It's been a while since my last post. I have started many drafts over the past month which were left unfinished/posted.
My Father-in-Law, Lewis "Earl" Gilstrap, passed away about a week ago at the young age of 66. He was humbly at peace with it knowing he was going to meet his Maker. As his family, we cling to that testament that he is resting and protecting us from above which brings ease to us as we learn to adapt to life without him. For those who didn't know Earl Gilstrap, you missed out on a kind, humble man. A Christian man who lead by example. My life was blessed to know him and having the honor to watch over him in some of his final days. The picture above was taken in Charleston the day of our wedding. He was my Husband's Best Man that day, and all days. Earl always did have a light shining down on him.
Earl was loved and thought so highly of by so many. His funeral and visitation was a true testament of the impact he had on so many lives. Below is a write-up from Upstatetoday.com:
"EASLEY ― Earl Gilstrap knew success in athletics and academics. But those who knew and loved the longtime Pickens County educator, who spent a number of years as principal of Daniel High School, said he was an even better person.
Former Pickens County educator Earl Gilstrap, who spent a portion of his career as principal of Daniel High School, is pictured during his tenure there. Gilstrap, who was also known as an outstanding athlete while playing football at Clemson in the late 1960s and early 70s, passed away last week at age 66.
“Earl was an outstanding person in every way,” said John Wade, who served as principal at Easley Junior High School when Gilstrap was a teacher. “He was someone you could rely on to be at his station and could make kids behave without scorning them. Having the athletic ability he did, a lot of those young boys looked up to him. When he said something to them, he knew how to do it without hollering at them or embarrassing them.”
Gilstrap passed away last week at age 66, and funeral services were held Monday in Easley. Just as former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, who passed away Sunday, has been lauded nationally for being a mentor to many future head coaches, the same could be said about Gilstrap when it came to mentoring education leaders.
During his time at Daniel High, one of Gilstrap’s assistant principals was Michael Thorsland. Thorsland succeeded his boss after Gilstrap’s 2002 promotion to director of secondary education for the School District of Pickens County.
Ultimately, Thorsland was named assistant superintendent of operational services in the School District of Oconee County and, last summer, was named district superintendent. Thorsland attributes his success to Gilstrap.
“I consider him a mentor that I learned much from as a teacher, assistant principal and principal,” Thorsland said. “He was just a great principal, which is how I knew him the best. I worked for him for 8-9 years, and he was always even-keeled, never letting emotion get in the way of his decisions.”
One thing that especially stood out to Thorsland was how meticulous Gilstrap was in carrying out his duties as principal.
“One thing I will always remember about Earl is the tool he used to remember things,” Thorsland said. “He carried a 3×5 spiral notebook in his pocket, and every time you told him something he needed to remember, he pulled it out and made notes.”
SDPC assistant superintendent of instructional services Sharon Huff said Gilstrap was director of secondary education for Pickens County when she was named to succeed Thorsland as Daniel High principal in 2005.
“Throughout my first year as a new principal, I often turned to him for guidance on challenging situations,” Huff said. “He was a strong mentor, always willing to listen and give great advice. I am thankful to have worked with him.”
Pickens County superintendent Danny Merck called Gilstrap “a tremendous leader in our school district.”
“His family is well-respected across the county,” Merck said. “Earl led with consistence and patience. He was known by everyone to be a reasonable and detailed person.”
Merck said Gilstrap had a routine that everyone who knew him was well aware of.
“We knew his routine, even if we did not work with him,” he said. “We knew Earl was going to run two miles every day, that he would write in blue ink and that all of his correspondence was handwritten.”
William Smith, a special education teacher in the school district, said he first met Gilstrap in 1998, when his children, Corey and Lacey, entered ninth grade at Daniel High. Though apprehensive about transitioning their visually impaired daughter from Edwards Middle School to Daniel High, Smith said Gilstrap quickly put those fears to rest.
“One of the first friendly faces to greet us was that of Earl Gilstrap,” Smith said. “On that day, he promised to look out for Lacey and make sure she was well cared for at Daniel High School. It was a promise he made good on ― not only staying informed about her needs, but always greeting her in the hall with his familiar voice so that she knew he was passing her. I doubt there ever was a time in the hall as she swung her cane back and forth that he did not say her name.”
Later, as Gilstrap and Smith’s children moved on from Daniel, Smith said he had the privilege of working with Gilstrap when he stepped in as administrator at Simpson Academy for a year.
