Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My Life as a Road Warrior

I may as well admit it ... I am a Road Warrior! Not that I set out to be one, but there was one thing and then another ... soon enough I was a full-fledged member of the million mile club ... an offical Road Warrior.

My first "move" away from home (my hometown) involved a town 60 miles away. I was so afraid of traveling that far that I made it a practice to know exactly which mile markers I was between ... you know ... just in case ... there's just no telling what could happen to someone traveling so far!  Then I moved 8 hours from home ... catapulting my traveling life into high-gear (a term my mother likes to use when she needs extra emphasis for something). Years later, a move from Iowa to Indianapolis stepped things up a few more notches! Then there was the year when I stayed in Indy (until our home sold) while Bruce and Katy got our life in northwest Iowa started (trust me ... there were lots of trips that year!) After I joined them, I worked as a consultant for a company 2 and a half hours from Storm Lake ... now THAT was a commute! These days we have children (who, by the way, have our grandchildren!) living on each of the US coastlines and one holdout still in the midwest ... living in a vehicle has managed to become a way-of-life!

I tend to be a singularly-focused person ... getting so wrapped up in the moment (or task-at-hand) that I lose track of all else. Recently I got to thinking about how this attribute has created some interesting (and scary) moments along the path to the Road Warrior Club!

My sister, Sandy, once rode with me on the way back home many years ago. After picking her up in LeSueur, MN, I focused so much on our chit-chat while I was driving that eventually I had to ask her if she knew the name of the town we were approaching (it was after I couldn't use any landmarks to try and guess, and obviously I hadn't been reading signs). She thought I was kidding because we were only 5 miles from mom's house! How can you not know you are approaching your destination? Well, it's easy ... if you are me!

On one of my trips from Storm Lake to Indianapolis the year we first bought the acreage ... I found myself reading a sign for Indiana's Exit 4 (our favorite exit for gas and refreshments along the I-74 route). The problem was ... the last stop I'd paid any attention to was the I-80 Truck Stop in Davenport, Iowa. My auto-pilot was apparently ON through the entire state of Illinois! You can bet I was thankful I hadn't run out of gas!

Then there's the trip north from Storm Lake to Alexandria (MN) one year when they were tearing up Hwy 71 and toally replacing the road (that means they totally remove everything ... all the way down past the road bed!) ...  I'd gotten so engrossed in a conversation with my mother-in-law (the co-pilot) that I simply went around barracades were meant to protect drivers from the dangers of a "missing" road! I didn't pay much attention to the decreasing quality of the road until it was impossible to not notice, "My goodness! This road is crazy bad!" I said.  To which, my rider replied, "Yep. That's probably because way back there you went around a sign that said, Road Closed!"

I don't know, but I'm guessing that the knowledge of these events is largely behind the fact that my sweetie doesn't ask me to be a "relief-driver" on our recent long trips to Birmingham? What do you think?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Where DOES the time go?

Today is our 25th Wedding Anniversary ... wow ... who would have thought so many years could fly by so quickly? Even worse is that I (ME!) can even say that! I'm starting to sound more and more like my Grama! Oh me Oh my!

I made this "card" for my sweetie ...
Bruce and I with The Fabulous Mr Elijah Brown on our recent visit to Birmingham (Left)
Shoppers at the auction looking at the stamping/scrapbooking supplies (Top Right)
Fire pit at the north end of garden with a couple waiting for woodburner or Cub Cadet mower to be sold. (Bottom Right)

Lots to do ... heading up to my hometown for the weekend! We have a family baby shower for Jason & Paula (my nephew and his wife) ... pretty exciting! I'm happy to have one last chance to make the pilgramage from Storm Lake to Alexandria and plan to take the time to stop along the way and take photos of some of my favorite scenes!
As Red Green would say, "Stay safe ... Keep it between the lines!"

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Almost Home

Our drive home is getting interesting. We pushed ourselves to drive as far as Memphis, TN today. Using my little Verizon MiFi connection and the Mac laptop I tried to locate a motel that wasn't charging an arm-and-a-leg for a room tonight (goodness knows we need all of our limbs, as rickety as they are!) ... to no avail. So Bruce decides to find a WalMart, buy a clearance blanket and just sleep in the Tahoe (isn't he romantic? Gotta love my frugal little Norweign!)

