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. 😉

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When All You Have is a Little Spark

When All You Have is a Little Spark - Feeling like you have nothing to offer this world? Take a look at the little firefly. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

It was getting dark. The road was winding and narrow. We had no idea if we were headed in the right direction but we were trusting that good ol’ Google Maps knew the way.

“Do you see ‘em?” my husband blurted.

All I was seeing was the little blue dot moving along the map on my phone and my husband’s outburst nearly made me jump out of the truck.

“See what?” I blurted back in aggravation.

“There are lightning bugs everywhere!” he explained while pointing across me to direct my view.

I looked up from the mesmerizing glow of the map and in the dusky shadows of the evening, I saw spark after spark lighting up the road sides, the sloping yards and the cascading trees. It was a beautiful sight –

– and a welcomed distraction from the anxiousness and frustrations of our long travels, from the arguments over whether google was sending us in the right direction and from the snide remarks of “Remember, it’s not the destination but the journey” coming from the teenagers in the back seat.

I put the map down (It was talking to us anyway!), sat back and enjoyed the fireflies’ sparkling display. Oh, how they do make me smile!

And as I watched the little fellows flicker along the winding road, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the difference their tiny lights made.

Though small and seemingly insignificant, their little sparks of light not only dispelled the lurking shadows of the evening but they also lifted my spirits and restored the excitement in our journey.

Pretty powerful little bugs, don’t you think? And the perfect reminders that even a small gift, a small talent, a small gesture can make the greatest difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Maybe you need this reminder.

Maybe you feel like you have nothing to offer this world. Maybe you’ve given so much that you feel you’ve got nothing left to give. Maybe the weight of your troubles – the darkness so to speak – has overwhelmed you and you feel like all you have left is a little spark.

If this is you today, you are not alone. I’m right there with you in this very moment. But…

I have to believe. No, I choose to believe that a little spark is enough.

A little spark can still make a difference. A little spark is all it takes to keep from being overtaken by the darkness. A little spark is evidence of a hope that still exists deep down in the soul. A little spark can ignite a blazing fire of renewed passion, overwhelming peace and new-found purpose.

Yes, a little spark is pretty powerful and it is definitely more than enough.

So, when you’re feeling at your lowest, like you are not enough, remember the firefly and what a difference a little spark can make!

Reason to SMILE #63: CHOCOLATE

READER ADVISORY: This post contains explicit opinions of an unbridled passion which may not be suitable for all audiences. Read at your own discretion. 😉

Reason to SMILE #63: CHOCOLATE - Chocolate lovers of the world, unite! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Who doesn’t like chocolate?!?

These four words comprise the perfect response to the person with the upturned nose being offered the most delectable treat on the planet, don’t you think? I mean, everyone knows that the velvety goodness of chocolate is unmatched by anything else.

And I dare you to say any different.

Nope. Don’t even try it.

Okay. Okay. So I like chocolate a little bit. And it is difficult for me to believe that there are people who don’t like it.

Seriously. I just do not understand the animosity.

Then, there are those who are allergic to chocolate. They know exactly what they’re missing (How does one discover a food allergy??) but still must say “no” to the yummy goodness.

Poor souls.

For the rest of us, though, chocolate gives us plenty of reasons to SMILE.

It satisfies the sweet tooth.

It calms the stress filled day.

It soothes the broken heart and even stirs the embers of LOVE.

It’s pretty powerful stuff.

Now that I think about it, the perfect response to all the chocolate haters out there is actually,

Oh, well. More for me!!

P.S. The day after Valentine’s Day, it all goes on sale – even more reason to SMILE! 🙂

Reason to SMILE #199: BEING ME/BEING YOU

Reason to SMILE #199: BEING ME/BEING YOU - Feeling like you don't fit in? There's a reason and I think you'll like it! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Much of my life, I’ve longed to be like everyone else. I’ve wanted to fit in, to be seen as an equal to my peers.

I’ve dreamed of finding a place where I could feel at home and a group of people with which I could feel comfortable.

I’ve dreamed of the day when I could walk into a building, see faces light up because of my presence and hear my name shouted across the room.

Wait – that’s a TV show –

“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your na-a-ame”¹

Bum-bum-bum

“And they’re always glad you ca-a-ame”¹

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

But wouldn’t it be nice?…

Rarely do I ever feel as though I fit in. Rarely have I ever found anyone with whom I could be myself and say what I think without fear of judgment. Rarely do I feel comfortable in a group, no matter how large or small. Rarely do I feel accepted for me, just me.

But I’ve learned a thing or two about acceptance and fitting in along my journey in life. You see, no matter how much I long to be the same as others or fit into a particular group, I simply wasn’t made for that.

Neither were you!

You and I were made to be different,

to stand out from the crowd and

to glorify God with our uniqueness.

Yep. I am very different. Maybe even a bit weird. But that’s okay. God has a specific plan for all of my quirks and peculiarities and He has a wonderful plan for yours, too!

Embrace your uniqueness and SMILE.

