Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Date archives June 2015



One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 25/52

“Water always fills first the lowest places. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and the fuller will be the inflow of the divine glory.” ~ From Andrew Murray’s book, Humility.

I’ve been reflecting on humility (what it really is and how I find it in my own life), thanks to the book quoted above. If you’re looking for something to shake up your world a little, it is a good and heart-challenging read. My thoughts about it are not quite together yet, but it is the topic of the hour in my world. I long to have a truly humble heart.

“Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13b-22.


Update on goals for week 25:

1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 25 ~ 7 Run/Walk miles traveled, 268mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 25 ~ 0 words completed, 75,100 words in 2015


831. movement, 832. we are weak, but He is strong (baby arms), 833. party plans all made for 9 year old, 834. full gas tank, 835. recounting childhood memories for my kids, 836. surprise call/catch-up with a friend, 837. hosting a new group, 838. delicious browned butter rice krispy treats, 839. child’s healed eye, 840. park days with kites and friends, 841. finishing a hearty, challenging book, 842. a friend’s generous organizing help, 843. grace for me, 844. bedtime conversations with kids, 845. dwarf planet questions



One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 24/52

A morning of berry-picking delight. Some people are pretty serious about their strawberry-eating.


“‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”‘” Zechariah 4:6-7 NIV

“‘It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. ‘Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: May God bless it! May God bless it!'” Zechariah 4:6-7 NLT


Update on goals for week 24:

1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 24 ~ 10.5 Run/Walk miles traveled, 261mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 24 ~ 500 words completed, 75,100 words in 2015


821. strawberry excitement, 822. safe travels, 823. father’s day phone conversation with my pops during the golden hour, 824. new co-op members/friends, 825. nighttime baby songs and squeezes, 826. the quiet night, 827. ruminations, 828. car conversations amidst chaos, 829. nonni’s porch swing, 830. slip and slide for hours

Family / Life & Faith

The Real Down Deep

One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 23/52

The yoga instructor happened to be standing at the door having a conversation with someone else. I’ve been going to the YMCA for over a year and a half but have avoided the yoga room like the plague. In fact, I’ve avoided all group classes like the plague, for no real reason. I didn’t quite know how to leap over the ‘new person’ hurdle and join in on a class without feeling totally lost, which for some reason, was a bigger-than-normal hurdle for me.

I heard the instructor explaining something to another member, and they parted ways right as I was walking by, so I spontaneously asked her straight up how to go about participating in a class without being a disruption. I also asked which of the classes offered would be a good starting point for someone entirely unfamiliar with yoga. Her smile was warm and we looked at the posted schedule together, and I decided that I would leap over that hurdle at the next available opportunity.

That opportunity presented itself the next morning, and I went in with purpose, and a slightly elevated heart rate (from nerves), and did my best to follow along. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was going to be very hard for me. Matching movement and extension to the best of my ability, I could feel my not-very-old bones creaking and my legs not cooperating. As the session progressed, I reached a point where I could physically not do the pose, or anything close to the pose, even with the modifiers (strap and blocks) available.

All at once, I started to cry, silently, but very tearfully, and I kept on crying for quite a long time. I’ve always been a deep-feeler, but in those moments, I recognized that with all the ground I’ve gained in the health, well-being, inner-healing and strength of my body in recent years, I still hold my hurts and traumas deep in every muscle. While I wanted to open and surrender as instructed, I still brace and hold tight…to the point that I cannot physically accomplish what I mentally purpose to do without God’s gentle work to transform, heal, and redeem those hurts.

I wonder if you have spots like that in your own life, where you wish for freedom or courage or flexibility or openness, but your muscle memory and outright limitations keep you from taking hold of it. I pray for those wounds and for God’s work in them, through them.

