H-Town or Houston, Texas is my birthplace and I love this city. On the other hand, sometimes Houston is misunderstood by outsiders. Moreover, they think of it as southern redneck city. A place where racism exists just because it was once part of the confederacy. I can assure you that these are myths and falsehoods. Houston is likely the country’s most diverse and unique city. Are you ready to learn about H-Town?
First, in H-Town aka Houston there are over one hundred and forty-five languages spoken in the city. The only two cities with more languages spoken are New York City and Los Angeles. Due to the amount of languages spoken in H-Town we have a very diverse culture. Hence there are over thirteen major religions represented here including Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The best part is that all of these religions truly coexist in peace with each other in this great city.
In addition, Houston it truly an international city with more consulates than in other city except Washington DC and New York City. Total consulates or foreign countries represented officially in H-Town is currently stands at ninety-two.
And with all of our international flair comes with it the great cuisines of the world. If you have a favorite dish or type of food it is more than likely you can get it in H-Town. Houston is represented with over ten thousand restaurants and over seventy countries and ethnic cuisines in addition to all the American regional food-types. Moreover, Houstonians take advantage of this culinary heaven and eat out more times per week than any city in the country.
Like sports we have those too including professional football, basketball, and the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros. Rumor also has it that Houston should be getting a NHL Hockey franchise soon. Mix that in with lots of local college sports that include the University of Houston Cougars and the Rice Owls. Houston is also home to the world’s first domed stadium, the Astrodome. A little know fact about our diversity is that more professional athletes from other teams live in Houston than any other city. That dispels the racism myth.
Some things do follow the stereotype though in a good way. H-Town does have the Houston Rodeo & Livestock Show, which is the largest rodeo in the world. It is great organization that is run all by 31,000 volunteers. In addition, this past year they gave away over $26,000,000 in scholarship money to over 750 students.
When it comes to commerce H-Town has it all. Houston is home to the world’s largest medical center, the Texas Medical Center. Houston is also the energy capital of the world with the headquarters for many of the world’s largest energy companies located here. The Port of Houston receives more foreign tonnage than any port in the nation. It is also the second largest port in the nation when combining foreign and domestic tonnage.
Culture – we’ve got that too! Houston has over one hundred fifty museums and cultural centers. The “Museum District” area of Houston is home to nineteen differetn museums itself. Houston is also second in the nation in theater seats with only New York City having more. Furthermore, Houston has its’ own ballet, orchestra, and opera.
Don’t be fooled by the myths and stereotypes – Houston has something for everyone!
Cary Michael Cox
The Sting is a movie classic that was made in 1973 starring famous movie actors Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The movie was hugely successful and was nominated for several academy awards. It is based on the concept of pulling one over on someone while they think they are the ones in control. It likens itself along the lines of what magic is based upon. That is misdirection. The audience is misdirected by a distraction so that the magician can pull off the impossible magic trick.
We may be witnessing today the greatest sting even in the history of politics. And the person that is pulling the strings is President Donald J Trump. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking you have to be crazy. Well maybe I am, but hear me out on this one. Let’s examine history and more recently political history.
Donald J Trump his entire life has always been one step ahead of his competition. In many instances he is many steps ahead. Moreover, he is like a chess-master. He sees and makes moves on the board way in advance before anyone else sees them. And every time people wonder how did he do that or know to do that?
Donald J Trump laid it all out in his Best-Selling Book, “The Art of The Deal”. There is no doubt he knows how to play the game. He has an uncanny ability to read people and asses their strengths and weaknesses very quickly. He follows the old mafia adage, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
He ran a modified version of the sting in his campaign for president. He had an entire field of seasoned politicians all looking one way while he went the other way to victory,
Now we come to the “Russia Story” and it appears to me it will be the greatest sting in political history. While everyone is looking one way or is being misdirected to look at Russia as a problem for Trump, he is going to blow it wide open for the real culprits. That would be Hillary, Obama, Holder, Jarrett, and the entire Deep State.
The real story is starting to come out. Slowly, but it is a steady-stream that is growing daily. But that is how a sting works. You don’t see it coming until it’s too late.
