Family Movie Night – The theology of “Wanted”

I love free things.

We have one of those Redbox kiosks at our local Walmart and if you sign up online you can actually get a text message every monday for a free movie!  So that’s sort of been my cheap family tradition that the kids look forward to every Monday.  They usually get a kid’s movie and then I rent one for myself.

This time, the kids got this frog cartoon movie and I got a movie called:  Wantedwanted_film_poster

“Wanted” is about a guy stuck in his boring account manager job and finds out that his true calling is to be an assassin.   So, naturally, he begins his “training” by getting the snot beat out of him until he can answer the question, “Why are you here?” He finally gets it right and says, “Because I don’t know who I am.” and that’s when he really gets serious about his training.  He needed to come to a place where who he was or thought he was really didn’t matter, as much as who he was destined to be:  A kick-butt assassin like his daddy!

I was learning in Sunday School this week that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree that God forbade them to eat, they suddenly were self-aware.  They realized they were naked, not just externally, but internally as well.  They lost their innocence and became focused on themselves.  Since then, the pattern has never changed.  The more aware of ourselves we are, the more that it’s “all about us” and the more selfish we become; the more we fall short of what God destines us to be. Like the old hymn, we need to “turn our eyes upon Jesus” and get them off ourselves.

Like graduating from a boring account manager position and into the exciting life of an assassin, we will never realize our true calling until we can answer the question, “Why are you here?” with an answer that speaks less of what we want out of life and more so of what God wants.  When we give up our right to ourselves and decide to wholeheartedly become  a follower of Jesus Christ we realize our true potential.  Why?  Because Jesus is the originator and giver of life.

He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. – John 1:2-4

It’s foolish to think we can live a full life, without the Originator of Life.  It’s time to graduate.
CLICK HERE to watch a preview of “Wanted”….I’m featured on it towards the end!

White Elephant – my favorite hobby

My church RLG (Real Life Group) just had our annual White Elephant Gift Party and I was able to get rid of give away a beautiful food gift basket…filled with a wild assortment of things from my pantry that we never would eat.  The “lucky” recipient will have food for weeks:)

For those of you who don’t get out much – A White Elephant gift exchange is wrapping up stuff around the home and exchanging it with other people.  One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!  Here are some of the pictures of the gifts.  We also had a book exchange for the kids.

Notice the look of gratitude on each recipient’s face (click to see complete picture):

If you’re interested in looking into a RLG for yourself, check out my church’s website:  Hill Country Bible Church.  We have groups for all ages and throughout the week studying topics on finances, marriage, raising kids, etc. and you can also sharpen up those white elephant skills.

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Worst 5 things for a small business owner

I don’t have all 5 yet…but I do know one that will top the list:  Hard Drive Crash!
Yes, I’ve been dealing with that for the past week or so and I feel 3 months behind.  Literally, 3 months, since that’s the last time I backed up.  Usually I back up EVERY HOUR, but since I had been moving into my new home/home office, I turned that system off.  I was planning on backing up this week when suddenly it happened…


So, I’m making lemonade out of lemons: I just purchased a Macbook Pro and am spending all day restoring my 3 month old backup.  Having a new computer kind of lightens the “ouch-effect”  What’s up with hard drives these days?  You would think they would be more reliable.  That was my second hard drive in 12 months!

Here’s the rest of my top 5 worst events for a small business owner (off the top of my head):

5.  Hard drive crash – (Technology failure)

4.  Getting a bad review from a client

3.  Working with a client for weeks and never getting a sale

2.  Getting through a slow business cycle

1.  Not being able to recover from the first four events and having to work at McDonalds.

Don’t Mess with Texas? Unfortunately, Ike did.

We had a men’s retreat at church planned for this weekend and I was secretly hoping to go down to SE Texas instead to help with the Hurricane Ike mess. Lo and behold, God answered my prayers!

Apparently, the retreat center is going to use their facilities to house refugees from the hurricane, and so a couple of men are going down to the Houston area to provide some debris clean-up relief as part of a ministry team called Thirst No More.

I’ll be leaving Fri-Sun and Autumn and the kids had already planned on going up to Arlington, TX to visit with her family so it’s perfect timing. I’m assuming outdoor accommodations and a huge shortage of food and water as well. Basically, what I faced in Iraq without the heat…but replace the heat with water and you have Galveston.

