Why a Black Cloud?

I will explain the "black cloud". My mother's family from time to time would say that if anything bad that could happen would happen to them and called it the black cloud. I find this to be true in my life almost on a daily basis. Just like a friend my black cloud is present everyday. Let me make this clear...I talk about my black cloud in an entirely jokingly way. I laugh about most things, even when they are bad....it's all going to be alright. My faith is such that the Lord will provide and even if I don't know how in the world we are going to fix whatever has happened, he knows. So please any of my bad things that I mention, know that I am laughing and remaining faithful while I am typing! And please LAUGH because I am!

He that is afraid of bad luck will never know good" -RussianProverb

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope

Saturday, July 30, 2011


The introductions:

Jason, my husband, a full time engineering student, a full time employee, a gardener, a mechanic and wonderful Daddy.

Amanda, my first born, rising 11th grader, a straight A student, a driver, an employee of her grandaddy's machine shop, a beauty inside and out, text messaging champ and independent thinker.

Tyler, my only son, rising 8th grader, funny as they come, gamer, mohawk wearer, a cutie pie, independent thinker, text messaging champ with a tender heart.

Madison, my youngest, a bike rider-no training wheels, a movie lover, rising 4k'er, pbs kids game player, a talker, a singer, a kool aid maker, independent thinker and has a sweet spirit.

Choo Choo, our cat, has OCD and has a ritual before he drinks water, has herpes, loves laying in the driveway daring the car to hit him and likes (or tolerates) us on his own terms.

Daisy,the beagle, afraid of loud noises especially thunderstorms and gun shots, loves Madison and will allow any torture she dishes out, a rescue dog, and has her "furever" home for almost 3 years.

Tinkerbell, our Jack Chihuahua mix, an Amanda hater, Madison tolerater, Jason's shadow, seems to like me when Jason isn't around, squirrel chaser, and house protector.

I am thankful that they and all their good traits are in my life. How blessed am I to have a wonderful husband, three beautiful and intelligent children and three of the quirkiest animals? God is good...all the time!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pennies, Enraged Drivers,Car Sickness, GPS and Family Dollar Tools

Pennies-wow who knew they could bring up so many valuable memories and feelings. Today, I heard about the sudden appearance of wheat pennies and what it means to one special person. I am so glad that something so mundane as counting pennies and finding wheat pennies made this person share her story.

We were on I 26 today right where it turns into 3 lanes. This woman, who was driving a truck with dents and scratches all down the side, tried to pass us on the right and got caught behind traffic. Instead of slowing down, she came right on over in our lane-like she didn't see the big red Ford Explorer! She then went on to cut off another driver and almost hit the car in front of it!

Even with the swerving to get out of Ms. Brown Truck Crazy Driver's way, we had NO car sickness today! woooohoooo! I gave Madison motion sickness meds before we left.  Even Madison said "no puking today"!

GPS, TOMTOM...I want a job mapping out routes for one of these companies! Wow! Something that is suppose to make life easier and getting to unfamiliar places a snap, surely isn't either, especially when it loses its signal!. If it was correct, we would have gotten out at an empty lot on a dead end street two houses away from our true destination. Once we found the correct house, we got out to find that the desk we went to pick up wouldn't fit into the Explorer...LOL!  The seller of this desk was determined if we just turned it the right way it would fit all the way in. I guess the fact that the desk was about a foot too long to fit in (anyway you tried) just wasn't proof enough. The tape measure was wrong, I guess...lol. So we strapped it in just to get away from the lady and hit up the closest Family Dollar for some tools.  So here me and Beverly are standing in the Family Dollar parking lot across from Providence Hospital in 900 degree weather unscrewing everything we could find on this desk and giggling like crazy people. We, of course, made it fit. Ms Desk Seller just didn't know us and our determination!

Then we were off to pick up a shelving unit....a six foot shelving unit....lol. That is where we met Mr. Spiddy Tie Dye Veteran, a very very nice guy, who quickly found out what South Carolina girls are like-determined. He had just moved to Irmo from Arizona.  We picked that shelf up and stacked it right on top of the desk (both hanging out the back hatch of the Explorer).  So if you were on I26 this afternoon and saw a red Explorer with "stuff" hanging out of the back, you should have waved...