“Working with children with disabilities is a wonderful job, but Earl Gilstrap, with his compassion for children with special needs, brought his own special way with my students,” he said. “I will always be thankful to have known him and worked with him. He was truly a high-class gentleman.”
Merck said Gilstrap had “a great heart.”
“We will miss Earl Gilstrap, but his legacy will remain with us,” Merck said. “We are a better district because of his leadership.”
Wade, a former mayor of Six Mile and longtime Clemson supporter, said he also remembers Gilstrap during his days as a football player at Clemson ― where he was an excellent kickoff coverage specialist, defensive back and center. But Wade said he also remembers what an outstanding basketball player Gilstrap was.
“He was a tremendous basketball player,” Wade said. “He was an unstoppable player, a good athlete.”
But Wade said what made Gilstrap so special was his ability to excel in every area ― whether as an athlete, teacher or administrator. Those talents, great as they were, aren’t what Wade and others close to Gilstrap will miss the most.
“He was a good friend,” Wade said.
Gilstrap is survived by his wife, two sons, daughter and granddaughter."
Earl was diagnosed with terminal, stage 4 brain cancer just a few short months ago in November 2014. It came out of nowhere and took us all by surprise. We will forever cherish our memories we had with him and hopefully will be able to find the silver lining in cancer as time passes. Though our hearts are heavy, we know Earl is watching over us, smiling, talking sports, and still making a difference.
If you are in the market for a turn-key ready, like new home in Lexington UNDER $140,000, this beauty was just listed! 282 South Brook is a well-maintained craftsman style home ready for a new owner. The house features a spacious eat-in kitchen with granite counter-tops and backs up to a natural wooded area for more privacy. It's conveniently located right of I-20 leaving this house a no brainier. Most homes in the neighborhood are much larger and sale for around $180s/$190s - score! The neighborhood also features a gorgeous community pool with a club house and playground.
Check-out the full listing and share!
I'm not so sure what it is about you. Perhaps it's the reminder of an early 1900s southern estate with a tad of low-country flare. Rhett Butler, anyone? I ride past you at least twice a day to and from work. Today, it was prime traffic hour and cars were backed up at the stop sign. As I looked around patiently awaiting my turn at the stop sign, I looked to my left. There you were again. Staring so fiercely back at me. I finally snapped a picture of you today and oh dear, I'm so glad I did. You, House on Harden Street, are my favorite house in Downtown Columbia.
Happy New Year!
2014 is in the past and 2015 is only two days old. 2014 was a record year for my business and I owe it all to my rock star clients! I'm looking forward to an even more pronominal 2015 as I enter into my 5th year in real estate.
Holding a special place in my heart for aviation and our US Military, this video holds the perfect vision for inspiration. Make sure your volume is up and get ready to ride the "bullet train" of 2015!
Unless you were obtaining an FHA loan which requires 3.5% down or have rights to a VA loan with 100% financing, your next option was a 5% down conventional loan. Though there is a common misconception you must put down 20% to purchase a home, many people try/want to put down 20% so they do not have to carry private mortgage insurance (aka PMI). Depending on the price of your home, PMI is a good extra chunk of change added to your monthly mortgage payment.
Well, your day has arrived. Come December 13th you will now be able to obtain a conventional Fannie Mae backed loan with only 3% down. What does all this mean? Well, it means that you can now buy a house with as little at 3% down with a decent credit score and debt to income ratio. Home ownership just got sweeter and more affordable!
For more scoop and details, check out this article.
Ready for Spring!
The Midlands continues to grow and prosper by attracting big-name retail stores to the area. The latest to open: Anthropologie. This is a big deal for our little downtown/intown area of Columbia. Most larger retail stores seem to like to set-up shop in the suburbs of Columbia such as Harbison Rd. or Sandhills, so you can imagine the anticipation of excitement from the area locals. Anthropologie opened in the ever so popular Trenholm Plaza which holds uber convenient location for Forest Acres and the rest of downtown residents/workers. Trenholm Plaza also hosts Starbucks, Publix, Loft, local restaurants, and the new J.Crew - just to name a few. Best of all, the parking lot is huge and free!
The opening of Anthropologie came just in the nick of time for the holiday shopping season by officially opening its doors on November 21st. My friend and I had the pleasure of attending the private previewing party held the night before which was a special treat. Anthropologie does it right for their customers - go check them out and support our newest neighbor!
Before & After
It's amazing what new owners and a few weeks can make in a house. 3121 Quitman is prime example.
