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!

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