Friday, September 27, 2013

She Said What?!?

I've always told people to "embrace your age!"

"it's only a number!"

"you're as young as you feel!"


Well, it finally happened to me.


Over the last months & year.

I started noticing.


Putting me in an age category.

That CLEARLY.......I did not belong.


I remember a while back, walking up to a new store in Greenwood.

With a huge banner out front.

Seniors 50 & older 10% off on Fridays!

I stopped in my tracks.

(I was 51 at the time.)

My mouth hung open.

I froze!

And I turned around.

Got back in my car.

And vowed not to return!

I think it was there.

Outside this store.

That I started becoming slightly sensitive to the age issue as it related to me.

Worse yet.

At 54, I realized.

I would actually qualify for services at Meals on Wheels in just six years!


Other things happened.

I noticed my parents were getting older.

And Kate turned 27.

I was 27 when she was born!

Speaking of Kate.

One of her first questions when we bought the house in Due West.

The two-story house. the master bedroom on the bottom floor??

Excuse me!

What the heck!?!

Are you concerned I can't creep up and down the stairs next year!?!

And while I was fast to dismiss her comment.

We did buy the house in Due West.

And people would see us there on weekends.

Working outside.

Or in and out.

And I got shocking questions.


"Are you retiring to Due West?"

"Do you have grandchildren?"


The worst one yet.

Worst than even the banner in front of the store.

"You should come and join our senior aerobics class!"

It took me DAYS to get over that one.

Days, I tell you!


Truth be told.

I can't even get my mind around the fact that I'm as old as I am.

And I'm only 54!

I thought about a friend of mine.

I worked with her for many years at the agency.

Ruth Craven.

She was one of the most delightful women I've ever met.

All the things I would want to be WHEN I get old.

Positive.    So Funny.      Wonderful sense of humor.      Peaceful.

As she was approaching her 90's.

I'll never forget her telling me one year on her birthday.

"I feel exactly the same on the inside as I did at 16."

"Sometimes, I look in the mirror, and I can't believe that's me!"

I didn't understand it then.

I do now.

I'm wrestling just a little bit with this.

I won't lie.

And just to be safe.

A word of warning.

I probably wouldn't use the word.

Senior Aerobics.

Around me just yet!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Plans

I'm definitely in a season of time where things in my life.

Have not been going as planned.

At least.

The key word plans.

Scott and I were working at the old house we just bought in Due West on
Saturday, when I got a text from my son-in-law about the terrorist attack
in Kenya.

And immediately.

My heart sank.

Not only for the people being impacted by the attack.  

But in all honesty.

Because I knew it might also impact me.

And my plans.

By and large.

I can be a very selfish person.

Maybe many of us are to some extent.

I make my plans.

But God ultimately determines my steps.

And that's exactly what happened.

My suit case has been unusually empty in the last days heading into this trip.

Very uncharacteristically empty.

I'm a planner.

And an "early" packer.

I did have my malaria meds out on the bed, but didn't have a stitch of clothes packed.

I won't say I knew something was going to happen to prevent my team from going.

But, it was not a huge surprise when Barron Cooley called me from NewSpring on
Tuesday afternoon.

To say our trip was being called off.

Even before the events in Nairobi on Saturday,
I had a sense.

For lack of a better word.

That something would happen.  

That would prevent me from going.


As it turns out.

Something did happen.


My plans changed.

I'd be smart to remember this verse in Psalm 37:5.

"Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust Him....."

And when my plans don't work out as I expected.

Trust Him.

Trust Him.

Not my plans. looks like I'll be joining a team to go back to Kenya in February.

At least.

That's my plan.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Official: We Bought the Old House!

After weeks of uncertainty, I can now's official!

Scott & I bought this 98 year old house in Due West!

In fact, we closed on the house earlier today.

(If you missed our bumpy journey to buy it, you'll have to read some of my older posts.)

The house is located on Bonner Street in Due West.

Yes.......Due West.

We've had this conversation with many of our friends......and family.    It's just 20 minutes
from Greenwood and about as far to Anderson.    It's quiet.    Erskine College is our
neighbor,  along with other beautiful old houses down our street and old buildings on
the campus.

I love that there's a hardware store, a coffee shop and a Subway within walking distance
of the front door, but more than anything --- I love it because of it's age.

The house was built in 1915,  just shy of it's 100th birthday -- and it borders the Erskine
campus on the quiet street corner of Bonner & Alexander -  just a block
or so off of Main Street.

I started searching for the history of the house and soon discovered that it's referred to as the
"R. M. Stevenson House."

Robert "Milton" Stevenson was born November 20, 1860.   He was a Presbyterian
Minister, graduating from Erskine College in 1877.  Milton married Miss Emma Christian
on October 26, 1881.    According to an article I found on the pair, it said that "six children
have blessed their home."

The cool part for me was finding a picture of Milton (yeah, I feel we should be on a first
name basis.)   I wanted to see what he looked like -- and found this photograph when
I googled his name.

He was a writer and a preacher.  

And authored a book.

I was also able to find an original copy of his book on a rare book site ---and
I'm planning to make a spot for it on the mantel of the study after we move in next year.

Milton and Emma and several of their children are actually buried at the ARP Church in
Due West.   Yeah.   Don't let it freak you out like it did my youngest, but I did go see
their headstones.    I'll be living in their house.   I thought it was the only neighborly thing to
do.   (Smile.)

There's many things I love about this old place.

