Time of the Heavy Heart

How Can We Change That?

Lately, I am sensing a heaviness of spirit in almost everyone I speak with, from good friends to colleagues to clients.  We carry this heaviness due to the times we live in; 24-hour news and social media and seeing the worst of the worst around the globe.  I personally feel a heaviness in how we see people treating one another.  The dark appears to be overtaking the light every time we turn on the computer or TV.  While they say the economy is stronger, in my world I see a much softer market and weaker economy.

I also see my clients outliving their money; tough decisions need to be made by their Boomer children.  I have heard stories from colleagues that buyers and clients have turned threatening if they don’t get their own way.  These threats are from middle-aged people who know better and have lost their way in the graceful art of problem solving.

Geopolitical issues are a whole other topic which requires nerves of steel to discuss.  Wherever we look, there is stress.  But lately, I have come to look at all of this in a different way.

After noticing I have a tendency to worry, my father once asked me if I am personally capable of controlling issues like mentioned above.  No, I cannot make the economy strong again and I cannot make people treat each other with respect.  I can’t even provide the financial means for everyone who needs it.

However, I can control how I respond to these troubles.

I can find my own unique and personal ways of contributing more good and more light.

By contributing, I mean solving the problem, finding peaceful resolutions, finding compromise in a world of “gimmee,” being reasonable, and at the same time trying to help others who need it.

When on earth did everyone become so entitled?  Haven’t you noticed we are all starting to slump over, as if the weight of the world is on our backs?

We have a choice.  Not one of us has been eliminated from carrying some kind of burden: health, finances, children, work, etc.  I have a theory that this world is a classroom and we are the students; we should learn a lesson and then go teach others.  Problems and burdens will always come and so will the bills.

  • Keep lists of what needs to be done and cross them off one at a time.
  • Feel good about what was accomplished.
  • Help others accomplish what they need help with.
  • Do something fun and show your grin as often as possible.  Someone is always watching and may need that smile.
  • Learn to find “you” again.
  • Lastly, just be kind because the world already has too many thugs.

In a world so full of dark, don’t you think it would be wise to turn on our inner light?  That’s my take on it!

©2016 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at julie@theestatelady.com.

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Published in: on September 1, 2016 at 10:35 am  Comments (8)  
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The Bird, My Teacher

Everyone needs to renew and restore their spirit every now and again, especially in such a hurried society.  Some people go away to the country or the beach where they find solitude and solace as a remedy for feeling overwhelmed and worn out.  It is a good thing to do so.  But do we really journey inside ourselves and heal what’s in there?  I’m willing to stick my neck out and say I don’t necessarily think so.

Today as I approached my car in the driveway, I saw a kooky little bird sitting on the driver’s side mirror, behaving in the strangest manner.  It was completely enamored with its reflection in the mirror.  Its little feet danced and it bobbed its head like crazy, joyous that it found an amiable friend … one that looks just like it!  It was so preoccupied with its reflection that it was not deterred by my presence only 3 feet away.  The next thing you know, the little bird side-stepped along the rim of the driver’s side mirror until he was completely upside down, flapping its wings and having a wonderful time looking at its new friend.

bird-looking-in-rear-view-mirror

Don’t you wish we could greet ourselves each day in the mirror just like this?

Everything is relative.  The little bird does not have the advanced intellect to realize it was him in the reflection, yet he was a free spirit having the time of its life.  When we, the highest created intellect on earth, look in the mirror, we don’t see who we really are or even like the reflection we see.  We are too self-critical.  So many of us really don’t want to go there, but we need to, in order to restore ourselves and make peace with the person inside.

I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately.  The fat fairy keeps visiting me (the wench!), and middle age has settled in, not to mention all that comes with that fact.  When I saw that little bird who was so happy to see itself, I thought, “Why can’t we all be more like that?”

Nature has always been amazing to observe.  It teaches us lessons if we pay attention.  Because of that little bird, I will look at myself with more enthusiasm from now on.  How could you not smile when you witness something like that … a tiny creature with a Herculean spirit.  An important lesson for us all.

©2016 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on February 19, 2016 at 10:30 am  Comments (8)  
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5 Promises to Yourself This New Year

latest-happy-new-year-2016-photos

LET IT GO.

