Monday, July 29, 2013

Update on the Hundred Year Old House

I'm updating this original blog post because the story is changing day to day.

After Scott & I had the "peach tree & the preacher" day at the house in
Due West, along with a very positive home inspection,  we moved forward
by making an offer on the hundred year old house.

That was about ten days ago.

A day or so after the offer was made,
some unexpected developments came with the sale of the house.

Long story short, the offer was indefinitely tabled,
as was the sale of the property
--- and there was no indication when/or if that would change.

I was pretty heartbroken, I don't mind telling you.

I completely blew the most basic house buying rule.

Don't get emotionally invested in a house you're trying to buy.


Too late on that one.

Just as I was wondering.

Where do we go from here?

Another development came this morning.

It appears the sale of the house may resume.


It may be another month.


A lot can happen in a month.

But, it was a development -- and I was grateful for it.

I'm not gifted at waiting.


It would seem that is exactly what will be required.

Taking a deep breath.


Patiently waiting.

That's my goal.

And this continuing.

Stay tuned.

It ain't over just yet!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A peach tree, a preacher & an unexpected ending...

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog "Not the Answer I Wanted."

I was surprised at the feedback I received from it.

- some people drove to Due West looking for the house.
- some people told me they wished they could buy & give me the house.
- some people couldn't understand why I even wanted an old house.
- some people thought that God was telling them that He wanted me to have the house.


More than anything, I think people connected with not getting the answer I wanted.


Back to the story.

So, I had fallen in love with a hundred year old house in Due West.
That's not completely accurate.
I fell head over heels for a house in Due West.

Envisioned my family living there.
Envisioned a new beginning there.
Set up a stained glass studio there.
Had already served my Thanksgiving turkey there.
Placed my Christmas tree there.
In my heart.....
I was already living my life there.

But in praying for direction about moving forward.

The answer I consistently got in reading my Bible.

Nearly every time I picked it up, was the same.

Not now. I wrote in that blog.

I very reluctantly......gave it up.


I gave it up.

And some time went by.

What I failed to be completely forth coming about in my last blog.

Is that something else was going on in this story.

That while I looked to Jesus for an answer about the house.
I was also asking the same question of my husband.
My sweet husband.
And from the very beginning,
It's fair to say.
He wasn't the least bit interested or open to the idea of this house.

And for this man.
Not to be open to something so important to me.
Was a very unusual thing.

He was happy in our current house.
He really had no interest in moving.
He wasn't looking for a renovation project.
He especially wasn't in favor of a 20 minute move from Greenwood.
He pretty much......wasn't interested.

At all.


When you've got Jesus and your husband.
Saying the same thing.
That's a hard one to overcome.

Very reluctantly.
I accepted that I wasn't supposed to overcome it.

And some time went by.

And then.
Something changed.

Scott and I were driving through Due West.
Not far from this house.
And I asked.
Would you mind if I drove by?  One more time?

So.   We did.

And driving by, ended up with pulling over.
And pulling over, ended with getting out.
And getting out, ended in a walk around the property again.

I was pretty much saying my final goodbye.
It's done.    It was a nice dream, but clearly not meant to be.

And there it was.
Right beside the back door.

A peach tree.

Not too impressive as far as trees go.

Bent & crooked.

Clearly, pretty old.

But, it was a peach tree.

And it was full of peaches!

I could see his expression begin to change.

And the wheels begin to turn.

No one loves peaches like Scott Dublin.

No one.

He LOVES peaches!

We had both walked around that house a handful of times over the last month.

And never saw a peach on this tree.
But there they were.
Over a dozen.
Of full.
Mature peaches.

And just as unexpectedly.

These words came out of his mouth.

"Why don't we call the realtor and do a second walk through?"

"but, why would we do that?"  I asked.

"I don't know."
"Maybe I need to take one more look.

Maybe he felt a little guilty for my disappointment.
Maybe he thought he should be more open.
Maybe he just wanted to make me happy.
Heck. was just the peach tree!

Whatever the reason.

A few days later, we took a second walk through.

And He admitted he saw....promise.


Interestingly enough, before we left the house that night.
The realtor made an unexpected suggestion.

"I have a friend that lives around the corner.
The footprint of her house is very similar to this one.
I bet both houses were built by the same builder.
She's completely restored it.
Let's swing by and see if she'll let you take a look."

A chance for Scott to see what this house could look like!
We agreed.
After pulling in the drive,
the neighbor welcomed us inside.
To our surprise,
we knew this couple from NewSpring (our church)!

What about that!?

The woman had even traveled to Africa with NewSpring!
A kindred spirit for sure!
I had already envisioned the potential for renovation.
Scott admitted he couldn't "see" what was possible.
That obstacle seemed to be overcome.
By the realtor's suggestion.
And a neighbor's willingness to open up her home.


"Let's at least take the next step before a final decision is made." Scott said on the drive home.
"We'll have a home inspector look at the house and see what kind of shape
it's really in."

Secretly, I thought it was a bit of a cruel tease.
Not that Jesus works that way.
He doesn't.
I just didn't see the point..
Jesus was clear with me.
Not now.

But I also remembered something I had also read.
Give your plans to the Lord.
And give Him move.

So I did.

The morning of the inspection came.

And I prayed.

Please be clear with us today.
Be extremely clear.
Close the door if it needs to stay closed..
If it's not what you have planned.
Be clear to both of us.

Notebook in hand.
We followed the home inspector through the hundred year old house.
I jotted down nearly every word that came out of his mouth.

"incredible house"
"great location"
"the roof is relatively new."
"you don't see detail like this anymore."

"remarkably sturdy"

"this staircase is sound."
"great bones"
"the structure is sound."
"the crawlspace is dry."
"no sign of termites."

After a four hour inspection - an unbelievably good report.

I promise.
I wasn't even gloating.
Or giving Scott "I told you so" looks.
What was the point?
Jesus was clear with me.
So, what difference does a good report make?

Ultimately, it really made no difference.

After being inside the house for most of the morning.
We walked out the back door and into the yard.

That's when I noticed.
A truck had pulled over by Scott.
And the window rolled down.

And there he was.
Our former preacher and Scott's good friend.
If my husband counted on one hand the men he most respected.
This preacher is one of them.
We hadn't seen him in over 15 months.
15 months.

And that morning.
He was driving by this hundred year old house.
On this side street near Erskine.
At just the moment.
We had walked outside.
After exchanging hellos, he said.

"What in the world are you doing in Due West?"

"We're looking at this old house," Scott replied. "But I'm just not sure I want to live this far out."

And our former preacher and friend replied.

"Man.   I love Due West!
It's a great little town.
Quaint and quiet.
I'd move here in a heart beat.
You looking at this house?
That's great!
You'd love it here."

I have no idea how he ended up at that moment.
On this street.
Which is on the Erskine Campus, but off the beaten path.
Not even one of the main roads on campus.
Just in time to spot us in the backyard.

That is.

Unless God's timing brought him there.
That's what I believe.
That's what Scott & I believe.
We both needed and asked for some indication.
Some evidence.
Of God's direction in this decision.

And out of nowhere, appeared our former preacher.

And just as surely as He told me a few weeks back.
Not now.
I can only conclude that He may have needed more time.
To speak to Scott and line up our desires.
I don't know.   I may never know.

But, it is clear what unfolded.

A peach tree.
A preacher.
And an unexpected ending.

And that ending......will be continued.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sometimes, only face down will do....

A few years back -- and to the credit of a friend.

I was challenged to begin the more regular habit.

Of spending time with Jesus.

I'm an early riser.

Even on the weekends, I'm usually up before 7.

Sitting in my favorite place.

My chair in the living room.

And yes.

Coffee is essential.

Absolutely essential.

But, I go there almost without fail.

To read my bible and devotion.

And then spend time in prayer.

I used to do it this way.

Sitting in my chair.

"Thinking" the prayer in my mind.

I'm sorry to say.

I often drifted in my thoughts.

A prayer about the day.

Often drifted to random thoughts about the day ahead.

Sorry Lord.

"Now, let's get back to it.  What was I saying?"

Then I started speaking my prayers out loud.

I liked that better.

I'm easily distracted.

So speaking my prayers out loud kept me more focused.

I sat in my chair.

And talked out loud to God in a conversational voice.

In the privacy of my living room.

Before my family was up and about.

Then circumstances in my life got hard.

Trouble.   Stress.   Cancer.    Teenagers.     Future.

You know.

The same stuff we all deal with.

And I heard my favorite bible teacher, Beth Moore share.

That sometimes she has to go "face down."

On the carpet.

With "carpet fibers" tickling her nose.

So I tried it myself.

Life circumstances drove me to take that posture.

Face down.

I'd even call it a posture of humility.

In  complete privacy.

For me.

It was no longer an occasional practice.

It became my daily practice.

An effective way to pour out my heart.

With what's on my mind.

What's troubling me.

What I'm worried about.

What I fear.

Who hurt my feelings.

What's causing me to be overwhelmed.


It became my personal way to pray.

You should try it sometime.

Face down.

In complete privacy.

Tell Him what's on your mind.

Empty yourself out.

Don't put on pretenses.

Don't hide what's on your heart.

Speak truth.

He knows anyway.

But say it to Him.

Then sit up.

Blow your nose if necessary.

And get on with your day.

Give it a try.

Because sometimes.

Only face down will do.

And time with Him?

It's always a good investment.

"The world, with its nonstop demands, can be put on hold.  Most people 
put me on hold, rationalizing that someday they will find time to focus on me. 
But the longer people push me into the background of their lives, the harder it is 
for them to find me.  "I have called you to follow me on a solitary path, making 
time alone with me your highest priority and deepest joy...."    

July 17th "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Not the Answer I Wanted

I'm a little jet lagged and tired tonight.

That might not be the best time for me to write.


Many times my writing is a good way for me to work through something that I'm struggling

And this would be one of those times.

To begin, I also have to confess.

A few blogs back, I wrote about my house hunting obsession.

Having recently paid off our mortgage, I've been hot on the trail of finding a new house.

