The Bollen Alley

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

the simplest prayer

Honestly, I’ve never felt more powerless in my life. My baby girl just lie there, arms stiff and trembling, her little hands clenched. Eyes panicked, teeth grinding, breath shallow… All I could do was stand there, trying to comfort her calmly and not completely lose my mommy mind, as her lips and nose started to turn blue.

What only lasted a few minutes felt like eternity… but eventually her little arms weren’t so stiff, her teeth stopped grinding, and her color returned.  It wasn’t her first seizure, but I doubt they’ll ever be any less terrifying. It didn’t help that these were different than the others. Plus, this was her third seizure since the evening before (that we were aware of), and they were getting considerably worse. Thankfully, Daniel was already on the phone with me when the seizure started, so he was immediately on his way home so we could head to the ER.

As I held her while we waited, limp and essentially unconscious (a state called “postictal”), all I could do was pace my house and pray.  You’d think after what I had just witnessed, I’d have a LOT to say, but it was the total opposite. I had nothing. There was just one word that came to my lips… “Jesus”. Over and Over. Just a pleading, begging…  “Jesus”. The simplest prayer.

A few days later, I was scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook and I came to this post from one of my favorite female Christian authors, Lysa TerKeurst.  She said,

“Today, in the midst of all you have going on… stop and whisper, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’ Just a whispered breath formed in the wholeness of His name carries all the power and mercy and wisdom and grace we need to handle what we face.

I couldn’t believe how perfectly she nailed what I had just experienced. All my heart knew to do in those moments when I felt so completely powerless, was to call on the name of the One who is all power. Jesus, the ultimate Savior, our Immanuel – “God with us”.  I needed God to be with us. Right there in my little foyer.

And you know what? He was. I found comfort, peace, strength. Was I still upset? Yes. Was I still scared? Of course. But with every whisper of that precious name, I remembered,

  • my God is faithful! “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
  • My God is Healer! “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” Matthew 9:35
  • and that no matter what might happen, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Maybe you’ve been there, maybe you haven’t. That helpless, powerless place where you have nothing, not even words.  I’m hear to tell you,  you have Jesus. And that’s the only word you need.

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14


life lately: part two

IMG_9281As a kid, whenever I would get a new diary, I always felt compelled to write a ginormous first entry all about the current happenings of my life.  As if the diary couldn’t possibly understand anything about my life if it didn’t have the full backstory and all the details. (I know. You’re so surprised I could be that dramatic.) Well, I’m pretty sure I’m writing these updates out of that same compulsion…  so, just bear with 12 year old Jess for a smidge, will ya?

Last post, you heard all about our sweet-n-sassy first born, Tindell Jane. This time, it’s all about her SISTER… that’s right, we are thoroughly pregnant once again and it is another baby girl.  One of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, once posted a “State of the Uterus Address”. HA! Clever, no?  Consider this exactly that. Here are answers to questions I get most often:

When are you due?  December 8, although Daniel is convinced I’m going to go into labor in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. (Silly boy, doesn’t he know there is a VERY important game coming on the next day? Baby girl and I talked… she’s going to stay put until we win. And until I get aaaaall my Christmas decorations up.) According to my countdown, that leaves us with less than 60 days to go!  (Cue panic attack…)


Are you glad it’s another girl?  Heck to the yeah!!! Just the thought of all the stuff we get to use again, from the clothes to the pink bumbo, makes this mama oh-so-happy. Beyond that, I really am looking forward to seeing my sister-girls grow up together. We are praying and praying and praying for their relationship.

Won’t they be really close in age? Well… yes. 22 months or so!

Was that on purpose? Well…. as much on purpose as it can be! We hoped and prayed that our kids would be around 2 or 3 years apart, knowing that it poses certain challenges in the early years, but hoping that the benefits later in life make it worth it.  The Lord heard our prayers and blessed them!

