Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today...We Painted

Many stay-at-home moms will tell you that this is not an easy job.  In fact, this is the hardest job I have ever had in my life.  On the flip side - it is the most rewarding calling God has ever placed on my life.  I fail at it every single day.  At the end of most days I fall asleep to the thoughts in my head of everything that could have been done better that day.  Those thoughts are from Satan himself by the way...but sometimes it is hard to remember that.

When I first began my 'career as a mom', I had these high expectations...Like how my house would always be clean and the laundry always caught up...wonderful meals at 6 pm sharp each night. Yes, currently laughing while typing this looking, at a 7 foot train tent in the middle of the living room floor and toddler clothes hanging over the back of my chair.  

For those who know me at all, know I am not one to 'let things go'.  A house should be lived in, not a museum right?  I have never been able to wrap my mind around it.  Now, before you start thinking that I come to your house and judge it for it's tidiness, please know that is not the case.  This balance of living in your home but also taking pride and care of it is hard, especially with a husband, toddler, and dog.

I read an interesting 'article' (it was on Facebook so we can't exactly call it top news) today about the confessions of a stay at home mom...How we want you to notice when we put real clothes and make up on.  When you see us out of the house, we want you to tell us 'good job', because it's not easy.  The days out of the house don't seem to be as challenging to me as the days in.  Do I choose to stay in some days, absolutely (have you tried wrestling a toddler in the pouring rain running errands?), but providing enough structured play and 'ignoring' the chores around me while playing and teaching my son are sometimes hard.  I have realized, over the past 20 months, that the dishes will wait and the laundry will too.

So today...

We painted.  For the first time ever I got the washable (of course) paint out and we painted.

We ate cookies after we finished lunch.  

We farmed.  He has learned to turn all the animals on by himself, and will probably be driving a real tractor in the blink of an eye.

We sang.  My toddler loves 'la-la' (his word for music).  Current favorite song - Down in My Heart.

I appreciated his curly hair.  Funny how a week ago his hair cut was cancelled due to the snow storm...and today I am thankful he didn't get his curls cut off.

Slow down mama...there will be plenty of time for the dishes.
Slow down mama...there will be plenty of time for the laundry.
Slow down can pick the toys up after bed time...or leave them until tomorrow.
Slow down mama...there will even be time for hair cuts.
Slow down mama...because in a blink of an eye your infant has become a toddler...and you never really understood how people told you time would go so fast, until you actually became a mom.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Back to Blogging

A few years ago I started blogging...Okay maybe more than a few...not quite sure how many...

The other day I was riding along in the car and said to my  husband...I haven't scrap booked in a really long time...I haven't done a puzzle...I miss blogging...why did I stop blogging?!?!?! I love to write.  There is something therapeutic about putting your thoughts onto paper, even if no one ever reads it.

With that being said, and as short as this is, I have decided to start blogging again.  So - if you were one of my few - thank you - look for more blogs coming soon.  <3

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Blessings

Wow - it's hard to believe the 2013 Christmas Season has almost come to an end.  Any of you who know me at all know that I pack way to much into this time of year and stress myself out, but once the actual celebration of the season starts with family and friends it is all well worth it.  This year was no exception.

Before Jason and I were married we both had our own ideas of what Christmas means.  Of course, we shared the belief that the number one reason to celebrate was the birth of Jesus Christ, for without Him being a 'coming down God', we would have nothing to celebrate at all.  Our first Christmas was 2011, and although we were not married, we quickly learned that the month of December would be jam packed putting many miles on the road and lots of very scheduled time with friends and family.

I won't bother you with each detail of our Christmas...But with this being my first blog since June - I wanted to share one of my most treasured memories from Christmas 2013.  One family tradition that has changed greatly over the past few years of my life is eating Christmas breakfast at Grandma Rose's with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on.  As many of you know, my grandmother has suffered with dementia for over five years.  Before her mental health started declining, she loved spending time with her family.  She also loved her hobbies.  She was a wonderful writer.  She loved spending time in God's word. And many of her nights were spent working on a needle point project. Perhaps a pillow or bell pull, but mostly lots of Christmas stockings.  Each of her nine grandchildren have one of these stockings and most of her 19 grandchildren have one.  A few years ago my aunt found two of these stockings and knew that my brother and I were the only of the 9 grandkids that did not have kids yet.  She decided these were to be held for each of our first children.  My brother was given one two Christmases ago before his daughter was born.  Yesterday, to 'wrap up' the Christmas morning at my parents, my dad pulled the second one out of the closet and gave it to Jason and I for Baby Currie.  I can't explain the emotion that swept over me in this moment, even though I knew this moment was coming at some point.  It's one of those gifts that can't be bought in a store.  It's one of those gifts that can never be replaced. It's a memory that can never be replaced.

