Family FUN Sledding Day !

Winter is here. One fun winter activity for families is sledding. Did you know that even though Lincoln does not have a single mountain, it was once named a top 10 location for sledding by USA today!

Right here in our own capitol city is a top-rated sledding spot! Pioneers Park (3201 South Coddington Ave.) has ramps at the top of the hill that help sledders build up speed for the perfect adrenaline filled sled ride.

Another local favorite spot is Holmes Lake (70th and Normal Blvd) which has plenty of room for the perfect social distancing sled ride. Tanker Hill (5139 W Loring St) is a hidden gem in West Lincoln that boasts a fun hill, but also a great view of the city.

Just a short drive from Lincoln is Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (I-80 exit #426 near Ashland) featuring three runs that you can spend the day or night sledding on. The runs are open from 8am to 10pm and are lit after dark for a little night sledding under the winter sky.

Let’s wish for the perfect snow, bundle up the kids and pack up the sleds for some inexpensive winter memories. If you are not an adrenaline junkie, bring a chair and fill up the insulated bottle with a tasty hot beverage and enjoy watching the sledders fly down the hills of the beautiful great plains.

10 Ways for Kids to Spread a Little Kindness This Summer

With school out for longer than anticipated and traditional summer go-tos like pools and camps on shaky ground, parents around the world are looking for creative new ways to keep their kids entertained. Why not make it a win-win situation by spreading a little kindness with those activities? Here are a few wonderful ways to pass on some joy.

  1. Help a small business owner start the day with a smile by writing a heartfelt note of appreciation and taping it to their front door after closing hours. When they return the next day to unlock the doors for business, this happy surprise will be waiting for them!
  2. Pick one or two beloved books you are willing to part with, wrap them up in some pretty paper and leave them with a note for another child to find at a park.
  3. Make a beautiful mosaic out of sidewalk chalk by using painter’s tape to outline a shape and geometric lines within it. Then color, remove the tape and watch as passersby are awed. For bonus points, add an encouraging message beside the artwork.
  4. Leave a little love for your mail carrier by decorating a poster board to thank them for their service. They deliver in snow, rain or shine, after all!
  5. Before going for some ice cream, break into that piggy bank and get enough change to cover the purchase of the next person behind you in line.
  6. Find some stones from your yard and use paint to decorate them with flowers, animals or happy sayings. Then go on a walk around the neighborhood and leave the newly colorful stones for others to find.
  7. Mail a hug to a grandparent by having someone help trace the upper half of your body with your arms stretched out on a big sheet of paper. Then cut it out, decorate it, fold it up and send it in an envelope!
  8. Make “happy notes” by writing positive messages or sayings on Post-it Notes and leaving them in places for strangers to discover.
  9. Set up a dog-walking station by your sidewalk with a bowl of water for pups to drink while walking by plus some spare plastic bags from the grocery store for any pet owners who may have forgotten their own to clean up from doggy potty breaks. Add a sign to invite both the dog and walker to help themselves!
  10. Pick a bouquet of flowers from your garden, tie it up in ribbon and leave it on the porch of a special neighbor for extra special delivery.

6 Inspiring Ways Our Community Stays United While Social Distancing

Sewing masks for COVID-19 front lineConsidering most of us never heard the phrase “social distancing” before mid-March, it’s incredible that the principle so quickly altered life. While people in our community kept physical distance from each other in efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19, they continued connecting in creative, inspiring ways — proving that “coming together” isn’t just about getting together in person.

Sunshine Kids for Seniors Project:

Dozens of kids answered the city’s call to create artwork or write letters for seniors in our community. Rather than mail the originals, the kids (and their parents) were encouraged to scan and email photos of the creations, which city officials then printed out in full color and delivered to appreciative seniors.

Beatrice ‘Cruise Night’:

Just like Friday nights of years past, residents of Beatrice came out to “cruise” around town in their cars while waving to friends and calling out hellos.

Living Room Learning:

More than 200 students from around Nebraska and other states participated in biweekly livestream video sessions led by 4-H educators. Each meeting offered fun, educational activities using supplies most families were likely to have on hand.

Park Bingo:

With parks and trails still “open for business,” Lincoln Parks & Recreation created a fun bingo game that families could use while spending time in the great outdoors. You could check off the box for “wave to a new friend” to feel connected while maintaining 6 ft. of space.