After some heated debate about how to get off the freeway and over to that WalMart on our left ... we find a comforter on clearance (imagine that! at WalMart? really? ... bwahhahhah) and eating a bad-for-you-and-the-world-McBurger we discovered every checkout station was at least 6 people deep. What in the world was going on? It's 9 p.m. Why would there be so many people at WalMart with their carts packed full rushing the checkout? Bruce cleverly decides to checkout in the jewelry department (he might be frugal, but he's also clever!)  I decide to ask a store clerk why the place is packed.  She tells me there's bad weather coming and folks are stocking-up.

Curious, we decide to hustle back to the Tahoe and check out the NOAA website's Doppler ... sure enough! There wass a severe weather warning covering the midwest ... all of it ... from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee to St Louis, Missouri to Des Moines, Iowa to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Well! That pretty much covers our path home!  YIKES! We decided, tired or not, we'd better skeedaddle!

About 2-3 hours down the road we began encountering some rain and even more wind than before. Forecast was calling for winds up to 75 mph, softball sized hail, and possibility of tornadoes. Bruce was way past tired and from the looks of the Doppler we were north of one tornado warning and south of another ... a "sweet spot" so to speak. It seemed like a good time to pull of the freeway and see if he could find cover (didn't want to have hail damage the Tahoe or the nice enclosed trailer he just got.)

This is where we begin to see God's hand covering us in a tangible way (as if getting us out of Memphis before it flooded wasn't enough)! At the end of the exit ramp guess what we found!?! A vacant BP gas station ... you know what they have don't you? BIG, strong awnings (where the gas pumps had been)! Woohoo! Bruce pulled in so the entire rig was under cover and we settled in for the night under our new blanket (for those of you that don't know our family's reputation ... we are known for all the quilts we make ... if you are in the family you've no doubt been blessed with many a blanket-gifts! Our motto: No family member should ever be cold due to the lack of a good, warm blanket made with lots of love by another family member!) As we settled in, we both gave thanks to God for the protection!

Six hours later, stiff from our nap in the back of a truck (we had an air mattress with us, but no power inverter to blow it up ... the plan was to only need it while at Paul and Andrea's ... who knew we'd be sleeping in our vehicle?!) Bruce decided to get out and check our rig ... make sure everything was in good order, then drive across the freeway to the other side where there was an open Shell station.

Nothing. That's what he got when he turned the key in the ignition ... nothing. The Tahoe was dead ... no battery power. Ugg! I guess leaving my Mac connected all night long was a bad idea ... oopsie! Apparently its an energy hog even when it's in sleep mode!

Just as he got his hat and coat on, in preparation for a nice long walk over to that Shell station, a car pulls up next to us. Bruce cautiously walks over and taps on the window (scaring the poor lady half out of her wits!) Turns out she was there to meet up with her carpooler (What do you think? I say she was actually an angel.) She happily jump-started our vehicle and then refused to accept any money for her help. God is GOOD, All the Time! Talk about provision!

The rest of the day was uneventful. The storm system was behind us and to the east ... not in our path! We made it to Kansas City with enough time to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Red Robin, meet Katy's latest beau, Todd, and then enjoy a movie together.
We finally got to meet Ms. Izzy, Katy's new kittie ... a ball of bouncing, running, climbing, and fighting fluff! She's adorable! I do believe that MC was quite happy to see us again ... she came right over for a leg rub and plopped herself down, rolled over and begged for a tummy rub. Later, during the movie she found her favorite snuggle spot ... Bruce's tummy when he's all sprawled out in a recliner!

Friday, April 30, 2010

So long ... for now!

Day Four - Grampa was on duty this morning. Paul needed to go to the store for some construction supplies and Andrea needed to sleep in as long as she could so she'd be full of energy at tonight's Secret Church meeting. Elijah is loving his Grampa J, so there was no trouble. I even got a chance to sleep in ... though I admit I did wake up from time to time to enjoy Elijah's chatter ... I'm not sure just what he was telling Grampa, but it was definitely something exciting!

Once Paul got home we set about trying to decide what we would do? Put in an offer on the Leeds house or the Center Point house ... or just continue our search. Both Bruce and I could easily argue the case for either house and the government's $6,500 incentive money was certainly tempting. Paul and Andrea helped us with our debate. I'm sure any onlooker would have wondered just who was voting for what, because we all flipflopped from house to house ... one minute passionately supporting Leeds and only a breath later strongly reminding the group of the drawbacks.

