And now that they are grown…

For some reason we parents believe that we can exhale after surviving our children’s teen-age years. Not so much…

The concerns that we had when they were infants, toddlers, school age and even those terrifying teen-age years when they learned to drive, date and become young men and women pale in comparison to the level of concern a mother has when they become legal-age adults. We’ve prayed, nurtured, sacrificed, lost our cool and wept, all in the attempt to secure a successful, fulfilling, God-honoring future for our babies. Honestly because we can’t press the rewind button in our lives, when they grow up we have to let them make their own decisions. It would be nice to say, “let’s just do this over” because I’ve learned some better parenting skills that might insure a better outcome. That’s not going to happen. We’ve made mistakes as their parents and they will make mistakes also. Mistakes are a part of our imperfect lives. However the God who is faithful is well able to take care of our children. Trusting God with the lives of your grown children will grow your faith. If a mom has no relationship with God I don’t have any answers for her. For me, the grace of God is the first thing that I’m certain, kept me and my girls. I tried my best to prepare them for the “real world”.  My best intentions were futile wishes without the grace of God.

It is heart-breaking to see some of the mistakes that they make. But, we have to let them make the mistakes and experience the consequences. This is where trusting God with “His children” becomes an unwavering must. It would be wonderful if we could somehow run ahead of them and eliminate all the temptations, trials and tests they will face. Unfortunately that is not real life.

My babies are 31 and 40. (Yikes, I think I just hinted at my age!) I have prayed for them more now that they are adults than I did when they were children. The influence that I had when they were young is not the same as it is now. When they were children I could just tell them what to do. When they grew up, I needed to let them come to me for advice. They didn’t want to hear my condescending, unsolicited two cents worth. When they ask my opinion now, I choose my words prayerfully and carefully.

It is vital that we demonstrate unconditional love for our children. They are trying to find their way in uncertain times. The internal pressure that they feel as they make decisions is much more difficult for them than it was for us.  They need our support, not our judgement.

Another thing that I learned is that I have to provide my children with a “safe place” to work through things. Being judgmental has alienated my girls at times. I could see the danger signs screaming at them to take another road, but my disapproving attitude just ushered them into that wrong choice. Instead of helping them, my attitude could have been the deciding factor in their wrong decision. I have learned to listen to them and to comfort them when things blow up in their faces.

No “I told you sos”! I don’t like that when I make a poor choice. Why should they be any different? My goal is for my girls to be confident in my unfailing love for them. I want them to know that they are deeply loved by their mother.

Another thing that I’m sure of is they need our approval. Approval of them, not always of their actions. They need to know that we will not alter our beliefs however we will love them through whatever ungodly decision they make. We literally have to separate the sin from the sinner. No amount of disapproving grunts, eye-rolling, name-calling or threatening will do the trick. Whatever you do, regardless of the circumstances, NEVER turn your back on your child. We represent the love that the Father God has for all mankind. He has NEVER turned His back on us. We must follow His example. There is no human alive who doesn’t need to feel loved. Our adult children are no different. Honestly, neither are we.

These are a few of my lessons learned. I’ll call them the basics.

1. Have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ

2. Love your grown children unconditionally

3. Show them acceptance and approval

4. Don’t alter your blble based beliefs

5. Practice forgiveness


Finally, if you know that you’ve made some mistakes in word or deed concerning your children…ask God to forgive you, ask your child to forgive you and forgive yourself. Be quick to forgive and make any necessary adjustments. Our lives are but a vapor and regrets are oh so painful. Don’t stop praying for those grown up kids. They need your prayers.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1Corinthians 13:13 NIV

“Good Deeds” and Reflections of a Real Single Mom

God’s timing is perfect…though sometimes curious.

Over the week-end I posted a hopefully encouraging blog dedicated exclusively to single mothers. Every word of it was true to my experience. A snapshot or sound bite of what it was like raising two daughters alone and without the benefit of child support.

Last night I went to see Tyler Perry’s latest film “Good Deeds”. Even though I had spoken to several people who had seen the movie, I was totally unprepared for what I saw. I believe it was his finest offering. I truly enjoy the message-filled antics of Madea, however “Good Deeds” is different. It grabbed my heart and reminded me of some of the most difficult times of my life. Without giving the whole story away, the movie resonated deep within me. It made me recall some of my lowest moments. It also made my heart smile at the unmatched joy of motherhood. There were some extremely hopeless situations that I had to navigate.  For whatever reason I rarely concentrate on those times.

My point is that doing the “single mom” thing is more than a notion. It can stretch you to the end of yourself. A daunting undertaking that will provide you with tears and laughter. Some of the highest days of your life and some lows that will make you believe that life couldn’t get any worse. Being a mother is the most important role a woman can play. Doing it alone is scary.

I’m writing to the single mom today to acknowledge that although we made it through, and ours is a quote unquote success story, the ending could have been very different. I personally know some women who worked hard and tried their best but their adult children are not doing so well. My only answer for how we survived is the power of God’s grace. He was gracious to us. Before you allow despair and depression flood your mind, before you give up, please know that the grace of God is sufficient for you in any situation. Call out to Him, He is as close as a single tear rolling down your cheek or the silent scream of your heart. Whatever else you do today, please call on Him, He is waiting for you.

I wept last night, both in the theater and on my way home. It was a good cry. A cry that was a reminder that your greatest challenge can produce your greatest joy. Last night through tears, I thanked God because we really did make it.

“…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Any Single Moms in the House?

Recently my oldest daughter celebrated a “milestone birthday”. She is the picture of every parent’s dream of success for their adult child. A loving wife, doting mother, competent business woman, school board member and a Women’s Ministry leader at her local church. She is a multitasking queen.

I have the privilege of watching her up close and personal from the comfort of her home. (Gotta love the “mother-in-law suite”) The life she has fashioned for her family is both inspiring and beautiful. My son-in-love is all about family. Together they have established certain standards for their family. They have dinner together every night barring a schedule conflict. The family dinner is the norm rather than an exception in their home. Their weekends and holidays are well planned events. Often those plans are simply playing a game together or just being in the same room while pursuing individual interests. Their family unit is traditional, strong, and loving.

Quite a different scenario from her childhood experience. Our family looked very different. My daughters are the product of my being a single mom. I was always juggling responsibilities. Doing the math and using creative options to accomplish goals. We were an impenetrable unit, doing life the best way I knew how. We were and still are “The Allen Girls”. There was an abundance of love coupled with some honest mistakes on my part. The good news is that we survived. I believed that I needed to fill the role of both mother and father, which by the way is an impossible task. So for all the single moms who are trying to do both jobs, stop it immediately! I’m here to tell you that when you accept the fact that your only role is to be the best mom that you can be, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. God never intended for you to be both mother and father. His plan for the family looked more like the life my daughter is leading. However, nurturing the family unit with all the pieces in their proper place is still a challenge with it’s own set of problems. The truth is that raising children is a team sport. Attaining success in this arena must include Jesus as the captain. Single moms please know that God will give you all the grace you need to be an amazing mother.

I thank God for my parents and other extended family members who helped me out whenever necessary. My biggest area of gratitude belongs to my Heavenly Father. Somehow His hand was always present in my life even before I called out to Him from my bathtub on a day that I just wanted to quit. The grace of God sustained, encouraged and propelled me to a place of contentment in my vocation of single mom. My circumstances hadn’t changed, my perspective was different. I could depend on His grace to be my anchor. That single fact persuaded me to never give up.

So, to all the single moms in the house let me assure you that you can do this. As I reflect on how I put one through college and the other through cosmetology school, I have to just shake my head knowing that without God I wouldn’t be able to encourage you now. Our family unit wasn’t ideal but the God who makes “all things beautiful in their time” protected, provided for, and allowed us to have a good ending. He is not a respecter of persons. What He did for me and my family, He will do for you and yours. You only need to call on Him.
P.S. (the other daughter is a successful Hollywood hairstylist)

My daughters are my second greatest joy; my adorable GBs are my first. And my God, well He is above all things to me.

To all the single moms in the house, let me encourage you. You can do this!


There is music that makes you smile, tap your toes, maybe even wiggle your hips. There is music that invokes wonderful memories. And then there is message-filled music that touches a special place in your heart. Those songs can encourage, inspire and maybe even prompt you to compose a Blog!
It has been my “go-to” worship cd for months. I took the appropriate holiday break and listened to my favorite Christmas music, but when the season was over I returned to Martha Munizzi’s “Make It Loud”! It’s one of those cds that is good from the 1st to the last chord. I’ve had several favorite songs from it throughout the months. The lyrics to the song “I Know That You Love Me” speak to my heart every time I listen to it. This morning while peacefully singing along, the phrases “so I hold on to nothing, I know that You have me, with unending mercy because that’s what You promised me” caught my attention. I began to think about the word “promise”. Just how binding is a promise?Do you remember all the promises that people have made you and kept? Or do you only remember the promises that were broken? How many times have you broken a promise?

My conclusion: God is the only One who has never broken a promise! In fact He sent Jesus to the earth, to die on the cross for all of mankind and be the Guarantor of His promises to us. His Word (the bible) reinforces this truth throughout; I’ll simply share this passage of scripture in support of my conclusion: “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2Corinthians 1:20 NKJ
The Lover of your soul, the Creator of all things aka GOD will not disappoint or ever break His promise to you! He remains the eternal “Promise Keeper”.

Shoes…More SHOES…and Moccasins

Heels,flats,boots,sandals,sneakers…you name them I luv them! I’m the woman who chooses the shoe and then the outfit! Colors, patterns, pretty much nothing is off limits for me when we’re talking SHOES…except for the color black. I often hear women say that they have a closet full of black shoes…not me. When the occasion called for me to wear a black shoe, I’ve even had to buy a pair. (now that is not a real problem for a woman who seriously luvs her some shoes!) The interesting twist in me owning very few black shoes is that I usually wear black. I luv black. It is my favorite clothing color! Coincidentally you can wear almost any color or pattern on the shoe if your outfit is black. People see you, glance down to your feet and BAM…color, pattern, you’ve made a definite impression!

Over the years men, women and children alike have taken notice of my shoes. I’ve been referred to as “the lady who wears those wild SHOES!” Being recognized for the shoes that I wear made me do some thinking… What if we all began to step outside the necessity of wearing shoes, as well as the frivolity of spending small fortunes on shoes and began to think about walking a mile in another person’s shoes? 

The same people who admired my “cute” shoes usually had no idea the path my shoes had taken. They didn’t know that as a 20 year old single mom, I owned one pair of shoes! They had no idea that even when I was young and a bit clueless about the responsibilities of motherhood, I realized that my daughter’s needs took precedence over mine. When she went off to college, I invested in an expensive pair of work shoes. It was important that my feet didn’t hurt as I walked to Asia, Australia/New Zealand and Europe. My job as an International flight attendant allowed me to earn enough money to provide her with the extras that her scholarship did not. Years later those long walks “across the pond” caused me to need surgery on both feet…(the same feet, in the “cute” shoes, that so many people have noticed). When my youngest daughter was an up and coming 20 year old hairstylist, she channelled my “shoe luver” compulsion! Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin were her “shoes of choice”! And fortunately in that season of single-parenthood, I was thrilled to buy her a few pairs of her favorites.

ImageWhat’s my point? Simply no matter the shoe one wears, be reminded that only you (and God) know the journey you’ve taken in your shoes. So before judging another person’s life, consider walking a mile in theirs. Whether plain or fabulous, run over or brand new…the shoes don’t tell the whole story! We’d all do well to consider “walking a mile in another man’s moccasins” before passing judgement. You can share an unlimited amount of compassion and possibly be a change agent in someone else’s life when you consider a person’s story and not just their SHOES.

