Reason to SMILE #47: HAPPY PEOPLE

Reason to SMILE #47: HAPPY PEOPLE - So that's why they're so happy! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

“Welcome!  How are you today?” I heard as I entered the store.

Looking over toward the checkout counter, I discovered a young man with the biggest smile on his face and the happiest spirit about him. His happiness seemed to resonate throughout the store as he spoke with each customer and made positive comments about every item being purchased.

This was not what I expected when I walked in the store that day but it was a most welcomed surprise. I left the store with a smile on my face and it’s all because of that young man’s happy attitude.

Don’t you just love to be around happy people?  Their joy seems to rub off on everyone they meet.  And the cool thing is when they leave, the happiness remains.

But the same goes for unhappy people.  Their gloom and misery spread to all those around them and linger long after they are gone.  Most of us do our best to avoid the perpetually unhappy.

I learned a song in children’s choir a long, LONG time ago called “Humbly Grateful or Grumbly Hateful”.¹  It starts with a little rhyme that says:

I have two friends with funny names that sound a lot alike
But once you get to know them, they’re as different as day and night.
One is happy all the time and has lots and lots of friends.
The other always gripes and complains and no one really likes him.
You may wonder who they are and why they act the way they do.
The difference is the way they see things, it’s called their attitude.

So, which one are you?

Are you HUMBLY GRATEFUL, lifting others up with your happiness?

Or are you GRUMBLY HATEFUL, leaving others disheartened and discouraged?

I want to be like that young man I met in the store and leave everyone with a SMILE!

 

¹”Humbly Grateful or Grumbly Hateful” by Janet McMahan-Wilson and Kathie Hill

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Reason to SMILE #367: YOUR FAVORITE SONG

Reason to SMILE #367: YOUR FAVORITE SONG - How can you not Smile when you hear your jam?? | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

We all have one –

That one song we love.

That one song we call our “jam”.

That one song that no matter where we are or what we are doing – trudging through the work day, pulling weeds in the garden, walking through the grocery store or driving down the road – the whole world stops when that first note is played.

And when that first beat hits, it’s no holds barred. Spectators be warned. The volume is going up and the shame is going out the window. Hang on to your hats, folks, and get out those camera phones cause you’re about to get the performance of a lifetime. You definitely don’t want to miss this!

This is going viral!! 😉 😉

Hearing your favorite song is a miraculous experience. It’s powerful. It sweeps you into another world, frees you of your troubles and responsibilities and makes you feel like the rock star you’ve always dreamed you could be.

And when you reach the end of your performance or even if you’re only listening (But who on earth can just listen to their favorite song?!? Tell me. Who?), you’ll find a SMILE on your face and a skip in your step. And you’ll be reaching for the repeat button because you will not want the SMILES to end.

So tell me…

What’s your favorite song?

Don’t have one? Don’t worry. I can make a few suggestions. 🙂

 

He’s Got You

He's Got You - If you feel like everything is out of control, you don't need to worry and this is why... | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Your world may seem out of control;

Your future may seem uncertain;

Your questions may seem unanswered

But there’s no need to worry –

He’s got you.

 

You may feel like your dodging curve balls

Life is relentlessly throwing your way;

You may feel you never catch a break

But there’s no need to doubt –

He’s got you.

 

Your hope may seem dried up;

Your faith may seem extinguished;

Your dreams and your prayers may see futile

But there’s no need to give up –

He’s got you.

 

No matter your situation right now, in this very moment, remember this one truth:

GOD’S GOT YOU!

He’s holding you in the palm of His hand. He is surrounding you with His loving arms. He is working out your troubles for your good. He is preparing you for His glorious purpose.

 

He hasn’t forgotten you.

He hasn’t forsaken you.

He hasn’t failed you.

 

He loves you.

You are His child.

You can breathe easy because

HE’S GOT YOU.

Breathe – Just a Reminder

Breathe -Just a Reminder - For those of us who are struggling through life right now... | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

When the storms of life have covered your blue skies,
When the answers can’t be found for all your why’s,
When your load is feeling heavy and you can’t get out of bed,
When you’re weary from the struggle with the thoughts inside your head…

Breathe –
Just hang on –
Soon your darkness will surrender to the dawn.

