Tag Archives: Grief

Rooster is 1!!!!!!

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I can’t believe it’s been a year. In some ways it feels like it was forever ago and in others, it was yesterday. One year ago today, sweet Rooster was released into the world. She has been so well loved by the families that have known her. I’m beyond grateful for anyone and everyone who has bought her book. Your kindness has been overwhelming. That was the most surprising thing of all. The kindness. When people extend kindness it’s like having a tiny glimpse of heaven. So thank you to all of you for showing me glimpses of heaven this past year.

Writing Rooster’s Balloon changed my life. Rooster helped me grieve the death of my sweet friends’ daughter. She helped me see that children’s questions for God aren’t all that different from adults’ questions. Every time I sat down at the computer to write more of her story, tears flooded my eyes. It couldn’t be helped. I needed to feel her pain. I can assure you this story was covered in prayer and I can say with certainty it was exactly the story I was supposed to write. Thank you for being so accepting of it. I know it’s an especially difficult story to read to your children. Believe me, I can barely get through it myself without getting choked up. But, unfortunately, we live in a world where hard things happen. Children may have to deal with loss before they’re old enough to process it. Rooster gives kids a narrative they can relate to. She asks questions that children may not be able to articulate after a loss. And she lets kids know it’s ok not to be ok. See, kids aren’t that different from adults after all.

So today I want to celebrate Rooster for being one year into the world! And I want to sincerely thank you for all the kindnesses you readers have bestowed upon me, especially this last year. You have humbled me and overwhelmed me and I will not soon forget it. Y’all are my favorites!

And if you never got your copy of Rooster’s Balloon and you want one, just go to the Purchase tab at the top of this page and get you one!!

I also added the video of me receiving ALL the books a year ago. The sight of all the books only gave me slight nausea…

-Courtney

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Growing Pains and Autumn

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Listening to Ben Rector is always a good choice in my book but some days, it’s an excellent choice. Have you ever listened to a song many times over, then one day it hits you anew what the song is actually about? I feel the same way when I read a familiar passage in Scripture and, for whatever reason, I see it in a completely different way or learn something I never knew before.

I was driving the other day and listening to an old Ben Rector song, “Autumn”, and was struck by the words of the song. It’s a song about, well, autumn, because Ben wants to be very mysterious in his titling. Here are a few of the lyrics:

 

“So I watched the leaves fall

All of the way to the ground

And I knew that that was what love was

To die so that it could be found”

 

To die so that it could be found. Hmmm.

That’s when my brain exploded.

I’ve been going through some things recently and have not really been all that grateful for where God has me. I’ve been sad and mad and digging in my heels telling God that his Plan A is unacceptable. Then I heard that “Autumn” song and God whispered in my ear, “What needs to die in your life so love can be found?”

Well, shoot.

There God goes again, trying to grow and refine me in the fire. Growing hurts. I remember when my kids were younger, they would wake up in the middle of the night, crying, saying their legs hurt from the “growing pains.” I’m not sure I’ve ever grown in my faith without it hurting. Growth is not my favorite. I like it when it’s over, but during? No, ma’am, it’s the worst.

So, death, huh? I knew what needed to die in my life but I wasn’t ready to let them go.  I needed some long held dreams and expectations to die.

Has this ever happened to anyone else? You have an idea in your mind of how your life is supposed to work, or how your kids are supposed to be, or what your marriage is supposed to look like, then God has a different plan all together? He allows certain things to take place that alter your plan for your life. Honestly, you may not have been aware you even had these dreams or expectations until they were suddenly taken off the table and not an option anymore. Then you have to come to grips with the fact that the story God is writing for your life, or your child’s life, or your husband’s life, may not be the one you wanted. You had a whole different story all worked out for your life and He just up and changed it.

Die so that love could be found. As long as I held on to these dreams and expectations that I had created, I would hold onto bitterness and anger and resentment. But if I let them die, then I could begin dreaming new dreams in the place God has me. I could begin the process of accepting things I cannot change. I could receive the new thing God has for me to love.

Simple enough, right? In case you were wondering…no, this is not simple and it is not easy. I have to choose it every day. I have to choose the new dream, the new perspective, every day. Acceptance is hard, especially when it isn’t necessarily something you wanted. The only thing that keeps me choosing the new, hard thing is the hope that something love-worthy is on the other side. God has never brought me to a hard place and given me a crappy return on my pain. Historically, He has always used my pain to bring something good. That’s something I know to be true; He doesn’t waste my pain. So the sooner I can put these old dreams to death and embrace the new, the sooner I’ll find love, right? That’s what Ben said so it must be true. I’m sure Ben is talking about the love of a girl but I like to leave it open for interpretation.

Anyone else have anything that needs to die and be grieved so you can move on to loving something else?

-Courtney

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Snippets from life lately

I can’t believe you people. Everyone, all of you, have made this last week one I will never forget. From purchasing the book, to the sweet messages you’ve sent me, to pictures of your kids reading it, I’ve truly been overwhelmed with gratitude. Some of you have brought tears to my eyes telling me your story and why this book means so much to you. It’s been more than I could’ve hoped for. It seems like so many people know someone that needs Rooster’s Balloon. This is precisely why this book was published. My sweet friends wanted others to be helped by this story inspired by their daughters and the outpouring of love over this book has been such a gift. I have never been busier than I was this week and I wouldn’t change it for the world. So from the most sincere place in my heart, thank you.

Getting a book published and marketed takes a ton of time and you must be attentive to detail. That being said, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how I’m doing at it. Details are for accountants and trim painters of which I am neither. I don’t usually feel like I’m great at multi-tasking unless it involves eating and watching TV at the same time. I could medal in that event all day every day. Being focused on getting book orders filled and out the door is taking up most of my brain space. If it weren’t so all consuming, I would write to you about the following events that have happened at my house:

-Grizz the fish was almost a goner when Kyle was cleaning his tank and accidentally dropped him in the garbage disposal. There were tears and screams and punishments for a sibling who may or may not have been laughing. But never fear, Kyle reached down there and grabbed our slippery pet to rescue him from death by disposal. Grizz was only a little worse for wear and some of his strings were left behind but he’s, thankfully, alive and well. It felt like we were living the aquarium scene in Finding Nemo when he swam up the filter and almost died. It was traumatic to say the least. After this fiasco, Kyle told me we needed to get a back-up fish. Um, no.

-Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a balloon filled with flour explode in you car? I had never wondered this either but apparently my wonderings and Blake’s wonderings are different. Probably because he’s 7 and I’m 36. It was an accident he said. He didn’t mean to poke a hole in it he said. The story goes like this: I was driving and Blake said my name quietly a few times and when I finally turned around to answer him, he and his seat were covered in flour. It was so unbelievable I couldn’t even form a sentence to yell. This is extremely uncharacteristic of me. So I did what any good mother would do and snapped a pic. Then he lost it and was completely embarrassed so I erased the picture. I then proceeded to go to the post office and left him in the car, covered in flour. The other kids were in there so I felt ok about it. Then a lady that was in line behind me was getting fed up with her children and wondered aloud why she brought them with her. I told her my kids were locked in the car and one of them was covered in flour. She laughed and said that made her feel better. You. Are. Welcome.

-Since Kyle and I share February birthdays, his parents got us a “we” gift. Little did we know this was actually a gift for our children. They got us an Amazon Echo that goes by the name Alexa. It’s basically a portable Siri. The first week we had “her,” Caitlin asked her no less than 5 times a day what time it was. Alexa is stationed in our kitchen where we also have an oven clock and a microwave clock. I guess the little princess couldn’t be bothered to turn around and use her eyeballs. They also ask her what the weather will be. Every. Single. Day. They ask her personal questions every day to which she usually replies, “I don’t have an opinion about that.” So basically we have a person living with us that knows the facts about everything but has no social skills. Because we really need one more socially awkward person at our house. She’s like me if I were in a room full of engineers and mathematicians except she talks more.

As you can see, friends, major happenings have gone on in our household—fish rescues, flour bombs, a new robot family member—but I just haven’t been able to commit full blog posts to them. I truly haven’t had time to write. Actually that’s not completely true. Sometimes I have time but bingeing on Gilmore Girls usually wins out. I know I know, I’m waaaay behind. Anyway, I’ll try to continue to post about everyday silliness and some deep thoughts too but for now, I’ve got to shamelessly plug the book. That being said, go to the PURCHASE tab and get yours today!! No seriously, buy it now. Why have you not clicked to buy yet?! Quit reading and go do it! Sorry to be so bossy…it’s Court 2.0 coming out. The “new me” might need a few tweaks…

-Courtney

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IT’S HERE!!!!!!!!

IT’S FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!!

I CAN STOP TELLING YOU IT’S COMING SOON BECAUSE IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!

So many emotions surrounding today.

I’m excited the book is finally here so I can share it with you.

I’m grateful for all the people who have given me endless support and believed in this story.

I’m humbled that God let my hands write Rooster’s story.

I’m amazed at how many people have told me they need this book for themselves or someone they know.

I’m nauseated at the amount of books that are sitting in boxes at my house right now.

I’m anxious for people to like it.

I’m fearful about all the “what ifs” the devil is using to make me doubt myself.

But mostly I’m just giddy that IT’S HERE!

I’ll be posting a lot on Facebook (Thecpallen) and Instagram (@cpallen216) and Twitter (@thecpallen) to get the word out if you want to follow me over there.

Now, this is me showing you what 1,000 books looks like. Forgive my voice, ya’ll. I would say it doesn’t normally sound like that but I fear it does. Apparently God thought a man voice was the perfect fit for me. Who am I to argue with God? Enjoy! Or close your ears. And just like the video says, you should do everything I say. Bwahahaha!!!

-Courtney

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The “why” behind Rooster’s Balloon

The day is so close I can almost taste it. Rooster’s Balloon is almost ready to debut herself to the world. I’m not sure how to put into words what this story means to me. It was born out of pain and grief for dear friends whose daughter died unexpectedly. I have no idea what it’s like to walk that road of releasing your child back to Heaven. It takes my breath away to even think about it. But as I wrestled with God about why He would allow this; why He would take His daughter back, He taught me something I had never fully considered.