 

 

¹ “Cheers Theme Song” by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart-Angelo

Reason to SMILE #366: KICKING A HABIT

Reason to SMILE #366: KICKING A HABIT - Working on that resolution? Trying to make a lifestyle change? On the road to transformation? Here’s a SMILE just for you! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I’ve heard that it only takes 7 days to form a habit – good or bad. I’m not sure if that’s true.

Since everyone is different, I tend to believe it may take months for some people to form a habit while it may only take days for others.

Then there’s kicking a habit.

Forming habits is so much easier than kicking them!

To get rid of those nasty habits we form, it takes

TIME,

determination,

WILL POWER,

fortitude,

COURAGE,

accountability

and

MORAL & EMOTIONAL SUPPORT.

Geesh!

Why do we begin those nasty habits in the first place?!?

Whatever the reason, I think at some point, we all find ourselves faced with the challenge of kicking one habit or another.

My old college friend, David, is working on kicking his smoking habit. In fact, he just announced his 2-week non-smoking streak to the world (well, Facebook world, I suppose). His excitement over his triumph and my excitement for him was the inspiration for this SMILE.

I also have another friend (Really, I do! 😉 ) who is struggling to beat an alcohol addiction.

Even I am working on squashing my soda habit. Today is day #12 of my soda abstinence! Yay me!

Three different habits. Three (most likely more) different reasons the habits were formed. Three different people. Therefore, the process for ridding ourselves of these bad habits, addictions or emotional crutches will be just as different. But one thing is certain, we will each be faced with hurdles to jump, temptations to avoid and set backs to overcome.

So, how do we do it? How do we make it to the finish line? How do we successfully beat those nasty habits?

You have to find what works for you but whatever it is, don’t do it alone. Let someone be your rock, your accountability partner and your listening ear.

The words of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 are true: “Two are better than one… If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

And remember to take it one DAY at a time –

No. More like one MOMENT at a time.

Each moment that you make the better choice, each temptation that you successfully thwart and each time you pick yourself up after a set back is cause to celebrate. These are the moments that should make you SMILE because these moments bring you one step closer to, as my friend David would say, kickin’ that habit to the curb!

 

I Guarantee It

I Guarantee It - Are you looking for something or someone you can always depend on? Look no further. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.

Lamentations 3:22 (CSB)

For the hurting and broken, His love brings healing.

For the depressed, His love brings hope.

For the grief-stricken, His love brings comfort.

For the overwhelmed, His love lightens the load.

For the wayward, His love disciplines.

For the lost and wandering, His love points the way back home.

For the returned prodigal, His love forgives and restores.

For the anxious and fearful, His love brings peace and calm.

No matter your situation or circumstances, you can always count on God’s faithful love to come to your rescue.

The rescue may not be as you had hoped.

It may come as a closed door or missed opportunity. It may come as a broken relationship or unfulfilled dream. But the love of the Heavenly Father for His child is still faithful.

Or the rescue may not be as grand as you had imagined.

It may come in a warm embrace or a hand to hold, in a casserole dish or a cup of coffee, in a phone call or in a prayer.

God gives His love in so many different ways.

So be encouraged, my friend. God’s love will always be there.

He will carry you today. He’ll be your strength, your comfort and your joy.

His faithful love will always come to your rescue.

Pride and Breakfast

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I sat on the side of my bed seriously contemplating whether I should crawl back under the covers. Then, I remembered –

Oooh, my favorite coffee creamer is waiting for me!

You see, I went to the grocery store last week and my favorite flavor was no where to be found.  With great disappointment, I grabbed a caramel coffee creamer, finished my shopping and went home.

It wasn’t until I was putting away the groceries at home that I discovered my egregious mistake. Instead of caramel, I had picked up Maple.

Maple! In my coffee?!? Ugh! That sounded almost as bad as Pumpkin Spice!

But today, sitting in my fridge was a glorious 32 oz. bottle of Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer. What a wonderful incentive to get out of bed! (I know. My life is sad. 😉 )

Oh, but the good vibrations didn’t stop there. The joy of drinking a warm cup of peppermint mocha flavored coffee after a week of suffering through the second worst coffee creamer in existence inspired me.

I’m going to cook breakfast!

Nope. I didn’t stop to enjoy a full cup of my delicious coffee. I didn’t wait for the morning brain fog to lift. I set out to cook a breakfast casserole. “This’ll be a cinch!” I thought. I’d made it tons of times before (using parts of the Fully Loaded Cheesy Breakfast Casserole recipe over at “The Slow Roasted Italian” and parts of the Baked Western Omelet recipe over at “The Seasoned Mom”) and it’s basically fool-proof.

… … …

… … Hang on…

… … … Give me just a minute…

I’m trying to stop laughing so I can finish this post!

Fool-proof! Hahahahahahaha…

Okay. I’m good now.

While gathering the ingredients for my breakfast casserole, I began to think of my victories in the kitchen this past week.

First, there was my cooking flexibility I discovered while making Sweet Corn Pie.

Then, there was the moment my husband declared that I could possibly have outdone him in the kitchen with my Chicken and Dirty Rice. (I’ll have to share that story with you on another occasion.)

