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Welcome Survivor        

Supplementing your income with eBay and the rest of the financial story by Desiree are the topics of this newsletter.

Here’s what is new

With the new tax law changes, separation and divorce is about to get messier. Sandra Block writes in USA Today’s Your Money column for June 24, 2003 that the $350 billion tax cut creates new problems from splitting investment assets to deciding who should claim children as dependents on tax returns. She advises looking into these issues: capital gains tax reduction, the marriage penalty relief, and child tax credit. Block suggests there could be problems if you and your former spouse take turns claiming children as dependents on tax returns and reminds divorced couples who filed jointly in 2002 that refund and/or tax credit checks will be made out to both of you.

The Christian Online Magazine features an article by Desiree that you might enjoy. Search for the title “Just Say, ‘Yes.’” at their website www.christianity.com. Before we meet Debbie in California who shares how to get paid for those trinkets from the past, let’s hear the rest of Desiree’s story.

Personal Reflection by Desiree in Oregon

In the last issue of the newsletter, I described how my husband left me with two teenagers and lots of debt and how I settled with most of the creditors. Unfortunately, I was unable to save my home. It was sold; the buyers were waiting to sign the papers. However, the owner who carried the second refused to sign the papers because she was so wealthy it was better for her to take it as a tax write-off than settle for the amount offered. So the house was irrevocably lost and I had no home.

My physician ordered me to rest, and so I went to California and stayed with close friends for nearly 5 months. My children moved to their dad’s home temporarily. I had been raising children for 25 years and now they were gone. My hopes and dreams lay devastated. How I grieved my losses—so completely and totally that I lost 65 pounds. But there were more to come.

When I returned to Oregon, I had no place to live, no address, nothing — except my job, for which I was very thankful. I rented a room with my girls’ dad. Talk about uncomfortable! Then one of the medical investigators I work for asked if I would please housesit for them while they wintered in their condo in Hawaii. Can you believe that our God has such a great sense of humor that he put this homeless woman in a 3000 square foot $365,000 house for six months at no charge! My primary job was to pet and feed the cat and try not to kill the plants.

I borrowed a friend’s address, had no phone number except at work, and struggled to pay off the remaining debt for seven months. I was making dents, yet was behind on my car payments and had no money for food, rent, or utilities, which I would need by the first of April. On a local Christian radio station, I listened to an interview with two Christian attorneys who dealt with bankruptcies. When I called in, they assured me bankruptcy would be the best thing for me to do. When I met with one of them, he said, “I know your heart is to pay off all your debts, but your exhusband left you with so much that it is impossible for you to do. Bankruptcy gives you an opportunity to start again.” I wept. Then, I went ahead, restructuring my payments down to just $200 a month with everyone being paid off.

During this period, I had not found a new home church. A beloved friend, who is also my mentor, called to invite me to a new church, where I found a home with warmth, acceptance, and a true focus on Jesus. They cared for me, assisting me with my first month’s rent. Women organized my kitchen; guys moved my stuff. A huge burden was lifted.

When I went to search for a rental, I was so afraid of being rejected due to my blotched credit. But after contacting a rental manger and explaining my credit situation, she accepted me because of my honesty. I found a lovely little three-bedroom home with hardwood floors, a utility room, carport, covered patio, and lots of grass for my little dog, Daisy Mae to run. The manager even split my deposits into three payments.

The first day I unloaded my car, a neighbor and her daughter greeted me. “We are so glad you are here! We’ve been praying for a new neighbor. That house has been empty for 10 months,” she said. My jaw dropped. Just think: even before I knew my need, God answered my prayers! I’d fervently prayed for “a home, not just a rental.” My home is in a neighborhood with three other Christian families; and my daughter, who visits on weekends, has become buddies with the neighbor’s daughter.