Great Lincoln Easter Egg Hunt:

Thousands of people from around our community participated in the inaugural “Great Lincoln Easter Egg Hunt,” which challenged them to decorate paper eggs to display on the windows or doors of their home and then drive or walk around to spot more eggs.

Masks and caps for healthcare professionals:

Members of the Lincoln Quilters Guild — along with many other people from our community — answered the call to provide more masks and scrub caps for healthcare professionals.

How To Give Back During The Holiday Season

Giving Back during HolidaysIn the words of Winston Churchill, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”

As we pause this month and express our thankfulness, it should also be an opportunity to think about how we can spread the joy within our community. From volunteering to supporting local organizations that do great deeds, there truly are ways for everyone to pay it forward.

Thanksgiving food distribution for the Center for People in Need:

As a community-based nonprofit, the Center for People in Need works throughout the year to provide resources to lift people out of poverty. For Thanksgiving, they host a special food delivery (between Nov. 23-25 this year) and are in need of volunteers. Apply ahead of time to help.

Meal and gift donations for the Friendship Home:

With support, shelter and advocacy services for domestic violence victims and their children, the Friendship Home is an important part of our community. During the holiday season, they welcome meal and gift donations.

Thanksgiving day meal service at Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach:

With daily meals for anyone who walks through their doors, Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach serves a wonderful role in Lincoln. With so many meals, they always welcome new volunteers and donations—but especially as they provide a warm Thanksgiving meal. Apply now to help serve.

Gift wrapping volunteers for the Boys & Girls Club:

Throughout the year, the Boys & Girls Club offers safe spaces, educational programs and positive mentorship to children and teens. For the holiday season, they welcome donations and volunteers to help wrap gifts.

These are just a few of the many wonderful organizations that are improving the lives of people in the region. For more information or to discover other ways to get involved—now and throughout the year—you can search to find organizations that match your interests.

Deeper Meaning Found in Guatemala

Truly Inspiring

Amy Mosser finds deeper meaning in Guatemala

As a Woods Bros agent who is involved in the local community, Amy Mosser has always been guided by the mission to leave the world a better place than she found it. But it wasn’t until her first outreach visit to Guatemala in 2012 that Mosser realized just how far-reaching her impact could truly be—and how transformative these missions are for anyone who feels the same call to help.

“If there’s ever been a tug on their heart, I know their life would never be the same,” Mosser says, encouraging others to take the leap into mission work.

Mosser was inspired to take her first trip by a close friend, Valerie Edwards of Kansas, who was caught in a heartbreaking limbo when the Guatemalan government closed international adoptions when she was already in the process of bringing home her son, Mateo. That caused what would have been a months-long adoption journey to drag on for three years, during which time the Edwards family made multiple visits to Mateo’s orphanage.

With more children in need of a home than local families were able to provide, the Edwards family witnessed first-hand as orphanages became overcrowded and undersupported. Even after Mateo was able to join his adoptive family in the United States, Edwards felt called to assist the children back in Guatemala—so she asked Mosser to help establish the non-profit For the Love of Mateo and return to the orphanage.

“We just went down there and literally held the babies that don’t even get human touch,” Mosser says, describing the small, concrete-floored building that housed 44 children and just two nannies.

Although they knew how meaningful the mission had been for the children in the orphanage, both women recognized there was a need for so much more support throughout Guatemala. In the years since, Mosser has returned eight times to deliver bunk beds, provide hundreds of pairs of children’s shoes and even to assist in building family homes.

Through each of these acts, Mosser says there is a ripple effect that’s incredible to witness: With the beds, people have comfortable places to sleep that give them the energy for productive days. With the shoes, which are preceded in delivery by the team washing the children’s feet, the little ones receive the gifts of pride and confidence. And with the family homes, multiple generations have the tools they need to make a living.

During her most recent trip, Mosser says this last point was said so beautifully by one of the new homeowners. “We all got in a circle and the father prayed and said while we all may come from different religions, we all have the same heart.”

Mosser says preparations are already underway for the next mission in June 2020, which begins months in advance with For the Love of Mateo helping to employ people in Guatemala and keeping money circulating in the economy. The team will then put the final touches on four new homes, deliver 20 bunk beds and put the shoes on the feet of 300 more children.

While Mosser is looking forward to another opportunity to serve the people of Guatemala, she also believes the mission is also a gift to those who participate. If you feel called to experience this for yourself, she encourages you to reach out to her personally or visit the For the Love of Mateo website to learn more.

