Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Let Your Light Shine


Yesterday, I had this whole post written about how awesome it was that Clemson won the National Championship Monday night (and it was awesome), but the one thing I kept going back to was something I heard Dabo say during a press conference leading up to the big game:

Let the light inside of you shine brighter than the light shining on you. 
(paraphrase)

I love this, and this phrase has kept popping into my mind over the past few days. It reminds me of one of my favorite passages from the Bible: 
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV) emphasis mine
When I heard that phrase, I started thinking about my life, and specifically, my light. What light am I shining into those around me? When people see me and talk to me, do they see God's light shining in my life? What are things I can do to shine God's light?

We all play so many different roles - wife, mom, friend, employee/employer, volunteer, and on and on, and in each of these roles, we have people looking to us. I hope that in all my roles, those around me see God's light.

Does this mean I have to be perfect? Does this mean I can't get frustrated or upset? Does this mean I have to have it all together? No, and thank goodness, because I'm certainly not those things. What it means is that I need to live in a way that shines God's light.

If I'm having a rough day at work, instead of snapping at someone for walking in while I'm in the middle of preparation for a big project, I can be gentle and kind and put my focus on that person.

If my kids are bickering over something (more than likely Nerf guns and what games to play in my house), instead of fussing, I can try to solve the disagreement in a quiet manner. If they don't want to do homework, want a short order meal, and just won't listen, I can take a deep breath before getting upset.

If I'm in the middle of something and someone calls me for something, I can talk for a few minutes to make sure there's nothing that has to be done and then politely call back later.

I don't know about you, but as I sit here thinking about ways I can shine God's light, I think about many little things that I can do differently to show others Jesus.

Last night, we read about Zacchaeus which turned into a talk about kids at school who just aren't nice and some that bully others. We talked with the boys about how even though some kids aren't nice, we don't always know what they may be dealing with.

Our kids are fortunate to have parents who love and invest in them. They don't want for anything and they know they are loved. But as we explained to them, there are children at their school who take home bags of food each weekend because their families are in need. There are kids who don't know where their next meal will come from and don't have anyone that will help them with their homework or make them take a bath.

We encouraged the boys to always be nice to these kids, for they don't know what they have going on outside of school. We talked to them about how just being nice is sharing Jesus.

While it's a simplistic example, it's one that works for all of us. It's so easy to get wrapped up into me, me, me that we forget about those around us - even those closest to us. We all have things going on - stresses, decisions to make, things we wish we could change - but the way we act under these pressures and react to those around us whether they're in our home or people we pass by on the street each day, show what we're made of and Who we worship.

Let your light shine. There's always a light shining on you by the audience around you, but let the light within you shine brighter. Be Jesus to the world.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas 2017

We had a really great Christmas this year! While it's always great to spend time with family and friends, I feel like getting our shopping done so early in preparation for the baby gave us the ability to really relax and soak up all the time at Christmas. We were at home almost the entire time during our nearly two-week break and it was great!

We started the Christmas holiday by baking cookies. K.C.'s class made cookie mix in a jar during their class party, so we made his cookies. They were delicious! 


Warning: Picture overload coming next!


Are you like me? Do you make your kids take the same photos year after year? The boys know by now that before they go up to bed, we have to take a picture in their Christmas pajamas. I know one day they won't want to wear cute jammies, but until then, we're taking pictures. Kaden was particularly excited that night because not only was Santa Claus coming to visit, the Tooth Fairy was also going to be making a stop!

Santa left three piles of presents this year - one for each of the boys and one for the baby! A few weeks before Christmas, the boys were talking about how they knew Santa would want to leave the baby a stocking, so I ordered a stocking for him. When it got here a few days before Christmas, we were all so excited - until we opened the package. The right stocking was in the bag, but it had the wrong name. Thankfully, the great customer service at Lillian Vernon quickly sent out a new embroidered stocking with the baby's name so Santa would have one to fill for him.


The boys always wait at the top of the stairs before they run down in the morning. How we've convinced them to continue doing this at 7 and 9, I won't ever know, but I'm not complaining!

K.C. has asked for this Nerf gun for years, but until this year, it hasn't been available. The smile on his face says it all.

 Kaden soaks in opening his gifts. He'll open a pack of gum in his stocking and get so excited. I hope he always keeps the awe and wonder he has.

The big brothers had fun opening the gifts that were left for their baby brother.

On Christmas Eve, we celebrated with Kevin's family. It's a tradition to have fondue for dinner. Since I can't have shrimp (and that's a big part of the fondue), my sweet FIL always cooks some filet mignon separately for me before the fondue. It's definitely a treat I look forward to each year.

After dinner, we go upstairs to this large closet where my MIL reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and my FIL reads The Christmas Story from the Bible. Once this is done, we wait for Santa to come fill our stockings. 




At church on Christmas morning - about to pop!



My dad had a yucky virus that has been going around, so we ended up celebrating with my parents the night after Christmas. It was really nice to spread it out. My mom made a great dinner and we took our time opening gifts. 






We really had a great Christmas season! 


Friday, January 6, 2017

BABY | Celebrating with Showers

I can't believe we are so close to meeting our newest son! I really can't believe it. These past nine months feel like an eternity and at the same time, like they've flown by, especially lately. I don't remember much at all about the first 25 weeks or so of pregnancy and I was just miserable (I'm keeping it real), but these last weeks since Thanksgiving have flown thanks in part to four awesome showers we have been given.

Our first shower was on Sunday, November 20, and hosted by my SIL, Kevin's aunt, and his cousin. It was such a fun shower! When I say I am overwhelmed with the things we were given, I'm not exaggerating. I think we received almost every bit of baby gear we needed at that first shower. We are so thankful and feel so blessed to have such loving friends and family!


The boys really wanted to go to part of the shower. I thought it was so sweet! They came at the beginning before going to a birthday party and brought a gift they picked out for their baby brother -- his first pair of Nikes! They picked them out all on their own when they were shopping with my mom the day before. They're orange (of course) and gray like theirs.

On the way home from the shower, K.C. asked me what my favorite gift was and was it the shoes. Of course it was! They are already great big brothers!








On November 25, we had another baby shower, this time, hosted by three of my first cousins. This was a nighttime shower and so sweet. We had delicious chocolate cake with ice cream and caramel sauce.


I love seeing his initials!

My cousin Elise trying to teach me how to use the sling. I may need a refresher when he's here!

With the hosts: my cousins Elise, Caitlin, and Erin.





Our third shower was on December 4 and hosted in my home church by my sister, best friend, and my best friend's mom. It was a sweet shower, and so great to see so many people I don't see often.









Our final shower was hosted by two of my colleagues at work. I wasn't expecting another shower, so it was so much fun to celebrate with some of the people I work with each day.



It was so much fun celebrating the baby with our family and friends!