Another miracle is that one Monday when my $695 rent was due, I didn’t have enough with only $589 in my account. I drove to the rental office that afternoon, intending to write a check for the full amount with total faith that God would cover it. The rental manager said, “You know, I forgot that I need to prorate your rent, because you moved in a few days into the month.” She ran her adding machine, and said, “You owe $563.” I almost fell off the chair! I wept tears of gratitude and praise to God. Now I’m praying that my 14-year-old will move in with me so she can participate in Christian-based home schooling with my neighbor. God continues to teach me that “things” are not important, showing me I can depend on Him because He knows my every need and my heart’s desire before I even ask. I’ve learned that no matter what I put on the altar, in His wisdom and in His timing, He solves it.

Perhaps one of the greatest (and hardest) lesson I learned is that no one teaches us not to give so much that we lose it all. As a woman, I was taught to give and give, secretly hoping that if I gave enough I would be loved, rescued, and taken care of—which is a grave error. Looking back, I see that one of the reasons I lost my home was that I trusted a gentleman at church, but he took advantage of me to the tune of $15,000. He promised to pay me back after he completed his schooling in return for my providing him with a room, food, gas, clothing, etc. But he never fulfilled his promises. Today I’m in a time of reconstruction. But as a woman of God, I now know that I am worthy to dance, to love, to laugh, to be adored, sheltered, and cared for. And the only One I can find who actually does that is my Beloved Husband, God.

Personal Reflection by Debbie in California

Last autumn, after working until the wee hours of the morning to make enough money to stay afloat, my weary body started protesting in increasingly distracting ways and finally pretty much gave out. Afraid I was nearing a heart attack, having a nervous breakdown, or even dying, I finally managed to convince a doctor that my symptoms were serious. I was soon diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gulp. I thought this was just for those who had fought in a war! But the symptom description fit me, who trudged through skirmishes and fear-filled years with a now exhusband. For years, my body had been in a constant fight or flight condition, with abnormal amounts of adrenaline pumping constantly and I was now stuck in this intense and exhausting condition. My days of making a regular, predictable income were over.

The doctor’s orders were to take at least four weeks off work. I ended up unable to return at all and sought to make an income in what the doctor insisted was a low stress environment. My search led me to eBay—and prompt, fun sales! I’m now simplifying, getting by, and having fun.

And although I still limp along financially, somehow I manage every month. My health continues to be a problem, but I am able to work out of my home at a pace I can control with my darling but demanding daughter bouncing about nearby. I can even “check in” at 3:00 a.m. on insomnia time, at the first light of dawn, or 12 o’clock midnight. In addition to providing income, I’m finding relief—shipping off things I no longer need or have space for after drastically downsizing and releasing the peripheries of the bad and/or sad memories of my divorce.

Although I’m a lover of books, my daughter and I are newly committed to not storing up things “where moths and rust can destroy,” are selling many of our books, and visiting the library again. On eBay you can also list out-grown-but-still-in-good-condition clothes (maternity items are particularly popular), new or gently used gift items, videos you no longer watch, CDs you didn’t end up liking, collectibles you can part with, your own artwork, things you were going to return but for which you couldn’t find the receipt—in fact, just about anything you can think of!

Here are some basics about eBay to get you started:

  • Reach an eager worldwide market from your desktop and earn extra income today simply by registering. Learn as you go with free tutorials, starting without any overhead or inventory; a closet or garage will do. As you clear up your clutter, be amazed at what others want.
  • Ebay is a secure site with highly maintained checks and balances in regard to online selling.
  • Obliging customer service folks who respond graciously to any “Oops!”
  • Built-in record keeping that’s understandable even when you’re sleepy or distracted.
  • Enjoy the rewards and kind words of Positive Feedback—eBay’s Better Business Bureau.
  • Learn fascinating facts about life in other countries through e-mails with friendly buyers and make connections for future travel if you so desire.

