The Merry Go Round in My Life

You know that old saying “God will never give you more than you can handle?” Yeah, that’s baloney. Straight up fantasy. God very often, all the time, gives us way more than we can handle. How else would we learn to lean on him? If we can handle every challenge that comes our way, what do we need God for? Why do we need his strength?

This fall is shaping up to be quite the humdinger for me. August has already flown by in a series of meetings, days full to the brim, late nights working hard to get everything done. We are serving in two different areas at our church this year; working with the teens on Sunday morning as we did last year, and leading a life group as we’ve done the past few years. That’s pretty manageable.

We’ve got four kids under the age of six – the oldest started school this month and the youngest is one of the sweet, happy babies that just goes along for the ride. Four kids is a lot of work, but it’s pretty manageable.

We decided to homeschool this year for kindergarten. It’s kindergarten, so the daily commitment isn’t too long, and one day a week Javi is going to a co-op run through the public school system. He gets to be with other kids and I get a day where I don’t need to fit school into our day, so it’s pretty manageable.

My eBay business has really started to take off, and I’m starting to get into bulk auctions so that I can more easily increase the volume of items I have for sale without spending hours and hours sourcing. I’m gearing up for the holiday season, making sure I have lots of inventory and getting it all up in my eBay store so that it can sell! It’s a lot of work but it’s fun and so far it’s pretty manageable.

We’ve also decided to sell our house. We’re looking to move to something with another bedroom or two, and hopefully a bigger kitchen to more easily accommodate our growing family. But most importantly, we are looking for a house with an in law suite: something that has at least one bedroom, a living space, a full bathroom and a kitchenette. An area that is completely separate from our space, with its own entrance. That way when we have family visiting or friends in town we can comfortably host them, and whenever we don’t we can rent out that space on AirBnB. I’m really excited about this idea. If we had nothing else going on right now, it would be pretty manageable to take on moving. But…

Coupled with everything else going on in our life, I feel a little bit like I got on one of those playground merry go rounds that is spinning too fast and I can’t get off. I feel like I’m hanging on for dear life with white knuckles and eyes squeezed shut, trying my hardest not to fall off. On the days where I stop trusting that this is what God has for us in this season, and start looking at the calendar with all of our days filled up, and my to-do list that never seems to shrink, I get overwhelmed. I start thinking that this entire juggling act of the many balls I have in the air is going to get the best of me. I wonder if I will ever have a day where I will wake up and think “hey, I have nothing to do today!”

There are seasons of rest and seasons of quiet days and simple schedules. This isn’t one of those seasons. This is a season that is difficult for me, as I try to find my footing with four kids, as we dive into the world of homeschooling, as I try to build an online business, and we sell our house. Change is always hard, the constant demands of mothering are always challenging, moving is always disruptive. But we are certain that we are hearing from God in each of these areas, so we are moving forward one step at a time, one day at a time, one item crossed off on my to-do list at a time. I’ve got way more than I can handle going on right now, but that’s okay. I’d rather need God than have a life so simple and manageable that I’m never looking for the ways that God is going to step into my days and show himself mighty on my behalf.

So if you need me, I’ll be on the merry go round. But I’ll be doing my best to laugh and enjoy the spinning instead of being afraid and overwhelmed!

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How I’m making money by shopping!

I mentioned a while ago that I started reselling things on eBay. It’s been just about a year since I started, and my goodness I’ve been having a lot of fun. I’ve sold on eBay off and on over the last fifteen years, ever since college. After my first semester I remember being appalled by the buy-back prices of college bookstores, and I set out to find a better way to make some of my money back. I discovered eBay would fetch me much better prices, and I did that for remainder of my time in college, essentially using the same few hundred dollars over and over to buy each semester’s necessary books.

Then, right before I got married, I lived with my grandparents for about a year. I told my grandpa about eBay, and he wanted to try selling some of his things that were taking up space in his basement. So we worked together and sold a bunch of things my grandparents had been holding on to, including some antique toys from when my grandpa was a boy. The best thing we sold was a Buddy L truck for $1,400. It was amazing! My grandparents let me live with them for free, so I was happy to help them out a little bit by doing some reselling together.

After that we got married and bought a house, and I poured all my creative energy into fixing up Wendhurst and starting a photography business. I ran my photography business for about five years total, although the last two years after we had kids it was incredibly part time.