Breathe –
Just be still –
Know the God who holds you close and always will.

You’ll find healing, you’ll find hope,
You’ll find peace that won’t let go
When you breathe.

When you’ve lost the will to face another day,
When you feel as though there is no other way
To remedy the aching of your bruised and broken heart,
When you’re tired of all the madness and you need a brand new start…

Breathe –
Don’t give in –
Soon your weeping will give way to joy again.

Breathe –
Find your rest –
In the Arms of the One who knows you best.

You’ll find healing, you’ll find hope,
You’ll find peace that won’t let go
When you…

Lift your hands up to the Father;
Let his Spirit flow through you.
There is rest within His presence
Knowing He will see you through.

Breathe –
Just hang on –
Soon your darkness will surrender to the dawn.

Breathe –
Just be still –
Know the God who holds you close and always will.

 

© KJ Smith 2018

Lyrics by KJ Smith as inspired by the words of my friend, Ben Ford – You can read his words here.

 

*One day, I’ll be able to share a finished song for you all to hear but for now,

Remember to BREATHE.

Let God’s spirit bring healing, hope and very soon –

JOY!

A Couch Potato, A Piano Bench and A Plan

A Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I have become a couch potato.

Every day, I come home from work, cook supper and then sit on the couch until bedtime. My weekends aren’t much different.

Yes. I live an exciting life. 😉

From my perch on the couch, I have a view of this ugly, old piano bench.

A Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

It has certainly seen better days!

Last Saturday, I’d had enough of my laziness. So, I decided I’d give this unfortunate piece of furniture a makeover –

– with MEN’S NECKTIES!

If you followed my daily SMILES in 2017, you know that I love men’s neckties. I collect them for such occasions as this.

It’s a little weird, I know. But there’s something about taking all these different ties – some wide, some thin, some elegant, some down-right ugly, some pristine, some worn – and putting them all together to make something new, fun and beautiful.

I think it reminds me of what God does for us. He takes our brokenness, our ugly qualities, our talents and our uniqueness and molds us into a beautiful reflection of His glory, a new creation with new purpose – if we let Him. (But that’s a blog post for another day!)

Back to my poor neglected piano bench. I was actually excited about this project because I hadn’t used my ties for anything in quite a while. So, here we go.

Step 1: Gather supplies – a staple gun, a screwdriver, scissors, material and a pile of ties.

Step 2: Remove seat of bench from legs and remove old covering (or what was left of the old covering.

A Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Step 3: Cover seat with material. Cut enough material to wrap around the seat and staple underneath. Trim any excess material. By the way, the color of the material really doesn’t matter. This is just a base layer. The ties will cover it. My husband saw the material I was using and asked, “You’re going to use that?!?” Apparently, he did not like it!

A Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Step 4: Lay out your ties and arrange them in whatever order suits you. Be sure to alternate the direction of the ties with one tie having the fat end at the top, the next tie having fat end at the bottom and so forth. Once arranged, flip ties over so the fronts are facing down.

Step 5: Place the seat of the bench upside down on the ties. Staple each tie to the underside. Be sure to pull the ties tight but not so tight that you cannot weave the top layer of ties through. Once stapled, cut off the excess.

A Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comA Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Step 6: Flip the bench over and begin weaving additional ties, or excess cut off from the ties you already used, through the first layer of ties on the bench seat. After the weaving is complete, flip the seat, staple the ties to the underside and cut off the excess.  Be sure to pull the ties taut.

A Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comA Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comA Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Step 7: Now for the corners. Rather than staple the ties on the corners to the underneath, I cut enough of the excess to leave a tail that could be tucked underneath the other ties. It was a painstaking task but worth the effort.

Step 8: Screw the seat back to the legs.

A Couch Potato, a Piano Bench and a Plan - Looking for an easy DIY project? Has this couch potato got a project for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Voila! A beautiful creation from a hodgepodge of men’s neckties and the perfect reminder of what God can do with our lives!

I may be tired and my back may be telling me that I’m not as young as I used to be but the view from my comfy seat on the couch sure has improved! 😉 😉

And it absolutely makes me SMILE!

Reason to SMILE #30: MONDAYS (Really??)

