The Good Life in Austin Texas

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Happy Holidays from Deep in the Heart of Texas!

A short while back I was running on Lady Bird Lake and passed a woman wearing a T-Shirt with the words:

God Bless The Whole World -No Exceptions

That phrase has crossed my mind almost every day since then. Now it's Christmas and whether you celebrate this event, Hannukah, Kwanza, Festivus or WHATEVER...I hope that you are blessed in ways that enrich your life and those around you. Charles Dickens is probably best known for "A Christmas Carol" and I think the following quote from the author sums up the holidays as good any I know:

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. 

~Charles Dickens~

Happy Holidays From Austin, Texas

So I will leave you with a holiday song that is Not your usual Christmas tune... and wish the best of the season to you and yours!

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80 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • December 25 2009 11:08AM

Unexpected Gifts, Giving Back During the Holidays

Angels Afoot in AustinI went to church with my wife at Thanksgiving and on the way out came across the Angels Afoot display in the main foyer just beneath the Prodigal Son Mural. Angels Afoot is a program that helps gather and distribute presents for underprivileged children or who are in foster care and will have nothing during the holiday season. I have volunteered with the group before as a delivery person and was deeply moved because my delivery was to a place that shelters children who have had to be removed from homes for their own safety. The counselors I met were so grateful for the help because they really had no other way of contributing as far as presents. I still am amazed at this sad state of affairs but it's good that we have agencies to step in and do a very difficult but necessary job. It's always makes me think of helping out when it is not expected because more often than not there really is no hope for some folks.

Several large Christmas trees are set up by the desk with hundreds of "tags" indicating the wish list of a child the gender and age. It's very simple, you just look over the tags and pick out a couple that you would like to donate and take them to the sign up desk. We were just browsing and then really got into the spirit. I found tags for two boys, one age 8 who just wanted Pirate stuff (just my kind of kid) and another age 14 who wanted movies passes (another perfect match). My wife found two girls who wanted scrapbooking items and as she and my daughter are avid scrappers that fit the bill. Later at home our daughter surprised us and showed up with four more tags so we decided to go out that afternoon and pick up ALL of our items.

I don't know about you but I have not been to a Toys R Us in ages and it was daunting as well as fascinating and also a lot of fun. I had the hardest time finding Pirate stuff in between wandering around and looking at all the cool toys. I have to admit I played with more than a few! My wife, daughter and I basically looked at all the possibilities and tried to pick the best items we thought would be perfect. It was pretty funny as we discussed the different aspects of each toy considered. Hula Hoops, Pirate ships with or without extra cannons, puzzles, Barbies, Transformer voice altering helmets? I will say that we did go over budget without it being completely obvious. At home all the presents were wrapped along with two huge boxes of scrapping materials from the mammoth warehouse collection that my wife and daughter have assembled over the years. The next Sunday, we brought our presents wrapped and bowed to the church foyer for delivery to the different children all over Austin.

I know this is only a small thing but I think that during the holidays we are encouraged to think of others who are not as well off in our communities. This year more than ever, there are so many in need. Millions have lost their homes in foreclosure and many more will in the future. The unemployment rate is at 10% and we still have thousands of troops overseas whose families worry daily about their well being. Now I am not some sort of bleeding heart but those of us who have prospered do owe it to our communities to try and help in some small way. I did not do as well as I wanted to in my business this year but I don't have anything to gripe about...it's all gravy and who am I to whine? While writing this post I have had constant interruptions from UPS and FedEx employees delivering a stream of goodies and it's obvious that we are truly living the good life in Austin, Texas. If you have read my blog in the past you know I am an ardent supporter of several charitable organizations here in Austin including, Austin Habitat for Humanity , Mobile Loaves & Fishes , Austin Blood & Tissue Center and Salvation Army Austin . No matter where you live, just look around and you will have no problem finding something to do! Don't just think about it...do something!

