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They Say It's Your Birthday!

by Rob Zwemmer

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: "We know we're getting old when the only thing we want for our birthday is not to be reminded of it."  ~ Unattributed  

THEY SAY IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY!  As you ponder possible New Year's resolutions this month, consider this new spin on birthdays. Imagine that today it’s your birthday (and if it is today, congratulations!). There’s a big party tonight, but you’re the one who made all the arrangements and sent the invitations. Your guests begin to arrive and when they walk in, they see a table already piled high with gifts – for them!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our birthdays were times for giving presents to other people who mean so much in our lives? Although gift-giving is associated with several holidays throughout the year, those days are usually meant for religious or spiritual observation, and presents have become an almost obligatory commercial aspect of an otherwise “holy” time.  If everyone GAVE presents on their birthdays, we’d have lots of days throughout the year with unexpected gifts! And each person would only have to shop for everyone else on one day a year! No more having to remember everyone’s “special day” – you make it special by simply remembering the day YOU were born!  This way, you could make your birthday truly wonderful by using it to make others feel special too.

In reciprocity, of course, the more friends you have, then the more unexpected gifts would come your way throughout the year! We could all use the day of our birth to say “Thank you!” to those who made our year so wonderful, and to express our hopes and wishes for the upcoming year. Even those curmudgeons who hate celebrating their birthdays may find some joy in this new concept!  Lewis Carroll planted the idea of “un-birthdays” in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” gleefully observing that there are 364 days throughout the year for un-birthdays! We could start a new movement, like the “Random Acts of Kindness” or “Pay It Forward” campaigns of recent times.  When your birthday rolls around, consider making your friends and family feel special. Then who knows when you’ll get an unexpected surprise from a friend celebrating their birthday! You just might start something! 

Restaurant Review: Lavender Bistro

by Rob Zwemmer

“Dine Under the Stars at Lavender Bistro.”

Romantic Lavender Bistro, tucked away at an intimate location in La Quinta. Lavender’s has been a longtime valley favorite of locals and visitors alike. Winner of the Diner’s Choice award by OpenTable.com, their fabulous dishes are created with the freshest and finest ingredients. Choice meats and seafood, specially selected vegetables, breads and pastries are all prepared fresh each day. The presentation of each dish is a sheer delight with attention given to every detail. Dine al fresco on the patio or in the intimate dining room, and enjoy their House-Smoked King Salmon or Steak Tartare. Crispy Coastal Calamari is a signature favorite... and let's not forget the Maryland Blue Crab Cakes! The bar features a full menu of delights, and hand-crafted cocktails made to your specifications. Come for the atmosphere and savor the flavors!

78-073 Calle Barcelona
La Quinta, CA 
Reservations: (760) 564-5353

Taking Stock in Your Life

by Rob Zwemmer

Taking Stock in Your Life

 

When you woke up this morning feeling great, in good health with peace of mind…you are more fortunate than millions of people throughout the world who will not live out the week.

If you attend the church of your choice without fear of harassment, torture, arrest or death, then you are more blessed than almost 3 billion people who populate the world.

If you have never experienced the solitude of imprisonment, the danger and anguish of battle, the misery of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people in the world.

If you have clothes on your back, a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, and a warm and dry place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the people all over the world.

If you have money in your wallet, savings in the bank, and spare change lying around your home, you are among the top 8% of the wealthiest in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you have a very rare exception, especially in the United States.

If you hold your head high with a smile, and feel truly thankful for everything you have in life, you are among the rare because the majority can, but choose not to. 

If you can hold someone's hand, give them a hug, or touch them on the shoulder, you are a special individual because you can offer outreach, compassion, caring and understanding.

If you can read this message, you are luckier than the over two billion people all around the world that can’t read anything at all.

You are so lucky in so many ways without even realizing it.

 

Have a Merry Merry Christmas

Rob Zwemmer

Olive Crest: Hardened Teen Lets Love In

by Olive Crest

 

At 17, Raul was already living in his thirteenth foster home and things were not going well. He banged on walls, threw objects, and cursed at his caregiver, Tim. Then Raul, in an impulsive fit of anger, vandalized Tim's boat with spray paint. Having reached his limit, Tim gave seven days' notice to have Raul removed from his home. That's when Olive Crest was called to help.

After six months of hard work, Raul made a dramatic turnaround. He now respectfully communicates with others, instead of exploding in anger. He lost 40 pounds, gaining new energy and appreciation for life. But he hasn't stopped there. Showing self-confidence not seen before, Raul enrolled in college to pursue a degree. Now 18, Raul has moved into an independent living facility for youth transitioning out of foster care. Tim and the Olive Crest team have continued their support and celebrated Raul's birthday by singing to him. With a bashful smile, Raul expressed embarrassment to have all that attention.

