Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Date archives September 2015

Family / Motherhood

It’s a…..

Perfectly formed, magnificently created, dearly loved boy that will be joining our family in February 2016. The whole crew is excited, even the reserved one in the photo, who is only reserved because his balloon popped moments before I clicked. In reality, he’s just as psyched as the other brother who had himself a little victory dance around the yard. Girls no longer out-number the boys!

In other news, and not to be overshadowed: someone lost their first tooth last night and is rather excited about it.

One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 38/52

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17


Update on run/walk goal for week 38 (the goal is to complete at least 10 miles per week): 13 Run/Walk miles traveled, 449mi in 2015


1021. news of a boy, 1022. seeing our perfectly formed unborn son, 1023. lost tooth of a bigger boy, 1024. victory dance of that same boy, 1025. little welcome-home party, 1026. hugs and supportive friends, 1027. ‘awesome-boy allen’, 1028. guest speaker at homeschool co-op (daddy), 1029. clear friday night, 1030. kid-made lunch on a low day

Family / Motherhood

Beautiful Chaos

One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 37/52

Everything can be pristine one minute, and then they all crash through the door. Coats and shoes flying, bags dropped, (sometimes) clothes dropped also (for the boy-folk), and within only a few minutes home, there are things out in every room, tossed aside in every corner of the house. Favorite current activities include making paper dragons with wire skeletons, recycle-bin creatures, cutting, drawing, taping, and gluing anything that seems like it might go well on a hodgepodge creation…so naturally there are remnants of all the projects also left about, even if they promised to clean it all up. There are water-bottles and snack bowls and library books and school books and legos and horses and yarn bits and randomly discarded colored pencils.

To add to the mayhem, a certain little miss has become very skilled at finding something (anything) that might be neatly put-away and tearing it apart to mine for treasures untold. So far we’ve hit under the bathroom sink, mama’s carry-bag, any of several “catch all the little annoying things mama has picked up from around the house” ziplock bags, bookshelves, bins, kitchen drawers, cans in the pantry, cereal boxes left out on the table, and at least half of all neatly-folded laundry piles. She’s the sweetest mischief-maker, but she does make me have to hustle to stay ahead. Who am I kidding? I’m rarely ahead, but I am working overtime to help the other kids recognize when something needs to be put away “before the little one gets into it”. If its not a bin to mine, its a package of wipes to extract one-by-one, or another child’s paper creation to tear apart into little pieces.

We have had to eliminate markers and glue sticks from the house for the time being, as those are the favorite finds, and both go straight in her mouth, caps off. I haven’t brought myself to taste one, but she really thinks those crayola markers are something delicious. Just when I think there are no more markers anywhere, she comes around the corner with one hanging out of her mouth, while clutching the cap in the other hand. Sigh.

There is a lot of dancing and shouting and laughing and a fair amount of whining until I start doling out chores for the whiners. Then whining subsides for a bit, both because they’re busy doing something, and they’ve also recognized for a short time that there isn’t all that much to whine about if its choosing between a frowny attitude and a chore-free morning. There are so. Many. Dishes. If we don’t get the dishwasher started at least twice a day, you can bet I will be up to my eyeballs in dishes when I venture in the kitchen.

Also, we are literally at the max capacity of our fridge. It’s not a full-size…maybe like a 3/4 size, and we’ve already transitioned to shopping at Costco and other places once a week in smaller quantities to make sure everything we bring home can fit in it. Inevitably, by the next shopping day, the space that was full to the brim is nearly empty, and the cycle starts over.

It’s busy, full, chaotic, and really, really beautiful. They have so much love for each other, and we laugh so much about so many weird things. They have all been very interested in the new baby on the way and what we will name him/her. Each one has suggested names for our consideration including: Marshawn (or Lynch if Marshawn doesn’t make the cut), Susie Sunshine, John (for a girl), and Judah #2, among others.

I am spent and full at the same time, grateful for each one and the time we have together.


Update on run/walk goal for week 37 (the goal is to complete at least 10 miles per week): 15.5 Run/Walk miles traveled, 436mi in 2015


“Jesus said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to Him, ‘Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.” Mark 10:51

1011. kid name suggestions, 1012. our team, 1013. blossoming readers, 1014. random comments about atoms, 1015. quiet affirmations from my kids, 1016. superseded a personal business goal, 1017. graces, 1018. cbs study, 1019. cuddle times, 1020. anticipation

Family / Life & Faith


One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 36/52

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

There are many things to chase.

Gratification, success, money, achievement.

Wholeness, gratitude, humility, wisdom.

Perfection, popularity, affirmation, praise.

Wonder, endurance, connection, freedom.

Pride, thrill, busy, more.

Truth, compassion, simplicity, faithfulness.

Let me not forget soccer balls and super-hero status.

Today, I wonder, what are you chasing?


Update on run/walk goal for week 36 (the goal is to complete at least 10 miles per week): 13.5 Run/Walk miles traveled, 420.5mi in 2015


1001. the start of school, 1002. fall routines, 1003. “would it be weird if…”, 1004. not perfect, but awesome, 1005. growing through hard things, 1006. a happy heartbeat, 1007. the whole truth and hope of the Gospel, 1008. the smooth parts of a day, 1009. new-to-us waffle iron, 1010. letting go of the writing goal for now

Family / Life & Faith



One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 35/52

Blessed are the hard-boiled, for they never let life hurt them.

