Happy New Year! And This Snow, just wow!!

This morning, my neck of the woods woke up to eight inches of snow. I know it was eight inches because my dear husband literally took a tape measure outback to precisely check for himself!!

We typically only end up with a dusting to a few inches when it snows; so this amount of snow is a rare treasure for us—well maybe not for those who aren’t a fan. I’m loving the beauty of today’s winter wonderland though, it’s the messy roads in the days to come I don’t really favor however!

Beautiful, pure-white snow.

Isaiah’s message of warning to a rebellious nation of Israelites comes on behalf of the Lord in Isaiah 1:18-20 and has this to say:

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

(Bold and italics added by me for the lesson)

Boy if those words don’t sound like we’re just as in need of that warning (today) as Israel and Judah were all those years ago!!!

There are two ifs to choose from in that piece of scripture, and depending on the “if” chosen the results are drastically different.

In verse 20b, choosing the second if, consisting of resistance and rebellion, would leave a person in the permanency or stain of deep scarlet-red sin…devoured by the sword.

But by choosing the first if in verse 19, the crimson color that once stood out so boldly from sin, would be entirely replaced with a pure and calm white—the color of snow or wool. Choosing this if requires willingness and obedience but leads to satisfaction or a reward given by the Lord, “you will eat the good things of the land.

This beautiful, pure in color, dazzling in the sunlight, white snow outside my house windows sets the stage for the reminder that I want to willingly and obediently stand in the presence of God’s desire daily—to “eat the good things of the land,” as quoted.

The message given in Isaiah chapter one—sin cleansed white as snow—was as much for the people of that time as it is for us now. Jesus’ sacrificial blood shed on the cross and his resurrection washed away those crimson colored sin-stains we once carried; and though we’ll continually sin (this side of Heaven) Jesus makes those sins white as snow as we place our faith in Him, seek forgiveness as needed, and remain in unity with Him through a healthy relationship.

Choosing and following Jesus, points us to choose that first “if” in Isaiah 1:19—may we be ever thankful, never taking for granted, but instead praising God for the removal of permanent crimson stain and the washing and cleanness of our sins, white as snow, all because of His magnificent love for us.

Blessings for a Thankful and Healthy 2023!!!

Christmas Shopping Ideas For All Ages

It’s interesting to me that as people get older it seems harder to come up with ideas for Christmas gifts. You would think that the older our loved ones get the better we know them, the easier it is to shop for them! …Not the case for me though!

I’m not quite finished with all my Christmas shopping but I do have a majority accomplished and thought I’d share some of the gift ideas I’ve come up with so far in hopes that it may be a help to you for your gift giving! Feel free to share your gift ideas in the comments section, together we’ll outdo Santa and his elves!!

Our family has a wide range of ages to shop for this year from newborn, to kids and teens, adults, and great grandmas as well.

Here’s a list of gift ideas that I’ve organized by youngest to oldest:

NEWBORNS

Baby skincare set- honest.com

Baby wash/shampoo and baby lotion from honest.com ($17.99)

What doesn’t sound more fitting and soothing than the scent of sweet orange vanilla on soft baby skin? As an added bonus, right now, honest.com is offering 20% off your order when you enter your email!!

KIDS

20 oz tumbler cups- Amazon.com

I ordered an eight-pack of stainless steel (tall) tumbler cups from Amazon last week, one for each of my nieces and nephews. I plan to use my Cricut machine to put their names on them. I’ll fill them with their favorite mini candy bars and then give a bottle of soda to each one also! ($59.99 for an eight pack)

TEENS

Tortilla blanket- Amazon.com

At our house we do “Taco Tuesdays” each week (the name explains it all). My son has a slight obsession with tacos and probably more so it points to the tortilla itself!! In fact most mornings his breakfast preference is peanut butter and strawberry jelly spread over a tortilla and folded in half…so when I came across this tortilla blanket I couldn’t resist! They have other options as well: a cookie, pizza, or waffle!! Super fun and unique!! ($15 to $30)

FOR THE TEEN GAMER

Gaming headset- Amazon.com

Gaming headset

Gaming mouse- Amazon.com

Gaming mouse

I don’t understand the difference between the amped-up mouse (featured above) and the original mouse that already comes with a PC??? And that gaming headset seems like an unarguable ticket for a visit to the chiropractor but nevertheless my kids must know something I don’t…here’s to trusting their “gaming” knowledge!

