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Don’t Trash It– Cash It!

Table picture

People started selling their stuff on Craigslist in the late 90s—and since then, a multitude of local and national on-line selling sites have emerged.  My new favorite is the Marketplace app(lication) on Facebook.  When it comes to desktop garage sales, it’s simpler than just about everything else out there and requires next to no monitoring.

Last week, I sold close to $1000 of furnishings and other items I needed to get rid of in my quest to downsize my stuff.    Additionally, with a click and a call, I purchased a nearly-new farmhouse table and chairs (see the picture above) for fractions of the cost the original owner paid.

In my recent meanderings through Marketplace, I learned a few things that might  maximize your sales—if you are so inclined to try it out.  Obviously, you’ll need to know how to navigate Marketplace on Facebook first, but it’s nearly dummy-proof.   Once you’ve got that down, keep these things in mind:

  1. Take decent pictures—and don’t be afraid to stage. For instance, if you’re selling a table, snap that pic when it’s still being used.  Not when it’s stored in your shed.  Shoot from a few angles, including close up, being sure to focus on any special features or documentation that is available.
  2. If you want to sell fast, review what similarly priced things are selling for and go a tad lower. The goal to get it out of your house and make a little something in the process.  I sold my daughter’s Pier One Papasan chair for $20 in a day.  Last week, I saw a similar chair listed for $150.  Yesterday, I looked it up and it was down to $50, still with no likes or comments indicating interest.
  3. You want buyers to hand you money and leave with your product– so make sure they are getting exactly what they expected. Not one of my buyers bargained at all and I’m certain it was because my price was right and my description was accurate.  So…
  4. When you write your ad, put in only the details—skip all emotion or unnecessary words of description. Besides price, include exact measurements, color, age of item (if important), and any damage.
  5. People will come to your house. If you don’t want that, don’t sell online.  Scope out your potential buyers on Facebook before they come, however.  We all do it!
  6. Don’t sell anything that doesn’t work (unless it’s specifically listed as being sold for parts).
  7. If your item is large, and you are willing to deliver locally, make it an option. And list a fair price for delivery.  You can make a little extra that way!
  8. This may be just me, but don’t sell individual pieces of clothing or shoes. Especially not bathing suits!  Have a garage sale. Better yet, give them Good Will.
  9. If something doesn’t sell in two weeks, take it off for a week. Then relist it for a just a little lower.  New people are always looking.  If it doesn’t sell in another week, give it to Good Will.
  10. Or…if you have the skills, refurbish. I have a friend who made nearly $200 on a chest she bought for next to nothing then updated it with a little chalk paint!

It’s not a part time job, but daring to list your own, no-longer-used treasures may give you a little extra cash to pay off debts—or do a little Marketplace shopping of your own!

That Stupid Shoe!

exercise female fitness foot
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

I’ve always had a strong grip on the tragedy of life.  For most of my adulthood, I’ve lived anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop, often predicting desperate situations or sorrow with great accuracy.  I prided myself on this ability in fact.

I’ve slowly come to understand that lying awake at night, obsessively strategizing how I’ll deal with that stupid shoe when it drops, is not really living at all.   It was simply a coping mechanism I’d adapted to avoid a far worse outcome: painful situations that struck me down out of nowhere.  As long as I was prepared, I reasoned, I could handle anything.

I also began to see that the alternative strategy of trying to escape (or ignore) the hard times was just as bad.  In this world, suffering is inevitable.

I love the description of Jesus in Isaiah 53:3: ‘a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.’  He didn’t run from sorrow or manipulate circumstances to try to avoid a hard hit.  And even knowing with absolute certainty what was ahead for him didn’t make him paranoid.  Christ’s short life was full of loving, giving, traveling, teaching, eating, socializing, creating—and embracing great depth of emotion.

Suffering is not meant to cripple us.  Lamentations is an Old Testament book of poetry that is all about experiencing hard times, growing through them, then moving on with great strength. Not comfortably wrapping oneself within fear as I did.  Nor running from hardship—or, conversely playing the heroic victim/overcomer– as we humans are also prone to do.

Nothing summarizes the necessity of balance better than Lamentations 20-23: “My soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!”

Did you know the phrase ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ originated from that anxious feeling a person might have waiting for the second loud noise to occur after being rudely awakened by an upstairs neighbor dropping one shoe on the floor?  Apropos isn’t it?

