Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve---Welcome Jesus!


People choose to celebrate differently.  Some will give 3 gifts, some will give more.  Some will give none.  Some will over do, and some will do without.  But, it doesn't matter how you celebrate as long as Christ is the center.  Remember that all Christmas is all about Christ!  The King of Kings born as a baby on a night long ago.

In all you do, I pray that celebrating Jesus is part of your Christmas!

from Luke 2 (NIV)

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising god and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

Merry Christmas y'all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Momma(s) and Traditions

In less than 1 hour, (sigh) I will log onto my work computer and get back to work.  Well, the work I get a paycheck for, anyway.  I'm finishing up a four day weekend. 
 Friday night was rainy and cold, so Chinese food and staying inside for the night was in order.

Saturday, me and my man enjoyed a date morning. First, we had breakfast at the Dogwood in Vinton, where we hadn't eaten in years, the memories!  Then, we shopped most of the day before heading home to chill out with the kids.  We finished our day enjoying having Keith, Jill and Brian for dinner ( no salsa to be found) and coffee and laughing out loud and dozing on the couch. 

I've mentioned before, my mother-in-law is aging so the holiday traditions for the Allen's continue to change a bit.  One of those traditions- potato candy.  Pinwheels.  Whatever you call them, it's 2lbs of sweet with a little bit of peanut butter rolled into yummy goodness.   When my mom-in-law who has made these forever mentioned to my man she couldn't remember "that candy" she used to make, I decided it was time for intervention.  I googled the recipe and called and asked her if she'd help me and she graciously agreed. Then I had an even grander idea.  I hadn't Christmas baked (or candy made) with my momma in years so I gave her a call, and she graciously agreed.

Sunday- me and my mommas tore up the kitchen.    We were a mess great team.  My momma recovering from hand surgery was in charge of the mixer.  Since Grandma can't see very well, I helped her in sizing the Oreo truffle balls.  It was fun, people.

I would glance over at my man every once in a while and catch him watching his momma.  This woman who for years has been the center of all things Allen. The woman who truly has taught me to "just accept 'em the way they are" the woman who decided sitting on my trash can was a perfect seat for her. Yep, perched herself right on top of the can.  And when we told her we'd get her a better seat, asked Why, am I hurting it?"

We finished up the day making sugar cookies with the boys.  Spending time together in the kitchen  was a great new tradition for us and I hope it will continue for many years.    Regardless, I will treasure this one forever.  And the cookies, Pinwheels and Oreo Truffles are being treasured too! 

Monday we took the kids to see Santa.  Not the "real" one downtown who plays the guitar and teaches the kids about loving others and giving gifts of time.  He was off ????
So we went to see one of his helpers at the mall.  Since one 5x7 photo was $22.99 and they won't let me take my own picture, we don't have the obligatory kids sitting in Santa's lap picture proof of the visit.  But, Santa made sure I knew that Isaiah asked for a puppy!  Later that night, we went to see the lights at the Elks home in Bedford.  Driving through didn't seem to take nearly as long as when we were younger but were still magical for my little guys.  I kept telling Shayne it's not really the lights, but the memories we're making- the traditions.

Elijah & Isaiah after visiting Santa

The phone call from a friend asking asking if we'd sent out our cards yet was the motivation I needed to finally get them addressed and in the mail yesterday.  Rex had to work, so I took Shayne and his brothers to lunch and later cleaned out their toy boxes.  The rest of the day we just chilled and continued to enjoy the lights, tastes and smells of Christmas!

Now, back to work!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Connected

I love Christmas.  One of favorite things to do is sit on the couch when the house is quiet, and stare at the Christmas tree. 

When it is lit.
Plugged in.
Connected to a source of power.

I can still enjoy it- the pretty ornaments, the handmade Popsicle stick reindeer, the picture ornaments of babies first Christmas' and memories from years gone by.  But, the tree just doesn't come to life- isn't as pretty unless it's connected.  But, when it is the lights add dimension, sparkle, glow, life to the tree.  

Much like me.

