Change….It Happens!

For some time I have been considering changing to a  “wordpress.org” site because of the .org’s ability to upload “plugins” and “themes”.  If you think I know what I am talking about – think again!  I am clueless!

BUT here’s what I do know.   I wanted some “bells and whistles” on my website that I was told I could not get on the .com site.  Also, I have combined all of my blogs into ONE blog – with different categories.   So, if you subscribe to “Suits in Boots” it will be a “category” under the “Seven Pillars of Success” blog.

If you would be so gracious to head on over to my NEW site….www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.net to subscribe  I will dance at your wedding!  (or your next anniversary if you are married – or your birthday if you never plan to marry!)  But I do need to warn you that I am not that coordinated and don’t really dance – so it might be more like a jig or something!

And what about you?  Do you have wordpress.com or wordpress.org for your blogsite?  And why are you happy – or unhappy – with what you have?

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A Little Perspective…..30 Americans Paid the Ultimate Price For Our Freedom

Can we have a little perspective today?  Somewhere today, a mother….father….brother…..wife…….son……daughter……friend…..is
mourning…..

Today,  along with those family members and friends, America is mourning the loss of the 30 U.S. troops who were killed when Afghan insurgents shot down a helicopter carrying the most elite forces in the U. S. military— Navy SEAL’s along with Air Force and Army personnel.

This death toll will surpass the worst single day loss of life for the U.S. – led coalition in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.

We don’t know what the markets will do tomorrow.  There is uncertainty about the economy and interest rates.  There is dought in some areas of the country and flooding in others.  There is division within our goverment.

But……for some people today, none of that matters.  If you have suffered a loss such as this, then you know.  If you haven’t, then you can’t.

Could we join together as ONE – take a moment and say a prayer for the families and friends of the warriors who gave their lives this week-end so that we might live free?

Sometimes we just need a little perspective……..

“Today. We. Are. Rich.”

“Today. We. Are. Rich.” was the quote I fell in love with as I read the prologue to Tim Sanders’ new book by the same name – “Today We Are Rich”  as I was flying home from my company’s annual meeting last week.

The author tells of an incident from his youth when his grandmother, Billye, although financially strapped herself, reached out to make a difference in the life of a stranger who needed help. Afterwards, she told her young grandson: “….because we were able to share, we’re worth something. By being able and willing to give, WE ARE RICH.” She goes on to say “There’s bank-account rich, and there’s rich in spirit. The second kind is achieved when you make a difference.”

I sat back and wept.  I now had a “name” for the emotion I was experiencing – “Today. We. Are. Rich”.

Several months ago, our team, Team Thaxton, decided to become “Suits in Boots” or “boot evangelist” for the Boot Campaign.  The Boot Campaign was begun by a group of five women in Texas to create awareness of our wounded warriors and to support the causes which support those warriors.  The “Boot  Girls” were inspired by the true story of Marcus Lutrell after reading the book, Lone Survivor.

Our personal goal is not only for the team to purchase 365 pairs of boots, but also  to inspire and influence other business professionals (“suits”)  to “….get their boots on….” and become “Suits in Boots”.  Our goal for the mortgage industry?   1,100 pairs of boots in 2011!

Little would I have imagined that at the gathering of people I call my “Fairway Family”, after viewing the video, there would be such an outpouring of support and love and admiration for our wounded warriors.

CEO of FIMC with Team Thaxton After Announcement FIMC purchase 170 PR Boots!

The CEO of our company immediately pledged to purchase 170 pair of boots for the corporate staff, while individual branch managers, loan officers, and support staff, began to text me with their committments – 5, 10, 20 even 50 pairs of boots pledged to be purchased. Here’s the video:

I am still moved by their acts of selflessness and willingness to participate in this honorable cause.  The mortgage business has taken a hit in the last several years.  It’s tough.  It’s stressful.  It’s hard.  And many are just plain BROKE.  BUT – last week, in that room, for that time, I saw others find what I and my team had found months before – something we could become involved in that was bigger than us or the “issues” in the mortgage industry.

