Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Three Wise Men: Redeemed Life Lessons from The Christmas Journey

 “When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.”

-Mathew 2:9-12 (NKJV)

While this Scripture only tells us a portion of the story, we know these three Magi traveled a great distance to see the Messiah in person and offer these expensive treasures in tribute. As a precious metal, for this time period in history, gold makes for beautiful jewelry, adornments, and other decorative signs of wealth. Cultivated as perfume made from trees in Arabia and India, frankincense was also extremely valuable. For different purposes, compared to frankincense, myrrh originates from plants in Arabia and even some parts of Ethiopia, which then becomes utilized for anointment and embalming purposes (Hampshire, 2020).

Even though carrying precious cargo, these Magi concentrated on the journey to their final destination before returning to their homelands. (1.) The first lesson exhibited by the wise men includes the following: They Stayed Focused on The Priority. Nothing altered their fixation on the star that rested over Jesus in a manger. (2.) Secondly, this fixation, without distractions or delays, leads to our next revelation: God Guides the Chosen to Their Destination. The Holy Spirit is the blazing light that guides us personally through life, much like a comet gleaming on a clear night. We focus on the Spirit, listen, and watch for signs of direction at the guideposts or forks in the road as part of the journey. 

(3.) Thirdly, God Protects the Chosen on Their Journey. King Herod sought to kill this baby, whom God gave to Joseph and Mary through divine providence and intervention. Herod even asked the three Magi to return to him so that he may personally visit the Messiah’s location and worship him. However, angels exposed Herod’s lies through a dream the wise men experienced before meeting Herod in Bethlehem. The wise men returned home upon a different path, rather than the one they originally came from to eventually meet Jesus in the stables. Through a vision of miraculous wonder, God protected these Magi after they presented these exquisite offerings to Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. Bestowed with this new direction, they returned home with miraculous stories to then share with their own people. As chosen travelers, God guided and protected these wise men in their long-awaited pilgrimage to meet Jesus.  

(4.) Perhaps the fourth lesson matters most, speaking to our hearts, depending on your current venture: With Sincere Hearts, You Receive More Than You Give. Renowned Pastor John Piper (n.d.) vividly describes this life lesson with these words:

The gifts are intensifiers of desire for Christ himself in much the same way that fasting is. When you give a gift to Christ like this, it’s a way of saying, “The joy that I pursue… is not the hope of getting rich with things from you. I have not come to you for your things, but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify and demonstrate by giving up things, in the hope of enjoying you more, not things. By giving to you what you do not need, and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, ‘You are my treasure, not these things’” (par. 4).

The giving process becomes the aim to serve God and other people with sincere hearts and intentions. It is not necessarily the materialistic items we gain in the Christmas season from the generosity of loved ones. While we should not overlook these gracious blessings and gifts, our delight remains in the Lord and knowing that we offer our best to Him.

Simultaneously, as believers of Jesus Christ and sinners of humanity, we will inevitably falter in this giving process, thinking of ourselves instead of Him. However, the birth of a Son welcomes redemption to celebrate and receive more through sanctity and eternal salvation. The bloodshed on the cross first began with the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. Therefore, we receive far more than we, as humans, could ever give with the gracious gift of God's Son shown to us. Somehow, in wisdom, these three Magi knew and realized this truth as they pursued the shining light of a guiding star. They stayed focused on Jesus. God guided the wise men. God protected them. And finally, God gave us more than we could ever possibly comprehend or even ask for, the sacrifice of His very own Son.

Merry Christmas, everyone! And as always, thank you for reading this special blog entry this holiday season.


Hampshire, R. (2020, Dec. 1). What is the Significance of the Three Wise Men and Their Gifts?

Piper, J. (n.d.). John Piper Devotional: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Bible Gateway.

#daddydestinations #daddy #dad #blog #family #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative #inspiration #JamesCartee #Christmas #MerryChristmas #lifelessons #3WiseMen #3Magi #ThreeWiseMen #ThreeMagi

Monday, November 8, 2021

Halloween Porgs and Yogurt Faces – A Father’s Special Moments!