  

My tips for simplifying, getting by, and having fun:

  • Just jump in! You can do it. For an overview, log on to www.ebay.com; click the buttons in the blue bar near the top of page entitled “Welcome New Users!”
  • Start by selling only one or two items at a time so you won’t get overwhelmed. Follow the process through to the end to see if you like it and to get the hang of it before you list a plethora of things.
  • Put extra effort into the title of your item. This is key for searches and can make or break your sale. Study eBay’s suggestions. After you list an item, search to see if your title is effective; change it, if necessary. (Note: Be patient. It takes time for an item to show up online.)
  • Use “Turbo Lister” available on their site to easily and attractively list items without any knowledge of HTML.
  • List complimentary or similar items together. Although fees are low, they add up; the higher the total sale, the more your profit will be. Selling a lot of items makes your listing unique, attracts more buyers who appreciate the savings on shipping. Example: Sell several CDs by the same artist together; you’ll pay the same fees for three as you would for one.
  • Use “Gallery.” This option puts a photo by your title; costs .25 cents, and is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Someone browsing hundreds of items is more apt to click on yours when there’s a photo.
  • Use a bright or unique background for your photos and make it your theme. This helps customers find your other items and also makes gallery photos stand out more.
  • Feel free to ask even the silliest question. Ebay Customer Service Representatives are wonderful to work with, friendly, and willing to help.
  • Ship by Priority Mail and set your shipping price when you list. Boxes, tape, envelopes, etc. are free with this service; and makes packing easy and quick. Listing the shipping price before the sale means you receive payment immediately.
  • Remember you’re selling to mere humans. Don’t be intimidated. Most of the buyers are not professionals. They appreciate any extra attention or generosity and will be forgiving as well. This is your opportunity to encourage and uplift!
  • If your item doesn’t sell, don’t panic. You can relist easily; and if you sell the second time around, your second batch of fees will be refunded with few exceptions. If the item doesn’t sell, consider it time well spent and forge ahead. You’re honing your eBay savvy.
  • Pray that God directs the right people to your items. His deep desire is to bless you.

If you’d like to see my listings, log on to www.ebay.com, click on search, then click by seller, type in debbiebythesea; then click search again. Voila! You’ll see my items. God bless your Ebay endeavors. May you enjoy the peace that comes with lessening your clutter.

Help for today by Kari

As you already know, divorce is not only about emotions, but also about money. It is important to protect your assets. Choose wisely the professionals you work with, whether it’s an attorney, financial planner, accountant, insurance agent, or tax adviser. You may qualify for legal assistance if you have a limited income and find a local office in your state by calling the Legal Services Corporation at 1-202-336-8800. For names of financial planners in your area, call the Institute of Certified Financial Planners Consumer Assistance Line at 1-800-282-7526. Fellow survivor sister, Sheri in Arizona, maintains www.enrich-yourlife.com where you can obtain a free booklet on working from home.

Whatever your situation, remember that your greatest assets are secure. They are God—and you! So keep your wits about you, guard your health, and pray like crazy. Do the best you can with what you know. If you make a mistake or two, realize that it is not the end of the world. Pick yourself back up; then applaud yourself for having the wherewithal to be able to do anything at all. Tomorrow is another day. Like Desiree and Debbie, you are still becoming who God created you to be. None of us can ever go back to being the person we were before the wound—and we wouldn’t want to, because we are so much wiser as a result of all we’ve gone through.

 A promise you can trust

Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live!

Psalm 119:116 (NLT)

In the meantime

If for any reason you do not want to remain on the DivorceWise Newsletter list of subscribers, please let me know and you will be removed. Just click here or send your request for removal to Garden Glories Publications, P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588. This disclaimer clarifies that I am not sending spam, but that you subscribe to my mailing list at your request. Note that all outgoing newsletters are checked by Norton Security.

If you are an e-mail subscriber and wish to send a copy of this current issue to a friend, click the link inside the rose arbor on the first page, or log on to www.gardenglories.com/Newsletters and click inside the rose arbor of the online issue. To share your story, e-mail by Clicking Here or write me at the P. O. address above. Archived issues available upon request. ©2003 by Kari West

 
Copyright 2003 by Kari West