Cary Michael Cox
The VA Loan – other than healthcare is the best benefit that we provide our veterans that served our county. Moreover, many of these men and women have served on the battlefield or in combat operations to protect our liberty and freedom. The VA Loan is one entitlement that in my opinion has truly been earned.
The VA Loan is a great mortgage product. It allows the veteran to take out a mortgage with no down-payment up to an amount of $424,100. In addition, there is a little-know Jumbo VA Mortgage that requires the veteran to only have a down-payment equal to 25% of each dollar over the first $424,100 that required nothing from the veteran.
This loan also comes without mortgage insurance. On the other hand, it does have a small-funding fee that can be included in the veteran’s loan amount. Should the veteran have a disability all or a portion of that funding fee may be waived by the Veterans Administration. Furthermore, many counties either reduce or waive property taxes for veterans with disabilities. This reduction or elimination makes it even more favorable for the veteran to become a homeowner.
So why with all of these great features do only about ten-percent of veterans ever use their VA Loan benefit? In fact, my own father didn’t use his until he purchased his last home. There are several reasons and they are all myths that need to be dispelled.
The first one is that VA Loan appraisals are difficult and may not make value. This statement is rampant in the realtor community and totally not true. Actually the appraisals on these loans come out with favorable values. The Veterans Administration want to see veterans take advantage of their benefit and become homeowners.
Next is the myth that VA Mortgage rates are higher. That too is just not true. VA mortgage rates are consistently the lowest of any loan product. In addition many realtors and veterans think that VA Loan have mortgage insurance like FHA loans. We have already dispelled that myth above.
The fact remains, veterans can use a VA Loan and have zero down-payment, no mortgage insurance, and the lowest rates in the market.
If you know a veteran encourage them when buying a home to use this benefit that they earned!
Cary Michael Cox
Thanksgiving is for giving thanks and offer prayer for what you have. Regardless of your denomination or religious viewpoint. Everyone has something for which to be thankful. That is why it is one of my favorite holidays throughout the year. It is a day that each and every one of us can celebrate with friends and family. The fact that we also get our only four-day weekend of the work year doesn’t hurt either.
It is a time to feast on the bountiful harvest. Moreover, it is a time to be thankful with an act of prayer to God. I came across this prayer many years ago and I love sharing it. Furthermore, it is not only a great prayer for Thanksgiving, but for any day of the year.
During this time of Thanksgiving I want you to know how thankful I am that you have been a part of my success at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation – The Kelso Group . Without your help, business, and referrals I would not be where I am today.
Though we face tough times as a nation, we should all be thankful to be living in a country where we enjoy the freedom and have the opportunity to make not only our nation better, but also our individual lives.
Sometimes you may not know where to start in giving thanks for all that we have. I would like to share a very simple prayer that helps me remember for whom to give thanks and ask for God’s guidance.
THE FIVE-FINGER PRAYER
For All of the World’s Religions & Denominations
1. Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. For us to pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”
The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance
4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact, that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.
5. And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all, which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
May You Have a Safe, Happy, & Blessed Thanksgiving & Holiday Season!
Cary Michael Cox
Safety Tips should be followed all year around, but particularly during the long-holiday period at the end of the year. During these times of joy and goodwill towards man, many bad-guys are ready to take advantage of people “dropping their guard”. The majority are using this tie of year and holiday spirit to see the best in mankind. On the other hand, an evil few will try and take advantage of those celebrating good tidings to their fellow man.
During my decades of training through other martial arts and years of Krav Maga I’ve learned how to practice self-awareness of my environment. In addition, to attending many seminars & training’s from law enforcement including the Secret Service, FBI, State Police, and Local Law Enforcement. I’d like to share these safety tips here with you now. Moreover, I hope you learn from these safety tips and they help you stay vigilant during the holiday season.
Holiday Safety Tips:
- When walking through parking lots try to not to walk between cars, but rather down the middle of the lanes for cars unless there is a car using it. By taking this action you will have more time to react to someone that may be hiding behind a car.
- Never park next to a van – many times they are used by bad-guys to abduct people as they get out of their car – they just slide the side door open grab you and go.
