Hope from Lowly Times

nativity scene table decor

Here we are at the end of December.  The decade is over and the new year brings promise as well as a darkness of what at times feels like uncharted waters.  Life is fast.  Moving at speeds that we could never have conceived when we were young.  Technology, globalization, a society that seems to care less about each other than about fighting over differences.  A great country, lost in an identity crisis.  But, throughout history, one constant has existed.  The promise of salvation, God’s grace and divine guidance.  But the world has seemingly discarded this great gift.  We, like in the times of Christ’s birth, have become fragmented.   Government grows larger and more controlling, and we go through the motions of our lives without much hope of change.  Don’t say Merry Christmas because you might offend someone.  Assimilate to cultural pressures or be ostracized.   Life appears to be headed to the abyss.

But there is a glorious hope.  A spirit of strength.  A freely given gift from our Creator.  In a broken world, full of sin, hatred, jealousy and lust is the hope of forgiveness, unconditional love and eternal life.  This hope was born in a lowly community, in times of distress, government control and discord.   People were searching for the promised Messiah.  The One God had foretold of throughout the Old Testament.   We have the pure blessing of knowing that our Savior has been sent.  Forgiveness and love assured.

In these times of great upheaval, just like the time when Christ came into the world, we have the choice to turn from the hatred and head to the Light of the World.  The story, passed down for generations, prophesied in the Old Testament and came to pass some 2,000+ years ago is a simple and straight forward message.  All it takes is the faith the size of a mustard seed.  Seems easy.  I encourage you to find the faith to seek out the true meaning of this Christmas time of year.  Head into the next decade with peace.

Crazy 8 or Figure 8

8 year chip

Observation and reflection seem to be at the top of my mind over that past several weeks.   Today marks 8 years of sobriety.  While some might say congrats or nice job or good for you, but it truly is a celebration of personal responsibility.  It is accounting for the damage done, the amends made, humility accepted and God’s direction at the front of everyday.  That is the tall task.  That is the responsibility of sobriety.  It is far less about not drinking, but about continuing the life long process of clearing out the old debris of the past that has caused a need to self-medicate, living present each and every day to be keenly aware of those old faults that can send me into the old spiral and giving back to who I can serve now and in the future.  It is about being cognoscente of people’s pain.  Keeping ego in check as to prevent steam rolling other out of my need to be recognized.  Appreciating what I have verses what I wish I had.  Loving intensely those who have granted me their friendship and loyalty, my family and clients.  Who are trusting me to guide them, be their friend and teammate.

Life still can be either a crazy 8 or a beautiful figure 8.  But no matter which it is on any given day, there is so much to be grateful for.  Even the smallest of things like the first cup of coffee in the morning or the fresh smell of the desert air after a rain.

Eight years is a milestone and a dangerous time.  Observation and reflection are so necessary to keep me grounded and aware that life and sobriety are fragile.  Only with God’s help do I live life one day at a time.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I am hopeful that my experiences, failures and victories can be an example to help others that are desperately in need of hope, joy and recovery.

Tenth Step Amends Prayer

“God, please forgive me for my failings today. I know that because of my failings, I was not able to be as effective as I could have been for you. Please forgive me and help me live thy will better today.  I ask you now to show me how to correct the errors I have just outlined. Guide me and direct me. Please remove my arrogance and my fear. Show me how to make my relationships right and grant me the humility and strength to do thy will.”(86:1)

Thanksgiving: A Pathway out of Insanity

Thanksgiving. An American tradition. Massive meals, prequel to ridiculous shopping, hectic travel and the darkness of isolation. What? Yes, isolation. Busyness, the true escape from reality. We surround ourselves with people, work feverishly to clean, cook, make small talk, shop, fight crowds and in the end can be exhausted physically and emotionally. Sound like insanity repeated year after year.

A different perspective? A pathway out. The name of the holiday is the definition of the way out of darkness and insanity. Thanksgiving, gratitude, giving, reflecting on the infinite blessings poured on us. I know if I reflect, I could write a gratitude list a mile long. A sample would be, the color orange, sunrise, sunset, clothing, food, shelter, faith, forgiveness, sobriety, the gym, kids, new friends and on and on.

Instead of living in the cycles that pull us into our darkness, focus daily on the blessings. Write them down. Savor the moment. Thank our Creator for your calling and gifts. It can be liberating.


Whose your hero?