Let go of anything that weighs you down.  Surplus material possessions and stuff that no longer has meaning, people and relationships that are toxic, that closet that is overflowing.  Give to those who really need it.  Just let go!  Start singing the song lyrics, “Let it go, Let it go.”  The time is right.  You will immediately feel lighter, and more open space will provide an uplift in your spirit.  Who doesn’t need that?

IF SOMETHING YOU TRIED LAST YEAR DIDN’T WORK OUT, KEEP TRYING DIFFERENT WAYS UNTIL IT DOES WORK.

If it’s a good goal for you, there’s likely more than one way to accomplish it.  Try, try again in new and different ways.  Maybe the timing wasn’t right, but the plan was.  Ask close friends or colleagues what they would do.  Valued opinions and objective third parties may well be the sounding board you need and provide the brilliant idea you were seeking.

BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS.

No more excuses!  Take that class, pursue that hobby, go to that place you’ve always wanted to see.  Just do it!  Spend some time on you. I just signed up for a comprehensive first aid course because I feel that would be good knowledge to have.  But I sure could use a trip to the Bahamas … (grin).

PRACTICE APPRECIATION.

Open your eyes and look for the simple pleasures in your life.  Put forth a little effort to see the good in the world, because every day we are bombarded with the bad.  Sometimes you need to go for a walk and admire nature, the changing leaves, a lake, a puppy, your neighbor’s flower garden.  Take a walk, look at the sky, and take deep breaths.  A survey of centenarians (100 years old and over) shows they attribute their longevity to simple pleasures like walking barefoot, watering their garden, eating their favorite food, swimming, etc.

TRAIN YOUR BRAIN TO THINK POSITIVELY.

Yes, much is wrong with our world today, but there is still much good in it.  Add to that list of positives.  Go forth, do good things, be a better person, and make a difference for others.  Volunteer to help someone do what they can’t do alone.  Give, knowing they can’t give back to you.  The rewards are far greater than you know!  It comes back ten-fold and gives you a strong sense of purpose.

 

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on December 28, 2015 at 11:53 am  Comments (8)  
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“B GR8FUL”

The license plate on the car in front of me during a long stretch of monotonous highway read,  “B GR8FUL.”  I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a personal reminder to me, or if it was meant for all who read it, spreading a positive message during what seem to be nutty, uncertain times.  All one has to do is turn on the news and feel that terrible “ugh” inside.

My husband and daughter were snoozing in the car, and I was pensive as usual behind the wheel, thinking about everything from the economy, to family, to work, to you name it.  I, like many of you, am worried about the state of our world and economy and where it will leave the different generations in the years to come.  Both young and old alike have many pressures these days.

I worry about my daughter’s future, which is probably normal for parents to feel.  I worry about my clients who are facing hard times, due to health or financial problems.  I seem to worry about things that I realize none of us have control over.  For me, I have found it best to stay close to family, dear friends, and my faith.

The worries seemed endless while I was driving.  Then I saw this simple license plate:  “BGR8FUL.”  There was an instant calm when I saw it, and I know that I needed to take those worries and transfer them into appreciation for all that we do have.  Because when you step back and look at the grand scheme of things, we really do have for very much to be “gr8ful” for.

GR8FUL

Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving, from my family and me.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on November 25, 2015 at 9:03 am  Comments (3)  
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Are We Ever Really Ready?

I saw a post on Facebook about “Being Ready” in connection with making difficult decisions.  This thought crossed my mind: Are we ever really ready for anything major in our lives?

  • Life-altering decisions
  • financial strife
  • ill health
  • arriving at personal crossroads
  • leaps of faith we want to take but are concerned, procrastinating, or just plain terrified

These things seem to paralyze us and ultimately our decisions. Or, are we more concerned with the potential consequences of those decisions that are so frightening to us?

All of these things, whether good or not, can be pretty scary.

  • Should I take that job in another state?
  • Do I move forward and start that new company now?
  • Should I wait for the economy to get stronger?
  • Is the time right to move mom into a new living environment?
  • Is my son ready to go off to college?

The questions and issues are limitless … and overwhelming!

I think if we wait until we’re actually really ready, we may have regrets that we didn’t do it sooner while we were still able, or sadly, we may no longer be here to make those decisions.  I cannot speak for anyone else, but I refuse to live my golden years with “woulda-coulda-shoulda.”  Sometimes, you just have to do it or not.  The opportunity will not remain open forever.

I don’t think human nature is ever fully ready to do anything.  This is why nature itself forces us to go forward sometimes, such as giving birth.  Thank goodness nature “pushes” us into it, or we would rarely volunteer to do it!  We have a tendency to think too much and over-analyze (I put myself at the top of that list.).

Big decisions or life-altering events require some introspection and time, but not SO much time that the opportunity comes and then goes.  The truth is we know the answers already, deep down inside.  We already know what the answer should be.  Then our heads and hearts get in the way.  Nature provides us with that gut instinct.  If we would just pay attention to it and not block it, the answers would come more readily.

In my career, I see those who are prepared, those who are not prepared at all, and those who have made some preparations or plans for their future.  Trust me when I share that those who have a plan fare better than those who don’t.  But you can’t plan for everything.

Even in unexpected circumstances that may strike you or your family, that you are completely unprepared for, all you can do is your best!

Listen to your instinct.

Take a leap of faith every once in a while.

Believe that anything is possible.  Even if you are not ready, here it comes.

Embrace it or walk away from it.

Always try to think positively about your decisions.

It’s never productive to sit on a fence for too long.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on August 14, 2015 at 10:03 am  Comments (2)  
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Unforgettable Note We Found in an Estate

“Please Take Care of This for Me”

Borrowed from Robert N. Test, American poet

“The day will come when my body will be determined by doctors to be without life.  When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine.  And don’t call it my deathbed.  Call it my Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face, or the love in the eyes of a significant other.

Give my heart to the person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.

Give my blood to a teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of a car, so he might live to see his grandchildren play.

Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist.

Take my bones, every nerve and muscle, to find a way to make a crippled child walk.

Explore every corner of my brain.  Take my cells if necessary, and make them grow, so one day a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.

Burn what is left and scatter my ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses, and all prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil; give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs it.

If you do all that I have asked, I will live forever.”

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on August 5, 2015 at 10:21 am  Comments (3)  
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One Chip Can Do A Lot of Damage

In my world of personal property, one little chip or ding, fracture or re-glue, can mean the difference between going into the trash or selling it for far less than if it was in perfect condition.   As an appraiser, I know that original condition is just one very important characteristic when assigning value.

My entire career has centered around selling items that are in good, original condition — not stripped of its original finish, not repainted, not repaired or refurbished — just plain original condition.  That original condition attracts the collector toward the mellowness of color that only the passage of time can create on a beautiful wood piece, imperfections and all.  Those imperfections “prove” to the collector’s discriminating eye its true age, and the history and personality of the piece.  Worn leather, distress marks, scars from accidents, etc. are all part of the life of our antique possessions before they came to us.

The collector knows some of these marks are positive attributes, but the average person is in search of perfection — perfection of body, perfection of mind, perfection for each facet of their lives.

The truth suddenly occurred to me!  We should look at ourselves and each other in the very same manner as that special collector.  We are aging; we have earned our stripes.  We have gained insight and wisdom through the passage of years.  Yet we too have many imperfections: a chip here and there, a few fracture lines, a scar or blemish.  We should strive to do our best to live with our original condition for as long as possible.

While one chip can greatly diminish the value of an antique platter, our own self-worth only grows deeper with our well-earned battle scars from a life well lived and loved.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on July 15, 2015 at 10:46 am  Comments (6)  
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5 Promises to Yourself This Summer

These days, it appears increasingly difficult to stay on the level emotionally.  So much comes at us that it’s depressing to turn on the TV.  To combat this heaviness that many feel, I have 5 suggestions to make us feel more buoyant this summer.  Please share them with your family and friends, since we all need to support one another.

