"Don't wish things were easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom." - Jim Rohn
Many knew that I celebrated my most recent birthday in the hospital fighting an infection in my chest from a recent surgery. This week-long stint unfortunately gave me plenty of time to irrationally think about all the sadness, difficulties and hardships that cancer has brought into my life. Two more weeks at home with IV antibiotics and I drove everyone crazy, including myself. The combination of drugs, physical pain and feelings of helplessness took its toll on my psyche, at a level that I was shocked to admit. The realization that I will never have the option to stop "battling cancer" left me in an emotional battle with myself over wishing things were just a little easier and wishing I was stronger.
When you are pocked with the battle scars of life and felt each one, it seems easier to let the weight of the fight break you down, rather than to find the reasons to fight harder. I remember when I stood in front of the mirror in my hospital bathroom in the middle of the night having stared at a face I hardly recognized. I was upset that I had missed a very close niece's wedding because of this hospital jaunt as well as the celebration with my family afterward. I was so disappointed that my birthday, the one day that PJ and I had together, was spent with me crying in pain, fear and anger, and finally rolled up in a ball trying to sleep.
I looked in the mirror at my scars, the freshly minted stiches from my surgery, the faded ones that reminded me of every difficulty of cancer. I also saw the pen markings, where the doctors tried to measure the spread of the infection. I looked at my eyelashes that once used to be long and lush were now blond and unnoticeable. I finally looked in my eyes and saw how weak and useless I felt. There was no doubt about it, all I could think was that cancer sucked and I am not strong enough to do this.
There are not words to describe how much I wanted to take out my anger on everyone. How much I wanted to scream out "Why me, seriously how much more am I expected to take?" If I had acted out the way I felt, I would have thrown a big, fat, adult-sized, temper tantrum right there in the hospital bathroom complete with kicking, screaming, throwing myself on the floor and eventually, I am sure, calling out for my mom. Obviously, my rational brain kicked in and I quickly realized that it would get me nowhere, so I told the "Negativity Committee" that was meeting in my brain to get out. Wishing and hoping for fewer problems was not going to get me anywhere, not out the hospital, not out of the infection and certainly not out of cancer.
It is easy to forget that the challenges that we face strengthen us. It is easy to line up our list of complaints and much harder to remember our gifts. I arise daily having to remember that my life was changed by the experiences that I have faced. It is my choice to decide if I will be thankful for the experiences or if I will hope for fewer challenges. That choice isn't always easy; there is skill in choosing to look for the good in things and the rewards for gratitude in your experiences will always come in ways you never expect.
I also know my challenges are not unique; in fact they are somewhat cliché. There are many who face much more difficult struggles than I think I could ever handle. Our friends and family suffer through both grief and pain publically and privately. Our minds are constantly injected with news of violence, brutality and moral and economic degradation. All of these challenges are difficult. All of the trials are hard. Butstrength lies in how well one can let these challenges open our eyes to all the good around us.
I am reminded daily of how grateful I am, granted, some days I am much more grateful than others, but cancer has shown me how abundant my life has been. I found out that people are good, more than I ever gave them credit for, and I needed to show more good to others. It has shown me that there is much better out there than we are given the opportunity to see. I get to meet and speak with some of the most amazing professionals in our business and I am consistently reminded that bar has been raised, that the survivors are strong and the competition is fierce. The struggles that I faced have made me stronger, they have taught me tremendous life lessons and have equipped me to be measure up with the best of them and for that I am thankful.
C.S. Lewis says it best. "Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny."
I hope you are able to spend your week being grateful for the challenges you face today. Unfortunately, challenges are not going away. But, be grateful for the people in your lives who make it better and thankful for your strength to move forward and not give up.
Have a great week!
The ABCs of the DFA
The Dodd-Frank Act Series
A Guide for Main Street
The Dodd-Frank Act in its 2300+ pages has changed and will continue to change the face of the real estate industry as a whole. Even so, many within the industry have been standing on the sidelines waiting for the "Hail Mary" to come and wipe away the changes that are putting most out of their comfort zone. This series will try to address some of the more common questions I get from my clients, it will give the most up to date information that is available and hopefully help in educating our industry in what is needed to adapt for future success. If you have specific questions you would like answered about the Dodd-Frank Act please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What does the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) do and when does it go into effect?