Today, I am thankful for my Aunt Nett and her tender heart, time spent with my baby sister, that we didn't end up on the HP's accident report, that Family Dollar has tools, GPS's even if they aren't always correct, motion sickness chewables, no puke and for determination.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pennies, A Haircut and Home Buying

My parents had a large can that had be emptied and the top welded back on that they put their pennies in. When I was little my daddy re-opened the can and gave me the pennies to count. I counted them in stacks of 10 and when I would get 10 stacks, I would roll them or put them in small envelopes and label them $1. I took dollars and dollars of pennies to the bank to deposit them into my savings account.  The other day Daddy gave me a dish pan full of pennies that he said had the remaining pennies in it and one small envelope marked $2.00-with lots more added over the years since my counting days. I just finished counting all those pennies-here's what I ended up with:$32.59, about 30 wheat pennies, one Canadian penny, two car wash tokens and handfuls of sewing pins. What memories those pennies brought back! None of the wheat pennies were worth more than 4 cents-wish I could have found one of those worth $500!

I took Madison to get her hair cut today. A cute bob cut that she is thrilled with! Before we left for our appointment, she had decided to let her hair grow and just get her bangs cut and the back trimmed, That all changed when she sat in the chair at the salon. She wanted it CUT!

A friend of mine and her family are looking for a home to buy. They have been through a lot of changes in the last year. They had a house fire. So, they have been searching for a house ever since. Just when they think they have found the perfect place, something happens to prevent it. My friend the Black Cloud seems to have broken off and is now taking permanent residence over this family! They have found another house that is big enough with lots of land-seems to be perfect except for the usual problems that a house over 100 years old would have. These problems bring up an entirely new set of problems...contractors! Wow I never knew the red tape and the aggravation that would have to be waded through to get things done and a family in a house!  Government regulations, bank requirements, and contractors who don't want to be bothered with either.

Tonight I am thankful for my memories of pennies, Madison's individuality and for friends, who even though they are going through a very rough spot in life, haven't given up. I am also prayerful for this family, their house search and their contractor search.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Greasy fingernails

As I type tonight with my greasy fingernails, I am thrilled to report we have a running (very well I might add) car-the toyota!!!!! Jason has worked so hard on our broken down buckets the last few weeks that this is a wonderful end to a long hot day! I helped today in hopes it would cut down on his time in the heat-besides I like to turn bolts every now and then! I cleaned the valve cover, put it back on, put the spark plugs back in, hooked the wires up, and re-attached the distributor cap. I couldn't even list all the stuff Jason did.

We will be tackling the cavalier's other issues next!

So we all know what I am thankful for tonight- MY CAR RUNS and I have Jason to thank!  (I am sure the prayers helped us along this journey, too)


Copied from facebook written February 2010
If you know me well, I am not sure which you will find more hard to believe....the fact I was in Walmart or the story I am about to share. I went to the Evil Empire today to buy a few little chocolate hearts and to get a small little present for Jason's birthday-which is valentine's day. As I stood in line an older fellow began to talk to me about how important oil is for your car and how you can't go to places like Walmart if you don't take care of your car's oil. Strange conversation even for a Walmart line. Anyway, he then told me that his blood was like the oil in a car and he took care of it (his bloodAND his oil apparently). Then he told me his blood was good and he would live to be 110 years old...I chuckled...but he was serious. I told him (trying not to be rude and trying to cover my chuckle) I wasn't so sure I wanted to live to be 110. He then told me he was afraid to die. Took me by surprise. I didn't miss a beat (God took over) and told him if he knew the Good Lord up above there was nothing to fear. He said I have a hard time believing in all that, hard to believe in something you can't even see. I (again didn't miss a beat-funny how God takes over) said do you believe there is wind? He said yes that is air. I asked can you see it? He said no but that is air and you can't see air...I said do you believe you must have air to live and breathe...and again can you see it? He got a little flustered with me...lol and hurried out. Please pray for this WalMart Oil Man...he needs the prayers (just as he needs air to breathe and Jesus to live eternally).

this is pretty ironic....I went to Walmart last night to pick up a couple of things we needed to finish painting our bedroom....and who do you think I see????? Walmart Oil Man!!!!! I couldn't believe it! I tried to catch up with him and tell him how many prayers had been said for him...but I couldn't get to hIM.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blog comments

I took the time to read the instructions...lol...and found out how to change the settings so that people can comment.....so comment away.  Hope it works!

