Lesson in Humility

He never gave me his name but he left many, many slurred voice mail messages on my personal cell phone.  He sounded weary and my initial gut reaction was that something wasn’t right.  I called back to politely tell him that I am not “Chas” and that he had the wrong number, but the calls persisted.  I called back again to remind him gently that I am not “Chas.”  All I understood was that he didn’t know how to delete my number and could I help him.  Unable to do so, I maintained a kind voice and stretched the patience for this bizarre situation.

One day, I called back again, but his son answered the phone long enough to tell me his father was crazy and to ignore his calls.  The son sounded like a jerk.  My heart sank a little more for this unfortunate father.

The calls persevered.  Normally in a situation like that, my temper would probably get the best of me eventually.  Again, my heart told me something wasn’t right; perhaps it was dementia or another neurological challenge.  He called multiple times a day and, when I answered it, I would just tell this man that I wasn’t who he was looking for.  It was beginning to feel like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray kept repeating the same day over and over again.

One day, I turned off my phone when I was out with my family.  Later that night, I checked my messages.  What I heard released a few tears and a humble heart for all that I am and all that I have.  Though the words were slurred, this is what I could understand:

Hello, Lady.  I know I call you all the time but don’t mean to.  I have a problem.  I have many, many problems and I just don’t know what to do.  I am trying to find Chas but all I get is you, and I keep bugging you because I don’t know how to delete you from this phone.  I can’t remember things.  I’ve been diagnosed with (couldn’t make out what he said) and at least my legs work … sometimes they work and I am just so grateful for that.  Yes I am.  Thank the Lord for that.  I’m a vet.  I’m a good guy.  You’re such a nice lady and I feel bad that I keep calling but you’ve been so nice to me.  A lot of people wouldn’t be so nice.  Thank you too.  I’ll try not to call anymore.  Good bye.

In a rush of thoughts, I saw a man on medications, hurt, lonely, and with a son who’s a jerk.  But the thought that overpowered the rest was as simple as a thought could be … I tried to be kind and very grateful that I didn’t sling any of my bad day onto him like most people would.  We’re all guilty of it from time to time.  I was so grateful that he thought the lady’s voice on the other end of the phone was kind.

Such a simple thing to do, and yet he was thankful for it, like I had somehow offered him a present.  You never know what’s really happening on the other side of the phone line, the other side of the door, the other side of the counter.  That must be where the Native American proverb comes from …

Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.

From that perspective, my shoes (and good, strong legs) are looking pretty good right now.

©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 18, 2014 at 9:55 am  Comments (5)  
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The Ring

Go ahead and get your tissue box now; I have mine on my lap as I write this.  Let me tell you a beautiful story.

An 80-year-old mother knew her health was failing, but she didn’t tell her children how bad it was really getting.  Her 82-year-old husband was afflicted with dementia; the disease was just starting to rear its ugly head and become too much for her to handle, seeing her beloved husband of 58 years slip away.

This mom and dad lived far away from their two children and grandchildren by choice.  All of their dearest friends were in Florida, and that is where they wanted to spend their golden years together.  The only problem was as the years passed, they watched all their friends get sick and pass away one by one, visiting each of them in the nursing homes and hospitals, saying their goodbyes.

Their family loved each other dearly and always remained close in heart through daily phone calls and emails, reminiscing and sending each other “remember whens.”  But it was time to call in help and the children intervened, trying to get them closer geographically.  Finally, mom agreed.  When the middle-aged daughter went for a visit to discuss options and make decisions, the mom again showed the daughter where all their trust and other legal papers were located, to make sure the kids knew where everything could be found.  How heartbreaking for the daughter to see her parents decline and become fragile, and equally hard for the mom to discuss her final wishes and personal thoughts with the daughter.

Bury me in this dress, call these people when I die, don’t spend a lot on flowers, etc…

It was a difficult day for mother and daughter; the deed was done and the day dragged long.

