Sunday, September 11, 2011

Little Garden Big Need

  This past Thursday I went to the Foodbank to help a bit as I do every Thursday but this one was different. My job is to help pull together after school snacks and usually this is no problem. Usually, but not this time. Where there is normally shelves of food to pull from there were mostly empty shelves and it was difficult to find enough of the product we needed to fill the required number of snacks. Turns out donations were actually up this summer but so was demand plus the hurricane and the results are sobering. I heard someone say that some of the programs may be suspended for a short time until they can fill the shelves. After some investigation I found out that the average donation is $5 or a few cans of food and that only a $1 donation pays for 5 meals. 
  Yesterday I planted my first ever fall/winter garden and I'm excited about the possibilities but yet I just can't stop thinking of how to help the Foodbank continue to feed or better yet to feed more. 
I have a small ecommerce website and I've put  "Foodbank Donation" as an item so if those who shop with us will donate $5 I will ship their order for free. But we need more than just what I can do.
  The question is how many will donate? How do we generate more donations at a time when most folks are just hanging on? If anyone out there reads this I would love to hear your suggestions on how to raise donations. Better yet if you can help me spread the word that there is a need it would be appreciated by so many. If you or anyone you know wants to send just $1 here is a link to the Foodbank...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Old but Still Having Fun...

A little over 2 weeks have passed since a friend mentioned that some friends get together at the park 3-4 times per week to exercise. Since I'm not a morning person I asked the time of this gathering hoping that I could ignore this opportunity but no it was from 6:30-7:30pm. Then I asked if there are any folks my age and the answer was "no" but that everyone just goes at their own pace. Since I couldn't find any reasons not to do this I showed up on Monday and quickly I realized that maybe I should have asked a few more questions. Here's how the first week went...

Exercise stations- everyone assigned an exercise to do for 1 minute then you rotate in line and do the exercise that was being done in that spot. Rotating down the line until you have done all the exercises. Now what's a minute...depends on how old and puddy you are evidently. Then you do them all again for 2 minutes each. WOW have I put this off too long. A few more exercises then up to the picnic tables. Great! rest time...NOT! Now we are doing steps on the picnic table No little platform for us but rather we are stepping up on the bench of the picnic table. Then some squats and pushups with hands on ground and feet on bench. Then a bit of running. Finally the hour is over....and SO AM I but I finished and that is good. Just wish I hadn't parked the car sooooo far away.

Some new exercises and some from Monday but all done with weights in each hand. Then bear crawls down the field and crab walks back up the field ...twice! With weights in hand. Yep you guessed it back up to the picnic tables but this time the step ups are with weights for 1 minute. Then step ups with weights and curls for 1 minute then step ups with weights and curls and push ups for 1 minute. Then all of it again for 2 minutes. Why are these minutes sooooo long?! The hour is over and the car is closer but I needed about 5 minutes just sitting on the picnic table to gather the ability to walk to the car.

NO EXERCISES ON WEDNESDAYS! Good thing cause I can hardly move. I am exhausted. And it doesn't help that going up and down the steps in my house hurts. Advil and off to work I went. Home by 3pm and on the couch with the remote. Finally time to sleep. No one ever told me it takes so many muscles to roll over in bed at night. Up for more Advil.

Today is Ultimate Frisbee day. Now I've never thrown or caught a frisbee before but I learned quick. This game is a bit like football but when you catch the frisbee you have to stop and throw it to your team mates to advance up the field to the goal. Lots and lots of running. Once a team scores 5 goals you get to stop just long enough to drink some water and back at it again. This went on for 60 minutes....did lots of running and some walking but I stayed in the game and gave it my all. Lots of fun and surprisingly nothing hurt and I felt pretty good when we were done.

Class was canceled today and I had to work anyway. By the way I have at least 15 years on the others and "everyone goes at their own pace" well maybe but I keep trying to keep up. Plus it's a bit fun to see those younger than me sweating and breathing hard. Think I'll keep doing this for awhile.
Life is meant to be lived it is not just for existing. I want to enjoy life and that means being able to move and have some endurance. In a short time I've learned that 55 isn't such a bad age and having fun while getting some exercise is a good thing. So I encourage anyone reading this to go out and find some friends to exercise with. Have some will be better off for having done it. Forget your age....just have FUN!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I read somewhere that if you have 5 friends in your lifetime you are very lucky. The description of a friend in this article was one you had from early in life on. I guess that is one way of describing a friend but lately I've been thinking about all the friends that have helped me along the way. Some I still have regular contact with and others haven't seen or heard from in years but they still have a place in my heart and memory. Life gets so busy and almost out of control that I just don't take the time to stay in contact as much as I should and yet I think of all those that have come and gone in my life regularly.
Recently I began helping a friend who is struggling a bit in her sales job. We meet weekly and discuss her troubles of the week and set up a plan to keep things on track and as a result I have gone back to basics in my selling as well. Can't ask someone else to follow a plan unless I am doing it myself.  I wasn't sure if the tidbits of experience were more helpful to her or me until recently when she called all excited about some positive results from following one of our plans. Her excitement didn't make me feel smart or inflate my ego but rather humble that even my experiences in life could help someone else. My mistakes are too many to count but if they help others not make the same mistakes then sharing them is good. It takes time and effort to help others but in doing so we are reminded of when we had troubles and friends stepped up to help. This friend I've known for less than a year so I don't think I agree with the definition that a friend is for life-maybe-but for me all those that I have the priviledge of helping along the way are friends and have value in my life.
It's priceless to give back and I should do more.

Friday, February 4, 2011

                                               Short Sales

Short Sales are my specialty they are not all I do but for the last 24 months they are most of what I sell. Some of the houses are bigger than others and of course some sell for more than others but there is one constant theme for all of them. All my short sales are good and decent folks who got caught up in a perfect economic storm. Some lost their jobs or if they have found new work it certainly isn't for the same income as before. Some had mortgages that increased in payments to the point they were not affordable any longer. They find themselves no longer able to make ends meet and they are devastated and don't know what to do. Having to sell their homes and move and start over again is an overwhelming task. They don't know who to call or what questions to ask.
If I am lucky they call me and when they do I get the priviledge to help calm their nerves and to give them a plan for moving on with their lives. When I arrive they are an emotional wreck and have tried to call and work with the Banks but no one there seems to have a plan. They don't want to foreclose or just walk away they want to do the right thing but the Banks don't offer any alternatives. Wish I knew why the Banks respond they way they do. What I do know is that there are alternatives and Short Sales are the best for you and the Bank and believe it or not the Banks prefer you to Short Sale. Yes it takes longer than the typical sale of a house but the conclusion is right for all concerned.
As a result of Short Sales the sellers get to move on and make their lives affordable again. Normal "For Sale" signs go in the yard and average folks like you and me come along and buy them knowing that the process takes a bit longer but the conclusions are the same. The seller gets to move on, the buyer gets the house they want and the Bank has a new mortgage.
Somehow it seems unfair but I get the most blessings from it all. There is nothing like helping folks who need your knowledge and expertise to put normalcy back in their lives. I walk in to frowns. fears and lots of questions sometimes even tears but when it's all done there are smiles and answers and new lives that don't stress at night instead of sleeping. Now that's what I call paying it forward.
It's my pleasure and my job to help.
How lucky am I to have such a good job!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Christmas

I said it is CHRISTMAS! Absolutely my favorite time of year. I love everthing that goes with it and nothing bothers me or ruins my mood. All the complaints about the commercials, the economy, the crowds, the traffic, the weather, etc, etc. Nope none of it can put a blanket on how I feel. My heart swells and beats a bit faster, my smile is bigger and I just can't wait to get at filling all the Christmas wishes of the family. Once the tree goes up and presents start to fill up the space around the tree I have a hard time sleeping in anticipation. Seriously I have to wait as late as I can to put up the tree so I can try to stay as calm inside as possible. Thank goodness my husband finds my child like behavior amusing.
Yes I've had my share of heart ache and some of it has occured during the Christmas season. Like the few Christmas' that my son was not at home or the passing of my father. Heartache and Christmas have gone hand in hand a few times in my life yet I just can't find it in my heart to be sad at Christmas time.
Christmas is what give gives me a reason to smile. It is the Birthday of Christ and the reason there is hope for tomorrow. Because of Christmas I will see all the loved ones who have gone before me someday and  I don't have to worry about tomorrow. Nothing in this world can dampen the hope and promise the season gives to me.
Gotta go now. I have meals to plan, presents to wrap, and of course I have to clean up before the family all gathers at my house for Christmas morning. It won't matter that in minutes you won't be able to see the clean house for the wrapping paper and boxes. Nope the only thing that matters are the smiles, surprises and tears of joy because for me Christmas brings Faith, Hope and Love.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Birthdays and Blessings

It's one of my best friends and my sisters birthday today which reminds me of how blessed I've been in my life. I met my friend Robin at camp over 40 years ago and she was none to impressed with me. At this camp we were assigned to dorms by age and when I arrived at my dorm she was adamant that I was not old enough to be in HER dorm. The fact that our birthday is the same day and year didn't seem to comfort her any. That week at camp gave me a life long friend that has always been there through the death of my parents, birth of my son and all of my lifes ups and downs. There is no price that can be put on knowing you can reach out any time of day or night and find a soul who truly cares about you. I read somewhere that 5 life long friends is the most anyone ever has....the kind of friend that is there no matter what life brings. I consider my friend Robin one of those blessings.
Technically my sister is my half sister meaning we have the same father and different mothers. Yet I can't imagine how being raised together could have possibly make us any closer. Shortly after our father died she came to live with me and it was an interesting household. My young son, my sister in her twenties and me in my late 30's. Very quickly it meshed and was a family not unlike any other......Ok well not exactly. She worked nights and I worked days.  A notebook in the kitchen was our form of communication. Soon she came to a crossroads in her life and the next thing you know she is in college and building a future.  Now she has a great job and about to marry in the Spring. My world is so much richer having her in my life and I can't imagine it without her.
Then there is my wonderful husband who has stood by me during a year of many changes in my life. He is always there with a smile and an assurance that all will be OK. When we said for better or for worse I had no idea the bulk of the worst would come in the first year of our marriage. Thanks to his determination and unwavying love our marriage is absolutely perfect for me. He is truly the 'better half" of this relationship and for better or worst I will be proud to stand by his side.
When I count the blessings in life my son is always the first one that comes to mind. By the world's standards he has many inabilities yet to me he couldn't be more perfect. He gives love without condition and he is as happy as he can be. The feeling I get when I see him smile is undescribable. I have learned way more from him than he will ever learn from me. Because of him I rarely have a bad day and when I do I just think of him and realize I have nothing but blessings in my life.
Happy Birthday to my Friend Robin and my sister Nicky. Thanks for being one of the many blessings in my life!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You have an offer on your house that is listed as a short sale..
Now What?

Having an offer is where it all begins. Now your Short Sale Certified Realtor submits the offer to the bank and the process of getting your house sold really begins. Since the bank has all the documents such as your tax returns, bank statements, hardship letter, etc they now look at the offer and decide if it makes sense for them to accept the offer or to deny it. Banks are stating that they are accepting approximately 96% of all short sale offers that are presented to them. Still it is a slow process and can be very frustrating to you the seller or the buyer.
Here are some things you can do to make the time seem less frustrating.
1)  Call your short sale certified Realtor weekly and ask for updates if they are not contacting you. Ask them if they called/emailed the short sale department at the bank that week and if any news at all. Don't be surprised if there is no news but you want to hear that your agent did in fact contact the bank. If you are buying a short sale property make sure your agent is calling the listing agent and getting you updates as to where you are in the process.
2)  Find out if a short sale negotiator has been assigned to your file yet. If so great because now the answer is closer. If not then find out if all your documents have been accepted at the bank and if a BPO has been scheduled. A BPO is when the bank sends out an appraiser to make sure the price your Realtor listed the house at is reasonable based on similiar sales in the area. Once the documents are accepted and BPO is ordered then the short sale negotiator will be assigned.
3)  Ok so now a short sale negotiator has been assigned. On average an approval of the short sale doesn't come for about 90-120 days. Once you have the approval you will need to go to the assigned closing attorney that the bank is paying for and sign over the deed so the new owners can have the house deeded in their names once they close. Start packing and moving as it will close within 30 days maximum and the new owners will be moving in.

So what about all the horror stories you have heard regarding short sales? Just like your national news at 6pm the bad or shocking stories are what make the news. Very little of the good news ever gets told. I can tell you that the more short sale experience your Realtor has the more likely the sale is to close. If your Realtor is a certified short sale agent then they have had training on how to work with and respond to the bank so that the results are as positive and prompt as possible. So far all my short sales have closed and my clients have moved on to more affordable housing but some have been easier than others and have closed quicker than others. There are so many variables like who the bank is, the Realtors training, the offer and the price of the house and all of these and more can make a difference. Short sale closing have happened for folks who have lost their jobs and those who still have their jobs, some have been FHA loans and some were conventional, some were fixed rates and some were interest only loans, some were townhouses and some were single family homes, sometimes the offers were only a few thousand short of payoff and some were over $100,000 + of paying off the mortgage. As you can see the reasons for short sales are many and the conditions can vary so don't assume you can't qualify. Call an experienced Short Sale Realtor and take advantage of this limited time to start you life again.