When I present these blog updates on fun-filled family life, please remember that we reside in Knoxville, Tennessee. The city of Knoxville is located in East Tennessee, not far from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

My daughter, Annabelle, recently experienced her second Halloween celebration (now 15 months old). If you look closely at the pictures below, you will notice the theme of our joint family outfits. Annabelle dressed up as a porg from the Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. You can witness this unique creature in the included video of this blog entry. On the Eve of Halloween, we attended two trunk-or-treats at two different Baptist churches. The next evening, Halloween Day, we joined John-Mark Chesney and his family (a close friend from my undergraduate days at Clemson University) for a brief trick-or-treat walk in the evening. Given we are still somewhat new to Knoxville, it was nice to be around another family that always welcomes us into their home. We are truly blessed in this relationship!

In addition to Halloween moments, Annabelle has recently become obsessed with any and every kind of yogurt. If she sees anyone eating yogurt without sharing it, you will soon have to succumb to her begs and whimpers for a taste. In the photos featured below, I left my yogurt container on the ground alone for just a few seconds to grab a spoon. With haste, Annabelle devoured the treat with both hands into the yogurt cup and then into her mouth, thus having the snack all over her face as well. Her taste buds would not wait another second. She needed yogurt now! And she certainly was delighted with the decision to dive in headfirst.

At the finish of another fall semester in my Ph.D. program (second year), I find myself more anxious and stressed out than the usual weekly routine. The due dates for final papers, conference presentations, research studies, and other graduate projects pile up at the end of the term before the Christmas holiday break. These special moments, like Halloween events or yogurt splurges instantly dissolve any apprehensive feelings I once had with the joy they create. It is as if my insecurities go away and suddenly no longer exist. Those uneasy emotions disappear in the distraction of a wonderful occurrence, meaning the experiences of porg costumes and yogurt-filled faces.

Is life not the same way? We live for a brief time, and then we pass. In a hundred years from now, do you think our descendants will be talking about that time Great, Great Granddad stressed out in his doctoral program? In other words, perhaps our trivial worries are not as monumental as we make them out to be. Life goes on. We take things a little less seriously and smile in those good moments.

Remember your life is comparable to a brief water mist. The vapor from a waterfall closely dissipates in the same second it appears. Is the stress worth it? Are the out-of-control emotions worth the cost of sacrificing your joy or succumbing to fear? Remember this Bible verse the next time these shaky feelings arise and enjoy today because that is what matters most right now. Throw away the wasted energy! Realize you are where you need to be in the present moment. That is where you live. That is where you reside. Therefore, let your being dwell there, confidently knowing that life is short but, oh, so sweet.  

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

James 3:13-14 (NIV)

Please see the mentioned Halloween porg costumes and yogurt-face headshots below.

#daddydestinations #daddy #dad #blog #family #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative #inspiration #JamesCartee #Halloween #yogurt #lifelessons


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Poetry Book Publication Announcement (Available For Purchase) – All His Gifts: Poems on Love, Life, Loss

Even though this poetry collection has been finished with only a few suggested edits left to complete, this book sat on a shelf for approximately two years. Endorsements had been collected, and the foreword had even been written by Dr. Eric Hauser.

If a reading audience cannot enjoy the words of an author’s major work, then the potential to impact a life and possibly change it for the better will never occur. So, eventually, after I realized unread words were no good to anyone, I sought to finish and publish my latest fourth major anthology of poetry, All His Gifts, for its recent market release.  

While finding hope in the love I developed for my wife, Lisa, All His Gifts chronicles my personal journey experiencing loss amidst self-discovery of lessons learned of what would shape me into the person I am today. Even with setbacks and turmoil, eventually, the celebration of life's best moments outshines the doubts that sometimes linger in our souls. The light triumphs to bring forth beautiful imagery in a sea of revealed irony through the formation of a new spiritual identity.     

I invite you to join me on this exploration where poetic words serve as my voice in overcoming difficult situations. Hope eventually resounds as God’s Good Graces become evident through a burgeoning romance that leads to marriage and inevitably the birth of my beautiful daughter, named Annabelle Merci. The words of this book will resonate with a devout believer of Jesus Christ or anyone who appreciates the expression of creative words. Dive in; cuddle up in a warm blanket next to the fire in the coolness of this fall season; and realize that love and loss combined define the greatest moments life has to offer us!

