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Did you know...

that the date of Thanksgiving was once changed to try and boost the ecomony? President Franklin Roosevelt decided to change the traditional date of Thanksgiving from the last of Thursday November to the second to last Thursday in November 1939, 1940 and 1941.  He did this to extend the Christmas shopping season by a week.  Only half of the states went along with this idea however, with Texas celebrating Thanksgiving on both Thursdays! This became a mess that was settled in congress in 1941.  In true congressional form, the date set was a compromise; Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, which is sometimes the last and sometimes the second to last Thursday in November.  

There is so much doom and gloom in the media, and yet as we draw loved ones near, may we know what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is.  This holiday is unique in that it doesn't requre gifts of a specific nature...just companionship, sharing, love and reciprocity.  Let us be grateful for the simple gifts no matter where we are: food, friends and family.  Most importantly let us not forget those whose bounty may not be as great as ours.  For we all have acquaintances, friends and family who have lost much in the past several years, and, if you can assist them, please lend a hand.  We all know that we can be in that place, too, in a blink of fate's eye.  So for what you have, please be grateful, and for whatever you need, please say a prayer for yourself and whomever may be in worse need that you.  Thank you and happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Julie Pogue Properteis.

Hope you all have a terrific week!

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Go Visit Your Neighbor

Go Visit Your Neighbor

We no longer live in a time when people know all their neighbors and consider them to be friends.  A shocking number of people have never had a conversation with their neighbors and some couldn't pick them out of a lineup.  Introduce yourself or invite your neighbor over for coffee.  Neighbors are not only a great potential source of friendship, they make us feel more comfortable in our homes, which is where most of us spend much of our time.

New houses are being built across the country with an amazing new feature: front porches.  According to the National Association of Home Builders, space that once might have been dedicated to a living room is now more likely to be used for a front porch.

Architects, builders and town planners see the front porch as one remedy to the unhappy and unccomfortable social distance that characterizes many neighborhoods.  Many of us don't know who our nieghbors are, and often we don't know anything about them.  This, despite the fact that we have something tremendously important--our neighborhood, our surroundings, the place we begin each day! Front porches are making a comeback because most of us would like the chance to venture outside our front door and meet the people on our street.

Greater community interactions can increase happiness by almost 30 percent according to a 1997 study done by Sugarman in Psychological Foundations of Happiness.  So get out there and visit your neighbor!

If you'd like a house with a front porch, we would be more than willing to help yo ufind one with just that feature! Give us a call today!

Hope you all have a great week!  

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A Decade of Remembrance- The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

It has been 10 years since this tragic event in our history.  I don't think there is anyone out there that will ever forget where they were on that fateful  morning.  

We need to remember all of those brave men and women across this great country that protect and serve every day to keep us safe.

September 11 will forever be etched in the hearts, minds and psyche of all Americans.  In cities and towns all across the nation people will take timeout to refect on that day.  Even ten years later, it seems like yesterday to me.  Our country has been forever changed.  Never again should this happen.

2001 doesn't seem that long ago.  With the anniversary of the most tragic event in our country's recent history (if not ever!) I realize that my life changed, but it was due to my own choices, whereas the victims and their families had their lives ripped away and tossed around.  I wouldn't be surprised to hear if many are still trying to pick up the pieces of what was behind even now.  My heart goes out to the wives, husbands, the children, the parents, the friends and the survivors.  So scary are the thoughts of what those few hours made us all realize: Be good to the people in your life.  Make amends every day.  Care about things deeply.  Live your life with passion.  Fix the wrongs that you come across.  Pay attention to your surroundings.  Help others.  Take nothing for granted--ever.  And most of all, tell and show people that they are loved, often.

Yesterday I chose to remember the goodness of the American people as we all came together as one nation under God and we were not the red states, blue states, Democratic or Republican, but American.  I chose to honor those who showed us that once again, America is the land of the free and eternal vigilance is the price of our liberty.

Our country was dramatically changed on that day.  But it is what our country did on 9/12/2001 and beyond that is a true measure of our reilience.  America shall endure forever.  Neither principalities nor powers shall stop the American spirit, not from within, nor from without.  America Lives! Be Viligant.

And may God bless America.

Hope you all have a terrific week!

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The Real Meaning of Labor Day

Do you know the real meaning of Labor Day? I had a vague idea but decided to check it out.  Labor Day is a United States Federal Holiday observed on the first Monday in September.  This year it was Monday, September 5, 2011.  It is meant to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers.

