A Year of Smiles – Day 175

Reason to SMILE #175: BARE FEET

The first thing I do when I get home is take feet-42939_640off my shoes.  Not because I’m worried about my carpet or anything – I live with three males so that concern went out the window years ago.  No, I take off my shoes because I’d much rather go without them.  Who needs shoes when the feet God gave us are perfectly adequate!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m no wild child longing to run rampant through the great outdoors barefoot and carefree.  Not me at all!  I love a cute pair of shoes but the older I get, the more I just want to be comfortable.  So off the shoes go when I hit my bedroom door.

The funny thing about my longing to unshod my feet is that I have just the opposite desire for my kids at church.  One of our rules is to keep your shoes on your feet.  What they don’t know is that all afternoon on Wednesdays, I’m usually running around the church barefoot as I’m preparing for our evening activities.  Pretty unfair, isn’t it?  No.  You try being in the same room with thirty kids who have just been playing out in the heat for twenty minutes and have all decided to kick off their sweaty, smelly shoes. Thus, the rule!

I wear my shoes because society dictates.  And because my feet need protection!  I live in the South and I’d be suffering from third degree burns in the summer if I tried to walk on the asphalt with just my bare feet.  And speaking of the South…

What prompted this post today was all of the shoes I see lying in the road.  Everywhere I go, I find that someone has lost a shoe.  Not both shoes just one!  How do you lose a shoe when you’re driving down the road?  Does this happen other places?  Well, all I can say is that the South must be full of SMILING people free of their shoes and society’s restraints… at least they’re free of one shoe anyway!  😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 174

Reason to SMILE #174: WEDDINGS

 

Blissful and elegant,

A charming delight,

Eagerly enters

The beauty in white.

 

Dapper and dashing,

A fear-stricken mess,

Anxiously awaits

The groom at his best.

 

Shiny and lighthearted,

A roomful of grins,

Respectfully dotes

Their fam’ly and friends.

 

The scene is a wonder

Where time has no end.

When two become one,

A new life begins.

 

But is it the picture

We place on the wall?

Is it as perfect

As our minds recall?

 

Last time I checked,

A wedding takes work.

One day of magic

Leaves dad in the lurch.

 

And on the blessed day

Not one thing is right –

Not flowers, not cake,

Not dresses, not lights.

 

The Moms are both frantic;

Dads sink in defeat.

The flower girl’s mad

And stomping her feet.

 

The bridesmaids are fighting;

The groomsmen don’t care.

The bride’s feet are cold;

The groom is… nowhere!

 

So many emotions

In such a short time.

So many mishaps

To thwart groom and bride.

 

So what’s the big hubbub?

Why all of the fuss?

Is it all worth it

To turn me to us?

 

Despite all the chaos,

There’s one thing that’s true:

It’s worth any price

To hear said, “I do.”

 

“I do take my lover

To be by my side

I promise to stay

Our love will abide.

 

“I will fight to uphold

This most sacred vow

And when times are rough

We’ll make it… somehow.”

 

And when your days married

Have turned into years,

You’ll look back and smile

(Perhaps shed some tears)

 

On all of the folly

Of your special day

And thank God for blessing

Your life anyway!



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A Year of Smiles – Day 173

Reason to SMILE #173: NICKNAMES

I have this fear.  It overtakes me when I check my Facebook notifications and find that one of my college friends has commented on a post or tagged me in a picture.  Oh no! I wonder…  I almost cringe as I click to navigate to the post.  With hands covering my eyes, I peek through slightly spread fingers as the picture or comment appears.  Whew! She didn’t call me by my nickname this time! 

I had some of the best friends in college.  We had so Hello_my_name_is_sticker.svgmuch fun, shared lots of laughter, supported one another, gave nicknames to each other.  Wait.  Let me rephrase that.  They gave one to me!  From the first day I walked into my dorm, one of the first friends that I met decided I reminded her of a Precious Moments figure.  This prompted her to begin calling me “Pookie”.  And it spread!  By the time I graduated, the name had stuck.  I will forever be “Pookie” to my college buddies.  And yes, they still call me by that name today…on Facebook…where the whole world can see!