The Dodd-Frank Act is a misnomer. Dodd-Frank is nickname for the "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" signed into law by President Obama on July 21, 2010. The official aim of the legislation is "to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive practices, and for other purposes." By one account the law sets up the need for over 243 rules to be written, that regulators conduct 67 studies and issue 22 periodic reports.
But what does it really do that affects you and me? A lot.
Much of the controversy surrounding the Act is the fact that the majority of the law gave regulators the authority to write the "rules" which would make up the law. Yet, the regulator given most of this authority had not been created yet at the time of the Law's enactment. The full impact of Dodd-Frank, therefore, is still unclear as only some of the required "rulemakings" have been completed. So, in essence, the law is in place but we do not yet specifically know what each section of the law says we can or cannot do.
There are certain things, however, that we do know. The law contains 16 different sections that impact different areas of the financial markets. Many are focused on the do's and don'ts of Wall Street and corporate America, many shuffle around regulatory agencies, retiring some and creating others but some deal specifically with those of us in the primary market on Main Street. I will discuss each of these individual areas separately throughout the series.
Although the accurate effective date of Dodd-Frank would have been July 21, 2010 when the Act was signed into law, because the specifics of the law have not all been written, there are MANY implementation dates for different pieces of the legislation. Many of the primary market "mortgage-related" rules were finalized through the regulatory process on January 10, 2013 with an execution date of one year, so January 10, 2014. This particular section of the Act (Section 1400) has many ramifications to the real estate industry as a whole and therefore this date is what most people reference when questioned about the start date.
What is the CFPB and does it affect me?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is more commonly known as the CFPB. This "super-regulator" was created in Section 10 of the DFA called the "Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010."
In the CFPB's own words to describe their function they state, "In June 2009, the administration proposed to address failures of consumer protection by establishing a new agency focused directly on consumers, rather than on bank safety and soundness or on monetary policy. This new agency would consolidate in one place responsibilities that had been scattered across government. The agency would also have responsibility for supervision and enforcement of the laws over providers of consumer financial products and services that had in the past escaped regular Federal oversight." - seewww.consumerfinance.gov
All regulatory authority over consumer protection for the following agencies now falls under the CFPB; the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
As industry participants, anyone covered under regulations of these agencies would now be covered under the CFPB. Below is the list of covered regulations.
Regulation B: Equal Credit Opportunity (ECOA)
Regulation C: Home Mortgage Disclosure (HMDA)
Regulation D: Alternative Mortgage Parity Act
Regulation E: Electronic Fund Transfers
Regulation F: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Regulation G: S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act - Federal Registration of Residential Mortgage Loan Originators
Regulation H: S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act - State Compliance and Bureau Registration System
Regulation I: Disclosure Requirements for Depository Institutions Lacking Federal Deposit Insurance
Regulation J: Land Registration
Regulation K: Purchasers' Revocation Rights, Sales Practices and Standards
Regulation L: Special Rules of Practice
Regulation M: Consumer Leasing
Regulation N: Mortgage Acts and Practices-Advertising (MAP)
Regulation O: Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS)
Regulation P: Privacy of Consumer Financial Information
Regulation V: Fair Credit Reporting
Regulation X: Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
Regulation Z: Truth in Lending (TILA)
Regulation DD: Truth in Savings
The bureau is an independent unit located inside and funded by the United States Federal Reserve, with interim affiliation with the U.S. Treasury Department. The Director of the Bureau is appointed by the President for a term of 5 years and must be confirmed by the Senate. The current Director is the Honorable Richard Cordray, former Ohio Attorney General.
"Credit availability tightened last month as more lenders removed program offerings with loan terms greater than 30 years and/or interest-only features, similar to the trend we observed last month," Michael Fratantoni, MBA Vice President of Research and Economics said. "As was true then, we believe this reflects lenders implementation of the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage regulation, which comes fully into effect in January. Offsetting this tightening somewhat has been some increased willingness to offer higher LTV loans, particularly to jumbo borrowers."
"The real reason we can't have the Ten Commandments in the courthouse: You cannot post, 'Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not commit adultery and Thou shalt not lie, in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment." - George Carlin