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It Takes Only A Mustard Seed

The following is insight to a program that Diane Rochford, the WOW Team and I hold dear to our hearts.
It has been an adventure & an experience of a lifetime.

1- Orphanage_16602-OrphanageThe Mustard Seed Communities opened an orphanage in Managua, Nicaragua (circa 2000) to assist the handicapped and/or mentally challenged children throughout Managua.  It was a last resort for abandoned children.  But there was another group equally desperate.  A group comprised of 300 families mostly consisting of women and children living inside the city dump, La Chureca.

From 2004 Mustard Seed had a feeding program within La Chureca, to aid the many desperately poor. This was only a temporary fix.  La Chureca has since been closed but tremendous poverty still exists outside the dump.

They say that if you give someone a fish you feed them for a day but if you give them a fishing pole you feed them for a lifetime.

A volunteer daydreamed about an education center where women could learn to sew and thus help support her family. It takes Only a Mustard Seed!

'Diane Rochford with recent 2015 graduate.'

In 2006 a group of dedicated individuals found a vacant building, and after a week of renovations and sewing classes we had our first classroom.  A teacher was hired before our departure to insure that the classes would continue.  Fast forward 9 years … today this center has become a force with momentum, growing on its own.  A new reality has unfolded where women can come to meet free of charge and learn to sew, tailor, alter clothing, and simply support one another in fellowship.   Baking classes and English lessons have also been added Student Baker_IMG_1808to supplement the sewing curriculum.  Upon graduation, the sewing graduates are given a sewing machine and the bakers are given a mixer.

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Our 9th graduation of yearlong curriculum program – Sewing & tailoring graduates, Baking graduates, and English language graduates.

2-Graduation Class_IMG_1721The Rags to Bags program is an auxiliary program.  One of a kind handbags are made from otherwise discarded fabrics from the states.  Think of all that drapery fabric that might be otherwise thrown into landfills all for the sake of a new homeowner’s style preference!  Expired sample fabric books found in upholstery shops is another resource for great fabrics.  In the words of the ladies constructing the handbags . . . “We love working with such exotic fabrics!”  In the words of the many repeat customers . . . “We can’t wait to see the new styles!”

So, for the past 9 years Diane and I have gone down once a year, and sometimes twice a year to help bolster the programs growth.  Mostly now the program runs itself and we come to celebrate the graduations each October.  It’s been a joyful adventure.  From the orphanage we have seen a small seed take root and blossom into many beautiful branches.  In the Sewing Center We have witnessed women realize their self-worth, bloom with self-esteem and re-discover hope.

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Join us a one of the up coming Trunk Shows where “Rags 2 Bags” items will be on sale.
I look forward to meeting you.

  • November 4 / Queen of Angels Sale – Roswell, GA
  • November 12-13 / Holly Days @ St Brigid – Johns Creek, GA
  • November 21 / Holiday Marketplace @ St. Pius X H.S. – Atlanta, GA

Contact Janet Weidmann with the WOW Team to learn
more about Mustard Seed Communities.

Thank you — Janet Weidmann | Team Leader of the WOW Team
Phone: 404-531-5700
Mobile: 770-597-2862

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Horseshoe Bend Country Club ~ an Executive Home Beauty!

Open House Tuesday April 22, 2014 11:30-1:30 710 Winnmark Ct. ~ Great home for entertaining! 3 Fireplaces, Banquet sized dining room; Keeping Kitchen; Finished Terrace with 2nd Kitchenette; Central Vac; Hardwoods on Main; 10 ft ceilings; cul-de-sac street; Excellent schools; E-Z commute to Ga 400; 40 min. to airport;  $625,000.00 ~ Contact the WOW Team at Keller Williamsfor more information (janet@weidmanngroup.com)

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Nestled in the horseshoe formed by the mighty Chattahoochee River, this country club neighborhood has always been a magnet for executive families.  Recently Horseshoe Bend Country Club has undergone a $10,000,000 face lift and as a result the housing has experienced an upward trend in prices.