And lastly, there was my brilliant idea to use hamburger buns for garlic toast to accompany our spaghetti one evening and then to use the leftover hamburger buns/garlic toast as buns for our sloppy joes the next evening.  After which, I proudly proclaimed myself “Queen of the Kitchen”.

Then from the deepest depths of my soul (or maybe the bottom of my coffee cup – I’m not really sure) came an idea born of my ever-growing pride.

I think I’ll try something new.

I decided to use crescent rolls as a crust. I had seen a recipe somewhere but didn’t want to spend the time searching for it. Phhhht. I don’t need a recipe!

Apparently, I did.

Maybe it was the brain fog. Maybe it was not enough coffee. Maybe it was karma biting me in the crescent rolls but my breakfast did not turn out anything like I had hoped.

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

After 30 minutes of the required baking time, I opened the oven to find that the crust was on the verge of burning but the casserole was not completely cooked. And there were these scary looking pustules growing on the top that reminded me of those horrible videos all over the web of –

Wait. This is a food post. You don’t want that image in your head. It’s bad enough that I had it in my head!

Anyway, I had to cook the casserole about 15 minutes longer and by the time I took it out of the oven, well, let’s just say the crust was mighty, mighty dark and mighty, mighty crispy.

Yeah. I was bummed. Almost as bad as when I discovered my coffee creamer mistake!

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Perhaps, if I hadn’t been wearing that prideful “Queen of the Kitchen” crown…

Perhaps, if I had taken the time to look up an appropriate recipe…

Perhaps, if I had remembered I’m still a novice in this whole culinary world, the casserole would have turned out a little better.

Perhaps.

But that’s pride for ya. It puffs you up then leaves you hanging in the middle of a dart board while daring someone to hit the bullseye!

Well, the casserole wasn’t too horrible. In fact, after a few bites, my husband said, “You know, I like it crispy like this.”

I smiled sheepishly…

… then slowly straitened my crown! 😉

**Full disclosure. I finally realized that my husband had no idea there was actually a crust on the casserole. He thought I had overcooked it and was trying to make me feel better about my mistake! Nice move, hubby of mine. Nice move. **

Be Brave!

Be Brave! - Are you tired of fighting battles that leave you crushed and defeated? There's good news for you today. You don't have to fight! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

The battle is always waging.

You may not be in the throes of the fight today. But there is always a battle to fight.

Your friend may be fighting cancer. Your neighbor may be struggling to keep her marriage together. Your loved one may be battling addiction. You may be doing all you can to maintain emotional and mental stability.

There is always a battle.

In the midst of our battles, the temptation may be to retreat, to run as far as we can from our problems or to ignore the struggles altogether. The thing about battles is you can’t outrun them. They will find you and eventually, the fight must be fought.

But here’s what you need to know:

The battle is not yours to fight!

You have an ally, no –

a WARRIOR

who will fight for you.

Check this out. In God’s Word, we read of an impending battle in 2 Chronicles 20. God’s people were terrified because of the size of the army headed their way. Wise King Jehoshaphat turned to the Lord for help. Listen to what God said to His people:

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them… Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.

(2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NIV)

No matter the battle you are facing today, God can handle it. So quit wasting your time and energy with the same old strategies that only leave you worn out and defeated. Your job is to trust the Lord and stand firm in the battle.

Yep. You do have to show up for the fight.  Showing up may mean many different things – saying “no” to bad habits, enduring difficult people and uncomfortable situations, facing truths about yourself you’d rather not know or making impossible decisions. But rest assured. When you show up, you never have to be afraid. God’s got this!

I don’t know what battles you are facing today but God knows.  He’s ready to fight for you.  All you need to do is

SHOW UP

and

BE BRAVE!

Reason to SMILE #11: MORNINGS

 

Reason to SMILE #11: MORNINGS - Are you a morning person? If not, you may want to read this to discover how to appreciate each new day. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Have you ever met a morning person?

No matter how early, a morning person is always cheerful and ready to meet the day with vim and vigor.  This person sings, “Hello” to everyone she encounters and bounces across the room like a child running off to play.

It truly is disgusting!

As you may have guessed, I am NOT a morning person.  It takes me quite a while each day to get moving and when I do, I really do not mind if no one says, “Good morning” to me or even speaks to me at all.  The only things I desire in the morning are

COFFEE

&

SILENCE

Regardless of my aversion to mornings, I am grateful for each one.  Mornings are a gift.  They offer each of us a fresh start, a new beginning.  Yesterday is, well, yesterday.  The mistakes we made, the hardships we faced, the messes we created, these are all in the past.

In fact, each day is like our own personal “do-over” granted to us by God Himself! With each ray of sunlight that peeks over the horizon, God is saying, “Here you go.  Let’s try this again!”

Now that ought to make us SMILE!

Oh, sure, the troubles from yesterday may still continue.  We made the mess; we have to clean it up.  But each new day gives us the opportunity to make better choices, to rid ourselves of bad habits, to repair broken relationships, to do whatever was left undone yesterday.

I may not be a morning person but I thank God for the mercies He gives to me with each new day.  And as I drink my coffee in silence this morning, I cannot help but SMILE at the endless possibilities this day has to offer.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)