To My Nephew

To My Nephew

Aunt life is the best life.

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When I think of pure joy, the first face that comes to my mind is the face of my nephew. I have never seen a human being have as much joy as my sweet sweet nephew. This baby can make anyone's day better, his joy is so contagious. I have never adored another human being so much in my life. From the moment I was told he was on the way until now, he has changed my life. He has had his entire family wrapped around his finger, since the day he was born.

Being an aunt, is not something you grow up thinking about. As girls grow up they have being a mom on their minds. That is what they think about the most. I did not think about being an aunt until my brothers got married. Once they were married, I started to think of the precious bundles of joy they would one day bring into the world. I could not wait for that day. When the day finally came, it was a feeling like no other. I wish I could describe the love and joy that entered my heart seeing my nephew for the first time. I have never experienced that before. I know one day it will be multiplied for my babies, but right now it is all focused on my nephew. I also felt an immense happiness and proudness of my brother and sister-in-law. They did so well and brought a true miracle into this world.

One day my nephew might stumble upon this article, and I want him to know a few things. To my precious nephew, first of all you are so loved. There is no one in your family who does not love you more than words could ever say. We all would do anything for you. You are the sweetest, most joyous, and cutest baby there ever was. (Okay I might be bias; but I'm an aunt I'm allowed.) You are a gift from God and one of his masterpieces, I pray you never believe you are not. The world is a better place because you are in it, you have changed so many lives. You have made all of our lives better and happier. You truly have great parents who clearly love you with all of their hearts. You are everything and more to them. They are lucky to have you, but always remember you are also lucky to have them.

Lastly, your aunt loves you more than she could ever describe. You can always come to me any time and I will spoil you, love on you, and I will always be here for you. You my sweet nephew have changed my world for the better. I love you so much.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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8 Things I Learned Growing Up Blessed With Brothers

Sometimes they can be OK, I guess.

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I was lucky enough that God graced me with siblings because for my entire life I have had two built-in playmates. However, instead of the sisters that I always dreamed of, He gave me two smelly boys.

When I was younger I always was jealous of my friends who had sisters. I used to beg my parents to adopt another child so I could have a sister. My brothers were competitive, they were stubborn, they liked to physically fight each other and me, but they've always been my best friends.

As I look back at my childhood, I realize that growing up with brothers has taught me a lot about life and I wouldn't change that for the world.

Competition.

Every day of my childhood was some type of competition between the three of us. Whether it was grades in school, sports, which TV show to watch, or who got to eat the last slice of pizza, it always seemed like there was something to be won.

Now, I can still feel that competitive spirit coming out of me. It drives me to be the best that I can be. It has really helped me when I play sports or during classes when I'm taking a test.

Patience.

My brothers always knew what to say or do to get me to blow up on them, which would always end up with me getting in trouble. My mom would always tell me to be patient and ignore my brothers when they were trying to annoy me.

At the time, it always made me angry that I was the one who had to ignore or be patient with them. However, that has taught me important people skills that I have carried with me into my adult life. I'm a much cooler tempered person and I can be much more rational when I'm angry as compared to other people I know.

Impulsiveness.

I can remember playing outside with my brothers and all the other neighborhood kids. We had a forest behind our houses that we could get to if we hopped the fence. I can remember my brothers thought it would be a great idea to throw rocks at ant hills and bee hives which always ended with someone getting bitten or stung.

The impulsive decisions my brothers made in their youth taught me how to think fast. Now, I'm good at thinking of solutions to problems quickly. I, also, tend to be much more flexible with impulsive trips to the store or off campus.

How to get away with anything.

Sneaky is one of the most prominent words that comes to my mind when I think of my brothers. They have always been able to get away with things. I can remember days when they would come into my room and explain to me the complex plan they created to sneak out or to play pranks on our parents. I never joined in on their escapades but they did show me a few tricks on how to get away with it if I ever did.

How to be a hard worker.

Both of my brothers are wrestlers and have been since they were young. In high school, my twin brother, Brendan, would be doing wrestling through winter and Thanksgiving break. This meant that's even if it's was Christmas or Thanksgiving, he would still mostly stick to his diet and decide to lay off the dessert. He also went to California for about a month over the summer to go to a wrestling camp so he could better his skills.

My younger brother, Jacob, started high school last year and did choir, the musical, and wrestling all at the same time.

Since I have watched my brothers excel in sports and work at my dad's restaurant, it has pushed me to become a harder worker with my school work and my athletics. I want to make them as proud of me as I am of them.

Self-defense.

My brothers have always been the protective type and we did martial arts in our youth, so all of us have some type of training in self-defense. With that being said, much of our practice for martial arts was on each other when we were upset. If two of us had a conflict, we would put on your sparing gear and battle it out. Through these fights, I have hyper extended my elbow, almost broke my nose, and have been beaten with a small, wooden, baseball bat. Of course, parents stopped it when it got too violent but it was always a way to fix our issues.

I'm glad that I had that experience when I was younger because now that I am on my own if someone approaches me in a violent way, I know how and where to throw a punch to make sure I can defend myself. Also, I know that my two strong, athletic brothers would always take someone down if they hurt me.

Sharing.

I was a very stubborn kid and to an extent I still am. However, having my brothers around taught me how to share. I used to never want to let my brothers play with my toys because I assumed that they would break them. I realized that if I wasn't going to share, my brothers would take my toys with force and would be more likely to break them out of anger. So, I began to let them use my things as long as they promised to give them back. When I began to let them use my things, they began to let me use their things.

I have found myself lending out many of my things out to my friends in college and they lend things to me. Sharing is a very important part of learning how to be an adult and I'm glad that I was able to learn how to share at a young age.

Love.

While I can count on my fingers the number of times my brothers have explicitly said, "I love you," to me, I know that they do love me.

When I going back home to Tacoma for the first time for Thanksgiving break, I was half asleep on the train when my phone starting buzzing. Lazily, I reached down and answered it without looking at the caller ID. It was my younger brother, Jacob. He was excitedly asking, "Hey, when are you gonna be home? Is it gonna be soon? Can we go out to lunch?"

He didn't have to explicitly say it but I knew that behind his words he was saying, "Hey, I missed you and I'm excited for you to be home."

My twin brother, Brendan, was my walking partner at my high school graduation. Right before we walked out in front of all our family and our friends and classmates' families, Brendan linked his pinky finger with mine. Having a physical reminder that I had someone on my side calmed my nerves immensely and I knew it was his way of saying that we were going to get through it together.

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