How to Feel Fulfilled This Christmas

Things do bring instant gratification, but not long-lasting happiness. 

We keep buying more things to keep feeling good.  Sometimes we use things to ease unresolved pain and issues.  We continue to accumulate debt, but are still left unfulfilled and discontented.  In the end, these things end up in the hands of family or a professional to sell them.

Want to feel fulfilled?  Make a Difference!

  • Dress the less fortunate by sorting your clothing, shoes, etc. and donating what you don’t use.  Do the same with surplus items in your food pantry.
  • Bust the clutter in your attics and garages.  So much that you have laying around can be used by someone in need.  Find the appropriate organizations and give your clutter away.
  • Practice the art of giving from the heart.
  • Refrain from unnecessary purchases for at least six months.

Time’s running out for Christmas shopping, your debt is growing, and you still don’t know what to buy for certain people on your list.  What to do?

Why buy anything?

Why not give the best gift in the world — yourself?

  • Go visit someone you have been meaning to see for a long time. Surprise a loved one you haven’t seen for years.
  • Write that letter, bake those cookies.
  • Volunteer for those needing your help or visit shut-ins.
  • Make that phone call to make amends, because you and your mother haven’t spoken in years.
  • Bring your children to an assisted living or nursing home, and watch the residents light up. Have your children draw pictures and then visit and sing for those in shelters or facilities.
  • Say what you need to say, and do so right now.
  • Ask for forgiveness and always offer it, no matter what.
  • Offer hugs to those who really need it.
  • Make gifts for everyone on your list.
  • Listen to your elders because you will learn so much.

Not sure what to give the senior adult on your list?

  • Spend a full day with them and ask them to share stories of your family history — fun stories, challenges, family secrets, marriages, customs — and look through old photos. Record this day and create a book for them (with copies for your family members), so it may be passed down for years to come. Many children regret not having more family history, but realize this only after the loved one has died.
  • Find a special photograph and frame it. Ask an elder for a secret family recipe, so it can be carried on; then make it for them.

When we think of the upcoming holidays, we also need to be counting the multitude of blessings we do have, rather than wishing for the ones we don’t have. Make it a special holiday for others, and it will come back to you, in the form of contentment and joy — both in giving and in receiving.

©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.

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Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 10:28 am  Comments (4)  
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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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Intangible Gifts Bring Joy and Fulfillment

Things do bring instant gratification, but not long-lasting happiness.  We keep buying more things to keep feeling good.  Sometimes we use things to ease unresolved pain and issues.  We continue to accumulate debt, but are still left unfulfilled and discontented.  In the end, these things end up in the hands of family or a professional to sell them.

Want to feel fulfilled?  Make a Difference!

  • Dress the less fortunate by sorting your clothing, shoes, etc. and donating what you don’t use.  Do the same with surplus items in your food pantry.
  • Bust the clutter in your attics and garages.  So much that you have laying around can be used by someone in need.  Find the appropriate organizations and give your clutter away.
  • Practice the art of giving.
  • Refrain from unnecessary purchases for at least six months.

Time’s running out for Christmas shopping, your debt is growing, and you still don’t know what to buy for certain people on your list.  What to do?

Why buy anything?

Why not give the best gift in the world — yourself?

  • Go visit someone you have been meaning to see for a long time. Surprise a loved one you haven’t seen for years.
  • Write that letter, bake those cookies.
  • Volunteer for those needing your help or visit shut-ins.
  • Make that phone call to make amends with family and friends you haven’t spoken with in years.
  • Bring your children to an assisted living or nursing home, and watch the residents light up. Have your children draw pictures and then visit and sing for those in shelters or facilities.
  • Say what you need to say, and do so right now.
  • Ask for forgiveness and always offer it … no matter what.
  • Offer hugs to those who really need it.
  • Make gifts for everyone on your list.
  • Listen to your elders because you will learn so much.

Do you have a senior on your list and you don’t know what to give them?

  • Spend a full day with them and ask them to share stories of your family history — fun stories, challenges, family secrets, marriages, customs — and look through old photos. Record this day and create a book for them (with copies for your family members), so it may be passed down for years to come. Many children regret not having more family history, but realize this only after the loved one has died.
  • Find a special photograph and frame it. Ask an elder for a secret family recipe, so it can be carried on; then make it for them.

When we think of the upcoming holidays, we also need to be counting the multitude of blessings we do have, rather than wishing for the ones we don’t have. Make it a special holiday for others, and it will come back to you, in the form of contentment and joy — both in giving and in receiving.

©2014 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 4, 2014 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Spontaneous Invitation Changed My Outlook on Life

It was a spontaneous invitation from my 78-year-old mother to attend their senior holiday dance and party.  I was out-of-state visiting them and I obliged her request, knowing it would make her happy.  How much fun could it really be with everyone so advanced in years?