No, that’s not quite right. It definitely does not say that. And yet, this is how many of us live; like strength means holding it all in, keeping it all together in a tidy package, and shouldering our heaviest burdens alone to ‘protect’ those around us from the inconvenience of sharing them with us.

There have been two times in the past week that friends have cried in front of me (for valid and deeply personal reasons), and gone on to apologize for their tears, wiping them away as quickly as possible, and generally trying to zoom on past that uncomfortable zone. I do understand…tears are a very vulnerable thing. I know because I have cried buckets and buckets of them myself. They say for us so many things we don’t want to say out loud. I’m hurting. I’m scared. I’m not sure where to turn. My walls are crumbling. Things that betray the carefully-sculpted social-persona we put out there, wanting to be seen as strong, confident, put-together, etc.

But tears are not a sign of weakness. Tears are like an emergency flare, a tangible way to recognize when we’re in deep and we need someone to walk beside us. Tears let others see that we might need an encouraging word. Hugs. Or help. Tears help clue us in to the urgent sense that maybe we can’t actually do this alone, and we aren’t supposed to. We need to surrender our burdens to God and invite trusted friends in to walk with us through the dark hours.

If you cry, I do not think you are weak. I think first, how brave you are to be transparent (even if you didn’t want to cry in the first place), and I also leap within myself, wanting to draw near and make space to pray, encourage, uplift, and labor together with you through your trials. It is a familiar place for me, because once, not that long ago, I myself was in the mud of life. There were a handful of women who came near in my brokenness and did these very things for me. They prayed prayers I didn’t know how to pray at the time. They encouraged me in big and small ways to see my own value in God’s eyes and surrender my burdens to His care. They whispered words of hope when I was struggling to have any at all, and they labored with me through long nights and long years of mourning.

This is why I care about tears so much.

In my years of struggle, I had visions of bright, beautiful gardens of flowers that captivated me. God whispered to my heart that my many tears were not for nothing, that the tears I cried were the very things that watered the gardens that would come in my life. It was difficult to believe that at the time, but the flowers have now come. The journey was hard, but important for the work God was doing in me, I would have to say, the peace and joy I have found are in every way worth the struggles I faced for years. I don’t wish the struggle for you, but I do wish the gardens, and in my experience, one does not come without the other.

So, my friends, when you share and cry, don’t apologize. Your tears endear me to you, connect me to you. I resonate and I want to respond. I know the broken place well, and I’m ready to travel with you through it. I’m ready to pray for you and encourage you. I am ready to labor with you for your own gardens to come. I do not see weakness, but beauty, and I believe that God will complete the good work He has already begun in you.

From Matthew 5, Amplified Bible

“Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him.

Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!

Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!

Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!

Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!

8 Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous—possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!

Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!

10 Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!”


Update on goals for week 35:

1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 35 ~ 14 Run/Walk miles traveled, 407mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 35 ~ 500 words completed, 98,600 words in 2015


991. fall colors and bright eyes, 992. time with new and old friends, 993. progress on the sewing project, 994. new photo website up & going, 995. news of a newborn baby, 996. flutters and flips, 997. bear hugs, 998. fluid communication, 999. last sunday at interbay, 1000. a thousand little things to be thankful for every single day



One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 34/52

I have a lot of things cooking. Literally and figuratively. A baby. A crock pot. Some new adventures. An “I’m-in-way-over-my-head-but-I-love-it” sewing project for our kids’ ministry at church. Plans and routines for a whole new homeschool year. So many things cooking, that I barely know what to say on this blog right now.

We’re having meatball subs for dinner. The troops should be quite happy with that. I’ve been feeling the baby move for the past few weeks (now 15 weeks along), and its always a joy to experience those first flutters and kicks. Hello baby, I feel you.

I have been going strong with my fitness goal, and have been failing miserably at the writing one. Oh well. One can only have so much outgoing creative energy at a given time. I have grace for myself.

Last week we had a tough bout of tummy bugs all around. There is nothing more comical/tragical (yes, I wrote tragical) than a house full of kids falling ill within 24 hours of each other. It was a wild ride of throwing up, laundry cycles, towels and sheets thrown everywhere, another person throwing up, oh and wait, another one in the other room. There were only a few truly terrible messes, but wow. If you ever plan to have a big family, just be prepared that one day, there will be a time that everything will be hilariously out of your control, and all you can do is laugh your way through it, yellow gloves, baking soda, Resolve and all. Fortunately, we are back to 100%, and so very glad to have that behind us.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you’re having a lovely Tuesday.


Update on goals for week 34:

1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 34 ~ 14 Run/Walk miles traveled, 393mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 34 ~ 0 words completed, 98,100 words in 2015


971. sweet/sleepy just-woke-up-from-my-nap face, 972. excited football-watchers, 973. God’s graces and helps through a difficult week of illness all through the house, 974. now-settled tummies, 975. littlest songbird singing along to our bedtime songs, 976. finding peace on a heavy-hearted day, 977. teamwork in the kitchen & hubby’s awesome biscuits and gravy, 978. bedtime cuddles with each kid, 979. a no-writing, but creative in lots of other ways week, 980. planning the groove i’m hoping to find this coming week for all of fall, 981. evening walk with a friend, 982. a delicious-sounding september meal plan, 983. leaping into a task i’d been dragging my feet on (and getting somewhere with it), 984. the start of re-reading daring greatly in preparation for fall book club, 985. life in color, 986. the beginning and end of things, 987. pink slippers, 988. electricity when so many others have been without it this weekend, 989. comforts in sad moments, 990. mints