Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

I wannabe a weirdo

We are all subject to peer pressure whether we admit it or not.  But when your peers are doing some questionable things its time to go against the grain.  Here is a snapshot of our typical “normal” peer in America:

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, at least 8 million Americans are at least one month behind on their mortgage payments at this point.

Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.  In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today,one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

The average US household credit card debt stands at $15,216 

Average mortgage debt: $148,443

Average student loan debt: $32,054 (source)

Of all countries, the United States has the highest rate of obesity. From 13% obesity in 1962, to 35.7% in 2010 (source)

55 percent of all marriages result in divorce. (source)

Research indicates that people who live together prior to getting married are more likely to have marriages that end in divorce. ” The Boston Herald

The average American spends 2.7 hours a day watching TV (source)

“More than ever before, work dominates people’s lives in this country” -Joanne B. Ciulla,

One-third of children age 8 – 17 believe their parent has been always or often worried or stressed out about things during the past month.


If the average “normal” American is financially upside down, unhealthy, overworked, in a bad relationship and stressed out…then I don’t think being normal sounds so fun.

Craig Groschel wrote a book (I highly recommend) called “Weird because normal isn’t working” that states, “when people describe his family as weird, he finds comfort.”  I couldn’t agree more.

The bible tells us: If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. John 15:19

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first”.-Jesus

Living differently sometimes results in criticism.  Going with the crowd can be so easy that being “weird” requires seeking correct guidance and it isn’t always  the easiest route.  I don’t want our family to be a statistic.  I want us to be…well…weird.  

I want to be so WEIRD I save up to buy things and delay gratification instead of buying on credit.

I want to such a WEIRDO that I could stand living with less if it means I can have less stress and more time with my family.

I want to be the WEIRD family that guards the media that comes into our home.

I want to be so WEIRD that I eat food whose ingredients I can pronounce.

I want so be so WEIRD that I take INTENTIONAL time with my husband so we can still be in love years after the, “I do.”

And I want so be criticized for saying NO to something good so I can say YES to something great.

What do you think about all this weird talk.  Are you a weirdo too?

How to sell on ebay (the really simple and easy version)

I opened up an eBay account when I was in college.  I still remember my first purchase, a simple silver chain to replace my broken one.  Shortly after, I started selling some of my old formal dresses, accessories, textbooks etc.  Over 900 transactions later (WOW that is nuts)  I guess I have learned a few things about the wonderful world of eBay.   I have been asked more than once how to do it, so I figured why not write a blog post about it!

Being able to sell on eBay opens up a world of opportunity.  If you buy the wrong size and can’t take it back, just sell it on eBay.  If you got two of the same thing..sell it on eBay.  And if you have extra STUFF yet short on cash….eBay it is.  Your payment goes directly to paypal which is accepted almost everywhere online AND you can do a free transfer to your bank account!

If you have a smart phone or iPad there is an eBay app that makes all this even easier.  For many items that still have a bar code (books, dvd’s or items still in box)  You can simply scan the bar code and BAM your item is there.  You simply list the condition and short description and your done.

***WARNING*** Dust collectors on your shelf will start to look more like dollar bills and you won’t hold on to so much “just incase”  because money is much more fun than stuff.  It is an ideal way to de-clutter and get $$$.  Plus it’s way easier than you think…I promise

How to sell on ebay (the really easy and simple version)

How to sell on ebay (the really easy and simple version)

First things first..

1)  Decide what to sell

As their slogan says, “whatever IT is, you can find it on eBay”  so chances are you have PLENTY of stuff to sell.  You actually would be surprised how much.  Here are a few ideas to get your brain going:

-The china you never use

-The name brand serving dish too

-The fancy candle you will never burn

-The designer jeans that are too tight

-The toys in your parents attic

-The purse you don’t like

-The cute clothes the kids outgrew

-The heels that are too painful

-The book you already read

-The gift card you will never use

-DVD’s and video games

-Sorority, fraternity, or club memorabilia

-I have even sold plant bulbs and cuttings!

-And of course the gift that you can’t return

I once sold an Anderson Cooper poster (that I randomly had) for $100!

