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.
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