God blessed me with pretty eyes, okay hands.  Actually, He made me in His image so I know I'm okay.  Sometimes I even have a good hair day.  But it's all superficial. 

As a being with a soul, I come to life and really glow when I'm connected to my creator.  My source of all things.

Being connected to Him gives this being dimension and sparkle.  And hopefully, I am reflecting His glow to the world, who might not yet be connected.  

Every Friday I join Lisa-Jo over at thegypsymama for Five Minute Friday. She prompts us with a one word topic, and we stop, drop and write. We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it's just right or not.

Click on the link above to enjoy and be encouraged by other bloggers' own 5 minutes of freedom. Any of us would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for coming by!

Happy Friday Y'all!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa- you look different.

When I got home tonight, Santa was finishing up his beard.  Once he was all situated he sat down on the couch and called his brother over.  The conversation went like this.

Santa: Ho Ho HO Come over here and have a seat on my lap little boy, tell Santa what you want 
Isaiah:  Harry Potter game
Santa:  Your mommy and daddy won't let you have that
Isaiah:  but I want it
Santa:  I've been watching you while you sleep
Isaiah: I've been good
Santa:  Not on the bus

And, after making his list and checking it twice, it looks like Shayne made the good list, so all is well.

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Combat Boots

Remember the one liners from childhood, like your momma’s so big that… and your momma wears combat boots….

Well, it’s true.  This bigger- by- the- day momma is sporting combat boots.  I’m in a battle. 

If you too have chosen to adopt children from “hard places” you are too.  We weren’t drafted, we willingly signed up. Not a two or four year stint, but a lifelong promise to love.  Many days it feels like I’m battling with my kids, but it’s really a battle for my kids.  Some of us are fighting for physical health, some emotional health and/or mental health. Some, are fighting for all of the above. 

But we aren’t just fighting a battle against flesh and blood, it’s a spiritual battle.  We’re battling for healing and wholeness. What keeps me fighting is knowing who wins.

And I trust Him.  He didn’t mess up when he placed my kids in my home and heart.  It wasn’t a mistake when He placed yours with you.  I know He loves us, and He loves our kids---- the same kids He brought to us with broken hearts, sometimes broken bodies and all with lost souls.

Some days it hurts to love them.  Our hearts are punctured with burdens we never dreamed or expected.  Some days our bodies get hurt as we love and hold a raging child.  Some days our minds fight the fear of tomorrow.  Unfortunately, our children are suffering in the
cross-fire of our battling for their best.  And let’s not forget our “tummy” kids who are wounded when the home they knew is changed into a battle zone right in front of them.

Yes, this is the battle we’re called to fight.  But people, we (that’s all of us who adopt kids from “hard places”) need you.  We cannot fight it alone- even when we try so hard to be strong.  We, need to round up some support troops.  We need friends who love us and our children and who understand this is more than just being tired mommies and daddy's.   People who understand we obeyed God’s calling.   

We need y’all to pray for us and some days we need more.  We won’t likely ask you or tell you we need it.  That would feel like waving a white flag of surrender.  We are thankful for the days you sense it.  The days you come around the cubicle wall with Kleenex and hugs when you over hear the sounds of war. 

We need you to understand why, when a simple question like “how’s the boys”,  cause us to break out into sobs and we are never able to answer you. We might need you to offer practical things like to cook dinner or pick up medications so we can just hold and love on our kids at the end of an especially rough day of battle. 

We need each other- fellow warriors- to encourage us and remind us there is Hope in the One who has already won the battle for us.

Mostly, we need our Church, the Body of Christ, to shelter us.  It has to be the place where we can always go when there is nowhere else to turn- the place where it’s safe to be real and broken and scared. 

When I first put on my boots, I thought it would be a temporary battle.  Maybe a year or two and then our family would be fixed- healed- whole.  Five years in, and the battle rages on; it rages stronger, and longer.  Unless God chooses to do a miracle, it looks like I’ll be sporting combat boots for a really long time.   And,most likely so will you.

So, my fellow boot wearing parents I leave you with these words from the Mighty Warrior himself:

Isaiah 41:9b-10
“You are my servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away.  Fear not, for I am with you.  Be not dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you.  Yes, I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Look around- see anybody in boots?  

