The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows

Tragedy reminds us we live in a fallen world. This week we lost Truly and Scrumptious, our sweet alpacas to a vicious dog attack. My oldest daughter and I ran out to try and stop the dogs but we could not get there in time. Two more daughters came out only to witness our dear alpacas dying in horrible pain. It was just horrific.

Its times like this we ask why? There are no hard and fast answers. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. Comes from Rocky Balboa:

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

I am so grateful for the friends who have come along side us to help SHINE a little light in our dark time and helped us to keep moving forward. Do you know someone who needs a little light to SHINE in his or her darkness? Don’t hesitate, pick up the phone, and give them a call.

SF 49er Vernon Davis Art of Etiquette

By Martin Cheek

San Martin resident Holly Rauser received an early surprise Christmas present at the red-carpet opening of San Francisco 49er football star Vernon Davis’s new gallery in San Jose’s Santana Row. Davis, an accomplished artist who majored in art in college, painted a picture dedicated to her and titled it “Holly.”

“I was shocked, honored, humbled and quite frankly felt a bit like winning the Oscar,” Rauser said when she saw the painting featuring dining utensils at the Gallery 85 art gallery during its grand opening gala event on Dec. 10. She met Davis, a tight end with the 49ers, when he hired her to give him personal etiquette coaching through her company Consider Etiquette. They became good friends and Davis decided to honor that friendship with a special painting on the theme of etiquette.

The painting was a highlight for Rauser at an event where she and her husband Marc and their daughter Catherine mixed with sports figures and celebrities such as Alex Smith, Aldon Smith and 49er owner Jed York who had come to Gallery 85 to support Vernon’s art business venture. Marc Rauser was delighted so much that he purchased “Holly.” The proceeds from the painting, and other paintings at the gallery gala, went to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which Davis actively supports. Upon arriving home, Marc announced to the rest of the Rauser family that Vernon named a painting after Holly.

Rauser said she loves the painting Vernon made in her honor. “When I look at the ‘Holly’ (painting),” she said, “I see elements of Vernon’s urban upbringing combined with his passion for art and being the best at whatever he puts his mind to, even dining etiquette. The ‘Holly’ is proudly displayed in our home and reminds us that no matter who you are, or what you do, etiquette is important.”

“My daughter Melody had the same reaction I did,” Holly said, “’No way! That is soooo cool!’ They are tickled pink!”

Davis had an interest in etiquette coaching so he put his public relations agent, Theodore Palmer of Creative Edge Pubic Relations, to the task of finding him a coach, Rauser said, explaining how an etiquette trainer and an NFL football player formed a friendship. “Theodore called his contacts who referred him to me and I am so grateful. Vernon has been an absolute delight to work with.”

Rauser came to see Vernon as not just a grid-iron gladiator, but a man who cares about people – especially disadvantaged children whom he helps through the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts.

“Through the good, the bad and the ugly, Vernon has emerged a better man ready to give back to those less fortunate,” she said. “Vernon understands that unintentional etiquette faux pas will only hurt his mission to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. So in Vernon’s quest to be the best, he has added etiquette training to his regiment.”

Michael Jordan Booted Over Shorts!

In our casual society it is easy to forget that there are dress codes. Every walk of life has a dress code; even gangs have dress codes. It doesn’t matter who you are, you still need to be aware of the dress code: EVEN IF YOU ARE MICHAEL JORDON!

Read on:

Michael Jordan ruffles some feathers by wearing cargo pants during round at high-end club

By  | Devil Ball Golf – Wed, Nov 28, 2012 2:13 PM EST

Michael Jordan’s good at a lot of things: basketball, building apparel empires, smoking cigars. But if there’s one thing he absolutely needs to work on in the future, it’s the way he dresses on the golf course.

A couple months after Jordan wore an awful getup to the Ryder Cup that caused a minor stir, the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of high-tops is back in the news again for, you guessed it, the way he was dressed on the course.

According to the New York Post, Jordan showed up at La Gorce Country Club — a high-class course in Miami Beach, Fla. — wearing a pair of cargo pants for a round of golf.