Gaming headset ($19.99) Gaming mouse ($20.99)

ADULTS

Personalized doormat- Amazon.com
Personalized doormat- Amazon.com

Who doesn’t love giving or receiving a personalized gift? We ordered these personalized doormats for my brother and his family as they’ve just welcomed home a new baby, to make a family of four now! Their doormat will read (The “insert last name” Family).

And my in-laws just became the proud owners of a new home this past September so a doormat seemed practical, especially as it will display, “Mama Thea & Papa’s House!”

Personalized doormats ($25 and up)

Scooters gift cards
Starbucks gift cards

I also love a gift that seems to keep on giving long after the holidays. Gift cards are great for this! Can’t go wrong with a Scooters or Starbucks gift card for the coffee lovers in your life! Pick your price!!

Cavenders.com

For the cow fanatic (which includes both of my daughters) these casual cowprint shoes are ridiculously popular and on the MOOve right now! In fact, I tried to pick them up in the Hey Dudes brand (which typically run around $60) and I might have had better luck finding a needle in a haystack! Cavenders sells the Gypsy Jazz brand though, which are just as comfortable, plus they’re offering 10% off when you enter your email! Gypsy Jazz cowprint ($44.99)

And if you want to “step” it up a notch with something a little more dressier you can find cowprint boots at Cabelas…($49.99)

Natural Reflections cowprint boots- Cabelas.com

And for the hunter in your life you can never go wrong with a new camo bag chair! (Only $12.88!!)

Ozark camo bag chair- Walmart.com

GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

Honestly what they usually want most of all is our time! My grandma is now in the nursing home and I try to visit her once or twice a week there.

I bought her favorite bag of ground gourmet coffee from a speciality store in town and also picked up some disposable to-go coffee cups a while back ago and have been brewing up a cup of coffee at home right before I leave to see her. She absolutely loves this and sips away while we make small talk and ohh and ahh over Paula Dean’s dishes on TV. Sometimes I’ll sneak in a soft donut from the local bakery too!

Other little odds and ends that this precious generation enjoys are soft cookies or breads, blankets, socks, a phone call, plants, flowers, homemade drawings or colorings from the littles, family photos, greeting cards by mail, devotion books…anything of this sort. But seriously most of all is TIME. If you have a loved one whose years are mostly behind them at this stage in life, give them the gift of time and fellowship. It’ll be a gift that not only they cherish, but in turn blesses you as well.

Hopefully some of the gift ideas I’ve shared help! Enjoy this time of year and remember our gift giving is in celebration of Jesus’ birth, Christ needs to be our top priority, both now and year round. We can panic, stress and search for the perfect ‘something’ for our loved ones but the bottom line is God has already outgiven us all as he’s offered the best gift ever, freely available to all…

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16

The Darkness Has Not Overcome the Light

I’m finally feeling back to myself again! Which is a good thing I hope!!

I had Covid over Thanksgiving and man I feel for anyone who battles Covid physically, but for myself it really messed with me mentally—and with my emotions as well.

It was the reality of being secluded from my family (in effort to keep them from getting sick) over a holiday that’s bent on togetherness—that’s what really got to me. And although I tried to stay focused and connected to God through reading His word, devotions, and prayer through it all, Satan managed to squeak his ridiculous way in to play mind-games with me.

I struggled with the realization that my kids are growing up so fast…I worried that I didn’t enjoy them enough as babies…I longed to hug each of them individually and apologize for my crazy mood swings over the years…I feared that I’ve messed them up for future parenting of their own one day…

Forget doctor’s orders to stay hydrated, instead I filled up on shame and regret, even digging up dirt on myself from pre-Christian years and settling on the messy memories I have of childhood trauma. My thoughts felt completely out of my control. A total downward spiral. It was absolutely miserable and ugly. I was devastated and I cried a lot. A lot!