- When going to and from your car stay off your cell phone. You are making yourself an easy target by this distraction and being unaware of your environment.
- When returning to your vehicle only unlock the driver side-door and look into the rear windows to see if anyone is in your backseat. Then enter the car as fast as possible and lock the door.
- Take advantage at the grocery service of having someone help you with getting your groceries to your car. There is strength in numbers. Your safety is worth the price of the tip for the person that helped you.
- Have an app installed on your phone like Life 360 in order for family members to track where you are located. This app also track in real-time your driving or walking track.
- Use ATM machines that are located inside of stores. Even if you have to pay a fee that is a small price to pay for the enhanced safety.
- Whether in parking lot, a mall, or walking down the street always look at those approaching you in the eye. Attackers by nature are really cowards and are looking for the easy target, the distracted person, not the self-aware person.
- In heavy traffic be in the lane next to the sidewalk or shoulder – it provides an escape route that you won’t have in the other lanes.
- Don’t open your wallet or purse to give anyone change – bad guys use that as a way to snatch it.
- Shop at stores where you can pull right up to them or they have surface parking – your chance of being attacked goes up significantly in a closed parking garage.
- Shop on-line as much as possible – shopping at home is much safer than shopping at a mall.
- Avoid late-night or super early “Black Friday” sales your safety and life is worth more than saving a few dollars.
- Shop with friends – it’s more fun and there is strength in numbers.
- After you have purchased gifts, especially large ones like TVs don’t take a direct route home. Make some clear turns in different direction to see if anyone is following you. Many criminals wait in the parking lot of places like appliance stores and follow people home that have walked out with a TV or computer.
Obviously the most important of all safety tips is to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be an easy target.
Cary Michael Cox
The turnaround in all three major sports for the Texas Longhorns has been a long-time coming. Moreover, it should have never take this long with the facilities and resources available at The University of Texas. The Longhorns appear to have the right coaches in place to get all three programs back on a winning track. Let’s look at each one football, basketball, and baseball individually.
After three disastrous years under Charlie Strong, Texas hired the hottest-young coach in college football, Tom Herman. Coach Herman, has not only had to turnaround the football program, but turnaround the mindset of the football team at The University of Texas. He has had to change the mindset of it being ok to lose a game to it never being ok not win every game played.
In his first year as Head Coach he has changed the team’s mindset. Even in defeat they played hard and never gave up in a game. That is a huge difference from the previous few years, where at the first sign of adversity they folded like a cheap suit. That change is the result of many things. Strength Coach Yancy McKnight has a huge influence. He has increased the overall strength of the team and they again are built like football players. He also increased the endurance of the team, no longer are they gassed in the fourth quarter. Now it’s the other team that is gassed, while Texas delivering blows till the end of the game.
The players also have bought into Coach Tom Herman’s philosophy, style, and program. When you have everyone rowing the same way it makes a huge difference on and off the field.
Even though Texas had one of the most difficult strength of schedules, and totally decimate offensive line they are now bowl eligible. They lost to three Top 10 teams by a combined 11 points with two of the losses in overtime.
Now with a mindset of winning and a Top 5 recruiting class, Tom Herman has the Longhorns on the right track to a turnaround to winning and winning big. Winning out on Thanksgiving Day against Texas Tech and then a bowl-game victory would on solidify the turnaround.
The Texas basketball program had grown stale under previous coach Rick Barnes. Thus, Shaka Smart was brought in to rejuvenate and turnaround the basketball program. Year one looked promising under the new coach. Unfortunately year two he had some players leave early for the draft and it was a disaster.
To Coach Smart’s credit he had the number six ranked recruiting class in 2017 with four four-star players and one five-star player in the 7’0″ Mo Bamba. One of the four-star players was exactly what the doctor ordered in 6’1″ point guard Matt Coleman. Many of Texas’s problems in year two stemmed from the lack of a true point guard on the team.
Thus far Coach Smart has the number eleven ranked class for 2018 and is still in the running for other four and five star players. Most importantly just three games into the season Texas is dominating and playing championship level defense.
This could be the year that Texas makes a deep-run into March Madness and beyond.
