Prologue: 100 Day Book Challenge.

To give a little intro, I, along with another very dear friend, am working with a company to write a book in 100 days.  It is a challenge to say the least, in fact it’s called  “write a book in 100 day challenge”.  I decided non-fiction would be my route, to write about a man who continues to be a source of strength and grace in my life. Here’s a preview, I hope you’ll share comments with your thoughts.

Prologue

He’s had salt and pepper hair my whole life and a voice that carries deep and smooth, the way a river carries a current. So gentle and so kind. Grover’s face has a crease for every hour of work he spent plowing fields and waking up before the sun, for every tragedy that engulfed his childhood and for every joy that washed it all away. He has hands that are large with crooked fingers that tell the stories of his life, a life spent herding cattle, raising chickens, shaking hands with men that were men, and playing the piano at the church singings. He is tall, stretching up to 6 ft 5 with a set of knees that carry the wear and tear of miles walked on land that he and his family harvested, ran cross country and played basketball, but feet so flat that the U.S. Navy wouldn’t take him. He can laugh, boy can he laugh. A laugh that is outrageously contagious and dares you to smile. He is always inviting someone to come and sit a spell and listen, listen to his stories, the dozens that there are, full of his family history, his life, and heaven. He married a city girl and much to their surprise, despite the drastic differences in their upbringings, they had a whole lot more in common than they realized. That city girl gave him three daughters, I being their last and the most like him. He sacrificed and scrapped, worked and sweated, invented, tried, failed, succeeded and would do it all over again if he could. He swears he will never retire and I believe him, because I’ve never in my life known a man who dreams as much as he dares to do and never lets fear tell him no.

The challenge in telling his story, the story of Grover Plunkett and the influential life he lived and continues to live, is doing it right… doing it well… doing it justice. I know my mother would correct if I over exaggerate a story for betterment of telling it, reminding me that I am just like him in that way. I’m not sure I’ve ever respected a man the way I’ve always respected him. Not so much because of his goodness or hard work, but because of his fight to be who he always dreamed of being and never letting his wife, children, or anyone else in his life for that matter, believe that they weren’t capable of that same achievement. His story is valuable and worthy of telling how a boy from a North Alabama farming community never let go of the roots that raised him or the place his heart always calls home.

One day while he was plowing fields on his Grandpa’s land, a black Mercedes Benz sped down the dirt road that ran alongside the land he plowed and came to a dead stop. A man in a fancy suit and slicked back hair stepped out while the dust tried to settle around him. My Daddy, a teenager at the time, shut off the tractor and hopped down to see what this stranger may be looking for.

“You lost, sir?” my Dad asked the fancy man in a suit.

“I’m looking for Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Walker, you know where I could find them? Fancy man replied.
“Yes Sir, Mr. Fletcher lives about 5 miles behind where you came from and Walker lives down this road right here, ”as he pointed to the road they were standing on. ”I hope you find them.” My Dad finished.

“Thanks boy.” Fancy man said as he started back towards his car.

“Um sir”, my Dad began. The Fancy man looked towards him with a look of listening. My Daddy continued, “Mind me asking why you’re looking for these men?”

“I’m starting a business and I am looking for investors.” Fancy man replied.

“Well,” my Dad started back, with sweat beads dripping down his face from plowing all morning, “How much does someone need to have to invest in your business?”

Fancy man laughed and looked my Daddy square in the eyes, “You plow boys got nothin in your pockets but dreams.” He walked back to his fancy car, the door slammed, and that fancy man disappeared into a cloud of dust, leaving my Daddy to stand and watch his car drive away, kicking back a dust of shame that engulfed him.

Daddy says he didn’t say anything at all when that hateful comment came from Fancy Man’s mouth. “I just kind of stood there in shock, I guess” he told me once. “But If I have learned anything in my life is that you can’t spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself. If you start doing something like that it’ll kill ya. I couldn’t go killing myself over some fancy man’s words.”

I dare say, the dreams in his pockets took him beyond what he could have ever imagined, giving him a life he never dreamed of having and maybe never knew he wanted. I can tell you one thing, a penniless pocket doesn’t hinder a man’s ability to move forward, only a empty brain and a hollow heart can stop a man. My Daddy’s brain is full of wisdom, his heart full of compassion, and his pockets, well I sure am glad they have always been full of dreams.

The Impossible Possible

How satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.” – A.W. Tozer

At the beginning of 2016 Cody and I decided to make a list of 9 things that were impossible in our current lives/situation.

3 were Cody’s dreams and desires.

3 were my dreams and desires.

3 were dreams and desires we shared.

We took a piece of chalk to a wall in our house and wrote out “How satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none” and pinned our impossible items below it.

We know it seemed a little hopeful, maybe a little stupid, and I dare to say, a little risky.

Why would I pin up these dreams and desires only to possibly be let down?

If I am being honest, it scared me.

It scared me to ask God for big things, impossible things, because I know what it feels like to pray and not see movement.

But as we hung up that list I felt a nudge in my spirit and a thought run across my mind “He is always good. Ask again, pray again, move those mountains.”

So we did it.

We asked God.

We prayed.

We believed for impossible things to become possible.

For those of you who know me and Cody personally, you know that we got married a week after we graduated from college.

We had next to nothing except one another when we started out.

Cody got a job right out of college and I struggled.

When I did find work it was part time and ends just didn’t meet.

It wasn’t really because the jobs weren’t “high paying”, but the debt that engulfed us.

Student loans.

You all know about these.

The thing that burdens many millennials and the thing that sucked our bank account dry every month… and that was with “the lowest possible payment” that wasn’t low at all.

We were on a payment plan that started November 2014 and would finish in December 2022.

yep.

We lived frugally and honestly still experienced the weight of finance on our lives, can I get an amen??