Hockey, My GRANDson and Patriotism

One of my absolute favorite past times is cuddling with Joshua…my 5 year-old GBb. Whether we are watching a movie or just talking, he garners my full attention. So on New Year’s Day when he climbed up on the couch, fireplace in the background, to watch “Bowl Games” with me, I was thrilled! As I surfed to find the most entertaining match-up, we came across the NHL Winter Classic. Joshua insisted that we stop there and bag the other games. He was fascinated by this unfamiliar scene. The NHL Winter Classic is an annual outdoor game that pays homage to the origin of ice hockey. This year’s event was held in Philadelphia. Snow on the ground near the venue, spectators dressed appropriately to brave the elements and flags waving in the wind. A picture-perfect setting to again capture my GBb’s attention. He wanted to know about all the different flags. Why were there more than the American flag? Seemingly on cue after I explained that hockey is a very international sport, played in all the countries of the flags represented, the national anthems were sung. First “Oh Canada” and then our own “Stars Spangled Banner”. As Patty LaBelle belted out those words my heart began to race, tears welled in my eyes and I stood and joined in singing “…And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our Flag was still there…”

Sitting there with my absolute favorite GRANDson (I only have one), my love for this nation was re-ignited. Who knew that searching for Bowl Games would cause me to reflect on the blessing of being born in the United States of America? In today’s visceral climate leading up to the presidential election, it felt good just to be thankful that I was born in this country. Amidst all the trouble and turmoil, I have chosen to be grateful that the God who created the universe chose that l be born here! And because I know that HE is infallible, I know that my place of birth is a part of HIS divine plan for my life!

And so I’ll pray and practice “being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” because the scripture goes on to say “Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” Js.19-20 NLT

After all I could have been born in…say…N.Korea. Who knows what my prayers would have looked like then? Something to consider…

Perfect timing…

My recent stirring to go deeper in my relationship with God has proven to be, interesting. Only He has that special way of communicating His presence in the most mundane circumstances. I awakened early this morning and proceeded to stumble through my altered routine because of an early dental appointment. My preference can be early just not rushed. I like leisurely. You know….sipping my coffee, possibly on the patio in an atmosphere of golf course greens, gentle breezes, bunnies darting about, birds singing, worship music serenading me in the background (“Beautiful Things” by Gungor) my bible, journal and my morning conversation with God. I really like all things “cute” in my life! Needless to say, racing out of the house, maneuvering traffic, and being informed that I was exactly one day early for an already dreaded assignment to the dentist’s chair was not the ideal way to start my morning.

But since I was already out and it was still early, I decided to treat myself to breakfast. After a quick google, I located a cute little spot not far from my home. What a delight; great food and service, plus Kona coffee. (Ok so all is not lost) I settled in with my nook and “One in a Million” Priscilla Shirer and the words began to slowly speak to the recesses of my heart. No shouting, nothing earth-shattering, just that still small voice reminding me that on a morning that didn’t start out with my picture perfect plan, my God would join me for breakfast. The words spoken to me were perfectly timed and personal.

Let me encourage you that Abba wants to join you in every portion of your life’s journey.

He desires to make His presence known. Even in the ordinary, unexpected places. His timing is always perfect!

The Gift of Friendship

I recently travelled to Tulsa, Ok to attend a Women’s Conference and joined 3 dear friends for 4 days and nights of ministry and girl time. Now let me paint you a picture, 4 women, sleeping accommodations for a family, luggage, laptops, kindles/nooks, ipods, toiletries, flat irons, many, many pairs of shoes, many outfits and ONE…I repeat ONE bathroom! Do you get the picture? Thankfully we were in the “gathering place” to feed our spirits. If we had been attending some… oh maybe hip-hop concert, the fact that 4 women with all our baggage (both physical and emotional) were in such close proximity for 4 days could have been a diva train wreck! On the contrary, our bond has been strengthened.

Now if you think there were no “spirited conversations”, you are wrong. We are all strong women with varied opinions and not very shy. It was HOT in that suite some of the time.(and not because of menopause) The wonderful thing is that we love and respect each other and most importantly we share a common faith. The truth is we have all chosen to navigate this minefield called life with absolute dependence on our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We have made this journey to Tulsa several times and we are asked repeatedly why we all share a room. Most women have one roommate or even choose to be alone, citing this time as a sacred retreat from work, husbands and children, we choose to treat this concentrated fellowship as a kind of “Sister Boot Camp”. We may or may not participate in physical exercise but our spirits and emotions are strengthened. You don’t get to go to bed “mad” or change rooms. Nope, during this time together we have the privilege of living what we believe…the truth that “love never fails”. We are allowed to arrive at the conclusion that we may disagree on our perception and/or our approach, but our “like precious faith”, is the glue that makes our friendship real.

I have been blessed to have many friends, a somewhat unique thing for many women. Women (even Christian women) seem to have that Eve/curse thing going on. We can be jealous and petty and competitive and gossipy and totally intolerant of others shortcomings. We also categorize people. One thing I’ve learned is simply not to judge. I have no idea why another woman may be doing something that seems just plain crazy to me. What I do know is that we all have a story and believe or not, whether right or wrong that woman has chosen her path based on something. I also have realized that our lives are both purposeful and seasonal. We learn something from every person and every situation. Never discount the importance of the people who have travelled in and out of your life. Some will be with you for a lifetime and even beyond, others only for a season.

Our lives are to be lived, vigorously. We only have one and as someone said “this is no dress rehearsal”. Love and live your life on purpose. It is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to Him.

Who is this woman?

I have made almost every mistake possible concerning relationships and raising children. As a result of that, I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. (mostly the hard way) There is some really good news though, I am still standing, better than ever and I want to share some things that could help you and maybe keep you from making similar mistakes… unnecessarily. The even better news is that I have two beautiful (both inside and out) adult daughters who are successful in their chosen fields, despite my shortcomings. One daughter works in corporate America and the other in the beauty/fashion industry. I am also the “over the top” proud grandmother of two fabulous grand-children aka my GBs. However the greatest thing that I can share with you is that God loves you! Yes you; and right where you are, whether in the midst of a mess or in comfortable obscurity. The very same God who created the universe desires for you to come to know Him through His Son Jesus. I won’t preach to you but Baby,  God has shown His love for me in so many ways that I must acknowledge that it is only because of Him that I am still standing and looking good for a ?? year old woman. HE will do the same for you.

Some other things about me, I was born in Oakland, Ca., I am a retired flight attendant who has travelled throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and of course, the United States, I have sister/girlfriends of all ethnicities, ages and backgrounds, I have been involved in Women’s Ministry for over 15 years and I love to laugh (mostly at myself) and last but not least… this Sister loves shoes! Not the same way I love Jesus or my GBs but I do like a shoe/boot/sandal and until recently would spend almost my last penny on a fabulous pair of shoes.

When I was raising my daughters as a single mom we were nicknamed the “Allen Girls” by a friend who surmised that we reminded him of the “Golden Girls”. It seems that our penchant for having fun together regardless of what we were doing, coupled with us being hysterical to watch, helped him make the comparison. Never mind the minor details that we are not white,not old and never carried  a purse around the house! We are mother/daughter/sisters who love each other to an extreme and have survived some things that could have destroyed that mother/daughter bond that can be so tenuous. I love them and they love me… (even though I am a little crazy) AND they love each other.

There are many mothers, daughters and sisters in the world who have not spoken in years and have allowed some little thing or maybe big thing come between them. Quite frankly life is too short. Don’t allow anything or anyone get in the way of making memories and establishing a legacy for future generations.

So Babygirl, that’s the abbreviated version of my story. Now welcome to my blog. I hope to provide a safe environment for you to vent, ask questions, cry and yes…LAUGH!