I owe many thanks to Wally and Betty Turnbull of Light Messages Publishing. This book project would not have come to its completion without their assistance to make it a reality. I want to also express my gratitude to Teri McLaren for permission to use her beautiful artwork on the book cover (from the Teton Valley in Driggs, Idaho). Naturally, I wish to give thanks to God for giving me the means and relationships to traditionally publish this book.   

If interested in purchasing my new book, please visit the Amazon listing here with this link. If you enjoy the read, please leave a positive review for others to observe and appreciate.

Here are some blurb-endorsements of praises for what other known authors, speakers, and public figures are saying about All His Gifts.

“When I first met James at The Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit, he was generous and kind, and I have seen James grow both as a person and writer since that first meeting. His writing is honest, and the sacrificial love he has for his wife, Lisa, is evident. Love prevails in the face of adversity, and James’s love is raw as he agonizes through depression and failures to express the feelings we all face in life. I relate to his creativity, and I am convinced all readers will feel his expressions on a deeply personal and relevant level as I have.”

—John Sowers, Ph.D., Author of The Heroic Path and Fatherless Generation

“Stephen King described writing as refined thinking. If that is true, then poetry must be refined feeling. Christian poetry is considered by some to be a lost art, but in All His Gifts: Love, Life, Loss, James Cartee bares his soul without an ounce of self-consciousness through this moving collection of southern fried slam poetry. This time-jumping collection touches on everyday themes experienced in life by all readers. I felt the pain, sorrow, and happiness of the author in his personal walk with Christ, and, for a brief moment, I even knew what it was like to be James Cartee.”

—Justin Gabriel, Author of Kings of the Promised Land

“‘Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced’ says Soren Kierkegaard. The living of life is seasoned by times of pain, joy, betrayal, loss, and love. James Cartee opens his heart and mind, inviting his readers along his intimate journey as he explores the path God laid before him. Throughout, he celebrates the good and bad, the ugly and beautiful moments. With his words, he weaves a tapestry of human existence, reminding us all that heartbroken tears and the heart-skipping beat of love-at-first-sight exist seconds away from each other. His message rings true and clear. Though the path may be bumpy, God stays with us on the ride, offering his great gifts of love, hope, and rest in Him.”

—Donna Mumma, B.A.E., M.Ed, Writer

#poetry #AllHisGifts #inspiration #love #life #loss #JamesCartee #familypoetry #Christianpoetry #inspirationalpoetry

Friday, October 8, 2021

Marriages Vows, Blessed Reminders, and Blissful Wonders

Each passing day I cannot help but stare into the eyes of my beautiful Annabelle, thinking “I must be the luckiest man on Earth to have you as a daughter!” This routine gesture constantly reminds me that she was birthed from the love of a dear and blessed marriage to an amazing woman, my wife, Lisa Joy Cartee. In these moments of blissful wonder, I often go back to read my marriage vows that were recited at our wedding party, ceremony, and reception in May of 2017.

These vows serve as a keepsake of unity and a reminder of God’s grace when I met Lisa for the first time. Sometimes, amidst a crazy busy day, I intentionally take a minute to reflect and remember that our most precious gifts should not be taken for granted. The past defines who we eventually become up to the present. We, as individuals, cannot forget those who stood by us with unflinching certainty and sound dedication when we needed a support system during adverse times. These are the folks we should keep around for many decades to come. In addition to my immediate family, that special someone for me is Lisa, who eventually birthed my next favorite extraordinary person, Annabelle Merci Cartee.   

For your viewing pleasure, please read the following marriage vows.

Marriage Vows – James and Lisa Cartee

Saturday, May 20, 2017

“To those of you attending today, thank you for coming. Thank you for supporting and believing in this marriage.

For as long as my affections for Lisa have existed, she never, and I mean never gave up on me. Her persistence is one of her most captivating qualities. It was I, James L. Cartee, III, who wanted to let go. Lisa would not have it. She would not let go of who she called ‘her best friend.’

While one might say the boy wins over the girl, here in this story, the girl won over the boy. And that devotion would be the reason that my life changed forever!