The club house was nothing fancy — reminiscent of a church basement or school gym, devoid of color, with few decorations.  In front of the small Bingo stage sat the collapsible sound system from the hired DJ, complete with a disco ball spinning crystal dots on the walls, and a lighted 3-foot Santa next to his unit.  The floor was exceptionally shiny, as if someone had spent hours buffing it to perfection for dancing.

The 40 seniors waited in line for cafeteria style dinner of roast beef, green beans, and a roll.  Dessert would be homemade cakes from the neighborhood ladies, served on styrofoam plates.

During our meal, the DJ came alive, obviously loving his job.  I understood he was a retired NYC cop who had found his true calling and was very good at it.  The beat from Glen Miller’s “In the Mood” was evident in my tapping feet, shoulder motions and bobbing head.  Was that ME actually having fun?  Dare I say, the fun was just beginning…

Mesmerized by the fantastic selection of 40’s and 50’s music and jazz beats, the seniors suddenly came alive.  Some with canes, others with oxygen, still others (like my mother) afflicted with heart disease — it didn’t matter to them — they got up and started dancing like they were young again.  Before my eyes, the music became their magic.  Transported  back to the 1940s, the hands of time literally spun backwards to return them to their prime in life.  This was their night and they proudly took ownership.

Over the course of the evening, I found myself looking closely at the weathered faces of the old men.  They didn’t look old to me anymore.  It was like watching an episode of Star Trek when they were brought back in time wearing their US military uniforms. The ladies had vibrant, shiny, hair curls and small waists, just like in the old black and white movies.

The most moving part of the evening was how they looked at each other.  Couples married for 50-60 years still gazed upon each other with love and affection.  I even caught a glimpse of an 80-year-old man stroking his wife’s face while they danced, and I had to hold back the tears because I knew she was fighting an illness.  This, I thought, was true commitment.

They had survived the Great Depression and a devastating world war; raising us was no easy matter either.  These were people who simply did what needed to be done.  They were fiercely loyal, still loved America, and always had a strong work ethic.

For one night, for a few hours, they didn’t care about their diseases, ailments, aches, and pains.  They only wanted to let their hair down and have a memorable time.  There I sat, in love with each of them for the way they treated each other with smiles galore, twirling about as if today were their last day on earth.

The thought crossed my mind, as it probably did theirs, that their time is indeed limited, for some more than others.  How could they dance and enjoy fellowship with such carefree smiles and attitudes?  Because they love life, and offered each other the best gift anyone could possibly receive … the gift of simple joy.  They gave the gift of each other.

I found myself deeply moved by what I saw that evening.  Ours has become a world of convenience, and often inconvenience.  A place where people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”  A place where we don’t see as much care and concern for each other as was in our parents’ generation.  I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge visiting a strange time and place, who saw the light and understood the meaning in the few hours they allowed me to share with them.  I somehow knew as I watched my parents dance that evening, that I was witnessing the last time they would do so.  Sadly, I was right, which makes this memory even more special.

Our seniors truly are our greatest asset and we have much to learn from them!  In this new year, spend time with a senior.  You won’t regret it, and your heart will grow.

©2013 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

Reflection

There is a time for everything; now is the time of year to not only give to others, but to give to yourself as well.  Sometimes I think we forget that.

In between decking the halls and flocking to malls, making sure you’ve made a list and checked it twice, singing “Jingle Bells” in every possible rendition, and finding yourself frustrated with the crowds and traffic and (yes, you can say it) the greed you see, we have forgotten to do one very special thing for ourselves … reflect.  There’s only so much one human being can do, and we humans have a tendency to go on auto-pilot during the holidays.

The New Year marks a happy time for most people, because we get to “start all over again.”  What we should be doing is skimming back through 2013.

Facing whatever the year held for us is important: the pain, the struggles, the tears, and the worries.  But let us also not forget the joy, the strength, and the obstacles we overcame.  Some people are afraid to look back.  It isn’t healthy to stay there very long, but it is ok to compare it to where you are now.  You’ve come a long way and you should be proud of yourself.

It was a rough year for many people.  If we take the time to look back, even for a few uninterrupted and peaceful moments, we can see that the past is indeed past; yet we are moving forward at what feels like warp speed.  It is in reflecting that we can also see how we’ve had an effect on people’s lives or how they’ve affected ours.  It is a time to envision how we could have done things better, and feel good about the positive things that have transpired.  It is about personal growth when it comes to the bad stuff we went through.