By noon Bruce got up from his place in the group, grabbed the phone and called Sonia. We all looked at him in wonder. What was he doing?

"Sonia, we'd like to come in and make an offer on the house in Center Point."

Hum ... so ... I guess the debate helped Bruce settle his mind.  We spent a little bit of time saying our good-byes to everyone (I so hate that part!) and sneeking a few extra hugs and lovies from Elijah, then it was off to the realty office where we spent the rest of our time in Birmingham.

Once all the papers were signed we began our long trip home ... to Storm Lake, Iowa.  Paul would have to be our proxy after this.

On our way out of town we met up with Paul at his rental house in the Ensley neighborhood (near downtown Birmingham). We'd seen the house before he took possession, back in December. Since then he's put a new roof on, new siding, new front porch and steps, new windows, fresh paint throughout the interior and is in the process of refinishing the hardwood floors. The transformation is beautiful! Between all the work he's done and that gorgeous, monstrosity of a Magnolia tree in the backyard someone is going to have a nice little house to call home soon!

Now we are on our way North ... hoping to get a call from Sonia about our offer! Pray for favor? (Thanks!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Hunt is On!

Day Three - We are off to an early start today ... 8:30 am ... no sleeping in for these two old foggies! Sonia is taking us to the northside today so we needed to get going!  We've been meeting her at the church and leaving our vehicle there while we tour. It's good to have "connections" ... LOL!

There were more houses to see that we had time for, so Bruce and Sonia went through the MLS sheets quickly and ruled out anything that had a lot smaller than 1/2 acre or had lots of steps leading up to the front door. Once the list was culled to a reasonable size we set out.

Driving around the northside and the northeast area is an amazing experience! There are so many trees and bluffs that it's very difficult to believe you are in a large metropolitan area! Breathtaking beauty everywhere you look.

We saw many nice homes, but there was one that really stood out:  2005 NE Reed Road, Center Point, Alabama.


What's not to love about a yard filled with flowering shrubs, fruit-bearing trees (pears, figs, pecans, apples) and home that's been meticulously cared-for the past 25 years? The listing descriptions said: 
Great full brick on shaded 1.6 acres with storage building, large detached garage and backyard fenced area. Living room with brick wood burning fireplace seperate dining area and kitchen with large breakfast bar(stove, dishwasher & microwave to stay)lots of natural light. Enjoy relaxing on the covered front porch and the large covered deck which is conveniently located near kitchen area exit. Three large bedrooms and 2 baths along with a bonus room that can be used as a sewing room, office, bedroom or sitting room and last but not least there is several closets. Lots of parking on the long driveway for all your guest when you have them over for the holiday BBQ's on the BBQ pit in the backyard. Easy access from kitchen eating area to partial finished basement allows for additional storage.
Later in the evening we decided to have Paul and Andrea come see the place ... needed to discuss some of the changes we felt we'd need to make to accommodate a workshop for Bruce and a garage/storage space for our "extras" (Fancy, trailer, car dolly ...).  Andrea tells us that the minute they drove up Paul said, "OH! My parents are SO gonna buy THIS place!"

Here is a VISUAL TOUR of the place ... enjoy!

Well ... we will sleep on it and see how we feel in the morning. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

House Hunting - Alabama Style!

Day Two - How fun it is to wake up hearing the sounds of a baby happily jabbering away in the morning! Elijah is an early riser and completely content to spend time in his crib before the rest of the household rises. We could listen in on him through the baby monitor in the living room. The temptation to get him out of the crib was great, but we didn't want to be in trouble on our first morning.

Paul has Wednesdays off so he agreed to accompany us on our house hunt, along with Elijah. The tour today focused on area East of Birmingham:

  • Leeds
  • Irondale
  • Cedar Point (East side)

While we looked at many houses, the one we liked the best from today's search was 6596 SW Lynn Ave, Leeds.  It's a foreclosure home, so poses some special issues as far as timing (no control over what a bank will or will not agree to for closing dates.)  

We like that this home has three nice sized bedrooms, two baths, and a family room, (in addition to a living room, dining roomkitchen, and a full basement.) It sits on a beautiful lot with a strong slope in the back so spring rain water has a definite place to go. There is a deck just off the kitchen wrapping around to the back and lots of old growth trees ... shouldn't be hard to find a place for the tire swing!  Just down the street is a beautiful park and the church is only 15 miles away.