The mom got up and went into her bedroom and called the daughter in after her.  She presented her daughter with a ring, placing it in her hand and clasping her frail, weathered hand around her daughter’s, she spoke from her failing heart:

It’s yours now.  It’s time for you to keep this.  I remember when you were a little girl, no more than 5 or 6, you would sneak into our bedroom, open my jewelry box, and try this ring on when you thought no one was watching.  You would put it on your index finger, and it was so big for your tiny finger.  I was there watching.  Mothers always watch and know what’s going on with their children.  You loved this bauble then, and I hope you will remember this moment after I’m gone, because I want you to have this.  It isn’t worth much, but I always cherish the memory of how you would tiptoe into our room just to try it on, careful to put it back where you found it.  Wear it in good health, and may God bless you always for who you are, for the woman you have become, and for what you mean to me.  I love you very much and I’m so proud of you.

The daughter was speechless and choked up all at once, trying very hard to be brave, but it didn’t work.  She collapsed in front of her mother, knowing the message she was giving her: that she was dying and she had made peace with it.

Julie ring

This story is about my mother, Anne, who died not long after that day, and I was the little girl who adored the big, purple, shiny ring.  I will always cherish the ring because of the story behind it, because mom gave it to me in person, and because of the special words that went with it.  Mostly, it made me realize I carry her courage inside me; I hope one day I can pass that to my daughter (the ring and the courage).

I wear this ring any time I wear purple.  Each time I slip it on my finger, I think of mom handing it to me and how it fits perfectly on my finger now.

©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

5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed

NOT ONE OF THEM HAS TO DO WITH STUFF!

“Nurse Reveals the Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed” http://topinfopost.com/2014/05/12/top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-deathbed

In the end, it comes down to you preparing to meet your Maker.  I have felt incredibly blessed and humbled after watching a loved one die.  It is a process of making peace with everything and everyone, before shutting down the shell that carried us so well through life.  It is obvious to me that the farthest thing from their minds were their prized, earthly possessions.  It is those of us who are left behind that struggle with the stuff, often transferring our affection for the person to their sentimental object(s).  Sometimes, we might even think, “Mom or dad would never forgive me if I gave that away,” or “Grandma would be rolling in her grave if I didn’t keep this.”

I don’t think that’s the case. At all.

I think what we may find in the above article is a slice of human clarity.  It’s a glimpse into the world of someone who is getting ready to leave it.  This glimpse focuses on human interaction and the many decisions we made along the way, and the things we could have/should have done differently.  I think it offers the reader food for thought about our very real, very human interactions, and how we could have a better life or how we could offer a better life for others.

In the end, regrets are not what you take with you.  Nor will you take your money, your possessions or collectibles or cars.  All you take is what you entered the world with, plus all the love you accrued along the way.

The only thing we should be concerned with is leaving a legacy that would make those who know and love us, know and love us more.  Go change your world!

©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

Ode to the Gardener – Important Life Lessons

Not so long ago, I stood by my father’s side witnessing the ever-advancing damage of dementia.  I knew deep inside that our time together was growing short from a cognitive perspective, but I never once took into consideration that he, himself, would be taken so quickly.  Dad was a Master Gardener who dedicated his life to understanding the soil, composting, plant diseases and cures, etc.

Dad volunteered 20,000 hours of his senior years teaching children in elementary, middle, and high schools how to nurture and grow vegetables, how to be more self-sufficient, how to be responsible, how to be part of something bigger than yourself.  He also went into prisons, as he wanted to give them a sense of hope and accomplishment.  Dad was sent a gold lapel pin award from President Bush, honoring his 20,000 hours of volunteering, and he was so proud of that pin.

When dad and I were in the garden together, he used to say there was no therapy better than sticking your hands in the earth and being a part of nurturing a plant to maturity, taking a back seat to mother nature, of course.  Little did I know, I would inherit his love for gardening and his green thumb as well.

There are many life lessons to be learned from gardening.  Below are several listed from Adam McCane’s site, which I really like; I just tweaked them a bit for purposes of this blog.