He did his best to hold back tears, took a deep breath, and realized for the first time in his life he was finally accepted and loved.

Inspiration for Today -- Small World!

by Rob Zwemmer

 

 
Today's true story is all the inspiration you will need! 
 
Small World!
 
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry to reopen a church in urban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
 
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and on Dec. 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm - hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church.
 
His heart sunk when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 6 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
 
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in.
 
One of the items was a beautiful, hand-made, ivory colored, crochet table cloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
 
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers etc. to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
 
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "Where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
 
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.
 
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home - that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
 
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to the one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike?
 
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a concentration camp. He never saw his wife or his home again for all the 35 years in between.
 
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door, and saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine. 
 
A true story

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:  Today's true story is all the inspiration you will need! 

Small World! The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry to reopen a church in urban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve. They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and on Dec. 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On Dec 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm - hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sunk when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 6 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, hand-made, ivory colored, crochet table cloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church. 

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers etc. to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor," she asked, "Where did you get that tablecloth?" The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria. The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home - that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job. What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve.

The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to the one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a concentration camp. He never saw his wife or his home again for all the 35 years in between. The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door, and saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.  

A true story!

Mortgage Loan Changes for 2014

by Rob Zwemmer

Important Mortgage Update for 2014

The latest updates you need know that are taking effect the first of the year.

*Maximum income to debt ratio is being reduced to 43% 

*FHA maximum loan limit being reduced from $500,000 in Riverside County to $355,350 

*4-year seasoning on Short Sales - Conforming Loans 

*Interest Only Payment Options going away on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans

*Bank of America will keep their Interest Only Product 

*Qualifying on Jumbo Adjustable loans (ARMs) will be increased from the note rate to a fully amortized rate, which could be up to 7 or 8%

Zwemmer & Associates will report additional information as it becomes available.

Rob Zwemmer Receives Prestigious Award from Olive Crest

by Rob Zwemmer

 

Rob Zwemmer Recognized with Prestigious 
Child Advocacy Award from Olive Crest
La Quinta, CA-December 16, 2013- Rob Zwemmer of La Quinta-based Real Estate group, Zwemmer and Associates/Keller Williams Luxury Homes International received the prestigious Brinton Child Advocacy Award from Olive Crest for his dedication, personal commitment and support as a board member of the organization. The award, named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. James Brinton, founders of the Coachella Valley Region of Olive Crest, was presented to Zwemmer at the annual “Safe Home for the Holidays” fundraising gala at Rancho Las Palmas 
in Rancho Mirage on Saturday, December 7. 
Olive Crest provides outreach, transforming the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children and their families. The organization works to meet the individual needs of children in crisis by providing safe homes, counseling and education for both youth and their parents. Zwemmer and his team provide support throughout the year by underwriting all costs for an annual Disneyland trip, raising funds and gifts for the “Be the Miracle” toy drive at holiday time, and participating in various events and fundraisers that benefit Olive Crest programs.
“It is such an honor to receive this recognition, which belongs to every member of my team,” said Zwemmer. “Olive Crest is an organization near and dear to my heart. The greatest reward is the smiles on the faces of these children. Through the dedication of the people and programs of Olive Crest, they ultimately find strength to overcome adversity and challenge; finding the way to personal growth while obtaining the courage to follow their dreams. We look forward to the coming year as we plan to further our commitment to these amazing children. I am very thankful to be able to provide outreach, support, and be a part of Olive Crest.”
###
About Zwemmer and Associates Inc. 
Zwemmer & Associates/Keller Williams Luxury Homes International is a full-service Real Estate company specializing in luxury properties throughout the Palm Springs area in California. Visit Zwemmer & Associates at:  www.desertonline.com.
PHOTO CAPTION:   Left-Right - Award Recipient Rob Zwemmer, Lorraine Brinton, Hillary Verleur, and Olive Crest CEO Donald Verleur

Rob Zwemmer Recognized with Prestigious Child Advocacy Award from Olive Crest

Rob Zwemmer of La Quinta-based Real Estate group, Zwemmer and Associates/Keller Williams Luxury Homes International received the prestigious Brinton Child Advocacy Award from Olive Crest for his dedication, personal commitment and support as a board member of the organization. The award, named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. James Brinton, founders of the Coachella Valley Region of Olive Crest, was presented to Zwemmer at the annual “Safe Home for the Holidays” fundraising gala at Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage on Saturday, December 7. Olive Crest provides outreach, transforming the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children and their families. The organization works to meet the individual needs of children in crisis by providing safe homes, counseling and education for both youth and their parents.

