Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Allen Family! We have so many things to be grateful for this year, and all of you are on our list! I’m humbled to have such fantastic blog readers who continue to come to my little space online. It’s exciting to me that a group of women can encourage each other online, and I truly do receive encouragement from you!

I’m off to go spend the day with family. My children always put together a Thanksgiving play for us and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have come up! I’ll leave you with a few favorite quotes on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~W.J. Cameron

He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart.
~J.A. Shedd

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. ~Theodore Roosevelt

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~W.T. Purkiser

Taking A Break From Thanksgiving

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Taking a break from Thanksgiving

This year I made a choice. It was not made out of self pity or despair. Rather it was just made from taking an honest look at my life and knowing what I am capable of.

I’m not doing Thanksgiving this year.


It sounds bad to actually come out and say it, but I can’t tell you the relief I’ve felt over this decision.

Let me clarify what I mean though.

Normally we spend November reading books on pilgrims and the mayflower, I attempt a craft I found on Pinterest (I’m so not crafty) and we might make a fun treat together. Sean has read the same book on Pilgrims out loud to the children for over 5 years now. We have used this fantastic study on Thanksgiving hymns before. It takes a lot of work for me to pull everything together, and I attempt to add all this additional learning on top of our regular school.

Count Your Blessings Ebook

This year I knew I couldn’t keep up. Instead of it being a joyful time together as a family, it would be a huge stress. I would not be giving thanks, instead I would be counting down the days until November was over.

I made this decision based on our season of life. We have an adorable seven month old little girl that is taking all of our energy. I’m trying to stay on top of the math facts and the girls that are learning to read. The laundry often takes over the living room space, and the baskets waiting to be folded just beat me down to discouragement. We are launching Character Badges, and I’m trying to be present in that business for my husband, as well as keeping up with this blog and Deborah & Co.

Life is busy. Life is good.

This year I’m going to help cook our Thanksgiving dinner that we spend with family, and rest knowing that my children have already been trained in the history of Thanksgiving. I’m going to enjoy the times of going around the table sharing what we are thankful about, knowing that I have many things I can share. I will enjoy attending the Thanksgiving dinner at our church.

The one thing I will do is check out some books from the library on Thanksgiving and leave them out for the children to read if they wish. I won’t win any supermom awards because of that, but I’m totally ok with it. :)

My husband already came to me and said we are going to sit down with a calendar soon and plan December out. He loves the family time that December brings, we enjoy caroling and family drives looking at lights, music concerts, etc. We are going to put it all down on the calendar and enjoy the business of December as we celebrate the birth of our savior.

When it comes down to it? I’m most grateful for the gift of Salvation. Without a baby being born in a manger many years ago, I would not be where I am. I’m looking forward to spending the month of December celebrating what eternally matters.

And next year? I’m hoping to enjoy all things Pilgrim.

(Please note, I have nothing against Thanksgiving, I love the holiday and think it can be an amazing month of giving thanks.) :)



What’s so wrong with the “S” Word?

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What is so wrong with the S Word? As parents, we need to take a firm stand on this and being willing to shelter our children!

As a second generation homeschooler I’ve heard the “s” word my whole life.

“Those poor children are going to be so sheltered they won’t be able to adjust to normal life.”

The other big “s” word? Socialization. These two words have a way of following each other around. “Oh my, their children are so sheltered they won’t know the first thing about socialization. I mean, how will they cope when they get out into the real world?”

I can attest that there is at least one person on the planet who was sheltered as a youth and who, now in her 30’s, makes her way in the world quite well. That person is me. Actually, believe it or not, there are others like me. Many others. You might not know it though because, well, we’re just so adept at socializing. 😉

Sarcasm aside, I’m sincerely not the least bit resentful that I didn’t experience more of the world as I was growing up. My parents carefully controlled the environment in my home and I’m grateful for it. That’s not to say we lived in a cave. My mother was very wise in the way she sheltered me yet made sure I was equipped and prepared to enter the world.

As a sheltered homeschooled child I grew into an adult that was married at 19 and became a mother at 20 (gasp, yes I was one of those young brides who went through courtship). I am currently a pastor’s wife, a business owner, a blogger, and I hope a “normal” human being that tries to conduct her life in a way that would please God.

What did my sheltered life consist of? (Cue the melancholy music.)