Every time I walk up and down the stairway in the Stevenson house, I imagine how many hands
since 1915 have held onto the hand carved banister.  


Scott and I are planning a total renovation of the house, made possible by getting such a good
deal on the property.    

Let me rephrase that.  

We have a well recommended local contractor who will be renovating the house
for us from top to bottom.

Scott's overseeing just the first round of renovation--- demolition!

We're taking down all the plaster walls and ceilings.  

Yep.    A demolition day will be coming in October.

We'd love to recruit as many friends as possible to bring a hammer, a crow bar and a face
mask as we take the house down to the studs!  (If you have some stress or anger to work
off, let me know!  We'll put you to work.)

We're going back in with insulation, new wiring, new plumbing and sheet  rock.  
The bones of the house are solid according to our home inspector, but the interior of the house
will be pretty much gutted and brought back to life.

The maple hardwood floors will be stripped and refinished.

A new kitchen will go in.

Bathrooms will be torn out and replaced.

We hope to keep the old windows.  I'm reading up on how to put in improved
weather stripping and storm windows to make the old windows more energy efficient.

Fresh paint.  

New light fixtures.

I can hardly wait!

Not everybody enjoys this kind of project.

Some of you have told me so.

It usually starts with......."why in the world would you tackle this.......?"

Renovating is not most people's choice.


I love to take something old and shabby.

And turn it into something warm & friendly & inviting.

I see this house as a gift.

A long awaited gift.

We first stumbled onto the house back in June.

That's when we took our first look at it.

By July, I........ (and eventually Scott).... developed a serious interest in the house.

It was then, we were told the owner's family was taking the house off the market.

For an indefinite period of time.

We had already made an offer.

Already invested in a home inspection.

Already lined up everything to move forward.

Only to find out, it was going no where.

So.  What to do?

Nothing, but wait.

And we did.

So in July.

I was on my way to Anderson.

And I planned on driving by the house as I passed through Due West.

I had the thought.

I'm taking a ribbon with me.

I didn't really have a plan of what to do with it.

I just knew I wanted to take it.

Once in Due West.

I pulled up to the front door.

Walked up the side walk.

And tied the ribbon to the door knob of the front screen door.

For me.

It was symbolic.

My way of attaching my hope & expectation  that things might work out.

And I prayed.

If God wanted me to have this house.

I'd have to trust Him with it.

And trust Him in the wait.

July came and went.

August came and went.

With no certainty of what would happen.

Or what the outcome might be.

And today.

September 10, 2013.

Scott & I closed on the house.

98 years old.

Full of character.

A little worn and shabby.

But holding so much promise!

Watch for news of an estate sale!   We're planning one the morning of Saturday,
October 12th!    The owner left quite a few items in the house, which we'll
be selling to prepare for the renovation to begin.

You're welcome to stop by and see that house that morning as well.
As the official "before" renovation tour is provided.


Welcome to our journey.

Of renovating "this old house!"

The R.M. Stevenson House.

Will in about six months of renovation.

Become the.

Scott & Kathy Dublin house!

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Shredder & A Legacy

This week at work, I had a special project.

It was audit week.

Accountants were in the office to do field work for our annual audit.

Scrutinizing our financials, bookkeeping & overall operation.

We've always received clean audits and good reports.

I work with dedicated.....and very sharp people.

They do a good job.

And my special project?

I've filled a four drawer file cabinet with what we call "inactive" personnel files.

They're kept in my office.

And because it's full.

It occurred to me.

I've got to purge some of the old files.

I hadn't shredded a personnel file in over 24 years.

Since I became director.


We frequently have people who leave and come back to work for us.

So, they all stayed locked up and secure.

Until this week.

And I began the process of going through A-Z.

Actually A - V (because there were no Z's.)

And shredding files of staff that have been gone from the agency.

For more than 10 years.

And there were lots and lots of files to shred.

I stacked them in my office on a table.

And each day this week,

I personally went about shredding the files.

A stack at a time.

And in the shredding.

Something happened.

I ran across a wide range of people.

Some came to work and left.


I hardly remembered or recognized their names.

They certainly didn't make an impact here one way or another.

Didn't stay long enough.

Or invest themselves.

They only came and went.


There were others.

Just a few.

That left a pretty negative legacy.

A trail of discontent.

Lack of integrity.

Or work ethic.


Of one kind or another.

I remembered many of their names.

But not.

In a good way.


There were others.

That stayed a while longer.

And did a pretty fair job.

Some I remembered.

Some I didn't.

I'm not so sure they made a lasting impact.

But they did their job.

No more.

No less.

Maybe a little indifferent.

And finally.

There were others.



Game changing people.

They made more than a difference.

They made us better.

Very rare individuals.

And so dear to me.

I could hardly stand the thought.

Of shredding their file.

And a couple I didn't.

They quietly went back into my cabinet.

And some unknown person.

Will have to dispose of it later.

Maybe, many more years down the road.

But it won't be me.

To be honest.

My shredding made a big impression on me this week.

I realized.

One day.

Someone will be holding my personnel file over a shredding machine.

And all that may remain of my work at the agency.

Will go......the very same way.

I know!

A bit of a dismal thought,

But it really struck me.

No matter the career.

Or the job.

One day.

We'll all finish up.

And what will remain?

How will we be remembered?

What difference will we have made?

There was an important truth for me.

Make a difference where you are.

Be kind.

Work hard.

Care about people.

Don't hold back.

Do the thing!

The shredder comes for all files.

But the legacy?

It remains.

And it does matter.