Promise finger

  1. Let It Go!  Let go of anything that weighs you down.  Surplus material possessions and stuff that no longer has meaning, people and relationships that are toxic, clean out that closet and give to those in need, etc.  Just let go!  You will immediately feel lighter, and more open space will provide an uplift in your spirit.
  2. If something you tried last year didn’t work out, keep trying different ways until it does work.  As the old saying goes, “there is more than one way to skin a cat.”  Try again in different ways; ask close friends or colleagues what they would do.  Valued opinions and objective third parties may very well be the sounding board you need or provide you with the brilliant idea that works.
  3. Broaden your horizons.  No more excuses!  Take that pottery class, dance class, go to that place you’ve always wanted to see, train for a marathon, volunteer, lose weight, etc.  Just do it!  Spend some time on YOU.
  4. Practice appreciation.  Open your eyes and look for the simple pleasures in your life.  Put forth a little effort to see the good in the world.  Sometimes you need to go for a walk and admire the birds, look at the sky, and take some deep breaths.  A survey of centenarians (over 100 years old) shows they attribute their longevity to simple pleasures like walking barefoot, watering their garden, swimming, etc.
  5. Train your brain to think positively.  Yes, there is a lot wrong with the world today, but there is still much good in it.  Go forth, do good things, be a good person, and try to make a difference for others.  The rewards are far greater than you know!  It comes back to you, and it will give you a strong sense of purpose.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on June 30, 2015 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Who will Care for the Caregiver?

I find it hard to believe there is actually a word in the English language that could possibly describe what caregivers go through.  There can’t be.  What is experienced during the caregiving process is often a deep, emotional shift accompanied by confusion, frustration, even resentment for many.  Somewhere along the line, one loses oneself and their individuality blurs with the needs of the loved one.

Most are caregivers out of love and affection, and others caregive because it is not financially feasible to pay for professional care.  Perhaps a child has a strong desire to care for mom and dad, or possibly a sense of obligation.  They will caregive for as long as they can, only to surrender when they reach a point when they can no longer offer the quality of care the loved one really needs.  It make no difference what the scenario is — all have experienced the same emotional labor.

Who then will care for you, the caregiver?  Ultimately the answer is you.  We’ve all heard the saying: “You have to remain strong for those you care for, so please take care of yourself.”  But are caregivers really taking the time to replenish their bodies, minds, and souls?  If I were a betting lady, I would say no.

As a dutiful daughter myself, I would, without thought, put my parents first at every turn, and would eventually become weak in body, mind and soul.  Lost somewhere between raising children and tending to fragile parents, there is a place called limbo, and we must prevent ourselves from going there by anchoring to a solid, stable place.

What I have learned along the way from my clients is that it is 100% necessary to tend to yourself.  This brings with it the image of being on an airplane; the flight attendant talks about placing the oxygen over your mouth before assisting others.  You do this because without you, others might perish.  The strong one must get stronger (have oxygen) before helping those who aren’t strong.  Place the mask over your face and “breathe.”  The same is true when your feet are on the ground and you are a caregiver.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on June 24, 2015 at 11:45 am  Comments (1)  
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In Pursuit of Good

Anything Less is Counter-productive

The world is full of good people with wonderful intentions.  The world is also full of bad people with evil intentions.  My past week has been filled with: “he said/she said”, “You won’t believe this”, or “Why are they bashing people like this?”  It was an exhausting week, and I feel drained of energy to do my creative work.  My good work.  The work I was put here for.

So, I sat back and watched things unfold before me.  What I saw was very sad.  Sad for me, sad for others who did nothing wrong, sad for everything that transpired.  I witnessed people losing themselves and imploding.  People were spending so much time attaching and hurting one another, often behind their backs, and spending very little time in the pursuit of something productive, something good.

I really examined the situation as objectively as I could, and came to the healthy conclusion that I would much rather spend my time, energy, and life using my gifts to:

  • create,
  • be the best I can be,
  • touch others’ lives in a positive light, and
  • uplift instead of ripping down.

It takes much more energy to hurt then it does to heal!

Why spend all of that time attacking and hurting others, when turning the other cheek (if possible), ignoring (if possible), or doing something for the betterment of others not only helps and improves the situation, it is also good and right.  I am not suggesting it is alright to be a doormat.  It is good to stand up for yourself in a professional manner.

Taking the high road is the road less traveled.

It is lonely and frightening at times, but does not go unnoticed and has its own rewards.

It is also easier said than done.

Here’s the point.  If you get sucked into the poop storm, the only thing that will fly will be poop.  It won’t do you any good, nor your spirit or overall well-being.  Nothing good can come of it.  Step out of the storm.  Always, always take the high road as often as you can.  While it can cause personal pain — we do take things personally — eventually the storm will dissipate and you will find a sense of happiness that comes with your good decisions.

We cannot control others.  We can only control how we handle what others do to us.  Call on friends for support, prayer, venting, etc.  Look towards a positive solution.  This too shall pass!

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.