Mother’s Day! A day that really does not due justice for mom’s. It is a day laden with commercialism, obligation and at times remorse. It is the scapegoat for 364 days of the forgotten hero’s mom’s are. You see, while we hold up in the limelight the hero’s of history, and rightfully so, we forget about what true heroism is and how our mothers are truly hero’s everyday. Being a hero is all about courage and facing the onslaught of fear that grips us from the moment we get up in the morning, to the last blink before we fall asleep. And, even in our dreams fear can grip us.

So as far as the definition of a hero goes, my choice is a mom, my mom, Corice Jasper. Mom’s are the queens of worry. My mom has been mom to so many! Obviously to me and Amy Jasper. Even though we get irritated at her line of questioning, concern and worry, we are blessed to have such a pray warrior and hero in our corner.

Also, mom was mom to dad. Making sure he was fed, being a pillar of support both in life and in faith, taking care of him in good and in bad, in great health and in his last days. Setting aside her own fears to heroically be strong.

Mom is mom to her grandchildren, Taylor Jasper and Kylie Jasper. From their births, through colic, sickness, joys and heartache, mom set aside her own needs to mother these precious gifts. Mom is the listing ear, the gentle scolding and the unconditional love that her grandchildren need. A safe haven. She has had to set aside her fears about their futures to be support today. At a beckoned call.

Mom is mom to her brothers, Paul Kranz and Curt Kranz. Guiding and leading. Caring and offering tough love. But, no matter what, loyal to the end.

Mom was mom to her parents and dad’s parents. Giving sacrificially to their care and service. Driving hours monthly, nursing them in their twilight years with unsurpassed love. Sacrificing her own desires for the sake of their needs.

Mom has been mom to her nieces and nephews. Even when she has not had contact with them, she cares about their well being, their health, their joy and sorrow. Stephen Kranz Paula Broadwell MikeandLori Kranz Clark Kranz Chuck Kranz Scott Sternberg Stephen Beckström-Sternberg Lisa Mullin Annette Sternberg Benavides

Mom has been mom to many, many of her close friends. Giving them their shots, listening to their grief, sadness, joy and fears. She has been a regular visitor of those friends shut in, bring meals and loading her car trunk with their junk!

My mom is a fiercely independent woman. While none of us are saints, she, in her imperfect perfection, has lived a giving life for us all. Thank you mom.





Service is such a key to all of life.  It is central to true fulfillment.  Changing our mindset starts with observation.  The opportunity to serve is all around.  Service is not just action, but is in the words of kindness, encouragement and support we show to others.  With those we find difficult to like or love lies the greatest opportunity to serve and grow.


Old School, Stop, Look and Listen


In the real estate industry, there is much talk about the evolution of the brokerage and the agent.  Technology has been heralded as the future, full-service brick and mortar brokerages will die a slow death and the agent of future will be virtual, homes will show themselves and customers will be able to buy or sell their home from an app.  I had better start looking for a new job…..or NOT!

I marvel at how fast some in our industry jump to the sky is falling mantra.  One major player says they are no longer a real estate company, but a technology company.  Another has a plan where, if you recruit enough agents, you will have so much residual income that you wont even need to sell real estate.  WOW!  What will happen to the scripts we have learned,  “So all you have to do is sign the contract, so I can help you get what you want, in the time you want, won’t that be great?  Now sign the contract!”

I am far from saying that our industry is not changing; and rapidly.  We have the flash of venture capital flowing into real estate ibuyer and iseller companies who hope to make everyone’s life perfect by buying their homes, put lipstick on the pig and sell them for big money.  Of course, the market is always going up and appreciating at a breakneck clip, so the investors will never lose money……The one thing that you can count on is that what goes up must eventually come down.  Yet with all of the new innovations, what has remained the same since the first real estate transaction?  People.

I believe that people are always going to be handling real estate.  Technology cannot calculate human emotion, fear, sense of loss and ego.  All of these elements are a part of every real estate transaction that occurs.

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Stop, Look and Listen.  These 3 words are, simple put, the words of success for agents today.   In the high tech, email, text world we live in, the huge void that is being created is Stop, Look and Listen.

Stop and observe. Stop and evaluate. Stop talking about ourselves.  Clients today do not need raw data, they need guidance, counsel and wisdom.  No app for that.