I think it's fun that the street just south of the house is Katherine St.,  the street just north of the house is Carolyn St. and to the east is Elisabeth St. ... all familiar names (my mother and her two sisters!)


Drawbacks include a water/mold problem in the basement just under the front doorsteps (probably requiring some landscaping modifications and mold abatement). The living room and dining room need wallpaper removal and fresh paint, the kitchen needs to be gutted and redesigned (luckily we have great access with a fabulous cabinet maker!), the big bathroom needs to be gutted and have some redesign work done, the family room needs the dark paneling to be painted and we think the basement steps would need to be moved in order to make the kitchen work. THAT is a pretty long list!

In addition, Bruce would want to extend the parking slab to include room for the trailer and other misc odd vehicles we seem to have off and on. Then he would be converting the basement (which is exposed in the back) into his workshop, including the addition of a basement bathroom.

It's all do-able, but ... gives us reason to pause.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama!

Day One - We arrived around noon and meet up with the realtor, Sonia, and headed straight away to see some houses. The tour began in the northwest corner of Birmingham. We fell in love with the second home we saw ... beautiful beautiful yard and a very well-maintained home. Crossed it off the list because it sat next to a trailer-home and across the street from another trailer-home. Call us intolerant, politically incorrect, or just plain snooty, but we suspect that property value just will not hold given what we were seeing.

Sonia told us the W/NW areas of Birmingham are struggling and have been on the decline the past couple years. She strongly suggests we constrain our search to the NE, E, and SE areas ... including small towns outside the metro area.

After a long afternoon we decided it was time for us to call it a day and go meet Mr. Elijah! We made arrangements to meet Sonia about 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Mr. Elijah turns out to be even more adorable in person than he is in pictures! I know that is hard to believe, but it is true!  He gave us a bit of a shy-shoulder for the first half hour or so, but after that we were in-like-Flynn!!!  He was smiles and giggles. We took the kids to Chipotle for supper since Andrea had to go back to church for worship team practice. I had a ball giving Elijah "rasperries" under his chin and listening to his big budda-belly laugh ... I'm really looking forward to seeing this little guy on a frequent basis!  His eyes are so bright!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


We sold our amazing little acreage at auction today! What an interesting experience ... pins and needles. You might wonder, "Why would anyone sell their property at auction by choice?!" We admit, it does seem counterintuitive and it certainly tested our ability to totally trust God to provide for our needs.

Bruce and I have bought and sold real estate many times over the years ... mostly through realtors (one property was sold privately). This time, because we needed to greatly reduce the amount of "stuff" we would be moving (trust me ... when pack-rats and do-it-yourself-ers live on an acreage there will be lots of stuff tucked in everywhere!) we decided the best approach would be to have an auction.

Because we would be auctioning our "stuff" we had the option of including the property on the auction. We decided to give ourselves until April 1 to try selling the acreage ourselves. Then, if it hadn't sold, we would give the auctioneer the 'go ahead' to include the acreage in his efforts. He felt this would give him plenty of time.

I admit, we didn't work as hard as we could have on selling it ourselves - mainly promoting it via the internet and word-of-mouth. Never even managed to get a sign posted at the end of our lane (silly us! can't tell you how many vehicles we've sold during the 14+ years we've lived here simply by parking them near the road and putting a sign in the window).

With 10' of snow still on the ground March 20th we had some serious doubts about any of the auction plans being realistic! Who in their right mind would come to an auction under those conditions? Worse yet, how could anyone actually visualize the beauty of this place whilst it's covered in old snow? How much damage would be done to the yard? (After 14 years of blood-sweat-n-tears getting the yard into the beautiful condition it is now in neither Bruce or I could face the idea of having it ruined because of a sale.)

As March faded into April we began to have some serious doubts! On April 1 we met with Kevin the auctioneer. He assured us the snow would melt in due time and reminded us that in his 20+ years of auctioneering he's only ever had to cancel one auction due to weather.  Deep breath ... trust God ... trust God ... trust God ... goodness life can be challenging!