The Central Labor Union of New York observed the first big Labor Day in the United States on September 5, 1882.  Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor first proprosed it in May 1882.  

Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1187.  By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.  Following the deaths of a number of workers at that hands of the U.S. Military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland reconciled with the labor movement.  Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.  All U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday.  A street parade to exhibit to the public 'the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,' followed by a festival for the workers and their families.  This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations.  Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday.  Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties.   Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labor Day celebrations in most countries, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years.  Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports and public art events.  Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer recess.  Similarly, some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, although school starting times now vary.

Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer.  It is usually the last day that public and country club swimming pools are open.  In high society, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last of the year when it is fashionable for women to wear white.

Hope you all had a safe and fun Labor Day! Have a terrific week!

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A fantastic summer read

Recently, I had a friend in from Malibu, California who was promoting her book, Here, Home, Hope at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Summit.  Her name is Kaira Rouda.  If you are looking for a good summer read, I would highly recommend it! If you go to Kaira's Web site you will find the book described as follows: Desperate Housewives meets The Middle Place in the absorbing, witty story about one suburban mother's journey from midlife crisis to reinvention with the help of her husband, friends and neighbors.  Kelly Johnson's witty reflections, self-deptrecating humor, and clever tactics in executing a midlife makeover plan will have the readers laughing out loud.  As bestselling author Katrina Kittle, The Blessings of the Animals, said: 'If you've ever felt your own life contained list of Things to Change (and whose hasn't?), then you will fall in love with Kelly Johnson, the restless protagonist of Here, Home, Hope.  Kaira Rouda's funny, moving novel is a model of inspiration an reinvention for anyone seeking to find what's next in life.'

I met Kaira through real estate. She and her husband, Harley, own a successful real estate brokerage.  She is an award-winning entrepreneur, marketer, speaker and author.  She is the bestselling author of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs (Wiley), founder of numerous companies including Real You and brand creator of Real Living Real Estate, the nation's first women-focused real estate brand.  In late 2009, and with the help of a tweet, Kaira helped orchestrate the sale of Real Living to Brookfield Residential Property Services, a Toronto-based firm with approximately USD $90 billion of assets under management.  Kaira remains brand strategist and consultant for the company.  Here, Home, Hope (Greenleaf Book Group) is her first novel, published in May of 2011 and won a 2011 Indie Excellence Award for fiction.

As an authority and sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship, branding, marketing to women and work-life balance, Kaira has been a speaker at conferences across the country.  She has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, FOX Business, ABC, NBC, WomenEntreprenuer.com, ABC Radio Network as well as hundreds of newspapers, television and radio shows coast to coast.  She is a favorite interviewee and contributor to online women's communities and radio shows, and was named to Forbes' list of the top 30 women to follow on Twitter.  Until writing her first book, Kaira had been the 'Connections' columnist for the Columbus Dispatch for more than 10 years.  She continues to write her own blog, on her Web site www.kairarouda.com and a free, weekly tip with a subscriber base of several thousand women.  Earlier in her career, Kaira was a contributing editor to Columbus Monthly magazine and a freelancer for national and regional magazines including Midwest Living.  Her first national magazine byline appeared in Bride magazine, shortly after her honeymoon.

Named 2008 Best Entrepreneur from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, Kaira was recognized in Entrepreneur magazin'es Top 50 fastst growing, women-led companies list.  She's also been listed in the top 10 real estate newsmakers of the year and one of the Top 50 most influential women in real estate by the industry's trends report.  Formerly Vice President of Marketing for an Inc. 100 firm and franchisor, as well as for her career in advertising agencies and media firms, she's received multiple ADDY, Webby, Telly, Communicator, Prism, WebAward and W3 awards.  She also earned Twittergrader's Most Powerful Women on Twitter.   

Active in her community, she created Central Ohio's first homeless shelter for families, served two terms on the board of the Mid-Ohio FoodBank, the YWCA, March of Dimes and The Wexner Center for the Arts and is an underwriter of The WOmen's Fund.  She has  received numerous awards for her civic service including the Ohio Sertoma Service to Mankind Award, Kiwanis Humanitarian Award, AWRT Women in Communication Award, Northwest Rotary Woman of the Year and the Columbus Board of Realtors Citizen of the Year.  Kaira also volunteers countless hours to her kids' schools.