Reason to SMILE #30: MONDAYS (Really???) - Do you have an aversion to Mondays? Discover how to find a SMILE in the most dreaded day of the week. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Mondays, for me, are like mornings. I’d much rather avoid them.

The problem is I can’t hit the fast forward button and skip over Mondays just like I can’t skip over mornings. Well, I suppose I could stay in bed and wait til Mondays pass but if I do that, my week would begin with Tuesdays. Then Tuesdays would end up being my Mondays and you’d eventually be reading a post about how much I hate Tuesdays.

OK. That’s a little too much thinking for a Monday.

So, how can I turn the dreaded Monday into a SMILE? To be honest with you, I’m still working on that one.

But I have an idea.

What if we turned the beginning of our work week into a celebration? You know, like New Year’s.

No, I’m not talking fire works (though my neighbor, who doesn’t seem to need a reason to shoot off fireworks, wouldn’t mind it!). And, no, I’m not talking alcohol, either. You can’t very well begin your work week tipsy, now can you! (The correct answer to that is “No,” in case you were wavering on that concept. 😉 )

I’m talking about turning your Monday into a day you can look forward to. Find a way to have a little fun. Blast some tunes as you’re getting ready for the day. Do a little dancing to get your blood flowing and those endorphins jumping. Splurge on your favorite coffee from that expensive coffee shop. Pick a new route to work. Buy donuts!

You see, it’s all about perspective – about focusing on the positive instead of the negative.

Monday is a new day, a new beginning, the start of a fresh work week filled with new opportunities for all sorts of SMILES – SMILES for you and SMILES to share with others.

Still not convinced that Mondays can be SMILES? That’s okay. Just keep telling yourself there are only 4 more days til the weekend and SMILE anyway!

So, what are you waiting for? Pump up the music and keep the coffee flowin’.

Let’s get this Monday started!

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins!

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Have I ever told you how stubborn I am?

No?

Well, I am. Extremely. After all, I am a redhead. 😉

This week has been a monster at work. Every single day has been a Monday. Long hours, skipped lunches and aggravating people have made for a very weary KJ so you’d think cooking supper in the evenings would be the last thing I’d want to do.

You’d think.

Monday evening, after a long, hard day at the office, I picked up my grocery order then went home and made lasagna. It was yummy. It was also easy – only 5 ingredients.

While putting up my groceries that evening, I actually thought ahead (for once) and set aside some Chicken and Sausage in the fridge so it wouldn’t be frozen when I cooked supper the next night. (You should be very proud of me, right now!)

Tuesday’s work day was horrendous. I mean HOR-REN-DOUS! My husband called me near the end of the day.

“When ya comin’ home?” He asked. I couldn’t give him a time.

“Don’t worry about cooking tonight,” he said. “We can just eat leftovers.”

Upon hearing those words, my overworked and frustrated brain went into overdrive. Does he really think I am required to cook for him every night? Why can’t he go home and cook supper for me? Oh, and leftovers? He really just offered me LEFTOVERS?!?

BUT – –

I was actually too tired to go full on “I am woman; hear me roar” and I suppose I gotta give him props for trying. Besides, I had unfrozen meat sitting in the fridge and a recipe already picked out. And dag-gummit! I was gonna cook!

Stubborn much??

The recipe was One-Pot Chicken and Dirty Rice by The Chunky Chef. Pinterest dubbed it as “Easy” which was good. I like easy. In fact, I need easy. Easy makes me happy and I was excited until I actually saw the recipe and the plethora of ingredients required.  Take a look:

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Courtesy of The Chunky Chef

EASY???? With a list of ingredients like that, there’s no way this recipe could be easy! It certainly wasn’t gonna be “lasagna” easy.

But I still had my thinking cap on. When I ordered my groceries, guess what was on my list…

Zatarain’s® Dirty Rice mix.

This eliminated almost half of the ingredients. Pretty smart, huh? 😉

As soon as I walked in the door after my long, tiring day, I hit the kitchen.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: marinate the chicken. Easy enough. SIDE NOTE: Though the recipe doesn’t call for it, doing this step the night before might have made the chicken even better. I didn’t do that. So much for planning ahead!

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Now, let me remind you, the name of the recipe is “One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice”.

ONE POT.

ONE.

