The Bollen Alley

life with our little family of three… and almost four!

life lately: part one…

IMG_8742As fast as a year seems to go by at this point in my life, I’ve noticed that a whole lot can happen in just 365 days.  So, since it’s been about that long since I’ve posted, I figured we’re overdue for a little update. Just a peek into what life is like at the Alley these days!

Tindell is now 19, almost 20 months old. Running around, feeding herself real food, saying actual words… all my fellow parents out there know what an amazing phenomenon it is to watch your child develop these simple skills. Now that we’re officially experiencing toddlerhood, I often feel like we’re in this crazy limbo land. She’s not quite a little girl, but not so much a baby anymore either.  It’s a wonderful, terrifying place to be… especially with your first.

Wonderful in that we have so much fun. We laugh, tickle, snuggle and play every single day. She is such a joy to us! We get to praise and celebrate new things ALL the time… a new word, a new ability. Kids learn so much, so fast at this age. The overwhelming sense of pride I get over her simplest accomplishments is indescribable. To see that pride and joy on HER face is even better! I think what’s been most fascinating, though, is watching her personality develop – and let me tell you, it is equal parts sweet and sassy, curious and cautious, independent and yet still so vulnerable.  She comes alive in front of a crowd, but her favorite place is in your lap with a big stack of books to read. Yes, the second year is truly wonderful.


And yet, toddlerhood is terrifying at the same time.  She now has the ability to run into a busy street… and sometimes the desire.  She is curious about the oven. And the knife drawer. And a gazillion other things in this world that can hurt her, or worse.  With age and ability comes a growing need for independence, a growing curiosity, and a growing will. When she was a baby, her needs were so basic – nutrition, sleep, warmth, love.  While she will always have those needs, now she also has wants… but not necessarily the ability to communicate those wants. Or the ability to understand you can’t always get what you want. Or the patience to wait for those wants.

So, suddenly the baby we have given everything to at the tiniest little cry for the first year of her life, we now have to DISCIPLINE?!?! We have to tell no, and let cry, and try to reason with?  Lord help us, she can throw a fit. Trying to find the balance of unconditionally loving her while effectively teaching her, trying to constantly discern between moments of truth and moments of grace… it’s exhausting, and yes, terrifying.

The full weight of our biblical responsibility to discipline, reproof, instruct, and most importantly disciple is now heavily on our shoulders. Thankfully, we have godly parents, grandparents, and friends that love us, support us, and set fantastic examples. SUPER thankfully, we believe in a God who’s Spirit is a never ending source of strength, wisdom, and grace.

Truly, we are so blessed to be Tindell’s parents. I am confident she teaches us as much as we teach her. She is silly, wiggly, and wonderful, and if you haven’t met her, I hope you get to one day. She will bless you!  Plus, I can already see that the Lord fully intended her to be a big sister! (Read: this girl is bossy! I have no idea where she got that gene, of course…) Stayed tuned… Part II will be a (much shorter) update on TJ’s baby sister-to-be!



let’s try this again…

So… I haven’t blogged for a while. Honestly, I think it was a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts. My hesitation with starting a blog in the first place was rooted in the doubt that I would keep up with it regularly. Sure, I’m busy… chasing a toddler, keeping pace with my husband, working, doing ministry, living LIFE. But after a bit of reflection, I’ve realized the real reason I stopped writing went beyond the busyness of life. Everybody is busy. The real reason I stopped writing was fear.

Fear of all of you, really. Ideas and topics would come to mind, everything from simple family updates to personal spiritual revelations, but I always found a reason not to sit and jot it down.

That sounds so dumb.”

Nobody cares to read about that.

Are you sure that theology is right?

And on and on, the thoughts would come. Ultimately, I always talked myself out of writing because I was afraid of what all of you… any of you… would think about it. You’d think after 26 years on this earth I wouldn’t care so much about the opinions of others, but alas, here we are 11 months later and not a single post to show for it. Not because my heart hasn’t longed to write. Not because material hasn’t come to mind. Simply because I was afraid of the judgement and criticisms you may or may not have in response to my writing.

So, I have an announcement to make. A personal resolution! I hereby refuse to care what you think. As a people-pleasing perfectionist, that’s difficult very difficult for me to say. However, I must declare it here now if I am to have any hope of reviving The Alley.

But, why not?,” you may ask. “My opinions are awesome! My critique is superb!” Well, my friend, while I don’t doubt that, I refuse to care because the truth is this: I don’t blog for you… not exactly.

I blog for my family… to record memories and document milestones.

I blog for myself… because writing and photography have always been an outlet and a passion.

I blog for the Lord… because He gave me that passion, and passion is a gift that should be used, exercised, and shared. He also is continually teaching, molding, and guiding me, and every so often, I feel Him calling me to tell you about it, too.

With that said, I do hope our family blog blesses you. I often tell Daniel after his messages to our youth that if even ONE student is affected, then every bit of prayer and preparation is worth it. The same goes for each post I write.  From now on, I simply refuse to write with the expectation of rejection. I choose to write with positive expectations and the hope that each of you will receive it well.

So what’s to come after nearly a year of silence? No worries… life around the Bollen Alley is rarely dull. With a another year of ministry kicking off, the most precious toddler in the world literally running us in circles, and another little “pin” coming in just 3 short months… I think I’ll find something to write you about!

Stay tuned! (No really, I mean it this time… wink!)

– J

Leave a comment »