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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Happy Birthday, sweet Belle

Belle’s Ball

May 24, 2015 — Belle would have turned 8 today.

By Catherine Williams (friend of Belle’s Aunt Jen Jen)

Belle my sweet girl we still miss you soBelle dress up Aug 2014
You are with Your heavenly Father, this we all know
Your smile brightened our day, bravery inspired us too
We were always amazed by the things you could do
You loved the Disney Princesses, for a princess you are
God loaned you to us, but He is never very far
Belle on your birthday we miss your sweet smile
For you have been the Belle of the ball for quite a while
We miss you sweet Belle, this fact is true
And although you are in heaven we still miss you!
One day in the future we too will dance at Belle’s Ball
But for now may our love be a beacon of hope for all!

—————–

We shared a sIMG_20150524_222514pecial weekend together as a family celebrating Belle’s birthday (for the first time without her here). Along with lots of sweet memories and laughing at so many fun Belle stories, we did a few things in her honor such as wearing (temporary) tattoos of characters in Disney’s Frozen. She would have gotten so tickled to see her Daddy with an Elsa tattoo on his hand. Of course, she would have picked out each of ours for us as well as where they would have been placed if she had been with us.

To learn more about Belle’s story or to read Belle’s birthday post by her Mommy visit  www.caringbridge.org/visit/bellemitchell.

—Jennifer Davis Rash (aka Aunt Jen Jen)

Blitzing my way to freedom

With my birthday being the same day as this week’s publication date of The Alabama Baptist, it seems more than fair that I should be featured on the front page, right?

I agree, but I was unsuccessful in convincing others on staff. Oh well, at least my column was scheduled to run in this issue, so I could still sneak in a shameless plug.

And I know you are all thinking I must be getting close to 30 by now, but I will have to admit this is year 43.

Birthdays always send me into reflection mode and make me think about what was accomplished over the past year and what wasn’t. You might even remember that turning 40 in 2011 launched my journey to find balance in life — spiritual, physical, emotional, etc.

Two steps forward, one step back

The journey has been a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of experience, but I continue to make progress. My most recent single-tasking focus is actually helping quite a bit.

In fact, the overwhelming stack of undone projects is nearing a manageable level. It may take the rest of this year to achieve that level, but I’m encouraged by the ability to see the goal line for the first time.

One way I’m finding success is by using the blitzing method. My friend and mentor Terry Newberry taught me about blitzing in his book “The Boss” (www.terrynewberry.com/the-boss.html).

Bring on the dreaded

“Blitzing the most difficult or dreaded job first provides a huge sense of accomplishment and momentum,” Newberry writes. And he is right.

Once the ball gets rolling, new energy appears to tackle another project and another and another.

I’ve been working on this at home and the office. We even had a Project Blitz Week recently at The Alabama Baptist (see the May 29 issue, page 1).

It was fun to watch the weight lift from everyone’s shoulders and the energy level escalate throughout the staff.

And with new energy comes clarity and focus if we let it.

I gained a new appreciation for seeing clearly after having an allergic reaction in early May that landed me in the emergency room for five hours. My eyeballs swelled quite large and then my eyelids swelled shut — yes you may laugh at the image I’m sure you have of me right now.

Making room to hear

I could not see anyone around me, but I heard the gasps and “oh mys” clearly as I made my way through the ER waiting room. It was hard for me to be so dependent on others and not be able to see. It was an odd feeling knowing so many people could see exactly what was happening to me while I relied solely on the reports of those with me.

And while I couldn’t see at all for a while and then couldn’t see clearly for several days, I realized how much more carefully I listened when I wasn’t able to use my eyes to their fullest ability.

So many things compete for my attention and I’m constantly looking here and there and everywhere to take care of this task and that project and whatever else shows up unexpectedly. But with all the attention to daily life details, it’s sometimes hard to hear God’s still, soft voice.

Can I hear what He is saying?

What is He saying to me today? Am I truly listening to Him? Did I run right over what He was impressing on my heart because I was focused on everything else around me?

And if I’m truly honest, is it possible that I am actually more comfortable staying too busy and being too distracted to really hear Him because I’m not sure I’m ready for what He has to say?

It’s exciting when you know you’ve heard from the Lord, but it also can be pretty scary. Will I be able to follow through with what He is asking?

— Jennifer Davis Rash