Looking back I can only now see how silly this must seem but it truly felt smothering at the time.

When Satan has his way with our thoughts it can cause those valley-seasons to feel like we’re endlessly cratering. The sense of darkness can seem overwhelming and paralyzing.

BUT THERE’S HOPE WHEN WE REMEMBER JESUSwhen we fix our eyes upward—when we cling to God’s faithfulness and we fill that somber void with His peace—when we remember seasons are only just simply seasons, and new ones are fixing to surface.

Several times during my depressive state, I would literally, pronounce, “get behind me Satan.There is power in our words and putting Jesus in front of everything else makes a profound difference.

Recognizing the struggle and anguish I was experiencing, I focused on verses 4 & 5 from John 1, stating that the darkness has not overcome the light…

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Our tree is now up to celebrate the Christmas season, and goodness the golden-colored lights wrapped around it are such a reminder of the beautiful truth in those verses. It amazes me that such tiny little lights can put out such a bright illumination…at night they cut through the dark effortlessly with such a stark contrast.

What a wonderful portrayal of the very way Jesus operates…He longs to overflow our darkest days with the hope and energy of His light if we’ll allow ourselves that kind of power supply.

Maybe you can relate with me and sometimes experience what feels as if it’s a shortage every now and then but as we stay connected to the Light, the darkness will never, ever overcome…and that’s something worth brightening our outlook!

You Version pic

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” —John 8:12

A Cord of Three Strands

This morning my oldest daughter, Paige, had asked if I’d braid her hair. She’s going out for girls’ wrestling this year and has practice today (even though it’s Thanksgiving break) so pulled back hair is her preference.

I found it interesting because at the time she asked, I was reading and studying over Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 which says this:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

When it comes to my daughter wanting her very long hair braided she always requests the help of either her sister or myself. It takes another set of hands to make it happen. It’s teamwork.

Today as I got the privilege of braiding her hair, with some new and fresh insight, I thought about the last part of the verses I’d just read, ‘a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’

Interesting given the fact I’d just woven three sections of hair together similar to a cord formation. The weaving and intertwining of the hair strands keeps it stronger and serves the purpose for which it was meant—to hold together.

Keeping these verses in mind we can circle the encouragement found here—there is strength when partnering up.

Last weekend I tested positive for Covid and to say I accepted the circumstances to follow with ease would be a huge falsity. I was not impressed and am still struggling. Plans were tossed and negative feelings pursued.

My “quarantine” time doesn’t end until Sunday evening. There’s nothing normal about being isolated from family over Thanksgiving break especially in my own home.

Out of respect for my husband and kids I’ve tried to stay to my room but I was really “wrestling” with depressive thoughts so I’ve graduated a bit more to the main areas of the house while wearing a mask. I know this probably doesn’t meet CDC recommendations but out of the personal health of my sanity it is what it is.

I admit this isn’t one of my most happy-go-lucky-post. Actually I always aim to just be as transparent as possible. I share all this though because I’ve been able to reflect on how much people matter to me.

God didn’t design us to be alone. In the beginning of His Word we read in Genesis 2:18, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God created woman in effort to reinforce that idea. We know sin ensued shortly after and humanity has suffered the results since. But God didn’t leave us without a Way to overcome…His name is Jesus.

When we include Jesus in our life, and in our relationships, that cord we read about in Ecclesiastes exist with the type of supernatural strength that points to Him.

Life is for us to do together. To lift one another up. To encourage. To cheer one another on. To smile. To hug. To laugh. To cry. To fellowship. To be in communion.

So even though Thanksgiving has definitely looked and felt very different and has not been my first choice of creating memories in this way, I can focus on the fact that I am blessed beyond measure—I know the importance (without a shadow of a doubt) of how beautiful life is when we are fulfilled by relationships. And the best is with Jesus laced right in the middle.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken…

I pray your Thanksgiving was blessed and (even if it may also look different like mine) that you can turn your focus to the positives with an attitude of gratitude. ❤️

Oh Brother! Let’s Talk Laughter

I recently ran across some notes that I’ve kept where I’ve jotted down funny things my youngest brother has said over the past year or so, and it seems like as good a day as any to share them with y’all.