101 uses for Rubber Bands

Today has been another interesting day at the Allen Homestead. I lost the car keys and spent 3 hours this morning looking for them.  The car still isn't fixed-wasn't for lack of effort, but we are thankful to have a truck that runs....so we arent completly stranded.  Madison learned how to type in the password-so now she can turn on the computer, type in her password and play pbs kids games....she is thrilled. I, of course, think she is growing to fast-bikes without training wheels and computer independence (well sort of)...too grown up for 4 years old. Speaking of too grown up...Amanda. She is turning into a young woman right before my eyes and she is wise beyond her years. I saw my Ty Ty today..."too pretty to be a boy" even with the blue and red mohawk.

I saw a friend today and we shared our black cloud stories...lots of laughs at egg fragranced chocolate milk and rubber bands. Who knew there were so many things you could do with rubber bands...Did you know there is actually a web site that lists 101 things to do with rubber bands? But let me assure you not ALL the uses were listed!  :)

Also talked to another friend on the phone and shared our black clouds. Amazing how God puts people in your life so unexpectly. She has lots of little "helping" hands at her house,that help make messes, and unorganize the once organized (I can so relate!). Her cloud today was perfectly organized paperwork that had been rearranged all over the floor! Even through all that, I know she is thankful for each and everyone of those "helping hands".

So today, even with a still broken car, even with messes all over the floor,even without my perfectly placed rubber band and even with eggy chocolate milk: I am thankful for many things: my hard working husband, my beautiful and very intelligent children, my friends and all the laughs we can have in midst of the turmoil we call life.

 God has truly blessed us all!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today is a New Day

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

- Mary Anne Radmacher

In the words of Mary Roddy, "WELL," the car still doesn't run. I guess I will have to "suck it up".  After all there is no way crying or worrying is going to fix the car. So today is a new day! We have decided that the head will have to be taken off of the Cavalier-yes a lot of work and prob a lot more money. The toyota will be pulled into the carport later today so the disassembling can begin. I am really hopeful that this one won't be as bad-but then again I was hopeful the Cavalier was going to start! 

Today my newly more independent teenage daughter took me to lunch and then out for ice cream. She even told me she had fun with me! She wanted to pay for all of it. :)  I asked what she wanted, what she had to tell me, and where was she wanting to go. Her answer "I don't have any other reason other than wanting us to go. We haven't done anything together in a long time".  Wow!  What a GREAT day!  We giggled and talked...it was wonderful. See the last 9 months or so have been very trying for us. She acted like she didn't like me very much-guess she didn't but hopefully she sees now (or later) that I was only looking out for her. 

My car and my relationship with my daughter relate to the quote above....I have said "i will try again tomorrow" in both situations...today a payoff....big smiles!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why would it?

Well, after almost 2 weeks waiting bolts to come from GM, $400+ in other parts, lots of aggravation, manual looking, internet searching and lots of hard work, my car is finally back together! The battery was dead by the time the last bolt was tighten, so we pushed it from the carport and hooked up the jumper cables to Jason's truck. We were anxiously waiting to hear the engine start up. The interior lights came on...yay! The aggravating buzzer thing started making its noise...yay! Finally, enough power for the locks to lock and unlock (something it does when the keys in and the doors open)....yay!  So here comes to moment we have looked so forward to...when I turn the key and hear it running. It wouldn't start...and just why would it? I mean nothing is ever that easy and simple for us, right? So tomorrow, a entire battery of tests to try and find out what is wrong now...

I forgot to point out my rainbow in the middle of my friend, the black cloud. Thankful for the time with Jason-he doesn't yell or get mad at me while working on the car like some men. Thankful and hopeful that we will find the problem tomorrow in the light.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


  I log onto facebook tonight to see this comment :  "I don't care what anyone thinks.....except my mama".  Well, son, if that was the case and the entire truth, why a mohawk? A little while later I check back. Tyler's status says that he did it (got the mohawk) and he LOVES it!  I just checked back in and there in full color on my computer screen is my precious 13 year old with his strawberry blonde mohawk! I don't know what to say....except I miss the shaggy blondie he was...and I guess I can thank my lucky stars he hasn't figured out how to dye it green (YET).

By the way, it's just hair..it grows back.

shaking my head none the less....wow what else can I find to be thankful for in the situation.....
1. it isn't green
2. it will grow back
 3. he will get tired of it soon, he is 13 after all
4. he is showing some of his mama's traits-I had the craziest hair styles/cuts in the 80s/90s (even crazier than what was "stylish").
5. the shaggy in his eyes style is gone (although I wish it were back)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Help! Help! This girl stole my car!