No big deal, right? On most occasions, wearing a pair of cargo shorts for a round at your local muni track is acceptable, but when you’re playing at a swanky club in Miami, you’re expected to wear a pair of khakis that don’t have baggy pockets. Apparently Jordan didn’t get the memo and showed up to the course sporting cargos anyway. Well that didn’t sit well with La Gorce’s membership.

“Michael was wearing cargo pants on the course,” said a spy. Jordan’s multipocketed pants were apparently against the dress code that, sources say, dictates that members and guests must be attired in a collared shirt and Bermuda shorts. But when 6-foot, 6-inch Jordan was offered a chance to change outfits, he demurred.

“He was given the chance to change but he didn’t want to,” a source said. The source added that Jordan, who was enjoying a round at the club with one of its members, played on anyway. The source added that members complained about Jordan breaking the rules and, “He won’t be invited back.”

A rep for Michael Jordan told the Post that,  “Michael Jordan did wear cargo pants . . . He had been there many times before and had worn cargo pants previously, and had never been made aware that he was violating any dress code. This time, he was made aware of the violation on the 12th hole, and at that point . . . he did refuse to interrupt his game, and return to the clubhouse and change. We were not aware that he is not allowed to return to La Gorce. I guess it’s their loss — as MJ is a great golfer, and a great guest.” The club did not respond for comment.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised the club didn’t let Jordan’s fashion faux pas slide. After all, we’re talking about Michael freakin’ Jordan and, as you can see from the photo, he’s been known to wear cargo shorts on the course in the past. If he’s done it before, chances are good he’s going to keep doing the same thing in the future, because, well, he’s Michael Jordan.

But hey, if a club has rules, everyone has to follow them — even if the rule breaker happens to be a living legend. Next time bring a pair of Bermuda shorts to the course, Mike.







What do people see, when they see you?

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed,

 do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Colossians 3:17


We need to be conscious of how we present ourselves to others so that we may present Christ in a favorable light. We are guided by many passages in the Bible, to interact in a civilized manner. In Romans 14:19 we are directed to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”  Do your manners reflect God to others? So often the only glimpse of God many people ever see is what they see in us.  We are ambassadors for Christ. Pastor Ron Ritchie put it this way, “When someone meets you, do they feel like they just met Jesus?”


Unfortunately our society fails to inspire polite behavior. All cultures have “rules” that govern proper behavior. These rules are learned, not innate. “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” –Fred Astaire


The time tested social guidelines of our society make us welcome and comfortable with others. Who you are shows in how you behave and how you present yourself to others. Without good manners it is possible to be shunned from possible friendships, career opportunities, and worse, to lose someone for Christ. In the words of Mother Teresa,Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.

I am…just…like…um…ya’ know…saying.

My oldest, Dustin & Catherine Rauser, after giving stellar speeches at their high school graduation.

The deluge of inarticulate adults is frightening. I work with teenagers on a daily basis, and cringe as they butcher the English language. At times I have even heard these abhorrent speech patterns uttered from my own lips→Bad company corrupts! What is more frightening is that these teenagers are no longer growing out of these speech patterns as they reach adulthood! My stomach knots as I hear a college educated woman verbalize, in exact sequence, “Like…ummmm….yah.” The word “like” has invaded every sentence, two, three maybe even four times!!!

Public speaking courses should be compulsory starting in junior high and continued throughout high school. I am…just…like…um…ya’ know…saying.

Interviewing & Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

In graduate school I seriously considered the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as the research subject for my thesis. Why? Because thoughts are things! Your brain is powerful and takes direction from your thoughts. Your mind will complete the picture YOU create. Just as the basketball player will imagine every detail of the basketball going from his hand to the hoop, to bouncing awkwardly off the rim and out of bounds. No! The winning basketball player imagines the sweet success of “swoosh”, the ball perfectly centered as it passes through the hoop. In the same way, you will imagine the successful job interview.


The actual interview is key to getting the job. However, before the interviw you have researched the company, researched the postion and thoughtfully written out and practiced answers to why YOU are the best fit for the job. Why you would be of greatest service insuring they make a profit knowing this is the only way you will be paid. Then you practiced, practiced, practiced. In this whole process you will remember the Self Fulfilling Prophecy, that your thoughts are things. If you have constant negative self talk, “I know I will blank when asked a question. I am going to trip over my words. This is going to be horrible.” Then you might as well stay home. Instead you will imagine a successful interveiw, being able to confidently and fluently answer any question. You will be able to present your best self, the person they want to hire. Remember, you are the master of your brain, you would not allow someone else to trash talk you all day, so stop the negative self talk and replace it with, in the words of Zig Ziglar, “The pure, the postive and the powerful!”