In life, I often talk of things I should have done before my present age, such as obtaining a doctoral degree, which is a destructive and negative exercise to be so self-critical. However recently these thoughts seem to be less and less. If anything in the timeline of my life had shifted in a different direction, I would not have met the best part – Lisa Joy Cartee. Things do indeed happen in God’s good timing.

That sometimes feels like where my real story began, the day I knew Lisa was the one. Of course, do remember how hard she fought for me. Any woman that fights that long and hard is one worth having.

Therefore I will thank God daily for His Grace, His Mercy, and His Willingness to bless me with Lisa. I have walked through the darkest of mental valleys where no light seemed present in a cave that never ended. As uncertain temptations clouded my mind, Lisa shined, sometimes as a lightning bug, sometimes as an oncoming train. She pulled me out of the darkness where eventually I embraced the light once again. One step, one day at a time, Lisa was the constant reminder of God’s eternal love. In the dimness of a perfect night storm at sea, Lisa was the lighthouse that brought my sinking sailboat back to shore.

Like my Cartee clan of support, Lisa serves as an example and driving force of why I continue on those down days. She gives me hope that everything will be okay. Lisa remains calm and courageous. She cares for the welfare of those suffering with compassion and never-ending patience. With both a beautiful spirit and figure, Lisa is my wife, my prayer partner, my best friend, and my teammate. With God by our side, we are unstoppable! We are champions destined for greatness and abundant blessings! Like Lisa fought for me in my most desperate hour, I love her, and I am here with her until the end of the line.”  

For a flashback on this special day, these are some photos from the wonderful marriage occasion! 

#marriage #marriagevows #vows #celebration #lifejourney #DaddyDestinations #blog #family #adventures

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Missing My Girls! ~A Narrative of Appreciation

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

-Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)

Just this past week, my wife, Lisa, took Annabelle to Austin, Texas so they could visit with Grandma Silvia (a.k.a. Grandma Silky), which I am sure was an interesting experience for my daughter, to say the least.

I must admit that the house is much quieter, and moments seem to move a little slower with my family gone. I definitely miss their presence around me, and I might even potentially miss the chaos constantly in motion. The house remains clean. The silence of a home environment seems almost too good to be true, especially when I need to get work done or study for my doctoral program. Funny how the nature of this dualistic reality works – when immediate family is present, we sometimes wish they were absent to get things done. However, when they are gone for an extended period, our heart clings to have our loved ones back, somewhere near us.

In the form of relationships, we often take for granted the people we assume will continue to be here every day. The blessings that life gives us means that life can also take them away instantaneously. For instance, people eventually die, leaving precious relationships behind, only to be reunited at another eternal time in the future.

Induration, this timeframe with Lisa’s visit to Texas is the longest I have been separated from Annabelle since her birth. Her missed presence shows how much she truly is a source of joy and my sunshine on a cloudy day. It feels a little lonely without my girls here with me in our home.

It does not matter how bad I feel or what might be consuming my mind. Annabelle’s smile makes a lonely day that much better, giving me the ability to focus on my child and not so much on myself. Our attention given to serving others draws forth positive energy that can only lead to other positive outcomes. Perhaps that is why Christ fixated his attention on others in service to them. He felt positive vibes in the act of doing so.

When Lisa and Annabelle return this week, I hope their absence will be a reminder of how truly fortunate I am to have each of them in my life. They sure are my closest support system since we still do not know many folks in Knoxville, where we now live. In a sense, I would even call Lisa and Annabelle my best friends. I hope a grateful heart lives in the realization of just how amazing they are when I can see and experience their presence on a daily basis.

(Annabelle loves to play with Daddy on the floor where her toys take over the entire living room.)

(Annabelle thinking, “Who is ready to cook these eggs for breakfast?”)

(Annabelle loves to eat, party, and dance while we play the game, Singo, at one of our favorite local spots in Knoxville, Calhoun’s Restaurant.)

(Annabelle thinking, “Is that the theme song from the movie, Frozen, I hear again on the TV? I love this tune!”)

#daddydestinations #daddy #dad #blog #family #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative #inspiration #JamesCartee

Friday, August 20, 2021

Annabelle's First Birthday Celebration....A once-in-a-lifetime occasion!

