The Ivory Moment

You know those moments that take your heart and make it tighten up? It’s almost as if it starts coming through your throat, trying to push its way out through salty drops down your face?

This weekend, I had those moments… over and over and over again.

All of us were together, in one place, with no plans, no agenda, just each other.

The Plunkett Parents, The Hoehn’s, The Peurach’s, the Bell’s,  and the cutest niece and nephew.

IMG_0573

My little blond headed, blue eyed Ivory,  joyful, spunky niece finally came to town for a visit, to meet her new “baby chusin”.

IMG_0548

IMG_0546

I walked through the doors of the home that raised me, and those sweet, chubby cheeks ran to me yelling “LaLa!”, giggling with excitement.

may the heart swelling begin… 

I picked up that happy 2 year old, squeezed her little guts and and whispered  “I love you Ray Girl”, she looked away, as if she hardly paid attention to what I said, and yelled out “I love OO LaLa!”

It was that moment, the first time in my relationship with her, that she spoke to me, without being told, without begging her to say a word, her sincere innocence erupted out without a second thought.

 *sigh* 🙂IMG_0606

  I looked all around me and saw beauty in the “ivories” of my life.  They are just as rare as Ivory, hard to find, impossible to replace.

IMG_0614

IMG_0588

These people, this family I come from, they’re all mine.  FULL of rarity, FULL of grace, and one of a kind. 

I fall in love all over again every time I see them. There is never a moment of questioning the way we feel about each other.  We are quirky, smart, goofy, obsessed with grilling ridiculous amounts of meat on the grill, and sitting around a table for hours belly laughing.

IMG_0703

IMG_0701

I walked into the living room of my parent’s house and sat down across from my mom.  There are big decisions coming up in mine and my husband’s life, decisions that will drastically change our direction.  I felt the *mama moment*.  You know that moment? The one where all you really want is to hear your mama’s voice and look in her eyes and tell her all your dreams and biggest fears? This was that moment.

She looked at me and smiled, nodded, and listened as I poured my heart out on her living room floor. She looked at me, she smiled at me, and her whole being whispered ‘Remember where you came from, it will get you where you’re going’.

She knows what to say without saying it… It’s a mama thing I guess.

cue the throat swelling thing… 

Dinner was had, coffee was sipped, endless conversations, and laughter erupted from the roof of 6464, our Zimbabwe brothers came over, and those ivories of mine once again captured my heart.

We are known.  Every tear is tracked and every heartbeat heard by the One who set it into motion.  Every moment is seen by the One who makes all things beautiful.  From our first gasp of air til we last lay our head, He is with us.  By our side.  An advocate, a refuge, our strength and our song.

*stay tuned to see the direction we are taking with our coffee venture! And while you’re waiting for the next update, be sure to buy some Bell Blend 🙂 *

https://squareup.com/market/breakinggrounds

Letters from Lee

My college career and plans were interrupted when God changed my location. I had big plans to move away from Montgomery, Alabama and never return.  So I moved to Nashville, and before I could blink, life pulled me right back to where I ran from.

 IMG_0490

I had to adjust to a new school, with new people who had already settled into their friend groups and schedule.  It was a transition that was occasionally hard to navigate with joy.

I found this friend though. She and I had been in church together my whole life, but I never really treasured who she was.

*But she treasured me.*

IMG_0511

Her name is June.

June would have me over for snacks and coffee. We would sit in her little apartment for hours while she told me story after story that left my heart completely uplifted.  On days where I felt insanely lonely, I would call June and we would visit.  She really is one of my best good friends. June gave me a break from all my transitions in life.  She shared her time, her cooking, and her coffee with me, even her letters from Lee.

IMG_0503

Lee Dillard was June’s husband.  He died the year I was born, but their love story could seriously be the next box office hit. They married during the second of the world wars and just days after they wed, he left to fight for our freedom. He was gone for nearly two years, and all they had to communicate with was a paper and pen. The jewel she always waited for? Letters from Lee. She treasured them and still keeps them in a hat box in her closet.

Did I mention June and I are 67 years apart? 🙂

You see, June writes letters too. They are the sweetest , almost as sweet at her short bread cookies!