I’ve wrote about my brother in past blogs before, so some of you will be familiar with him and his mannerism.

A quick catch-up or refresher if needed though: My brother’s name is Jeffrey and this year he turned 31. At ten years old Jeffrey suffered brain trauma from a life changing car accident our family was in; as a result he has short term memory loss, epilepsy, and requires a caregiver 24/7. Overall he does well for himself and even in his off-moments he’s pleasantly confused. He keeps us laughing and has helped create some of the greatest memories for our family. And best of all, despite Jeffrey’s setbacks, he loves Jesus like crazy!

I really wish I could put audio to these quotes and stories I’m about to share because it may be the drawn out, dramatic way Jeffrey says things that makes it so hilarious but either way I hope you get a good chuckle!!

One day I informed Jeffrey we were having Lil Smokies for a snack and asked if he’d like some… “Alicia you know I don’t smoke!!”

This summer I was talking about how our Pastor Jeff used to be a band teacher and when my brother (who I sometimes call Jeff) caught wind of it he asked, “Alicia (insert thought provoking pause) what..did I used to be a band teacher?”

Once when we were sitting at the dinner table playing a game of Apples to Apples, Jeffrey kept tapping my husband’s foot repeatedly and Nathan (God bless him he usually has so much patience with my brother) blurted out “stop playing footsie with me or I’ll break it!” …Jeffrey’s response: “Then I’m gonna smack your butt!”

Another time, actually probably every time he visits— “Hey Jeffrey put your shoes over yonder please.” Jeffrey: “Over younger? Alicia what?”

Jeffrey stayed with us over the weekend in July while my mom was at church camp and one evening I made ‘pigs in a blanket’ and when I told him what I was making he asked if I called them “kids in a blanket?”

My daughter (Paige) was coughing a lot one day and Jeffrey (after a hard stare) asked, “so Paige do you have the Coronavirus?”

More random Jeffrey quotes:

“I don’t want any sugar because I don’t want to be getting a cavity. Yeah I have been keeping the cavities in my teeth straightened out.”

“Hey Alicia, can I get some cough syrup? I’m just having this cough that I want to get rid of but I think it’s maybe because I talk too much.”

“Hey is this like a Jesus-shirt because it has fish on it?” (Pointing to the button-up shirt he was wearing)

“Well at least I’m not coughing on the food because I don’t want to be spreading germs—spreading the Coronavirus.”

“I’m trying to remember this thing I was going to tell you, but it fell out of my head.”

God’s word reminds us that laughter is a gift from Him. When our family gathers and laughter oozes through our celebrations it’s such a blessing from God. I’m thankful for the unique opportunity I have in experiencing life with Jeffrey and seeing God in the midst. Memories are best-made from a joyful heart allowing a contagious impact.

Applicable verses:

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. James 5:13

I probably never would’ve thought to note some of Jeffrey’s words but there happens to be a fellow blogger (Patty) who writes about life with her adult son who is autistic and epileptic. She’s shared many “talking points” in different posts about the numerous, hilarious things her son (Aaron) has said over time and it inspired me to share about Jeffrey’s words.

The name of Patty’s blog He Said What speaks for its self and will leave you with cozy feelings of hope and love as her reflections point to Jesus. The stories she shares are so relatable to life with my brother and her faith in Jesus is a blessed encouragement to me! Go check it out, you won’t be disappointed.❤️

http://www.hesaidwhatks.blog/He Said What

As always sweet weekend blessings!!

Choosing Kindness in 2021

Each year I choose a word to focus on and this year my word is kindness.

Side-note: Last year my word was surrender because I knew it would help me give up control-freak issues. After covid unexpectedly came along surrender might have subconsciously been anyone’s word. Spritually-speaking I had the opportunity to grow and it ended up being a valuable lesson to live by. I learned to surrender in many ways throughout 2020 and had sort of this give-it-to-God mindset to go along with my word of surrender.

