GHS Children’s #VirtualToyDrive – Make A Difference

I wanted to reach out to you. I serve on the GHS Children’s Hospital Development Council and we are hosting a Virtual Toy Drive. Below is a link to a website where you can purchase items for children who are patients at Children’s Hospital. From electronics, books, movies, even stuff for parents of children…there is something in everyone’s budget.

All items have been identified by Children’s Hospital staff as needed to help us in our efforts to go beyond providing traditional medical care. As a donor, you select and pay for an item and we take care of securing and distributing the item. Any items you select are needed and very much appreciated.


Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Virtual Toy Drive and for helping make a difference!

I hope you check it out! My goal is to raise $2000.00 this year for Children’s Hospital at Greenville Health System.


Balancing business passions and life passions, keeping the focus!

Pure Joy!

What is your greatest passion…the one thing that drives you to get up in the morning and push harder and harder?

This is my greatest passion…my little rose!

Now I talk about my business passion: finding and telling great stories. yes…it is. But that is just one part of the bigger picture.

This little one makes me work harder, work smarter, and challenge myself to seek the balance in the work/life continuum.

A few months ago, I sat on a panel discussion where the audience were mothers of preschoolers (MOPS). They called it the man panel and the major part of the discussion was balancing work and home. I think there is a bigger balance for self-employed, small business, entrepreneurial individuals.

Each day, we balance so many pieces of this work/life pie:

  1. home (keeping the house running – the honey do’s)
  2. partner in life (keeping the one we love the most close)
  3. family (keeping our loved ones close to feel like family)
  4. children (being a good father with a profound presence)
  5. working in our business (executing the daily tasks to generate revenue)
  6. working on our business (planning and preparing for tomorrow)
  7. growing our business (thinking and preparing for opportunities beyond)
  8. keeping the focus on our passions (defining those passions in personal and business life)
  9. finding time for ourselves (time to recharge those batteries)

Now look at that list and you think, we can combine some of these points into categories, but i specifically left them separated. Each of these have become so important and it has even taken me years to bring language to all of those points. What do I mean? It is being able to have the wisdom to actually write each point down and recognize each of their relative importances.

I read a wonderful blog in the Harvard Business Review, here is an interesting quote:

“…according to one survey, 75 percent of male executives are married to homemakers.  It’s simply not possible to work 90 hours a week and see to your own basic needs – much less support someone else’s career. It works the other way, too: with only one salary to rely on, those husbands need all the wage premium they can get.”

It goes on to share this…

“Millennial men are beginning to do what women have done for decades: to work as consultants or start their own businesses that give them the flexibility for better work-family balance. A forthcoming study of New Models of Legal Practice by the Center for WorkLife Law documents lawyers in their prime who left large, prestigious law firms so they could practice law in ways that allow them to be more involved in children’s lives.”

Now I am a Gen X…so I miss this point by a few years. But…I can definitely relate. Sometimes I fell like I am a millennial. I did what all Gen X’s do. I attended a four year school and received a degree, got a job, and started working my way up the corporate ladder. BUT, a few years into my career…I realized that I was working too damn hard and not making enough money. Also…there was a cap on my long term opportunities.

So I started over…went back to graduate school to get a focused education. I was re-emerging in the business world in a post 911 era. A time when entrepreneurship was becoming common place in the tech world.

Realizing this path…working for myself, learning to start a family, and grow a business; the list above started emerging point by point.

This takes me back to my passion…my ultimate focus. Rose and Sarah are my passion and all things are wrapped around their lives sarah and the life we are building together.

Vote for Rose


Rose needs your help. You are a part of the honorary Rose fan club and so it is the purpose of this blog post to solicit your help.

Rose is part of a portrait contest and she needs your vote. If you go to and follow the directions to vote for Rose (Contestant #22), she could possibly win but your vote could help save lives. Each vote costs one dollar and all the proceeds from the voting contest go the Bryan NICU at the GHS Children’s Hospital. The goal this year is to raise $20,000…so we need 20,000 votes.

Imagine…if each one of you voted one time! Imagine if 500 of you that read this blog post would cast one vaote…that would total $500 dollars donated. Imagine if those 500 voted twice, that would be 1000 votes for Rose amounting to $1000. Imagine if those 500 voted twice and then shared this twice blog post twice…imagine.

Imagine…Rose winning this photo contest and all the money you donate through your votes goes directly to the Bryan NICU at GHS Children’s Hospital. And even if she does not win, you have helped save lives, children’s lives.

