Confession Beyond the Car Wash

As a realtor, I feel that keeping my car clean is a necessity. The 2004 Honda Accord that I drove home from the dealership in that same year is still rolling along…sometimes a little dusty, but not rusty like the salt erosion on some icy Iowa vehicles.


A few days ago, I took my car to the local car wash where an attendant takes your order for basic or VIP service. Every time I take my car there, a man asks if he can buff out my head lights, sell me detailing or a package deal of one sort or another. “Really?” I say. “I just want the basic wash.”

He, like most sales people, doesn’t take “no” for an easy answer. “You know, we have a special today….” Please. I’m waiting for him to write up my order. He is holding the ticket hostage as he tries to up-sell me something else. I try to tune him out.

“Just give me my ticket,” I say and snatch the thing from his hand as soon as he rips it from his pad. Finally I was in control of the white slip, and I turned my back to him to stomp off in a huff. When I got inside the building, I asked for the manager and complained that every time I go there, I am hassle. He assured me that he’d take the man aside and speak to him.

I felt better, until the next day. I began thinking of how I felt wronged, but then I realized that I had mistreated another individual myself. How was I any better than he? How could I love people the way God loves people if I couldn’t be kind to a stranger…one trying to do his job and make a living to boot.

The second day after the car wash, I felt really bad. I’m made of the same dirt that the salesman is made of and I’m not above him. I needed to show the love of God, not the anger of Effie. So, I returned to the car wash, found the man named, “Tom,” and apologized. He said, “I’m not mad at you. I accept your apology.” He understood.

“The reason I came is because I’m a Christian and I shouldn’t have treated you that way,” I said.

“I’m a Christian, too,’ Tom said. “It’s okay. We’re not perfect.” During our brief visit we shook hands three or four times and laughed a lot. I left thinking about how Tom demonstrated the love of God in his ready forgiveness.

That’s my confession. I’d love to hear of your experience in asking for or in giving forgiveness. Forgiveness…loving others like God does. He makes us truly clean beyond the daily dirt. Unlike my car, I am forever clean by Messiah Jesus’ blood that washes whiter than snow.

Posted in Ethics and Morals, family, God, God's Voice, Iowa, Judeo-Christian, Life Chages, Real Estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Christmas Star~~Take A Bow!

Today, proper protocol when addressing royalty requires a bow to show respect and honor. I’ve never stood before the British queen, prince or princess, but in 2003 I came close while visiting St. Andrews University in Scotland. Prince William was a student then, and I was told that he sometimes dropped in the gift shop where I was buying  a souvenir. If a “royal” occasion had happened, I would have bowed…while dreaming of a kiss from the prince, of course.

International Nativity Scene in Pella, Iowa

International Nativity Scene in Pella, Iowa

At Christmas, I think of angels bowing at Jesus’ crib formerly used for livestock. With no room in the inn, the long-awaited Messiah, the King of kings came to earth in humble fashion. A star led to his nativity, but the true Star was nestled in a bed of hay. Over 2,000 years ago, the magi traveled from afar to bow before the infant Son of God.

“Bowing” and “Christmas” reminds me of when my daughter, “Angel,” (called by one of her middle names) was in second grade in Des Moines, Iowa.  Her teacher told her to draw a Christmas picture with crayons. That afternoon she brought home a picture of Santa Claus  in his bright red suit kneeling at Jesus’ manger. I’ve seen this image a lot in the commercial marketplace since that day, but the first time I saw any Santa bowing on his knees was in the late 1960s…my Angel’s artistic creation.

On Christmas morning 2014, wouldn’t it be wonderful to kneel for the one and only Christmas Star…Messiah Jesus…the Star of Bethlehem? Then, arise and celebrate Him!

How will your Christmas begin? What traditions do you practice? What memories do you hold in your heart? I’d love to hear your stories. Please give me the gift of sharing your experience. I can’t wait to unwrap your comments.

Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2015!

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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!


Posted in Career, Effie, family, Family History, Identity Crisis, Iowa, Life Chages, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Art, Effie, family, Family History, Given Names, Iowa, Names, recommended reading, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Career, Life Chages, Real Estate, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , | 5 Comments