Earlier this week, I shared with you how thankful I am for the lights that God has placed along our paths. During our family vacation full of smiles and tears, busted lips and too many buffet trips, tiny cabins and monumental meltdowns, beautiful places and exhausted tiny faces, it could have been easy to see only the tough moments and claim defeat to the expectations of a "magical" family vacation. But at the end of the day (and a very "impressive" trip), back in our familiar home, with our familiar routines and my deeply-missed coffee creamer, it was easier to see more clearly how the moments, as absolutely insane as they were, were actually so SO cool. 
Like what?  Like the torrential Bahamian downpour that pelted 2,000 of us for 45-minutes-going-on-45-years as we all tried to board the ship at the same time, in a panic to get out of the storm. The three women standing just behind us in line - all my mom's age and with my mom's tender heart - took their towels and stood quietly, sheltering our girls as they shivered in the storm. One of the women looked at me and whispered "These are the moments, honey. They feel unbearable, but they'll be unforgettable. I promise."  Light.  Perfectly placed right there in the middle of the "I can't believe this is happening to us" mommy meltdown.  Then a message from a friend, saying she's thankful for our vacation. The vacation that we endured together - thankful for the chaos of our 8 kids whether they're fighting or smiling, and our friendship.  Light.  Perfectly placed right there in the middle of the "Never ever again" vacation hangover. Light shining out of darkness - maybe not crazy, life-altering darkness. But light perfectly placed, in a place that needed light.
I'm so thankful for the lights that God has placed along our path. The lights that help us see His face, and get a glimpse at what He is doing, when you otherwise feel stuck in a never ending downpour with four shivering short people that "really gotta pee". Thank God for His lights.?
I challenged y'all to Be The Light for someone that crosses your path this Thanksgiving, because you never know when you are the perfectly placed light that shines an unforgettable brightness into someone’s darkness.
And as our own SHINEfamily reflects on the things we're most thankful for in the past year - loves and losses and house moves and Joaquin, vacations, and homes-to-come-home-to-after-the-vacation, and only-SHINEfamily-craziness, and BabyShine snuggles, and OlderShine shenanigans, and the amazingly crazy roller coaster of awesomeness that is SHINElife, and our extended SHINElife family and staff, and YOU? We are thankful for all of it. All of these perfectly placed lights that shine so brightly into our lives, and JESUS, that shines the brightest of all. Have a wonderful, happy, Thanksgiving! Shine On, Hilary 2 Corinthians 4:6 ~ For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.   P.S. I'm also thankful for DaddyShine, who has cooked our entire Thanksgiving meal without any help from my domestically-challenged self. Because ain't nobody got time for a trip to the local hospital after I've given them food poisoning and/or burned the house down!