About 8 weeks ago, this old home was in desperate need of a face-lift - well, it got it. Now the home radiates from the inside out. All hardwood floors have been exposed and refinished. A custom kitchen with grey floor tiles, granite, ss appliances, and glass tile back-splash. There is a two person high-bar for entertaining. Both full baths have been updated as well. Did I mention the master bedroom has a private bathroom? The house has a brand new gas-pac and 200AMP panel box - music to any agent's ears!
This 3bedroom / 2bath home is complete and shows amazingly. I personally have scoured the local Forest Acres/in-town market for homes that compare and let me just say - there isn't one. At $159,900, this old estate have been brought to 2014 and ready for a new owner.
3121 Quitman is located on a quiet (yet, oh-so convenient) tree-lined street. The neighbors have all visited during the renovation and are thrilled to welcome the new owners.
As always, feel free to call/text/email/send a raven if you would like to see this home.
(FULL DISCLOSURE: I have re-written this post 3x now. For the sake of my sanity and the wine bottle, let's hope this post actually publishes. Womp, Womp! All in all, it's the bomb-diggity!)
Come November in Columbia, Fall has finally made it's way to our #famouslyhot city. If it falls below 70 degrees, people are bringing out the boots, coats, jeans and best of all - chili is ah cookin'! This past Saturday, my Husband and I trotted on down to #5points with our hungry bellies to savor local flavor. The Five Points Annual Chili Cook-Off is definitely a thing to visit if you are in town. It's free admission and the chili is only a $1 requested donation per cup. You can basically eat a good, hearty lunch or dinner for under $5. The vendors are extra generous with their portion size and have all the fixin's to go along with their chili. Vegetarian? No worries, they have you covered too! AND, even better, all donations raised from the chili go to Camp Kemo. There are over 40+ chili vendors participating in the cook-off and another 10+ serving adult beverages, desserts, marketing vendors, etc. There is also an AWESOME band line up and kiddie jump castles/slides. It's a good ole time for all to enjoy. It seems like each year draws more people, gets more organized, and attracts some of the best, local chili makers. Feed your belly and soul all at once!
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" - President Wilson
November 11th is a day many of us celebrate and thank our military veterans for their service. It's a day companies/businesses give discounts and freebies to active/past service members. It's a day cities throw parades and on-lookers wave American flags. All of the past mentioned activities are appreciated, but do people in 2014 truly understand what being a Veteran or a soldier really entails? The intricate details of the daily life of a soldier are all-encompassing. The unknowns of possible deployments and trainings that cause missed birthdays/anniversaries/holidays/life events. They volunteer their freedom, so that we might have ours - such a selfless act when you stop to think.
A few weeks ago, I had just been grocery shopping, but forgot one thing on the list - toilet paper. My Husband stopped by Publix on his way home to save the day. Standing in line to check-out, a college dude asked to pay for the toilet paper - TOILET PAPER! My Husband just happen to still be in uniform on that particular day which provoked the college student to extend his gratitude by insisting on buying the toilet paper. After this, our faith was revived in our local USC college students. Cheers to you college dude! #RAK (random act of kindness)
I encourage us to remember that we should be grateful for our service members - not just today, but everyday. It's the small things and the act which truly matter. It's the toilet paper.
-Dedicated to the servicemen and women and their families - I salute you.
A girls (perhaps, guys too) best friend opened in Columbia this weekend - NORDSTROM Rack. I must admit, I had never been in a NR store until this weekend. I was very familiar with NORDSTROM while living in the Northeast for a few years, but never stepped foot in one on a regular basis given the designer brands the store famously carries. I had done my research and was pumped about the discounted, designer store opening in Columbia. Sunday afternoon, I was finally able to make it out to the Harbison area where NR opened.
Though Tory was discounted, she couldn't make the trip home with me this time - no hard feelings.
And guys, don't you worry, they have a wonderful selection of shoes/clothing for all your dressing needs. My Husband (who could care less about designer brands and loathes shopping) ended up finding a great deal of these everyday shoes:
The experience was great and given the recent opening, all employee's were knowledgeable and eager to assist customers. The item I loved the most was the genius functionality of the buggies! Check this out - how neat!
Stores such as Nordstrom Rack truly enhance the local real estate values - meaning your house. Columbia offers a wide variety of stores/restaurants/entertainment for every person to enjoy. And let's be real - we all need clothes at some point.
-Confessions of your Southern Realtor
Millennial. Southern. Professional, REALTOR in Columbia, SC.