Look and see.  Body language speaks louder than the spoken word.  Thoughtfully consider how we posture ourselves.  Look at how our clients are either open or closed in their stance.  When someone is closed, more questions need to be asked.  Understanding what has caused them to close up.  What might we have said that played a part in their posture.

Listen.  The most important.  While Siri can listen and crank out an answer, we have the tools and gifts to listen to what is said and what is between the lines.  So much of our business is counsel.  It is not just trial close after trial close.  It is truly taking interest and concern in our clients dreams, goals, fears and vision of success.  The same is true with the agents we work with on the other side of the transaction.  When we listen, ask questions, listen again to the point of silence, the other side will give us the clues we are seeking to formulate a plan of attack to bring success to our clients.

We must keep up with the technology changes.  But, they will not replace the emotional component of people.

No one cares about how many millions of dollars of real estate we have sold, or how many homes, what awards we have earned or how heavy the card stock is on our postcards.  That is vanity.  People are dying of thirst for authentic people that will Stop, Look and Listen.   I will take Old School interaction over virtual interaction any day of the week.


The Haboob of Everyday


When I moved to Arizona, I never thought much about this phenomenon call the haboob.  A sand storm.  I only thought this happened in the movies like Laurence of Arabia.  But, in the first month I was here, I experienced a haboob first hand.  I was in downtown Tempe, walking from my car to a restaurant, when, like in slow motion, I saw this wall of dust and dirt, a black cloud rolling in.  I turned around, got in my car and decided to head home.  As I was driving, the dust started to blow, and envelop the cars around me.  Next, it started to rain MUD!  Cars were pulling over, turning on their emergency flashers, and like a blizzard, traffic on the I-10 came to a halt.  After the pause, the rain continued and cleared the air of the dust and everyone started to move again.

Much like our lives.  I have experienced may haboob’s of life.  It is tempting to keep driving on, somewhat without direction.  Unaware of the path to success or the danger that is right around us.  These haboob’s of life have become a warning for me to stop, pause, let the air clear, reoriented myself.  Even though it does not seem natural to pause; we might miss a deal, or miss out on an opportunity, but in the end, we do not have the clarity to take advantage of the best that life and business have to offer.

This has been a hard lesson for me to learn.  But, the haboob keeps moving.  So when we pause, it blows on past leaving us with a vision for the mess around us and the path to navigate the obstacles heading to a higher level of prosperity.

Pause, Look and Listen.  Haboob’s are only temporary if we left them move on by.

#OrangeisTruth #JayJasper #DesertSellerAZ


fast paced

Fast pace, multi-task, rise to the top, I deserve it, it’s all about me.  Sound familiar?  We are all guilty in some capacity of uttering these phrases.  Coming from an environment of upper midwest guilt, there can be great negativity associated with a persons desire to rise to the top, be the best and know it, feeling deserving of the good life.  While I believe that we are put here on this earth to be successful in our calling, this may, in many instances, not be by being at the center of the spotlight.  In fact I challenge the notion.

#HelpOthers.  Simple, easy to do. Even in the smallest way.  Want to have an impact on our families, places of work, neighborhoods, cities, countries, the world?  #HelpOthers.  Set aside bias, judgement, fear, pity, superiority, just #HelpOthers.

In my study of Mentor Leadership, the premise is based on this very simple two-word phrase #HelpOthers.  One of my favorites Zig Ziglar quotes “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”  Simple.  But true.  If you haven’t done this, or not done this in a while, think about a time when you helped someone out with purely good intentions.  Not expecting something in return.  Not looking for a pat on the back.  I will bet that as you reflect, something good came back to you.  Not necessarily immediately, nor related to the help you provided. But we feel better, our hearts warm and the impact on one person or group spreads exponentially.  This very act of selfless #HelpOthers can change another persons day from bad to good.  This in turn can affect how they act toward others and even better may drive them to selflessly help someone else.  Simple.  #HelpOthers

I struggle when I am the busiest, under the most stress and pressure to be mindful to #HelpOthers.  But when I keep that intentional mindset in my mind, no matter how stressed or busy, when I #HelpOthers, it reliefs my situation.

We do not know what is truly happening in others lives.  No matter that front that they put on, fear , helplessness, sadness and loneliness surround everyone to some degree.

Are you willing to make a difference in someone elses life today?  #HelpOthers.  Share the thought.  Share the hashtag #HelpOthers.  STOP! SLOW DOWN! #HELPOTHERS

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill