Monday, December 30, 2013

Two stories

So 2013 has been a rough year for our family for sure.  We've had moments of sweetness, but most of 2013 has been spent searching for God's will and trying to make sure we're staying on that straight and narrow path.  And, anytime you're at a fork in a road, there are bound to be tears.  We've definitely had those...lots.of.tears.  Thankfully, it's December 30th and God's will seems to be unfolding before our eyes as we sit STILL!  A big part of 2013 has been the awakened desire in our hearts to teach our sweet sweet boy that this world does not revolve around him.  Part of his belief that it does is our fault.  We indulge...perhaps a bit more this year than others, given what we've gone through.  However, recently we've been given the opportunity to put our teaching into action!

The first opportunity came when the Philippines was struck by Typhoon Haiyan.  You see, my Mom has a beautiful young woman, Imma, working for her.  Imma is from the Philippines and celebrated her year in the United States in November.  We've had such a wonderful time getting to know her and learning about her culture!  For example, we asked her about earthquakes and she said they're not scared of them because there are no "buildings" where she lives, only huts.  She joked that they actually like earthquakes because it makes all of the coconuts and bananas fall and they don't have to climb trees to get them!  But, when the typhoon struck, our thoughts immediately turned to her!  We asked how her family was and she told us that they lost everything.  So, we set out to collect donations for her family!  This is where Malachi comes was a Saturday afternoon and he had just woken up from nap.  He asked if he could have ice cream and my answer was no, not until after dinner.  He wasn't was then that I began to explain to him that there are people in the world that don't have homes and that it is completely unacceptable to throw a fit because he couldn't have ice cream!  Talking didn't seem to be doing the trick so I got him up on our bed and pulled up a map of the world on our computer.  I showed him where the Philippines is...and where we are.  Then, I explained to him what happened to Miss Imma's family; and that her family didn't even have a home anymore!  Thomas and I had agreed on an amount of money we were going to donate and I told Malachi I thought it would be good if he donated some money too.  Again, he wasn't really thrilled about giving his money away.  So, I told him to go to his room and pray and ask Jesus how much money he should give.  He came back about 30 seconds later and said "four."  (It was said with a somewhat poor attitude)  I was shocked (that's a lot of money to a 5 year old).  So I praised him and told him I thought that was great.  Then, after a few more minutes he began crying again and said "I don't know if I have four."  So, we went to his piggy banks (Spend/Save/Give) and I pulled out 4 dollars.  It was then he said that maybe Jesus just wanted him to give 4 quarters.  After a few more minutes of whining/crying, I sat him down and read out of Luke 21, about the widow giving all she had.  I explained that the rich men were giving much more than the widow gave and then asked him who God was more please with.  He immediately said the widow.  It was starting to sink in..but not quite.  So, I had him pray in his room again and told him I would come to him after I felt like he had enough time to think and pray.  I placed 4 quarters on one side and 4 dollar bills on the other and then I shut his door. He prayed he sweetest prayer for Miss Imma and then he asked, ever so simply, "Jesus, how much money should I give Miss Imma?"  After a few moments of quiet, I walked back in and sat beside him and asked him how much Jesus wanted him to give Miss Imma's family.  He confidently handed me the four $1 bills.  I told him that Jesus would bless him richly because of his willingness to trust and obey!  The next day he found a quarter on the ground and I told him God was blessing him...he felt awesome!  Miss Imma's family was given over $2,000 in cash which bought them two houses and will feed them for an entire year.  14 people fed for $2,000 PLUS two new homes IN TOWN!  God is so good...and we, as Americans, have NO idea how good He really is to us!

The second story happened just Saturday.  As we do most every month, we went to Sam's Club with my parents to help them buy daycare groceries!  Malachi "helps" load groceries after we buy them all and often my parents will pay him a dollar or so!  This month, Malachi asked me if he would get paid and I explained that sometimes we just help because it's the right thing to do!  I told my parents that under no circumstances was he to be paid if he asked for it...that he needed to learn to help out just out of "right" sometimes!  He didn't ask about it again, and my mom gave him $1 and praised him for not asking and for being willing just to do it!  On the way home I told him that we would get his tithe ready when we got home and then asked if he would like to give to missionaries.    I tried explaining that there are kids all over the world that don't have churches and asked him to explain what would happen if no one was there to tell him about Jesus.  He gave the right answer, but definitely not with the right spirit.  So, I changed his $1 bill for 3 quarters, 2 dimes and a nickel.  We set one dime off to the side for tithe and I showed him how much he had left.  I suggested that he give maybe a nickel to our missionaries...still not a good reaction.  So, I sent him to pray again.  He came back nearly immediately, handed me a nickel and a dime and said "Both."  But still with a terrible attitude.  His first question was, "When will God give me my money back like He did with Miss Imma's money?"  I told him that blessings don't always come in the form of money...that wasn't hacking it with him! So, I sat him down and read Malachi of my favorite verses in the Bible!  (Helps that it's in a wonderful book!)  I explained to him what the Bible says about proving God and His ability to bless...and explained that there are MANY types of blessings God gives...not all are monetary.  I asked him to name 3 blessings he has that AREN'T money.  1)  Mommy and Daddy  2)  Lolli, Pop and Uncle Logan  3)  Toys  I then named him several blessings that Mommy and Daddy have.  I then encouraged him to go pray again.  I placed the nickel in one hand and the dime in the other.  Again, I left...but when I came back I was quite shocked.  He still said he wanted to give both the nickel and the dime!  This time, though, it was with a much quieter and meeker spirit!  So, we gave him an offering envelope and he filled it out on his own!  Then, he turned it in yesterday morning to his Sunday School teacher with an explanation as to what the Bible promises when we prove God! 

I don't tell these stories to brag on my kid or on my amazing parenting abilities.  This my blog to record our life and I feel like these are two life-changing times in Malachi's little life!  I want to remember them and I want to be able to remind him when he's older!!  I pray that these are the building blocks on which he begins to base his love for others...and I pray I can remember these simple lessons a little more often too!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Sometimes I think my life really is a fairytale.  I mean, c'mon...I'm married to the man that I used to dream about in junior high.  I remember watching him across the lunch room with his friends.  I remember putting sweet little hearts around his face in my 7th grade yearbook.  I remember watching him sing in Mrs. Weber's choir room and thinking he was so handsome in his cheap, purple cumberbund and bowtie!  I remember that moment in high school when he walked into my Spanish 1 class...with Senorita Baker (now Senora Campbell.)  And...that first week, I remember him picking out the name Fernando for that class!  We will forever be Fernando y Alicia to Senoras Campbell and Evans.  I remember flirting and passing notes and my heart fluttering with one look from him.  I remember talking to him at Fair on the Square and begging my parents for $1.00 so I could buy a glow necklace for some charity he was selling them for!  I remember that JV football game where he actually sat in front of me and a certain someone (who shall remain nameless) kept distracting us from one another.  If I remember right, that was a powderpuff game...and I held his blanket while all the Varsity players were called out onto the field!   (My heart just skipped a beat again...I was NOT the type of girl that the typical jocks went for!)  I remember that first phone call that lasted 6 hours and how we could've talked for 60 more if only his portable phone batteries had held out!  I remember telling him straight out that my parents' rule was that he had to go to a Baptist church if he wanted to date me...and him saying ok!  I remember meeting at the park that next day...I remember what we were both wearing.  I remember how it felt just to finally be his girlfriend.  I remember walking into school as Thomas Allen's girlfriend for the first time...I don't know if anyone cared...but I couldn't have felt more special!  I remember that less than 2 weeks after we finally started "going out" he told me he loved me...and I loved him too.  I remember that sweet and beautiful construction paper rose he made me for our one month anniversary and I remember carrying it with me so I could smell his cologne that he had sprayed on it!  I remember the shared candy bars in Mrs. Gwinn's Physics class and the projects we always had to do together!  I remember that we never got less than a 100!!  Even then we made a great team!  I remember sitting in Coach Doak's health class (because we had different lunches) and him telling me just to go ahead and go spend lunch with him!  It didn't happen terribly often, but the whole class knew that when that bell rang in the middle of class...nothing else mattered to me except to see him walk by and smile and blow me a kiss!  I remember the horrible feeling it was to say goodbye while he went to Seattle with the choir and I didn't get to go...and I remember my best friend holding me in the rain that night as the bus drove away and I sobbed!  (Thanks Chrissy...I won't ever forget that!)  I remember writing him a letter for each day he was to be gone and then decorating a box for him to take with him!  I remember the sweet notebook he came back with filled with letters he'd written while he was away...I remember getting the last letter from him in that notebook right before we were to be married!  I remember the apple scented lotion he brought back from that trip for me!  I remember Grease, the musical...and listening to the Wichita Falls football game the afternoon of our Saturday performance because I couldn't go.  I remember that he was the leading receiver that game and we yarned his Explorer with purple yarn and made purple eagles to put all over it!  I remember being so proud!  I remember the fear I had when I graduated and we weren't going to be in school together anymore.  I remember traveling to Lubbock with the Marriott family to watch a playoff game and seeing my sweet friend (and future roommate), Honnah, there and hunkering down to watch Canyon in the snow!  I remember that promise ring...and how I used to gaze at it sitting at WT wondering what class he was in!  I remember finding out he was going to Abilene for college and the agony our hearts felt.  I remember the weekend of my 18th birthday driving to Abilene with my wonderful Mom and Honnah to go surprise him...and then going to the movie theatre and walking into every single theatre yelling his name...except for the one theatre he was actually in.  Planet of the Apes...really?  I remember seeing that room light come on finally and calling him, telling him to look out his window!!  And then...I remember our engagement...and how wonderful it felt to finally call him my fiance!  I remember those too short weekends together before he would turn around and make the 4 hour drive back.  I remember that Christmas when he finally came home to me for good...and we vowed never to be apart like that again!  I remember skipping Political Science just to spend a bit more time together.  I remember that trip to Lubbock where we decided to go to Tech and we were so excited to start off on our new adventure together!  I remember falling into his arms when my parents pulled away that Saturday and I was living away from my parents...for the first time...and was terrified!  I remember Tech football games, tearing down goalposts when we beat UT and preparing for my Spanish play in College.  I remember preparing for our wedding for months and months and months and just knowing everything was going to be perfect...and it was!  I remember that moment in our wedding when I had to give him my grandmother's handkerchief because he was crying just as hard as I was!  And then...we were finally married.  All those years later...our countdown was finally over.  I was finally Mrs. Thomas Allen! 

Honey - I wouldn't trade these last 14 years for ANYTHING.  We grew up together...we've seen each other at our best and at our worst.  We've seen indescribable happiness with the birth of our son and indescribable pain.  I've seen you get saved and grow and mature in the Lord and now I get to watch you teach our son how to be a godly man.  I get to watch you teach other young people what it means to follow God's will, wholly and completely and without questioning!  You've opened your heart to possibilities beyond our wildest imagination and you've held me when those hopes have come crashing down.  You are strong for me because you are strong in the Lord...and you've given me more happiness and love than one woman ever deserves!  I am so in love with you...I would say just as much as that day, October 10, 1998...but it's so much more than that now!  My heart hurts sometimes and I get short of breath when I think how blessed I am to have you and your love!  My heart still flutters when you grab my hand and instantly I am taken back to high school, walking through the halls with you, my varsity football player boyfriend.  I am so thankful that the Lord has seen fit to give us a consistent love for one another and that our fairytale, high school sweetheart relationship has been true and real.  I know it doesn't usually work out this way...and I know we had lots of people telling us it wouldn't!  But, it has - and I could not be more thankful for that!  You are my husband, my soul mate, my leader, my best friend and my confidante! 

Thank you for loving me and for being my KISA!!  Happy 9 year wedding birthday!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

And now...the Rest of the Story!

So after a delicious dinner at the Cheesecake Factory on Wednesday night...the girls decided to leave a little earlier than the guys and get both Karter and Malachi home!  Both had passed SMOOTH out sitting at the table!  After was 10:00pm California time, Midnight Texas time and neither had gotten any rest since leaving that morning, flying out and going to the beach!  So - Lolli carried Malachi on her back, Elizabeth led the pack and Amanda and I pushed Karter the 1.1 miles back to our hotel and got them into bed!! 

He hasn't fallen asleep on her like this in a LONG time so she savored the moment, I'm sure!
The next morning was Malachi's birthday!  We had brought a couple small presents for him to open so he ripped into this cute Disney Hedbanz game!!  Then, He and Karter got all dressed up in their Disney duds and we headed out for our visit to California Adventure!

 The whole crew (in the only picture I can find with ALL of us in it) at Breakfast!
 The full-sized replica of Radiator Springs was incredible!  I kept saying how fun it must be to work in the props/decorating department for Disney!  Seriously - we felt like we were in the movie!
 Malachi and Karter got to have their picture taken with Lightning McQueen!  Malachi is still young enough that he thought that Lightning had just gotten there (as in, when he's driving to California in the movie with Mac and gets stuck in Radiator Springs!)  Lightning McQueen even noticed that it was his birthday and told him Happy Birthday then revved his engine!  I do not even understand how the animatronics work...but his eyes moved and when he revved his engine, he moved too!  (Malachi about peed his pants when that happened...but it was funny!)
 Malachi driving the bumper cars in the "Bugs Land" section!
 Elizabeth, Lolli and I rode the Tower of Terror...I feel TERRIBLE that I didn't get my Mom when I took this picture of us!  But...she was there I promise!  This was a VERY intense ride but I'm so glad I rode it with those two!
My phone died shortly after this and I had left my camera at the hotel so any other pictures of Disney are stolen from others' facebook pages!  We went straight to the Aladdin show after this and it was HYsterical!!  So good! 
After grabbing a small (but plenty expensive, mind you) bite to eat...we all went on the Monster's Inc ride.  It was SO cute and VERY VERY life-like! 
We then headed over to Paradise Pier and rode the Little Mermaid.  Right as we were getting off the ride, I noticed a little boy crying and screaming at one of the cast members that he had lost his mommy.  The poor cast member (Cassidy C) was great...but, he's not a mom!  I sprinted over as the little boy was trying to run off and got him to stay with us.  He was 6 years old and his name was Clarkie (I think it was actually Clark...but he told us it was Clarkie!)  Thankfully, Clarkie was holding a glow stick ball and I had JUST seen a little girl that looked a LOT like him holding a glow stick flower.  So, we got Clarkie to stay with us (and the cast member) and searched for his parents.  Finally, about 20 minutes later, here comes his Dad strolling out of the Little Mermaid, completely unaware of the fact that his son wasn't with his wife.  We couldn't understand how neither of them noticed...but were sure thankful that sweet Clarkie was safe!

It was a terrifying experience for that sweet boy, but Cassidy C and the Security Officers that came over handled it perfectly!! It was about 4:30, and we knew we only had about 3 hours before we needed to BE in place for World of Color so we tried to figure out a plan of attack for the rest of the park. Some wanted to ride the ferris wheel, some the big roller coaster (can't remember what it's called) and EVERYONE wanted to ride the Toy Story ride! Just as we were walking off Cassidy came over and gave us a "golden ticket" which allowed us to get to the front of any line we walked to. He said that was Disney's way of thanking us for our help! We were super touched and thankful because it allowed us to ride what we wanted to without having to wait the 1.5-2 hours that it would've required otherwise! So - we chose the Toy Story ride and all 10 of us jumped literally 150-200 people who were waiting in line! 


We headed over to the Ferris Wheel and then to dinner before ending up at World of Color!  That was an AWESOME show!  The Bellagio has NOTHING on Disney!  I've never seen anything like it in my life!  The water and fire were amazing and the scenes projected were just amazing!  I will admit that I bawled like a baby when they showed Mrs. Jumbo singing to her baby and then cried even harder when 'Punzel came on.  It was just a wonderful way to end the day and to remember that seeing it all through our baby boy's eyes was the most important thing!  On the way home we stopped and got some ice cream and let the boys sugar up a bit more before they crashed!  After we dropped the stroller off, though, we were looking at Malachi's hair and it was greasy and soapy!  We couldn't figure out for the life of us what he had gotten into and hit us!  Mom and Dad bought Malachi, Karter and Kadi Jo Bubble Guns.  The Bubble guns were in a plastic bag on top of the stroller...the bubble guns leaked when Malachi was sitting in the stroller. Ergo...Malachi had bubbles ALL in his hair!!  It was so funny!!  He needed a bath anyway!
The final day of our vacation was spent at Knott's Berry Farm!  The whole fam got to meet Charlie Brown and our very own Charlie Brown got to meet his namesake...okay, he's not really his namesake!  haha
 Karter, Snoopy and Malachi!
 Malachi and Karter rode a few kiddie rides and loved it!  (Although you can't tell by Karter's expression here!)  ha  I actually took this picture from a roller coaster that Mom, Elizabeth and I rode!  Aunt Amanda, Uncle Tanner and Pops joined us for one of their really big coasters later!! 
 Sweet boys!
 Having a blast!
 Snoopy's racers!
 Whoops - slid ride down that seat!!  Don't worry, he regained his footing quickly after this!! 
 Hot Air Balloons!
Oh, and remember that story about Clarkie?  Well...I have a lot more understanding now than I did when we were helping him!  Mom, Dad, Thomas and I were walking out of the park...Mom and I were in front of the boys and right after we'd gone through the turnstyles, Thomas and Dad noticed that Malachi wasn't with us.  We thought he was with them.  So, for the next 20 seconds (which felt like an eternity) I jumped over the turnstyles and starting running through the park.  Malachi was running and screaming my name.  When he saw me, I cried, he cried and for the next good while we had a talk about what to do if he ever gets lost!  I don't know that it would've EVER taken me/us 20-30 minutes to realize he was gone, but it was definitely a learning opportunity for us all!  We'd been so careful...only to lose him as we were walking OUT of the park! 

After we calmed down, we went to some of the little stores around the park and Malachi got his picture taken with Charlie!
That night we went to the Anaheim Angels game!  We were all so tired that we barely made it through the game!  Aunt Liz and Uncle Tanner were so sweet to Malachi the whole trip!!  They sure love him and the feeling is DEFINITELY mutual!
 And to end our vacation, we saw one of the best fireworks shows I've ever seen!  It was close to us, it was loud and the fireworks were HUGE!  We definitely ended California 2013 with a bang!       (hardy har)
We got up bright and early the next morning and headed back to Flagstaff before leaving again on Sunday morning finally arriving home around 7:30 Sunday night!  We are still recovering but so very thankful for the safe traveling mercies from the Lord, the opportunity to fellowship with one another, the opportunity to spend time with Logan's sweetheart and get to know her better and the opportunity to take a break from our struggles and just laugh!  I'm so thankful for my family (blood and otherwise) and wouldn't trade a single person on this trip for the world!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Refreshed and Relaxed!

This last week has been absolutely wonderful for our little family!  We were able to get away from the stress of the last few days months and just really relax!  Now that we are is the stress.  We are still very much coping with the loss of Marie, but this vacation went a long way in healing us all!!  (Until Rapunzel was featured on World of Color...but I won't ever be able to watch that movie without thinking of our own little blonde princess!)  Malachi has been counting down since 65 days before our vacation!  I couldn't really find a Countdown I I made this one! 

We started our vacation last Monday night by getting our rental car and getting everyone's suitcases loaded up!!  (Everyone includes us, Malachi, Karter my "nephew", Lolli, Pop, "Uncle" Tanner and "Aunt" Liz and Logan's girlfriend, Amanda.  We met Logan there, obviously)We chose to get a rental car because our little car had taken that drive twice and we didn't want to put another 2500 miles on it!  And...can I just say was TOTALLY worth the $255!  We had a beautiful Impala with a HUGE trunk!  Which came in handy so we could load all the luggage and everyone else wouldn't have to fly with it!  (Oh...and if you're wondering why we drove and everyone else's because they drove back in my brother's truck.  If we hadn't taken a car, we wouldn't have had room in my brother's truck!) 
Here's a little stow-away!  He actually spent the night with my parents Monday night because we got up around 1:30 Monday morning to go throw Thomas' paper route and then get the heck out of dodge!  We finished the paper route around 4:00 and were leaving Canyon by about 4:45.  The sun came up just as we were leaving Tucumcari, NM. 