 “Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.
That is why it’s called the present.”
-Master Oogway, from the movie, Kungfu Panda.

On August 14, 2021, we celebrated Annabelle’s first birthday party. She was blessed in many ways by close friends and family, including several presents, some of which were very fancy. In addition to my parents (a.k.a. G-Daddy and CeCe), my sister, Allison, her husband, Bryan, and their two sons, Ayden and Brogan, attended the celebration. Their presence made for a wonderful occasion! Times like these only come once in a lifetime. While Annabelle will have more birthdays, she only turns one once.

As Annabelle gets a little older, she has become more conversational with baby talk, even though only speaking a few consistent words. Therefore it was amazing to see my nephews interact and play with her! Rather than just holding a baby, they were involved in the moment, like acting in a community theater with three stars of the show.

Allison and Bryan bought a baby sports center for Annabelle that involved a miniature basketball goal and soccer net, which speaks with an enthusiastic voice and shines disco lights for successful points scored. Annabelle was all smiles as the family cheered her on with each basket and goal scored. Ayden was her biggest fan!

Annabelle recently learned to crawl approximately around the time of her birthday. Becoming more mobile has certainly shown her incredible, developing athletic skills! Annabelle has also started dancing. She raises her hands in the air and twists her hips from side to side. These moves especially occur when she hears Baby Shark or the introduction song to the television cartoon, Clifford, The Big Red Dog.

The first crawling of a child and the birthday celebrations with family make occasions worth remembering to cherish now and in the future. Master Oogway reminds us that today is a true gift of wonder, not to be taken for granted. Therefore moments like these necessitate the utmost focus to realize just how magnificent life can ultimately be, even if occurring in the middle of adverse circumstances.    

My mind often tends to ponder all sorts of business and responsibilities, but for these special moments, I try to solely focus on the activity at hand. This is not an easy task but is essential for the enjoyment of now. Two big-picture realizations have helped me stay in the present of my current moment. First, one must not take oneself (our internal voice) too seriously. This idea includes self-compassion. I, for one, struggle to show myself grace, however if God shows all Christians who claim the name of Jesus grace, then we should also do the same for ourselves. In other words, be kind to yourself, even when you make mistakes.  

Second, one must also not take life too seriously. One truth we know about the future is that many outside forces remain out of our control. Therefore, why give those future worries and concerns all the energy drawn forth? If a person stays serious all the time, it destroys the joy of the moment in front of us. Life goes by in the blink of an eye, so fast, so quick. Part of me cannot believe my little girl was born a year ago. Points in time flash before our eyes. Let's not miss the most important occasions, like birthdays to be celebrated. Those moments are meant to be cherished.   

When I sit, breathe deeply, and try to clear my mind, I bring my own current space that I am occupying into my present reality. Whether through prayer, meditation, or just sitting still, I would challenge you to do this for a few days and see how you feel. Perhaps then you will be reminded not to take life or yourself a little too seriously. Moments won't just pass by. Those precious seconds, making memories with those we hold dear, will be the most meaningful elements of your life.  

For your viewing pleasure, here below are the latest pictures from Annabelle’s recent first birthday weekend.

("This cake is so yummy!" -Annabelle)

(Annabelle and Mama Lisa opening gifts.)

(Annabelle plays with her cousins, Ayden and Brogan.)

(Annabelle looks beautiful in her special birthday dress.)

(Annabelle with grandparents, CeeCee and G-Daddy Cartee.)

("I am really considered twelve months old, not one year old, hence the sign." -Annabelle)

("G-Daddy, stop tickling my feet!" -Annabelle)

("Man, my cousin is so tall! I can never shoot the ball over him!" -Annabelle)

#daddydestinations #daddy #dad #blog #family #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative #inspiration #JamesCartee

Monday, August 9, 2021

Going Through the Motions? How Children Remind You of More….To Live Like You Were Dying!

Going Through the Motions? How Children Remind You of More….
To Live Like You Were Dying!

