Why Do You Blog?

Forward:  When I started typing this article, I had no idea where it was going to take me.  Sometimes words just flow from your fingers and you can’t stop them.  My fingers just typed with a clarity of purpose I have not felt in months.  

PS – I can’t believe I just wrote a forward to a blog post.


 

Currently, I am participating in yet another 30 Day Ultimate Blog Challenge, and Paul, one of the challenge hosts, asks:  Why do you blog?

Good question.

So now, it’s time to think about, and share, my answer.

Crazy Blog Lady

I actually have three blogs, none of which received much attention from me these past 6 months.  I’ve been busy doing the things about which I like to blog!

Custom Furniture

Our primary source of income comes from the online custom furniture business my husband and I founded in 1998.  We are both quite geeky (we met on American Online), and selling custom furniture on the internet was such a wacky crazy idea we decided to try it.  We were one of, if not THE first mom and pop custom furniture websites.

For the custom furniture blog, I post about projects my husband is creating, and client testimonials.

Handmade in Texas

Several years back, I got this crazy (there’s that word again) notion that I wanted to help artists and artisans in Texas promote their work.  So, I launched HandmadeinTexas.net.  The website has a directory of Texas artisans, too.  Most of the posts on the art blog are interviews with artists, or reviews of venues and restaurants.

HandmadeinTexas.net has so much potential to be a resource for thousands of artists across Texas.  Right now, I am not the best person to grow that website, so I am selling it.  If you know someone who would be a great fit to take over, please have them contact me.

Gratitude Geek

So, that brings us to this blog.  Fifteen years ago this website (domain name), MomGeek.com, was where I offered website design and hosting to small businesses.  I like helping small businesses.  I sold the book of business ten years ago but kept the domain name, because I like it.  I’m a mom, I’m a geek.  I AM MomGeek.

After I sold the hosting business, I had no idea what to do with MomGeek.com, so it just sat in cyberspace for many, many years.  Crazy, huh?

When I launched my greeting card and gift business, I decided to rebrand to GratitudeGeek and transform this dormant domain into something…

something…  something…

Exactly, WHAT is that something?

Why Do You Blog?

I blog to share.  I share because I want to help.

I want to help small business owners, because over the past 30 years both my husband and I have been blessed with mentors who have taught us how to be successful small business owners, and I want to pay it forward.

I want to help people recently diagnosed with cancer navigate the journey, because I have kind, generous, loving people help me as I live with metastatic disease, and I want to pay it forward.

I want to help myself by documenting the precious time I have on this beautiful planet that my husband, daughter, and I share with 7.5 billion beautiful people.

Life is a gift, and I want to inspire people to live their best possible life by living mine.

I blog because I am grateful.

 

Breast Cancer Support Group | Practicing Gratitude | Butterfly Survivor Ornament | Battling Bertha 16 | #BlogBoost

Breast Cancer Support Group

Lisa, one of my custom furniture clients introduced me to an online breast cancer support group.   Lisa is a breast cancer survivor and had found much comfort from this particular group.

I was hesitant to join because I find that many support groups are populated with negative whiners and I have worked very hard to surround myself with positive people.  I know I must sound harsh in my criticism, and I have been known to whine myself.  But, it is counter productive.

I want to be around winners, not whiners.

I finally bit the bullet and joined the support group.

Boy was I pleasantly surprised!  This group of over 3200 thriving survivors is welcoming, warm and wonderful. If you are looking for an online support group, contact me privately and I’ll give you more information.

Practicing Gratitude

As a thank you to Lisa for sharing the support group information, I sent her a butterfly survivor ornament. This was her post about the gift in the support group:

Butterfly Survivor Ornament

Butterfly Survivor Ornament

“So the mailman drops a package off today and I open it and inside is a beautiful butterfly ornament that says “I’m a Survivor – Bless this Day.” Who is this from? Found a card. Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte sent me this sweet gift and card to thank me for recommending this wonderful support group. Kandas, please know that you are in my heart forever and thank you so very much for this beautiful gift. You are a strong and amazing woman and may God bless you and heal you.” – Lisa

I didn’t send the butterfly survivor ornament to receive accolades, I sent it because I truly appreciated the gift of support that Lisa had given me.

Yesterday, I read a blog post by a professional musician about the importance of daily practice. It dawned on me that I, too, have a daily practice. Every day I do what I can to reach out in kindness to others, be it a smile, kind word, joke to invoke laughter, in hopes that they will pay this kindness forward.

As the Gratitude Geek, I also practice (and teach) appreciation through the age old tradition of sending a thank you card.