What do homeowners enjoy about the location of Horseshoe Bend?  Walking throughout the neighborhood is a favorite pastime.  The lakes and forests views are beautiful in spring and summer; there’s a walking club to join if you prefer company.  It is a safe neighborhood as some folks can be seen walking their pets as early as 4:30 A.M.!   Other benefits… Lunch at the clubhouse, fireworks on the green, and of course the constant activity of swim, tennis and golf events.

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Situated in the historic town of Roswell, GA, everyone enjoys the diversity of cuisine from Thai foods to  farm-to-table cooking. Canton Street is the hub of specialty shops and fine dining.   Roswell is also well-known for its exceptional parks and recreation facilities. Follow this link to the Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau website showcasing many things to do around Roswell as well as shopping and dining suggestions.

Adjacent to Horseshoe Bend Country Club is the East Roswell Park which includes, Frisbee Golf Course, Activity center, Sports fields and a New Library under construction at the time of this writing.  In the early 2000’s Roswell acquired land along the river corridor and has since constructed miles of biking trails and hiking paths while preserving the natural habitat for future generations along the Chattahoochee.

Voted one of the best small towns in America, Roswell is a much sought after destination to put down your roots.  Horseshoe Bend is one of the best kept secrets … but word is getting out so come experience all it has to offer.  The WOW Team of Keller Williams Realty First Atlanta specializes in Horseshoe Bend ~ let us give you the tour and we’ll WOW you!!

Follow this link to the WOW Team website and discover your home’s value.

 

Historic Roswell GA ~ a Favorite Community just north of Atlanta

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The city of Roswell is named after Roswell King who settled here around 1830.  Roswell built a cotton mill and a plantation but the Civil War brought destruction as Sherman ordered the burning of the mill.    The Smith Plantation home, Barrington Hall, , and  Bulloch Hall still stand  as  testaments to the plantation era surviving the fires and now lovingly restored. Bulloch Hall is most notable as the childhood home of President Theodore Roosevelt’s mother … Mittie Bulloch.

Let’s take a stroll downtown Roswell today.  Bistros, art galleries, boutiques, and fine dining are enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.  Whatever your palette choice might be you can likely find it along Canton Street. Image

Stroll down Canton Street for Art Galleries, boutiques and fine dining ~ Roswell GA.

Stroll down Canton Street for Art Galleries, boutiques and fine dining ~ Roswell GA.

Alive After 5 festivities begins every 3rd Thursday from April to October. Come out to enjoy live music, free trolley rides, face painting, extended retail hours, and much more in historic Roswell.    Image

 

Looking for a good home in Roswell? Are you thinking of moving to the Atlanta vicinity?

The city of Roswell has redeveloped much of the area to afford newer townhomes within an easy walk to downtown Roswell. But, if it is a single family home you most desire, you’ll have to act quickly as home within a few blocks of downtown Roswell are few and rarely become available.

There is something for every price level.  The corporate executive buyer might enjoy the country club developments or a private luxury gated estate.  A first time buyer or move up buyer has plenty of opportunities to live  in close proximity to the incredible Parks that Roswell provides. Image

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Miles of biking paths follow the Chattahoochee River corridor where weekenders pedal in tandem and families gather for a picnic in the park or raft  the river on a hot summer day.  There’s Frisbee Golf, mountain biking, water parks and dog parks.  And of course there is the traditional baseball and soccer fields where tots and teens alike play ball yearlong as the temperatures are most often moderate.

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Quality of life and school excellence has swelled Roswell’s population in recent years to about 88,000.  Roswell H.S. and Centennial HS serve the public sector while a multitude of private schools serve both special needs and church denominations.

Historic Roswell is simply one of the most sought after areas of North Atlanta.  Located just 10min. north of the 285 perimeter, housing is affordable, schools are good, and commute time to the airport is a manageable 40minutes in non-traffic hours.  So arrange your schedule to leave between 6:30 -6:45am depending on your surface streets and you will experience an easy morning commute.

The WOW Team at Keller Williams welcomes you one of America’s Top Home Towns !  Feel free to call us for a guided tour

Should We Fear the Shadow Inventory ?