This personal reflection shows us how strong we became as we battled the indescribable pain of losing a loved one, losing a job, or even sometimes, our sense of “self.”  It is also in that reflection that we should remember those far less fortunate than ourselves — to put things into perspective and realize we are not as bad off as we may think or feel.

It isn’t about loss.  It’s about gain.

Now you can move forward teaching others because you have an experience you didn’t have before.  If everyone had a better attitude, if everyone took the time to reflect on themselves, if everyone learned to forgive themselves and others, the world would be a much better place.  But since neither you nor I can control the world, all we can do is work on our little corner of it.  Our job is not to solve the problems of the universe.  It’s just to be the best that we can be at who we are and what we do (and the word “perfection” does exist when it comes to that).

Imagine a world where everyone tried to be their best.  Now that’s worth reflecting on!

©2013 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 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm  Comments (2)  
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There is Much to be Grateful For

I’m thankful for things I never thought about before.  It could be the economy that has us more thankful for what we do have, or in my case, losing one beloved parent and in the process of losing the other that makes me see things differently than I used to.

I walk outside for a fresh breath and see a perfect sky and the gorgeous leaves this time of year.  How could anything be wrong when you see something that beautiful?  I don’t yell at my teen as much as I used to.  She supported me during a time of tremendous loss and has spoken words of wisdom when she sees me folded over in tears, due to my father’s illness.  How could anything be wrong when you’re surrounded by something so beautiful?

I’m not as impatient as  I used to be, and I’m thankful for that too.  And even though I have always thought of myself as a kind person, I am even more so now, because the world needs as much light and kindness as possible.

We all have worries, fears, and thoughts we shouldn’t have.  It is a sign of the times.  I walked to the backyard and was greeted by a family of 9 deer who did not run when I got within 15 feet of them.  Instead, the timid deer allowed me to slowly approach, and I crouched down only to observe how graceful they all were.  How they all remained together to stay safe, warm, and graze.  Their big eyes and ears were always on the alert, but they were inquisitive as well.  The mother had an injured leg (not life threatening), and she was slower than the rest, but they never left her behind.  They stayed together like family should.

It was a “God” moment.  Just me and God and his incredible creatures.  In that snippet of time, all my worries and troubles were gone.  All was right and my mind was “in the moment.”  So that’s what it feels like not to have any worries, I thought to myself.  I need to do this more often.  And so I shall.

My mom used to say you can see things from any angle you choose; you can be mad or glad, happy or sad.  It’s all in how you look at things.  I’ll start thinking more like that too.

I’m finally beginning to get the picture.  Fifty years into this thing called life, I finally get it.  Be appreciative.  Tell people how you feel.  Fix your wrongs.  Treat others well.  Do the right thing.  It all goes back to everything we learned in kindergarten; only somewhere along the way, life got in the way and we may have forgotten.

Let this be a reminder to us all to be more “in the moment” with an appreciative heart, as we enter this holiday season and a new year.

© 2012 Julie Hall

Published in: on November 21, 2012 at 11:07 am  Comments (4)  
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Sometimes Life’s an Oxymoron

A potential client sat in her parent’s affluent home asking my opinion as to how we should handle the dissolution of the property.  In this case, I recommended a combination of auction and donation because it was not suitable for a good estate sale.  Imagine my shock when she basically refused the very idea of donation.  This was foreign to me.  With so many out there in need, and her being financially blessed, I just couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t want the towels, linens, kitchen items, and clothing donated.  I left the home not knowing what to make of it.  This appeared to be a picture of an uncharitable heart … hold that thought.

On Christmas Eve, our family went to a candlelight service.  Feeling a little blue because mom passed away and everything feeling weird without her, my father, family and I went to the service in hopes it would lift our Christmas spirit. 

A small boy no older than 4 years old was wheeled in front of me.  There, in a wheelchair that looked like something from outer space with every gadget and gismo attached, was this very tiny child with the most angelic face I had ever seen.  He was beautiful with his blonde hair and blue eyes and looked like “Tiny Tim” from A Christmas Carol

He was completely helpless and dependent on his parents.  The child could not move any of his limbs and stared up at the ceiling.  He never made a sound.  Finally, his father unbelted him from his lifeline and picked him up.  The boy was as limp as a ragdoll and showed no sign of life other than his eyes being open. 

At first, dad held him on his lap and he repeatedly kissed the boy on the forehead.  Then mom held him and she would rub his hair playfully, talk to him and kiss his cheeks.  Their faces and eyes held the most amazing peace.  I thought to myself, Now, that’s love.  What an amazing example of love, compassion, and acceptance.

When you witness something as beautiful as that, and then meet other people who seem to have so much but are not willing to share any, it’s a little difficult to understand human nature. 

