UPDATE: This is just a “going back through pictures moment,” a Throwback to my Christmas Letter from 2007, which captured a snapshot in time as we grew our family and built our business:
2007 offered our family our own share of challenges, and through it all we can attest that it is still true that adversity is opportunity.
In spite of the challenges, as we continued to study and abide the principles of prosperity, the hardships ultimately bore good fruits, and at Christmastime especially, brought me to a place of deep reflection, and leading me to simplify, simplify, simplify. (Hence, no creative family Christmas letter this time.)
The reward for being ultra selective about the commitments I chose has been astounding, mostly manifesting itself through a dramatic increase of quality time spent with my children, especially through the holidays.
The year began with our two month-old baby taking up most of my attention and energy. Knowing she would be our last, I soaked up the joy of every moment that I could. All unnecessary commitments would be avoided.
Trevan was busy working on Real Estate deals, business deals, and was also developing a keen interest in the financial services industry. By springtime, I was finally ready (and physically able) to move forward on projects that had been put on the back burner during my pregnancy in ’06. I even braved the commitment to be taxi-mom for tennis, karate, soccer, and swim lessons (thanks to the help of a few “assistants” Caitlin L, Erica B, and later Sarah A… who really became more like “adopted big sisters”).
By March, I became motivated to spend every spare minute creating a self-directed home study course to make the life-changing material available round-the-clock to all people, even when I am not conducting seminars, which also gives me more time for our busy household of seven children under the age of 15. We, ourselves, are committed to claiming more time with our children before they all start leaving the nest in just a few more years.
One focus in 2007 was to be more financially portable. One primary task was to establish health insurance independent of employment since our eighteen-month COBRA plan was scheduled to expire in May. This was a task that I thought might take 30 days or so, which turned into 150 days so we could settle certain un-insurability issues, but WAS finally accomplished, just in time. We began the process in January, but didn’t find out until May why it was GOOD that the transition was such an unexpectedly and painfully long process. (Law of Polarity in action! Keep reading and I’ll tell you why it was good…)
Trevan and I finished creating the audio version of our books, accepted a deal for the Turkish translation of Jackrabbit Factor, and begun the process for a Spanish translation which we hope to make available soon.
Along the way there were setbacks which were humbling, and through them all we testify that God continues to be aware of us, and we feel his hand in our affairs.
We know that He is keenly aware of ALL his children and supports them in their trials, even when it is not readily apparent. We have been teaching for years that every adversity contains the seed of equal or greater benefit (Napoleon Hill), so we’re very fortunate indeed.
One “opportunity” that I can recall in good humor was the opportunity to stay optimistic through the summer months when our A/C unit quit. I finally had to jump in the pool with my clothes so I could go back inside dripping wet to comfortably continue my work on the home study course. Never mind water damage to anything, as the water readily evaporated before any damage could be done. (Even with our home warranty plan, we had to wait a week for each appointment. Sometimes it would get repaired only to break again later that day, and then we’d have to wait another week for another appointment. We calculate that we were without proper A/C for a combined total of about 6-8 weeks out of the scorching Arizona summer.)
We certainly recognize the tender mercies of the Lord in our near-tragic incident with 3 year-old Bethany which occurred in May during the brief three-week period of time when our COBRA plan overlapped with our new major medical plan. She had been found (by 7 year-old Jared) floating face-down in the deep end of our pool. She was revived after I performed my unskilled version of CPR, took an ambulance ride to the hospital, and spent the night in intensive care.
Gratefully she completely recovered, the co-pay was minimal, and there was no threat of uninsurability because the new plan was barely, but already in place. Had we obtained the new plan four months earlier as I had originally hoped, our out-of-pocket responsibility would have been likely ten times as much.
We’re grateful for our good health, and that Nathan’s cardiologist recently announced at his doctor’s visit that he would not have to return for three more years because he’s doing so well. In all his life they’ve never let him go three years without a checkup. We’re grateful for a policy which accepted him in spite of his open heart surgery and subsequent follow-ups beginning 12 years ago.
To help offset a few Real Estate setbacks, Trevan took a 3-month contract doing the kind of work he quit two years ago. It reminded us of the Jackrabbit Factor when Richard returns to the path for another sack with a mindset that it is only to help him catch the next rabbit. We of course declined the health insurance option because we were still in the application process for an independent policy and bent on keeping him free to leave anytime. After the contract ended, and one day before shipping our very first run of home study program orders, we determined that our best course of action going forward was to join forces (synergy!) and focus 100% on helping others overcome financial challenges, too. Trevan has moved into the chief leadership role of ThoughtsAlive LLC, affording me time to homeschool the youngest five, and finally learn some new things, like what you can do with a whole chicken.