Kaira is or has been a member of NAWBO, the International Women's Forum, The Women President's Organization, eWomen Networking, the Women's Council of Realtors, American Marketing Association, the Google Real Estate Advisory Board and is a WebAward Judge for the Web Marketing Association.  She is a magna cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University with a BA in English, and has taken numerous graduate level writing courses.  She studied with The Writers Studio in New York and has attended writer's conferences including Antioch Writers Workshop and the Maui Writer's Conference.  

A mother of four, Kaira and her husband, Harley, have been married for 21 years.  After residing in Upper Arlington, Ohio, for all of their married lives, the couple and their kids headed west and now live in Southern California.

I always look to forward to seeing Kaira.  She is an inspiration as you can tell by her many accomplishments.  So pick up her book, Here, Home, Hope and enjoy the read.

Have a terrific week!

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Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July

This is the 235th year of our United States of American.  We have been through a war for independence, the crafting of our constitution and formation of our government, a second war for independence, a terrible civil war, the abolition of slavery, reconstruction, industrialization, women's suffrage and right to vote, World War I, the Wall Street crash of 1929, ten years of the great Depression, implemented The New Deal, entered World War 2, ended World War 2 with the atomic bomb, entered the Cold War, the arms race and the space race putting a man on the moon, realized the Civil Rights movement, had the Vietnam War, saw the dissolution of one of the world's great super powers-the Soviet Union, are now in the information age, endured the attacks of September 11, have engaged in the war against terrorism, are now in a period of recession and our largest deficit in history; but still we persevere...

We are Americans.  We historically have overcome our obstacles.  I have faith that we can overcome our current problems.  I have faith in our leadership and faith in our upcoming generation.  I see the optimism in the eyes of the family, my friends and my clients every day.  I have faith that we can overcome our current problems.  I have faith in our leadership and faith in our upcoming generation.  I see the optimism in the eyes of my family, my friends and my clients every day.  I have faith the housing market is steadily improving and that our jobless rate will dissipate.  We, as Americans, have a mindset to overcome all obstacles.  We have overcome them in the past and we can continue to meet our challenges with grace and success.  It is a prayer that remains on my lips as I go through my day.  We are Americans one and all.  We can do this!

I hope that each of you enjoyed yesterday's celebration, however you did so.  Count your blessings, tell your loved once how much they mean to you, call up a friend, help a neighbor and do something that counts every day.

Know that we are here to serve you for all of your housing needs.  Have a terrific week and Happy Birthday, America!

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Buzzard Psychology

This is graduation time.  I would like to relate to you, in an abbreviated format, a commencement address given by Professor Patricia Limerick at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

She starts out by talking about the American West writer Larry McMurtry's collection of essays titled, In a Narrow Grave.  There was one unforgettable essay on the challenge of persuading people to break out of habits of timidity, caution, conformity and unnecessary fear.

The essay was conveying the odd process of watching his book, Horseman, Pass By being turned into the movie Hud.  He arrived at the Texas Panhandle a week or so after filming had started, and he was particularly anxious to learn how the buzzard scene had gone.  In that scene, Paul Newman was to ride up and discover a dead cow, look up a tree branch lined with buzzards and, in his distress over the loss of the cow, fire his guns at one of the buzzards.  At that moment, all the other buzzards were supposed to fly away into the blue Panhandle sky.  But when McMurtry asked the people how the buzzard scene had gone, all he got were stricken looks.

The first problem, it turned out, had to do with the quality of the available local buzzards--who proved to be an excessively scruffy group! This was, after all, quite a version of a casting call--you put out dead meat, and you see who shows up! But these first arrivals were ratty and thin and badly feathered.  And so, more appealing, more photogenic buzzards had to be flown in from some distance and at considerable expense.  

Then came the second problem: how to keep the buzzards sitting on the tree branch it was time for the cue to fly.  That seemed easy.  Wire their feet to the branch and then, after Paul Newman fires his gun, pull the wire releasing their feet, thus allowing them to take off.

But as McMurtry said in an important and memorable phrase, the film makers had not reckoned with the 'psychology of buzzards.'  With their feet wired, the buzzards did not have enough mobility to fly.  But they did have enough mobility to pitch forward.  So that's what they did; with their feet wired, they tried to fly, pitched forward and hung upside down from the dead branch with wings flapping.  The buzzard circulatory system does not work upside down, and so, after a moment or two of flapping, the buzzards passed out.