Predictions for housing in 2013 are bullish by most accounts.  That sounds like a fair assessment when supplies are low and demand is up in most market areas such as in Atlanta GA.Rear side of Providence Estate

Low inventory in good homes as well as geographic locations in close proximity to excellent schools drives housing desirability.  Here in Atlanta GA we are seeing “school flight” increasing demands on the Decatur City schools, while the city of Atlanta figures out the redistricting.  We see North Fulton and East Cobb county experiencing unusual demands on the low inventory, increasing the incidences of multiple offers on available “good homes”.

So what about the foreclosures and the short sale shadow inventories that haven’t hit the market yet?  How will 2013 shape up for the housing market in Atlanta and the rest of the country.  According the WSJ… the shadow inventory is overhyped as a housing threat.  The shadow inventory is shrinking.

Salem Dr  After photoAs a residential real estate specialist here in Atlanta I personally see evidence of  foreclosure homes being snapped up by the hearty investor appetite who are buying ‘to hold and rent’. Trimmed inventories and backlogs of investors are further reducing the discount of foreclosures due to competition.  While Atlanta’s market has liberal foreclosure laws (GA. is a non judicial foreclosure state) other states may experience a more difficult transition due to court-administered foreclosure processes to clear bad debt.

Where do you think we’ll be this time next year?!  Will our rear view mirror look back on 2013 as the year housing leaps forward or will the shadow inventory dampen our enthusiasm for the housing rebound?  My optimism tells me 2013 will be a banner year for most of us… most especially in our Atlanta market.  Don’t let the possible shadow inventory dampen your spirits!  Instead raise a toast to new beginnings… and let the New Year begin!!

May your 2013 be prosperous and filled with Joy!

DIY Tips For Updating Your Home

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Looking to update your home but don’t have the money for a huge renovation? There are several budget friendly ways to bring those outdated rooms out of the dark ages. Not only will updating provide you with more enjoyment of your home, it can significantly increase its value as well. There are two areas of your home you need to keep in mind when planning on updating- the kitchen and bathrooms. A remodeled kitchen and bathroom can add 75%-100% to a home’s return on investment (ROI). Not only do these rooms have the highest return on investment, they can also decrease the amount of time your home is on the market.

The kitchen is considered the heart of the home, which is why it is a significant selling point to future buyers. Some easy ways to update this room include replacing the kitchen faucet and adding new cabinet door hardware. Update old, harsh florescent lighting fixtures with hanging lights above work areas, recessed lighting, and energy-efficient dimmers. If your appliances don’t match you can try ordering new doors or face panels from the manufacturer or upgrading to new energy efficient appliances. If the flooring is outdated, install hardwood or tile flooring to give it a facelift. Painting or re-facing old cabinets can make a huge difference at minimal cost. Also if it is in your budget, replace the countertop with natural stone. Putting up a simple back splash and a fresh coat of paint can nicely complement your other updates.

Renovating an existing bathroom can definitely add value to your home. This room can get a lot of wear and tear from all the moisture present that can cause fixtures to age rapidly. Update lighting, faucet sets and replace the showerhead to liven up your old bath decor. Make sure the new hardware is all the same metal finish to tie the room together. Resurfacing the current vanity cabinets, or even installing a new pedestal sink, can completely change the look of the room. Replace old discolored flooring with fresh vinyl or tile. Re-grouting tub and showers and replacing any chipped tiles will make the room feel cleaner and brighter. Replace a lackluster mirror with a framed decorative one that the complements to room or add your own frame to the current mirror by gluing molding around the edges. Lastly, paint the room a bright, neutral color that reflects light so that the room looks larger.

So if you are either updating your home because you plan on being there for many years to come or you are looking to sell, these rooms will provide the best return on investment and give a new feel to your home.

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New City of Brookhaven assumes control Dec 17, 2012

Photo Source: CBS Atlanta

When news broke about the possible creation of the city of Brookhaven, I was excited to live in the new city limits if the referendum were to pass. Immediately support signs for the proposed measure began popping up in neighbors’ yards along with ones that urged voters to reject a new layer of city government. I thought there could be many benefits to having a new city, especially the authority to form a local police department. The idea of local control sounded great to me, so I was curious why there was such opposition to this proposal.