#NebraskaFlood | How To Help

Flooding of a town in Nebraska
Dave Kettering -Telegraph Herald – AP

Over the past week much of the state has experienced tragedy as floods have submerged homes, farms and communities. Bridges have been swept away, roads have been eroded, lives have been changed.

In order to help restore some hope, we have put together ways you can help the victims of this natural disaster. Remember when donating to make sure you are giving to a trusted organization and not a scam. To learn how to ensure you’re doing this, read this note from Attorney General Doug Peterson.

Some trusted organizations you can donate to include:

  • The Salvation Army
  • Red Cross
  • Local United Way
  • Nebraska Department of Agriculture
  • Nebraska Cattlemen
  • Local Community Foundations
  • Nebraska Farm Bureau
  • Nebraska Preparedness Partnerships

Local news outlets 10/11 Now and Lincoln Journal Star have put together great information regarding these organizations and what they are looking for to help flooding victims.

Governor Pete Ricketts also suggests reaching out to your county’s Emergency Management Director/Coordinator which can be found the on Nebraska Emergency Management Agency here. The NEMA website also can help provide great information for situations like these including where to find Red Cross shelters and health resources.

Remember to check in with your favorite local charities and organizations to see what they are accepting in relief. Many local religious organizations and charities are working hard to provide support and relief. Be patient as their resources may be limited when organizing efforts of this magnitude .

Many locals restaurants are giving back too. On Wednesday, March 20th, from 5 pm to 9 pm the Raising Canes in Lincoln, Fremont, Norfolk, Grand Island, Kearney, and North Platte will giving 15 percent of their sales to The Salvation Army. They will also be serving as a donation drop site through Sunday. The Omaha locations will running the 15 percent giving on Wednesday, March 27th, from 5 pm to 9 pm.

Honest Abe’s will giving a free order of freedom fries to any person who donates non-perishable goods, cases of bottled water, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies and pre-packaged snack items for the flood victims from Tuesday, March 19th through Friday, March 22nd.

Pillar Restaurant Group is accepting item dropoffs on Tuesday, March 19th from 11 am to 10 pm at their locations: Venue Restaurant and Lounge, Piedmont Bistro by Venue, Cactus Modern Mexican & Catina by Venue. They are working with Silverhawk Aviation to get the supplies to their needed locations.

Nebraska continues to show why it is a truly special place to live. Remember to stay #NebraskaStrong and continue to help our families, friends, and neighbors as this will leave an impact for months to years.


Tim Francis: A Hawley Hero

Woods Bros Realty agent Tim FrancisRealtor, neighbor, friend.

Tim Francis is known as many things but one he may not call himself is a hero. A hero though is exactly how some may describe what he is to Lincoln’s Hawley Historic Neighborhood. After moving into the neighborhood 35 years ago, Tim has worked relentlessly to fulfill the potential he saw in the neighborhood many years back.

To read more about Woods Bros agent Tim Francis and his work for the Hawley neighborhood click here.

A Reason to Run

Reason to Run Image

Why do we run?

Ever since the formation of Woods Bros Realty, there has been a focus on what we can do to better the lives of those around us, that still carries on today. From the work of the Foundation for Giving to the individual actions of each team member, we at Woods Bros Realty proudly serve our communities. In our call to be custodians of those communities, we are looking forward to serving our mission by giving to and supporting local causes, organizations and events.

Coming in June, we are participating in races that support local charities. On June 2nd, we will have a team running in the Havelock Charity Run, with each team member supporting a local charity of their choice. Then on June 23rd, we will be participating in the Young Building Professionals’ Light the Way 5K to support Lincoln Lighthouse.

By running in these races, we have the opportunity to further serve our mission of community service. “This is a great opportunity to rally your friends together to run for a good cause,” stated Angela Nordhues, agent at Woods Bros Realty – Lincolnshire office.

Everyone has their own reason and story as to “what for” and “why they run”. The commonality we all share, is that we run to create a better tomorrow. That is the reason why we run. At Woods Bros Realty, we are thankful for our history of giving to and serving our communities and enthusiastic about our upcoming and future opportunities to make a positive impact.

If you’d like to participate in the Havelock Charity Run, click here to register!
If you’d like to participate in the Light the Way 5K, click here to register!


Woods Bros Realty agents cook chili, fight cancer

chili cookoff trophiesWoods Bros Realty agents and staff helped raised nearly $3,000 during the eighth annual Soup or Chili Cook-off for Cancer Wednesday in Lincoln.