Twelve buzzards, hanging upside down from a tree branch? This was not what Hollywood wanted from the West, but this is what Hollywood had produced!

And then we get to the second stage of buzzard psychology.  After six or seven episodes of pitching forward, passing out, being revived, being replaced on the branch and pitching forward again, the buzzards gave up.  Now, when you pulled the wire and released their feet, they sat there, saying in clear, nonverbal terms: 'No way.  We tried that before.  It did not work.  And we have absolutely no interest in trying it again.'  It was a big mess; Larry McMurtry got a wonderful story out of it, and Professor Limerick got the best possible parable about the workings of habit and timidity.

So, how does the parable apply? I bet you can figure this one out!
In any and all disciplines, one important reason to go to school and get a degree is to have your feet wired to the branch.  There is nothing wrong with this process.  Educated people truly should have some common ground, share some background assumptions and hold some similar habits of mind.  Agreeing on some common standards make for clear expression and reasoned discourse.  Education gives you, quite literally, 'your footing.'

And yet, in the process of getting your feet wired, you will have some awkward moments which include the intellectual equivalent of pitching forward and hanging upside down.  That experience--especially if you perform it in a public place like a classroom, maybe asking an ill-informed question in front of many of your peers, provides no pleasure.  Even doing it in private is considerably short of fun; maybe some of you have had that memorable experience of writing a paper ringing with conviction and right-minded emotion, and getting it back with a painful, reproachful one-word comment in red, 'Evidence?'

One or two rounds of that humiliation and the world can begin to seem like a very treacherous place.  Under those circumstances, it can indeed seem to be the choice of wisdom, to sit quietly on the branch, to sit without even the thought of flying, since even the thought might be sufficient to tilt the balance and set off another round of flapping, fainting and embarrassment.   

And yet, to a surprising degree, the world is about to present you with many occasions in which the wire will be truly pulled.  After several rounds of the 'dead tree branch' experience, it is a little hard to believe this could happen, but, in fact, the wire will get pulled; your feet will end up free; you will end up with choices and opportunities to get off dead tree branches and go places.

Yet, by then, for way too many people, the second stage of buzzard psychology has taken hold, and they refuse to fly.  The wire is pulled and yet the buzzards sit there, hunched and grumpy.  If they see other buzzards take off from the branch, it is very unlikely that they will say, 'Why, that is certainly and inspiration! Why don't we try that ourselves?' On the contrary, the response is more likely to be, 'Well how come THOSE buzzards get to fly? Someone ought to make sure they get escorted back to this branch and instructed to stay in their place!'

So now you have heard the story I would like you to remember and share with the graduates in your sphere of influence.  Here, with no subtlety, is the point of the parable: You have freedom.  You have choice.  Use it! Encourage others to get off the branch.  Do put a little time and attention into looking where you are going, but then glide.  Catch updrafts.  Soar!

Happy Graduation to you and yours! Have a great week, everyone!

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Who's Got Your Back?

Not long ago, I read a very good book by Keith Ferrazzi titled Who's Got Your Back? Now it is fairly self-evident that there's a lot of value in building particularly strong relationships with a small group of people.  These are people you trust and who trust you, who are wise, insightful and are willing to spend significant time with you because you make each other better.  Mentors, advisors, friends--all of those titles apply.  Most people are lucky if they find a  handful of such people in their lives.  

Finding and cultivating this inner circle is what Who's Got Your Back? focuses on.  I am a huge believer in the power of mentors.  I've worked hard cultivating mentors for myself and being for others in need.  According to a 2006 study in American Sociological Review, the average person has only two confidants, and 25% of people have none at all! In an ever more complex world, confidants and advisors are more than ever before--yet people have fewer of them.  

Ferazzi makes the case for how valuable 'lifeline' relationships are, focusing on ways that such relationships are critical.  He then talks about four m ind-sets--more like traits, actually--that when cultivated; provide the foundation for building such 'lifeline' relationships.  They include generosity, vulnerability, candor and accountability.  These four traits need to be in both mentor and receiver in order for the relationship to succeed.  Otherwise bouncing ideas freely, receiving criticism and truly growing as a person in your ideas and goals will not weather a long-term relationship.  He also goes on to teach you how to build your dream team and make it your life.  

To put it simply, I loved this book.  The material in it applies well to virtually everyone, particularly people who may need that extra push.  What appeals to me is that everything is underscored with giving of one's self.  Paying it forward is a strategy that has never, ever failed me in life.  This one is already o n my re-read list.  I plan to let the contents of it sink in for a while, then give it another read-through in a few months.