2) See if it is worth it

Not all items are worth your time and effort to list on eBay.  GENERALLY (especially when it comes to clothing)  If it is not name brand, or brand new, I wouldn’t waste your time.  Used items still have plenty of value (depending on condition) but a used shirt from wall-mart or worn out old shoes…not so much.

The best and simplest way to decide if your item has worth is to look it up on eBay.  From the homepage, just type in the search bar exactly what you would like to sell and see what comes up.

For examples sake, let’s say we have a vera bradley purse we would like to sell. First we would determine what style we have and type in a search

Typing in just “vera bradley” gave me 48,686 results….I’m not kidding.

For examples sake, let’s say we have a vera bradley purse we would like to sell. First we would determine what style we have and type in a search
Typing in just “vera bradley” gave me 48,686 results….I’m not kidding.

Typing “vera bradley purse dogwood(the pattern name)” narrowed it down to 137 listings
Typing “vera bradley purse dogwood caroline (the style name)” narrowed it down to 3 listings

They are listed from $140 to $170 which gives us an idea on where to list our (example) purse.

**It is not uncommon to find items listed for very high amounts but have NO bids. Listing a $100 purse for $400 is fine but it is highly unlikely it will sell. When deciding the price range of your item make sure you notice items that HAVE BIDS. You can also search “sold listings” to see what similar items are worth.

3)Should you get it appraised?
If it is old coins, baseball cards, jewelry or autographs, you might look into getting it appraised.

Before you do anything search your item to be sure it is worth something. My husband had a baseball card collection from when he was a kid. We searched several of the cards we thought would be of value. When we found he had a Ken Griffey Jr rookie card we new we had a gem. The card as is was MAYBE worth $20 BUT if I sent it to Beckett (the baseball card appraisal system) And got a good rating, we were looking at $100+ value. Getting an appraisal is, of course, not free. But you typically make more than your money’s worth IF what you have is of true value.

4) Listing your item:

(a)Assuming you already have an account with eBay, (if not go get one now) Your first step is to click sell, then choose a category. eBay makes this every easy by just typing on what you are selling then providing a list of possible category choices.

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(b)A picture is worth a thousand words: No matter what you are selling you want to make sure you get a good picture. eBay now allows up to 12 pictures uploaded of your item for FREE on each listing. You don’t have to be a professional photographer but don’t just plop your item on the floor and snap a few pics. Consider laying down a pretty backdrop, or if you have access to it, take a picture of your clothing on a mannequin! If nothing else, iron the clothes, get good lighting for your jewelry, and make sure your flash doesn’t shine out your books or DVD’s!

©Describe it like a salesperson: In every listing you have to describe the item you are selling. You must be 100% honest of the condition and wear of your item. Your feedback score and seller rating depend on it. That being said you also need to play your item up a little! What would a potential buyer love about your item? Why should they buy from you? Why are you getting rid of it? If you are selling multiple items will you combine shipping? All this information is helpful in buyers making a decision.

(d) The details: In every listing ebay has several details you must list like measurements, condition, brand, color etc. It is all spelled out right there for you and a good reminder for details you may want to add to your listing.

(e) Name your price: Having a low price will encourage bidding, but I typically set my price just below what I would like to receive for my item. That way if I get just one bid, at least I sold it and if more people bid, then I get more $$!

(f) Decide shipping cost: Anything under 13 ounces (including envelope) can ship first class which is typically $3 or less. Anything larger than that I typically like to weigh first to estimate shipping (all provided on their website). USPS also has several flat rate boxes which takes a lot of the guess work out it if fits it ships! More on shipping below…

5) Ship it

Saaa-wweeet!! Your item sold! Now you have to ship it out!

(a) Package your item up. I save all my boxes and padded envelopes to re-use for this. USPS also offers flat rate boxes, or you can buy 9X12 manilla envelopes pretty inexpensively in a box of 20 or more.

(b) Print your label: From the eBay home page click on “my eBay” From there you can see a list of your sold items. To the right of the item you just sold will be a “print shipping label” option. Click here. You will need a postage scale, food scale or any scale that measures ounces. Fill in the proper info provided by eBay and print your label right from your computer! i just print mine on a piece of paper then tape it to the package but if you want to by label paper than go for it.

Cha-Ching! You just made quick and easy money from stuff you didn’t want anyway!

6) Leave feedback. Don’t forget to list your feedback for the buyer. They should return the favor. The more feedback you have the more buyers trust you.

eBay offers many more details and tools here to help get you started. It is a very user friendly site. Now go sell something!

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautifu”l. – William Morris

Pre-Christmas De-cluttering

In preparations for the upcoming big day we have been doing some serious de-cluttering around here. It feels so good to know that so much STUFF that was either un-needed or un-loved now has a new home. Making more room for what we do enjoy and making room for new gifts.

It started ilke this:

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And ended like this:

(pictured is the donate pile)

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The “sell” box ended up being the “attic” box. Inspired by the book Simplicity Parenting. I try to keep a limited number on the amount of toys out at a time. I rotate them periodically so they have all “new” toys!

I did however list several items on eBay and came out with about $170!

I just dropped off two additional huge bags of clothes to a local charity that donates to those in need. And had at least 2 big bags of broken toys and extra paperwork that were just straight up trash.

“I thank God for the things I do not own” -Saint Teresa of Avila

Having less clutter means we appreciate what we do have and gives us more space to LIVE.

And it couldn’t come at a better time!

Do you have a designated “de-cluttering” time?  Do you love a clean closet as much as I do?  

A different kind of Advent Calendar

I am pretty excited about this new advent calendar that I scored for $2 thrifting a few weeks ago.

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This is our first experience doing an advent calendar with the girls, and I don’t recall doing one as a kid so I was clueless as to what to put in each day. Internet searches mostly suggested candy which we don’t need and toys which we need even less.

My inner rebel can’t stand doing anything “normal” anyway. So this Christmas we decided to do an advent calendar full of fun activities and lots of ways to GIVE.

Here are a few examples:

1) Write a letter to a soilder (more like draw a picture for our 5 and 3 yr old)

2) Watch a christmas movie

3) Sing a Christmas song at dinner tonight

4) Make a craft for our nursing home friends

5) Deliver our crafts to our nursing home friends

6) Go see Christmas lights

7) Visit the downtown Christmas Celebration

8) Make Christmas Cookies

9) Share some Christmas cookies with a neighbor

10) Read the Christmas story from Luke

11) Act out the Christmas story

12) Put birthday candles in our dinner and sing happy birthday Jesus

13) Read a Christmas book

14) Have a blind taste test with christmas goodies to see which one you like best

15) Write an unexpected thank you note to someone i.e. teacher, janitor or waitress

16)Pick one or your favorite past activities and do it again

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I simply printed out our ideas on card stock and cut with cute scissors (To my perfectionist friends: regular paper and scissors also work just fine, I just had these on hand).

Real life “imperfect” application

  • So far, I am trying to incorporate things we are doing that day ANYWAY. For example on the evening I knew we were headed to the downtown christmas celebration I added that note in that day, or changed it around to fit the correct day.
  • Our crafts are nothing terribly impressive. And we started saving some of their crafts from pre-school to give away at nursing homes as well.
  • I let some events count for more than one day (making cookies one day then sharing the next as an example)
  • Notice how I don’t have 25. The few open days gives me grace to change some around or add to it with upcoming Christmas events. For example on the 23rd our church is helping to feed the hungry which would be a great thing to add. I’m sure we will also have friends over for dinner, a playdate, or Christmas party that will be perfect to add in that day

The main idea was to help us incorporate some intentional time to give back and enjoy the season. The kids look forward to seeing what is next each day!

Do you have an advent calendar? What are some of your creative Christmas traditions?

“Healthy” chocolate chip cookies recipe

Do I have any fellow chocolate chip cookie lovers out there? We make cookies on a regular basis around here. I have toyed with the original nestle toll house recipe and tweaked it just so, to make…in my humble opinion…very tasty, yet good for you cookies! They are not exactly like eating a stick of celery, but as far as cookies go, they are quite healthy.

You may or may not have all of these ingredients on hand. I have discovered myself to be quite the hippy these days with all kinds of crazy ingredients on the shelf. If you don’t have them on hand, maybe this will spark some imagination:

Original recipe:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

My recipe:

2 ¼ cups king arthur unbleached all purpose flour (any unbleached all purpose flour will do)

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1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup coconut oil

1 cup sucanat (i get from lucky vitamin)
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1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large (free range) eggs

A few tablespoons of water to reach desired consistency

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

The results?

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And our kids like them. So I’‘m happy

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What do you think? Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Simpler Christmas

Did you know that the average american spent $646 last year on Christmas gifts. The same “average” american is also in $15, 328 worth of debt. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

Of course Christmas is not the only reason people are in debt, but what if we looked at Christmas giving a little differently than our friend, the “average” american.

First let me say I am all in favor of gift giving. When God gave us the greatest gift of all at Christmas it is wonderful to give to others in remembrance of such a beautiful display of love and sacrifice. But do we really remember the beautiful symbol of His gift when we are stuck in crowded malls, and adding stress to our life with hustle, bustle, spending and holiday lists?
Are our kids truly better because they got everything they ever wanted under the tree? If we are going into debt to give gifts then what are we teaching about our values?

Our kids are 3 and almost 5 yrs old. So far we have done very simple gifts but as they get older I know that becomes harder. I asked several families in which I respect how they handle Christmas giving and here is what I found:

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  • “If three gifts were enough for the newborn King of Kings, three gifts are enough for each of our children. We will set a modest budget for gifts for each child. Each gift will be thoughtfully selected to support real-life interests that we see emerging, and develop skills that could be used for God’s purposes at some point. We will never give them anything that supports harmful values or habits.”
  • “At Christmas I got practical gifts, stuff I needed. The video games, etc. I had to earn. I would work for those items. I found some items were not really worth working for, and the ones that were, I appreciated so much more.” -Friend of ours
  • “We give ONE thing in each of these categories: something they WANT, something they NEED, something to WEAR, something to READ” Simple Kids
  • “When I give gifts I try to give homemade gifts, experiences (bowling gift card or massage), or consumables like food. Something they will enjoy and not add clutter”Happy at home

What is right for each family will change over time.

I simply want to keep the focus on the season and not on the number of presents under the tree.

What do you think?

How do you keep Christmas simple at your home?

Headstones Don’t read job titles

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a guest blogger, my new “perfectly imperfect friend.” She writes over at, A perfect Girls’ quest for perfection. I hope you enjoy her post!

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English: Headstone on the path View over the headstones in the Howff towards Meadow side direction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you are the President or the Pope your headstone won’t show your career. I’ve never seen one that says “Great Administrative Assistant” or “Best Manager”. Your legacy is defined by the memories you make and the lives you touch, not your salary or your status. Here are my top five rules to achieving satisfying work/life balance:

Set boundaries. Let’s be honest, you can’t really be all things to all people. I had to set boundaries with work, family and friends. Unless there’s a hot project I have a cutoff time for work. I have boundaries for personal obligations as well. Instead of working twelve-hour days while trying to take care of home, exercise, volunteer, and spend time with family and friends, I had to create a schedule…and stick to it!

Prioritize. Know that there are days when work and life won’t balance. It’s ok. At the end of the day knowing what it takes to make you happy and making that a priority will make you a much happier person. I found mine in #3.

Disconnect. Being able to check out, if only for a brief time, is most relaxing. Everyday at 4pm I walk outside the office for about 15 minutes. I usually go alone and leave the BlackBerry on the desk. I’m sure the world can survive without me for 15 minutes. When I return I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated. The day goes faster and I have that boost of energy to carry out my personal responsibilities.

“No” is an acceptable answer. Oftentimes we will accept any and all requests knowing there aren’t enough hours in the day to fulfill all of them. Declining a request doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes you have to look out for you and make no apologies for it.

Do what makes you happy. Figure out what makes you happy and fulfilled and do it as often as possible. I enjoy catching up with my friends. The great part about that is my friends are athletic like me so not only do we get to hang out, but we also try some new workout craze. I look forward to it and it keeps me going until our next outing.

