Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Four Years Old

Today marks the fourth birthday of Kaylee Ruth Blackwell.  I love this girl.  Her big sister, Kelsey is in the background of this picture, and as you can tell, is much older.  Kaylee is a true blessing and if her brother, Brock, hadn't been born almost six years ago, we wouldn't have Kaylee.  After the Brock "surprise," Beth and Kelly (Mommy and Daddy) decided to have another one so Brock wouldn't be alone, given his brother and sister were teenagers.  Two years later, Kaylee was born.  This picture is from last year's Mickey and Minnie Mouse Birthday party and her "Ariel" birthday party is this weekend.

I have a lot of adopted nieces and nephews.  Being an only child and single, I don't have children and no true nieces and nephews by marriage.  So when sweet ones like this cutie call me "Aunt Rose," I melt.

Yesterday her Mom called to share this conversation she and Kaylee had that morning...

Kaylee:  Mommy, do you have any sisters?
Mommy:  No, Kaylee, I just have one brother, Uncle Dave.
Kaylee:  I have a sister!
Mommy:  Yes, you do.  You know, Mommy has someone that is like a sister.  You know Aunt Rose?  
Kaylee:  Yes!
Mommy:  You call her Aunt Rose because I love her like she is my sister.  Even though we have different parents, we're like sisters.  
Kaylee:  YAY, we have TWO sisters!

Doesn't get much more precious than that folks. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Great I Am

There may be nothing that can jump start my soul than a good worship song.  With the cold weather and, well, it's a Monday, this song makes my heart sing.  And it's a performance from our church's Worship Night in September 2013.  I know I'm biased, but I love our worship more than I can express.  They take us before the throne of God like this every week.  This performance, however, hit a record decibel level.  "There is no power in hell, or any who can stand, before the power and the presence of the Great I AM."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What Can Thaw a Frozen Heart

I'm truly over the winter cold.  I'm normally fairly content with the seasonal changes experienced here in the Ohio Valley, but this single digit/sub-zero temperature laced with snow and ice has stayed quite long enough, thank you. It dawned on me yesterday that I'd enjoy this much more if I could have a sparkly dress like Elsa in the movie Frozen and wave my hand to freeze things at will.  Or if I had Olaf by my side to make me laugh.  But, alas, neither has happened, and the closest I'll get to a sidekick named Olaf is if I get a dog and name him that one day.  

If you haven't seen Frozen yet, go.  If for no other reason than it's cold and it will make you love winter for the hour and a half you are in the warm theater.  It's another beautifully produced story by the geniuses at Disney about the two daughters of the King and Queen of Arendelle.  One, Elsa, is cursed with the ability to freeze everything she touches and is separated from her sister, Anna, to protect her from hurting Anna.  The movie is replete with endearing characters and stunning music (the soundtrack is worth the $6.99 download on iTunes).  The movie ends (spoilers ahead!) when Anna is slowly freezing and soon to freeze to death when Elsa is able to break the spell by her love for Anna.  An act of love will thaw a frozen heart.

It's a story that hails a theme we hear often conquers can melt the hardest heart.  As I do, I like to see Jesus in every movie I watch and this one is no exception.  Our hearts are hard, frozen.  We are born sinful and rebellious, wanting to live our own way.  But God loved us so much that He embraced us in the warm hug of Jesus' sacrificial life to soften our heart and let Him come in as ruler of our lives.  An act of love that can thaw a frozen heart.  On the coldest of days, both physically and emotionally, I know my Savior loves me.  I know He is holding me and embracing me with a love that will never let go.  That is why God is love.  He is the One who can thaw a truly frozen heart.

Friday, January 03, 2014

2014: Be Intentional

In lieu of resolutions, the hip new thing to do these days is to don a word as your "One Word" of the year and focus on that as it permeates your life.  Since I can't say my name in less than 5 minutes, I have opted for One Phrase.  Last year, I chose the phrase "It's Yours, Lord" and looking back on that year in light of my phrase, it has taught me much.  

For 2014, I began thinking and praying about my phrase in December.  One day while driving down the road, and coupled with other events of my life at that time, I settled upon "Be Intentional."  The word "intentional" means "done on purpose, deliberate" and seems pretty straightforward.  But being intentional isn't easy.

With the hustle and bustle of life, being intentional is tough.  This past year I went back to school to get my MBA.  Although all my classes are online, the time I have to devote to my studies has cut into other intentional things I previously had more than enough time to accomplish.  I promised myself I wouldn't compromise my life (too much) by going back to school and end up in a hermitized state.  Thankfully I haven't but it has taken its toll.  I also lost my Dad, my rock, my only surviving parent.  I wouldn't trade any moment I spent with him the year before he passed, or any year before that.  I'll treasure those memories forever.  Along with his loss, so many of my friends encountered loss of loved ones this past year.  A simple phrase was uttered by one of my Mom's dearest friends who is like another Mom to me, "Time is fleeting."  Well said, Martha, well said.  

So in 2014 I'm being intentional.  You may ask, "What does that look like?"  I'm not entirely sure.  I know I want to be more expressive in sharing how I feel to those I love.  I want to be an unexpected blessing to those who may need the encouragement.  I want to do the little things that are done behind the scenes that nobody sees but mean the world to the person on the receiving end.  I have some specific ideas that I'll withhold from public consumption and hope that the results are significant enough to share in my 2014 recap.  

I encourage everyone to pick a word, a phrase, something to permeate your life in 2014.  You won't regret. it.