We were able to spend some time with Grandma yesterday afternoon.  Although I don't get to visit her often, it was one of the best visits we have had in a while.  She talked a lot, and although she did not know a lot about what she, or we, were saying, she knew in that moment we were there for her and that we loved her.  Best of all, I know I will treasure that visit with her for years to come.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yes, Jesus Loves Me

Have you ever really paid the attention to the words of the song that most any child in Sunday School can sing by heart..."Jesus Loves Me"?  Sure, you know it, at least the first verse...but have you really ever stopped to think about the rest?  Me neither...not until last night...when one of the sweetest ladies at our church requested it as a favorite hymn.  There have been several times since my grandmother's death that I have heard this song and remembered her...But before we get into that, read the following carefully...

Jesus loves me—this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to him belong,—
They are weak, but he is strong.

Jesus loves me—loves me still,
Though I'm very weak and ill;
From his shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me—he will stay,
Close beside me all the way.
Then his little child will take,
Up to heaven for his dear sake

When we said goodbye to my Grandma she had left in her final 'lesson plan' for a particular preacher to speak at her service.  He was the last that day to speak, and I thought he was a bit odd when he burst into song...the very song above.  Maybe he explained that day why he chose to sing it...maybe he didn't...sometimes things from that time just run together.  The first time after the service I heard the song I had such a faint memory of this pastor singing it I had to verify with my mom that it actually happened. 'light bulb' moment was when I realized last night that, although this song is generally taught to small children, it goes so much deeper...It follows us all the days of our lives, until we are ready to enter His Kingdom, for those of us who are His children. Until we are 'weak and ill'.  

Obviously when I post entries like this one thing is on my mind...and I have desperately been missing my Grandma lately.  There are so many things I want to talk to her about...So many things I want to share with her...advice I still need...I want to tell her how right she was when she looked me in the eyes over and over again and said God had great plans for me.  She would be so proud of me for surviving school year number 8, which has by far been the most challenging.  She was so right about being patient for the one God hand picked for me.  I'm so glad that she got to know Jason before we had to say goodbye.  She would be so excited for me and Jason and our upcoming trip to Alaska.  She was always up for an adventure, and would want to be first on the list to see every picture and hear every detail.  

If you are one of my faithful readers you know that Grandma's last words to me were to be happy - I can assure you Grandma, I am happier than even I could imagine.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dear Ayden,

Today was your 4th birthday.  Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting your arrival and passing you from one eager set of arms to the next...other days it seems like a life time ago.

A lot has changed in the last year...Your little sister made her arrival, and boy is she something! She has your eyes (I think) and many of your facial expressions. She is in a stage now where she really likes to talk (babble)...I'm sure your mommy and daddy wish they knew how to translate that into words.  Your Aunt Megan got married to a pretty stand up guy - DJ.  Your "aunt" Allison got married as a pretty goofy, but awesome fella.  His name is Jason and you would really like him - he makes everyone laugh and is a big kid at heart.  

We celebrated your birthday today...It means a lot to me that your mom and dad make me feel a part of the family each year by inviting me to be a part of your celebration.  This year we did something a bit different. Your mom ordered these really cool lanterns to release.  They were a bit tricky at first, but flew far and high once the men got them going.  

Collen knows you...He knows where 'your place' is.  He calls you brother.  He is full of energy and spunk and keeps your mom and dad on their toes.  

Today we celebrate you sweet boy, and the enormous amount of joy you brought to those around you (and still do).  We love and miss you!

'aunt' Allison 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 Review

Well...I am about three weeks late...But 2012 was quite a year for me personally...My last post was very personal and a bit sad, but hopefully this one will give you some smiles...I thought I might take you through a picture journey of my adventures.

January - We took our annual mother/daughter beach trip with Jane, Amy, and Lydia.

February - I got engaged to the man of my dreams.  God's plan is so much bigger for me than I could have ever dreamed.  I am so undeserving of his love.

March - My first niece was born and stole a chunk of my heart.  I don't get to see her as much as I would like since I don't live as close, but every time I am around her she makes my heart smile.

April - For the past two years I had taken a trip out of the state, this year I stayed close and spent a few days at my favorite place on Earth - Lake Gaston.

May - I celebrated my 29th birthday at Lake Gaston surrounded by family and friends.  We also had our first 'pre-wedding' festivity - a back yard BBQ at Dean and Debbie's house.

June - My Swift Creek Family threw me a "Disney Honeymoon Shower" at our end of the year luncheon.  Bittersweetly, I also started interviewing for jobs in Pitt County shortly there after.  I cannot tell you how much I miss my sweet family there.

July - July was a busy but fun month.  I had my bridal portraits taken (no one warned me how exhausting that would be), started marriage counseling, drove back and forth to Grifton VBS, continued painting and helping with "extreme parsonage makeover", got a new job at Sugg-Bundy Elementary as media coordinator, and had an amazing weekend at Lake Gaston with some of my girls that would be part of the special day.

August - Wow, this month seems like a blur - I had to literally get my pocket calendar out to remember it all.  We had two wedding showers this month.  One was giving by Jason's family, and his home church at Pine Ridge.  We were so excited to celebrate with family and friends.  Our church family at First Baptist Grifton also threw us a lunch/shower.  I also moved to a precious apartment (which I never even took a picture of but sure wish I had) in Ayden, NC.  I must stop and say here that God's hand was certainly in the details - through his divine intervention, I had a 'place of my own' and didn't have to commute for two months.

September - Well, if you read my previous post you know that most of this month was spent treasuring time with my grandmother.  I cannot tell you the amount of miles Jason and I put on our cars, but it was all worth it.  My home church, Elm Grove, and many of my family members threw us a shower. This month also brought much joy, as my friends Lindsay & Jeremy became parents to their third child, a precious baby girl.  Charlotte Brooke Jones was born September 4th, and of course I have to get a dose of baby love as often as I can.  I also enjoyed a Saturday morning brunch with many of my close friends who showered me with monogrammed gifts.  We were thrilled that Grandma was able to be a part of some of our pre-wedding festivities.

October - WEDDING MONTH!  That about sums that up...and did I mention I also had my fall book fair two weeks before I got married?  I think you could say a week at Disney was well deserved. :) This deserves a post all it's own - so I will save wedding details for later. :)

My granddaddy was thrilled to let me wear Grandma's earrings and her wedding band.  I felt like I was carrying part of her with me that day.

Truck or Treat!

November - The holiday season picked up and we began settling in as newly weds.  This is the first year in a few that I didn't take on the responsibility of cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  Jerri, Jason's mom, prepared a wonderful meal and included my mom, aunt, and granddaddy.  At this time, I can't find those pictures, but will post as soon as I do.  We also held our Hanging of the Greens service the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

December - Our First Christmas...Which also deserves it's own post...but for now I will leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from it...

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Yesterday made four months...Four months since I have heard her voice...four months since I've sat by her side and seen her smile...four months since I've kissed her on her cheek...

I cannot tell you the numerous times I've sat down and wanted to blog about losing the woman who helped shape me into the person I am today.  Everything in Fall 2012 seems like such a blur sometimes...Certainly a roller coaster of emotions.  I have seen through the valleys, and through the hills, that sometimes we cannot even grasp the wonder of our amazing Heavenly father.

In this post...I would like to take you on a trip through one of the valleys...possibly the hardest valley I have personally faced, in losing the grandmother who knew me better than I knew myself. There is a lot of the word 'me' and 'I'...but sometimes I have to so please forgive me if it sounds self-centered.

The picture above was taken at a cookout by a dear friend back in May.  This was our first 'pre-wedding' festivity, and although it was a lot of fun, the most treasured memory I walk away from that day with is this picture (thank you Kimberly).  Grandma and I had spent a better part of my grown-up years talking about what/who would make the perfect husband for me...Each time I listed my qualifications, she said the only way that would happen would be to marry a preacher...was she smart or what? :)  After our parents, she was the next one I wanted to show the ring off too and had to wait almost 24 hours to see her.  She was ecstatic for us and began looking her grandmother of the bride outfit shortly there after.

Late in summer of 2012 she continued going down hill with her health.  She was back and forth to doctors, in and out of the hospital and the nursing home.  So many times before we had had these long weeks of sitting by her side and waiting for her to come out on the other side, so many times we had wondered, would she?  I remember at some point on the, what seemed like hours long, drive home asking my brother how would we know when it was going to happen (knowing good and well he couldn't answer that).

The Fall of 2012 brought many changes for me, we were busy with wedding planning, I was moving and getting used to a new job, but I made it a point to visit her as much as I could.  I do not like to be each time that mom asked me something about showing grandma my dress or having our picture taken I would see no need in it, because if there was going to be one person sitting at the front of that church on October 20th, it was going to be Grandma Batten ( I now see how selfish those thoughts were).

The closer the time came, and the sicker grandma became, I finally realized it wouldn't hurt anything to take a picture by, clear the room, and show her the bride-to-be, after all, I rather her see a picture, and see me in person on October 20th, than not see me at all.  Mom bought a nice frame and we wrapped up the gift.  I am a big baby when it comes to things like this so I asked mom to stay - a moment for the three of us.  We helped her open the gift and she started smiling from ear to ear.  She wasn't talking much that day, because she was just too tired, but she was so excited to see what I would look like on my special day. I wanted her to know as desperately as I wanted her there, that it was okay not to be.  She was so tired, and she had fought the good fight.

That day was the last time I saw her smile, the last time I heard her voice say to me, "Be happy Allison, just be happy."

The following Monday at work Jason was going to come help me after school, hes showed up, even when I told him not to, and got right to work, or maybe I should say I got right to barking out orders, but not until he came and sat in my office with me did I realize something was wrong.  They had taken grandma to the hospital and we were now playing the waiting game.  As we were at his house eating supper that night, the phone rang and my dad gave us the bad news, she had less than 24 hours left with us.  Within ten minutes my bags were packed and we were on the way to the ER at Wilson Med.  It was a big room, but crowded...Grandma had many family members who loved her and considering the circumstances, the hospital staff did everything they could to let us all stay with her while they prepared a room for her.  It was a long sleepless night of going in and out of her room..putting chap stick on her dry lips, talking to her, kissing her, praying, trying to rest on a couch that was only about three feet long...I wanted to be useful, I wanted to make a difference, I couldn't stand just waiting for her to let go.

Much to our surprise she made it through the night, and I found a way to be useful.  Jason and I would go pick Aunt Starr up from the airport.  I begged grandma to hang on until I got back with Aunt Starr, and kissed her, knowing that in the 2 - 3 hours I was gone she would probably pass, and she did.  I knew that there was a reason that I spent the night at the hospital and was actually not present for her passing.  Mom was the strong on, not me...Mom is the glue...Mom, granddad, & Uncle Lee spent her final moments with her.

The days that followed were long and crowded with family, friends, strangers, and more food than we could eat...Her service brought a packed house, hundreds of people who loved her, and she had made a difference in their lives.  My brother did an amazing job delivering her eulogy (something she had asked him to do years ago).  She was so organized (that's the teacher blood in her) about leaving a plan...Many notebooks including her funeral plans and letters written to each of us.  We called this, her final lesson plan.

The days to follow since then have been hard.  With her passing one month before the wedding it was easy to completely immerse myself into planning, and to continue adjusting to my 'new normal'.  I got so sick of hearing people say that - new normal - life without grandma could be anything but normal, however the more time that passes the more I understand what they mean, and the more I am learning to love 'my new normal'. Don't get me wrong, I miss her terribly, some days much worse than others, but I have a peace knowing she is no longer suffering...The image of her running on streets of gold makes me giggle...And yes I think she would be running - because when was was mobile she was always busy.  She had the chance to meet her first great grandchild...and she had the peace of knowing that her granddaughter was happy and marrying the man of her dreams, which yes indeed, is a preacher.