Kate and my Gate

I want to give you an update on two of my favorite issues lately, Kate Hansen and my gate.

First the gate. As you can see in the photo below, it is closed… has been pretty much everyday since I “caught my neighbor boys” walking through my backyard and gave them the “assignment” to help keep it closed. I actually saw them helping each other shut and latch it this morning on their way through. I love the fact that these two boys have taken the responsibility of keeping my gate locked so seriously. Makes me happy every time I see this:


Second Kate Hansen. Kate came in 10th in the Olympic Luge event, but 1st in the hearts and minds of so many who have come to know her the past few days. Even Beyonce posted her photo on her Facebook page and wrote “Go Kate.” My favorite article on Kate was published in the LA Times, and included this awesome commentary:

“There’s nothing in the Olympic motto about winning. None of the five Olympic rings is gold. Sometimes it’s not about the speed of the sled, but the view from the sled, especially if it’s in the eyes of a 21-year-old Southern California kid riding atop a snow-covered sport on the other side of the world.

Sometimes, as Kate Hansen reminded everyone, it’s not about greatness you take from these Games, but the gratitude you leave behind.”

Kate Dancing

Thanks to Kate for the smiles and the genuine gratitude for it all and to my neighbor boys for minding my gate.

Life is good.

Cheering on Kate Hansen Today!

Kate Hansen

In June of 2010, our family moved to the beautiful little town of LaCanada, California. The day our furniture arrived, I came home from work to find boxes stacked every where, and my wife and kids on a couch in the center of it all in tears – they were not happy to have been uprooted from our home of 11 years in Bountiful, UT.

Later that week a bright, smiling, young woman somehow found her way to our home and everything changed. That summer, she befriended all three of my teenagers and took them on amazing adventures in the LA area. Kate led my son and two oldest daughters to Dodger games, to the Hollywood sign, to the rooftop of a local shopping center and to the beach (often). Kate has a larger than life personality that all of us Blakes warmed to, but by fall she was gone.

Turns out, that this Southern California surfer had somehow decided she wanted to be an Olympic Luge athlete. So, when the summer ended, she traded her surfboard for a sled and went off to cold weather climates to train and compete.

Her road has been long, and she missed the 2010 Olympics. She almost quit several times, but she didn’t. This fall, she was having the race of her career when she broke her foot – not a good thing for a sport that requires minor adjustments in your feet to steer. Despite her broken foot, she went on that day to a personal best and won the event and put herself on the map for the 2014 USA Olympic Team.

Today at 3:15 and then at 4:20 in Park City, UT, Kate Hansen will race to secure her spot on the USA Team and if all goes well will receive an official Olympic invitation in a press conference just after 6pm. My family will be there – my girls wouldn’t miss it.

In our prayers this morning, my four year old, who typically prayers for things that impact her (her cousin will be nice, her mom will take her to a fun place, etc.) asked her Heavenly Father to help “Kate win her race.” I believe God answers prayers, though I don’t think he is too involved in sports, but I do think He appreciates a woman like Kate Hansen – not so much as an athlete, but because of her ability to love and inspire others.

At Jewel Kade, we have determined that our mission is to “remind women everywhere of the power within.” Kate Hansen is a poster child of a woman who has discovered her personal inner power. Because of her discovery, Kate has helped other young women (my daughters included) discover a little something in them.

Here is hoping that Kate Hansen becomes an Olympian… and if an Olympic Medal will allow Kate to influence more young women, I hope she brings home Gold.

This afternoon, I’ll be in Park City, holding my 4 year old –whose name is also Kate–cheering Kate Hansen on to victory and hoping God answers a little girl’s prayer.

Kate Hansen wFamily

The Mystery of the Fence


This is my fence. As you can see it is open, not closed. It’s been driving me crazy for two months or so. Every morning I walk out to my truck and the fence is open, and I walk over and close it.

Last Friday morning I woke up early and went out and tightened my fence and adjusted the hinges to make sure it was level. I pushed on the fenced, then pulled on the fence and it stayed shut. “Finally!” I thought, “I fixed the fence.”

Next I started installing a new tow hitch receiver on the front of my truck. As I sat up from tightening a bolt, standing about four feet from my face was a short neighbor kid. I was a bit startled, but said “how’s it going.” He smiled and kept walking — to school.

As he walked off, I finished my work and went to clean up and guess what? My fence was open.

Turns out, I fixed the wrong problem — the open fence had nothing to do with loose bolts, but rather it was the work of an inventive boy.

My fence doesn’t bother me as much anymore, in part because I like the kid and I’m happy he feels like he can take a short cut through my yard. The other reason I’m not too worried about it, is because I know that it’s easy to solve problems caused by mechanical parts and machines, it takes more time to change the behavior of a human — especially a boy.

Will my fence ever be fixed? Yep. But not until I have the chance to train the boy and make him feel it is worth the time to change his behavior. These type of fixes take a bit more time.. But one day, I’ll be out working in my drive way, maybe shoveling snow this winter and my young friend will make his way through my fence and I’ll have a chance to ask him for his help. I’ll say something like, “Eric, I think it’s cool that you take a short cut through the yard, but I need your help. I’m looking for someone who can help me keep my fence gate closed when I’m not around. Will you do me a favor and every time you see the gate open, will you close it as you go by? Will you do that for me?”

He’ll forget sometimes, but I’ll catch him closing it and every time I see him after that I’ll say, “Eric, you are the man! Ever since I put you in charge of keeping my fence closed, it has been closed almost every time I’ve gotten in and out of my truck. Thank you for doing such a good job.”

Turns out boys like being “the man” and chances are Eric will start working to keep my fence closed even more accurately than a tightened bolt would. So, my fence is open at this very minute, but I can see the future and know that there will be a day when the fence will be fixed, and a boy will be better because of it. So, I’m happy and can’t wait to catch the kid.

At Jewel Kade we are in a constant state of discovery, looking for fences that are open because of a loose bolt — and tightening those bolts quickly — and looking for fences that are open for other reasons. Finding the right tool and making sure you’re fixing the right problem takes more time than most would think. I’m happy because I see us catching the “kid” responsible for this and that everyday and making the changes that will keep the fence closed consistently over time, not just until the next school bell rings.