Stop! Right now, as you read this you may have a little voice in your head saying, “Yah, right. How?” I will tell you how. Go now and find some great motivatoinal materials by people like Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer, Jim Rohn …the list is endless. Overpower that negative self talk with postive messages. Remember, garbage in-garbage out. Make sure you feed your mind constantly with, “The pure, the positive and the powerful!” I know you can do it! So do it now!

The 10 Worst Mistakes of First-Time Job Hunters

A must read on LinkedIn written by Kelly Eggers. I have seen these mistakes with college and even high school students every year. Get ahead of the game, don’t just read this article, LIVE IT!

Kelly Eggers writes:

If you’re in your final year of college, be warned: the rumors about landing a job in this economy are true. You should be taking steps today, not next semester, to prepare yourself.

An April 2011 survey conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Adecco Staffing U.S. found that 71% of 500 recent four-year college graduates would have done something differently to prepare for the job market. While companies will hire 9.5% more graduates from the class of 2012 than they did from the 2011 graduating class, according to another poll, employers are still looking for the pick of the litter.

“When you’re not familiar with the job market or job seeking, you really don’t know how much effort it will take,” said Kathy Kane, senior vice president of talent management for Adecco NA,

To find out what students can do to better prepare for the current job market, we spoke with career coaches, recruiters and recent graduates.

“I would have started looking for jobs earlier.”

Putting off your job hunt isn’t a wise move. Among the Adecco survey’s respondents, 26% said they would have started looking for potential positions earlier.

“It’s easy to fall into ‘my weekend starts on Thursday’ mode, rather than ‘I’ve got to put my job search into full gear today’ mode,” said Kane, “but procrastinators will have fewer choices.”

Most students don’t start thinking about their careers until they have to, said Lindsey Pollak, a career expert who focuses on Generation Y in the workplace. “There’s so much you can do that’s not a lot of work and not overly time consuming.”

“I would have actually networked.”

For students and older professionals alike, networking can feel like the most dreaded part of a job hunt. Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the Adecco survey said they would have spent more time building a solid professional network.

“Networking can be scary,” said Pollak, “but about 70% of jobs are found through networking.” Students who spend their time trolling job boards should instead spend that time making solid connections with people who are respected and involved in the workforce, industry experts and alumni, and spend only 30% of their time looking at job listings.

For the most part, Pollak said, people love to help students. As long as you are gracious and thankful and not trying to hard-sell yourself right off the bat, potential connections are likely to be receptive.

“I would have taken on a job or an internship in addition to my courseload.”

Bottom line: There’s no substitute for experience.

Having some professional experience under your belt before entering the workforce has become a necessity for many employers.

“I don’t know a company that doesn’t want people with internship experience,” said Pollak. “My advice is to get yourself through the recession any way you can, and come out with whatever experience you can.”

Look for internships that provide college credit or are paid. Otherwise, gain work experience in a setting such as waiting tables — and talk with people at each and every table. “There are CEOs who started networking while they were waiting tables,” Pollak said.

If you can’t find a full- or part-time position on- or off-campus, try going to the Internet for virtual work. “There are jobs you can get without even leaving your dorm room,” Pollak said, including maintaining someone’s social media outlets, working as a copyeditor or building a website for a small business. Many of these types of jobs have flexible hours, an added benefit for busy students.

“I would have gotten more involved in career-relevant extracurricular activities.”

On-campus groups, clubs, events and activities are a great place to get experience that translates to the working world. Skills are skills. You can show you have gained relevant experience by planning concerts on campus or working as a freshman orientation assistant, for example.

“Everybody wants to hire people who understand how to manage projects, work alongside difficult people, and have built their communication skills,” said Kane. If you were on the dance team, and choreographed a group performance, for example, you’ve developed creative, leadership and training abilities, all of which translate to the workplace.

Experts say it’s a matter of framing the extracurricular experience you’ve had in a professional way. Try thinking of your biggest accomplishments as a member or leader of an extracurricular group, and using them to brainstorm resume bullet points.