1. I wasn’t familiar with many of the popular movie stars, as I didn’t watch many of the popular movies. If an actress was in a Jane Austen movie then I knew about them. :) It’s still that way today. Watching PG-13 and R rated movies just didn’t happen (I think I’ve seen two PG-13 movies. Or maybe I should say I’ve seen about a ⅓ of two historical PG-13 movies. We fast forwarded through most of them).

2. We listened to classical and some Christian music growing up. Actually I listened to more Contemporary Christian music when I was younger than I do now. I was a teenager when my brother introduced me to the famous Bye-Bye Ms. American Pie song (and don’t ask me the band responsible for the song, lol). I knew what songs were popular from being out shopping. I suppose you could say I grew up listening to the Wal-Mart top 40. : )

3. Cursing was absolutely not allowed in our home. Slang words were considered just as bad as curse words. Some of you might be shocked, but I was well into my 20’s before I even knew what most bad words were and I still don’t think I know all of them. If I had been around situations where curse words were commonly used, my parents would have educated me more. I just didn’t need to know!

4. The TV was never background noise. It was only on if we were all watching something together, and many years we never even had TV reception.

5. My parents never taught us to believe in the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause. Actually my Grandpa was the town’s Santa Clause one time (it was a big deal; he rode in a float with the mayor, picture in the paper and everything). We went to see him with our younger cousin who did believe in Santa Clause and we were given strict instructions to not say a word about it being our Grandpa! We celebrated holidays for the religious reasons behind them, not the secular.

6. I’ve never been to a lock-in at a church or school and I only went to one big overnight birthday party when I was little.

7. I never went on a date until I was courting the man I married. Please know I don’t believe that just because you are in a courtship means you will automatically marry that person, but I do not believe in dating around for fun. We had our first kiss on our wedding day.

My parents came from rough upbringings, and they regretted a lot of things they went through. They didn’t want their children making the same mistakes so they sheltered them from influences that they didn’t consider godly.

However, don’t let this list fool you. I’m not a naive 30 year old mama. I’ve had my fair share of real life, hard, and very unsheltered situations.

As soon as we were old enough to drive we were added to our parents checking accounts. My mom had Lupus since I was 11 and we were responsible for grocery shopping and running errands when she was sick.

I was one of the primary caregivers of my great-grandfather when I was 16. He was living in our home on hospice for a month or so before he passed away of cancer. My older sister was in charge of all the financial/legal paperwork and I worked with the hospice nurses on how to take care of him.

I’ve learned far more about homosexuality and it’s lifestyle than I ever dreamed I would have, because of family members who have chosen to walk in that path. I’ve been in many counseling situations, churches of all different faiths, and opened our home to many different types of people.

I’ve walked through family member’s divorces, separations, terminal illness, heartaches, victory and failures.

Being sheltered does not mean you don’t experience real life and all that it brings. It simply means you limit your understanding concerning the ungodly things as much as you can. Why? So you can deal with real life.

The only time I’m super aware of my limited knowledge of movies or movie stars, popular people (like famous people in sports), etc. is when my husband makes a joke or tries to tell me some passing tidbit of news, and I have no clue what he is talking about. :) We come from different backgrounds, but he always tells me it’s better not to know!

Do I think you can shelter your children too much? Absolutely. But that’s a topic for another post. For the purposes of this post I just want to say that this lady who is married to a real husband and who went through 6 real labors which brought 6 real children into the world, and who has seen her share of real sorrow and suffering among those she loves most, is truly grateful for being sheltered when she was young so she could joyfully weather this bittersweet thing people call socialization.

Baby Sophia is here!!

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We are so thrilled to be able to finally announce that Sophia Diane is here! She was born Friday morning at 5:45 AM.

Introducing Sophia Diane!

She was 10 lbs, 1 oz and 22″ long. Born 10 days after her due date, we were more than ready for her to arrive! Her birth was the hardest I have ever experienced, with lots of strange twists and turns to the story. I’m still processing it all, but am so thankful I was still able to have a home birth.

My midwife was amazing and helped me through and knew just what needed to be done to help her arrive.

I have never come close to having a 10 pound baby, so this was an all new experience for me, one I hope to not repeat. 😉

Caroline and Sophia

We are snuggling and resting a lot. So thankful for all the prayers from friends and family for her save arrival! She is so precious, and well worth all the nine months of hardship to get her here!