VanDyk Mortgage - May 2020

MAY 2020

Letters From the Hart Give us a call! 239-437-4278 Or visit MAN WITH A VAN The Real Power of Tinted Windows Corporate NMLS #3035

Have you been driving a minivan?

I’m a pretty big dude. Of all the cars I could drive, I never saw myself behind the wheel of a minivan, and yet there I was, driving a white minivan all over town. It all started earlier this year when I got into a fender bender that put my truck in the shop for a few weeks. I needed something else to drive around for a while, but when I went to the rental car place, my options were pretty slim. All they had was a very, very small SUV or a white minivan. I’d never driven a minivan before, so I picked that one because I figured it would make for a funny story. Had I known it would be three weeks before I’d get my truck back, I might have reconsidered my choices. That said, I think minivans get a bad rap. Minivans, I quickly found out, are basically just SUVs — except $20,000 cheaper. There’s so much space inside! The kids loved it. The minivan we rented had two captain's seats in the middle, and they loved to lean those things back as far as they could and pretend to be asleep during every ride. There was even enough room for me to carry my baseball equipment around in the minivan, which was great. The problem? I looked like a dork driving it around. That’s the trouble with the minivan. No matter how spacious and useful they are, you still look ridiculous behind the wheel. Even though minivans first came out in the ‘80s, unlike other things from the 1980s, I don’t think minivans will ever be back

in style. They’re just not cool. That’s why people buy SUVs instead. That said, SUVs are much more expensive than a minivan. People buy SUVs because they need the storage and they want to look cool. If you don’t care about what other people think, then a minivan is easily a better option than an SUV based on price alone. After driving a minivan around for a few days, it grew on me, but I’m really glad to be back in my truck. I ran into so many people I knew while driving that minivan, and everyone had a comment. It was all in good fun. I started making jokes about it early on Facebook. The minivan was a pretty good rental car for us. That said, if you’re thinking about getting a minivan, I recommend investing in tinted windows. Trust me. No amount of space makes up for how old you feel when someone recognizes you behind the wheel of a minivan.

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While Following Social Distancing Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging communities across the U.S. to practice social distancing. While this will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, it also means that social interactions will be minimal. In addition to impeding many industries and businesses, this has significant impacts on families and friends who can no longer visit each other in person. Luckily, the technology we have today allows us to stay in touch while still practicing social responsibility. SPRUCE UP EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES Hopping on the phone or your laptop to video chat is a great way to reach out and catch up with loved ones. While folding laundry or doing other mundane chores, give a friend or your parents a call to idly chat; it can make your tedious tasks much more enjoyable. Video calls are also beneficial if, for example, you’re

missing out on your daily workouts with a friend. Hop on a video chat to practice yoga, cardio, or other simple exercise routines together.

and shows together: Netflix Party. If you have a desktop or laptop with a Chrome browser, visit to download the application. Once downloaded, open the movie or TV series you’d like to watch, create or join a “party,” then relax and enjoy the show while chatting with friends. These are only a few examples of how we can stay in touch during these concerning times. Talk with your family and friends and see what other creative ideas you can come up with together. Even though you may be apart from loved ones right now, virtual communication has never been easier or more plentiful.


video chatting by staying in touch with their friends while school and other activities are canceled. Letting your kids connect to social media is a pretty big step, so consider signing them up for Yoursphere or Kidzworld, kid-friendly networks that let them keep in touch with their friends while you can monitor their activity. Get in touch with other parents to set up virtual play dates over video chats for your kids. They can even watch a movie or TV show together. HOST A MOVIE NIGHT Speaking of movies, Netflix developed a unique way for people to watch movies

Turn Your Vacation Into a Staycation


backyard with hidden clues in the dirt or bushes. The ultimate prize can be something you would have purchased on your original vacation, like a souvenir you can find online. CREATE A 'FAMILY MUSEUM' Many vacations include an educational aspect in order to enrich our understanding of the place we’re visiting, and museums are a great way to accomplish that. If you’re confined to the house, then teach your kids about your own knowledge and interests and encourage them to get creative and make their own contributions, too. Have everyone create art, take photos, or write about their prized possessions. Display these masterpieces around your home and let their creators take you on a tour. Learning more about one another builds meaningful bonds.

BRING YOUR TRIP HOME You probably chose your original vacation destination in order to

experience new and different cultures and activities. But just because you’re no longer traveling to that location doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of what it has to offer! Research popular local cuisine, activities, and history of the area, then create ways to experience them with your family. Cook a traditional meal, recreate a scenic location through photographs, or share a story about local lore and history. Your changed plans will no longer feel like a missed opportunity. Staying at home doesn’t mean your family can’t have the fun of a vacation. All it takes is a little creativity and innovation to build an experience that will bring your family closer together.