If you have anything to donate for this trip it would be much appreciated by those who are going and those who are affected in SE Texas. You can drop off at my home at 125 Village Park Drive if you can donate or lend anything. Here’s a list of suggested items:

Gas containers

Gas containers filled with Gas! (no gas in that area is available)

Camping-type equipment (stovetop, lanterns, tents, mosquito nets,etc)

Light construction-type tools (sledge hammers, shovels, crowbars,etc)

Equipment (generators, pressure washer, chain saws,etc)

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Where to get gas in Georgetown Texas at 4am

These days you mention anything with the word “gas” and you can get all sorts of attention…so I’m cheating with this blog post to get some additional readership

If you searched for GAS PRICES, GAS STATIONS, GAS IS GOING UP, GAS IS GOING DOWN and/or GEORGETOWN, TEXAS I hope this blog comes up. Don’t worry, I will actually write something relevant:

My parents and my older sister, Jennie and her whole family, came down from Maryland to visit us a few weeks ago. It was nice, we stayed in a time share at San Antonio and then spent a few days in Georgetown, Texas. Well, since all things must come to an end, it was soon time for me to drive them back to Austin Bergstrom International Airport (just 40-50 minutes from Georgetown). I left at about 4-5 AM since it was an early flight and I needed to get gas. So I went down Williams Drive and thought I would hit the most convenient gas station I saw:

Wow, this looks like a very nice place. Lots of bright lights and existing vehicles tell me that this place is open! However, when I got here, for some reason the first pump would not accept my credit card. As a matter of fact, neither would the second pump I drove to. I tried a debit and a credit card and no luck. What was worse was that the pump started asking me all sorts of silly questions that took me forever to scroll through. WORD OF ADVICE: If you’re in a hurry, and you’re in a hot Texas summer, avoid gas stations that advertise the “TOUCHLESS CAR WASH” Why? It’s just another silly option that they offer and it can delay the whole gas filling process. What happened to the good ‘ole days when the only options you had was the type of gas you wanted. Now, they start trying to sell anything from soda, to oil additives to car washes at the pump!

Anyway, since I struck out at Valero with their non-credit card working pumps I hopped on down to the only other gas station that was open at this hour on Williams Drive:

Another nice looking gas station and gas here was actually a whole penny cheaper! Wow! So I saved about a quarter filling up here. Options were kept to a minimum (no brushless car wash system here) and the pumps actually worked!

So, the next time you come rolling into my part of town, go for the big name in gas: TEXACO. You’ll sweat less (by having less options to scroll through), pay less and be finished quicker!

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Happy 32nd Birthday to me!

Yep, today is my 32nd birthday and I’ve never had a chance to blog about a birthday so I thought I would give it a shot.  Thirty-two big ones on planet earth!  Woohoo!

My wife and kids are making me a cake and I think Joshua is more excited about it than I am.  Later tonight, I’m going to my bible study, called a Real Life Group, and hanging out with some friends of mine from church.  I also took a buyer to look at some homes earlier this morning.  Nothing too exciting, but I don’t really mind “low-key” celebrations.  Spending some time with family and friends and then doing what I love (real-estate) is a real blessing.  I’m thankful that God reminds me of that today.

If you really must get me a gift though, I’m looking for a pretty awesome landscaper who can design my backyard….know of any?

Green Builders in Georgetown Village – Their newest customer

Craftsman-style home by Green Builders in Georgetown Texas

A few weeks ago, I helped one of my favorite clients, Rod and Carol, purchase a home by Green Builders in my neighborhood Georgetown Village. This was very special for me because it now meant that I have sold every major builder that has been built in this neighborhood! That would include Perry Homes, Bowen Homes and Origin Homes; which are the current builders, and also some past builders like David Weekley, Lennar and Morrison. That seems like a lot of builders for a small neighborhood of around 500 homes like Georgetown Village, but as we move forward, it seems as though only Green Builders and Perry Homes will be doing the bulk of the building.

After I showed the home to Rod and Carol I jokingly told them that I liked the floorplan so much that if they didn’t buy it, I would! The funny thing is, soon after they closed on the home, a contract on this home (pictured above) fell through and it came back on the market. It was the same exact floorplan as the one I had sold to Rod and Carol! So after a few days of negotiation, I am now the future owner of a Green Builders home! The beauty of this is that it’s just 5 houses down on my same street…so no moving truck needed:)

My wife is pretty excited because we gain an extra bedroom and lots more space. It may not look very large, but it’s 2400 SF and has 4 bedrooms, a gameroom, a study and a large studio above the garage which adds an additional 400 SF.

This studio is the main reason we’re moving. I’ve been blessed to be able to work from home, but the downside is that it’s hard to focus and concentrate with 3 kids running around in the home! Now, I can bring clients to my office without having to do the “5 minute house clean-up”, I can better focus on my work, and I’ll be better able to STAY AWAY from work when I’m with the family. I mean, what good is it to work from home yet not gain any additional quality time with the family?

So, here’s to HIGHER quality family time and LOWER energy bills!

If you have an experience with Green Builders please share them with me on this post! This blog is boring without any outside feedback and what you have to contribute can help somebody else!

Check out my home video for the tour:

Another Lui to join the real estate market

I have a younger brother named “Edwin.” Yes, I know I’m “Edward” and he’s “Edwin.” Ha ha ha.

Well he lives near Anaheim, California and is studying for his real estate license. I’m pretty excited that he’s doing that and I hope he is able to get enough business to transition out of his full-time work.