  1. What you water grows.  This simply means that we need to pay attention to ensure we are watered throughout life.  It is the most basic need we have, for without it, we would perish.  So will our plants that feed us, if we don’t take care of them or the earth.
  2. Weed regularly.  Weeds are deceptive.  You won’t notice them starting, but before you know it, they are choking out your veggies, stealing water and nutrients from your plants, and reproducing.  The rule in the garden is simple: If you see a weed, pick it!  The same is true for life.  Weeds and other “undesirables” have a way of creeping in on us.  We need to be mindful that we do not need any weeds in our lives, literally or figuratively.  Get rid of them and don’t feel bad about it.  All of us are tired of dealing with the weeds!
  3. Sharing the harvest.  It’s all about abundance, whether you are sharing veggies, flowers, time, care, love, etc.  Share what you have an abundance of and pay it forward.  It always finds its way back.
  4. Plant in the right season.  For everything, there is a time and purpose.  Sometimes, it is beyond our understanding.  I believe we reap what we sow.  Maybe it’s time to plant better, more productive things in our lives.  Feed your spirit by allowing only good things into your life now.  If you see things rotting, infested, etc., you will need to tend to them by getting rid of them, or proactively healing them.  TIme and nature will tell you which one it will be.
  5. Space is required for growth.  It’s hard to imagine how much room a vegetable is going to need when you grow it from seed or buy a seedling that is in a 5-inch pot.  Sometimes they grow so fast and thick, they can choke out other plants.  Giving a plant plenty of space is important for the health of the plant, so it receives plenty of sunshine and nutrients.  Providing this space will ensure our plants will be healthy, productive, and have plenty of breathable space.  We need to do this for ourselves and give that gift to others too.
  6. Pruning is necessary for abundance.  Cutting, pinching, or picking off dead leaves, branches, poor or weak fruit is necessary for the growth of the healthy fruit.  Vineyard pruners do this every day.  They know exactly how to cut the vine to promote healthy grapes.  While it may look harsh to see so much being removed, it gives the healthy portions of the plant more nutrients to produce the best fruit.  Sometimes, we need to look at ourselves the same way and learn how to prune ourselves by letting go of things that no longer serve our well-being and our highest good.

WP_002044 (2)Dad’s old garden hat is still hanging next to mine on a hook in my laundry room.  Every time I head out to the garden, Dad accompanies me in spirit.  I kept his watering can,  his old worn leather gloves, his t-shirts.  Those things were my father and how I remember him best.  I can still hear his voice guiding me in the stillness of my own vegetable patch.  Much of his advice to me through life also applies to the lessons of raising a successful garden, whatever “garden” we may be cultivating at any given time.

 

©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

Is There a Pot of Gold at the End of YOUR Rainbow?

Most people reading this might be quick to respond with an emphatic “No.”  However, I beg to differ.  I suggest we give this a little thought before we jump to that conclusion.  Not all of us have the luck of the Irish, win the lottery, or find a treasure trove of buried gold coins, as in The Count of Monte Cristo.  But according to a client of mine who is 101 years young, we have much more than that.

Ask Herb if he is blessed and he will say with the vigor of a 20 year old,

“My goodness, yes I am!  Just look at me; I am vertical and that means it’s a good day.  I have air in my lungs and the sun on my face; I’m happy because I know where I’m going after this place.”

What an inspiration!

Ask him what “success” means after living 101 years and he’ll simply say,

“Success is faithfulness.  Faithfulness to your God, faithfulness to yourself and to your loved ones.  It’s being faithful to your business and anything else you touch.  In the end, money doesn’t matter much because you can’t take it with you.  Success is making the most of what you have and using it to help others.  Whether you have a lot or a little, you just live in such a way as to make a difference.  You never know whose life you are going to touch.”

There you have it.  I was officially given an attitude adjustment while sitting there with Herb, and now I’m passing it along to you.  It’s easy to get down or stuck, especially if you listen to the news and see what’s happening to the world around us.  How about listening to your heart for a change?  Try volunteering at a shelter and see how some really live, or help homeless animals, or kids who are troubled, etc.  Do something to make a difference, like Herb suggested.