Vacations provide opportunities for families to spend time together in a relaxed environment, get away from the routines of everyday life, and create meaningful memories. If you’ve recently had to cancel a trip but still want to create the experience

of a vacation for your family, then a staycation is just what you need.

TRANSFORM YOUR BACKYARD When you’re trying to recreate a vacation, the outdoor areas of your home present a variety of possibilities. You can turn a sandbox into a relaxing beach, complete with a kiddie pool “ocean.” If you have trees, then set up a zip line or obstacle course. You can even stimulate summer brains with a scavenger hunt around the

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plan. Then I called my pastor, who I hadn’t talked to in years, and asked her to get me into Teen Challenge. I told everybody what was going on with me so I couldn’t go back. Then I went into detox. If you’re trying to get off alcohol, the best thing you can do is go into detox. Benzos and alcohol are the two kinds of drugs that can kill you if you stop usage. Go to SalusCare, they’ll get you off the safe way.” After detox, Kevin got into Teen Challenge, a hardcore recovery program for people who are serious about overcoming addition. Teen Challenge has a 75% success rate, which is huge compared to the 5% success of other places. But it wasn’t an easy path. Kevin described Teen Challenge as “the worst summer camp ever, full of alcoholics and drug addicts trying to recover.” It was a yearlong process, and I was so proud of my cousin when I saw him graduate from the program. The thing about addiction is that it doesn't just hurt the person addicted. It puts stress on their spouse, their kids, their friends, and anybody who loves them. I asked Kevin what advice he had for someone who knows an addict.

SUDOKU “Life just sucks sometimes,” Kevin remarked while we were recording. “In those moments, what do we do with it? I haven’t always made the right decisions, so if someone can learn or get some hope from my story, know that it gets better, but you have to go through the process. There’s a way out.” “Pray and leave them alone,” Kevin said. “I know it sounds harsh. My aunt tried to help me in the beginning, and it broke her heart. She had to draw a line. My sister had to draw a line. Everybody had to draw a line to leave me alone to the point where I had to come to clarity myself. That’s the hardest part. Parents want to love their kid to sobriety, but they can’t. An addict has to figure it out on their own. Once they start doing better, and once you see them doing better, forgiveness is huge. But even then, you have to keep your boundaries.” If there’s someone in your life who is struggling with addiction or struggling to help a family member overcome their addictions, then feel free to share this podcast with them. You can find the full episode on I really appreciated Kevin making the time to talk to me about this. He’s been sober for two years, and I know what a struggle it was for him. By sharing his story, he hopes to help others.

This sent Kevin into a downward spiral. He started to drink a few times a week to cope with the emptiness of being alone. Then he was drinking more to help him sleep at night. Within six months, he had started drinking the moment he woke up every morning. “I knew it was a downward spiral, but I didn’t know how to get out of it,” Kevin told me. “It was scary and shameful. I used to be this good, happy-go-lucky Christian guy, and now I’m drinking every day. I started becoming suicidal and thought about driving off the I-75 bridge. The whole time, I was still playing softball, hanging out with friends, and keeping up this facade of ‘being normal.’” Kevin’s rock-bottom moment came just after Hurricane Irma. The day he was set to go back to work after the hurricane, he realized that his daughter had a terrible diaper rash. He’d passed out drunk the night before and let his daughter sleep in a dirty diaper. “That was my moment of clarity. I looked around and knew I had to do something drastic. I called my boss crying, begging him to fire me. I was going into a program, and I couldn't have a go-back

Trivia Question: What is the success rate for Teen Challenge?

Solution on Pg. 4

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Be the first to answer the question on Page 3 by emailing and win a Visa gift card!


Inside This Issue Tim Hart, NMLS #354676 8280 College Parkway Suite #101 Fort Myers, FL 33919

Give us a call! 239-437-4278 Or visit

Unexpected Perks of Minivans PAGE 1

Technology Saves the Day

3 Enriching Staycation Ideas PAGE 2

Testimonial From the Hart PAGE 3

There’s a Way Out PAGE 4

Overcoming Addiction With Kevin McAleer THE HARD ROAD OUT

Addiction is a huge problem in the United States. Almost everyone knows someone, be it a friend, family member, or coworker, who struggles with drugs or alcohol. There may be people reading this article right now who face that struggle themselves. It can be really hard for addicts to get the help they need, but they can recover. Recently, I spoke to my cousin, Kevin McAleer, about his journey to overcoming addiction.

Kevin began our conversation by urging people to abandon their preconceived notions about what an addict looks like.

“I wasn’t raised as an addict. I was a normal person,” he said. “I was heavily involved in my church and served there for many years. I worked, got married, and had a kid. What came next is what I call my bad country song. Over a two-year period, my mom died, my dog died, and my wife and I broke up. It absolutely broke me to my core.”


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