

Easy DIY Project

-  These projects are easy enough for homeowners to take on themselves.

- You can find the necessary materials at any local hardware store.

No Special Skills Required

- The project doesn't require any special skills or expertise.

- With a few simple steps, you can complete it successfully.

You Got This!!!

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