I was so excited to see all the Christmas lights on the back wall of the store today. My kids are decorating their little tree later, and I needed a new strand. Great price on sale. Yay.
I stared at the box of lights on the top of the bag on the way home. ”100 Mini Lights” it said. I don’t know about you, but when the Christmas tree is up and decorated, I like to get really close to it and look at each light and ornament. But how amazing is it to step back and see the whole tree give off that amazing glow and fill the room with a warmth?
How cool is it that regardless of the winter holiday celebrated, there is commonality: light. Why light? Why candles, and little electric bulbs, and luminaries, and gorgeous lit up alters? Because regardless of the event or idea to be celebrated, light brings warmth, vision, peace, direction, and perspective.
And I needed light today. As I was shopping, I got a text from Aron that someone he knows experienced a sudden and great loss today. It was one of those times where I had to literally stop in my tracks. I just thought, “Why? Why them? Why now?” I was sad, but very transparently, thankful. Thankful that I was not going through that loss, those circumstances.
And as I stared at that box of 100 mini lights, I thought about those little tiny points of light in my life. My mini lights give me perspective. Perspective that snaps me out of crazy emotions, that helps me realize I’m not the only one that goes through tough stuff, that lets me gauge the level of difficulty of my circumstances, that show me I can do hard things, that tell me that I am not alone and that I am totally and completely blessed.
The mini lights in my life come in so many different forms. They are people, places, things (trivial and important). This list is long, 100 things, and not necessarily in order of importance or all-inclusive. You don’t have to read all or any of it, but I hope that it inspires you to reflect on the points of light in your life that bring you warmth, vision, peace, direction, and perspective.
1. John 3:16
2. The promises I can leverage because I have chosen, through faith, to let Jesus Christ be my Savior
3. Aron’s leadership of our family
4. Aron’s commitment to improving his health
5. Aron’s concern for taking care of the small things and stewardship of what we have been given
6. Aron’s boldness
7. Aron’s passion for the work he does and the lives he affects
8. How Aron and I love working together, how its a huge inconvenience in every way to be apart
9. That we are constantly learning how to improve our communication in our marriage
10. That we are constantly learning how to improve handling conflict
11. That we work on staying a unit in our parenting
12. That we both have mentors/accountability partners that we meet with on a regular basis
13. The safe delivery of 3 healthy children
14. John Palmer’s sweet face and blue eyes
15. John Palmer’s leadership abilities even as a youngster
16. John Palmer’s love for his sisters
17. John Palmer’s desire for things to be done the right way the first time
18. John Palmer’s value of details and the ability to remember them
19. Ellie’s beautiful eyes and gorgeous brown hair
20. Ellie’s ability to visualize something and then create it
21. Ellie’s appetite for reading
22. Ellie’s enormous imagination
23. Ellie’s tender heart and love for things that matter
24. Abbie’s curly blond hair and her amazing green-blue eyes
25. Abbie’s fierceness, despite her small frame
26. Abbie’s determined mind
27. Abbie’s stamina to keep in step with her older siblings
28. Abbie’s friendly spirit and desire to be around/be with people
29. Our home
30. Our clothes
31. Our vehicles
32. Aron’s job
34. Our neighbors
35. Our church
36. Abbie’s preschool and teachers
37. John Palmer and Ellie’s school and teachers
38. Our babysitters
39. My dad’s courage to move our family out of state with his job change
40. My dad’s love of family time, game time, movie time, together time
41. My dad’s gentle way of leading and loving me as I grew
42. My mom’s bravery as she raised up 4 children at a distance from her family
43. My mom’s love of all things fine and beautiful, her ability to imagine and then create
44. My mom’s strong sense of right and wrong, of justice and fairness
45. My sister Mary’s ability to set the tone, keep the peace, and be the glue, and the hub of this crazy, crazy wheel
46. My sister Katy’s natural ability to create and do and be so strong, but tender-hearted all at the same time
4 7. My “little” brother Billy’s work ethic in building a successful business, his commitment to excellence in all things, and his pursuit of knowledge and understanding.
48. Mary’s husband Corey, who is committed to his wife, his children, his work. He’s amazingly generous and kind and creates a sense of comfort and fun. It’s easy to be my real self when I’m around him.
49. Katy’s husband Brian, who loves his family and provides for them in amazing fashion. He has a healthy spirit of competition and a strong sense of responsibility and pride about his work.
50. Billy’s wife Vicki, who is one of the hardest working and most creative human beings I’ve ever known. I respect her for being brave to try new things and for her passionate respect for animals.
51. My mother-in-law Glenda, who is one of the most generous people I have ever met. She is the hub of the wheel for her extended family. She is constantly thinking of others, hosting family events, traveling to visit folks at a distance, and caring for those in need. She stretches me big time.
52. Glenda’s husband, Dick (a.k.a PawPaw) who is one of the warmest, friendliest people I have ever met. He is constantly smiling and we are all convinced that he has never met a stranger.
53. My father-in-law John, who is an amazing historian, lover of tradition and family and music. He is a business leader in his community and an incredibly hard worker. I love how He and Aron and now John Palmer share a love of baseball.
54. John’s wife Ann (a.k.a. Grand) who has incredible taste and a big love for her family and friends, and legacy. Over the last year and a half, she kicked cancer in the teeth, and she’s such an inspiration to so many, but especially the women around her.
55. Our extended families on all sides. Unfortunately, we do not get to see everyone as much as we’d like, but we are so blessed with many, many wonderful folks to share life with.
56. Facebook (re: #55)
57. The Parker family that inspires me to be thankful for the little things, to go on adventures, to give generously, and have a blast doing life.
58. Aunt Becky who gives our children books, takes amazing pictures, and inspires us by her actions and courage.
59. Fire Mfighters, paramedics, policemen and women, and other rescue workers.
60. For the Amway/LTD opportunity that has allowed me to stay home with my kids, a life-long goal of mine.
61. The public library and the electronic reservation system.
63. Online grocery shopping and pick up
64. Karen, who, from a distance, speaks encouragement to me and challenges me to be the best mom and wife I can be.
65. Danny and Renate for creating a vision and sense of purpose and including our family
67. Drew for never letting us forget who we are and Whose we are.
68. Stephanie for being eternally patient with me and for knowing how to motivate me.
69. Scrapbooking and paper crafts
70. Typing words on a keyboard
71. Five healthily functioning senses
72. North Raleigh Christian Academy…past, present, and future.
73. Emily, the dearest, best part of my university experience.
74. George, my corgi, who’s been with me through everything and still loves me
75. Christmas music
77. Milk chocolate
78. Red Starburst
79. My nieces and nephews, all of them, whom we adore and take great pride in. Glad my children get to grow up really knowing them.
80. The color green
81. Perfect Spring weather
82. Perfect Autumn weather
84. The sound of rain through an open window
85. School supplies
86. Laughing so hard with Aron that we cry
87. Girl-girl time with my sisters
88. My chalkboard wall
89. Chinese food
92. Pinterest, which without it, my family would eat the same meals every week
93. School supplies
94. My cozy red blanket
98. Appliances that work
99. Filtered water
100. Passing down traditions like reading the kids the Chronicles of Narnia, waving good-bye, and candlelit dinners
See how all the little things add up to one big blessed life!