Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cost v. Benefits

I'm going to launch right in here with a really obvious statement: it matters where you live.

We wrapped up our annual barn sale tonight. I'm in that exhausted-happy state right now: glad to be done but sad that it's over. But I'm sitting here contemplating how we got to this point. An "annual barn sale" implies at least three key things: 1) we have something worth selling; 2) we have a barn; and 3) we think it's worth doing this every year.

Those of you who really know me will know that I have very little worth selling. : ) We specialize in hand-me-downs around here. When I had my very first garage sale after moving here 5 years ago, I agonized over the items I wanted to sell: was that given to me? should I give it away? After spending way too much mental guilt time on that issue, plus finding myself getting far too concerned about each nickel and dime, the Lord led me to His solution: have the sale, give away the money. This works well and we have way more fun. Now, most of what we sell is donated by friends and family who are lightening their closets and garages, and their stuff is much nicer than ours!

The thing that has left us most amazed is the fact that having this barn sale is actually worth the time and effort. Of all the "cons" we listed when choosing this house, the most obvious and looming was the location. We, the ones who are trying to keep alive five active children, moved into a home with an address with a nickname: National Road. Hello? And despite a perfectly acceptable and quite speedy interstate being close and parallel, the apparently-nostalgic truckers prefer this road for their daily deliveries.

As it turns out, traffic is good for something: barn sales (and break-downs, and lost elderly drivers, and bike races, and Model T caravans, but we'll leave those stories for another time). Our short, two-day, middle-of-the-week sale this week yielded 306 vehicles into our driveway. And trust me, yes, we counted. (Levi also monitored the make of each car and what state they were from -- there's really no chart that boy doesn't love). This may be nothing to some people, but is quite fascinating to a couple who has either lived in farmhouses located where you could advertise everything for free and still have no one show up, or in city apartments.

So after days of cleaning and sorting together, delighting in watching the kids interact with our "customers", Levi and company make change with their toy cash register, making chocolate chip cookies together to sell, meeting new people and explaining how their money will help, giving neighbors a reason to come over and chat, not doing dishes for two days : ), and figuring out how many Liberians will have shelter, or a Bible, or seed money for their business with our earnings, all I can say is Thank You Lord, for this house on a busy, busy road. Will we live here forever? Maybe, maybe not. Will I complain less about the "cons" and look for more "pro" opportunities? Yes, I will.

It matters where you live. It matters how you live.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two things I never imagined in the same sentence...

...our children, and miniature donkeys. : )

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How not to write a big, long, venting blog post

1. Go to Walmart at the end of a very long errand afternoon with all five children.

2. Go when Walmart is packed (i.e., anytime)

3. Fill your cart with everything you'll need for the rest of May. Seriously.

4. Go through the most frustrating checkout experience of your existence.

5. Determine to go home and rant about it on your blog.

6. Instead, get home and live your responsibilities.

7. Sit down three days later at the computer and realize Walmart isn't worth it.