This world is not my home and it was never her home either.

I am only visiting here.

Heaven is my home.

This truth that was spoken to me after Evie’s death has remained so ingrained in my thinking that I can’t escape it. It is the only thing that gives me peace when grieving the deaths of children.

After she died, I wondered if she was scared when she woke up in heaven. I don’t even know if that’s how it goes—if you wake up there, or teleport there, or what have you, but I just thought that being so little she would be scared of a strange, new place. Then it dawned on me— if heaven is our home then it will have the feeling of home. She wouldn’t be frightened because she would be with her Father and she would have a room He prepared for her. He had been awaiting her return all along.

Rooster’s Balloon was a gift to me. God knew exactly what I needed to do in order to grieve and He gave me Rooster. The child in me relates to her so well, I wonder if all of us don’t have an inner child living inside us. After writing the story, I sent it to my friends’ whose daughters were the inspirations behind it. Their kindness still brings me to tears even as I write this sentence. Their support and encouragement has completely overwhelmed me. Because of them, I get to share Rooster with the world. Because of their compassion and kindness, children will be helped by this story. And because of their generosity, much of the proceeds from this book will be donated in Evie’s name to Make-A-Wish Midsouth. Their focus on God’s bigger story is allowing the legacy of their little girl to live on and help others. It’s humbling to be a part of.

I encourage you, sweet readers, to buy this book. If you have children, or grandchildren, or friends who have children, or children you love, buy them this book. This book could be the catalyst that shows them God is writing their story. God has a plan for them. And more than anything, God still loves them even when bad things happen to them. He has not forgotten them or their pain and sadness. Please don’t forget to talk about hard things with your kids. Pretending hard things don’t happen does not help your children because the reality is that hard things do happen because we live in a fallen world. Be brave, friends, for we are only here for a short time. Teach your kids about the love God has for them so they have something to cling to when life gets messy.

 

Ok, I promise I’ll let you know when the book comes in. Until then, look at this sweet little pic. Don’t you just want to give her a big squeeze?!

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-Courtney

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A Little Bit About Rooster

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Rooster’s Balloon is almost ready for release into the world and I’m practically giddy about it! I mean, guys, look how cute she is! Before this book comes out I wanted to give you a bit of background about the story. I say this with all sincerity when I describe it as “The Book You Never Want To Read To Your Kid…until you need to read it to your kid.”

Catchy, right? I’m soooo good at sales.

The subject matter is heavy for kids but the reality is that kids go through heavy stuff. Oh, we pretend like they’re fine and resilient because they’re kids but what if they’re not? What if all they want is to tell someone how they feel instead of acting like everything’s ok?

The story of Rooster is one of grief and hope. You see, Rooster has a sister that died very unexpectedly. She’s doing ok on the outside, but on the inside she still gets angry and sad about it. She doesn’t talk about it much because she doesn’t want to upset everyone. She copes by carrying her sister’s balloon around everywhere. Then she meets a man that knows all about her balloon and all about her. When she finds out that He’s actually the one writing her story she lets him know how mad she is that He took her sister and how sad it’s made her. He says He knows all of that too. He then explains to her that He loves her very much and loves her sister very much. He tells her that just because she doesn’t understand why certain things happen, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a good plan for her life. Knowing that He cares so much for her and her story, Rooster is able to eventually let her sister go and trust that the man will take care of her.

If you have a child that has died, or have a friend whose child has died, you need this book. Your other kids need this book. Stories are great tools in helping children relate things back to their own circumstances.

Even if you don’t have a child that has passed away, this book can still be used as a tool to teach your child. Every child needs to know that God cares about their sadness. Children need to know that God knows how to comfort them because He’s been sad before too. He was heartbroken when His Son hung on a cross and died for the sins of the world. He also knew the joy that was coming 3 days later. This is why I can trust that there is a plan for our pain here on earth.

Your kids need to hear this story and I’m so happy Rooster can bring it to them. I really, really can’t wait for the book’s release! I will be shouting it from the blog, social media, and all the rooftops when I get it! Until then, we’ll just have to wait impatiently.

-Courtney

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It was a big day…

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This story, you guys. There are so many feelings inside this story. So many prayers and tears have gone into this story. I don’t want to give it all away before it’s ready to be released but I’m just so excited I can’t stand it! This is just the proof copy for me to look over but I wanted to give you a sneak peek of the cover! I MEAN. So cute, right?!? I can’t even handle it. And the inside? Oh the inside is a masterpiece. I can say that because I didn’t illustrate it myself. If it were my handiwork, we’d be seeing a LOT of stick people. Ya’ll it’s so good. Your kids are going to love it because it’s got pretty pictures. YOU are going to love it because of the message. You will not necessarily WANT to read your kids this book but you NEED to. Trust me on this. I’ll give you more details as the release date gets closer. I can’t give away all the goodies on the front end! It’s my ploy to get you to come back to the ol bliggidy! Painfully clever, I know. I promise to keep you updated and, more importantly, let you know when it’s coming out!!!! EEEEEKS!!!!

-Courtney

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