The chicken marinates in a bowl while the sausage is being browned in a Dutch Oven on the stove. Right off the bat, we have 2 dishes.

NEXT UP: brown the sausage. I used turkey sausage not andouille because I have no idea what “andouille” is. Oh, well. And I used a skillet because I don’t own a Dutch Oven. I looked at prices of Dutch Ovens. I’m not going to own a Dutch Oven.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

 

After browning, the recipe instructs to move the sausage to a plate (That’s 3 dishes, folks!) then to sear the chicken on each side and move it to the plate. Done and done.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

 

Before moving on to the rice, the recipe reads “use a paper towel to wipe out any black bits from the pan. Brown bits and pan drippings are good to leave in though.” Hunh?

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Everything in my pan was black bits! I had no idea what to do except wash out the pan and at this point, I truly wished I had taken my husband’s offer to eat leftovers. Ugh!

NOW FOR MY CHEAT: prepare the Dirty Rice mix. I followed the instruction on the box but only brought the rice to a boil because it cooks in the oven along with the chicken and sausage.

NEXT STEP: pop it all in the oven. Oh. The recipe instructs to add the chicken and sausage back into the pot and then place the pot in the oven to bake. Again, I was using a skillet so I transferred everything to a casserole dish. Are you keeping count? That’s dish number 4.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

One hour later, it was 9 o’clock in the evening. My “One-Pot” dish was finally ready to eat and a stack of dirty dishes, pans, measuring cups and spoons was waiting on me to clean.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Oh, well.  At least my stubbornness paid off! This meal was DE-LI-CIOUS!

FYI, my week didn’t get any better. But Wednesday night, I did take my husband up on that whole leftovers offer! 😉

 

The Wait

The Wait - Do you feel like you’re at the end? Hold on - it might just be a wait! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Their Lord was dead. Crucified.

Their promised King entombed.

He was the One, or so they thought,

While in the upper room.

 

Questions swirled within their minds.

Were we all mistaken?

Did He not say He’d save us all,

That we’d not be forsaken?

 

We felt His pow’r as He spoke.

We saw each miracle.

Because of Him, our hearts believed

All things were possible.

 

But here we are – abandoned,

Confused, afraid and grieved.

Oh, God! Oh, God! Be with us now!

This is our time of need.

 

Their Lord was dead. Still, they prayed.

They prayed for three long days.

Then Sunday morn, their answer came –

Their Lord had conquered the grave!

 

Before there eyes, Jesus stood.

His victory proclaimed

What seemed an end to all their hopes

Was just a little wait!

 

Do you feel like you’ve reached the end? Like there’s no more hope? Or that nothing good can come of your current situation? I’m certain that’s how Jesus’ disciples felt when the stone was rolled in front of the tomb where their Lord’s body lay. I’m sure they believed their dreams were crushed, that the promises of a new life, a new kingdom, would never be fulfilled. I’m sure they believed it was the end.

Oh, but it wasn’t the end, now was it? The disciples were only in a time of waiting – waiting for the work of redemption to be accomplished, waiting for the building of God’s Kingdom to begin.

We tend to think like the disciples. We know the promises of God but when things get rough and our circumstances don’t seem to be lining up as we think they should, we begin to question God’s promises.  We begin to doubt our faith.  We believe it’s all over for us. We give up.

DON’T GIVE UP! IT’S NOT OVER! God isn’t finished and He will keep His promises. Sometimes, we simply have to wait.

Your time of waiting may be three days or it may be three years. Whatever the length, just know that God’s timing is perfect. And while you wait, keep trusting. Keeping hoping. Keep praying.

Remember, what seems an end to all your hopes is just a little wait!

Reason to SMILE #104: GOOD FRIDAY

Reason to SMILE #104: GOOD FRIDAY - What’s so good about Good Friday? | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

He was arrested.

He was interrogated.

He was put on trial.

He was traded for a murderer.

He was stripped.

He was beaten.

He was forced to wear a crown of thorns.

He was mocked.

He was nailed to a cross.

He died an excruciating death.

 

So what’s so good about Good Friday?

 

He did it all for you and me!

Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world, died a death that He did not deserve so you and I could live a life we do not deserve.  He paid the price for our sin.  He took our punishment.

Without his death, we have no life.