But I didn’t have a name for it.  But now I do.  TODAY. WE.  ARE.  RICH.  Because those individuals who stepped up to purchase combat boots, and even some to become “boot evangelist” -they are giving to a cause that is making a difference. That’s special.  That’s “rich”.

To quote Tim Sanders’ grandmother, Billye, again:

“Today is a special day for us.  Don’t ever forget that feeling.  Today we are rich.”

I won’t forget.  Ever.

Step Over the Line

For several years I have wanted to go to the Alamo in San Antonio. Many people had told me I would be disappointed. I was not. I was in awe. I was in awe of the COMMITMENT of the group of men who stood their ground and fought for a principle 175 years ago. One of the definitions of “commitment” is “…..when you are willing to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or a promise or firm decision to do something….”.

I was also in awe of the commitment of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who care for and maintain the Alamo with no financial help from the local, state or federal government. They rely on gift-shop proceeds and donations to preserve the Alamo grounds and exhibits and I did my best to give to their cause while I was there!

We have all heard the phrase “Stepping over the line”. It is mainly used to express that someone has made a decision or commitment to something they believe in and they refuse to change their mind. It means that they have chosen sides – and stepped over the line to that “side” . When you “step over the line”, it means you have have not only made your choice – you have promised, and you will not go back.

It was March 5, 1836, and Colonel William Barrett Travis had known for several days that his situation inside the old Spanish mission called the Alamo had become hopeless. Several thousand soldiers under the command of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had Travis and 189 others surrounded. Legend has it that Travis gathered his men and shared with them what he thought were their three remaining choices: Surrender, attempt to escape, or “remain in this fort…resist every assault, and to sell our lives as dearly as possible.”

Unsheathing his sword, Travis drew a line on the ground before his battle-weary men. In a voice trembling with emotion he described the hopelessness of their plight and said, “those prepared to give their lives in freedom’s cause, come over to me.” Without hesitation, every man, except two, crossed the line. One ran away, and the other, Colonel James Bowie, stricken with pneumonia, asked that his cot be carried over. The line is remembered as “The Grand Canyon of Texas” because it meant so much to very survival of Texas as an independent territory.

Our men and women of the United States military make the commitment to serve our country – they “step over the line”. They risk everything – their lives, their physical, mental and emotional health – to fight for our freedom. My team, Team Thaxton, has COMMITTED to become “boot evangelist” for the Boot Campaign, represented by a group of five women who are COMMITTED to bringing awareness of our wounded warriors and support the causes which support those warriors.

We have COMMITTED to inspire the mortgage industry to “….get their boots on….” and motivate individuals and companies to purchase 1,100 pairs of boots in 2011. We are “….willing give of our time and energy to something that we believe in, and have made a firm decision…” to do just that.

What about you? Are you ready to “step over the line” and commit to a cause you believe in? One that you are willing to invest your time and energy into? If so, tell me what it is!

A Salute to Mothers

Mother’s Day – a joyous occasion. Even though my own mother is deceased, I am blessed with daughters who will treat me by cooking lunch and we will have a great time celebrating the special day as family.  But for some, Mother’s Day, is a piercing reminder that their families are separated by war and many times, thousands of miles.

I would like to salute those mothers who serve in the military OR who serve those who serve and say a very special “Happy Mother’s Day”:

#1 – Those mothers who pray for their sons and daughters who in in the military – may your heart be at peace this Mother’s Day.

#2 –  Those mothers who are serving in the military – may your heart be couregeous as you serve your country and serve your family this Mother’s Day.

#3 – Those mothers who are wives of our men in uniform who serve their families while their husbands serve our country – may your heart be strong as you hold he family together with love and peace this Mother’s day.

Just recently after agreeing to an interview for my book “Seven Pillars of Success through Serving”, the young military man responded to my interview request with these words, “….. I have to warn you, I wouldn’t consider anything I’ve done worthy of a story.  Now my wife on the other hand is living in her 11th house in 14 years and still doesn’t have a place to call home.  She’s sacrificed far more than I…..”

