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WV Vacation House

This summer my very large family descended on a huge rental house near Davis, WV. Davis is extremely rural. And a beautiful country setting. We stayed in a ski lodge that had two full kitchens and enough bedrooms and bathrooms to be confused with a hotel. My family filled it to the brim.

We spent a fantastic weekend looking at old pictures, playing games, hiking, swimming, eating and sitting around talking. The picturesque setting was perfect and the house was large enough to get some space when needed.

Our stay happened to coincide with my birthday. My wife had secretly contacted many of my friends, family and people I’ve done business with. She asked them each to write a note to me. She then compiled these notecards into a photo album. When she surprised me with this book, I read through it several times, grateful and overwhelmed that people took the time to share. I was blessed to know how I had impact in all those lives. What a gift! We don’t always verbalize how much we care for others and what they mean to us.

I treasure feedback like that. Of course, it’s a lot easier to appreciate positive feedback. But even negative information can be a gift if you use it to improve. If someone doesn’t tell you that you say “um” too much when you speak, you’ll go on in that bad habit and never have the opportunity to work on your ability to communicate more effectively. It might sting in the moment when someone points out a flaw. However, those are often the most valuable bits of feedback we get.

I can’t thank you enough for giving me feedback after my last blogpost. The words of affirmation AND the specifics to improve upon are all welcomed. I have a long list that I am beginning to work on immediately. (Including and especially, more stories.)

Most of my brothers and sisters made it to our massive vacation house. Many of us now have kids of our own. The kids had a blast playing with their cousins, exploring all the nooks and crannies of “the big house.” They also enjoyed the indoor pool and game room! My parents were there and some of their siblings and some of their siblings’ children. So I had cousins and aunts and uncles around me in addition to parents, siblings, nephews and nieces. It was a big three day reunion. I love my family. We had a great time.

In spite of all the love, I needed some alone time. As an introvert, I definitely need my quiet time to recharge. Fortunately, I found some amazing spots with oversized furniture tucked into alcoves with gorgeous views of the valley. I made time for reading, writing, thinking and enjoying my birthday book.

One guilty pleasure I picked up on the vacation, was a new TV show called Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna Gaines are a blast. I like the contrarian approach to shopping for a house. Instead of looking for the best house on the block for their client to move into, in true Millionaire Next Door fashion, the Gaines find the worst, crappiest house in a nice neighborhood. Then they transform that house into a magazine cover-worthy home, customized perfectly for each client. I love those kind of shows. The transformations are fun to see. The first season is now on Netflix…just in case you want to check it out.

Sunday we made the 3 ½ hour drive back home through the scenic mountains and back to our cozy house in rural Pennsylvania. There’s no place like home!

Action: Tell someone how they’ve impacted your life. A quick note might be just what they need today.


  1. I was ridiculously excited to read this post Honey. A nice summer memory this fall morning to read. Our times at the “Big House” are always something to smile about and it makes me so happy that the birthday gift of words from others continues to encourage you. And, I too am enjoying the Fixer Upper shows but don’t have the guts to do one. Big smile!!

  2. Terrific post, Nathan. Everything you wrote is the essence and reflection of everything you are. The Sages of the Talmud asked, “Who is Rich?” and answered, “That person who rejoices in their lot.” The appreciation and gratitude you have for everyone in your life; your friends, your Family, your amazing wife and kids is also reflected in the kindness you show others. You are truly a rich man, my friend and brother! And, we all love you!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to share this Nathan. The world’s a much better and brighter place because of you.

    – Josh :-)

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