My Light ‘Em Up Stories

I wanted to share three unreal stories from our experience with Light ‘Em Up thus far.

You have to promise me something… you will choose to NOT feel guilty. If that starts creeping in – stop it! Please know our God is so specific in His Word about how He loves you and how to love His people. There are ENDLESS ways you can do that. This is just one of those. Please don’t take an idea as a mandate. Even if it’s popular. You have to take responsibility for your time, your calendar and you are the master “filter” for what gets implemented in your home. Some of you are probably doing 10x the amount and buying goats and building wells and that is amazing. This is our family’s path for this season. No guilt, k my friends?


I will be honest – Larson has been tough this year with Light ‘Em Up. She “gets it” on some level, but she’s just not interested on many days. I wish I could say it doesn’t discourage me. (Side note: In matters of heart training vs correction/discipline – I try to focus on rewarding and praising the good. So, there isn’t a consequence for her disinterest in passing out 50 candy canes. We’ll talk about it for sure, but she is 3.)

On this day, I said (WITH OVER THE TOP JOY):

“Larson – come help me! (gave her bag of quarters). This is so fun! We are going to tape a quarter to all of these meters and write ‘Merry Christmas’ so someone doesn’t have to pay his or her meter or can stay longer. Isn’t that so fun! Oh I’d be so grateful. I never have change!”


She smiled. She did one. She got it. She wanted to do two. We kept going and going and going.


(Note: I have no idea if this allowed in your area – do not send me fine. Thank you).


We picked up Ella from the school and back to my car.

I GOT A TICKET!!! I was pissed. I think I actually teared up I was so mad.

Seriously? Seriously God? Seriously ticket dude?

I have been peeved for a couple days on this and I just finally got the lesson on this one as I am typing this: I have spent more time talking about the dang ticket vs talking about how GRATEFUL I should be that my sweet baby Larson GOT IT. She was precious. How many little lives she touched that day with her hard work. She wanted NO HELP. Only me lifting her up to the right level. I should put enough in my own meters. $27 ticket is no biggie in the scheme of teaching her a great lesson and now I won’t forget to feed my own meter.



So, I had the chance to be in our neighborhood magazine recently about Light ‘Em Up.


So humbling and little bit awkward, but sooo truly neat that I got to spread something that fills up a community with love. I will never forget my mail carrier greeting me on the stairs that afternoon. Ironically, that morning… I put a TON of packages out there for him and I was feeling so bad how many he has to get (he has a regular car not USPS truck) so I left a bag of candy and note of thanks). I had no idea the magazine was coming out.

When he arrived, I opened the door to him getting packages and candy – he said, “You get out here. I’ve got to talk to you.”

He handed me the magazine with tears in his eyes. He proceeded to talk to me for 20 minutes about how the message of Light ‘Em Up changed his morning, his heart and his outlook for the season. I can’t give you details, but basically Casey and I agreed, “We all have more than we need and we can give so much.” We hugged and Casey and I are buds now. It’s official. Ron came out at some point to take our photo.


He said he was telling the whole post office I was his customer and then told me “I’m so blessed to be your post man.” Gracious my heart. Fast forward a few days or so – he rang the doorbell a 6:30 am to get some more ABC Scripture Cards and then sheepishly said, “Are you planning anything for the homeless? And can I maybe come with you?” I mean, seriously? YES!!!

So, yes, me and my sweet post man friend Casey are going to find some homeless friends and we’ll have bags of stuff. Unreal how God moves. I’d feel like a nerd and do the whole magazine cover again just for that one friendship.



If you’re new here… you should know a little something. My husband is obsessed with Disney.


When we got news we were moving to Orlando. This was big news for this big kid. He knows the park like no other human. He takes my girls OFTEN – dates one-on-one – both of them – all four of us – him and his aunt – whatever human he can get on his early-bird-bandwagon.. he’s there. It brings me great joy to see him skipping through there with his babies.

So, we go today at … ahem 6:45, because the DeFeo’s don’t miss the opening ceremony. I didn’t have my eyeballs open, much less a Light ‘Em Up plan for the park, which would’ve been brilliant. But God knew.