Once we set the wheels in motion our schedule for April was set in stone:
  • Friday, April 9 - My Big Crafty Sale (and books!) 
  • Saturday, April 17 - Open House (for the acreage)
  • Saturday, April 24 - Auction Day!
We reluctantly agreed to press on and immediately contacted all of our prayer warriors (you know the folks ... those who truly understand the power of prayer and are disciplined in their prayer lives) and ask for some pretty specific assistance from God:

  • NO moisture of any kind on April 24th from 6am to the end of the sale.
  • LOTS of moisture on April 22-23rd ... so fields would be too wet for the farmer's to be in on April 24! We wanted all the farming families to be free to attend our sale! We were going to need lots of customers to move this much stuff! 
  • Last, but not least, a good result from the auction. 
    So, here's how that all worked out:

    1. Thursday was a picture-perfect spring day for Iowa! Bright blue skies and all sunshine!
    2. Friday was nice enough (very light moisture in the air) in the morning giving us just enough time to mow the yard, but by afternoon we had rain ... lots of it! (Isn't God faithful?)
    3. This morning? Well ... it rained ... until about 6:30 am - 7:00 am. Then, it dried up and the sun came out and stayed out giving us the perfect day for an auction!  Everyone came. We were able to use the neighbor's field for parking and what a good thing that was! We needed it! It looked like we were having a carnival ... lots of people ... lots of things for folks to buy strewn all around the yard! Furniture in the front yard, crafts in the grassy area west of my craft-cottage, garden supplies and equipment all around the barn and tools by the woodshop ... it was pretty crazy!
    The property (real estate) sold first with bidding beginning at 11:15 a.m. about a half hour later. In the end we sold it for less than we wanted, but only after much prayer and consideration. God gave Bruce a strong sense of peace about the buyers and the price, so we accepted the final bid and then moved on to the selling of everything else! We know it's all God's money anyway and He will do what He wants with it. If He wants to, He will totally restore the portion we gave up on this part of the sale, that's a certainty.
    Tables lined up and ready to load with household items.

    At one point during the afternoon someone sitting inside the house with me asked how I could be so relaxed about it all ... just letting it all go like that. My response? 
    "Look out my picture window. See all those cars parked there? If I would have asked for some volunteers to come and help us load and move all the things we are selling today I wouldn't have had 1/4th that many cars or people. Not only are so many people here to help us move but they are actually paying us for the privilege. How could it get any better?"
    That is how I truly feel! What a blessing it was today! God allowed our guests today to help me thin out our worldly possessions and build up our storehouse (bank account) in preparation for our move south and for our new role as workers in His harvest fields.
    All kinds of tools & handi-man supplies on the sale

    Band saw, dust collector, table saw ... oh me oh my! Handi-man's Dream!
    (Nephew, Jason, is checking out Uncle Bruce's stash)

    Yard tools etc lined the walls of the barn

    Sprinkler system, gardening supplies, and the ever-famous "miscellaneous stuff"

    Our friend, Bruce E, came early to help move things out of the buildings and onto the yard. 
    So, what's he doing on his cell phone? 
    We chose to believe he was calling friends to tell them about 
    all the goodies they'll find at the sale!

    A couple more helpers! Sister Sandy, friends Lee M and Steve helping me get things 
    out of the basement and outside to the tables.

    Katy decided to climb up to the attic of the corn crib and take photos ... great idea!
    For sale: wood-burning stove, trailer, Cub Cadet lawn mower, comfy lawn chairs and more. :-)

    So much stuff...even the side yard is full! This is gonna take awhile to sell! 
    I sure hope Cone Auctioneers got a good night's sleep.
    OK! Now you know just how much stuff a person can stash when you have lots of out-buildings!
    Those stacks of "stuff" in the lower right corner of the photo? 
    That's just some of the stuff left-over from my Big Crafty Sale two weeks ago!

    My sister, Sandy, helped sort through the paper and rubber stamps to make flats with nice collections.
    I'm so blessed to have my sisters ... I really can't imagine a life without sisters!

    Our very-kind neighbors to the north offered to let everyone park on the 
    grassy boulevard on the south-end of their field. PERFECT!

    LOOK at all the cars! Reminds me of the county fair!

    Did I mention that we prayed for God to send a big crowd? Woohoo! Look at all the people!

    There goes my living room furniture and the adorable children's folding chairs!

    Going ... Going ... Going ...

    Bye Bye Craft Stuff...