Two decades ago, I watched a documentary about Mary Kay Ash, founder of the makeup empire. I learned two very important business lessons from that show:

  • When someone asks you how you are doing, regardless of how you really feel, answer with “I am fabulous.” I have been following this advice for 20 years!! To this day, I still surprise people with my answer.
  • On purpose, throughout the day, be on the lookout for people who deserve a special thank you and send them a greeting card telling them why!

While I implemented lesson one immediately and continue to practice it, lesson two took a lot longer for me to learn.

You might not believe this but for almost a decade I was a very lonely work-at-home mom. The story of how I overcame the loneliness is an entirely different blog post. However, a huge factor was SendOutCards.

Butterfly Survivor Ornament

The butterfly survivor ornament I sent to Lisa was from SendOutcards. SendOutCards now features a selection of Pink Ribbon themed items in the Gift Shop and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to support breast cancer research and funding.

Do you know a breast cancer survivor? Would you like to send her (or him) a gift this month to celebrate her thriving life? Or perhaps, you’d just like to tell her how much she inspires you? Contact me privately for information on how you can do so for just the cost of postage.

Butterflies have always been a symbol of freedom, beauty and peace. This ornately designed Butterfly Survivor Ornament enhanced with diamond like stones, lends 2 powerful sentiments “I’m a Survivor” and “Bless this Day”. Perfect for displaying at home, at work or even from your rear view mirror. Never go another day without this simple reminder of freedom, beauty and peace.

“Woman” by Tracy Larson Clifford | Podcast Episode 14

Singer-Song Writer Tracy Larson-Clifford

Singer-Song Writer Tracy Larson-Clifford

Singer-song writer, Tracy Larson’ Clifford debuts her new single, “Woman” in this special edition of the Gratitude Geek Podcast.

Never Give Up

“In the beginning, stepping into the spotlight (on stage) made me feel extremely vulnerable and anxious in ways I had not yet experienced in life. I loved it so much but my heart knew there was more, more to being just a back up singer, more to doing someone else’s song.”

Tracy is the talent and genius behind the Coffee & Cards Conversations & Gratitude Geek Podcast theme music, “Never Give Up”.  In this very candid interview, Tracy shares her journey from teen mom to grandmother. Her 22-year career as a nurse exposed and inspired a drive to provide healing through music. Her organization, Soul Lily House v’Music strives to offer guitar and vocal instruction and sponsorship to struggling families.

In addition to “Woman”, Tracy also plays acoustic versions of her singles “Gone” & “Never Give Up” during the interview.  It’s a real treat for your ears!

Connect with Tracy Larson’ Clifford

“The most peace for me in my spirit is when the first note is played and I begin to soar… at times, it feels as though I am flying around the room – JOY JOY JOY!”

soul-lily-house-of-music

Steve Schulz on Network Marketing, Money & Cheese Curds | Podcast 011

Schulz-144

Meet a Network Marketing Legend

My guest today is a network marketing legend.  Twenty-three years ago Steve Schulz was a dead broke school teacher.  After consistently working his network marketing business for 3 to 5 hours per week for 3 years, both Steve and his wife Colleen, were able to leave their teaching jobs.  Steve shares the two things he did during those 3 to 5 hours.

Today, Steve is the President of Field Development for SendOutCards.  We sat down on a Thursday night in Houston, Texas to chat about network marketing, money and cheese curds.

Money is NOT the Root of All Evil

Steve shares his journey from teacher to multi-millionaire in his new book, “Yes, Sometimes It Is About the Money.”

“We can create more millionaires inside SendOutCards than any other program out there…  we’ve got the greatest product in network marketing.” – Steve Schulz

Yes_About_the_Money_Book

The Elusive Cheese Curd

Steve is from Wisconsin.  Wisconsin is known for cheese curds.  Despite my best efforts to draw it out of him, Steve would not divulge the secret of the elusive cheese curd.  He remains true to his Wisconsin roots.

Steve Schulz’s Book Shelf
Get Your Gratitude Geek

Look 5 Years Younger and Get More Done V031

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week’s “Coffee & Cards Conversation with Gratitude Geek” features 5 savvy business women from The Woodlands and Conroe, Texas. We chat about setting SMARTer goals in health and business, plus one simple thing you can do that will make you instantly look 5 years younger. It’s all good stuff, so watch.

 

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Connect with the Coffee & Cards Conversationalists:

The Kindness Jar is available from SendOutCards gift store. For a free trial of this powerful online greeting card and gifting system call 936-718-7099 or visit my SendOutCards website and click “Send A Card.”

Interested in having a Coffee & Cards Conversation with Kandas?  Leave a comment below.

“Don’t frown because your smile is what lighten up the world.”

