117 E Elm Street
The Marine helicopter flew in from my left, high above the water of the bay but eye level with us. It gradually made a sweeping motion to my right, flying over the submarine repair dock, and continued on its patrol. Shannon and I were standing high on a ridge near her parent’s internment spot at Ft. Roscrans National Cemetery on Point Loma Peninsula next to San Diego, California. This was the first time we had been able to return since the internment ceremony two years ago. The cemetery is in a beautiful spot located approximately 10 miles west of downtown San Diego, overlooking San Diego Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
We had driven down to San Diego to visit the cemetery the morning before the Christian & Missionary Alliance General Council started in Long Beach. It was much more emotional than we thought it would be. Part of the reason was the location which lends itself to solemnity, especially when one sees all the graves of those who have given service to our country. Visiting any national cemetery here or in a foreign land is always sobering for us. The memory of Shannon’s mother and father being interred together here especially impacted us. The internment ceremony was also was the last time our son Andrew was with all his cousins, uncles, and aunts on Shannon’s side. We all had a great time together two years ago and the memories brought forth some pain and tears.
This past year has been a real challenge for us in many ways and on different levels. Any of you who have lost loved ones understand what I am saying. We learned (very gratefully) through a GriefShare class that grief is hard to predict, control, or understand. It takes years to process, everyone is different, and there is no shame in experiencing it. So Shannon and I were not embarrassed to just stand there and cry over our losses. After an episode like that, we give it all back to God, thanking Him that our goddaughter Kelly, Shannon’s parents, and our son Andrew are all healed, safe, productive, and very happy in heaven!
One major change after the year of grief adjustment is our purchase of a building in downtown Bluffton, Ohio. For many years we have been looking for the right opportunity to expand in this manner. I would not have picked this time to do so but through a series of meetings with the owner of the building we realized that this was a real big open door. So I took our own advice and started the conversation with several advisors. After all was said and done, we purchased the building and we plan to have an office there sometime late summer. The building is large and we already have one tenant, the former owner’s business (for which we are very thankful). There remains a lot of room for another business tenant. Life bring changes and challenges to all of us. None of us stay the same year after year, nor do our situations with family, church, or business. We regularly communicate to people on our mailing list to expect change and not to fear it or deny it. It is usually a time to start a conversation with us. We make a habit of listening carefully to those who come to see us. Our expertise lies in finding ways to help folks understand their own situation, to the point of them understanding what their next step should be. One of the major themes in all our advertisements and communications is “Start the Conversation!” We encourage you to do just that, sooner rather than later.
After years of prayer, deliberation, assessing needs, research, and networking, we have made the decision to open an office at 122 N. Main Street, Bluffton, OH. Many of you who have been a client, friend, or follower for awhile know that we began our business in our home in 2003. We have always had a dedicated office there, first in a remodeled basement and then in a separate office on the back of the house. We’ve had space dedicated to meeting with clients, handling files and paperwork, and completing other staff functions. The benefits of working from home are tangible and we enjoy the flexibility and convenience. Of course, the downsides have been low visibility and loss of personal space.
Because of our commitment to “only work with those who want to work with us”, we have not been overly concerned about low visibility — God seems to regularly bring to us those folks we can serve well and with whom we can build a relationship . As our staff has grown, the loss of personal space has been and continues to be an ongoing challenge. As we hope to bring an associate into our firm in the upcoming years, moving to an outside office will give us the space and flexibility we need to grow.
We are just beginning to renovate the space and are hoping to open this office in the fall. We will have limited hours in the Main Street office and will continue to do much of the ‘behind the scenes’ work from our home office. We will keep everyone posted in the coming weeks about possible changes in contact information, mailing address, and so forth. We do not expect client service to be interrupted at all — and if anything, it will be enhanced as we grow. Watch for more details to follow… We are grateful to God for this expansion. To God be the glory!!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes Chapter 3
We have had the opportunity to meet many new folks in recent months.
GREAT HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION
Gary & Shannon Reese and Kathi Dunlap went to GHC in Cincinnati in April. Gary and Kathi gave two workshops to attendees there on Financial Literacy from a Christian Worldview and we had good conversations with a number of people. When people attend an educational event (for homeschooling or any other area pertinent to their growth as individuals or families), they seem to be open and responsive to change. We had good conversations about Biblically Responsible Investing and Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps.
CHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY ALLIANCE GENERAL COUNCIL
Gary & Shannon Reese went to CMA General Council in California in May. Faith Investment Services had a booth there and it was our mission to be available to pray with and be an encouragement to folks from around the world! This was a powerful Council and we had the privilege to reconnect with friends and acquaintances, as well as meet new folks. We are looking forward to Columbus 2017!
Gary is an Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) for Dave Ramsey in the northwest Ohio area. We have begun conversations with a number of folks who have reached out to us via the Dave Ramsey website. We are equipped to help people understand and follow Dave’s financial principles as well as guide them in their long-term investing plans. If we can be of help to you in that area, don’t hesitate to contact us.
SOCIAL SECURITY PRO
We have subscribed to a cutting-edge Social Security software that examines all of the various possibilities for filing for Social Security, as well as the optimum time to do so. You do not have to file for Social Security blindly — let us help you make an optimum selection!
“WILL I BE OK?”
We recently met with Sheryl Brown from Ash Brokerage (a company that serves as our back office for insurance products.) She shared a story about a fellow financial adviser who had a client who was killed as a result of 9/11. When the adviser sat across from the client’s widow a short time later, the widow asked one simple question: “Will I be ok?”
I can’t tell you how sobering that question is and how the thought has lingered in my mind. Although it is not a daily occurrence for me, nor did I experience 9/11 in that firsthand way, I frequently sit with widows and attempt to answer that same question. Sometimes they are my clients; sometimes I am meeting them for the first time after the death of their spouse. I want them to be “ok”, financially and emotionally/spiritually and so forth.
It is SO much easier to help them when good planning has happened before the death of their spouse. Life insurance is inexpensive and there is really no excuse for procrastinating about it or not finding a plan that fits your needs and budget.
Call me at 419-358-4207 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation. My firm is not built on life insurance sales(!) but your family’s future could be. Please think about it, face your objections, and contact our office. :-)