Happy Wednesday Y'all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas (finally)!

So what if we got started later than usual.
So what if our live tree was purchased after a visit for Elijah to the ER, instead of being cut after a visit to Mr. John's farm.
So what if none of us had showered for our tree search....
doesn't everybody pick out their tree in their pajamas & sweat pants?

So what if took about a week to get the two trees trimmed, drink up the egg nog, finish up the outside lights, hang the stockings and secure the mistletoe over my kitchen sink?  

I've even got a few presents wrapped and under the tree. 

Yes, it's finally looking like Christmas at the Allen's.  It is the most wonderful time of the year.
Peace to all, y'all! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011



You know it by now, right?


The call came very early in the day.  Not good news.  (is it ever?)

Just when we think we've hit the max, our family finds a new max. 

"Doesn't happen much in First Grade" we were told.

He can't even say the word.  On the way home, he mutters through tears and frustration  "Mommy, I'm sorry I got extapended today"

I'm sorry he got extapended too. 

I have never considered myself to be a proud person. But with each day God is revealing my prideful heart.  Exposing me like naked baby. 

My God Daddy loves me so much He is showing me that I am indeed prideful.  Prideful because I have been so confident in myself, my ability to figure things out and keep it all together.  He loves me so much He has ordered my steps in a journey where I can't figure things out.  I can't even anticipate what will come next. 

Being a good legalistic Baptist (insert sarcastic grin) I grew up with the verse "pride goes before a fall" rolling off my tongue at just the right moment (of judgment) against others.  Thinking it had some grand spiritual meaning reserved for the obvious prideful person.  

What if, the verse was actually meant for me- meaning something like:

pride goes before a fall of the imperfect mom who thought she had it all together to her knees so she can see me (God) and need more of me than she needs of herself?

With every phone call, every exasperated adult who brings our son back to us to "handle", with every stare from a stranger who witnesses a meltdown, with every embarrassing and fearful moment I am falling.  Falling on my knees and safely into the hands of the one who holds my heart.  

I am becoming totally dependent on my God Daddy for my survival from one day to the next.  I continue to beg God to give me wisdom, to give me strength, to give me courage, to increase my faith and help me to love unconditionally.

And, just like I love my son whether he's being suspended or on "green" God continues to love me whether I'm standing upright trying to make it in my own strength or falling flat on my face at His feet.  

I'm just glad He won't extapend me from the palm of His hand!

Happy Wednesday y'all!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Tired

Climbing into bed last night a little before 9 pm (this never happens people) I told my beloved how tired I was.  Not physically.  Mentally.  My teenage son came in and told us we were old.  Can you believe? 

I tried to explain that my brain just wanted to zone and stop thinking.  I wish I knew how to turn it off.  It spins wildly out of control trying to organize and process the many many many many many many many (enough right) things that have to be thought about.  The momma Robin is pooped out.  With this week bringing yet more conflict over our boys, Dr. visits, medication changes and more calls from the school.  Requesting opinions professionals who know them best.  Realizing who is trustworthy, and who is not.  

In the midst of the craziness of leaving daycare and adjusting schedules life is the other Robin. 
The working mom Robin. 
The wife Robin. 

Some days, I just get tired from the thinking and the balancing. 

Yesterday being December 1, I was also a little disappointed that my reputation for being one of the first in my family and circle of friends to have the tree up and house smelling and looking like Christmas, was ruined.  Over I tell you. 

Not a stocking hung or a red candle to be found. 
Tired- yes. 
Quitting- never. 

Every Friday I join Lisa-Jo over at thegypsymama for Five Minute Friday.  She prompts us with a one word topic, and we stop, drop and write.  We write bold and beautiful and free.  Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it's just right or not.

Click on the link above to enjoy and be encouraged by other bloggers' own 5 minutes of freedom.  Any of us would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for coming by!

Happy Friday Y'all!

Isaiah on dinner.

I recently brought home Chinese carry out for dinner.