You can be sure that I will have your back as I represent you in your real estate transactions.  It is a philosophy that has built my business into the success that it is today!

I hope everyone has a terrific week! 

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Spring is springing!!!

I don't know about you, but to me, the sure sign that spring is around the corner is tiny little green flower stems popping out of the ground.  They bring a smile to my face every year as they remind me that longer days and warmer weather aren't too far away.

If you're thinking of putting your house on the market, now is the time to keep a couple of things in mind.

  • Watch your flowers bloom and see where you might need to plug in some bare spots.
  • Plant other annuals around your early spring bloomers so you have color in your yard  throughout the spring and early summer.
  • Have photographs taken of your home while the flowers are in bloom.  Nothing is more inviting than some colorful spring flowers.  These blooms may make potential buyers see your house as more of a home.

Enjoy the spring blooms and the longer days!

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This weekend

This weekend, an estimated 78 percent of the U.S. population will be watching one sporting event-- the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is, of course, one of the year's biggest sporting events.  It is the culmination of the NFL season.  It's the one game that players play for throughout the year.  Everyone wants their team to be the best.  Every team wants to be the Super Bowl champion.

In my opinion, my team at Julie Pogue Properties is a Super Bowl caliber team.  I have, thankfully, been able to assemble a great group of individuals who help me make my business a success.  We are small but mighty.  We work hard and we enjoy what we do.  And most importantly, we all have the same goal in mind-- we all want to provide the best possible service for our clients.

My team includes:

  • Office Manager, Deanna Brandstetter
  • Bookkeeper, Sharon Clore
  • Appointment Coordinator, Sheila Weber
  • Agent, Martha Hemminger
  • Agent, Guthrie Zaring

Just like the Packers and the Steelers, each member of my team plays a critical role in making our company work.  Each is as important as the other.  Everyone works well together, and they truly work as a TEAM.

Vince Lombardi once said: 'Individual commitment to a group effort-- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.'

I believe that with all my heart.

As I look around my office every day, I'm blessed as a 'coach' to know that each member of my team is committed to the work we do.  

As you watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, remember how committed each player is to their goal.  How committed each team member is to making their team the best.

And if you find yourself looking to buy or sell a home, please keep my team in mind.  Just like the Packers and the Steelers, we too are committed to reaching our ultimate goal-- to make your experience the best one possible.  

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Blessings for the New Year

All of us at Julie Pogue Properties want to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

We hope that you enjoyed the time you spent with friends and family over the holiday season, and that new memories are made that will be carried with you throughout the New Year.

We also hope that with the New Year comes new blessings in your life.

So many people have been impacted by our nation's economy over the past few years.  People have lost jobs, homes and more.  Businesses have closed.  Families have been challenged to make ends meet.

My New Year's wish for everyone is that, even through the difficult times, we all remember in one way or another, we are blessed.  We are blessed to live in a country of freedoms.  We are blessed to have family and friends.

And of great importance- we are blessed to have men and women in the military that fight to keep our freedoms intact.  May God bless those serving, and their families at home.

Happy New Year to all!

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Are you lost?

 At one point or another, we've all been lost.

We've misunderstood the directions we were given.  Not knowing what needs to be done next with an important project.  Or maybe just felt lost in a huge classroom full of students, like one of hundreds of faces that no one recognizes.

Sometimes, buying or selling a house can feel just like that.  

When I decided to start my own real estate business, one of my primary goals was to make sure our clients never feel lost.

Thus, the boutique idea was born.

One of my favorite things about living in Anchorage is that most everyone knows everyone.  Our children go to school together.  Our neighbors work at the school.  The mail carrier knows everyone by name.  When I go out to eat, the servers know me by name.  

That's how I want our clients to feel when they come to us to buy or sell a house.  I want our agents to get to know each client as a person, not a file number.  I want us to get to know our clients' lifestyles, their needs and what they are looking for that can help make their house a home.

Because everyone's needs don't fit into the same big box.

At Julie Pogue Properties, we want to learn about you and your needs.  We want to put you in a location that's close to your work or school, depending on which is more important to you.  We want to know if you need a big back yard, or if you don't want a lawn to have to maintain.

Each and every client who walks through our door is important.  Each deserves service that is unique to them--not service mandated by a company handbook.

This service is what sets Julie Pogue Properties apart from the rest.
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