If you think you cannot afford to help in some small way then you will never really have enough...will you? Helping Others is a Gift You Give to Yourself!

 

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62 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • December 18 2009 10:56PM

Holiday Networking: Please STOP humping my leg!

Russell's new friendI was recently listening to Jason Crouch's  Social Media Edge  blog talk radio show and his guest Chris Brogan actually used the phrase when discussing a very aggressive person who was vying for his time and business. The fact remains that many people don't seem to have any idea how pushy and irritating they can be (though many do intentionally) in business and social settings. Ironically while I was on office property tour with some of my associates earlier in the day I experienced the same behavior...literally. One of the homes we visited had an English Bulldog as a pet and as I am fan of the breed, I stopped to pet and scratch the happy dog and enjoyed playing for a few moments. On the way out the dog came running around the corner for some more and in the excitement got more than a little carried away. I can understand this as I am friendly, outging and attractive in a rugged sort of manner and it's obvious...you can see it in the dog's ecstatic expression BUT this was too much! So don't let this happen to you and don't YOU be this dog in social situations! (Photo by my colleague Francie Little)

This brings me to the subject of networking during the holidays. It really is an excellent time to be out and about and frankly I enjoy visiting with friends, colleagues and many new people at the numerous social functions that occur during the season. I've already been to several parties this month and though I have not suffered the same gripping behavior I have been the recipiant of several moments that don't fit the bill. Please don't shove a card in my face and tell me to call you. If I am interested, I will ask for your card and hopefully my wife will remember your name if I forget. I am not out to sell anything except maybe me as a person behind my profession. Like most folks at nearly all parties, what we do for a living will come up and we will have plenty of time to visit about work and hopefully other things too!

I am always amazed at the fact that people are so interested in talking about real estate so I try to be prepared with statistics and a general overview of my particular market as well as current trends and opinions. Parties seem to lighten the attitude and people are genuinely interested in the real estate market in a non-threatening environment. Because of this, I take the opportunity to share with as much or little as required and nothing more! My sharing is limited to as much as is comfortable and I always keep it light and never offer my own card or press for personal information. Again, I don't enjoy high pressure sales tactics or manipulatiion by people who dominate the conversation for their own self gratification or needs. I mean really, it's a party so let's all relax and have a good time!  If you would like more information about the real estate market in Austin, Texas feel free to contact me at your convenience and in the meantime:


Have a great holiday season!

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143 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • December 12 2009 07:55AM

Lost Creek Open House-2207 Cypress Point East-Sunday, December 13th 2:00-4:00 PM

Lost Creek Open House-2207 Cypress Point East-Sunday, December 13th 2:00-4:00 PM

I list and sell homes in all parts of the Eanes School District but I particularly enjoy working in Lost Creek! Why? Because Lost Creek is where my family has called home since 1992. Lost Creek, situated  south west of the intersection of  Bee Caves Road and Loop 360, is an excellent neighborhood of  homes ranging from $350,000  to $950,000. The neighborhood lies within the acclaimed Eanes School District and which includes Forest Trail Elementary (the home of Healthy Bear), West Ridge Middle School and Westlake High School. Lost Creek is situated  comfortably near plentiful shopping, Lake Austin water sports, Wild Basin Preserve and three world class country clubs. Many of the homes sit on green belt and hill country view lots with many amenities and the area is one of Austin's premier upscale neighborhoods.

This is an awesome home BUT DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! Come on out and take a look for yourself and visit with me about any questions you might have regarding this or any other home in the Eanes School District and learn more about the many benefits of living in one of the very best areas of Austin, Texas!


AGENTS, this is an excellent time to preview!

I will be on-site between 2pm and 4pm Sunday afternoon so please drop by for a tour of this wonderful home in a no pressure environment. If you have questions or are unable to attend or if you would like to schedule a private showing, I can be reached at my mobile number listed below. 

2207 Cypress Point East

 

 

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21 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • December 10 2009 03:17PM