We all have to establish the rules that work best for our lifestyle. Though my rules don’t always work in perfect harmony, they are always the driving force in my daily decisions. I challenge you to set five goals to live by for your work/life balance.

To connect with Jasmine you can check her out on her blog. thanks Jasmine!

Review on “7 an experimental mutiny against excess”

Apparently it had my name written all over it. Within a week I had three people tell me I HAD to read this book. I had no idea why or what it was about but I figured I would give it a shot. “7: An experimental Mutiny against excess” , a simple book that I simply adore.

Jen Hatmaker, the author, takes 7 areas of her life that she felt were lived in excess. 7 areas that most EVERY American lives in excess. In each area she scaled down, moved out, or altered her view away from the clutter and onto the cross.

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Here is the basis of her 7 month experiment:

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven.
 Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.”

Why you ask?

When accumulation is not our bottom line, we are liberated to disperse our time and resources differently.
Jesus was the most fully and completely unselfish, ungredy, unpretentious man to ever live, and I just want to be more like Him.
For whatever reason I was born into privilege; I’ve never known hunger, poverty, or despair. I have been blessed, blessed, bleeesed. My life is so happy it’s almost embarrassing.

These are her quotes but they could have just as easily been said by me (only probably not as eloquent).

Each area of drastic modifications in her life caused a consistent physical reminder and a spiritual awakening. There are so many blessings that we casually enjoy and take for granted while so much of the world has far less.
A fast from self obsession, greed, apathy, and elitism.
It is not a protest, just a simple daily reminder to revive our hearts and put the spotlight on Jesus instead of stuff.
And for the record, she is really funny. When she mentioned her first attempt at a garden she remarked, “my melons are not growing, the last time I said that I was in 7th grade”-my personal favorite

Feeling extremely inspired I decided to try it out myself…ok well actually “I” is a huge understatement. I am part of a book club. A sisterhood of jesus loving girlfriends who love to stay up late, cook amazing foods, and help each other live the life created for us. We all took one area from the “7” experiment to focus on this month.

I am doing the seven sacred pauses.
What is that? I am blogging about it tomorrow so you should probably come back :)

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How to make HEALING chicken stock

Anyone had the flu this season?  Remember the old fashioned remedy that is chicken soup?  When your grandmothers soup could always make you feel so much better than anything from a can? 

Why is chicken soup better than “Tylenol?” It is because chicken soup has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs, and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. This inner lining is the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too  many food additives. Chicken soup… heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength. Hanna Kroeger- Ageless remedies from mother’s kitchen

Wow!  No wonder chicken soup is often refered to as a cure all when you are sick!  But I don’t think the effect is exactly the same from a can. 

Plus you can use chicken stock instead of bullion! 


Why bother? 

Animal bones are full of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and lots of other good stuff.

Bullion cubes are full of salt, hydrolyzed oils, sugar, and lots of other stuff I can’t pronounce. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy your chicken with the bone in (it is cheaper that way anyway)
  2. Prepare the meat as you normally would
  3. When nothing is left except “scraps” Place the scraps in a pot and cover with water.
    For every 2-3 quarts water add 1/4 vinegar (which helps draw out the nutrients)
    Or the “imperfect” way is add enough water to cover everything and a splash of vinegar. 
  4. Add a few slices of onion and carrot, spices, whatever suits your fancy.
  5. Bring to a boil for about a half an hour then turn off and let cool.  Skim off any excess that rises to top. 

After it cools, pour your stock into the colander (making sure you have a large bowl UNDER the colander to catch the yummy stock). And there you have your stock!  

It can be used right away to make your own HEALING chicken soup or veggie soup! 

If you would like to use for bullion, pour them into ice cube trays, freeze, then place in a large freezer bag for later use.  I use 3-4 cubes in my vegetables, rice etc.  


How does it taste?

YUM!!  MUCH more flavorful than bullion and I feel so good that I am adding nutrients to our food instead of chemicals and unnecessary ingredients.  This is our favorite dish when anyone is feeling under the weather too.

What do you think?  Do you use stock in your home?

Part of the Green Resource at Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home