Knowing Isaiah doesn't like Chinese I had a back-up plan.
The conversation went like this.

Isaiah- oh ohhhhh Chinese!  I don't like Chinese.
Me- I know honey, Mommy has leftover spaghetti in the fridge you can eat.

Isaiah- Why do we always have to eat foreign food!

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stepping out

sometimes we step out into the new out of fear
sometimes we step out into the new into faith

sometimes the paths cross and when we step into something new in faith-fear tags along.

i wish i could say i was never fearful. 
even in knowing God is in control and loves me, i still get fearful. 

we did some stepping this week. 

we stepped out of daycare. 

we're stepping into the unknown.  daycare has been part of our lives since, well, since there was ever a kid in our lives. 

i was feeling confident this morning when i posted the following face book status: 

how do I know God changes us? He took a scared girl who avoided conflict at all cost and blessed her with two special little boys; changing her into the conflict facing queen. And gives her strength everyday to do it again.

stepping out in faith to say "no thank you" to daycare came with conflict, fear and many tears.   

as the day wore on, conflicts grew. and we were more sure than before we were making the right choice. 

our kids deserve more

more than the reputation of being a "social services kid"
more than the assumption that one bad choice means always a bad choice
more than the silly toddler diploma because they forgot to order my son the same one all the other kids got (i'm not bitter, just sayin')

they deserve to have a voice
to be heard
to get the benefit of the doubt 
to be cared for by somebody who cares about them enough to invest attention and time, cares about the little people looking up to them more than the paycheck
they deserve truth- given and received

they deserve us. 
mommy and daddy.
and by faith, they're getting more of us.

we have some details to work out, but i'm thankful that rex's job has flexibility allowing him to be home when the kids get out of school. thankful for a sister who has our back. 

thankful that even in conflict, good things come.

thankful that faith is stronger than fear.

Later y'all!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

Grateful for a man that loves me still, and shares his name with me.  Grateful for a weekend with Keith & Angie, who I go way too long between hugs with.  Grateful for Daddy's and Mommas- mine and his.  Grateful for turkey in the fridge and pie on the counter.  Grateful for football in the front yard.  Grateful for Kristen's drop in hug and Phillip laying on my couch.  Grateful for Nae.  Grateful for my bff's, sitting by the fire and laughing together- nothing special, just enjoying life.  Grateful for silly newspaper ads and the hours of entertainment they little people.  Grateful for Kara.  Grateful for my boys that keep me on my toes, and on my knees.  Grateful for my God Daddy who despite of me, continues to bless me. 

Every Friday I join Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday prompts. It’s an opportunity for us to stop, drop, and write. We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Click on the link above to enjoy and be encouraged by other bloggers own 5 minutes of freedom. Any of us would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment today. Thanks for coming by!

Happy Friday y'all, I'm off to the mall!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Allen Style- Thanksgiving 2011

We have been so busy the last couple of weeks, it seems crazy to say we slowed down yesterday to get ready for a double-digit Thanksgiving dinner today.  As traditions change for the Allen family, the new gathering place for turkey dinner is our house.  We look forward to having the people we love fill our house.  We don't mind the cleaning, cooking, moving of tables and chairs, late night preparations and early morning cooking.  The noise of multiple generations talking, singing, loving, eating and playing together is a sound I treasure. I'll never get tired of the Allen brothers guitar playing and song singing.  Phone calls to and from family and friends that can't be here add to the joy of the day, and the drop-in family and friends who can come from noon to night- all is a blessing and I am thankful. 

Ideas for Santa

Shayne and Brian

Allen Brothers playing and singing (Elijah joined in)
Grandma Allen, Rex's mom- helping me cook

Isaiah and his Daddy

Elijah and me

Talking 'round the dinner table,
Grandma Allen, Wayne Jr, Brenda, Dale and Frankie
Frankie, Anna the Birthday Girl, and Olivia
Wanda and Brenda

Vicky and Wayne enjoying the music

Turkey is over-rated.  It's time together, traditions and the memory making that it's all about. 

What are your family traditions?  Leave me a comment and let me know how you celebrate the day.  I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

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