Oh, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!  I love to hear my college friends call me “Pookie”.  It reminds me that I am loved and it takes me back to some of the best days of my life.

I’ve had other nicknames through the years.  Some were good:

“Kari-poo” – given to me by my mom when I was very young,

“KJ” – given to me by my dad as I got older (My family and many friends still call me that today.) and

“Li’l Bit” – given to me by my youth director when I was a teenager.

Some of the nicknames I’ve been given were not so pleasant:

“Duck Walk” – given to me as a child by a bully on my bus (You can read that story here.) and

“Copy Lady” – given to me by an entitled little man who didn’t know my name but saw me by the copier and thought it would be funny (It only happened once… If looks could kill!)

The bad come with the good but that’s life, isn’t it?  Thankfully, my life has been filled with wonderfully good friends and family who have found something so special in me that they have to give it a name. And even if it embarrasses me a little, when I hear those special nicknames, I always SMILE.

How about you?  Do you have a nickname that makes you SMILE?  Don’t be embarrassed.  Hey, I’ve already shared mine so we can be embarrassed together!

A Year of Smiles – Day 172

 

Reason to SMILE #172: A GIFT FROM A CHILD

Wednesdays, I think, are my favorite day of the week because I get to have fun at Kids Central, the children’s ministry at my church.  Our biggest group of kids attend the mid-week activities and I love seeing each and every one of them.  Wednesday nights are jam-packed with music, skits, games, snacks, crafts and, of course, Bible study.  It’s organized chaos at it’s finest.  Did I mention how fun it is?

Tonight was no different. A whole lotta kids, a whole lotta chaos and a whole lotta fun.  But my SMILE actually came before the evening activities kicked off.  A sweet little girl, who had arrived early, walked up to me with a package of sorts and said, “I made this for you.” Anytime this happens, I can’t help but SMILE but as I opened her precious gift, my heart soared.  Check it out:

Hover over the pictures for a “translation”. 😉  There was a message on the inside of the main envelope (top right picture).  It says, “I love you and God is awesome and Jesus is awesome and you are awesome too and I wish church is every day. Good bye.”

This is a SMILE worth treasuring!

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 171

Reason to SMILE #171: SIGNS

“It’s a sign,” I heard him say.  He had made the decision to work away from home.  His current job was making him miserable.  He needed a change but this change included more than beginning a new job.  It also included a new city and a new home away from his family – at least during the work week.

He set out to prepare for his move.  He sold a few of his large possessions to build up some funds.  He found his buyers fairly easy and he received the prices for which he asked.  “It’s a sign,” he said that his decision was the right one.

Moving day arrived.  Finding a place to stay was not as simple as finding buyers for his possessions but an apartment finally became available.  He approached the front door of his new abode and noticed the welcome mat.  “Believe in your dreams,” it read.

“That has to be a sign,” he concluded.

Have you ever looked for signs to help you make a decision in life?  Have you ever asked God to show you a sign when life’s decisions seemed too difficult?  I certainly have.  At times, when I’ve been at my most desperate, I’ve even asked God to simply tell me the choice I should make.  “Spell it out for me, God.  Write it on the wall or in the sky.  A Post-it® note will even do.”

I’m still waiting on those Post-it notes.

I do believe that God gives us signs in life – signs of His presence, signs of His love, signs of His promises, even signs that lead us along life’s journey – but I’ve learned that His signs aren’t always the flashing neon billboards that we desire.  He’s usually a bit more subtle.  You see, God is all about developing our character, growing our faith and building a relationship with us.  He’d much rather we seek His direction and will for our lives through the study of His Word, through prayer, through our fellowship with Him and through the wisdom of mature Christians He places in our lives.

God wants to guides us along life’s journey but He won’t force us to follow Him.  We have the power to choose. Unfortunately, we treat this gift of choice as if it were a second-hand trinket found at a yard sale. Instead of relying on the truth of God’s Word or the answers found in our daily communion with God, we base our decisions and choices on our desires and feelings.  Then wanting confirmation of our decisions, we pray for a sign, anything that will substantiate our choices.  We discard our faith in God and we find ourselves making major life decisions based on a message we read on a doormat.