My attitude is changing about that other shoe. Who knows?  Maybe that neighbor fell asleep with one shoe still on.  Maybe not.   But rather than wait around anxiously trying to predict the bang, I’m focusing more on living in the space between now and then!

 

 

 

I’m Speaking Dog These Days

Joey (2)

I swore I would never be one of those “dog people.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. A lot.  I’ve had a dog in my life forever– just never had “a fur baby.”  I’ve never bought an airline ticket for any pet I’ve owned.  I’ve never had a doggy front pack or stroller.  I purchased whatever dog food was on sale and served it up in old Cool Whip containers.  My leashes never matched the collars. And I seriously struggled to hand over my hard-earned cash to a doggy beautician.

Several months ago, not too long after our youngest child moved out of the house, we had to put our two poodley-type dogs to sleep. They’d grown up with our kids, so it was pretty tragic.  As a way to ease the transition, we purchased a toy-sized Australian Shepherd puppy. We named him Joey.

I should have known things were going to get crazy when we spent over $40 on our very first bag of puppy food and nearly twice that in toys and supplies. Because, oh my goodness (!!!), both my husband and I have gone completely bonkers over him.

Rather than explain, I’ve transcribed for you the conversation Joey and I had just this morning:

Joey: Momma, can I come to the airport with you tonight to pick up Nana?

Me (bending over to kiss him on the snout): Oh, my little Joey-Boey, I’m so sorry.  Nana is allergic to puppies.

Joey: Preez momma? (Joey can’t pronounce his r’s very well)  I’ll sit on the fwoor and be weally quiet.

Me (wiping a tear away because he’s just so stinkin’ cute!): Maybe daddy can stay home with you so you won’t be all alone.

Joey (jumping up into my arms… seriously he did! Have you ever seen how high Aussies can jump?): Yes!  Yes!  You’re the best!  Can daddy take me to the dog park to pway?  And maybe to Petco cuz it’s where the pets go?

Me:  Of course my sweet little Joey-Poey-Puddin’-and-Pie!  Who’s momma’s wittle baby?

Joey:  I am!  I am!  I wuv you momma!

True story.  To make it even worse, this whole conversation was not just in my head, it was completely audible! With ME playing both parts.  My husband is just as bad as I am.  And frankly, even I am a little horrified that Joey’s voice sounds exactly the same, no matter which of us is speaking for him.

I guess the danger of becoming one of those ‘dog people’ is past.  I’ve evidently arrived.

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals…”  Proverbs 12:10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Im A Believer! (in the Instant Pot)

chicken close up dish food
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

A good friend of mine recently started cooking with an Instant Pot .  And well, ‘evangelical’ pretty much describes her endorsement because I went out and bought one yesterday. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with this amazing invention, think pressure cooker-crock pot merger.)

OK… her testimony wasn’t the sole deciding factor but it was a biggie. Call me crazy, but in our recent kitchen redux, we canned our microwave (which I plan to address in an upcoming post).  At 3pm, I realized whole chicken I’d planned to roast for dinner was nesting comfortably in the back of my freezer.  Evidently, our micro-defrost habit was being forcefully broken.  My husband merely had to remind me of my friend’s enthusiasm for the Instant Pot and I ran out to get one.

Is it enough to say that we were eating a delicious, tender whole chicken by 5:30pm? The actual cook time was 35 minutes from frozen!

In this ongoing pursuit of mine to make space for beautiful living, this may be a game changer when it comes to meal time.  I grew up with family dinners—and I’ve continued that tradition because it fosters connection.  For at least one meal a day, even now that it’s just my husband and myself, we sit down together at the table to eat.  No TV. No phones.  Just talk time.  We enjoy cooking together and value healthy, balanced, homemade organic meals.

What I’m not passionate about, however, is spending an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen.

The fact that we could go from frozen to feast in under an hour is pretty impressive. I’m making a Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowl tonight for dinner—and tomorrow Greek yogurt is on my docket.  And maybe I’ll try the split pea soup later in the week.  I’ll keep you posted, but right now, I’m certainly a believer.

“They broke bread in their home and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Acts 2:46

If you are interested in ordering an Instant Pot for yourself– click on the picture of it above and it will take you to Amazon.com.  I’m an affiliate provider of products I love– and will receive a commission if you purchase through this link!