V024 Tanya Lavoie Grows Real Estate Business with Greeting Cards

In this Coffee and Cards Conversation with Tanya Lavoie of Gary Green Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate we share tips on how you can grow your real estate business with greeting cards.

 

Transcript

IMG_0801 Kandas:  Kandas Rodarte of GratitudeGeek.info sitting here with Tanya Lavoie of Gary Green Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. And we’re going to talk a little bit today about how greeting cards can help you grow real estate business. But before I do that, I want to share with you some of the cards that I received this week, it is the week before Christmas. This is a lovely card, that’s a 2-panel card that costs $0.62. This is a great card from a real estate agent that we both know who’s commercial, and it’s a picture of her and her husband and a beautiful template. This card was only $0.93. Here’s another beautiful card with a picture; a $0.93 card. This is the card that my husband created for our holiday card.

Tanya: I love it!

Kandas: It’s a caricature that he drew and our daughter colored and inside we had a picture of ourselves being silly and a little bit of a story. This card was just $0.93 plus postage. The other exciting thing that I receive in the mail this week is this Greeting Card Revolution t-shirt! It came in this beautiful box from the company that I work with and it just means that I have decided to get paid to be nice and join the Greeting Card Revolution. Fun, huh? So let’s talk about what you do.

Tanya: Well, I’m a real estate agent here in the Montgomery County area and Harris County, too. I’ve here, now, 3 years – love the area and my job and my clients and my friends. All is good.

Kandas: Why did you choose real estate?

Tanya: I chose real estate in the beginning because I thought it would give me a “mom-schedule.” I had two young children and I thought, “Oh, this will give me a good mommy schedule,” but I’m not sure that’s the case, but it is flexible.

Kandas: You can work your own hours.

Tanya: Yeah, I can work my own hours and decide just how busy I want to be.

Kandas: Somebody asked me recently how I can do all the things I can do and I said “Because I enjoy everything that I do and I don’t do anything unless I’m having fun.”

Tonya Lavoie B 96dpiTanya: Right. Exactly and I do love what I do and really it’s just helping people and that’s one of the things about me. What I like to do is help people and that’s what real estate is.

Kandas: That’s a very good business tip, by the way. Pick a business that you have so much fun doing that it’s not work. So tell me… I know the story, but I think the audience needs to know about what you did for ten years of your life when you were very young.

Tanya: I lived on a sail boat and sailed around the world and raised babies and —

Kandas: You raised babies on a sail boat?

Tanya: Yes I did. I varnished and that’s how I supported myself and my husband–

Kandas: Varnishing boats?

Tanya: Varnishing their boats, yes. Mine was like the template. so when we would go into port and go to a marina, people would say “Oh my gosh! your boat is beautiful!” “I can do that for you.” That was quite as long time ago, I got paid $15/hour to make their boats look pretty.

Kandas: Wow! And then after you lived on a sail boat for ten years you did something else that’s pretty remarkable.

Tanya: okay, I didn’t know you were going to put me on the spot. I got my pilots license and my commercial license. I ran a flight school at an airport in Maine. My husband ran the maintenance department. That was really cool, too. I loved that. Again, my passion during that time was helping the teenagers. We’d give them free half hour lesson and the teenagers would come and fly.

Kandas: I wish you were still an instructor.

Tanya: That would be so cool.

Kandas: That’s total bucket list right there: Learning to fly. And, it would be really cool learning to fly from you.

Tanya: Okay.

Kandas: Because that means you’re a good instructor.

Tanya: Well, it’s been a long time, but thank you for the compliment.

Kandas: Wow! Okay, so, I was listening to a training tape…I don’t even think I remember what I was listening to because I listen to so much on audio while I’m working, but Jim Rohn said that people are not trees and that we were meant to move, not just stand still, not to be rooted — and people get rooted so easily. I know that one of the things that you do is that you help your clients relocate.

Tanya: Correct.

Kandas: So tell me about some of the services that you offer to people who are relocating.

Tanya: Okay, so when they’re moving here and they don’t know, they’ve never been to Houston, or the Woodlands, or Magnolia, or Conroe, or whatever it is, the first thing I do is I find out what they’re family is. You know, kids? Are they coming with elderly parents? What do they need? What do their kids do? What do they swim? Do they play football? All those kinds of things… Any special needs that they might have… Then I put together a relocation packet that’s specific to that family…

IMG_0799Kandas: Wow. That’s remarkable.

Tanya: So that they can then walk in and talk to this coach, or go get their nails done here, or whatever it might be from simple to really complex. It might be they need home health care for their elderly parent… so, all of that goes into a packet.