It seems even when Texas had down years in other sports you could always count on the baseball team to do well. Even though Coach Augie Garrido had led the Longhorns to a National Championship in 2005 the team had been on a slow-steady decline. It was time for a change.
Texas hired David Pierce who had successfully had a turnaround at both Sam Houston State University and Tulane University. In just his first year he improved the win column by 14 and finished with a respectable 39-24 record. Thus earning a trip to the playoffs in year one of his tenure. He did it with basically the same team that the year before finished only 25-32.
More importantly the turnaround has also been in recruiting. In this area Coach Pierce has been lights out. Seeminly almost weekly he’s signing a top-ranked player to play for him at The University of Texas. He’s also signing these players not just for next year but following years as well.
This upcoming season with a solid core of returning pitchers along with key infielders Texas should advance or possibly host a Super-Regional. Once Coach Pierce gets a third year of his recruits Texas will be poised for a return to Omaha.
Finally Longhorn fans, the turnaround in each major sport is happening and the future looks bright.
Cary Michael Cox
Respect, Listen, and Stay Balanced that is the “modus operandi” for Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. These three actions are important individually. Moreover, they are even more important when the sum of all three are used together when engaged with a client, a co-worker, or handling a difficult situation. Respect, listen, and stay balanced is the magic formula at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation for taking care of both people and challenges that may arise in the course of business.
Respect, it is the essential ingredient for having and nurturing a great relationship. Great relationships are what Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation seeks with its’ clients, employees, and coworkers. This first part of our core value it is easy to see it’s value.
Listen, as the old saying tells us, there is a reason God gave us to ears and only one mouth. He was stressing the importance of being a good listener. We make sure that we listen in detail to our clients needs in order to deliver them the best option for their mortgage needs. Being a good listener again the value is self-evident as to why it is part of Core Value Number Seven.
On the other hand, what does “Stay Balanced” mean exactly, and how does it fit into this core value at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation? It means to stay calm and keep a cool head during difficult situations. By staying balanced and not having knee-jerk reactions you will make better decisions when facing adversity.
I mentioned earlier the importance of the using each of these items together when handling challenges. I’d like to demonstrate this importance to a real-life scenario that happened at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation where we used Core Value Number Seven – Respect, Listen, and Stay Balanced
When hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose hit Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation had hundreds of millions of dollars of loans on properties in the affected areas. Before an assessment of the property damage was initiated Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation had respect for their employees and people that were affected by the storms.
They listened to their needs and responded to making sure they were taken care of first and foremost. The loans and potential problems and losses could wait.
The Executive Team stayed balanced taking care of their most important assets first – their employees and clients affected by the hurricanes before moving on to accounting for any damage properties for which they held the mortgage.
Even in handling the assessment of the damaged properties the Executive Team stayed balanced and came up with a plan to make sure all properties with mortgages they held were quickly accounted for in order to focus efforts on only those that had been damaged.
Thus, there is a real-life example when facing the adversity of dealing not with only one but, three natural disasters the importance of Core Value Number Seven – Respect, Listen and Stay Balanced.
Cary Michael Cox
Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros is living proof that big things do come in small packages. He stands only 5’6″ but plays like a giant on the baseball diamond. He has been a mainstay on the Houston Astros for seven years now. He and one of Houston’s other Al-Star players Carlos Correa form the best Double-Play combo in all of Major League Baseball.
It’s been a magical year for both Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros. The Astros won three consecutive elimination games against the most-storied programs in baseball history. They beat the Boston Red Sox in Game Three to win the Division Championship. Then they beat the New York Yankees in Game Seven to win the League Series Championship. Finally, they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road in Game Seven to win the World Series. It was the Houston Astros first ever championship.
Jose Altuve from day one of Spring Training to the final out on that early November night in Los Angeles was a huge part of the Houston Astros success in becoming World Series Champions. He said, “When I got to that first Spring Training day, it felt different, I knew this was going to be our year to win the World Series.”
He did his part to make sure those words came true. He had league leading .346 batting average. He stole 32 bases. He had 24 home runs and 81 runs batted in, along with 204 hits. Moreover, he stayed on fire during the playoffs. In those seventeen games he hit for a .310 batting average and that was against the best pitchers n baseball. He also had 7 home runs, 14 runs batted in, 2 stolen bases, and scored 14 runs.
