Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Date archives August 2014

Grace / Life & Faith

An Invitation

During my college years, I had a blue hand-me-down couch that moved with me from place to place. It was just wide enough for two people to curl their knees up and settle in cozy for some hot chocolate and conversation. Ever since then, I’ve had a fondness for that kind of time with friends…the drawing near, opening up, and sharing honestly about life in a safe space. On that blue couch, we spilled heartaches, adventures, laughter and prayers…and probably the hot chocolate from time to time.

The couch is gone, but the memories are not. It was during that season I realized that it is up to me to make space for what I long for in my life. Meaningful conversations are incredibly life-giving to me. My favorites are the gritty ones…the ones that are honest and real. I love the little things I learn about a person when we happen into that space.

(taken out the window of our van on the Oregon trip….rays of light make my heart sing)

I have been searching for my voice as a writer for years. It’s silly, when I really think about it. The struggle really isn’t that my voice is missing…it is that I have been guarded. I’ve been afraid that if I really let all my personal weirdness passion hang out there, I would be met with rejection. It’s my abandonment issues. Those pesky things. It’s my wild imagination that allows me to dream up all kinds of horrible consequences for letting it all hang out, metaphorically speaking of course. I assure you, there will be nothing else hanging out over here. I’m all into mom clothes now, thanks.

So that said, with summer’s shenanigans behind us and autumn creeping in, I have decided to take this blog in a new direction for a time…to test the waters, if you will. I will be exploring a new theme each month (provided this new direction lasts for more than a month, which is never guaranteed in a house as busy as mine), and will be doing so without my usual over-thinking filter (I hope). I would love for you to jump right in with me. I might need some encouragement. I would cherish your thoughts, comments and personal stories. Really, I would just love to make space for conversations to happen, even if there is a great distance between us, because I heart great conversations.

For the month of September, I invite you to an exploration of the theme of “grace”. I’m going to be digging in to what grace is, what grace isn’t, where we find grace, how we receive it and share it and hopefully live it. A look from all sides, I guess. So put your hats on and let’s go, friends!

subscribe to this blog by email or leave a prayer request for me

286. blue couch memories, 287. inspiration, 288. rays of light, 289. promise of fall fun, 290. de-cluttering extravaganza


Oregon Vacation // Part II

Oregon vacation continued…

After our time at the coast, we traveled to Central Oregon where I grew up. Central Oregon is where I spent 99% of my first 18 years and my mom and two brothers all still live in the area. We see Grandma Robin fairly often because she is a SUPER grandma and she comes to Seattle to help whenever I have a baby (which is kind of often) and any other times she can. She gave the spunky one her first hair cut. It was looking a bit mullet-like, so we trimmed it all around and now have this cute new ‘do.

One day we all went to play mini golf. I meant to play, but I took pictures instead, so uncle Lucas (my youngest brother) had to play for me. The kids were all so cute about it and mini golf is definitely something we’ll do again, vacation or not.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 34/52

This week’s official family photo includes my mom, two brothers (Caleb & Lucas), and Lucas’ fun girlfriend Tavia. It’s the first time we have all been together in a very long while, so this one is especially meaningful for me. I have missed those brothers of mine.

My sweet grandparents also drove into town to stay for a few days so we could see them also, and provided us an opportunity to take another family photo. Two of the most influential people in my life, they are. I don’t think I’ve ever once heard my grandpa complain about anything in all my life, and that sweet grandma…She’ll fill you right full of delicious food at every chance she can. Precious times.

And just in case you need a picture of chubby toes, there you go.

subscribe to this blog by email or leave a prayer request for me

“Do all things without grumbling or complaining; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” Phil 2:14-15

276. generous hearts of family, 277. growth and change, 278. childhood memories, 279. freedom from aches, 280. mini golf hilarity, 281. chubby toes, 282. grandpa conversations, 283. puppies and kids, together, 284. grandma’s cookin’, 285. visiting with friends


Oregon Vacation // Part I

As promised, more from our trip away. We started off by hitting up my family reunion for my dad’s side of the family in a park just south of Portland. Reunion time is always brief but special. It goes from noon to five on a Saturday in August and everyone brings something to contribute to the meal that is served. There was a stretch of years we weren’t able to make it due to living too far away or having babies, but we have been the past two years, and I really love the time.

Next we bombed over to the coast and did some exploring on beaches along the way. After a day full of beach fun, we stopped in at a pub for some good eats and the littlest miss decided to take a nap sitting on daddy’s hip while we sat at the table and ate. Cutest thing ever.

The following are some bonus family pictures for the week, but since they were all taken within 24 hours of the last one I posted, lets just call them unofficial ones.