He and his brother have taken the business to the next level by creating the prosperity forums, and making plans for ThoughtsAlive Memberships so our readers can store their downloadable purchases in their own online digital product bank. He also set the books up for Amazon’s new Kindle reader… something I think I’m just going to have to own one day because it looks so cool and because I love to read.
I’m grateful for his interest, talent, aptitude, and AVAILABILITY to do things that were always beyond my scope of interest and patience to learn. Together (a dream come true), we’re moving forward on our goals for helping families across the globe achieve more time and money freedom, faster and more effectively than ever before.
I stay connected with my readers and course participants through the new prosperity forums and this positive thinking blog, and collaborate with Trevan daily, dreaming, planning, and growing the business, helping others, one idea at a time.
Other notes on 2007:
Jacob (15) continues with the trumpet, choir, played a season of soccer as keeper, enjoys telling his stories to the girls at school of stitches, singed eyebrows (and other various random mishaps), and had his first EFY experience at BYU this summer.
Nathan (12) continues with the clarinet, has become amazingly independent with his homework, and enjoyed a local “Best of EFY” with his older brother.
Kayli (9) is home schooled and still gets to play violin with the school orchestra. She is a wizard in the kitchen. She handles most of the family sit-down meals and loves to do it up. Often you’ll see a paper name place holder at your seat and given a handmade menu to make your selection from her list of options.
Jared (8) was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in August. He is also homeschooled but spends his Wednesdays in the ELP program at school for gifted students.
Nicholas (6 today) is homeschooled and was much too bored with the kindergarten curriculum. He passed the district’s kindergarten post test and has moved into first grade work.
Bethany (4) is having her last day with the “thumb”. She agreed to enjoy it up until Nicholas’ birthday and if you ask her about it in 2008, she’ll tell you, “I don’t do that anymore.” We’ll keep our thumbs crossed. 😉
Sarah – (1) surprised us all by starting to walk at 8 months. Yesterday I caught her walking down the stairs without using the railing. She has everyone in the family wrapped around her teeny little finger… we just can’t get enough of her adorable one-year-oldness.
Our Stake (local group of church congregations) was reorganized in November, but Trevan still gets to enjoy a voluntary assignment the Scouts, which he loves. I have a new assignment (to be made official in a week) and have MUCH to learn but look forward to serving.
Our summer vacation was spent in Utah and Idaho, squeezing in (presenting) 4 free seminars along the way (here’s a video of one of them) and meeting a lot of our readers. We played with cousins, stopped at Lagoon, played at 7 Peaks Water Park, and Bryce National Park. Another major highlight of 2007 not to be forgotten: MY side of the family (who are spread across the country) enjoyed our first family reunion in ten years at our house over Thanksgiving.
Oh yeah… Tuesday mornings in the spring were spent teaching an Abundance class hosted at the home of my friend Jacqueline, who asked me to present my seven week series on the Laws of Success (which has since been made available as an online training called “Working with the 7 Laws of Success“. It was an honor, helped me get back into the material after my extended maternity leave, helped us keep our heads in an optimistic place through our challenges (opportunities), and gave us the chance to meet other guest presenters she had invited including John Gray (Mars/Venus) and Loral Langemeier.
Since then, I’ve had the honor of speaking for a number of different audiences, including Loral’s Alumni Organization and Bob Proctor’s Wealth Lab participants. I accepted an invitation to be on the Executive Idea Council for an idea-generating organization, and we were astonished but grateful to discover that our Hidden Treasures book became an Amazon best seller in the Money and Values category, appearing on the list consistently since September. We gained more exposure as IdeaMarketers.com’s Official Proseprity Experts and SelfGrowth.com’s Official Guides to Prosperity. (Selfgrowth is the #1 self-improvement site on the web.) The labor pains we experienced while creating the home study course were followed by the joy of fulfillment in seeing what it is doing for others.
We send our love and express gratitude for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the wonder of his birth, that through him all things may be overcome which separate us from the Love of God. We’re grateful for the challenges, for his tender mercies, and continual outpouring of blessings whether they show up in the form of relief and abundance, or opportunity for growth and increased humility. May we all feel the peace our family enjoyed at Christmastime, throughout the upcoming year.
Sincerely, Leslie Householder and family