Every day, I see people wrapped up in personal possessions: furniture, crystal, china, silver.  Every day I see people fight over these things that they can’t take with them either.  And sadly, every day I see people fight so viciously that they never speak to siblings again.

For what?  For nothing!

Because in the end, they live with regret, and regret is a thief.  A thief of your time, energy, thoughts, and your spirit.  It just isn’t worth it.

Herb is right.  In the end, none of this matters, except good deeds and the knowledge that you have lived each day in such a way that made a difference.  That is something I believe we take with us always.

©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

5 Minutes

In the span of a 24 hour day, what’s 5 minutes?  It’s grabbing a quick snack before you head out the door, feeding your cat, texting your best friend, or checking your email.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s certainly not much.  Our lives are so busy; we barely notice.  But often, they are full of things that are mundane and perhaps not all that important; they simply keep us busy.  That 5 minutes comes and goes without a care, never to be experienced again in quite the same way.

To some people, 5 minutes is an eternity:  a soldier who sees their life flash before their eyes, a lady waiting to find out if she’s pregnant, a young child waiting for Christmas morning, or holding a loved one’s hand while they’re dying.

If you were given 5 minutes to do, or re-do, anything you wanted to, any time, anywhere, or any place, what would you do and would you do anything differently?

If I had 5 minutes, just 5 measly minutes, for a chance to do anything I wanted, I would choose to visit with my mother again.  Throughout the course of our lives, she and I talked a lot about a lot.  I was the last person to talk with her before she passed suddenly, and our parting words to each other, without knowing she was going to die, were simply “I love you.”  But if I had that wish and just 5 minutes more, I would have told her exactly what she meant to me, how blessed I was to have known her and have her as my mother, and that I would do everything I could to live by her kind and caring example.  Everyone loved Anne.  She was one of the nicest people on the planet and my world lost its color the day she passed.

I would do all of this, if I had 5 minutes more with her … complete with a long and loving hug.  But I don’t have any minutes with her anymore.

What’s 5 minutes to you?

Is there someone in your life right now where 5 minutes (just 5 tiny minutes) could heal your life and theirs?  Take the 5 minutes I no longer have and do something really good with it.

It is a gift!

©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

To Honor in Death as Much as in Life

Call me old-fashioned.  Call me a twentieth century throw-back.  It is apparent to me each time I meet a client, pick up the latest gadget, or look in the mirror, that I came from a different time.  It’s more than okay because I really liked the twentieth century, and I’m proud to have grown up at that time.

Mom and dad are gone now.  Their absence is felt daily, evidenced by the huge hole in my heart and tears that well up in my eyes every time I think about how much they are missed.  I am certain you can relate.  I was one of the lucky ones who grew up under the strict, but loving guidance of two traditionalists.

They taught me right from wrong, disciplined me when I strayed off course, enforced curfews, taught me to prepare for what was ahead, and instilled that “this too shall pass.”  They were even “realists” when it came to death.  My own mother, with her fantastic sense of humor, sent me a coffin brochure, asking me if she would look better in the copper rose or the warm mahogany!  It is good to laugh when you feel like crying.  There’s just no way to fill a hole THAT big, so I fill it in other ways.

I want to live my life in such a way that it touches others, serves others, relieves others.  I want to make a difference.  Isn’t that what we all want?  All we need is a little tenacity and courage to do it.  Encouraging others to love and honor does not end with death.  If anything, it gets magnified.  Since they were proud of you (and vice versa) in life, shouldn’t that continue even after they’ve passed?  Imagine living your life in such a manner, that you not only make yourself proud, but your departed loved ones too.

So too, I guide my clients through the process of dealing with their parents’ estates.  Whatever decisions you make, make them in such a way that pleases you and would honor them too.  Turning the other cheek is far  from easy, but often necessary.