I did not hear the minister’s message on Christmas Eve, because I was so engrossed in observing this family with their boy.  When I realized I missed the bulk of the service, I just smiled to myself, knowing the message I had received was much more powerful —  and a tender reminder that we have so much to be thankful for. 

© 2012 Julie Hall

What I’ve Learned as an Expert in “Things” (part 2)

I probably don’t have to tell you this, since Wal-Mart and almost every other store are playing holiday music already:  The holidays are coming soon!!

As I write this blog on what I’ve learned as an expert on “things,” I realize that these last two thoughts, promised to you last week, will revolutionize how you view this year’s holidays.  They’ll probably also save you money and frustration when holiday shopping time comes.  Please consider the following observations from this expert in “things:”

3.  It’s what you do with what you have that really counts, not what you possess.  In these tough economic times, it’s important to remember there are others dealing with greater difficulties than you.  Even while we tighten our purse strings, we can still give in many ways that others would be so grateful for.

  • Give of yourself.
  • Go visit someone you have been meaning to see for a long time.
  • Write that letter.
  • Bake those cookies.
  • Volunteer for those needing help.
  • Visit those confined to home by infirmity or sickness.
  • Surprise a loved one.
  • Make that phone call to make amends with one you haven’t spoken to for years.
  • Bring your children to an assisted living or nursing home; watch the residents light up.
  • Say what you need to say, and do so right now.
  • Ask for forgiveness and offer it, no matter what.
  • Offer hugs to those who really need it.
  • Listen to your elders because you will learn so much.

4.  If you have a senior in your life … Spend a full day with them and ask them to share stories of your family history — fun stories, challenges, family secrets, marriages.  Look through old photos.  Record this day and make a book for them (and copies for each sibling) so it may be passed down for years to come.  Many children regret not having more family history, but they realize this only after a loved one has left us.

© 2011 Julie Hall

Christmas is over … Now what?

Christmas is over, and you’ve dragged all the wrappings to the trash can.  Now what?  Maybe you got what you wanted … maybe you got too much.

Things do bring instant gratification, but not long-lasting happiness. So, we keep buying more things to keep feeling good.  If your Christmas happiness has been replaced with that let-down feeling, consider the following suggestions.

Too many of us fill our lives with things to ease unresolved pain and issues. As we continue to go out there and buy ourselves the latest electronic gadget, we are still left unfulfilled and discontented. We buy to feel good. We buy because we deserve it. We buy because we are depressed. But in the long run, each item ends up in the hands of family or a professional to sell it.

There are some who believe “He who dies with the most toys wins.” There are others who feel “He who dies with the most toys, dies anyway.” So what should we do?

** Dress the less fortunate by going through your clothing, shoes, etc. Do the same for the food in your pantry.

** Head into your attic and garage and start clutter-busting. So many things we have are not being used — and can be used by someone who needs them. Find those organizations and give them away.

** Start practicing the art of giving, and refrain from unnecessary purchases for at least six months.

** A cluttered house is often reflective of a cluttered life. Do yourself and your family a favor and clear out while you can, and help others in the process. The end result is a long-lasting and satisfied feeling.

Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year for you!

© 2010 Julie Hall

Intangible Gifts Bring Joy this Holiday Season

Time’s running out for Christmas shopping, your debt is growning, and you still don’t know what to buy for certain people on your list.  What to do?

Why buy anything? Why not give the best gift in the world — yourself?

  • Go visit someone you have been meaning to see for a long time. Surprise a loved one you haven’t seen for years.
  • Write that letter, bake those cookies.
  • Volunteer for those needing your help or visit shut-ins.
  • Make that phone call to make amends, because you and your mother haven’t spoken in years.
  • Bring your children to an assisted living or nursing home, and watch the residents light up. Have your children draw pictures and then visit and sing for those in shelters or facilities.
  • Say what you need to say, and do so right now.
  • Ask for forgiveness and always offer it, no matter what.
  • Offer hugs to those who really need it.
  • Make gifts for everyone on your list.
  • Listen to your elders because you will learn so much.

Do you have a senior on your list, and you don’t know what to give them?

  • Spend a full day with them and ask them to share stories of your family history — fun stories, challenges, family secrets, marriages, customs — and look through old photos. Record this day and create a book for them (with copies for your family members), so it may be passed down for years to come. Many children regret not having more family history, but realize this only after the loved one has died.
  • Find a special photograph and frame it. Ask an elder for a secret family recipe, so it can be carried on; then make it for them.

When we think of the upcoming holidays, we also need to be counting the multitude of blessings we do have, rather than wishing for the ones we don’t have. Make it a special holiday for others, and it will come back to you, in the form of contentment and joy — both in giving and in receiving.

© 2010 Julie Hall

Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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