Ok so back to this year, it’s been really cool to see how often I’ve physically seen the word ‘kindness‘ in my presence.

I sub at quite a few different schools and in a majority of the classrooms and hallways I’ve been met by my word. There are posters, paintings, and phrases of encouragement containing the word kindness, all serving as personal reminders to me.

Outside one of the school’s windows that faces the playground is painted ‘choose kindness’ and another one that reads ‘kindness matters’.

It’s interesting to me because those words have probably been plastered all over the schools for years but until kindness became my word (this year) I think it went unnoticed on my radar, so to be aware and take notice has been refreshing.

Kindness isn’t something I want to take for granted. When I see that word I don’t want it to be just a simple reminder of my 2021 word of the year rather I want it to speak deep into my being. I want it woven into my heart and felt within my thoughts and actions. I want it to push me to literally show kindness and recognize it when I see others living it out.

With it being March already I have a few months practice into my word.

Recently I was at the dentist with my oldest daughter who had a tiny cavity filled (her first and hopefully only one ever).

Something I really respected was that the hygienist laid her hand on top of Paige’s hands to comfort her as the dentist used the needle to numb her mouth; it may sound silly but that act of kindness just stuck out so much to me! It was noticeably-caring and that type of thing goes far in this wild world we live in.

From that experience I realized how important it is for me to not only be practicing and showing kindness myself but also to see it in others.

When the dentist reached out to us the next day to check on Paige (yes she does that because she’s amazing) you can bet I made mention of the hygienist’s act of kindness.

Another example of kindness came in the form of a compliment this past week…

I was teaching an elementary p.e. class when a little blonde haired boy complained of his knee hurting. I told him to have a seat against the wall for a bit and see if that might help.

Meanwhile as a crazy loud game of tunnel tag continued that little guy with the hurt knee had apparently traded phys-ed for art class. After a few minutes of resting he excitedly tapped me on the arm and pulled from his pocket the tiniest little notepad and pen and flipped through the busy pages until he came to the one he’d just completed. Amongst doodles it read ‘you are a really kind p.e. teacher.’

It was super sweet and heart-warming.

When I chose the word kindness for 2021 I didn’t know it was going to impact my life in such ordinary ways but that’s exactly what I would’ve hoped for.

In the 3rd through 5th grade Sunday school class I teach at church the curriculum we use has a focus word each month. February’s word happened to be kindness, the description they gave was this:

In our little class we’ve talked about being kinder than you have to be, being kind to those who are different than we are, and being kind to others because God is kind to us. I also told them to be sure and notice how much that word is displayed in their schools!

On the flip side my own kiddos are very aware that ‘kindness’ is my 2021 word so when they catch my irritation in something they quickly remind me to “remember your word mom….” The accountability in that makes such a difference!

Kindness encourages me in a huge way. It’s selfless. It’s a choice. And it truly does matter.

Do you choose a word for the year? If so what is your word and have you seen positive results from it?

If you have a story of recent kindness I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

pic from YouVersion app

Sweet blessings!

16 Marriage Tips by Nate and Alicia

Tomorrow, September 25, puts Nate and I at number sixteen for our anniversary years so I thought it’d be fun to create a blog post offering sixteen marriage tips or pieces of advice. And I got Nate in on it too!!

Newlyweds, kids or no kids, empty nesters — hope these tips are helpful!

They’re listed in no specific order by the way.

1. Discuss your own love language with one another and speak each other’s as well. Super important!!!

Which of these makes you feel loved by your spouse and which one makes your spouse feel loved — Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, or Physical Touch

2. Do projects together.

Whether it’s just hanging up shelves or building a she-shed for your lady, create and work alongside one another. It’s awesome to be able to step back and admire your work later on.

3. Put your spouse’s needs before kiddos.

I know this is a hard one but if you think about it you and your lovey came before your kids…

So (for example) when entering the house from work greet each other with a hello and kiss first and foremost and then move on to the kids. From this one act your kiddos will see that your marriage is healthy, in order, and that you two are the bosses. It will also help them feel that they’re in a safe zone and well taken care of. Kids thrive off of peace and orderly conduct.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.’ — Ephesians 5:22-24

4. Laugh. Don’t be too serious.

This was a text between Nate and I one time which isn’t out of the normal. We can be serious but I’m 40% sure that we’re silly a majority of the time.