It seems some of the concern stems from the fact that two very prominent neighborhoods within the city would be split up, Ashford Park and Historic Brookhaven (around Capital City Country Club). Part of Ashford is already annexed into Chamblee and now the other part is included in the new city of Brookhaven. Residents feel that an effort should be made to keep the neighborhood whole.

The Historic Brookhaven neighborhood is approximately 2/3 Fulton County and 1/3 DeKalb County. The residents main concern was using the name Brookhaven to define the city, a name that has been isolated to their neighborhood in the past.

Opponents to the new city are saying there is not enough commercial property in the city to generate enough money to support the services provided by the city, namely the police force. They claim the new budget only allows for 53 police officers for over 49,000 citizens. However, the new city will only encompass a little less than 12 square miles and the current Dekalb County North Precinct is approximately 24 square miles. In my personal experience, I see City of Chamblee and Dunwoody police officers patrolling their precincts more often than DeKalb County officers. It also seems that crime in the area has increased in the past year and we need to concentrate more officers in these problem areas to reduce criminal activity. I believe the new city of Brookhaven will have the police protection it needs as well as better service and faster response times.

There are also the issues surrounding budget and taxes. Proponents are saying there will be a tax cut as well as a milage cap. The milage rate that goes to the city would be capped at 3.35 mils (down from 6.39 mils) and cannot be raised by the city except through a voter referendum. Opponents don’t trust the budget numbers that have been provided and believe that other fees, like franchise fees on certain utilities, may mean in the end that homeowners will be paying more.  There really is no way to know who is right until the city has elected its officials and starts running operations.

Some additional positives to the new city that stand out to me are having a stronger voice in a local municipality, lower taxes, more efficiency, improved parks and a concerted effort to revitalize the corridor along Buford Highway.

When it came time to vote on July 31, 2011, the results were very close. Voters approved the measure by a 55% – 45% margin.

I am optimistic that the pros of having a new city will outweigh the cons. The new city of Brookhaven will assume operations at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2012. All DeKalb ordinances will remain in effect until Brookhaven’s mayor and city council choose to change them.

~Stephanie McGinn, Marketer for the WOW Team

Maintenance Tips for First Time Home Buyers


Buying your first home can be an exciting and proud moment, yet there can also be feelings of overwhelming responsibility.  To help curb these feelings, it is best to set up a routine for home maintenance from the very beginning. Many first time home buyers may be unaware of certain areas of their home that require ongoing attention and care. Routine maintenance will ensure certain areas of your home perform properly, decrease repair costs, and maximize the value.

  • Check the seals around your doors and windows; apply weather stripping or sealant if needed
  • Get your HVAC checked annually by a qualified technician
  • Clean your drains periodically to prevent excessive buildup that could become a problem if neglected (avoid Drano if possible as it can damage your pipes)
  • Garage doors should be kept lubricated at least twice a year by applying a silicone spray on the needles
  • Get your dryer vent hose cleaned annually
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected every few years
  • Change air filters monthly
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts once a year
  • Check roof for leaks every few months after heavy rainstorm, as well as around the foundation of the house, to make sure water is flowing away from the home.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke alarms
  • At least once per year, drain the water from your water heater and clean the inside surface of its floor
  • Check your toilets for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the water in the bowl has turned red, water is seeping through from the tank and you may need to change some tank parts
  • Check your washing machine hoses periodically for leaks, and replace plastic hoses every three years
  • Get termite and pest control service before you see a problem…don’t wait until it is too late

Take note of the above items and create a home maintenance calendar to keep you on track and ensure your home’s needs are completed.

Decatur: Small Town Living in the Big City

People of all walks of life flock to Decatur because it truly offers something for everyone. Decatur is one of the few Atlanta neighborhoods where shopping, dining and entertainment are only a short walk or bike ride away. Top rated schools, eclectic culture, a well-run city with an active community, and convenient amenities make Decatur a great place to call home!

Below we have highlighted some of the features that make Decatur, and its surrounding historic neighborhoods, a desirable and unique place to live:

Convenience- The city of Decatur is located just 6 minutes east of Downtown Atlanta. Decatur is conveniently situated for individuals commuting to/from downtown to work, college, or the airport. Three MARTA stations throughout the city provide multiple rapid transit options for those electing to walk or ride their bikes.