Kandas: Wow. That’s called appreciation marketing, relationship marketing. When you work with a client based on their individual needs and you really put a lot of focus onto what they need, and being kind to them, and showing them that you’re grateful for their business, and extraordinary ways. Something –I know that you can’t do, because unless I missed something, you’re not an ordained minister.

Tanya: No.

Kandas: But when we bought our first and our second home, we used a real estate agent who was an older man, very kind and he was also an ordained minister and he knew that we were planning our wedding. We bought our house and we were planning to get married three months later. So, he offered to be our minister (free-of-charge) at our wedding.

Tanya: Really cool.

Kandas: Now, not every real estate agent can offer that extra service, but just going above and beyond makes all the difference in the world and you better believe that every single referral that we ever got or we every had for real estate went to him after that. he’s no longer with us. He passed away a few years ago.

Tanya: Okay, well that’s sad, but now I can be your real estate agent.

Kandas: You do get my referrals.

Tanya: I know, I do. Thank you and I’m very grateful.

Kandas: I remember I sent you a referral for six houses. Something like that – something outrageous.

Tanya: Yes, you did.

Kandas: Okay, so speaking of real estate and how to market it. Tell me about your greeting card story. How did you use a greeting card to get more business?

Tanya: Well, really that boils down to you. You sent me a couple of example. Well, you cards you sent me just for me are awesome and I’m very impressed with them. “Oh my gosh! This is so cool.” Then, obviously we’ve talked and you’ve shown me some samples and I’ve used them and they’ve worked. Like the “For sale by Owner” campaign, it was a listing that I got through Send Out Cards. Just sending them once a week, something that would help them with their home, and giving them some tips, after the third card I got a phone call.

Kandas: So, once a week you sent them a card with tips to help them sell their homes?

Tanya: Correct.

Kandas: And they were just a “for sale by owner” listing that you saw?

Tanya: Just driving by a neighborhood.

Kandas: That’s really good.

Tanya: It’s is awesome and I’m very thankful for you because actually, it was your idea.

Kandas: Really? It was?

Tanya: Send Out Cards was really… My clients like it. I get compliments all the time because I can make it specific to them – a picture of their home and picture of their family, versus just going to the store and buying a generic card. That’s just making it personal.

Kandas: So, very recently, you decided to add greeting cards and gifts as another income stream. Talk to me about that.

Tanya: Well, I discovered that I can actually give it to my clients so that when they close, when they move into a home, I can give them a set of cards that are change of addresses and things that take it to the next level. So, I’ve just taken it to the next level and hopefully that will –I haven’t done it yet, but that’ll be my very next client that will have a stack of cards for change of address. I’m really looking forward to that.

Kandas: Awesome! I love this concept of showing appreciation from all aspects of the sale. So the real estate agent, the mortgage broker, the handyman, the..

Tanya: home inspector…

Kandas: pressure washer, the home inspector, the air conditioning dude, anybody who had anything to do with the sale of the home sends a thank you card to the buyer and the seller. And that that team just became the super team and everybody who ever talks about wanting to buy a home suddenly says “I know who you should talk to because she has a terrific team!”

Tanya: Yup.

Kandas: Appreciation is the best advertisement you can do.

Tanya: Absolutely. Yup.

Kandas: Well this has been really fun. I do want to pitch myself one more time.

Tanya: Okay, go.

kandas-cardsKandas: On January 25th, I am giving a public speaking workshop at the Power Pink Studio here in Conroe. It’s from 9AM until noon on January 25th and I will teach you the trick that I use to wow the CEO of the company that I worked for when I was just 23 years old and I became his go to person in that department. I was just 23 years old and I had the ear of a CEO of a major corporation. So that is January 25, it’s called “On Target Speaking: Breaking the Ice” You can register on my website GratitudeGeek.info. Thanks for chatting today with me Tanya.

Tanya: Thank you for having me.

Kandas: Kandas Rodarte, GratitudeGeek.info.

It's Like Life

Ants are Like Life

by Kandas Nesbitt-Rodarte

It's Like Life

It’s Like Life

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had the great privilege to drive DeMarr Zimmerman to his hotel after a company training in Houston, Texas. DeMarr is a top leader in our company and a consumate storyteller. Though tired after a long day and sleepless night, he kept us entertained with stories about his father, fly-fishing, and networking marketing legend Jimmy Dick.

I learned three important lessons from DeMarr:

1. Practice may not make you perfect, but it produces results. Early on in his career, DeMarr would practice his recruiting script until it became natural. His simple script is short and to the point: “Are you open to earning additional income?”

2. You never know unless you ask. Even the best recruiting script will not work unless open your mouth and speak the words.

3. Ants are like life. DeMarr’s story about his father and the ants inspired my husband to sketch the scene. Here’s my retelling of DeMarr’s story: