We visited the Victory Ranch pool over winter break. It’s one of our family’s favorite places to go. The pool is warm, the snow is cold, the complimentary soft serve ice cream and goodies flow freely and the kids are in heaven.
Every year around Christmas time we watch Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. One of my favorite movies of all time. It hits close to home in so many ways and has spoken to me over the years. This year while watching, a dialogue in the movie stood out to me that I never caught before. George is talking to his Father about finally getting out of Bedford Falls, the small town that he simply can’t seem to escape. His Father asks George if he’d consider taking over the small family owned building and loan business. Below is the dialogue between George and his Father after his Father asks the question.
GEORGE: “I couldn't face being cooped up for the rest of my life in a shabby little office. Oh, I'm sorry, Pop, I didn't mean that, but this business of nickels and dimes and spending all your life trying to figure out how to save 3 cents on a length of pipe ... I'd go crazy. I want to do something big and something important.”
PA BAILEY: “You know, George, I feel that in a small way, we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It's deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we're helping him get those things in our shabby little office.”
At times I’ve wondered if my “something big and something important” has passed me by. But Pa Bailey’s words hit home for me this year. That “in our small way we are doing something important.” I’m beginning to believe that our big and important is really the small and important things we are doing in our lives right now and that by consistently doing the small and important things, they become a wonderful life.
I recently traveled back to my home town of Palo Alto, the heart of the real Silicon Valley and I was reminded just how impressive the Bay Area is. Driving down 101 and the jungle of high rise commercial buildings adorned with household brand company names I wondered how it all got started and how did it take off and how long did it take and where is Silicon Valley headed? In Utah we are proud of our newly coined Silicon Slopes and the handful of commercial buildings altering the skyline. It’s exciting and thrilling to see local companies taking off, Omniture being the prefect example recently selling for billions of dollars after its meteoric rise from our very own Provo. This article offers a fun look into the future and I can’t help but wonder with excitement what our little valley will look like a decade from now. With the excitement also comes some concerns. I-15 is already noticeably more congested, the air quality / inversion seems worse than ever this year, fresh drinking water has always been a topic of conversation...with growth comes significant challenges and pressures on infrastructure and communities. As I drove through Silicon Valley I wondered what challenges they faced 30 years ago and how they handled them and what new challenges do they face today. Growth and change is exciting and it’ll be exciting to see how the local challenges that we face today will be addressed over the next 10 years. What issues are you most concerned with and do you see any solutions?
Thanks to all who came and took photos with Santa last week. We had a great time and got some great shots. We will definitely do it again next year. A big thank you to Bill Hammond. Bill is a perfect Santa and if you need a Santa for your own event please reach out to me. I’ll set you up with his contact info. Merry Christmas to all! With Love, Joe and Sam Willis
Thank you to all those who came and took photos with Santa last night. We are waiting for the photos to come back so in the mean time I’ll share this candid chat with Santa telling the story of when I sold him a home in Provo eleven years ago that was a dump! I will forever be greatful to Santa, eleven years ago he was one of my very first customers. We’re still great friends eleven years later.
Today we celebrated Ruth’s 4th birthday and if you know Ruthie you know she has a strange love for all things princess and all things creepy For her party she chose creepy it turned out to be one of the best birthday party experiences of all time.
Every kid started out terrified but by the end every kid had a blast and held most if not all of the animals.
Kim with Kim’s Cold Blooded Creatures was the one who came and presented. She was fantastic and really we could not have dreamt up a better experience for kids and adults alike. Kim was custom fit her presentation for age group. She clearly has a passion and love for these creatures and her pets were friendly and patient with the kids. The kids could hold and play with the pets as much as they wanted and Kim encouraged and seemed to find joy in introducing her pets to each kid. I’m NOT a reptile person but this was truly a fun and thrilling experience. We highly highly recommend Kim and her company. I included her card below in case the experience peaks your interest. I felt like her price was reasonable for the remarkable experience that it was. It cost $150 plus a travel fee if $25 for I think an hour session which included a brief presentation and then plenty of time holding and playing with the animals that she brought. She probably brought about 15 animals. Geckos, snakes, a tarantula, a scorpion, turtles...the kids loved it.
This weekend my wife, Heidi, and I took a tour of a remarkable re-education center in Salt Lake City called The Other Side Academy. Few experiences have inspired us more than seeing the work and hearing the stories of those involved.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Other Side Academy or TOSA, it is an academy that through an application process accepts repeat offenders who have been in and out of the prison system. Over the course of two years, the program changes these men and women from the outside in. The program teaches participants through discipline, education, accountability, and love how to change their lives and live a life of joy and productivity as honest, law-abiding members of society.
The program is experiencing tremendous success. Over 95% of the program’s graduates are living productive, successful lives and are staying out of prison. The program is intense. Students say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. But when they graduate they are changed people who have new hope and a new life.
The remarkable thing is that TOSA is not a government-run program. They do not rely on tax-payer money or donations to operate. TOSA, through their own student-run businesses, is a self-sustaining program. The Other Side Moving company ( https://theothersidemovers.com/)
and The Other Side Thrift Store (https://m.facebook.com/TOSAThriftBoutique) both run by the students, are able to pay for academy’s operations. Both the moving company and the boutique store have hundreds of five-star reviews. The moving company has quickly risen to the top as one of the premier, most trusted moving services in the state.
As my wife and I received the tour of the facilities, we met numerous academy students. Hearing their stories and feeling the spirit of change, hope, and love in that building, we were truly touched. If you’d like to learn more, visit their website:
There are many ways to help including spreading the word, using their moving services, donating to their thrift store, and being a mentor. Heidi and I look forward to partnering with TOSA and being more involved and hope you will join us.
This is a late post but we wanted to thank those who came to the office for our thanksgiving pumpkin pie event last month. Every year, the Tuesday before thanksgiving we give out huge pumpkin pies to those we keep in touch with for thanksgiving. It’s a way for us to express our gratitude and thanks to all of you who have supported us over the years. It’s one of our favorite client events because we get to see so many of you and visit for a few minutes and catch up. It was a special day for us and so much fun. If you missed it, don’t worry, plan on coming next year. Happy holidays everyone!
We got to take the Branches with us to see the Utah Jazz blow out the San Antonio Spurs. Complete destroytion. The Jazz set a franchise record for made 20 made threes. Go Jazz! This was Anna’s first time to a jazz game. A great night.
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