(Annie, Lisa, and I are walking on the beaches at Hunting Island State Park. You can see the tip of the famous lighthouse in the background.)
I count each additional day that I get to spend time
with my daughter, Annabelle, to be a precious blessing. Her smiles cause my
heart to freeze with joy each time I sense her evident happiness.
Life is short, and as humans, we often
become what we concentrate our attention on the most. For instance, if I
constantly complain about trivial details in my life, then I will probably have
a slightly negative disposition towards my life. On the other hand, if I speak
positively of every circumstance in my life, then naturally I will probably
love life, even amid tragedies. There is good to be found in every situation if
you seek the good things you wish for. We become what our thoughts most dwell
on, psychologically, emotionally, and perhaps even spiritually.
Life potentially develops into what you expect will
happen. And of course, sometimes the unexpected happens but not necessarily in
a bad way. If we ask God to bless us, then we can optimistically expect those
requests to come to fruition. Believe they will occur. I speak these life wishes
into verbal statements of self-affirmation over and over and over again. You transform
yourself into the thoughts you give the most attention to, positive or negative
Like the positive person I hope Annabelle continues to
be through her continual giggles and smiles, she probabilistically emulates the
people she spends the most time with, her parents. For the first time this past
week, Annabelle experienced the feel of beach sand, a lighthouse climb of multiple
stairs, and her feet against ocean waves. I choose to focus my attention on her
first nervous steps in the cold waves (positive), rather than the observation
that the weather was not exactly ideal (negative). I hope to fixate on my rare
moments with family I only see a couple of times a year (positive), rather than
some of their relative tendencies to slightly annoy me (negative).
While partaking in my beach vacation, for instance, I
was given a brief lecture on how Lisa and I should be raising Annabelle. I have
noticed that many folks willingly give advice, even when not requested. If a
cynic focuses only on cynical commentary, then their continual self-indulgent
need to give advice will neither come across as positive or constructive. It is
just painful on the ears forced to listen. Hence James 1:19 reminds us of the
following: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone
should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
I hope Annabelle is raised to realize, live, and know
the humility of when to listen and when to speak (thriving with a James 1:19
mentality). Walking on the beach provides a majestic opportunity to listen to the
crashes of waves and the voices of nature with seagulls soaring in a place
called home, meaning Fripp Island, South Carolina. My family has journeyed to
Fripp Island every summer for the last 50 years, not missing one year in that
streak. This continual tradition is quite an impressive blessing! I gasp in the
awes of island sunsets and beach sunrises in this marvelous place on an annual
I will acknowledge and concentrate on the fact that
each new year at Fripp Island is better than the previous one. My positive
mentality in the present will actively transform into my positive mentality for
the future. Each day that passes can be better than the previous day. I suppose
it is just a matter of how you look at life and the present moment you live in.
What do you give most of your mental attention to? Because that focused energy
will be the force you generate throughout your life, positive or negative,
optimistic or cynical. I hope that Annabelle lives with moments at Fripp Island
where her Daddy laughs and smiles more than anyone else in the room with true
joy. The sand between my toes is the positive sensation I will remember and
give thanks for as my daughter builds her first sandcastles.
I am no longer the glass-half-empty kind of guy.
Annabelle helps me be a glass-half-full father for the future. She constantly
reminds me of what is most important in life, experienced memories, a
relationship with Jesus, and family.
And of course, here at some of our favorite photographed
moments with Annabelle at Fripp Island.
(Annie with CeeCee at the Lost Local Restaurant in
downtown Beaufort, South Carolina, my mom.)
(Annie wakes up at the beach house in the morning. Mornings
are usually the time for her best, cheerful moods….a.k.a. fun to be around.)