5. Have date nights. (copyrighted by Nate)

Seriously your children need to know and witness that mom and dad are happily married, healthy, and in love. Set an example by doing little dates, even if those dates can only happen at home.

Drink a cup of coffee in the mornings, workout, take a walk, rub each other’s feet (I “stink” at doing this one)

Make little points to be connecting with one another so your children can see this happening.

6. Take care of one another in helpful ways.

Examples: Whoever has time be the one to make breakfasts, help with dish duty, wash or vacuum the other one’s car, switch laundry over or fold clothes, sweep/mop, etc.

I promise if you make a habit of chiming in on these little chores your spouse will notice!

7. Encourage with notes or texts. Give compliments.

Recently one morning I went into the bathroom and found this sweet note Nate had hung on the mirror. He came up with the idea on his own…and I probably skipped putting on blush that day!!

8. Thank your spouse.

When you notice or appreciate the good they do (or them helping out) don’t take those moments for granted. Let your spouse know your appreciation.

*Side-note: Nate and I attended a marriage conference last year and the couple who were speaking told us that after doing a recent study it showed that ‘men actually feel most loved and appreciated when their spouse simply and genuinely acknowledges their good work and then thanks them.’

9. Team work.

Make the bed together, cook/bake together, clean together, do yard work together, budget together, etc.

Don’t miss that word — “together”.

10. Respect one another so you both feel loved.

Value one another’s opinions/advice. Be supportive of emotions and concerns.

Nate suggested to remember “happy wife, happy life” …I’m gonna rename this though because I think it needs to be two-way so I’m going with “happy spouse, happy house”.

11. Communicate well.

Listen to each other. Ask questions. Seek marriage counseling if needed.

12. Entertain one another’s interests.

They say opposites attract. If your spouse enjoys things that don’t quite appeal to you do them anyway!! …garage saleing, hunting, golfing, shopping, etc.

13. Start a new hobby TOGETHER.

…frisbee golf, Nate said clogging (where you do some folk dancing, I think he’s just being a nerd but now he’s google searching it as I’m writing) learn an instrument, etc.

14. For the Christian couple do a Bible study, just the two of you alone or in a small group through a church setting.

And if you’re not Christians go check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

15. Always say I love you before bed or when leaving each other for work or wherever.

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” —Ephesians 4:26

16. And yes I’m gonna go here — I don’t care if physical touch is a love language of yours or not — MAKE LOVE!!

No extra commentary needed for this one.

Well except that the Bible even says to:

“Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” — 1 Corinthians 7:5

All of these tips take patience and practice. This list is not exhaustive and definitely not perfected by us, but it’s things Nate and I strive to accomplish. By doing these things we build our relationship and also help our three attentive mockers know what to look for one day in a future spouse.

I love you Nathan! Thank you for encouraging me as a writer, wife, and mother! You (and our faith in Jesus) are my favorite piece to sixteen years of marriage!!

Light Against Darkness

As a licensed cosmetologist I’m required to complete eight hours of continuing education every other year. This coming Fall I’d planned to attend an in-person class like usual, but with the virus things ended up different. Now we have to complete the hours at home by watching videos (on our own time) with the instructors demonstrating the latest hair styles on mannequin heads.

I’ve actually benefited more this way because there’s only one stylist at a time creating a color or cut (not two or three all doing their thing) so it’s been easier to focus and gain some takeaways. Normally at the hair shows it’s too busy and I’m distracted and find entertainment through Pinterest or balancing my checkbook etc.

While watching one of the color lesson videos recently I admired the stylist’ work as she demonstrated the trendy process of a darker color underneath with some pastel colors overtop.

It wasn’t a style we see much of where I live although it was still intriguing…however it was her explanation of the process that caused my heart to get involved and reflect on her words… “The way that you can see darkness is to have something light lay next to it.”

