Yesterday the girls and I got to venture to the Dentist for our regular cleanings. We all three got great reports. No cavities, woot-woot!!! Our dentist is in Nashville so it allows me to get in my nice little drive. I love driving to Nashville. I have so many great memories there. I love all of Middle Tennessee. I am very proud to say I grew up in McMinnville, but Nashville calls me in to it so much. When I am there, I feel like I am back home.
I worked in Nashville for 7 years at H&R Block. So each day I had a great 45 minute to 1 1/2 hour commute each way. It all depended on my assignment that day. Block liked to send me all over the place. Some of my clearest thoughts have come from these long drives. It was on one of these drives I decided to start my own company. So many other great ideas came on one of those drives. I have been long over due for one of my long thought provoking drives.
Our youngest loves her puzzles. The first time she puts a new one together she likes witnesses. She got two new puzzles for Christmas. These were 150 piece puzzles. That's the next level for her and she was excited to put them together. Monday evening I happily sat beside her and watched her do her work and offered a little bit of help here and there. At one point I got up and went to the kitchen to get us both something to drink. When I came back I looked at her puzzle. She had built the frame that goes around the puzzle and then several little clusters with the intent of connecting them all at the end. I realized that is the same technique I would have used. Then I sat back and watched her finish it. Then we called Chaz over and he said we should glue it together since it was the first one of that level. Ryann disagreed and said no I want to do it again and again. So we let her pull it apart. When she started to take it apart it fell to the floor and broke more quickly. We picked it up and put it back in the box. She said, "That's the easy way to break a puzzle huh Mom." I agreed.
Yesterday I am driving and here come the deep thoughts. I realized January 21, 2011, I felt like a completed puzzle. Then on January 22, 2011, a phone call was what knocked the puzzle of me to the floor and I broke into pieces. I quickly picked up the pieces and tried to put them back together, but some didn't fit. Like Ryann's puzzle building skills, I had little clusters of the pieces of me scattered around the table and I hadn't attached them yet. With each phone call and every day that passed the pieces came closer together, but they where still in those unattached clusters sitting out there. Then I realized I focused on building the frame around the puzzle and then building the clusters and then let the clusters sit within the frame. Within those clusters you could still see me and the important components that comprise me. It was coming home to Tennessee and being in our home and talking to my friends and family that helped put those clusters back into place.
I began thinking why didn't those clusters just go back in and complete that puzzle? Well first some of my pieces were altered from that phone call and the events that followed. They weren't able to fit it like they did before. I had to wait until the edges were smoothed back out so I could make them fit again. The fall to the floor definitely messed with those edges a little bit.
The other problem was I was not focusing on me and my pieces. I was making sure Chaz and the girls were where they needed to be. If you look close enough you'll see my puzzle has their puzzles in it. They are some of my little clusters. I am not me without them. They were each their own little cluster that I had sitting in my puzzle frame I just needed to snap it all in and make the picture complete. When my puzzle fell to the floor I realized I quickly rebuilt the frame that all the clusters connect to. Then I went to each of my clusters and focused on that cluster. I had the puzzle together I just didn't realize it. My puzzle frame was fine and the clusters were just sitting there waiting to be completed.
This trip home is beyond what the doctor ordered. We needed to come and focus on the four of us. We needed to talk about us, not the hospital or Army or other families, just our family. We needed a State of the Allen Family speech. I am pleased to report the State of the Allen Family is pretty kick ass. We have gotten so much done in 2011. We are claiming 2012 as our year. It's our year to move on and make the "new normal" our forever.
Chaz and I love helping others, but sometimes we forget about us. We are more than good and that's why we were helping others, but we still needed to connect all of those pieces of the puzzle. Then we needed to glue that puzzle in and put it in a display frame and proudly display that. 2012 will not be the end of the world, it is another year of great things. There's no telling what God has in store for us, but I know it will be great. Chaz and I choose to declare 2012 as another great year the Lord has given us and now we will use 2012 as our glue to hold our puzzle together permanently.