Our last beach stop was at Smelt Sands, a beach that holds a lot of memories from my childhood. It is not a conventional beach…There is not much sand, but instead these little pebbles all over the beach. When I was a kid, my family stopped in a number of times and sat for hours searching for pretty pebbles and shells. We also played around in the little stream that flows into the sea. Such fun to make new memories with my own kids at some old stomping grounds.

When asked about which beach they liked the best, all of them agreed this one was the most fun. We will be back again for sure.

subscribe to this blog by email or leave a prayer request for me

“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:22

266. pebbles and their stories, 267. sleeping chubby baby squish, 268. fog, 269. back-seat pretend play, 270. glitter on the water, 271. a good book, 272. trees that grow sideways from constant wind, 273. the gift of being together, 274. climbing crazies, 275. patient passengers


Home & Happy

We’re home from a week-long journey through Oregon. Tired. Happy. Ready to face fall time and all the busy that comes with it. I took a million pictures with my camera and about five million with my heart. ‘Twas a rich and blessed time. More on that this week, for sure, but for now, a little catch-up on our weekly photo. Had I been here to blog it, this one would have gone up last week. My favorite details you may not be able to see at this size: hat over the baby’s face (she hated the wind), missy pants wearing a 4T shirt under a 6m jacket (her little sister’s jacket), and everyone in their own bright fun colors.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 33/52

subscribe to this blog by email or leave a prayer request for me

251. time together, away, 252. spontaneous route changes, 253. beginning a fridge magnet collection, 254. driving on the beach, 255. memory lane, 256. safe travels, 257. hey, hey song, 258. new favorite cheese, 259. cousin time, 260. trip prep successes, 261. family reunion, 262. guessing game, 263. driving conversations, 264. winding roads, 265. delicious meal on the coast



One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 32/52

Had a family outing to an Aquasox game last weekend. They gave away some baseball gear at the gate, so there is a pile of children who now think baseball is the coolest thing ever, not because of the game itself, but because of the goodies that are associated with it. Pay no attention to the creeper who is staring at you through the holes in his baseball mitt. Really, he’s the sweetest creeper you’ll ever come across in your life.

I’ve had lots on my mind (as per usual) that I hope to share soon. Until then, hugs (and silly faces) from our crew to yours.

subscribe to this blog by email or leave a prayer request for me

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7-8

241. baseball fun, 242. summer days, 243. unexpected deals on needed items, 244. astronomy blows my mind, 245. ice water,  246. intricate details that God cares for, 247. room to grow and the courage to do it, 248. cousin conversations, 249. nerdy things that make me happy, 250. learning what it means to rejoice with the truth

Family / Life & Faith / Motherhood


It is the quiet of the night again. I savor the time. No one is touching me. No one is shrieking in my ears (with delight or distress). Save some dishes on the table from dinner, the house is right-side-up for a few serene hours. The quiet night allows me to let the day’s wind blow through my heart for a second time so that I might see with the soul’s eyes. I am grateful for many things, the most of which is the sweet truth that mercies come new with every morning. A fresh start each morning is a gift of grace for those in the trenches of the little years.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 31/52

I talked with my sweet grandma on the phone this evening and she said to me, “Dear, you just do so well with those kids. You seem to handle it a lot  better than I did when I was your age. I always felt like I was just surviving the days.”

Yes. I’m surviving them too. There is nothing easy about this motherhood gig. I fail at stuff all the time, bumble through rough patches, and feel the pang of my many inadequacies as a mother. I can start out my day, purposed to be cheerful, consistent, diligent….and then find myself squawking like a sick seagull at everyone by the end of breakfast. You don’t see photos of that because there’s nothing lovely about it.

So how about some lego pictures?

A few days ago, I happened upon a blog that other moms of littles might find helpful. I usually skip over parenting tips and take the ones I do read with a grain of salt because there is a lot of fluff out there, but this mother really inspired me. She has 9 kids and oodles of wisdom. One of my favorite entries was a practical list of ways to “reset” with kids when the hard days come ’round. Worthy of a read! I haven’t specifically tried all of her ideas, but I do have a small set of my own that have been working well lately.

This last photo puts a smile in my heart. Big brother’s satisfaction with a pile of sisters on top. And that dimple gets me every time.


“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16

“Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who home for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and shield.” Psalm 33:18-22


subscribe to this blog by email or leave a prayer request for me

226. restoration, 227.promises fulfilled, 228. rhythms of home, 229. paper plate crafts, 230. sleeping baby, 231. the owed of simple stories, 232. the rewards of doing, not just thinking, 233. clean sheets, 234. air in, worries out, 235. uninterrupted sleep, 236. friends over, 237. fun new games, 238. meeting fitness goals, 239. dad conversations, 240. vacation plans