Generational Habits

Growing up, my mom would wake up hours before daylight to have her “coffee” time. I never understood why she would do it.  Was it really worth getting up 4 hours before you had to be anywhere? Did you HAVE to see the moon again? Must you always see the sunrise?

It literally never made sense to me. Everyday when I woke up, I would walk in the living room and there she was, wrapped up in her robe, religiously wearing her slippers (which she is very particular about), reading her bible, with a coffee cup in her hand. Side note: she only drinks from tiny coffee cups so that her coffee cup intake can be an absurd amount. She’s a wild one that Wendy.

Mom always claimed it was her alone time to become joyful before her babies woke up, which I always believed, she always gave the best hugs and had a lot of energy when we woke.   Today, we are all grown up, out from under her roof and payroll, and she’s still waking before the sun.

I always knew there was something more happening.

For 30 years now, my mom wakes before the sun to sit with Jesus.

It hit me today, this morning actually, when I willingly woke up at 5 am to sit with Jesus, that so much of what I have in this life is because of the fervent prayers of my mother. It is because she chose to wake up and sit with Him. Talk to Him. Ask of Him. Believe in Him.

She prayed for my sister when doctors told her she may never have children, two years later, my niece was born. 

She prayed for my Dad when the recession of ’09 hit him hard, he now sees the fruit of his labor.

She prayed for my sister to find peace after the loss of a close friend, She’s in her calm after the storm.

She prayed me through a season of anxiety and unknown, I’m walking a path of peace.

She prayed for all three of us (me and my sisters) to find Godly husbands, we are living in marital bliss.

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Today is Ash Wednesday.  Not everyone pursues the Lent season, but this year my husband and I are.  We are spending 40 days in fervent prayer over all that God places on our hearts.

 AND…There is this unbelievable desire to wake up every morning, drink Bell Blend and sit with Jesus. 

Today, I am thankful for generational habits and a Mom who never stops trusting drinking coffee with Jesus.

*You should wake up with Bell Blend too! You can buy it under the coffee shop tab :)*

Real Men

My Grandmother is the only living Grandparent that I still have.  This past weekend she turned 82-years-old, and let me tell you, my heart rejoices in that.

My husband and I, along with most of our family, traveled to the small town that raised half of my blood-line, to celebrate.  Joppa, Alabama didn’t know what was coming when all those cars flooded the driveway of the old house.

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We had dinner and sat around telling “Mama Rue” stories.  I have never laughed so hard in my life listening to the stories that flooded that living room.  The southern accents permeated the room making the stories twice as funny.  My grandmother was a hoot as a young woman and quite different towards me and my sisters as she was towards her children.  It was as if for those few hours all the sadness or pain that 82 years may have brought, there were moments and moments and more moments that we could all reflect on and rejoice over her.

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She was a farm wife, which is a hard life, but she was good at it.  She will never know anything but farming and cooking, and she’s the happiest about that. Her greatest joy though, well, it was her man. The man that took her on as his bride and cherished her like ivory for over 50 years.

“What was your first date with Papa Doc?” we asked her.

“Well, he came over to me after a church sangin’ and asked if he could carry me home.  I told him ‘well I don’t know Doc’, and he said ‘well you reckon you can tell me who does?’  and I looked at him and laughed and said ‘well, I reckon my Daddy.’  So Doc asked my Daddy if he could carry me home. Doc drove me home from church that night.  That was our first date.  I was 15 and he was 24.”

That age difference would never fly today.

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That man, my grandfather, set the stage. He set the stage for men and their actions.  He was a tough man, he took risks, he made mistakes, and yes, he even could drive my grandmother crazy, but at the end of the day, he was the man.

He wasn’t the man because he was the main provider for the household or controlling of his wife, don’t get any ideas.  He was the man because he KNEW what he had and he fought for it.  Every. single. day. He knew that he had found a wife worth rubies, children that were a part of him, and that his responsibility was not to just provide for them, but to be present for them.  He knew what it meant to cherish his wife. He knew what it meant to teach his children.  The best part of it all? They all cherished him too.

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His sons married and are reflections of their father.  They work hard, they fight for their marriages, and they are present for their family.  They are constant in the good and the bad.  They challenge each other.  The best part of that? Their children have found men just. like. them.

My husband,  5 years ago today, walked 6 miles in the snow to ask me out.  His mama wouldn’t let him drive, so he walked.  He asked my daddy permission to take me to prom, and 5 years later, here we are.  He provides for us, he dreams for us, he never lets a day go by that he doesn’t think about us.

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My brothers-in-law, well, they are representations of real men.  They take care of my sisters.  They love them, they make them laugh, and they are present fathers to their children.  They honor my sisters with the way they live their lives.  My heart swells up with pride when I spend time with them. I can’t even tell that they aren’t blood related to me anymore.  They are men. REAL men. They set a standard of what all men should be.

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I have pondered Valentine’s Day over and over.  My husband and I spent our energy spreading love to others and not a dime on one another.

I realized something this morning.  My husband makes every day Valentine’s Day.  He celebrates me when he goes to work every morning. He celebrates me when he prays with me.  He celebrates me when I am sick and when I am healthy.  He celebrates me with patience for my sassy attitude and laughter to my bad jokes. He celebrates his bride by choosing her every single day.

A real man doesn’t just buy flowers for his wife for cheesy holidays (although it’s a very thoughtful and kind gesture) Real men sacrifice to be what the world tells them is wrong.

Real men are the ones that are still talked about when they are in heaven and their wife is 82.

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.

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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.*

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