I can’t say that I’ll return to yoga again soon. Not that it was a bad experience, but it did make me aware that I have some prayerful work to tend to before I take another class.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:17


Update on goals for week 23:

1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 23 ~ 15.5 Run/Walk miles traveled, 250.5mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 23 ~ 1,800 words completed, 74,600 words in 2015


801. the weight of souls, 802. the honor of listening to a friend’s troubles, 803. a green lake day, 804. nice sunscreen, 805. playful sparrows, 806. a child’s epiphany, 807. little girl dress alterations, 808. girls crafty night, 809. an easy 15 miles, 810. geology fair projects (and glitter paints), 811. tender mercies at the end of a season with my youngest, 812. vision, 813. finding a new summer rhythm, 814. a little less gluten, 815. the hope that Jesus is and continues to be, 816. the front end of forgiveness and preparing the heart to let go, 817. lanterns that light the way, 818. recent neighbor exchanges, 819. yoga discoveries and body work journey, 820. membership

Family / Life & Faith

Driving Conversations

One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 22/52

One of my children asks me out of the blue if I already know everything there is to know about Seattle.

I am driving and trying to keep my attention on the road, and having mostly tuned out the kid-commotion, I hmm for a moment, trying to process the words slower in my mind so they make some sense. He asks again, probably because he knows very well that while mom is driving, he will have to ask his question more than once if he wants an answer. I hear the words the first time, but I don’t understand them until the repeat.

Here I am, navigating to a destination, checking mirrors and engaging blinker, pressing the gas pedal and attempting to filter out music, chatter, and my own tangled mess of thoughts so that I can wrap my mind around his words.

I can’t say I’ve thought about ‘knowing everything about Seattle’ before, but I am well-acquainted with the mysteries of God, and the ways that His words find their way to my mouth at opportune moments. I surprise myself when I blurt out, “Buddy, there is always more to learn about anything you think you already know about.”

I explain that I do know some things about Seattle, having lived here for a lot of years in two different seasons of my life. I know my way around many of the neighborhoods, landmarks, cafes, and would say I’m pretty hip to the culture here. I know a small amount of Seattle history, and a slightly larger amount of Seattle’s current scene, but really, even something as particular and defined as the city I live in is not easy to pin down. Even in my ignorance, I know that there is a rich history of Seattle that I do not know. There are people whom I have never met, whose experiences, concerns, and life’s work are completely unknown to me. There are subcultures, and nuances, and perspectives, and narratives that make this city what it is that I don’t even know that I don’t know about. While I do know some things about Seattle, there is far more that I don’t know.

We had this conversation five or six days ago, and I’m still chewing on the one-liner. I guess re-hashing it really convicts me to cultivate a teachable heart. Instead of acting like I know stuff, I recognize that there is always more to learn.

There is always more to learn.

“Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” Romans 12:16


Update on goals for week 22:

1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 22 ~ 11 Run/Walk miles traveled, 235mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 22 ~ 5,800 words completed, 72,800 words in 2015


781. squirt gun fights, 782. fun summer party/carnival with families from church, 783. “i have a cheetah on my face!” (face paint),  784. that grace is enough for all my failings, 785. sewing/applique time, 786. a nice dinner out with girlfriends, 787. uncomfortable conversations that turn out well (and the comfort that friendships can be built on total honesty), 788. a really sweet soccer goal, 789. the tender-boy’s anytime tears — he got ’em from me, 790. some potty training victories, 791. a daddy-rescues-mama-from-dinner-and-mayhem evening, 792. homeschool mom geek out: planning co-op chemistry for fall, 793. saying no to sugar when I really badly wanted to say yes, never mind the other times I said yes, 794. the freedom to re-start the washing machine (with the same load) 4 times, did it, 795. celebrating the end of someone else’s long season, even as a newcomer, 796. time on the beach with co-op friends, even if it did involve a lot of mud, 797. reminders that I am “a good mama”, and the truth of little ones, 798. meeting new friends, 799. the space and time to win the hearts of my children, 800. ice, always ready in the freezer