Each of you has told me how much you have enjoyed all of Rose pictures and portraits. Tiffiney Addis has been capturing Rose from the moment she was born, literally.

Tiffiney Addis of Tiffiney Photography is hosting this photo contest in an effort to give back. If it was not for the Bryan NICU of GHS Children’s Hospital, her daughter Sadie Mae would not be here today. Last year she raised $15000 with this photo contest, and we hope that with your help we can exceed this year’s goal of $20000.

We need you to vote for Rose, contestant #22. Very simple, CLICK HERE or go to and vote. Remember, Rose is contestant #22. The deadline is Friday, March 15th at 5pm. Happy Voting!

Thanks for your help!


Happy New Year from the Cabin!

Rose is helping me with a little work, but the family is enjoying a wonderful vacation in the mountains of Georgia. We are looking forward to catching up with everyone once we return from our vacation on January 9th. Happy New Year!!!

i feel like i am branding my little girl…

It is the new age…the new digital age. I spend so much time teaching my college students and entrepreneurial clients about personal brands. Identifying their brand, securing digital URL’s on all the social outlets, and creating an awareness online that supports and reinforces a consistent brand message.

Here I am…a new daddy. Well, 20 weeks away from the birth of my little girl. It was just last week that we found out we are having a little girl. The big hoopla was surrounded by the idea that we were going to forego finding out if it is a boy or a girl during the 20 week ultrasound. Instead, ask the doctor’s office to put the sex of the baby in an envelope to be opened that evening with the rest of the family. Oh well, too bad the ultrasound technician forgot to hold back the image that said “female” during the ultrasound. This was just the beginning of what was not going to be easy…deciding a name for the little one!

Deciding a name is like a branding exercise. This one name represents so many things. So much legacy. So many stories of what is to come. This name is more than a name, it is the beginning of her own special family tree. Did you know that little infant girls, by the time they are born, have one million eggs in their little womb. Yes…one million little pieces of DNA that are a lifetime of legacy. How do we find a name to encapsulate a lifetime of stories and what is to come.

How do major brands come to the conclusion that one name represents so much. How do parents come to that one conclusion that one little name represents the family tree of the past, present, and future. Most major brands have wonderful, creative copy writers and researchers. They try to understand audiences, vision, mission statements, products, services, and legacy. But the little name of a little girl is so much more.

Well…we figure it out, I think, I hope. We researched all the past female names on both sides of the family….dating back hundreds of years. We looked at the meanings of names. We looked at whether to step away from family names and branch out to something new. We were waiting on that feeling, that “ah-ha” moment when it feels right. Because we know…that all the research, analysis, copy writing, and discussion is void to that one moment in time when that perfect name just makes sense.

Deciding a little girls name is, was, and will continue to be bigger than any messaging/branding project I have ever tackled. It is my little girl’s legacy. Yes…she is Rose Frances Rettew.

And her name is….

Yes…she has a name! After a week of tossing around names, we have finally come to the conclusion. Rose Frances Rettew. Kind of has a nice ring to it. We found out last week she is a girl during our 20 week ultrasound. If you watch above, you can see her playing around. She was kind of quiet during the ultrasound…the technician had to resort to some interesting measures to get her to move around. Just like a “Weathers” girl…she was a bit stubborn. Sarah’s maiden name is “Weathers”.

But this all began with the day of the ultrasound. We wanted to share the gender with the family the same time we would find out. Meaning, we wanted the ultrasound technician to put the gender in an envelope for us to open later. Well, she made a little error…leaving the screen grab with the sex identification out on the table. Sarah accidentally picked up the images to thumb through and noticed the one that said “Female” and an arrow to point to the “area in question.”

So, as you can see in the video immediately above, we held our secret to make it more natural for the announcement that evening. If you watch, you can see all of the family’s reactions including some funny off-color comments. My mom’s husband Steve has dry sense of humor. It was surreal all day, after we found out that she was a girl. Sarah and I immediately sat and chatted about it. We both thought if was going to be a boy, we really did. Our whole family thought it was going to be a boy…we just had a feeling. So when the ultrasound said she was a girl, it took us back for a second.

Obviously, Sarah was so excited to have a little girl. With two nieces ages close to 4 and 2, the family already has lots of girl things purchased. A boy would have been a whole new concept in the family. I think I was speechless for a while. I think deep down, all guys want a boy. I was not upset…I had just come to the realization that this was for real. Yes. I am not the one who is carrying this child everyday during the pregnancy. I am not dealing with an achy back and sore feet. I am not the one who looks in the mirror to see my stomach area growing with a “little one” inside. I am not the one who lays on the table for the ultrasound machine to go across my belly to see what is inside. I am the guy watching from afar.