I entered into the real estate business by just jumping in with both feet. However, the other option is to gradually build up enough business to fully transition over like Edwin. Even though it was scary for me to do that and I didn’t make my first sale for a couple of months, I think the learning curve shot up very quickly for me. It was either “do or die.”

Well, maybe “die” is a little too dramatic.

More like, “do or flip burgers.”

Edwin: (If you’re reading this) BLOG, BLOG, BLOG – that’s my first tip. I wish I would have started blogging about Georgetown, Texas in my first year of real estate rather then waiting until year four. That’s the best way to expose yourself to a large audience quickly. If they like you, they’ll read you and you’ll probably like them. If they don’t like you, you probably don’t want them as clients anyway. Hey, it’s the truth!

On another note, this week I’ll be introducing a friend of mine on this blog, Maria, who also started her business by just jumping in with both feet. I think you’ll enjoy reading her story and writing style.

What about you? Are you a “jump in with both feet” type of person or do you think a slower transition would work better for you if you were to start a business? I’d love to hear your story!

Lui Family Diet – Too much pork, not enough tomatoes

Eating and cooking are my passions, so you’ll find that I will be blogging about that frequently…

We had a bunch of pulled pork leftovers and have been eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past week. Suffice it to say that we were starting to gag at the thought of having to eat another pulled pork sandwich. So, me being the innovative wife thought…surely others have encountered this problem and may have a solution for us, so I started surfing the net for ideas and that was when I came across the idea of pulled pork ice cream. The author assured his audience that he was not kidding and that it (pulled pork ice cream) was truly a delicious treat. I’ve tried some interesting recipes in my lifetime, but none so radical as this. I mean I had to do a double take to make sure I was reading this correctly…and that was when I realized…no, we are not that desperate yet…what’s another pulled pork sandwich?

On a completely different note..let’s talk about tomatoes. I’ve got 3 healthy, robust (at least I think they are) heirloom tomato plants in my garden and have been anticipating a good harvest. The plants have many blossoms on them, however, much to my shagrin, the blossoms aren’t turning into fruit. Does anyone out there have any idea why this is happening and what I need to do to correct this problem? Can tomatoes be grown in Georgetown, Texas?

There is no evidence of insect infestation, since I was told that I would see holes on my leaves were that the case. I don’t have squirrels in my yard since I don’t have any trees and there aren’t very many birds nearby either. For all I know, there could be tomato aliens visiting in the evenings and snapping off my blossoms so that they don’t have a chance to fruit. If I ever meet these tomato aliens, they better be scared. Have you had any success growing tomatoes in this area? What are some tips you can offer?

~ Autumn

Editor’s Note: Balancing the proper supply of pork and tomatoes in a family’s diet can be tricky business, but not as tricky as understanding supply and demand in real estate. If you need a competent real estate agent who can help you through the in’s and out’s of the Georgetown Texas Real Estate market, make sure you call your favorite HOMEboy. If you’re lucky, I might even make you a pulled pork sandwich.

The diet of a 2 year old – Chloe is at it again.

Warning: Do not read if you are eating something…

Okay, it’s almost bedtime at my house and I just finished feeding Sabrina, when all of a sudden Joshua comes running up to me and says: “Mommy, Chloe is eating my boogers”. My first thought is how on earth did she get Joshua’s boogers. So, I asked my son: “Joshua, how did Chloe get your booger?”

Joshua replies: “I gave it to her” (ok, that was a duh question…as I realized after asking it..of course he gave it to her)

I look over as Chloe comes running out after Joshua with something resembling a booger on her index finger. As my eyes focused on her index finger to see that it really was a booger, I quickly said: “Chloe don’t eat it!!!”

Before the words even left my mouth, my very disobedient 2nd child stuffs the finger in her mouth and swallows. I am thoroughly disgusted and am searching in my mind for the correct way to handle this.

How would you handle something like this??

I looked at Joshua and said sternly to him: “do not give your sister anymore boogers, that’s disgusting!”

To which he replied, “but she likes to eat them”

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How do you teach your child that just because someone likes something, doesn’t mean it’s good for them? After several unsuccessful attempts at telling Joshua not to do that anymore, I’m beside myself now and revert to the good ‘ole trusty disciplinary tool of spanking threats. Joshua agreed not to give any more boogers to his sister and we talked about where boogers belong after they leave our noses (in a tissue, in case you didn’t know the answer).

That was probably not the best way of handling such a situation, but I really wasn’t prepared for it. Any recommendations on how to more appropriately handle that situation? I’m all ears.

Then Edward came home from his meeting and we had a good laugh. This is definitely a “tell-it-on-your-child’s-wedding-day” story. Hope you got a good laugh too. Life is never boring at the Lui household…that’s for sure.

Editor’s Note: Chloe may look like a cute little girl, but now you know what she is really capable of.  The same goes for house-hunting.  Don’t be fooled by how a house “looks” or how much of a “discount” a seller may give you.  Understand the true condition of the home you buy and investigate the values of homes that have sold in that neighborhood.  Need help getting there?  Call the cute little girl’s daddy.

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