The event featured seven different soup and chili entries, plus a cinnamon roll contest. Agents and staff vote for their favorite soup or chili with $1 voting beans, and the winner gets the People’s Choice Award. All proceeds go to the local American Cancer Society; the group has raised more than $18,500 in $1 voting “beans” to date.

Chris Arnold, HomeServices of Nebraska IT Network Administrator, won the People’s Choice Award for his chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. Woods Bros Wilderness Hills agent Dede Mau won third place for her potato soup.

There was also a Judges’ Choice Award given by guest judges. Celebrity judges this year were: KFRX Program Director and Morning Show Host Matt McKay, Channel 8 Eyewitness News Anchor Rod Fowler, Lazlo’s and Fireworks Owner Jay Jarvis, and Miss Teen Nebraska USA Samantha Washington.

This year the Celebrity Judge Award went to Woods Bros Country Club Office Receptionist Anna Spataro for her chicken chili. Third place went to Dede Mau.

chili cookoff winner
Celebrity guest judge Matt McKay with General Manager Shannon Harner and CEO Gene Brake with Judges’ Choice winner Anna Spataro and celebrity guest judges Rod Fowler, Samantha Washington and Jay Jarvis.

Mau also took home the Celebrity Judge Award for best cinnamon rolls, with Woods Bros Lincolnshire agent Miranda Watson coming in second.

cinnamon roll cookoff winner
Celebrity guest judge Matt McKay with General Manager Shannon Harner and CEO Gene Brake with Judges’ Choice Cinnamon Roll winner Dede Mau and celebrity guest judges Rod Fowler, Samantha Washington and Jay Jarvis.

“All of our agents and staff are affected by cancer either through family or friends,” said Director of Training & Recruitment Connie Hain, who coordinates the event. “This is one way we are able to help them support their loved ones.”

The 2017 soup and chili participants from Woods Bros Realty were Ty Potter, Lincolnshire office; Anna Spataro, Country Club office; and Dede Mau, Wilderness Hills office.

Cinnamon Roll Contest entries also included Country Club office agent Dave Boeckner.

View more photos from the event here.


Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving supports local charities

­­Members of Woods Bros Realty’s Foundation for Giving committee recently gave local charity organizations $16,400 in funds raised throughout the year.

The Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving was established in 1987 by Pace Woods, Sr. to support those less fortunate in local communities. Every time a Woods Bros Realty sales professional closes one side of a transaction, the agent makes contribution to the Foundation, which is then matched by the company.

Each fall a committee of agents—selected by their offices to serve four-year terms—reviews all the requests and determines funding. A Woods Bros agent or employee must sponsor each request accepted by the Foundation.

“Humbling, tear jerking and inspiring,” said committee member Jayne V. Debus in a plea to Woods Bros Realty agents for additional donations. “Only a few words to describe the past two days of listening to the needs of so many less fortunate people. Thank you for all your generous giving and your time to these worthy causes.”

This year, the transaction donation total was $11,800, with a last-minute appeal from the committee that raised an additional $4,600. Since the inception of the Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving, more than $347,200 has been donated.

“It is so awesome to see how many organizations are out there to help our friends, family and neighbors have the most successful lives possible,” said committee member Tyler Reynolds. “What may seem insignificant to us could mean a life changing experience for someone else.”

Charities receiving 2016 donations include: Bridges to Hope, St. Monica’s, Lincoln City Libraries, Food Bank of Lincoln, Lincoln Arts Council, Capital Humane Society, Hope Harbor in Grand Island, Lincoln Community Playhouse, Habitat for Humanity – Lincoln, Voices of Hope, TeamMates, Friendship Home, Huntington Elementary School, Lincoln Children’s Museum, YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, Elliott Elementary School, The Bridge Behavioral Health, Cedars Youth Services, CASA for York County, Make a Wish, Seward Youth Center, Habitat for Humanity – Grand Island, Pinewood Bowl Theater, and Young Life.

Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving members in 2016.
2016 Foundation for Giving committee members were (left to right): Russ Quick, Cindi Hahn, Co-Chairpersons Arla Meyer and Judy Sasek, Betty Sims, Shelly Nitz, Susan Vacarro, Staff Representative Nickie Casburn, Tyler Reynolds, Pat Schmit, Linda McCall and Jayne V. Debus.

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