Her letters are heart felt and kind.  They are written for any occasion, with perfect penmanship and words that keep you going.

IMG_0504

I always felt like letters were pretty pointless. I have a cell phone that can write a”letter” in less than a minute, but spending time with June changed my mind.  I love that intentionality was all her generation had.  Letter writing kept their relationships alive and their hearts growing fonder of each other.

Don’t you desire intentionality? For a moment where you can read a letter and know that it took someone time to write, stamp, seal, and mail? I know I do. June teaches me about loving people with intention, even with a coffee cup in hand.

image 

I know it takes time, but pick a person this week to write a letter to or even put your cell phone down for. June was worth it to Lee, make someone else worth it you.

*If you like these adorable greeting cards, be sure to check out mkt.com/khards-by-nalin to buy these custom cards! 

Write a “khard” this week and have someone over for some Bell Blend coffee 🙂

The Table

Family is not about sharing DNA, but sharing time.

When I was a kid, the console TV was turned off, homework put away, American girl dolls put back in their trunks, and three little, blonde, curly-headed girls and their parents sat around an old table to have a meal together.  It never mattered the meal, it mattered the people.  We would sit for hours while my dad told us stories and asked us history questions. We would beg him to tell us how he met mom just ONE MORE TIME.  Mom would sit and gaze at him, giggle when he exaggerated their love story, and sip sweet tea.  Table time would last hours on end in our house, it made meal time the best time.

I watched as I grew older the way that my parents used a table to create family, to know souls, and to love God’s people.

About a year ago, my history professor and American dreamer of a Dad walked out of his office and discovered a line of African men sitting on the floor.  The men were soccer players and students at the University where Dad works.  They looked at him with desperation in their eyes and stood to greet him.

“Dr. Plunkett”, they quietly spoke in their thick Zimbabwe accents, “We hear you give people work, and sir, we need work.”

My dad nodded, they conversed, and work was given. My dad grew up on a farm and would gladly distribute work to anyone willing, it made him proud to see those young men eager to earn.

He gave them yard work and odd and end jobs that helped him day to day. But work was not all that was given, the table was.  My mom made extra food each day those boys would work and sent home endless amounts of food filled to the brim of her never ending amounts of tupperware, believe me, she does not lack in tupperware.

The boys began celebrating birthdays and holidays with my parents, giving above and beyond.  They began inviting others on their team, guys from other parts of Africa, to join them. On Fathers Day they flooded my Dad’s phone with text messages thanking him for being the best dad, for pushing them and believing in them.  On his birthday, they slipped a card under his door reading  “For our Dad.”

WHOA. *tears*

The boys became like family. They came to gatherings at my parent’s house, around the table. Every time they came, the TV turned off, phones were put away, and sweet tea was sipped. The laughter would erupt as the boys learned my parents love story and mom routinely rolled her eyes with a bashful smile. *She loves his exaggeration*.

Christmas day was different. Different for the “Zimbabwe Boys” (as my mother calls them), and different for the Plunkett Family.

The three little girls from years ago have grown and gotten married.  One was away with in-laws, while me and the other were sticking close to home.  Christmas felt weird, a little sad, and slightly unnatural.  We weren’t three, blond, curly-headed girls “oo-ing” over new dolls and a game of dream phone.  We were grown ups.

Nostalgia flooded my mind as I thought of what Christmas was once like for all of us together. Before I could get too emotional, the smell of pot roast, turkey, casseroles, and desserts flooded the house, erased those thoughts, and replaced them with a stirring of deep hunger in my belly.  And I realized. The table was about to be filled.

I helped mom with her finishing touches on dessert and in floods five, strapping men, dressed nice and smelling like a fresh shower.  *The Zimbabwe boys had arrived*, along with their friends from Cameroon and Morocco.  I realized right then that thousands of miles separated these handsome men from their culture, their blood, their DNA. These boys weren’t just soccer players from a foreign country to us though, they were family. 

It was no longer DNA that gave us all a sense of community; it was the table that brought us together.

photo

I wish this picture wasn’t so grainy.  It was the sweetest time sitting and learning from these awesome guys!

How often are you turning off your distractions to truly spend time with each other? May be something fun to try this week 🙂