“I would have applied to more jobs.”

Many recent graduates regret not putting out more feelers. According to the Adecco survey, 26% of recent graduates would have applied to more jobs prior to finishing school.

Putting your hat in the ring is the only way to be considered for most opportunities. The trick is to keep track of the applications you send out. “Sending in your application for hundreds of jobs on will work against you,” said Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert and author of Me 2.0. Not only is it difficult to remember what you applied for and when, but you’re also likely to send out generic resumes.

Write your resume so it highlights your experience with each position’s requirements. Not sure what your relatable skill-set is? Try creating a Venn diagram that illustrates all of the skills and experience you’ve developed. The overlap can indicate your primary strengths, and the remainder can help you see where you have specific skills related to your prospective industry.

“I would have focused more on becoming ‘professional.'”

Save the sweatpants and fratty T-shirts for the weekend. Replace them with clothes that are fitted, pressed and at the very least casual-Friday appropriate even when you’re going to class. You may think dressing well every day doesn’t matter, but the professors you ask for recommendations will remember your style.

Another way to show your professionalism is to pick up the tab for networking coffees, and send thank-you notes for even a little bit of help. “If someone gives you advice, all you have to do is say thank you after the fact,” Pollak said.

And, of course, monitor your online appearance. Clean up and privacy-protect your Facebook accounts, start Tweeting interesting news (instead of which class you’re skipping), be careful where you “check-in” on your smartphone, and set up a solid LinkedIn profile, Pollak said. Add a signature line to your e-mail account and set up a professional voicemail message.

“I would have done more to figure out what my career goals were.”

Your first job out of college is unlikely to be your dream position, if you even know what that is. Indecision can hold you back, so set up some informational interviews to try to narrow your focus.

“It’s a rare gift at any age to know what your passion is,” said Bruce Tulgan, CEO of Rainmaker Thinking, a New Haven, Conn.-based management consultancy that focuses on integrating generations in the workplace. “In 99 out of 100 cases, people start to learn about a career path, gain experience in something, and over time they become passionate about it.”

Don’t be afraid to try something that you’re initially lukewarm about, said Pollak. “I don’t believe in dead-end jobs when you’re early in your career,” she said, “because everything is experience.”

“I would have gone to the career center.”

This is what they call a “no-brainer.” You might not think you need your university’s services, but there’s no reason to find out the hard way you did something wrong that could have been avoided.

“College students have an advantage other job seekers don’t — an on-campus career center staffed with people who have one purpose: to help students find jobs,” said Kane of Adecco. “Most career centers aren’t taken advantage of to their full extent.”

Once you get to know the counselors and they know what you’re looking for, they can tell you about new opportunities, Kane said. It’s also a good place to practice your elevator pitch, draft introductory e-mails or cover letters, perfect your resume, or any other measures you don’t want to run by friends or family members.

“I would have kept better track of my achievements.”

Experts say that even on-campus accolades belong on your resume.

“Start creating tangible results with your name on them so you have evidence of your ability to add value,” said Tulgan. “Save the tangible results, date them, and be prepared to present them.”

Tracking how many donations you collected from calling alumni or that you created a new filing system for the admissions office are achievements that translate to everyday work activities. Don’t forget to highlight your academic awards, such as making the dean’s list or honor society.

“Any accomplishment matters,” said Schawbel. ” Track them in a public setting, like your LinkedIn profile.” If it’s not out there for people to find, those achievements won’t be doing anything to help you, he said.

“I would have focused more on developing relevant skills.”

Having an awareness of industry-specific skills as well as broad, transferable ones is a way to really stand out.

“Companies aren’t investing as much in training, so companies are more likely to look for someone who can hit the ground running,” said Kane. That isn’t just familiarity with industry terminology, it’s also having professional “street smarts.”

“Show your understanding of chain-of-command issues, working with older, more experienced colleagues and working with people in parallel roles in other departments, or with vendors and customers,” said Tulgan.

You should also have excellent customer service knowledge – not only to use as a professional, but also to use as a job seeker. That includes making yourself available, being fully prepared for interviews,and knowing how to problem-solve, Tulgan said. “Above all, develop self-management skills and the ability to work effectively with a manager,” he said.