Business Ethics 101

Effie Gross kissing the Blarney Stone 2001“The real estate business has a lot of unethical people in it,” I said to my broker recently.

“There’s a lot of unethical people in the world,” he corrected me by expanding on my complaint.

Now I understand why some large corporations offer classes in “Ethics.” Previously, I didn’t think such a topic could be taught. You are either an honest person or a person of lesser character: a liar, a cheat, a thief, or a jerk, in general.

To give the benefit of the doubt, let’s guess that the person in question kissed the Blarney Stone, like I did in 2001. Yet, I’ve never (to my knowledge) used the kissing experience for an excuse to tell some wild tale and expect someone to believe me. Just maybe, I got the gift of gab (refined), but that is as far as I’ll go on that Irish thought.

Here’s what bothers me:   a Seller explained to my Buyer that the water stain on the ceiling came about by a member of the household spraying bug spray up there. He also  decided to cover it up with fresh paint. Yup! I’m sure that could have happened just that way, BUT let’s get real…honestly. Why not just say that after Arizona’s monsoon season there’s a loose roof tile up there, and it will only take a quick and inexpensive fix?

I wish everyone followed the Golden Rule, then we’d all be ethical. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Telling the truth is just good business ethics! In fact, ethical behavior is just plain good…in business or in any other situation.

Have you ever been in a situation where you told a lie, but wished you’d told the truth? Have you ever told the truth and wished you lied? How do ethics play a part in your life?

Knowing that “all men/women are liars,” I try not to be too hard on anyone. I guess dishonesty is a pet peeve for me. Analyze the business of ethics, please, but keep me out of it! I’ve kissed the Blarney Stone. Remember?




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Identity Crisis Over

Over 35 years ago, I wrote a weekly column entitled, “Etcetera, etc.” As a follow up on my last post, “It’s All About Me, Me, Me…Effie,” I’m including it here. This should prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Though I’ve matured in my thinking over the years, I see that my core belief regarding personal identity remains constant.

“Once upon a time I was me: Effie Alean Groves.

Effie Groves, age 12 Des Moines, Iowa

Effie Groves, age 12
Des Moines, Iowa

Then I became my husband’s wife to be followed by our children’s mother. My role in life blended into the needs and desires of others like a malt of ice-cream and milk all shook-up: make meals, wash diapers, go shopping, entertain strangers, & a host of dutiful chores. My own interests were shoved into the corner where they collected dust until I cleaned house during an identity crisis at my 30th birthday (I’ll never reveal how long ago that might be). Suddenly, I saw my life half past. I wondered about a lot of things. Since, I’ve come to some startling conclusions.

Effie & Roland Gross; Grinnell, Iowa

Effie & Roland Gross; Grinnell, Iowa

“Now I know why for years I signed my name Mrs. (substituting my mate’s first name where mine belonged) Gross.  It was a habit formed from becoming a part of someone rather than being a whole person sharing common direction. So you won’t misunderstand, I don’ mind using my married name at all, nor my husband’s name at appropriate times such as forging a check signature. but seriously, to nearly forget my own first name for lack of use was unforgiveable. This light showed me I’d lived in a dark shadow. At high noon there is no shadow. I’m glad I learned in time.

“I learned everyone is born with a separate personality, individual set of genes, and position in life. To deny oneself development in any of these areas is to commit personal growth suicide. Unhappy persons make unhappy partners, parents, and peers.

“Well-meaning ladies (more than gents) frequently say, “I owe my life to my spouse and especially the children.” If the speaker is content, fine; however, a self-sacrificing miserable life isn’t worth handing anyone.

Roland & Effie Gross w/Children & Grandchildren; Fountain Hills, AZ 2002

Roland & Effie Gross w/Children & Grandchildren; Fountain Hills, AZ 2002

“Those who give time to themselves for self-indulgence in expanding an education, joining a bowling league, cultivating a talent, doing community volunteer work, signing up for an exercise class, going to work, and etc. find the quality of their person greatly improved. Others in the home  notice and benefit as well.