But when we made this wall at the beginning of 2016, we wrote down “debt free in 2017”.

Bold, I know.. but worth a shot, right?

At the point of writing down our impossible prayers we had just moved into a little cottage in a historic district in Montgomery.

Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

In fact, we got it so we could have a lower cost of living.

The house was not nice.

I’m talking down right FILTHY when we bought it.

We took what little we had and fixed it up with some fresh paint and refinished the hard wood floors.

We fixed up the master bathroom and made it livable… don’t even get me started on that bathroom…

In the midst of renovating this little house, we were running a business and working other jobs.

Times were busy.

Times were exhausting.

Times were just freaking tough.

But after finishing our fixes, we decided to refinance the house to *hope* to make money back for the renovations and throw that towards lowering debt.

With no intention of ever leaving this house (in fact big dreams were in store for that little cottage) we were amazed at the value we actually added to it by fixing it.

Until this point, I had no understanding of real estate world and honestly never cared to understand it.

Cody wanted to sell it.

He saw the new price.

He saw the value.

We moved into that house November 1, 2015 and he started asking me if we could sell it February 2016.

After ALL those renovations and nights of no sleep, I was finally feeling settled and my husband wanted to move… again.

Let me help you understand a little more, this house was our THIRD move in less than 2 years of marriage.

I was over it.

Bad over it, like looked him in the eyes and said, “Don’t ask me to sell this house again”, over it.

I know, I’m a jerk.

But I was tired.

I was beyond tired and couldn’t see the value in being tired again.

So we waited. We waited because I was prideful. We waited because I couldn’t stand the thought of moving out and moving in with my parents.

There’s the fuel in that flame.

Yep, my pride said, “sell your house and live with your parents, huh? So you’ll no longer be an adult and you’ll crawl back home with your tail between your legs.”

Ask for help? Me? no.So… 5 months later, after rejecting the idea and telling my husband to stop asking me to sell the house, I was driving a normal Monday morning route when I heard a voice in my spirit say, “How bad would it really be if you sold the house?”

Nah, I thought.

I turned up the radio to silence the thought and the voice on the radio said, “Next up, the story of a woman who sold her house, not because she wanted to, but to experience the blessings God had for her.”

I’m not kidding.

Real life.

When the Lord wants you to do something, He won’t stop pursuing.

I came home, looked at my husband and said, “Okay, I’m in.”

That was the real tail between the legs moment.

Not living with my parents (Which has been amazingggggg BTW.)

It was ignoring what was before me.

So we fixed the house a little more, painted the outside, fixed the landscaping, and put it on the market at the end of October.

10 days later… we were under contract.

All these pictures you see were taken of us by a sweet friend who offered the idea to remind us of the power in what we were doing, even though it was tiring.

The next day, the house got the offer we prayed for.

And last night, after closing and moving and waiting for the check to clear…

we were debt free January 12, 2017.

Not 2022.

We still have 8 other prayers and hopes and desires we are excited to watch the Lord fulfill, but I am here to tell you this morning He makes the impossible POSSIBLE. 

Make no mistake, He is the God of miracles.

Sometimes miracles take months, sometimes decades, but don’t stop.

Don’t stop believing that He will move mountains on your behalf.

We still have a ways to go.

Our current roommates are the man and woman who raised me and I am now sharing my childhood bedroom with my high school sweet heart.

It’s a new paradigm, but the sweetest.

Plus, my parents have cable, can I get a HALLELUJAH??

Matthew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are POSSIBLE.”

A Call to Come Close

They heard loud knocks on the door, when the house was quiet and the sky was black as pitch.

The banging noise of knuckles on wood startled them out of their sleep and had Grover and Laura stumbling to find a light and pathway through their house to see who was waiting for them.

The door creaked open and there stood a man and woman huddled together with almost a dozen children holding tight to them.

“Can I help you?” Grover said.

“I’m so sorry to bother you sir, but we lost our home, I’ve got no work, and we’ve been walking for days.” the man said as he shivered in the cold.

“Come on in and let’s get you warm.”

It was the beginning of the 1930s, when The Great Depression had gone into full blast, sweeping people out of their homes and into desolation. Nowhere to go, nowhere to work, nowhere to sleep, and nothing to eat.

My Great-GrandFather, Grover and his wife Laura were hard working farmers just like many other farmers in America, except they owed no money to a lender. His children and his wife helped him run a farming operation that stretched across a large amount of land.

When the depression hit, they were secure in their work and their home when most of America was left to wander.

There were families all over that found themselves making their way onto the Plunkett doorstep, looking for answers, and praying for hope.

It was there that they found it.

A man, his wife, and their children.

Every family that came up to their doorstep was given lumber to build a house (as pictured above), food to eat weekly, an income daily (rain or shine, work or no work), and dignity.

All they had to do was ask.

Knock on the door of a little farmhouse and wait for hope to answer.

The answer was always hope.

Family after family would show up to find restoration and life. Most lived there for decades after the depression had passed, working and moving forward towards their goals.

These houses seem dilapidated and ruined, but there was a time where they once stood strong and sturdy, providing warmth and shelter for those who abided there.

I found this one that was left on his land a few weeks ago and stood in awe.

It is left as a representation that the Lord takes us further than we can imagine and always sends help along the way.

I wonder how people felt in the Great Depression.  Did they even have vision for something better to come next? Did they even have vision at all?

I don’t know how your last year was, but I know for some there was a sense of struggle, hoping for something better and feeling like it would never come through.

But I say there is a door that might need a knock on it.

A door that will open wide to hope for this new year, it is calling you to closeness and strength, restoration and joy, and life abundantly.

There is a voice, a call for closeness, to pray, ask and seek, and maybe even witness hope and taste it with our lives.

2017, we are knocking.