    The flower beds did their BEST today ... they were TOTALLY showing off!

    End of a very long day!
    Friends leaving with their new-found treasures (Thanks Lee & Becky & Neely!)
    Friends arriving (Glad you came by to see what God accomplished today Ken & Bonnie!)

    5:04 pm The last few shoppers are loading up and the first few raindrops are arriving.

    A couple of our fantastic helpers managed to avoid the camera but not the work! Thanks to the following for being so supportive and super helpful:

    • Crystal Cook (what can we say? sorting & packing help, encourager, prayer warrior ... we owe you so much ... there's just no words ... if God blesses you as much as you've blessed us you better buckle your seatbelt girl!)
    • Dave Jacobson (drove up from Ames to be here for us ... world's best brother!)
    • Jerry, Sandy, Jason Antes (drove down from Mpls to be here for us, came a day early and stayed a day longer to help with prep and clean-up, then even helped load the trailer for the drive to Birmingham ... huge huge huge THANKS!)
    • Lee & Becky Meyers (who were not only helpers, but also shoppers! BIG thanks!)
    • Bruce Engelmann (for volunteering to abandon farming duties to come and help these two old foggies from the Sunday night bible study group!)
    • Steve (for pitching in when he really only intended to be a 'shopper' today! guess that'll teach him to be early to an auction? God bless you guy!)
    • Kim (who couldn't be here the day of the sale, but still managed to put in lots of hours helping me sort and pack craft stuff for days and days and days!)
    • Kevin Cone and his gang (for putting up with all our questions, doubts, and concerns over the winter and esp the past few weeks ... and for doing a bang-up job on the sale ... we pray God blesses you for being faithful in your assignment and for being an instrument of His Blessings in our lives!)
    • Katy Jacobson (who drove up from Kansas City and spent the whole week helping us ... even mowing in the rain on Friday so the place would look its best! you're the best! couldn't have done it without all your help over the past three weeks, your words of encouragement and prayers!)

    It's been a pretty amazing journey to be sure! Feel free to follow the links to the stories I've posted along the way and celebrate God's great mercies with us!

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Acreage Open House

    Today is THE DAY ... we officially invite folks into our world ... sharing a place that has been an oasis for two middle-agers who were in need of an oasis ... a place of peace and restoration. Will people feel the presence of the Holy Spirit here like we do? Will they see all the beauty this small bit of earth has to offer? Have we done our best in getting her ready ... our beautiful lady ... this acreage we call, Willow Hill? I hope so.

    After the craft sale last weekend we've each tried to stay focused on those tasks that must be completed for an Open House, for the auction, and ultimately for the move. Talk about a challenge! All the "left over" crafty supplies ended up spending the week in the trailer ... there just wasn't time to deal with them.

    We decided we'd have to work smarter and harder to reach our goals, so we created designated areas in the buildings around the place. The garage would be the place we put things that would be on the auction. The grandchildren's playhouse would be things we'd be taking with us when we move. My crafty-cottage would eventually be only things we are keeping (for this weekend, however, it would be a mix ... no time to sort and move now). We haven't have time to do anything with the barn yet, but Bruce was making good progress in his woodshop. The corn crib and quansit are both ready.

    Crystal Cook (another good friend ... I have been blessed with so many great friends while living here!) spent three days this week helping me box things up in the basement ... some boxes for the auction and some to be moved (not to mention the to-be-burned pile). Then she brought over a team from her house cleaning company and spent Friday cleaning the main level of the house ... talk about helpful! Wow!  I decluttered while they did the dusting, glass surfaces, and floors.

    When we woke up this morning, the sun was shining, the grass was green and ready to mow and the tulips were totally showing off! All-in-all it is a perfect day for an Open House. We made a quick round on the mowers, then Bruce and I showered, dressed, and started a batch of chocolate - chocolate chip brownies and a pot of Godiva Chocolate coffee for our guests.

    We had a nice group of visitors ... from empty nesters like us to families with as many as 3 children (keep in mind ... this house has only 2 official bedrooms), even an elderly couple who'd lived on the acreage many years ago, come by to see the place and share stories from their tenure here ... we enjoyed them all.

    Now? Well, we wait and see what God has in mind. In one week much will change!

    Want a tour?  Check out the website we made for the acreage HERE

    Friday, April 09, 2010

    My Big Crafty Sale!

