Category Archives: Family

The Month That Was October

October has always been “my” month. It’s my birthday month and my favorite time of the year because of the gorgeous weather, autumn leaves, and excitement about the upcoming holiday season.

Thus, I always get a little selfish during October. I only do the things I really want to do. This year, that did not involve writing. At all. Not a single blog post or article or devotional. Looking back, I think I needed a break from the pressure I often put on myself. I love to write–until it becomes something on my task list instead of something that flows natural from experiencing life.

So, what did I do during October?

* Turned 34 years old; how is that possible? Most days, I feel younger/better now that I did when I was 25.

* Finished my consulting project and gained some much needed downtime.

* Went on a relaxing vacation with my family to Gulf Shores; it was my niece’s first trip to the beach!
Vacation 028Vacation 015Vacation 337

* Chaired an event for Preston Taylor Ministries that turned out beautifully (if I do say so myself!); it was the annual fall dinner banquet to honor PTM volunteers and celebrate joy-filled friendships.

Joy tableStageDessert

* Spent time repenting and extracting myself from some commitments that I placed on myself but that God wasn’t calling me to do/continue. There are so many good things that I can do, but I find myself filling up my schedule with these things and ignoring God nudging me in another direction.

* Starting jogging/running. I will pause here to let that sink in (for those of you who know me and wonder who just hijacked this blog post). I have always wanted to run, but never really believed I could do it. I would start a program and give up every time it became difficult (which was always in the first half mile). But someone special in my life convinced me that I could do it. And for some reason, his unwavering belief in me carried me through the tough start. I am now up to 4 miles (and loving it) and I plan to run the Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving morning!

Now you are caught up on me, for the most part. How was your October?

Hoping that November brings with it a renewed zeal for writing in my life and lots of time to reflect on our sovereign God.

allisonsign

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Filed under Family, My Crazy Life, Photos, Travel

Friday Flair 06.19.09

friday flair 

Father’s Day Edition

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, this week’s Friday Flair is all about fathers!

President Obama wrote this sweet Father’s Day article for Parade magazine.

This post by Pete Wilson was posted a few weeks ago; however, I think it’s a great Father’s Day post (and a great lesson on being a leader).

Here is a Father’s Day prayer that I really like:

Let us praise those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. Let us praise those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become a good father.

Let us praise those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support. Let us pray for those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children.

Let us praise those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children’s lives. Let us praise those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing.

Let us praise those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their step children’s love and respect. Let us praise those fathers who have lost a child to death, and continue to hold the child in their heart.

Let us praise those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own.

Let us praise those men who have “fathered” us in their role as mentors and guides.

Let us praise those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children.

And let us praise those fathers who have died, but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us.
By: Kirk Loadman

Finally, I know that our earthly fathers sometimes disappoint us, but we have a heavenly Father who is always good, always perfect, always sovereign–one
whose love is unconditional and limitless: Deuteronomy 32:4

Happy Father’s Day!
allisonsign

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Filed under Family, Friday Flair, Fun Friday

A Letter To My Niece


Dear sweet M,

On Monday, you came into this world and made it a more beautiful place. I know that it was probably a rough day for you, but it was a wonderful day for our family. You see, your mommy is my little sister. Although I was only 2 years old, I remember when she first came home from the hospital. Unlike you, she was born too early and had to stay in the hospital for a long time. I didn’t really understand a lot at the time, but I knew that everyone was really worried about her. When she finally got to come home, I got to hold her and play with her. Then, she grew up and became my best friend.

Your mommy and daddy are the most amazing people – they love each other and love the Lord so much. They are one of those couples that people want to be around because they are so happy and laugh so much. You are such a lucky girl because they have been praying for you since you were first conceived. I have been praying for you, too. And when I finally got to meet you this week, I was full of indescribable joy. The first time I saw you, you were lying in your mother’s arms. You were so tiny and so beautiful. I got to hold you for the first time, and I instantly fell in love with you. I could tell that your mommy and daddy were so full of love for you. Your grandparents were there, too. For a moment, time stood still while we passed you around and felt our hearts grow bigger to make room for such a special girl.

In the book of Psalm, the Bible says: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14”. I have been thinking about these verses all week – while I was driving to the hospital before you were born, after you were born when I looked into your eyes, and now that I’m back home missing you. I have been praising God all week because He is our Creator. I want you to know that you were specifically designed by God and that He made you in your mother’s womb. His works are wonderful. You are wonderful. I pray that all of us who are blessed to be a part of your life will demonstrate the love of Jesus in such a way that you will grow up always knowing how much He loves you.

I know that we’re going to have so much fun together – I am looking forward to the special days that we will share together as you grow up. Although I don’t live very close to you right now, know that you hold a very special place in my heart. When you get bigger, you can visit me and we’ll have fun sleepovers. I can tell you stories about your mommy and me when we were little girls. I will tell you how we would play with dolls all the time and pretend that they were real babies. We even put real diapers on them! I’ll show you pictures from the day that your mommy and daddy got married – that was a beautiful day as well. At the time, I thought that someone like you might come along one day, but I never imagined how wonderful that day would be.

I pray that you grow up healthy and happy. I pray that you know how much you are loved by your family and most of all, by your Jesus. He will be there to help you even when we cannot. Even when you think that no one understands, He does. I pray that one day you will look back and read these words when you need them. I am praying for you, sweet angel. Don’t grow up too fast! Enjoy every moment – they were all created by Him.

All my love,
Aunt Allie

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

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Filed under Family

Perception vs. Reality

My stomach is full of Thanksgiving food, and my mind is full of thoughts today. I am thinking about how our families shape the way we perceive our world, at least initially. We are raised in an environment that has constants – certain patterns, habits, and ways that we never question because we know no alternative. It is our reality. I have realized that many people never break free from this learned “reality”. Many of us stay within the boundary lines of this family pattern, sometimes for generations, without knowing or realizing that the unsaid rules are being followed in every conversation, interaction, etc. So, what happens when you find yourself in a new place – where you recognize all of these driving forces within the family? You realize that you have a choice whether to continue in the same vein, or break free.

This is the place I found myself today while surrounded by approximately 30 extended family members. Feeling caught between the old constant and the desire to break the “family rules” and be different. It can be a lonely place. It’s easier to just stick with the norm…to join in with the gossip, keep the conversations at a surface level, and pretend that we actually know something about each other, even though we see each other about 4 times per year (at the most). I struggle with wanting things to be different – to really know these people who have surrounded me for my whole life – to find out their hopes, thoughts, struggles, and their relationship with God. However, that is not part of the family dynamic. It makes me sad, and I have regrets. I regret that I’m not bolder in attempting real communication. I regret that it’s easier to just tolerate it for one day versus working to change this dynamic. I regret that these people have no idea who I really am (and vice versa).

“Perception versus reality” makes me think…whose perception and whose reality? For example, my recent decision to leave my job and enter this sabbatical period – my reality is a profound sense of freedom and relief and joy, regardless of the perception of others. However, in the reality I once learned from my family, this decision would be totally unacceptable. What I realized today is that I have begun to establish my own version of reality. I am breaking free of some of the family patterns that I want to change – even though it’s a slow process and I will certainly stumble along the way.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for so much. I am grateful for the things I have learned this past year and the ways I have grown. I am thankful that I still have so much to learn. I am thankful for second chances and that our Lord doesn’t hold our mistakes against us. I’m astounded that He uses our poor choices to teach us something new that we may not have otherwise learned. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about His unconditional love for us.

Hoping your day has been filled with joy, love, and thankfulness. And very few regrets.

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Sabbatical