Is Tindell excited? That’s the thing about having them so close; we’re not sure how much she understands.  But, she can tell us where “Sissy” is (my belly… sometimes hers!) and likes to kiss it and say “aaaaw”.  We try to talk about “Sissy” a lot… her room, her clothes, her toys… with the hopes that it will click when baby girl is actually here.  Any suggestions for helping her adjust well are more than welcome!

How are you feeling?  Overall, really good! I’m blessed to be one of those women that truly enjoys being pregnant. However, I can’t honestly say this pregnancy hasn’t been quite as simple as the last.  The main difference being that I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at 25 weeks pregnant. I also waddle more. It’s annoying.

What do you have to do for the diabetes?  I check my blood sugar four times a day and (usually…) eat a carb controlled diet. So far, my levels have been really good, so we’ve had no reason to even consider insulin injections. Baby girl is growing right on target as well, so at this point we aren’t worried about her coming out super huge (which is always a concern with GD babies). If you’re feeling really curious about GD and what causes it,  this page from the ADA gives a great synopsis. (Spoiler alert: hormones. You can just about blame any preggo woe on those little buggers.)


Is her nursery done? HA! Ummm… no. We’ve started the process, though! Thanks to my rockstar parents, all the old furniture is moved out and it is a lovely shade of light blue. We have lots of other plans in the works as well, and I am unbelievably excited to see (and show!) the finished product.  So, stay tuned!

Do you have a name picked out?  Oh, the name game. It’s hard to name a kid, y’all! They’re stuck with it. Forever. FOR. EEEE. VER.  All that said, yes, we’re 99% sure we have a name. Dan and I just like to do this thing where we wait to see her little face first and officially name her after she’s born.  So, I can’t tell you just yet… but, if you hang out with either of us, we would probably tell you. Or accidentally call her by it. That’s been happening a lot lately.

And that’s, that! We really are getting so excited. We’ve had LOTS of friends having little ones over the past several months (in fact, we know at least one person due each month from July 2013 through at least next January), so we’ve had lots of squishy, snuggly newborns to get warmed up with. Like I said, stay tuned for nursery updates and a maybe a few other baby related posts. It’s just what’s on the brain, my friends!


let the games begin

Hi friends! Welcome to The Bollen Alley – our family blog about life as we know it.  This has been long considered, contemplated, discussed and deliberated, so I’m super excited to finally dive in and launch. First, let me just take moment to share about where we’re at, where we’re going, and what you can expect to see here.

I always thought blogging could be something I would enjoy. I love to write, and with a degree in communication and 3 years in public relations, I’m very familiar with the sharing and communicative power that is blogging. But there was always something that stopped me – “come on, everybody has a blog“, “you do NOT have the time for that“, “seriously? nobody cares“.

It wasn’t until my extremely well loved husband suffered a severe accident (more on that later) and my Facebook page turned into a mini-blog to beg for prayer and keep everyone updated that I began to seriously reconsider starting a family site. Then our daughter was born a month later and I thought, ya know… we really should tell our story. God has blessed us way too much not to share. Why not blog it? If just one person can be blessed by it…

… and here we are.

Time was still a factor, of course. After 3 months of maternity leave (and one month caring for Dan prior to that), I returned to my full time job as a communication director for my hometown school district. A job I absolutely adored.  However, after a couple of months as a working mom, I knew my heart had changed forever.  I’m sure I’ll write more about our decision, but as of  July 1, 2012 – I began life as a stay at home mom. It may be for 6 months. It may be for 16 years. All we know is that the Lord has called me home, and I am so excited to turn my full focus on my family, our home, and our ministry. It will be an adventure for sure, which is why I knew this was a fantastic time to start the Alley – to document this step of faith and where it takes us.

So, thank you so much for joining us… I already have some really exciting things planned, so be sure to “follow the alley” on the right sidebar to be updated on our new posts by email. Give us a follow on Twitter as well!  We’ll always tweet new posts and other pics and tidbits (I’m a professed instragram addict), so there’s lots of guaranteed fun to be had there.

So, any special requests? Let us know what you would like to hear from us by leaving a comment below! Also, if you’re a blogger let us know that as well. I’d love to add you to my blogroll! Have a happy day!