Jose Altuve was justly rewarded yesterday, by winning in a landslide victory, being named the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player!
Yes the shortest man in baseball, who came from Venezuela, and was cut from his first major league tryout – the man that put the City of Houston, ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, on his back and carried them to a World Series Championship. He has earned what the fans kept chanting during the playoffs – MVP! MVP!
Congratulations Jose Altuve! You have forever endured yourself with the heart of Houston.
Cary Michael Cox
The 21 Foot Rule is something that we have studied extensively in Krav-Maga. This rule says that if an attacker with an edged weapon is within twenty-one feet of you, that you will not have time to draw your firearm before they can stab you. We have simulated this thousands of times when training in Krav-Maga. Every instance that we have an attacker within 21 feet or less of the person with a holstered weapon – the attacker can reach and stab the person before they can draw their firearm and get it on target.
On the other hand, it seems that those with a concealed-handgun license have never heard of it, much less studied it. And that my friends is a very dangerous situation. Moreover, the lack of understanding the 21 Foot Rule can create a false-sense of security for those with a concealed-handgun license when facing an attacker with an edged weapon. Particularly when the attacker with the edged weapon, typically a knife, or machete is within a 21 foot radius of them.
Here is the background on how the rule was formulated and the timing involved courtesy of www.policeone.com
The 21-Foot Rule was formulated by timing subjects beginning their headlong run from a dead stop on a flat surface offering good traction and officers standing stationary on the same plane, sidearm holstered and snapped in. The FSRC has extensively measured action and reaction times under these same conditions. Among other things, the Center has documented the time it takes officers to make 20 different actions that are common in deadly force encounters. Here are some of the relevant findings that the FSRC applied in reevaluating the 21-Foot Rule.
Once he perceives a signal to do so, the AVERAGE officer requires 1.5 seconds to draw from a snapped Level II holster and fire one unsighted round at center mass. Meanwhile, the AVERAGE suspect with an edged weapon raised in the traditional “ice-pick” position can go from a dead stop to level, unobstructed surface offering good traction in 1.5-1.7 seconds.
The above doesn’t even account for the time it takes the person with the gun to realize or visualize the attacker which even if milliseconds gives the advantage even more so to the attacker. This is the essence of the 21 Foot Rule.
The burden of proof is overwhelming that those carrying a concealed handgun are in a definite if not fatal disadvantage against an attacker with an edged-weapon if they are within 21 feet of them.
The moral of the story here is not to be lulled into a false-sense of security that if you are carrying a concealed handgun that you have the upper-hand against an attacker with an edged-weapon – at least if they are within 21 feet of you and you haven’t drawn your weapon.
Cary Michael Cox
Seeking wise counsel has been a concept since recorded time. Even Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, recognized that he needed wise & Godly counsel. As it says in the Book of Proverbs in the Bible, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice, many counselors bring success.” (Chapter 15 Verse 22). Later Solomon also said, With many counselors there is safety.” (Chapter 11 Verse 14). Furthermore, King David said in Psalms, “Your decrees please me, they give me wise advise.” (Chapter 119 Verse 24). Like two of the wisest and most Godly men ever, You’ll do yourself a wonderful service if you always seek wise counsel.
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation realizes that for both itself and it’s clients that it is imperative to always seek wise counsel. No matter how large we grow and how much we learn or experience we have, from time to time we will need to seek wise counsel. We take that to heart as we know it is imperative to best serve our clients and employees. Like it says in Proverbs, “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Chapter 1, Verse 5).
There are times in our lives and in business when even though we may have a good idea about something, we don’t have the answer. That is the time to find someone that is the expert in the area to help you make a decision.
That’s what we do at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation whether it comes to compliance, legal matters, marketing, lead generation, and more we consult with the best in each instance. We want to make sure that we are performing and doing the best for both our borrowers, partners in business, and employees.
You can be rest assured if there is any question on what to do and we are not one-hundred percent sure – we will seek wise counsel.
Cary Michael Cox