In 2014 we moved to Denver, a much bigger city than Rochester. There were thrift stores on every corner. Considering the fact that we moved out here with only what fit in our van, we had a lot of shopping to do! There was a thrift store at the major intersection by our house, and I took full advantage of that store as we restocked and decorated our Colorado home.

Then last year, I was at a garage sale and I saw some old metal toy trucks that a guy was selling. My mind instantly went back to that Buddy L truck I sold with my grandpa years ago. I asked the guy how much he wanted for the trucks, and he sold me five trucks for $25. I took the risk that they were worth more than that and brought them home to try selling on eBay.

I sold those five trucks for a total of $89.66. After taxes and fees I had made about $55, essentially doubling my money. And I was hooked! I thought – if I take this money and buy more stuff to resell, I can keep growing this amount and actually make some good money as a hobby! So I reinvested that $55 and bought a bunch more things to resell.

Now, a year later, I’ve sold more than $6,000 worth of cool things on eBay! It’s been a huge learning curve but I’m having a blast and challenging myself to always increase my average profit margin and discover new things to sell. I’ve sold vintage dishes, robotic mops, expensive baby food makers, clothing, LEGOS and more.

I love it because I can easily fit this into my life as a mom of little ones. When I have time I can list a few items, and when we need to get out of the house we all pile into the van and head to a thrift store or garage sale. The kids help me package up items and carry them into the post office, or stick them in the mailbox for me. Plus, I am basically getting paid to shop – which is a ton of fun!

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Sprucing up the Sink Wall

I haven’t really addressed the kitchen at Amherst in any kind of formal way. I showed you how we tore out the upper cabinets within a week of moving in, and added cool open shelves, and that’s about it. Last year at Christmastime (2015, not 2016) we found a killer deal on some laminate flooring and ripped out the carpet in the dining area and put a cleanable, washable floor down. But we only did the dining room side, so we still need to do the kitchen side. That will come in time. We’re kind of busy over here raising a bunch of kiddos. :) So, last you knew, this is what the kitchen side looked like.

Well, with shelving on the far wall, but apparently I didn’t take a picture of that. So here’s the shelving to refresh your memory.

So anyways, we’ve slowly been working on the sink wall to freshen it up a bit and make it more functional. We started by taking out the scalloped detail over the sink. But that exposed the fluorescent light that was hiding out underneath there. I am not a fan of fluorescent lighting. Like, at all.

 

 

And then eventually I found a cute little lantern light at Home Depot and replaced the fluorescent one that was there. And I loved it. The light was softer and more flattering, and looked so inviting at night. And then I set my sights on that sink. Stainless sinks are easy to clean and maintain, and I don’t mind the look of them. But I started thinking about more of a farmhouse/country look, which I feel like we have going in here with the brick and the shelves and the herb garden back splash. And I love the look of big white cast iron sinks.

So I watched craigslist until I found one in the right dimensions for the right price ($30). And then I picked out a faucet that I felt like coordinated really well and told Amazon to send it to me pronto.

We set aside a Saturday (and we needed the whole day!) to pull out the old sink, run to Lowe’s a few time for plumbing stuff, and hook up the new sink and faucet. Lover seriously loves me to devote a whole Saturday to house projects, but it’s been so worth it. The old faucet leaked out the back every time you used the water (a million times a day?) and would pool up on the counters and run down onto the floor. We were constantly stepping in little puddles which got old REAL FAST.

Last night after the kids went to bed I spent a little bit of time caulking in the new sink. Now it looks finished and is water tight, and I’m seriously happy. I love simple, functional upgrades that also improve the look of the room!

Isn’t it pretty? I’ve also replaced the outlet covers so they blend in better, and swapped out the cabinet hardware for matte black hardware to tie in with the shelf brackets on the nearby wall.

The faucet has a pull out sprayer (LOVE) and the sink is quite a bit deeper than the previous one. And see those little curves at the back? Besides being pretty, they give me that much more room to finagle large dishes in the sink.

I love the hammered texture on the light, and its size is perfect for over the sink. It’s not too in your face. But it’s enough light to be functional, and provides some soft lighting at night.

Here’s one more pulled back look so you can see how everything is coming together. Next up on the list is repainting the walls and putting in new overhead lighting.

 

I can’t decide whether or not to paint the cabinets. I think looks wise I’d rather refinish them, but ain’t nobody got time for that. :) Painting will be easier and probably cheaper. The counter tops are staying so I need to figure out something that will pull everything together. For now we’ll repaint all the walls in a light cream, which should help brighten up the room a bit and warm things up. Then after that we’ll see! Little by little, right?

 

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