A Year of Smiles – Day 295

Reason to SMILE #295: WHEN GOD SHOWS UP FOR COFFEE

coffee mug

And God said, “Hmm. That mug needs a little something extra.”

How beautiful is that! The sun peered through my kitchen window and hit my coffee mug in the perfect spot. For someone who doesn’t enjoy mornings, I was able to find my SMILE much faster when this caught my eye. And this definitely made my morning a bit – well – brighter!

I’ve said it many times before and I’m sure I’ll say it many times to come. The smallest things can make the biggest difference. And God must agree. Why else would He have sent this sparkling SMILE my way?

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A Year of Smiles – Day 294

Reason to SMILE #294: SALSA

Oh, and not just any salsa – Black-eyed Pea Salsa!

img_8817Some people call it “Cowboy Caviar”, “Texas Caviar” or “Black-eyed Pea Salad”.  I call it “Yu. um. my”!

There are tons of recipes out there for it, too. Do a search on Pinterest and you’ll be scrolling for days. My recipe is probably the simplest, though. (It has to be for me! You know I’m not good in the kitchen.) There are only 9 ingredients in my black-eyed pea salsa:

2-15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2-15 oz. cans white shoepeg corn, drained
1-10 oz. can diced rotel
8 green onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 diced tomato
1 tbsp minced garic
1-14 oz. bottle zesty italian dressing
salt and pepper to taste*

(If you want an extra kick, you can add a jalapeño. But none of those for me!)

And the directions for preparing the salsa are easy, peasy:

Combine, chill, serve with corn chips, tortilla chips, crackers, etc.

Now that’s my kinda recipe! 😉

I gotta tell ya. There aren’t too many food items I prepare that get requested again and again but this salsa is one of them. Folks around here love it, especially my family.  I give it as Christmas gifts. Mix it up, pour it into mason jars, tie Christmas ribbons around the lids and voilà! The best Christmas present ever! (At least that’s what my brother says.) And it must be good. My family keeps emptying their jars and returning them for refills!

It truly does feel good to know I’ve prepared something that people love. Even better, though, is knowing that with each gift of Black-eyed Pea Salsa, I’m making a whole bunch of folks SMILE.

 

*I believe I found this easy recipe at food.com. I certainly didn’t come up with it on my own! 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 293

Reason to SMILE #293: FAIRY TALES

Well, of course, today’s SMILE is fairy tales! Reason to SMILE #292 was musicals. The only logical choice for today’s SMILE was fairy tales. What else could it have been?

Okay. Logic may have had nothing to do with it. I’ve been binge watching “Once Upon a Time” on Netflix. That may have had a slight affect on my SMILE choice for today.

Nah. Probably not. 😉

What’s not to love about fairy tales? They’re filled with colorful characters, magical lands, nonsensical creatures, beautiful princesses, handsome princes and all sorts of other peculiarities and whimsies that captivate the imagination. And in a fairy tale, you’re sure to find epic battles between good and evil, daring adventures of unassuming heroes, courageous quests of valiant knights and beautiful stories of finding true love.

Not everything is honky dory in a fairy tale, though. There are hurdles to jump, tests of character to pass and sadness to overcome. But no matter how dire the circumstances of the hero, knight or princess, no matter the setbacks, the struggles or the flaws of the protagonist, there will always be a happy ending in a fairy tale. Darkness never wins and love conquers all.

Boy, that sounds good! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could call on a fairy godmother when life is too hard, if we could wish upon a star for our every need, if we could wave a magic wand to right every wrong and solve every problem? Wouldn’t it?

It’s easy to get caught up in a fairy tale and wish that real life could be so, well, fair. We want life to make sense. We want justice to win. We expect good to vanquish evil and love to always win out over hate. But it’s not always that way.

There is always hope, though. You just have to read the right story to find it. You see, the answer to life’s problems can’t be found in a story that begins with “Once upon a time.” No, the story of real happiness, real sacrificial love and real lasting hope begins with “In the beginning, God.”

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The truth of God’s Word brings hope that will put a SMILE on your face for a lifetime! You really should read it. 🙂

 

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 292

Reason to SMILE #292: MUSICALS

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I can hear the doubt filtering through cyber space now. “Really? Musicals?”

Ab. so. lute. ly.

I love a good musical. Musicals draw me in, engage my senses and emotions and create a longing within me to jump up and sing at the top of my lungs. I really should’ve pursued a Broadway career. (Hahaha! I’m laughing at myself right now! 😉 )

My husband and sons don’t share my affection for musicals, however. (Imagine that!) I once took them all to see the movie Frozen. They agreed only because the trailers for the movie showed scenes of a goofy little snowman and a big oaf of a reindeer frolicking in the snow. As soon as the first song began, though, all three of my boys, husband included, turned to me and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me this was a musical?” Well …

Not all musicals are created equal and I’m sure a true aficionado of musicals would have a vastly different definition of a “good” musical than I do. I’m a simple little lady who’s a sucker for happy endings, innocent stories and fantastical whimsy. I’m talking The Sound of Music, GreaseInto the Woods, The Wizard of Oz and Sister Act. Ooooh, or Sister Act 2. Now, that’s a musical that makes me regret my decision to not pursue a career in music. When that kid hits that high note near the end of “Oh Happy Day”, it makes me wanna shout. I could do that! (Hahahaha! I’m laughing at me, again!)