    The more I think about the prospect of moving so many crafty supplies the more I am convinced that they must be sold. At first I thought I would sell them on the auction we'd be having April 24, but there are just too many. I suspect the prices would just be too low (too few people at the auction, too many items, and too little time ... any economist would be able to forecast the results of that formula!) Discussing this with Katy one afternoon caused her to suggest a separate sale ... just crafts. It took me a bit to agree as our schedule has already been pretty tight ... I couldn't see how I would have time to pull that off.  She agreed to help by arriving the Thursday evening prior to the sale (the only weekend available would be April 9-11 as we were having our discussion on March 28th!). 

    My friend, Kim, spent many days prior to the sale ... helping me sort through supplies and get them boxed up for the ride to Summit Evangelical Free Church in Alta where the sale was going to be conducted. Turns out this process was much harder than I'd expected! 

    Kim and I would go to my precious little craft cottage ... pick a corner ... and get started. My resolve to "sell it all" would melt away and I'd find myself creating a Keep box and a Sell box.  Then I would sleep on it and by morning I'd be convicted and move things from the Keep pile over to the Sell pile.  

    Thus it went, craft by craft, until the day before the sale!  Working my way through all of my beloved crafts ... card making, scrapbooking, knitting, lace making, rug weaving, sewing, painting, gardening, cooking ... a slow and rather tender process of letting go ... each day bringing a surprising new freedom ... freedom from the years of unfinished (yet loved) projects ... turns out allowing myself to let go of all my old ideas/inspirations/plans created a newfound horizon for future possibilities. Even to the point that it invaded my dreams! I was letting-go in my nightly dream-life ... amazing ... Who knew something so difficult would be so rewarding?!

    As the supplies were getting prepared, I also got busy making posters to put up in a variety of locations around town. Facebook helped me get the word out, as did an ad in the local paper and an announcement at MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers). There wasn't much time but somehow we managed!

    The sale would be April 9 from noon to 8pm. Due to restrictions at the church we wouldn't be able to do any setup until the morning of the sale ... something that would be challenging at best! Then, the day before the sale the church secretary called to say we could setup that afternoon/evening! I quickly called Becky (another good friend) who'd offered to help us ... she could help, so Bruce and I drove a full 8'x12' enclosed trailer to Alta. Becky arrived just as we began to bring the first few boxes into the building. We spent about 5 hours unloading and setting up. There was no time to get all the pricing done so we decided to just trust the Lord to manage that little detail! For the most part our pricing strategy went like this:
    • Papers were $0.75 per pound (crazy cheap!) ... regardless of the type of paper (so, even the beautiful petallics and gold glitter papers!)
    • Envelopes were priced by the piece or by the box (yes, there were boxes of 250 envelopes in my stash!)
    • Everything was "Make an Offer"

    The morning of the sale I got word that my sister, Sandy, and neice, Laura, and her new little baby, Darrin, would be coming to help! WOW! This was a big answer to prayer! Sandy and Laura are both crafters, so would be infinitely helpful at the sale. They could answer questions, help people with their price/offers, keep things organized, etc. God is so Good!

    We spent the morning of the sale making pricing signs and getting a pay station set up near the church entrance. Kim and Katy would be the cashiers (I really didn't want to know what people were offering to pay for my beloved supplies.) Kim's familiarity with paper products (from the old Print Shop days!) was a great help! And her trust in God's provision and understanding of the mission made all the different at the pay station!

    During the sale I tried to keep things organized, help people find matching/coordinating supplies or explain just what some of those supplies were meant to be used for! I had supplies for all kinds of fun crafty-artsy activities ... some not so obvious to figure out as others!

    All proceeds from this sale were being used to buy sewing machines for the young ladies graduating from the Aim Asia orphanage in India this spring so I was really hoping we would raise at least $700 - $900. 

    The day before the sale I was talking about the goals with Bruce and said, "Wouldn't it be amazing if God used the sale to raise enough money to buy ALL the machines they need plus enough to send one young lady to the university?"  A goal that would require $1400. We both knew how much "stuff" I had, but this seemed pretty unlikely ... a nice goal though.

    Craft Sale results? When everything "cleared" ... we ended up with $1520! God is So Good!  Not only that, but we ended up going home with almost 50% of the supplies, a much more realistic amount for an auction. Did I mention that God is Good? All the Time!!!