So before you ask...no it wasn't my car.  Afterall, who would want either of my cars?!?! I was on my way to town (lunch packed). There in the middle of the road was a guy waving his arms and screaming. I stopped and rolled down the window to see what was wrong. My first thought was that someone had had an accident. That wasn't the case. He began telling me that some girl had stolen his car and his paycheck was inside and then the introductions began. He told me his name and his grandfather's name and ask me to take him to his house, which was only about a mile away. I know what you are saying...I know you didn't take him anywhere...but I did. Before he got in the car, I punched in 911 in my cell phone in case I needed it, it would only be one push a way. I took him to the end of the road-the road he lived on. Suddenly he starts screaming "there she is!!" "there's my truck!". Before I could get stopped, he had opened the door and was out. Next thing I saw was him running into the middle of the road, screaming to this girl to move over so he could get in. Then the "GDs" started...he even screamed at her and told her that I witnessed her taking his truck and that I was on the phone with the police. Neither were true. I, of course, didn't want to be in the middle of anything. By this time I had put all the pieces together of the little things he was saying in the very short drive to his road. I think "this girl" was probably his girlfriend and while he was visiting his children she got bored and took his truck for a drive-don't think "stolen" was the case at all. As I drove away, I began thinking about the classmate that got shot and her situation and wondering what was going to happen to this woman. What was he going to do to her in his obvious anger? Was my inaction and not wanting to get involved going to put in her danger?  I came home and called a neighbor of this man's and asked that they check in on her because I didn't know what he was capable of  and I didn't want something to happen to her because I didn't want to get involved. Also after a little research, I found he has recently been arrested for meth.  Ok I have learned my lesson...no more picking up strangers!  My desire to help might get me in trouble...but hopefully today it got her help if she needed it.  Ahhh, life in a small town!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My funny little Madison

Beverly and I went to the thrift store today. Madison and Austin both were looking forward to spending some money. Madison tried to get everything she saw including a pair of 4 sizes to big roller skates! Finally she was happy with a book and a microphone.  You probably have seen those big microphones that echo when you talk into them.  She had to make a potty run when we got home and took her microphone with her. The entire time she was in the bathroom she was singing into her microphone. Not sure of exactly what she was singing, just made up little songs, I guess. Jason peeked in to see what she was doing. There she was perched on the potty, no pants, singing her little heart out!

In the blink of an eye (updated)

In a split second, your entire life can change. I was reminded of this today when I heard the news of a shooting in my county. A lady, who I didn't know personally but had heard her name before, was shot by someone who was supposed to love her. By reading the postings on facebook, I found out we went to the same high school. I also learned that she left behind children. This man who was supposed to love her took away their mother. Their lives will never be the same. This same man also shot a very young man who left behind a wife and two children. Their lives will never be the same.
Our laws regarding domestic violence need to be changed, but more importantly people need to change the way they live their lives and they way they raise their children. This man's anger and his behavior have caused two families more pain than they ever deserved to bear. If he had changed the way he responded to things he didn't like, he could have saved these two families a lot of suffering. Does it sound too simple?  Yes, maybe. But didn't these children deserve to grow up with their mother and father? Why wasn't that important to him? Why wasn't another person's life more important to him?
I will continure to pray for these two families but also for this man. He needs it. He needs his heart to be changed.
So today I am thankful for the non stop talking and question asking and the sweet little singing voice I heard coming from the bathroom; Call of Duty playing at top volume coming from the living room; the tearful phone call from a teenager when she got hurt; and for the text message I hope to get later saying my son loves me. I guess sometimes we need a reminder to be thankful for all the moments we share-even for the aggravating things.
Rest in peace Nicole "Peaches" Kingsborough and Deputy Roger Rice

Update: WSPA is reporting this: "
The magistrate says he did not know about the two prior criminal domestic violence charges because he did not have his criminal record when he made the decision.
While a recent state law says bond judges must have a copy of the suspect’s record when setting bond, Judge Tommy Copeland did not.
He says the jail did not provide him with a copy in Brown’s hearing and he did not think to ask because the law is relatively new.
Copeland says if he knew about the previous charges, he would have set his bond much higher."