 

Here’s the links for recipes:

https://redandhoney.com/how-to-cook-a-frozen-whole-chicken-in-the-instant-pot/

https://spoonacular.com/recipes/instant-pot-vegan-quinoa-burrito-bowls-862194

http://naturemoms.com/blog/2017/05/01/making-yogurt-lux-instant-pot/

Rainy Day Rehab

abstract rain lightbulb
Photo by David McEachan on Pexels.com

In the Midwest where I come from, the entertainment and hospitality industries have the corner on inclement weather.  Rain? Snow?  It’s all good.  Think Mall of America. Giant indoor water parks. And cozy downtown walkways habitrailing from building to building, restaurant to restaurant, shop to shop.

Here in South Florida, when it rains, it usually pours itself out quickly—and then it’s all sun and outdoor play again. When a tropical storm floods our yards and streets, however, we pretty much stay put.  Like now.  It’s Day 2 of Alberto… and Saturday. And I’d been looking forward to digging in my landscape.   It doesn’t help that my husband gleefully ran to the corner bait shop for shrimp.  Apparently fish love rain.

I seldom acknowledge sovereign slow-downs. Or do alone time. Or am quiet.  I confess, my first inclination was to work my indoor to-do list.  But I held back and scrolled through my Facebook feed until I was into yesterday.  Then, fearing I might get into a cleaning frenzy if I addressed the dishes in my sink, I sat down on the porch and watched the squirrels slide angrily down the wet pole of my bird feeder. And I laughed with the cardinals who were happy to have it to themselves for a change.  Then I read through an old folder of poems I wrote in high school and thought about who I now am. I called my sister-in-law who I never get a chance to talk to.  And I wrote.

For over four hours I whittled away my time with a whole lot of nothingness. And I have to admit, I felt oddly refreshed.  Could I do this a little more regularly?  I’d like to say yes.  My temptation, though, is to add it to the bottom of my to-do list. And that just feels messed up.  So, for now, I’m holding this idea of ‘not planning a thing’ loosely in my hand and surrendering it to God to see what He might inspire.

And I’m praying for more rain.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

Making Space

bench-blur-books-459791Spending quality time with people trumps work-a-holism.  All the time.  I believe that with everything I am.

It doesn’t really matter that I believe those words, however.  Because the sad truth, for me, is that it’s always been work first, then relationship.  And sometimes work took so long, relationship just didn’t happen.

Maybe it’s the subtle messages I picked up on a child.  Work hard, then play.  Do it right or not at all.  A clean house is a sign of an orderly mind.  Burn the candle at both ends while you’re young so you can enjoy life later on.

It comes as no surprise that I married a man who bought into those same misguided principles.  Throughout our marriage, we constantly preached the value of connection while we ran around with our heads chopped off!  We had a remodeling business for years—gave our time to crafting cozy spaces for families to enjoy, yet never slowed down to enjoy our own.  When the remodeling industry tanked in 2008, we built a small assisted living facility, catering to families who desired to have their loved ones cared for in a more quiet, intimate setting than most institutions were able to offer.  But for 8 years, we never came up for air.  We volunteered at church— teaching and giving and serving—all the while committing to so much extra stuff that we’d fall into bed exhausted with the effort.

Between the two of us, we had plenty of ideas and visions of how things could change.

Last July, my husband and I decided we’d had enough with imagining.  We actually took the first intrepid steps to slow down that vicious hamster wheel we’d been running on.  We quit our jobs, sold our home, and bought a beautiful, but slightly run-down property in south Florida with a guest house and space for a second rental suite that would allow us to cater to visitors who seek more than just sun and relaxation– to create a unique place where guests can slow down, be pampered, and connect.

Our hope was that this sort of life would bring a sort of balance to our own hectic existence as well.

Old habits die hard.  But for the first time in maybe ever, we began to push back the frenzy and carve out space for living. It began with a painful recognition of all we’ve sacrificed on the altar of pursuit—and to just live differently.  To rest. To play games or kayak or go to the beach with our adult kids. To read, reflect and commune with God.  Cuddle our new grandson. Sip a glass of wine the front porch with a friend who needs to talk… now.  Cry or laugh on the phone with siblings.  Help the guy down the street put up a fence. Write.  Grab lunch with my mom.  Road trip home to see family.

We still have times of busyness, but it is no longer all consuming.  And we seem to be able to better gauge what is really important—and what is just screaming unjustly at us.  Mostly, I’m beginning to make a habit of going slow, breathing deeply, and taking in all the beauty of this space that is growing around me.  It’s something I intend to get used to.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30