Without his sacrifice, we have no redemption.

Without his gift, we have no hope.

 

Good Friday is good because God is good.

 

God gave His one and only Son, Jesus, to die in our place so we, if we believe and entrust our lives to Him, can have everlasting life.  Yes.  That’s why Good Friday is good and that’s why we can SMILE today.

By the way, the redemption story doesn’t end with Good Friday.  Jesus’ death and burial was not the final chapter.  Want to know how it ends?

You’ll have to wait til Sunday – – –

– – – that’s when the real SMILING begins!

Who Am I?

Who Am I? - Finding value in your “Youness” | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Tell us about yourself in no more than four sentences.

Four sentences? That’s all?!?

How can I reduce myself to only four sentences?  How can I convey all that I am – my hopes, my dreams, my passions, my philosophy – in four measly lines?

How will they ever know how perfect I am for this writer/researcher job if I can’t give them more than four sentences?  Do you think they’ll accept run-on sentences?

Let me check the requirements…

Nope. Requirement #5 – Proper grammar and spelling is mandatory.

Well, pooh.

Seriously, people. Do you really expect me to squeeze 4 decades into 4 lines. That’s only one sentence per decade!

How am I supposed to – –

Oh, wait.

What if I can’t write four sentences?

What if all that I am boils down to a few simple words? A sentence fragment. Not even a complete thought!

What if my life can be summed up in a tombstone inscription?

Here lies KJ Smith. Beloved wife, mother, daughter.

That’s not even two complete sentences. Ohhhh, my life is so sad!!! <AAAAAGGHHH>

No, no. I can do this. I’m blowing this thing way out of proportion. This could be a great opportunity for me. And for the company. Heck! That company needs me!

They need to know what an interesting person I am and what an asset I will be.

Yeah. That’s right. I’m an asset!

Sure, I may be a bit of a strange creature.

And, yes, I might even call myself “weird”. But that’s only because I simply don’t see the world as others do. I have a unique perspective.

A unique perspective – that sounds pretty good. I think I’ll use that.

I have to admit, though, I do have a sort of odd sense of humor.

I find myself laughing at the crazy images flashing in my head created by the poorly chosen words of others. Those others who spoke the poorly chosen words don’t seem to appreciate my laughter.

Let’s call that imaginative and light-hearted. That’ll work.

At times, I might be considered a goofball. (I once held a friend’s gallon of milk for ransom.) But most of the time, I’m content watching others be goofballs.

Observant – that’s a good job skill, right?

Most days, I don’t feel like I fit in – with my peers, with other women, with the rest of the world.

I have difficulty expressing my desires, such as what I want for my birthday, what I want for my future, what I want for me. It drives my husband crazy.

Decisions are not my forte. That also drives my husband crazy.

Maybe those last few revelations aren’t absolutely necessary.

Speaking of driving my husband crazy, I am a bit of a smart alec. Did I say “a bit”? Sure, we’ll leave it at “a bit.”

I think the operative word there is “smart”. Yes, yes. Remember to emphasize “smart”!

I find beauty in the broken – things, situations, people.

An optimist – Oooo, that’s good!

I feel that everyone deserves to be viewed through the eyes of love.

A people person – who’d’ve thunk it!

On the other hand, I have very little tolerance for incompetence. I take pride in my work and think everyone else should, as well.

OK. That sounds a bit haughty. How about “I hold myself to a higher standard”? Yeah. That might work.

I love the Lord. I love my family. I love coffee. I love to write. I love music. I love the movie “Mary Poppins”. In that order. However, coffee’s ranking may fluctuate depending on certain circumstances.

I am quiet in a crowd. I am outspoken amongst family and close friends. I am hard-working on the job. I am lazy on my days off. I laugh at quirky humor. I roll my eyes when the humor is dry. I cry when – well, just about anything can make me cry.

Yep, I’m a strange creature and who I am today is a result of so many factors – my muscle disorder, my anxiety, my longing for acceptance, my desire for acknowledgment, my accomplishments, my failures, my relationships and so much more. God has used all of these things to shape me into a wonderfully unique individual who knows exactly what she brings to the table!

And knows that this is definitely not what the company was asking for.

Sigh.

Well, I guess it’s time to attempt the abridged version. 😉