I’ll interject with some sweet photos. Other than Ron’s magical moment of meeting the “Mayor of Disney” above. His children actually had a blast too – Rapunzel was so very precious telling Ella insider secrets about Belle her favorite …


and Larson and Mom squealed over our first visit with Mary Poppins!


Ok, so at the end of the day – we went to the potty. Before Light ‘Em Up – I wouldn’t have noticed the person cleaning the bathroom. So, I noticed this precious woman. I said, “Well, hello.. how are you today?” “She smiled so huge and said… “I am VERY WELL thank you!”

I proceeded to just thank her for how immaculate the bathrooms always were and how as a mom – I was just so grateful. I loved Disney but I loved how easy they made it. I asked her lots of questions and GET THIS!!!

My new friend, she’s been working there 24 years.


She told us about her glass case at home – where she keeps awards and special Disney collector’s items.

I love this woman. We hugged. We got a photo – thanks Ella.


We left and the girls and I were skipping out and Ron knew – we had met a friend. He grinned.

I said, “GIRLS! I wish we had something for her. She’s so great!” I looked in our little soueviner bag and Ella had won herself a souevenir pin of courage for riding Big Thunder Mountain (HOLY SCARY AND TRAUMATIC – will probably need counseling and mommy almost divorced daddy and almost threw my phone at his forehead from the coaster to him on the ground I was so spitting mad he made my baby go through fear.)


Anwyay, so sweet Ella immediately said,

“Let’s give her my new pin!”

OH THANK YOU LORD. She’s getting it. She said, “But I get to do it!”

Right on sister – let’s go…. The three sweaty Disney stooges go bouncying back into our friend and said MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

And handed her the pin.

She smiled so big and said,

“Girls – this is going in my glass case!”

Oh I can’t wait to look for her just like we do a princess upon our every return. Lord knows we’ll be back. And, I am so bummed her name is escaping me. Ugh. We knew it and Ella will surely know it in the morning. I pray. Or Main Street here I come.

Here’s what I’m learning this round…


Although passing on treats and other simple things seem trivial or maybe not important to some.. I believe it’s crucial.


My kids are being trained. Heart-trained. They are gaining practice in everyday life how to notice others. How to give and serve and love as little people that will one day grow into big people. They will one day grow up and instead of Disney pins they will have bank account pins. What choice will they make? To hoard or to give generously? Will they choose to pay for a well in Africa or help a homeless ministry in their town? Will they see their lives and their work can have purpose beyond their own consumption.


At 3 and 5 – we might not get super deep, but we get super intentional. Do people really need a candy cane? Probably not – but what they need is God’s love, kindness, pure sweet faces of joy and a genuine surprise. A man on our sidewalk said, “This is what it is all about. Thank you. Thank you.” Another woman said to our little group of 7 that attacked our entire downtown, “You just made my entire day.”

They are not too young to change the course of a bathroom and even a community – do you know how many people watched the bathroom scene?

Matthew 5:16

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,

and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Enjoy some comments from the blog:

I found this site on Pinterest and I loved it! I look at your blog often! I am a 17 year old senior in high school and I look forward to using your tips now and for the future! It’s great that you have given me such great ideas and tips on how to spread the love with a budget… you don’t always have to go all out to make someone’s day! I love that. Thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson that I hope to pass on to my family, friends, and future children 🙂 I’m so in! Doing the letters/treats for the trash pick up first! I told my mom and she loved it! Can’t wait! 🙂 Thank you!!!

We r in, we just had a funeral for our 17 yr old cousin Tyler Rathbun (riptr). The support has been amazing, we want to pay it forward

This brought tears to my eyes. I feel like I’ve lost my Christmas Spirit lately and this is exactly what I needed to start to get it back. My children are tiny (1 and almost 4) and our budget barely allows us to have our own Christmas much less share with others. I have been trying to come up with simple, no cost ways to give to others but have been blocked. Thank you so much for sharing this list, and especially the no quilt pledge!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.