“Because my family are dear and important to me…so am I. I am among other things, wife, mother housekeeper, errand girl, bookkeeper, baker, counselor, hobbyist, reader, writer: HAPPY. I’m an individualist. I have an identity. I’m Effie. Who are you?”

In the days ahead, I plan to include other columns from “Etcetera, etc.”  What is your identity crisis story? Gold chains, long hair, or depression? Let me know how our stories are similar or different.

Visit me at and Thanks for reading!


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It’s All About Me, Me, Me…EFFIE

Effie Gross and Effie Statler

Effie Alean (Groves) Gross and Effie (Smith) Statler; Smith Reunion; Des Moines, IA; 2009

From the time I was in elementary school, I cringed at the sound of my name: EFFIE. No one had that name, except Aunt Effie, my mother’s sister. I was named for her. She’s 101 years old now…and she was named for her Aunt Effie Smith. I guess you could do the math and say the name goes as far back as the Garden of Eden, or more accurately back to the 1860s.

The name Effie is a short form of  Euphemia of Greek origin and Oighrig of Gaelic origin,  meaning “well-spoken’  or “pleasant speech.” Usage is English (archaic) and Gaelic (Scotland). I am a descendent of the McNabb clan, so the Scottish version makes sense.

Old fashioned, the name “Effie” never became popular like “Linda” or “Karen.” Yet, Effie made Namberry’s list of 35 Names You’re Not Using, But Maybe You Should.

In 2013, only two babies per million were named “Effie.” Now that it’s 2014, I’m close to being one-in-a-million! Since 1959, Effie has a popularity rank of 0.000.  Hmmm. Oy veh!

So, I say, explain why some famous women with the name Effie include: artists, actors, musicians, models, poets, novelists, and an American painter. Two of my  favorites are Effie Trinket, a character from the movie, The Hunger Games and Effie Harper on the television series, Mama’s Family. The other outstanding woman is Effie Gray (born Euphemia Chalmers), Scottish model and wife of first, art critic John Ruskin and second, painter John Everett Millais. This Effie caused a scandal in Victorian England. When I visited my local bookstore recently and saw a book by the title, Effie, I had to buy several copies. It’s the biography of Effie Gray.

Then there’s the Effie Awards every year for marketing communications. Effie Worldwide, Inc. is a non-profit organization honoring those with the most effective marketing ideas.

Forgive me, but I must quote Effie Trinket: “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

Let me know your name’s history. Do you like your name? Ask me about how you can receive a “new name” written down in glory for all eternity.

Don’t forget to visit my websites:

THANKS FOR READING! Please “Like” me, me, me wherever possible.

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Never In A Million Years

Never In A Million Years.

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Never In A Million Years

“Life can turn on a dime,” I heard a speaker say recently. How true, I thought, reviewing  my own past experiences.

For me, life changed completely ten years ago when my husband passed away quite suddenly. I’ve had to do a lot of things that I never would have imagined in a million years: run his contracting business, move back to Iowa (then back to Arizona), return to teaching college, and make a myriad of decisions–alone.

Moonlight on Fountain8X10

Over the years I’ve written a host of articles in various genres for publication. I’ve done numerous jobs from working for the IRS to caring for special needs kids. Not withstanding, my passion has always been for writing and teaching…but sometimes “life can turn on a dime.”

With retirement lurking just behind the closest cactus, I knew a career change should be considered…immediately. I wrestled with leaving all that I loved, writing and teaching. Finally, my heart and mind began to grasp the idea of working in real estate.  It all seems surreal, but here I am, an Arizona licensed real estate “Sales Executive.”

Now, I don’t sell swamp land anywhere on the planet, but I will help clients find the home of their dreams. Who knows? Maybe you will find yourself doing something you never imagined in a million years.

Tell me your story. Have you had a vision or a dream that changed the course of your life? How did it turn out?

Visit my website (currently  under construction)

PHOTO: Courtesy of MCO Realty; Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

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Got Manners?

