Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Greatest Christmas Miracle Possible – Annabelle Merci!


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

-Luke 2:15-19 (NIV)

Having my firstborn child with me to celebrate her first Christmas was the best part of my holiday. Even though only four months and probably unable to comprehend the significant meaning of Christmas, Annabelle still made the days special with her own unique smiles and smirks. The holiday season becomes even more meaningful when you have a wonderful wife and child to share those moments with. 

Spending time with close loved ones and friends, especially your own children, create stand still moments that remind us to cherish the present reality in front of us. The captured photograph grows into the essence of a thousand heartfelt words. Annabelle smiles, and it literally feels like time freezes in that instance. The worries of the world melt away, and not much else seems to matter other than that specific cherished memory. My baby girl is happy, and the pressures of tomorrow seem a little less stressful.

Like a shepherd protecting his herd of sheep, Jesus speaks of His children with fondness in Mark 10-:13-16, which states the following: “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”

On Jesus’s birthday, the natural feeling of stillness in the midst of joy through the eyes of a child is the message of Christmas. Understanding the world from the perspective of a child reveals simple truths in complex circumstances.

(1.) For instance, life is short. So appreciate each moment as if your last.

(2.) The stressors of life are probably not all that important in the first place.

(3.) Be grateful for the blessings in front of you. You might miss the bigger picture if pinpointing one negative focused detail you obsess over.

(5.) Life is just too short to be stressed by the small stuff. Except for the concerns of our children and immediate family members, everything else is small stuff.

There are many other good truthful reminders Christians should celebrate when living in the presence of the Holy Spirit. By staying focused on the here and now, we take on the mindset of a child. The external cares of this world matter not. The enjoyment of today matters most.

Feel the soft blanket that keeps you warm in the comfortable home around you. Smell the bonfires in the coolness of the winter air. See the beauty of a white Christmas in the snowflakes that fall. Witness the miracles standing in front of you. Find joy like a child experiencing her first Christmas days. Then every moment will feel like a first, and newfound meaning will invigorate your heart. You will remember what made Christmas the greatest miracle of all time with a baby found in a manger because your own child will remind you of this reality. Annabelle is the best Christmas present received in the miracle that sits before me in my very own arms.

You can view the latest pictures of my beautiful daughter here below. 

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#destinations #memories #story #narrative

Thursday, December 17, 2020

“There Ain’t No Party Like the Cartee Party!” -UNCLE CALHOUN COMES TO TOWN! Meeting Annabelle….

Upon his arrival this past weekend, arguably my best friend, Mathew Calhoun started singing his favorite tune, “Ain’t no party like the Cartee party because the Cartee party don’t stop!” Mathew possesses the joy of a thousand sunny days, and his good vibes positively rub off on the people around him. Mathew’s natural disposition to smile and laugh all the time provides a contagious feeling that makes one feel warmth in the current moment. 

While Mathew often travels just to spend time with Lisa and myself, his main intention with this trip was to meet Annabelle. My daughter instantly cuddled up against Mathew’s chest as he held her in his arms for the first time. As Annabelle expressed her usual big smiles, instantly she seemed comfy in Mathew’s grasp. Annabelle obviously has an excellent intuition about good people.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of Mathew is consistency. Mathew consistently stays present in our lives. Besides family, thus far, he is the only friend that visited us in Knoxville, Tennessee. Not that our other close friendships are not as equally important, Mathew just shows up, and there is honor in being present at important moments in the lives of friends and family.     

We, as a society, live in an unusual time where relationships and community remain pivotal. While health and safety linger as a priority for our given families, I prefer that my daughter, Annabelle, does not live with continual fear in the midst of overexaggerated media claims and inconsistent political leadership. I hope that Annabelle lights a fire in her own path to successful outcomes, achieved dreams, and newfound aspirations. Therefore she must live to leap. She must be inspired to take a chance. She must persevere when the storms come. And Mathew Calhoun will make sure she does just that. That is kind of legend this man lives, large shoes to fill, consistently there when you need him to be.   

Uncle Mathew will show Annabelle what true joy looks like. He will show her how love serves. And perhaps most importantly, he will show her how to live courageously in the wake of fear, regardless of what the rest of society chooses to do. 

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

-Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)

Here are some of the latest photos of Annabelle, including Mathew’s visit.

#daddydestinations #daddy #blog #family #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative