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.

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

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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.

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  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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

8 O’Clock Coffee

My father grew up on a farm in a tiny town of Northern Alabama.  Every one in his family for generations were farmers so their lifestyle was full of community.  All Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents… you name it, they farmed.

A few years ago I was sitting in the kitchen of my parent’s home.  My dad and I were talking with each other and catching up on the latest news in life.  He walked to the pantry and pulled out a small bag of 8 o’clock coffee.  He looked at the already opened bag of coffee and his eyes welled up with tears*he’s always been an extremely emotional man.*

I rolled my eyes, “what’s wrong dad?” I asked, knowing he was about to tell me a story I had already heard a million times.  Instead… He told me a new one.

He looked up at me, shook the bag of coffee and said “Every night when I was a boy, all the farmers would come over for a cup of 8 o’clock coffee.  They would wind down after a long day in the fields and talk.  This coffee makes me miss the days when that was the normal.  8 o’clock coffee was the coffee to gather with. It created community Lou Lou.”

He said his small short story, shook his head, and walked to the coffee maker to put on a fresh pot.

This story never seems to leave me.  It is constantly in the back of my mind.  There really is something magical about coffee.  It is the only source that drags my 5’11 self out of the bed each morning, the pick me up at 3 pm, and the desired drink to go with dessert after dinner.

So, my husband and I came up with a plan to start roasting our own.  It was a little test at first.  We didn’t think it would be something we loved so much, but it completely captured us.

We order our raw beans from a company called Sweet Maria’s and the beans are imported from Columbia, with notes of honey and dark chocolate.  Cody tirelessly roasts the coffee to a medium roast and we now sell it for $10 a pound! I marvel at how this all came about.

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We call our coffee the Bell Blend.  So original right? 🙂

One day we hope to create a space in our city for coffee to be sipped and community to be formed.  A place where any person can be family, sitting around a table, sipping coffee… Bell Blend Coffee.

For now, instead of our own space, we gather around the living room of our tiny apartment, and sip coffee with any friend who wants some, even at 8 o’clock.

*If you are interested in buying some Bell Blend from us, click on the sub link under the coffee shop tab titled “Support our shop”.  The tab will send you directly to our square up website to purchase your very own bag!