She was obviously and ‘simply’ referring to the contrasting of light and dark hair color she’d just created, but my mind and heart raced straight to the parallel of our sin-darkness in comparison to the light of hope we have through Jesus.

…okay so I guess I did get distracted after all even with the videos…

But follow me here — sometimes we can’t see the darkness of our sin until we experience and are exposed to light — it’s then we’re able to see just how dark our situation or sin really is.

At times our sin is obvious; we know we’re doing wrong but we keep stumbling in it because of our brokenness. Other times we’ve become immune and have gotten so far away from the light or truth of God’s word that we fail to even recognize the danger at all.
Contrarily some have never learned the truth of Jesus, therefore oblivious to wrongdoings. There’s usually an idea of positive versus negative “morals” but the separation of light and dark in a spiritual sense isn’t known and as a result isn’t a consideration for correction.

We moved to a subdivision outside of town a few years ago and one of the things that I loved about it was the fact that at night it’s incredibly dark considering how many houses are in our neighborhood. No one ‘used’ nighttime yard lights…and for myself I can definitely sleep better when it’s pitch black, therein lies my reasoning for celebration.

That changed around a year ago when one of the neighbors put up a large floodlight at the top of his new metal building. The light pierces the darkness of night and brightly spills right through the window and straight into my bedroom. Seriously if any future NASA landings on the moon happen, this thing will probably grab their attention as they look back down at earth…it’s that ridiculous.

Light has power and boldness and I’ve had to use my irritation of the neighbor’s “nightlight” as a good reminder that light is able to overcome darkness.

Side-note: Over the past year I’ve known my neighbor’s shop light was gonna some how make it into the blog!!

There are so many versus on light and darkness throughout the Bible that it’s hard to pinpoint one as key, but I feel like John’s words in 1 John 1:5-7 are quite applicable:

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you: that God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

In the words of a talented high-end hair stylist:

“The way that you can see darkness is to have something light lay next to it.”

At times we risk darkness because we aren’t in the light of Jesus as we should be. The way to get there is by connecting to a power source: reading our Bibles, worship, connecting with other believers, prayer…that light we experience is like a wake up call for us; it’s then that we see just how much we truly need light as a source of life, over the sin of darkness.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. —John 1:5

Just So You Know

I’m pretty excited to share my next post with you! (The ‘happy’ one I’ll put up after this one…)

But let me just say I honestly feel like I can’t even post that next one without feeling a little bit guilty. And that’s unfair and sickening to me.

Because of the ridiculous rioting taking place it begs and tries to halt life, everyone’s life…bringing attention to the negative…and I’m just not going to revolve my blog around such nonsense. I have future posts planned that have nothing to do with the latest in news and yet there’s a lie trying to fester within me that keeps saying ‘my posts should only give thought and focus to the mess that’s currently happening.’ …Well that mess has Satan’s ‘yuck’ written all over it. I’m not saying I should be totally ignoring that lie, but I’m not about to feel like I shouldn’t be able to be excited and enjoying life just because of other’s poor decisions and dealings. I shouldn’t have to feel like all of my posts need to wrap around that situation or that if they don’t then I’m being insensitive.

I get the frustration. I get seeking justice. I get the protest. I get speaking out, but doing so with peace!! My heart breaks for the hurt of others. I FULLY want to see each and every person treated fairly and equally…but my posts will absolutely not get hung up feeling like I can’t write or share about the positive things that excite me nevertheless just because of this ongoing madness.

With that, it is my prayer that all people would seek Jesus — replicating His love for others. This might be my only post that ever mentions the latest news and that’s okay, I know where my heart lies. ❤️🙏

Finishing up I’ll leave you with a picture of our family spending Friday evening with some of our best family friends, who adopted four Haitian kids a few years ago.

When people have a discrimination issue they certainly miss out on some of the best, beautiful memories and moments that can happen. These kids are such an awesome blessing in my life and to my own kids as well. We’re so thankful to know and love them!

…and yes their mama gave me permission to post the pic and added through her own words that, “kids are such a shining example of God’s desire for us and they accept people how God created them.”

Thanks for reading friends, take care!

‘He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ —Micah 6:8

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