Corny?  20th century?  Something out of “Leave it to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best?”  You bet!

And I’m darn proud of that too!

©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

Lessons Learned as an Expert in “Things”

Happy New Year!

As an expert in personal property, my days are filled with visiting estates, consulting with my clients, and ascertaining what has value versus what does not.  I help boomer children make sound decisions after mom and dad have passed on, and work closely with seniors, helping them make a plan for their heirlooms and understanding their worth.  My world revolves around many beautiful things and what they may be worth; then sadly, I watch people fight over those things after a loved one dies.

Having met with thousands of individuals in my career, I can safely say I have learned from each and every one of them.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

1We exit this world the way we enter it, owning nothing but a beautiful spirit that houses love and memories earned over a lifetime.  You can’t take anything with you, so why fight over things.

2Things do bring instant gratification, but not long-lasting happiness.  So we keep buying more things to keep feeling good.  Too many of us fill our lives with things to ease unresolved pain and issues.  As we continue to go out and go into debt buying ourselves the latest electronic or 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, it ends up in the hands of family or a professional, such as myself, to sell it.

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

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

4.  If you have an older adult 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 – and 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 after a loved one has left us.  Take a photograph of this special day and frame it.

5.  Get your children involved in their own legacy.  TALK, don’t text.  Include older generations in activities with the younger children, if possible.  It won’t do them any harm to listen to grandma’s stories and bake cookies, instead of them playing on their Xbox.  Precious time is slipping away for all of us.  Make the most of it by making meals and eating together, talking, sharing, and most of all, mending anything that needs mending.

©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

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

Inspiration of the Week: Find a Way or Make a Way

He’s a Southern gentleman in his 70s and the father of a dear friend of mine.  John has no idea that he serves as a great inspiration to many … that’s how genuine he is.  To this humble, salt-of-the-earth man, he is just as happy to get up each day and fill it with as much as he can, until he does it all again tomorrow.  He won’t sit still for very long because “there is always something that needs to be done, so I get up and do it.”

I should preface the story by saying that John has a heart condition, but he never lets anything even remotely slow him down.  Having retired a year or so ago, he was determined to attain at least two personal goals:

  1. To not end up with a debilitating illness that rendered him helpless, and
  2. To find a way to make a little extra money to pay his bills, like so many other Americans in his shoes.

John has what I call moxie, or a determined spirit, and a common sense intellect that few possess today.  He comes from the good old days, when hard work and thinking things through produced income.  You would either find a way or make a way.  In fact, he said to me, “Julie, money can be made in lots of ways.  Even if I get paid $5 for something, that’s $5 I didn’t have before.  But you have to be willing to work for it.”

How does John make extra money?  John lives in a small town and listens to a local radio station that reads the classifieds over the airwaves.  You can buy and sell on this radio station.  So John started buying older appliances like refrigerators, freezers, and stoves.  He brings them home, cleans them up, and resells them that week or the next.   It’s the quickest turnaround I’ve ever seen for someone not in this industry!

John’s strategy is simple; he buys several appliances a week for $50 to $100 each.  He resells them on the same radio show, with no advertising costs, and delivers them within a 30 mile radius.  He doubles and sometimes triples his money within a few days, with no overhead.  Now that’s smart!

He knows that not all people can afford, or want to afford, a $2,000 stainless steel refrigerator.  “People have to watch their spending these days,” and he’s spot on.

For those wanting to make extra money, you may want to think along the same lines as my friend.  Find a need that people have that has not yet been filled, and fill it.  He delivers these appliances to some of his older clients who would have trouble getting them otherwise … smart guy with old-fashioned know-how!  What John is doing is spreading by word of mouth in his community; he does not want to get too big because he is a one-man operation and likes it that way.

We all need to take a life lesson from him.  He’s retired, has a heart condition, and nothing has stopped him.  He’s put a good amount of money in his pocket using nothing but his brain and his brawn.  God bless you, John.  Keep it up because you are an inspiration to many!

©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 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm  Comments (1)