 Much higher??? Really?? wouldn't take much to be higher than personal recognizance-where all it takes is this guy signature. Wow...this judge and our system really failed Nicole's family and Deputy Rice's family.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

God's Voice

Jason used to be a over the road truck driver. I was having a really depressing time after my mom died and couldn't stand the thought of being alone. I had my children but he was gone for weeks on end. When he got ready to leave for another long couple of weeks, I started to cry uncontrollably. He hated to leave but knew he had to because his job was our only source of income. He left. I cried. A couple of hours later he called to tell me that he had turned in his truck and was coming home.  WOW! then the tears really started to flow: how were we gonna make it? What were gonna do? How could he put us in this situation on top of my already depressed state especially without the prospect of any other job? When I went to pick him up I found out the answers. He said that once he got on the interstate he kept feeling this nagging feeling to turn his XM radio to a particular station. So he finally did even not know what that station even was (what kind of music or talk they played on the station). That is when he heard Andy Stanley talking about his new book, "Choosing to Cheat". He drove for an hour listening to what this book was about. It was about cheating your family by doing other things including working extended hours.  Your family, according to the radio, needed your time and not only the money. He said he then knew what he had to do. ...he knew I needed him, he knew the children needed him and that the Lord would provide us with whatever we needed but we just had to trust that. Jason then started applying for jobs...the one he got was a job that usually took about 6 weeks to get (after umpteen interviews, drug tests, physical tests, etc) and he was employed and working in about 4.  Did we struggle for those 4 weeks?  Yes but we made it...just like we had faith we would.

Falling limbs and broken down cars

About a month ago, my high mileage cavalier stopped working. We had the problem diagnosed by a mechanic. He said the timing chain had broken and with the 182K miles we would be better off not fixing it cause it would cost too much to fix it. Turns out it wasn't the timing chain but instead the guides had broken and the chain was so loose that it caused some damage to bolts,e tc. (bolts had to be ordered from GM and took 1 1/2 weeks to get here).  So I bought a beater from a friend -96 toyota with 214K miles.  thought it was great for two reasons: no car payment and toyotas last forever...ok at least it would last until we could afford a car payment. I took the toyota to get a couple of tires and an alignment..that is when the Highway Patrolman stopped me for an expired tag. When I bought the car we left it in my friends name for a couple of days until she could get back to get the title for me. She has forgotten to renew the tag since the car wasn't their main vehicle. She got back into town we signed the car over to me and I got the fine reduced! Yesterday, when I was on my way to run an errand, the toyota stopped...double yay!  Beverly and Brian went over to were the car was to try and figure out what was wrong with it.  guess what is wrong!  The timing belt...wooohooo! Beverly pulled it home for me with Brian steering the toyota. So now that Jason has the cavalier torn apart to replace the timing guides, chain and bolts ...I am still without a car since the toyota has broken its timing belt.  Last night, I hear a huge cracking sound and then a thud. I got up to see what it was. I huge limb broke off of our 100 year old pecan tree ( I don't know if it is that old but it is the biggest pecan tree I have ever seen) and is laying in the back yard.  Things I am thankful for: a husband who can fix the cars, even if it takes a long time (he is in school full time and works full time), brother in law and sister who were willing to stand in the 100 degree weather to see what was wrong and get the car home and that the limb didn't hit the house!

About me

I am Renita (in southern, it's Neater).  I am a stay at home mom of three children (Amanda 16; Tyler, 13 and Madison, 4); wife to Jason; full time student; occasional mechanic; cook; mediocre seamstress; ok you get the idea.  I live in the sticks (you have to pack a lunch to go to town) next door to my Daddy and my Wicked Step-Mother (it's ok, she calls me her red headed stepchild). We have three pets: Tinker Bell (and in the words of Madison) our "Jack Russell head and waa waaa body" dog, Daisy, our Beagle; and Choo Choo our herpes infested cat.  Btw, waa waa is Chihuahua in 4 year old speak...and Herpes in cats isn't because he has been naughty, it is because he has a virus that causes ulcers in his mouth and respiratory problems. I have two sisters; Beverly and Lisa. My Mama died 8 years ago from cancer. I have fibromyalgia and two broken down cars-right now anyway. I guess that is all for right now...

Why a Black Cloud as a friend??

I will explain the "black cloud".  My mother's family from time to time would say that if anything bad that could happen would happen to them and called it the black cloud. I find this to be true in my life almost on a daily basis. Just like a friend my black cloud is present everyday.  Let me make this clear...I talk about my black cloud in an entirely jokingly way. I laugh about most things, even when they are bad....it's all going to be alright. My faith is such that the Lord will provide and even if I don't know how in the world we are going to fix whatever has happened, he knows. So please any of my bad things that I mention, know that I am laughing and remaining faithful while I am typing!  And please LAUGH because I am!

"He that is afraid of bad luck will never know good"  -Russian Proverb

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.