Zwemmer and his team provide support throughout the year by underwriting all costs for an annual Disneyland trip, raising funds and gifts for the “Be the Miracle” toy drive at holiday time, and participating in various events and fundraisers that benefit Olive Crest programs.

“It is such an honor to receive this recognition, which belongs to every member of my team,” said Zwemmer. “Olive Crest is an organization near and dear to my heart. The greatest reward is the smiles on the faces of these children. Through the dedication of the people and programs of Olive Crest, they ultimately find strength to overcome adversity and challenge; finding the way to personal growth while obtaining the courage to follow their dreams. We look forward to the coming year as we plan to further our commitment to these amazing children. I am very thankful to be able to provide outreach, support, and be a part of Olive Crest.”

 

Shown: Left-Right - Award Recipient Rob Zwemmer, Lorraine Brinton, Hillary Verleur, and Olive Crest CEO Donald Verleur

Olive Crest: Ruby - Tutoring Reaps Rewards

by Olive Crest

Turtoring Reaps Rewards.

Ruby was behind for her reading level, and it seemed she would have no choice but to repeat kindergarten. Luckily, Diane, an Olive Crest volunteer tutor, recognized that Ruby was not beyond help. After fierce determination and hard work, Ruby graduated with her class.

 

Find out how you can help the children & families of Olive Crest. Visit www.OliveCrest.org

Quick Tip: Keeping A Christmas Tree Fresh

by Rob Zwemmer

A great way to keep your Christmas tree looking fresh all season long!

 

Boil 1 gallon of water.

Stir in 1 cup of corn syrup and 1 tbsp of Clorox regular bleach.

Let cool slightly and apply it to the tree stand every other watering.

 

Keep it green & fresh! Happy Holidays!

Inspiration for Today - Spread the Table!

by Rob Zwemmer

 

"Too many of us are hung up on what we don't have, can't have, or won't ever have. We spend too much energy being down, when we could use that same energy - if not less of it - doing, or at least trying to do, some of the things we really want to do."
 
~ Terry McMillan (Cited in The Best of BITS & PIECES)
 
SPREAD THE TABLE!
 
Here we are in the midst of the holiday rush - buying gifts, attending parties, decorating, sending cards, and preparing for the feast of the season. We're doing all this for whom?
 
We tell ourselves it's for the ones we love. We want to make them happy, fill them with joy, and make their world bright. We want to make everything perfect for them at this special time of year.
 
In a way, that's like preparing the holiday feast for those who matter most to us, then eating it for them and commenting on how tasty it was. Truth is - we can't "make them" do anything, we can only spread the table before them.
 
Whether they choose to consume the feast, or be happy doing it, is their choice - not ours. We can give the presents, offer our own good holiday spirit, or bake the cookies, but we cannot "make" anything happen.
 
Epictetus once said, "Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. If you think that you have free rein over things that are naturally beyond your control, or if you attempt to adopt the affairs of others as your own, your pursuits will be thwarted and you will become a frustrated, anxious, and fault-finding person."
 
Why not take a little of the pressure off yourself this holiday season? Feel free to give whatever gifts, energy, creativity, or love you have to offer, but let go of the desire to control the outcome. The gifts that will make the most difference are those that arise from the heart with no expectation of reward. 
 
My wish for you is the joy and freedom that results from giving. Happy holidays and best wishes to you and yours!

 

"Too many of us are hung up on what we don't have, can't have, or won't ever have. We spend too much energy being down, when we could use that same energy - if not less of it - doing, or at least trying to do, some of the things we really want to do." ~ Terry McMillan (Cited in The Best of BITS & PIECES) 

SPREAD THE TABLE! Here we are in the midst of the holiday rush - buying gifts, attending parties, decorating, sending cards, and preparing for the feast of the season. We're doing all this for whom? We tell ourselves it's for the ones we love. We want to make them happy, fill them with joy, and make their world bright. We want to make everything perfect for them at this special time of year. In a way, that's like preparing the holiday feast for those who matter most to us, then eating it for them and commenting on how tasty it was. Truth is - we can't "make them" do anything, we can only spread the table before them. Whether they choose to consume the feast, or be happy doing it, is their choice - not ours. We can give the presents, offer our own good holiday spirit, or bake the cookies, but we cannot "make" anything happen. Epictetus once said, "Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. If you think that you have free rein over things that are naturally beyond your control, or if you attempt to adopt the affairs of others as your own, your pursuits will be thwarted and you will become a frustrated, anxious, and fault-finding person." Why not take a little of the pressure off yourself this holiday season? Feel free to give whatever gifts, energy, creativity, or love you have to offer, but let go of the desire to control the outcome. The gifts that will make the most difference are those that arise from the heart with no expectation of reward.  My wish for you is the joy and freedom that results from giving. Happy holidays and best wishes to you and yours!

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