Unfortunately, for my husband, we left on his birthday.  Fortunately for him I hadn't forgotten and got him a series of cards to open on our drive!  And...he got to spend that whole day with his awesome lucky is he? 
 I also let him sleep quite a bit!! 
We pulled into our hotel in Pasadena around 6:00 probably (so about a 14 hour drive) and we went straight to the Santa Monica Pier!  Thomas had been talking about wanting to do one of these genie things like on the movie "Big" so he was thrilled to see one when we got there!!  He told me if I woke up with a kid next to me in bed the next morning that I would know what happened!  Thankfully that didn't happen.  Although, if he'd woken up as rich as Tom Hanks...that would've been okay!  ;o)
I think it's safe to say that the sunset over the Santa Monica Pier was much prettier than the sunrise over Tucumcari, NM!  On a side note (and because this is our family's journal), it was FREEZING there.  I had to dig out one of my Mom's sweatshirts and Thomas had to BUY one for $36 because it was SO cold with the wind coming off that ocean! 
Oh...and see the boot?  Yeah, my sweetheart of a husband tore a tendon in the bottom of his foot the Thursday before we left!  Thankfully he did okay with all the walking we had to do and the actual damage wasn't that bad!
Here's the famous ferris wheel!  Unfortunately, at 8:00pm, the entire pier shut down.  Restaurants, stores and attractions ALL closed.  I do NOT understand that - there were TONS of people there.  Seems to me like they are missing out on a TON of income from tourists!  We were pretty disappointed, but we were exhausted too.  
We got one last picture together and then headed back towards our hotel and dinner.  We ended up having dinner at an Outback Steakhouse which happened to be about 4 miles from our hotel, but still on the same road!  We finally crawled into bed around 11:00 that night California time, 1:00am Texas time...meaning, we were up for 23 hours straight!  I didn't do that in college and don't foresee myself doing that again anytime soon!  (Well, maybe when we go to church camp with 50+ teens in a month...)
The next morning we were able to get up and head out and about Hollywood!  We went to the Griffith Observatory to view the Hollywood sign and walk around!  You can't see it well, but the Hollywood sign is actually between us in this first picture!  It was cool to see and we can say we've been there!  Definitely a been there, done that moment!
We left there and went to The Grove, which is a swanky shopping center.  It had Michael Kors, Janie and Jack and Coach stores alongside Anthropologie, Pottery Barn Kids and others!  However...we weren't there for shopping at all!  We just window shopped and people watched!  They were filming "Extra" while we were there and they asked us to be in the audience.  Maria Menounos (I totally had to google who she was) was there and she had some co-host chick.  The other chick walked out in a completely sheer shirt with nothing but a lacy black bra on underneath.  I couldn't see us teaching our young youth girls to be chaste and modest, but standing there endorsing this show with women that clearly were not modest!  It would've been cool to be on TV, but not as cool as actually living what we try to teach our young girls!  If A.C. Slater, A.K.A. Mario Lopez had been there, we MAY have stayed!  (I kid)  (Maybe)
There WAS a Dylan's Candy Bar there and it was SUPER cool!!  Every candy you could possibly imagine!  The architecture and decorating were awesome!  We had just spent about $20 bucks on chocolates at See's Candies so we didn't actually buy anything at Dylan's!  But...again...we can say we've been! 
There was a sweet little dancing fountain and two adorable old ladies saw us trying to take pictures and offered to take a couple for us! 
 LOVE this man of mine!
After a yummy light lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, we headed to Rodeo Drive!  (I also had to google that in my "famous shopping street in Los Angeles" if you can't remember!)  It'll come up! We didn't actually get out...we just drove around in our rented Impala amongst limos, Mercedes, BMWs and Range Rovers.  I totally felt like Ellie May Clampett!
Unbeknownst to us...we were headed straight by this famous sign!  So...I had to get a picture out of the sunroof!
 We also drove by Hollywood High School!  LOVE Judy Garland! 
Next up - we picked everyone up from the airport and headed to the beach! This beach was NOT warm...the water was FREEZING, but we remembered that from last year so we didn't really dive in like we did then! Pictured here are Aunt Liz, Uncle Tanner (Logan's best friend and his wife), Malachi, Karter (my "nephew"), Lolli and Pops!
 Our family's footprints!  (I promise we all have pinky toes...although it doesn't look like it here!)
 Malachi and Karter playing in the water!

And Malachi pottying!  We were WAY too far from a restroom so he just walked right out into the water!  I realize that's gross...I get it.  But things die and decompose in that ocean every day...I'm not thinking a little potty is hurting anything...and this picture was just too hysterical!
 He wrote his own name in the sand!
 And then he wrote mine! 
And finally - we ended the beach visit by watching the sunset over the pier!  So beautiful!!  We went to the Cheesecake Factory again that night and got in bed to prepare for Disney the next day!!!