Ashlee, Mynita "Angel," Serraya, "Bubbe"

Tea Party At Its Finest~~Pella, Iowa

What do you have when you combine a Bavarian china tea set, mother,  grandmother (“Bubbe”), and twin girls? Sounds like a tea party to me. Add manners and you’ve got the perfect social event, lessons and laughter.

eBaylace 004

High Tea with the Queen

Once I offered to pay one dollar to the granddaughter who had her napkin on her lap without being told. If I said, “Napkin check,” and they had it on their lap, they collected on my offer. This could not go on forever or I’d be broke. But after five years, they continue to use their napkins properly (most of the time). Pretty good use of a dollar, wouldn’t you say?

I’m currently working on a devotional book, Code of Conduct, based on etiquette…for adults. Each day will focus on a different rule intended to make others feel comfortable. Good manners stem from respect for other people, even those of a different background, race, or creed. It’s about more than which fork to use.

When thinking about ethics, etiquette, and manners, the most basic source of teaching is in the Bible. The Golden Rule and Jesus’ teachings are the foundation of proper manners.

In my preliminary research I’ve discovered that many devotionals are tied to ethics, proper behavior, decorum, and etiquette. Some have been published in print or electronically by various authors over a period of years. As early as 1898, a “Good Manners” chart was issued to Queensland schools by the UK’s governmental education department.


Emily Post (1872 – 1960) taught the world how to behave politely. More than ever, our rude and crude culture needs the lessons she taught. Proper behavior never goes out of style. Post’s books are in high demand today, even 53 years after her death.

The Bible is in high demand, too, as our primary source for civility in an uncivilized world. So, show your manners in such a way that no one will need to ask, “Got manners?”

How do you teach manners to your children? In what situation were you glad you knew proper etiquette? Remember, good manners are not just for the elite; they are for everyone who cares about people.

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The Gates are Open

The Gates are Open

Every January, I print out my prayer list and put it in my Bible. The items listed include prayers for myself, and I’ll have to admit that those items are high on top. Next, I pray for my children and grandchildren, then family, friends, acquaintances, government, missionaries, police/sheriffs, doctors, teachers, employers, and even attorneys. I have attended a few churches since becoming a Christian at age 13, so I pray for each of them. I pray for my neighbors in the friendly cul-de-sac where I live, and sometimes I’ve been known to pray for the family pets. Routinely, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

My list could go on-and-on, but I try to keep it narrowed down to one typed page. Of course I jot down more  things throughout the year, spill coffee on important topics, and shed tears on others.

Scottsdale Bible Church Prayer Garden

Scottsdale Bible Church Prayer Garden

After a wonderful sermon by Pastor Jamie on Nehemiah 2:1-20 at Scottsdale Bible Church today, I went to the Prayer Garden. Through the open gates I walked and took the crooked path until I found my favorite spot, the water feature. From there I could meditate with  the three crosses in view.

I wonder about the tiny prayer papers nailed to the crosses. They remind me of the papers poked in a little crevice at the Western Wall. I think about the people who put them there. I should pray for them. I’ve never put anything on the cross, other than my sin. I’m so thankful that Messiah Jesus, with His blood,  paid the price I could not pay. My prayers are on wings taking flight to heaven, as some people say, “From your mouth to God’s ears.”IMG_0447-001

Upon leaving Scottsdale Bible Church’s lovely sanctuary of prayer,  about an hour later, I unexpectedly met Simone Lake, a Christian speaker from Payson, Arizona. She told me, “I pray about everything!”

I’ve decided to keep my prayer list, but I can’t stop there. I was privileged today when asked to  pray for Simone about her desire to go to the Holy Land. Imagine, me, being invited to pray with a devout woman of prayer. She said, “Come Pray With Me.”

Right now, I have an image in my mind of a picture hanging in Grandma and Grandpa Smith’s 1950s living room. It was Jesus kneeling by a rock, praying…and I think of the song written by C. Austin Miles, “In the Garden.” Some of the lyrics are: “And He walks with me/And He talks with me/And He tells me I am His own/And the joy we share as we tarry there/None other has ever known.”

We may go to the garden alone, but we don’t leave that way.

What happens when you pray? Do you sense an awareness of God’s presence ? What can I pray about with you? I don’t care how long my list grows…go ahead, tell me…I’ll pray with you.

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Visit Simone Lake

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