Well, that’s my case for musicals. Though some of you out there agree with the men in my life that musicals rank right up there with having a root canal, I think they’re wonderful. They make me SMILE.

Now, do me a favor. Listen to this:

Oh Happy Day, Sister Act 2

Minute 2:51 – YESSSS!! Ah, c’mon! There’s no way that didn’t make you SMILE!

 

 

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 291

Reason to SMILE #291: HE’S GOT YOU!

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Matthew 6:25 – 26

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Read those verses again and let that thought wash over you.

Are YOU not much MORE VALUABLE?

By the way, that question – it’s rhetorical. But in case you are unsure, the answer is “Yes! Yes you are!” And our God will take care of you.

He’s got you!

So stop with the worrying. It’s time to SMILE!

A Year of Smiles – Day 290

Reason to SMILE #290: EEYORE

“I was so upset, I forgot to be happy.”

– Eeyore 


I think of all the characters in the Hundred Acre Wood, my favorite has to be Eeyore. Oh, there are other creatures in the Wood more pleasant, more cheerful but I love that pessimistic old donkey. I just want to cuddle up beside him, scratch him behind the ears and tell him everything is going to be okay, even though I know he wouldn’t believe me. 

I may actually know a human or two like Eeyore. You know the ones – the people who always see the negative, who see the glass half-empty, who find the smallest bit of darkness in the midst of overwhelming light. Many people try to avoid these Gloomy Gusses in life. The thing is, though, God loves the Gloomy Gusses just as much as he loves the Suzy Sunshines. 

And they need to know how much they are loved. We need to park ourselves beside them, put our arms around their shoulders and tell them everything is going to be alright – yes, even if these “Eeyores” won’t believe us. It’s what God has called us to do. 

Is there an Eeyore in your life? Show God’s love to him today and keep on showing it. You just might see a SMILE on the face of that Gloomy Gus one day!

A Year of Smiles – Day 289

Reason to SMILE #289: MOM SUPER POWERS

Faster than a little boy’s ability to make up excuses to skip school.

More powerful than the myriad of sicknesses plaguing his body.

Able to spot a tall tale with a single glance.mom-2010524_1280

Look! In the kitchen!

It’s a doctor.

It’s Dad.

No, it’s Mom – armed with the Pink Pills of Power ready to battle the crippling moves of the stomach’s arch-nemesis, Tum E. Ache. Pills so powerful that with the mere mention of their name, even the worst aches and pains flee in fear.

Our story begins at the Smith household where a little boy is just waking up to get ready for school….

We see our young victim crawling out of his chair, doubled over with his arm around his stomach. The little boy cries, “Ohhhh! My stomach hurts!”

Then from the kitchen, our hero appears and proclaims, “I’ll get the Pepto!”

WHAM! BOOM! POW! Those four powerful words knock Tum E. Ache to the floor and he quickly vanishes to escape his impending doom!

The little boy, now walking upright and wearing a smile on his face, happily ingests the bubble gum goodness of the powerful pink Pepto.

And our hero quietly retreats to the kitchen to enjoy her coffee but keeps a watchful eye on her surroundings. You never know when Tum E. Ache or his League of Phony Syndromes will rear their ugly heads again!

Being a mom means you have to face all kinds of evil foes every day, including that pesky “I don’t wanna go to school” monster. The key is being armed with the right weapons. A whole lotta love and patience and a little bit of children’s chewable Pepto 😉 will ensure the victory and the SMILES every time!

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 288

Reason to SMILE #288: CAMPFIRES 


There’s nothing like sitting around a campfire watching the flames dance and the embers glow to calm the nerves and ease a troubled mind. Tonight’s crisp air begged for the warmth of a fire. My husband obliged and I’m glad he did.

I needed to hear the cheerful crackle of the flames. I needed to gaze into the fire’s soothing glow. I needed to feel my burdens float away with the ashes as they drifted through the air and disappeared into the night.

Sigh. 

What a relaxing SMILE!

There is one thing that could’ve made it better, though…

Marshmallows! If I’d only had marshmallows! 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 286

Reason to SMILE #286: PROGRESS

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Five of us have been sharing one bathroom for almost a month now. A rotted floor in our main bathroom meant total renovation – something neither I nor my husband knows how to do. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to hire a professional, either. So, my husband has been gleaning what he can from YouTube videos and he has been tackling the job little by little.

We have both discovered that demolition is the best part. Tearing up stuff is easy. Just hand me a sledge hammer! Haha – I can’t even pick up a sledge hammer. Anyway…

Once the demolition was complete, though, we were stumped. The idea of reconstruction was overwhelming and the bathroom renovation came to a screeching halt. Ugh!

This weekend, however, we found some motivation in the form of a friend willing to lend a hand. And not just any friend – a friend who knows what he’s doing! And boy, oh boy, do I thank God for this friend!

We’ve finally made some progress! And this is making all of us SMILE!