Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 Year in Review

I am writing this on the first day of 2018. Time continues to fly by.

On my job front, I am still at Dolese. I really like this company. In February, the company celebrated 115 years of service. The CEO, Mark Helm, has some great plans for IT expansion in 2018 and beyond. It’s great to be a part of this time of growth for Dolese.

This year I also begin my adventure into the world of landlording. We secured our first rental property in Guthrie in August. We found a great realtor, Brice Semrad, who helped us locate and buy it. Brice doubles as a realtor and a real estate investor. So he was a great help in knowing what to look for. I also found a good online resource in and the accompanying podcast. Some people really get into the real estate investing thing. So far, I’ve enjoyed it. But it doesn’t seem to hold the passion for me like it does with some. In any case, I think this will be a good investment over the long run. Real estate, by and large, tends to appreciate over time. It is already cash flowing. I’m sure it’ll have its own set of challenges over time. But so far it really hasn’t been that tough. We managed to get our first renters who started their lease on October 1. They seem to be very good renters and I hope that they continue to live there for the long term.

One interesting providence happened while I was showing the rental property to potential renters. A man walked in to talk to me about my experience in the rental process. He is also a new investor. It also turns out that he is a local business owner. He has operated Armstrong Products since 1974. He asked me what I did on my day job, and when I shared that I was a web developer he asked if I ever took on any side projects. We exchanged information, and he called me several weeks later. He manufactures and sells high quality art display panels used for showing fine art at events. He also manufactures and sells safety tread stair nosings. These are the non-slip surfaces on the edge of steps on a stair case most often seen on commercial properties. Their existing website is If you follow the link you will see their high quality products. However, the website is admittedly very dated. Mr. Armstrong needed me to create a new website that concentrates on his art panels. is the solution we came up with. As of this writing, if you visit it, you will find an “under construction” message. We have not yet gone live with it, as we still need to nail down the details with shipping so that customers can order their art panels and supplies online. I expect that this site will be live in the next few weeks. I built it using Wordpress with a WooCommerce addin for shopping cart purposes. It is mobile ready. I’m hoping that it will really help their sales. If you have a need for an updated website, drop me an email at I’d be happy to talk over what requirements you have and help you formulate a solution.

2017 was the year that I received my first surgery. I had a “clean out” scope procedure on my left shoulder in November. I have healed up nicely from that. There is still a little soreness, but it is doing a lot better. But that was a memorable experience having to wear a sling for several weeks and not being able to drive for about two weeks.

I’m enjoying being both a grandfather and a father. I’m watching my grandchildren grow older, while watching my younger children do the same. This year Paton had his “rite of passage” as he turned 13. This was the first year we were able to host it at our church, Northwest Bible Church. Two of our elders, Alan Conner and Alan Loeffler, gave excellent encouraging talks to Paton. My brother, Jason, and his son, Daniel also shared with him. I’ve now completed three of these for my sons. Two more to go.

I expect that this year Sheri and I will give another of our daughters away. Brianna’s boyfriend, Matt, asked me for my blessing for him to marry Brianna. I gave the blessing. As of now, he has not officially proposed. But regardless of that technicality they are busily planning for it and have given us an estimate of sometime this Spring.

Justin and I wrapped up the computer portion of driver’s ed. In the next few months we’ll work our way through the driving portion. He’s already 16. It’s been tough to have us both home at the same time to get this done.

Paton continues to excel with his violin playing. In addition to his normal recitals, he has played a couple of times at church this year, primarily during the Christmas program.

 Sarah has really blossomed in terms of keeping in touch with family. She’s been the best one of the kids in making sure to consistently email and facetime our extended family in Texas.

Samuel started Trail Life this year. He seems to really enjoy it. I just hope I’ll be able to survive the campouts with him. I’ll enjoy the time with him, though camping hasn’t always been my “thing.”

Melody is very close to finishing her “Teach Your Child to Read” book. She and I have been working on this for quite a while. I have a Bible with her name on it to present to her when we are done.

David is growing taller and has become quite a blessing in our family. He is certainly full of life.

In closing, I wanted to mention the passing of a mighty man of God. Since I came to a Reformed understanding of scripture I have enjoyed and profited from the teaching of Dr. R.C. Sproul. He left this world in December, leaving behind many books and teachings for the edification of the church. I never was able to meet him in person, but I have watched him several times on DVD and read a few of his books.

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