The difference a toy can make

I know you will want one as soon as you hear about it, but there is onlyIMG_20150228_093800 one that exists and it was sweet Belle’s doll. We aren’t sure where she got it but one day as she played with her Auburn-haired cuddly doll, she said, “Hey, she looks like Aunt Jen Jen.” And from there the doll’s name became “the Aunt Jen Jen doll” — not because of how cuddly she is but because of her wild Auburn hair.

Belle liked to help me attempt to tame my sometimes uncontrollable locks or “crazy hair,” as Belle described it.

The Aunt Jen Jen doll now resides among the treasured possessions in my collection of Belle memorabilia and reminds me of how much Belle, like all children, had favorite items such as blankets, dolls and other toys.

Receiving a new toy at the hospital while receiving chemo or radiation also became a consistent part of Belle’s life. Those toys provided a moment of excitement and served as a positive distraction while the not-so-fun other activities were taking place.

Belle’s mommy, Kelley, is collecting toys this month to give to the children at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., where Belle had many of her treatments. Please consider donating a toy (must be new because of the variety of health issues) for Levine or your area children’s hospital.

Email me at jrash@thealabamabaptist.org or message me on Facebook or Twitter (@RashionalThts) to find out the details.

—Jennifer Davis Rash (aka Aunt Jen Jen)

Happy Belley Birthday

Happy Birthday, sweet Belle. You would have been 9 today. We love you and miss you so much. We loved being part of the big celebration in your honor this morning with several hundred of your closest friends! And what a fun way to honor you with your very own garden at India Hook Elementary School. You are still touching lives!

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What I Am Reading

Crosson

I love reading books on leadership, management and organizational skills. While I always learn at least a few tips from each book, some books are better than others. There are those that leave you longing for and imagining a world in which what was described in the book could be true, but we all know it is totally unrealistic. And then there are some that are realistic but too complicated and complex to embrace. When you find one that combines a realistic view with manageable concepts, then you know you have a winner.

“What Makes A Leader Great” by Russ Crosson is one of those winners. It not only is realistic about what is possible but also has the most clearly articulated concept of the importance of the “why” of leadership that I’ve read to this point.

Russ Crosson says, “We lead in order to replace ourselves.”

And he is speaking to all forms of leaders, not specifically to business leaders.

“At some point all of us will have opportunities to make decisions that can potentially change the course of a situation or the life of another person. Men and women from all walks of life are asked to lead but few have the tools or the motivation needed to teach others to do the same.

“Great leadership isn’t about the leader at all — it’s about the mission of the organization, church, business or even family where the leader serves. And it is about who will replace the leader when he or she is gone.”

With only 153 pages, the book is a relatively quick read and is packed with rich nuggets and challenging concepts I plan to implement.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

‘It’s not all about you’

When my nephew Jared was a little bitty thing, he would get all over his big brother with a consistent reminder, “It’s not all about you, Jacob!”

The boldness of his approach and the intensity behind his words always made me smile, but the clear truth behind his appeal has stuck with me since the first time it rolled out of his mouth.

The key to strength in any relationship points back to whether the two parties are going to be self-centered or other-centered. This is true with friends, co-workers, all formulas of family relationships and especially in marriage.

“It’s not all about you” was the focus of a recent article in Relevant magazine, “Marriage Isn’t About Your Happiness.”

An excerpt from the article written by Debra K. Fileta says:

“Marriage is not about your happiness, it’s not even about you. It’s about love — which is something we choose to give time and time again. It’s about sacrifice, serving, giving, forgiving — and then doing it all over again. … often, we’re choosing ‘personal happiness’ over real commitment, over real love.

“They say marriage teaches you more about selflessness than you ever wanted to know. I have definitely found that phrase to be true in my relationship with my husband. Because at the heart of it, real love is all about sacrifice. About the giving of yourself, in ways big and small.”

Read the full article here.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

What I Am Reading

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I’ve never been interested in reading much more than a few paragraphs about how a particular organization or group got its start but Rosalie Hunt’s new book Her Way: The Remarkable Story of Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend has stretched my interest in this area.

While only a third of the way through the book, I already feel a connection and admiration for the main character. I love her spunk and determination. Yes, the book certainly achieves the goal of helping share the history of national Woman’s Missionary Union because Townsend was founder of the first missionary society in the South but it does so much more. It also reminds us that our true strength comes from the Lord and, despite the difficulties life brings, we can all make a difference for the Kingdom.

Hunt showcases a true storytelling ability that has me anxiously awaiting the events described in the next chapter. And I love how Hunt developed Townsend’s voice and personality by piecing together the available historical documentation and then basically “becoming” Townsend for a season as she wrote the book.

For more information on Her Way, click here.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I am reading

“90 Minutes in Heaven” 

10th anniversary edition 

By Don Piper with Cecil Murphey90 Minutes in Heaven

I never slowed down to read “90 Minutes in Heaven” when it first came out, so when I saw the 10th anniversary edition I decided it was time to read it. I’m glad I waited because this edition adds updated comments from author Don Piper, his wife, his son, co-author Cecil Murphey and the book’s publisher. Hearing from them 10 years after the book was originally published gave an interesting insight into how the success of Piper’s book as well as the demand for him as a guest speaker has affected his family. The book also shares personal stories from people walking through tragedy and how reading “90 Days” helped them in their situation.

And while Piper’s recounting of his heaven experience is certainly inspiring and an exciting reminder of what is to come for those of us who have given our hearts and lives to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it was the details of the struggles he has endured while here on earth that captivated me the most. His story especially spoke to me about how we truly are all in this journey together and can learn from each other, help when it’s our turn to help and allow others to help us when we need help.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

And we’ve launched — a new #dlife group is born

“Jesus’ vision was not a church filled with ‘discipleship programs’ but a church filled with passionate disciple makers living a lifestyle of making and multiplying disciples in all the world,” says D-Life author Bill Wilks, pastor of NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville.IMG_20151026_180647

While I have experienced a variety of discipleship studies in the past 25 years, it is the simplicity and accountability aspect of Dr. Wilks’ D-Life that is teaching me how to truly make our commission as believers “to make disciples who make disciples” become a lifestyle.

I began D-Life with a group facilitated by Lisa M. (fellow member of NorthPark) in 2013–2014. The group was hungry to grow. They challenged and encouraged me to grow as well. In 2015, it was time for me to help launch a new group and thus multiply our group. And my friend Haley P. and I launched that group tonight.

Stay tuned for what we are learning along the journey. For more information about D-Life, click here.

—Jennifer Davis Rash