"And he said....'I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying'
And he said
'Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying' "

-Tim McGraw, lyrics from the song, Live Like You Were Dying

You might sometimes catch yourself thinking, “Is there more to life than just this routine?” Or perhaps you might even say to yourself, in going through the motions, “Why am I here when none of this really matters?” We have all been subject to roles and responsibilities that cause us to simply walk through the motions and live in the doldrums of dryness and monotony.

While one might be able to argue if a job matters or, on the other hand, does not matter much at all outside of a paycheck, the principles of parenthood, mentorship, relationships, and community remain paramount both now and tomorrow. Small moments with loved ones signify the times that make you want to “live like you were dying.”   

When a situation seems bleak, do you remember the most important things in your life as opposed to the daily burdens of responsibility that make one question everything? For example, I sometimes feel frustrated when people make decisions for me, on my behalf, that do not make sense for all that are affected, which directly influences the role I play and thus my enjoyment of that role. Those scenarios  impact me and those who must follow the specific policies in place, often for the self-interests of those who implement them. In other words, the interests serving the whole group are not the primary reasons or motivations for the decisions being rendered but rather only the self-indulgence of one or two people. 

I get caught up in my disappointment with unmet expectations of what could be better. Emotions of anger, disappointment, and frustration can become misleading, even when so much good exists in the possibilities right in front of us. Positive thoughts lead to positive words that then lead to positive actions.

As Lisa and I are about to celebrate Annabelle's one-year birthday, my daughter’s smile reminds me to stay present in the moment I currently live in. Her positive vibes dancing to Motown music at Singo nights (Bingo with popular music titles) in a local Knoxville restaurant, hands in the air, waving them like we just don’t care, could certainly be the focus of my attention over the bore of a routine. Memories of her smile, much like Peter Pan and his son, Jack (plot from the movie, Hook), take me to my happy place, and it becomes essential that I do not forget that. And so, Annabelle has taught me some valuable lessons when I start walking through the motions of a routine, without focusing on or living for the moments that truly matter.

First, we must learn to focus on the joy of the incredible days more so than the disappointments of organizational wishful thinking. We cannot control the actions and decisions of others, even when those circumstantial compromises make no sense whatsoever.

Second, every time a negative thought enters our mind, we must make a legitimate effort to temper that negativity with seven positive notions of good things, those good things that bring you effortless joy. The obvious entity here would be Jesus. Try declaring how much Jesus rocks or how much God loves you seven times for every minute that looming negative sentiment comes forward. 

Third, remember when and where God has shown up in the past, especially during those times of defined miracles in your life. We are quick to forget these blessings when our gloomy feelings get the best of us. God must have done something miraculous and good in your life. Jog your memory. Dig deep within and write it down. Remember the good He has done and the good He continues to do.  

I will be the first to admit that life is not always super exciting and that I sometimes catch myself walking through life without much appreciation or acknowledgment for the intangible gifts blessed upon me. Life then becomes routine. It becomes uneventful. It becomes a walk through the motions of boredom and obligation. Try to catch yourself in these times of redundancy. Remember the three lessons Annabelle has taught me with consistent reminders. Focus on the incredible days. Counter mental negativity with internal positive statements. Remember when God showed up in your life and miracles were abundant. Then, eventually, joy will come again along with a sincere smile on your face. Yes, even though there is a time of waiting, joy eventually comes again.

Below you will see evidence from some the most recent Annabelle moments that remind me to "live like I was dying." This journey called life only comes once. Try to enjoy the path while you have it good, sometimes better than you might even realize.

(Annabelle with G-Daddy at the Townsend Gateway Inn, celebrating James's birthday.)

(Annabelle with Mommy and Daddy at Riverstone Restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee, celebrating James's birthday.)

(Annabelle with G-Daddy and Cece at Riverstone Restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee, celebrating James's birthday.)

                             (Annabelle loves eating at Riverstone Restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee.)

                        (Annabelle enjoys her round full belly at Riverstone Restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee.)

(Caption: "I like to eat donuts in the morning.")

(Caption: "My hair looks best when I wake up in the morning.")

(Caption: "I bet you just want to hug me!")

(Caption: "Man, you better give me a hi-five!")

#daddydestinations #daddy #dad #blog #family #DaddiesAndDaughters #destinations #memories #story #narrative #inspiration #JamesCartee