Are you looking for a sign today?  Try spending time with your Heavenly Father.  Open up and read His Word.  Talk to Him and wait for His answer.  He will guide you if you choose to follow.

So, use that doormat for what it was meant and remember this: There’s no greater sign that you’re following God’s lead than the peace He puts in your heart.  And a peaceful heart shows all over your face! 🙂

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 170

Reason to SMILE #170: WHEN SOMEONE THINKS OF YOU


“I have a ticket that I’m not using,” said the voice on the phone, “and I thought you might like to have it.”

It was early afternoon when my phone rang. My friend was returning home after being out of town and wanted only to rest when she arrived but she had a ticket for an event that she didn’t want to go to waste. She thought of me. Although I wasn’t able to attend, either, I was appreciative of the offer. She may not have realized it but her simple gesture made my day. 

It’s a wonderful feeling to know someone is thinking of you, isn’t it? Imagine if we all decided to let others know how often we think of them and pray for them. What a difference such a simple thing would make! We wouldn’t be able to count the SMILES!

Had anyone on your mind lately? Did you see a picture or hear a joke and think of a friend you haven’t spoken with in years? Did a name cross your mind out of the blue? Call that person. Send an email. Text a message. Whatever method of communication you choose, I know the person on the receiving end is sure to be SMILING.

A Year of Smiles – Day 169

Reason to SMILE #169: SUPERMAN

“I’m Superman,” my dad declared. “Didn’t you know that?”

“No, you’re not!” my siblings and I all protested.

“I am! I can lift this car with one hand,” Dad claimed.

We all responded with cheers to see our dad prove he was indeed Superman.

“Ok, here goes.” Without hesitation, Dad continued, “Wanna see me do it again?”

We protested again, “You didn’t do anything!”

With a grin on his face, Dad explained, “I did it so fast you couldn’t see me!”

He may not have lifted our car but there has never been any doubt in my mind that my dad is Superman. There’s no better dad and I’m grateful for him. He is my biggest fan and I can always depend on him for support, for help, for wise advice and for prayer. 

I’m blessed to have such a good father in my life, someone I can look up to, follow in his footsteps and trust to always love and accept me. You may not be able to say the same – at least not about an earthly father.  But you do have a Heavenly Father who is always good. He loves you and will always be there for you. He will never let you down or disappoint you. He’s even better than Superman! 😉

Cape or no cape – my dad always makes me SMILE and I know it’s because he’s following the example of the greatest Father of all!

Psalm 68:5 (ESV) Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

1 John 3:1 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

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A Year of Smiles – Day 168

cheek-kissReason to SMILE #168: KISSES

I’ve tried my best to avoid this mushy stuff but I can hold out no longer.

I was sitting in bed with one earbud in while listening to a song I was learning for church in the morning (Yes, I waited ’til the last minute. I’m a busy lady!).  The music was soft and soothing featuring a beautifully played soprano saxophone (think of Kenny G playing church music).  My husband had been in the room a while.  He, of course, could hear me singing but could not hear the music.  Out of nowhere, he just leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.  (And the crowd said, “Awww!”)  As far as I’m concerned, he couldn’t have timed that kiss any better.  It made me SMILE!  Let’s hear that “Awww” one more time.

Okay.  Enough of the mushy stuff!  But take note.  If you wanna make that someone special SMILE, try a sweet little kiss on the cheek.

What are you waiting for?  Go try it!

 

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 167

Reason to SMILE #167: ORANGE TOES


My older son wondered if it was for something to do with the kids at church.

My younger son just thought it was strange.

My husband asked if I had become a Tennessee fan. (Since when have I ever shown any interest in sports?)

It simply made me happy and that’s that. Sometimes, you have to make your own SMILES!

My orange toes – I’m sure that’s exactly what you wanted to see. 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 166

Reason to SMILE #166: WILL POWER

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of WILL.” – Vince Lombardi

If this is true, I am the most successful person I know.  Why is that?

I’m married to WILL!  And as he so proudly proclaims:

“Where there’s a Will (pointing to himself), there’s a way!”

He makes me SMILE every time he says it.  Okay, okay!  I’m really laughing but you can’t laugh without smiling.  It counts. 😉