Food/Garden- Your Dekalb Farmers Market has been known for years to be a great place to go for the best-priced quality groceries and produce. Located in downtown Decatur, this 140,000 square foot farmers market has a reputation for carrying high quality goods with prices that are easy on the wallet. The majority of items found on the shelves are organic and locally grown. DeKalb Farmers Market supports small farms that employ humane, environmentally responsible and sustainable production methods. Decatur also boasts several community gardens, the largest being the Oakhurst Community Garden. Founded in 1997, Oakhurst Community Garden offers classes on all things gardening, houses 34 community garden plots, event space available for rental, chicken coops, a composting station, play area and green house!

Going Green- Decatur has many programs and policies that are making strides in going green for the environment. In 1998, Decatur instituted a “Pay As You Throw” program that essentially makes it more expensive to throw away trash rather than recycle the items. Residents buy designated City of Decatur trash bags, which cost more than your regular Glad or Hefty brand. The city will not collect trash in any other type of bag, and people who recycle more will save money by using fewer bags.The city also promotes “Earth Hour” where once a year all residents turn off their lights to celebrate their commitment to the planet. Another earth friendly effort they implement twice a year is a free Electronics Recycling event in which electronic equipment is diverted from entering landfills, where they may contaminate soil and water.

Parks and Recreation- Decatur offers a variety of ­­parks, pools, bike paths, ball fields, dog parks and more! The city has a multitude of events throughout the year, from free concerts to family festivals. The city plays host to several community events such as Blue Sky Concerts and Concerts on the Square at the bandstand in downtown Decatur. Residents can pack a picnic basket and listen to free music at lunch and in the evening! They also have an annual Decatur Beach Party, where the street is transformed into “Ponce Beach” with 60 tons of sand, live music, games, food and fun. Another extremely popular event is the Decatur Craft Beer Festival, which showcases over 100 American craft beers.

Variety- This area has a very diverse population, with 9-to-5ers, hipsters, college students, and families, they all come together to create a highly inclusive community attitude. Unique art galleries, antique shops, clothing boutiques, coffee houses, music stores and specialty shops can all be found in and around Decatur. While the shopping in Decatur is abundant, nothing can compare to the variety of dining options available. Dozens of popular restaurants are located along the Decatur Square and other gems are sprinkled throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.

Walkability- Most of the above mentioned retail, restaurant and businesses are within easy walking distance or short bike ride on beautiful tree-lined streets. Pedestrian and bicycle access is a top priority for their economic development program. Decatur has also produced a series of self-guided walking tours to encourage that form of transportation as well as familiarize people with the local attractions and history.

~The WOW Team

You don’t know where the housing bottom is until you look in the rear view mirror!

Looking in the rear view mirror~ ahh…. the market has finally turned!!

Ahhh… hindsight is everything!  They say we won’t know when we hit the bottom of the market until we look in the rear view mirror~  well look here!  I saw this moving truck today in my rear view mirror and had to laugh!  Yes, I think we have definitely hit bottom and we are now on our way back up!!!

~ A Mayflower Moving truck hauling down Hwy 400 in Atlanta GA.   WOW… I like this kind of “flower” blooming!

Typical to spring, the market heats up here in Atlanta,  but it’s been a long while since we have had listings fly off the market in record days!  The Under $200K category is strong.  Buyers are shying away from foreclosures and short sales due to the uncertainty of actually getting a contract to close!  It seems most foreclosure deeds are not of record, so closings are being delayed over and over again.  Buyers are frustrated.  Short sales are really long sales and unless a home is an “approved short sale” from the banks then you, the consumer may have months of waiting for the banks response on whether they accept or reject your offer.  Consequently those homeowners who have a non-distressed house to sell are getting great activity! If the house is staged well and maintained well, as well as realistically priced, then you can count on it selling within 45 days.  Yhea!!!

I had the good fortune to contract on 2 listings in the past 2 weeks before we could get them listed in the data base!  If you want more information contact the WOW Team of Keller Williams (#1 company in Atlanta)  We will help you SELL your home !

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