Not wanting to spend more than ours is worth.

Just wanting a change.

Each avenue for a new house.....has so far, closed.


One house was a little too small.

Another was already under contract.

One was on a busy street.

Another was in foreclosure.

I really felt God was telling me from the beginning "not now."

Not now.

But.    Big surprise knowing me.

I was completely unaccepting of that answer.

Countless times these words have come from my mouth.

"i don't have any desire to pursue something that God is not leading me to do."

I've said that to Him.

I've said it to others.

I've believed it.

But this has truly been my test.

And I didn't fare very well.

For the first time in a long time, I've wanted something.

I consistently believe

He has been saying no to.

I stumbled on to it quite by accident.

It's not even on the market yet.

A hundred year old house.

Everything I ever imagined I wanted.

Sturdy.   In good shape.

Maple hardwood floors.

5 bedrooms.

Enough for me to have a stained glass studio.

And have my family come and visit.

Fireplaces in every room.

A screened in porch.

Beautiful stairway.

Arched doorways.


French doors.

A fig tree out back.

And an apple tree.

A large lot on a quiet street corner.

Near Erskine College.

And it came with an interesting story.

Owned by a retired professor.

He lost his wife very suddenly.

He walked out of the house a few years ago.

Closed the door behind him.

And did not return.

Everything in the house looks pretty much the way it did when he lived there.

Yes, it needed some TLC, but the asking price?

A complete steal.

It appealed to me in every possible way.

A great buy.

An opportunity for me to use my "makeover" talents.

My imagination went to work.

I was painting and decorating.

Stripping painted maple floors to their former glory.

Putting up book shelves and arranging porch furniture.

I was picking out a perky color to cover the white exterior.

And envisioning the wrought iron beds that would decorate the upstairs.

I set up a board on pinterest and started pinning ideas.

For goodness sake...........I even placed my Christmas tree.

Put my vintage clocks on the fireplace mantels.

Picked out pillows for the leather sofa in the study.

I called a recommended home inspector.

That specializes in old houses.

I called my banker to talk about financing options.

And my heating & cooling friend to get a central air estimate.

There's no way else to describe it.

I started my life........ in that house.


I missed.




God was consistently and gently saying not now.

He had from the start.

It started almost immediately.

God, tell me what I should do about this house idea?

I was reading in Genesis.

Of course, it was Genesis.

He used the story of Sarah -- tired of waiting on God to move to make her a mother.

She took things into her own hands - and gave her servant, Hagar to Abraham.

That didn't go so well.

My study notes read:

"sometimes we too must simply wait. when we ask God for something and have to wait,
we can be tempted to take matters into our own hands and interfere with God's plans."

"one way we often cope with a long wait (or even a short one) is to begin helping God
get this plan into action."

A few days went by.

His words to me remained consistent.

I read about Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Issac.

In my study notes:

"obeying God is often a struggle because it may mean giving up something we truly want.
we should not expect our obedience to God to be easy or to come naturally."

Thank goodness.

I have permission to cut myself some slack.

But, even these direct references to my situation didn't completely dampen my desire
for this old house.

I drove back to Due West for a second look.

All by myself.

I photographed the outside.

I walked down the sidewalks around it.

I scoped out the nearby park.

And the neighbors.

I was still fully engaged.   Fully infatuated.

Completely in love.

And then comes the next passage.

A few days later.

Still reading in Genesis.

Still knowing that God was saying - not now.

Still hoping I wasn't hearing Him just right.

And I read:

"It is difficult to let go of what we deeply love.   Yet, when we give to God what He
asks, he returns to us far more than we could dream.   The spiritual benefits of His
blessings far outweigh our sacrifices."

That's when I knew.

Come on.

How clear can He be?

I've always believed.

That when we really seek Him,

He will not hide from us.

I was seeking.

He was speaking.

I just wasn't happy with His answer.

For me, it's been this house.

I have close friends and family where it may be something else.

Not the answer they wanted.

The loss of a pregnancy.

The end of a marriage.

The disappointment of a relationship.

Or the harm done by a bad parent.

I don't understand why we sometimes get the answers we do.

And I've struggled with His answer on this house.

At the end of this day, however, I may not know the why,

but in my disappointment, I know that He does.

I've been thinking about this scripture.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.
Plans for your good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when you pray I will listen.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
I will be found by you, says the Lord."     Jeremiah 11-13.

So, do I really believe that?

Either I do, or it's a lie.

Either I trust Him, or I don't.

Either I believe He wants what's best for me, or I believe He just wants to take from me.

Either I follow Him, or I go it on my own.

Either I wait for Him, or I move ahead without Him.

I've been mopey and disappointed all day.

Then, I sat down to do what usually helps.

I started journaling.

I wrote out how I feel.

I'm disappointed.

What harm would it be?

What's so wrong with wanting this house?

I've tried to follow you.

Don't I deserve it?

Yep.    Not too pretty.

But, I got it all out.

And had my weepy reckoning.

Blew my nose.

And decided -- that I'll take Him for His word.

And I let it go.

Let me restate that.

I'm letting it go.