***Note…I had my first pregnant request yesterday. A text at 8:30 in the morning that the A/C in the SUV was acting up and spitting out warmer air. Translation…GET YOUR BUTT OVER HERE AND FIGURE THIS OUT. I AM A PREGNANT WOMAN AND ANY COLD AIR THAT IS ANYTHING LESS THAN SUB-POLAR TEMPERATURES IS UNACCEPTABLE. I write this as I know I will be in the dog house when Sarah reads my translation, knowing I am using the voice I use to interpret how she is saying things. HEHE…I write in jest. The car is fine, she was sitting at a stoplight a little longer than normal and the temperature rose 3 degrees from 60 to 63 degrees. The summer has not even begun.

Back the topic at hand. Sarah had a feeling about the name “Rose” and wanted her middle name to be carried on “Frances”. I had a few names in mind but nothing I felt strong about. But saying her name meant it was real. Not the ultrasound, but actually giving her a name and saying out loud meant it was for real.  Yes…that this 37 year man who is stuck in his ways is going to have to change it all. It was kind of a scary moment having to articulate a name, because in 4 months this self-employed guy is going to be a Daddy.

Writing this post is a big one for me…being able to share and articulate her name. Saying her name has been an awakening, that she is for real. That she is going to be here soon. She is my responsibility. She will be one of the single most important responsibilities I will ever have in my life. Kind of crazy, kind of humbling, kind of anxious, kind of excited, and kind of relived that I can say her name…Rose Frances Rettew.

The big announcement!

So yes…the big announcement. The anticipation to speak freely about this announcement comes with the anxiousness of talking too freely. Yes…we are pregnant, as you can see in the little video above. We are 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant and we are so scared to get excited, fearful that something might happen to take this little bundle of joy away. But this anxious is soon to move to relief…it is finally our turn.

After 3 years and 3 miscarriages, Z4 has overcome all the odds. This is the furthest along we have ever made it. The 4 in Z4 stands for number four. Well…the Z comes from starting out as what clinical terms would call the little bundle of joy a Zygote. We are past the Zygote stage…but Z4 kind of has a ring to it. Ole Z4 is just keeps on growing, giving us more reasons each day to have faith…faith to see this little bundle of happiness bless us with his/her presence on September 13th. Yes…we have a due date.

Where did it all begin, well on our way home from our Christmas Vacation…January 1st to be exact, Sarah peed on the stick. For some crazy reason, Sarah has been peeing on sticks for three months previous like a mad woman. We could now invest in this technology. Do you know how expensive those little jokers are? She just happened to have one, and when we stopped on the way through Atlanta…the McDonalds bathroom provided the perfect venue to let us know that 2011 is going to be a good one.

For the next two months, we have been visiting a Reproductive Endocrinologist every two weeks, watching ultrasound after ultrasound. The little booger was growing and I recorded each one on my iPhone, sharing the video with close family. I missed the first one because the doc was so efficient, he did not give me time to get the phone out and capture the moment. He had us mesmerized with ultrasound technology and the thumping of a little heart. Sarah made me swear to never miss a video capture opportunity again. My close friend Patti wrote me after watching one of the videos stating that this little one will be the most video’d child she has ever seen.

So here we are…and we finally want to share. We are still a bit anxious, praying nothing happens. The little one has us attached, excited…it is our hope that you will share in our excitement. Z4’s heart rate is 154 b/m…my brother-in-law is making fun of me…saying it will be a girl. “Ole Wives Tales”…who believes in them. Especially since a fast heart rate by 12 weeks indicating a girl cannot be an “Old Wives Tale.” Why? Well, ultrasound technology has only been around scanning pregnancies since 1987. That is not old!

Anyways…not that I am opposed to a girl, but Sarah is one of three girls and her sister has two girls herself. Five women in this family, other than me and my brother-in-law…we need some testosterone in this family. But, if Z4 proves to be a stubborn little lady…well, I am just fine with her being daddy’s little girl.

So life is changing. Here I am…37 years old. My first child on the way. Self employed, entrepreneur, getting ready to be a sole supporter. Life is crazy, fun, exciting, and I love it. To my clients, get ready…might have a business meeting with my little one. Z4 is proving to be a college football child…gonna be born in the heart of Clemson Football season. Happy Birthday to myself…today is my birthday, and this day marks the beginning of the 2nd trimester. Apparently for couples like Sarah and I, that is a big step.

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