Saturday, January 7, 2017

Miss P celebrates Two!

Dear Penelope,

It was a cold, snowy day two years ago when you were born, so today when we woke to snow and super cold, it somehow made it perfect.  Except for the weather keeping several from being able to make it to your party.

Last year, you were so sick on your birthday.  Your mommy had pneumonia and generally everybody had some sort of crud.  So, we definitely prefer the snow over sickness.
First snow of January 2017 

You are a tiny but mighty little princess.  One of my new favorite things is your little Pebble's hair.  Your Daddy hates it, but he has lost the battle to cuteness.  

Princess Penelope

In many ways you're a typical two year old.  You are starting to show some sass and make your opinions known.  Still tiny but definitely moving from baby to toddler.

Already, we can see that you are your own special person.  Here are a few of our favorite things that make you- you!

Your have the cutest voice. We enjoy hearing you say Daddy- it first came out sounding something like D-a-d-l-e-d-y.

When you want our attention you yell "hey, hey" and then when you get it, you get your face close to ours and whisper.  We still can't understand most of what you say but it's clear that you like a lot of L's and it is so stinking sweet.

You might be the youngest Foodie ever.  "Eat, eat" is one of your favorite phrases and one of your favorite things to do.  It doesn't matter when you were last fed your stomach resets to empty as soon as you walk in my door.  You like most anything but some of your favorites are:
  • tomatoes
  • chips
  • eggs
  • grilled cheese 
  • salad (go figure)
  • the pureed fruit pouches 
  • anything on my plate
  • and any Little Debbie cake you can find in Grammie & Pappy's pantry

    Got food?

You are such a happy toddler- even when you're under the weather, you usually smile through it.  It's a joy to watch you nurture and care for your own little baby.

No means yes.  At least when you are answering questions. And the way you say "I don't know" is so cute I might ask you off the wall questions just to hear you say that.   

We bought you a potty a few months ago when you went through an early potty training phase.  I pee was announced each time you trotted to the bathroom and pulled off your own diaper.  Your timing and judgement was a bit lacking so we were relieved when you settled back into diapers for a bit. With that said, you still like to announce "I pooped" and most of the time you have.

Your uncles think you are amazing. Elijah says you are smart because you are learning to say big words.  We all get a kick when you talk about deedle-dees.  I imagine one day this tidbit of information will be used to torment you over dinner conversations with your friends.  

You've learned to play the game making you a true Allen.  What game you ask?  The one where we ask "whose girl are you"  fully expecting you to answer me like you have been coached a bazillion but instead you offer the name of anyone other than the person asking the question. Most often you say you Mauwm.  I guess that's only fair since she has to hear more than she would like about how you look and act just like your Daddy.

Kendall, Emily, Penelope & Shayne 

Penelope Ryan Allen, 01.07.17

Penelope Ryan, you light up the room with your sweet disposition.  You are starting to smile more often and will even sometimes smile on demand.  Your Uncle Isaiah got it right when he said simply, you're just so cute! 

You already get embarrassed and crack us up when you go all statue on us- find a spot and stand perfectly still, slightly turn your head to the side, stare at the floor and pretend that we can't see you. 

Your Pappy and I hope you never stop crying to stay with us when your Mommy and Daddy say it's time to go.  

It's even okay that you have started to call me MeMe and Rex Poppa.  We aren't sure if it's because Grammie and Pappy are hard to say or if you just didn't like those names for us and are proving you have a mind of your own.  Either way, we promise to always be there for you and answer when and whatever you call us!

Me, Penelope and Rex
Can't get enough of her kisses

Rest up sweet girl, there is so much ahead for you.  And when you're ready remember... 

The Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in your with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
-Zephaniah 3:17 

Happy Second Birthday Penelope, we couldn't love you any more!
aka Grammie, MeMe, Pappy & Poppa

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"It's Easy to Praise Jesus"

I leaned in close - I struggled to read his lips and understanding his whisper was difficult. The disease had taken so much from him- now his ability to communicate.

it's easy to praise Jesus

I don't remember the very first time I met him, he was just always there. Rex is his uncle, but Brad and Keith were more like his brothers. The three of them together - well, it was usually like this.

Rex, Keith and Brad
March 2012
Brad, Rex, Iris & Keith
July 2011 

When I first met Brad I was intimidated by him. He seemed to have it all together. So confident. So smart and determined. It would take me a while, but not too long, to figure out that he had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. He invested time into my husband and my kids, without fanfare. He'd just show up and shower with attention and then go. He stood on the side of right. Always. A man of integrity.

Brad loved family- and the Allen family is nothing if it isn't amazing.

Insert thirty years family stuff. Our babies grew into adults. Some of them married and had their own babies. Oh, how Brad loved the babies. Plans for the future and dreams of retirement danced in our heads. We said goodbye to Hersey and Iris, Lillian and others, but that's expected, as we grew older, so did they. And life wasn't without disappointment, the Allen's have faced some trials but nothing we couldn't overcome.
Brad and Rex, March 2012

it's easy to praise Jesus
The diagnosis caught us off-guard. ALS. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. To date, it is 100% fatal.
We prayed for a miracle. And life continued. Sense of humor intact.

Rex, Keith and Brad acting up at Delaney's Birthday party April 2015

Steve, Ona, Brad, Olivia & Missy
Celebrating Brad's birthday 5/21/16 
Brad & me at his birthday dinner 5/21/16

Brad never complained about ALS even tho all who knew him or spent time with him could see the extreme pain and imagine his frustration with a fully capable brain trapped inside a completely non-responsive and pain filled body.

A few weeks ago, I spent a few hours with Brad and Missy. It was a sweet day.

I was bragging to him about Missy. She set the bar high for us Allen women on what it looks like to love in sickness and in health. I can't think of a more difficult "sickness" to love someone through. But she was ever present, ever faithful and ever loving.

We talked about hard things. Brad was concerned about us. The family. Was Rex okay? Was I okay? I told him that I was sad, but I knew it was temporary goodbye. I told him I was a bit jealous he got to go home first but I hated seeing him hurt. I told him he was leaving quiet a legacy- a wonderful testimony showing us how to trust God in the hard.

That's when he looked me in the eye and whispered, 
it's easy to praise Jesus
I know that day was a gift from God- what I meant to encourage him and instead he encouraged me.

Our family has watched ALS take everything from Brad- everything except the two things most important to him. His family and his faith.

Our lives came to a screeching halt on Saturday, November 5 - nothing mattered except being present with him knowing it would most likely be his last hours here. It was a beautiful day to go home.

When we pray desperately for healing for those we love, and they die it might feel like God didn't hear. Didn't answer. That our faith wasn't enough. We might be tempted to complain.

That's when we have to remind ourselves, almost scream it into our hearts that God is sovereign. His ways are not ours and we can trust Him in all things. Even when trusting Him hurts our hearts.

We, along with hundreds of you have prayed that Brad would be healed from a disease that has a 100% fatality rate. We wanted a miracle.

And now, our family is adjusting to the huge loss of a husband, father, son, brother, nephew, son and brother-in-law. But we do not grieve like those without hope. Brad is completely whole and in the presence of his Savior.

In the midst of our grief, well

it's easy to praise Jesus!

Happy Wednesday y'all!

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