I love the song by Angela Lashley, whose son, Jonathan, a young U.S. Army soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division, suddenly decided to leave college and join the army.   The evening after Jonathan flew off to join the service, Angela asked her husband, “When did he become so brave?” As she reflected over his life that night, her reflections became a song, “So Brave“:

“I remember when you learned to walk

I remember when you learned to talk

But I, can’t remember when, you learned to be so brave.

That time you stood up for a little guy,

Took on the bully at school, twice your size;

Was it then, do I remember when, you learned to be so brave.

If you ship out in September

Will my Christmas wish bring you home by December?

I’ll be thinkin’ of you and I’ll remember…

There was a puppy love you gave a valentine,

A broken heart that wouldn’t cry;

“The year you made the team and practiced everyday.

Hurt yourself and never got to play;

Maybe then, do I remember when, you learned to be so brave…

If you ship out in September

Will my Christmas wish bring you home by December?

I’ll be thinkin’ of you, son, I’ll remember

How you learned to be so brave.

So brave…”

A very special Mother’s Day Salute to all of you.

Remembering the Mission…..To Serve Those Who Serve

Several years ago, I established mortgage banking offices in two military communities. At the same time I established the offices, I began to gather together a team – Team Thaxton. Everyone knew mission – as the team was formed and as new members were added – we were to “serve those who serve”.

Of course, we could never forgot our mission, we sit before military clients every day. But I believe the passion began to fade and dim as our business grew tougher. We recited the creed, put it on posters in our offices, and even stamped it on our business cards. But the truth was (and is) our industry is a tough one – and it is extremely hard to focus on the “heart” while the “head” had to be so totally engaged in the process.

We needed a revival of our heart. I believe that is what the “Boot Campaign” did for us. It revived our hearts. From the first moment I heard about it, I knew. This was not just something my team would “like” to become involved in – this was something that they would become PASSIONATE about! Because at the core of who they are – their heart – they want to serve those men and women of the United States military. I have watched this team over the last few years, from my loan assistants and junior processors, to the underwriter, closer and funders, to the owner of the company. Their HEARTS center on service.

We bought the boots, had the shirts made, and many of the team drove for two hours for a photography session where we could be together, have some fun and reconnect on our mission – to serve those who serve. I hope you not only enjoy the video of the “Suits in Boots” but that you also remember YOUR mission – whatever it is. And if that mission has dimmed for whatever reason- seek a revival of your heart today. Believe me – its worth it.

No matter what you read in the press, the majority of those of us remaining in the mortgage business are doing business the way we have always done business – with honesty, integrity, and a heart for serving.

Join with us – When They Come Back – Let’s Give Back!

The very first time I saw the girls of the Boot Campaign (www.BootCampaign.com) – I was immediately drawn into their circle!  I have a link to their campaign with a short video at www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.com top right.   I invite you to PLEASE watch it and get YOUR boots on!  So far Team Thaxton has purchased 14 pair of boots, with 4 more being purchased today! 

The majority of my clients are military so there is a natural pull, of course, to participate in the Boot Campaign.  In fact it was an HONOR  to be listed as the #6 loan professional in the nation for VA loans in 2010.  Top VA Lender

I truly do have a TEAM in place that not only believes in “Serving Those Who Serve” but they put “boots” to those words with the service they provide to our military clients.

Every day, our clients come to us, with THEIR boots on,  to purchase a home before they are deployed, after they have come BACK from deployment, or their spouse purchases WHILE they are deployed.

When our first shipment of boots from the Boot Campaign arrived, my team was so excited.   Now we could – at least PHYSICALLY – and for a MINUTE or HOUR or even a DAY  walk a little in their boots.  First Fridays at Fairway are now  “Get Your Boots On!”

We have seen first hand, the wounds that war can inflict on human lives.  Whether  it be loss of  life, loss of  limb, loss of family, or for some loss of peace, we want to be a team that gives BACK to those who have lost.

It is an HONOR to be a part of the Boot Campaign – $25.00 of every purchase goes to projects supporting our wounded warriors.  It seems as if it really is the very LEAST we can do. 

Our men and women of the United States Military give us so much – when they come back – Let’s give back!


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