A Year of Smiles – Day 313

Reason to SMILE #313: WORLD KINDNESS DAY

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Today, November 13th, is World Kindness Day and once again, I didn’t get the memo. I seriously need a better calendar.

<Sigh>

Why isn’t World Kindness Day on my calendar, anyway?  Why didn’t I get an alert on my phone? Shouldn’t days like World Kindness Day and World Smile Day be highlighted and celebrated? Where are the decorations, the cookies, the cakes, the parades? Where is the news media? How cool would it be to turn on the TV and only see stories of people around the world performing random acts of kindness or to open up your twitter feed and only find encouraging and uplifting tweets, words of kindness and not hate!

The problem is kindness doesn’t bring in the big bucks. It doesn’t draw the crowds or stir our interests and keep us coming back for more. It’s a shame really. Doesn’t the media know that the more stories of kindness they share, the more they are encouraging others to be kind? Don’t they realize the influence they have in this world?

I’m afraid they do.

Well, I refuse to let this day go unnoticed. The fact that we have a World Kindness Day makes me SMILE.  And I am more than happy to celebrate by finding more and more ways to be kind to others. I say it so often but it is so true: It takes very little effort to be kind to others. In fact, when we show kindness to others, those others tend to pass that kindness along. Just like dropping a pebble in the water causes ripples to grow and grow, our acts of kindness can cause a ripple effect throughout the world.

So, what are you waiting for? Go be kind today. And if you already show kindness wherever you go, try to find new and exciting ways to spread kindness today. With kindness comes SMILES and the more the world is SMILING, the kinder it will be.

Find out more about World Kindness Day by clicking here.


P.S. If you’re paying close attention, you know that my Days don’t line up with the actual calendar days. Today, November 13th, is actually Day 317 of this year. Yes, I’m 4 days behind but Thanksgiving is next week – there are about 25 SMILES in one Thanksgiving Dinner. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to catch up!! 😉

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A Year of Smiles – Day 87

smiley-on-a-meadowReason to SMILE #87: CLOUD WATCHING

My family and I once took a trip to Arizona.  The heat in Arizona is quite different from the heat in southwest Georgia.  In my neck of the woods, humidity is a fact of life and moisture is always in the air.  Clouds fill the sky.  In Arizona, however, it’s very dry and we noticed that the presence of clouds was almost non-existent.  When we did see a cloud, it was never in the sky for long.  Clouds would dissipate in a matter of seconds.  It became my goal to catch an Arizona cloud on film and if you flip through my pictures from our trip, you’ll find a couple of pictures of bright blue skies with just a smidgeon of white fluff in the middle.  I caught one!

When was the last time you stopped to look at the clouds or lay out in your back yard and watched them float by?  When was the last time you looked at a cloud and saw a lion roaring or a duck flapping its wings or a clown juggling?  When was the last time you looked up from whatever it is that keeps you busy?

Take some time to appreciate the beauty around you.  God has given us a spectacular world in which to live.  The sights are breathtaking.  Don’t let your busyness keep you from the SMILES that come from enjoying God’s wonderful creation.

Look up!  You just might find a SMILE in one of those clouds!!

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 79

SMILE Idea for Day 79:

Do somdetective-smileyething nice for someone in secret!

Leave a gift basket at someone’s front door.

Pay for a meal for a couple across the restaurant or a family in the drive thru line.

Leave a pre-paid gas card at a gas pump.

Whatever you can imagine that will make a difference in someone’s day, just do it and let God get all the credit.

Go make a difference on this Monday.  Then step back and watch how God can turn your secret acts of kindness into SMILES for all the world to see!

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 47

Reason to SMILE #47: HAPPY PEOPLE

“Welcome.  How are you today?”  Those were the words I heard as I entered the dollar store.  I looked over toward the checkout counter and there was a young man helping customers check out and greeting those who entered.  He had the biggest smile on his face and the happiest spirit about him.  And his happiness seemed to resonate throughout the store as he spoke with everyone and made positive comments about every item being purchased.  This was certainly not what I expected when I walked into the store but it was a most welcomed surprise.  I left the store that day with a smile on my face and it’s all because of that young man’s happy attitude.

Isn’t it nice 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.

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.

There’s a song that I learned in children’s choir 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 alikegrumpy-emoticon

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?  Do you lift others up with your happiness?  Or are you Grumbly Hateful?  Do you leave others disheartened and discouraged?

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

 

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

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A Year of Smiles – Day 44

Reason to SMILE #44: GOING M.A.D.

I have a new goal in life: I WILL transform my Mondays into SMILES!

On Day 30, I issued a challenge of sorts to give Mondays the new purpose of spreading joy to those around you.  The challenge was mainly for my sake, I think, so today I have chosen to “Go M.A.D.”  Today and every Monday, I will Go Make A Difference in someone’s life.  Whether it’s through sending an encouraging email, making a phone call or buying lunch for someone behind me in the drive-thru line, I will find a way to bring a SMILE to someone other than myself.  And I’ll share those SMILES with you.

I want you to share your SMILES with me, as well.  So how ’bout it?  Will you take the flattering-emoticonchallenge to “Go M.A.D.” on these dreaded Mondays?  Remember, the more SMILES you give, the more SMILES you have.  It’s that simple.

I can’t wait to hear all about your Monday SMILES!

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 40

Reason to SMILE #40: KIDISMS – ROUND 2 (Because 1 “kidism” is never enough!)

smiley-laughing-and-cryingOn New Year’s Day, my boys and I sat in church as the pastor issued his New Year’s Challenge/Inspirational Message to the faithful few who attended service that cold and rainy morning.  His sermon text was Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  After a few introductory comments, the pastor questioned the congregation, “Can you really do ALL things through Christ?”

He then proceeded with four arguments for an affirmative answer to his query.  The first argument was that you can do all things through Christ if you want to.  Pastor called this the principle of Personal Desire.  He explained this principal by pointing out that most of us find a way to do the things that we really want to do.  If we want to go to the movies, we make the time.  If we want to buy a car, we find the financing.  Anything that we truly desire to do, we find a way to make it happen.  He then brought into question the nature of our desires: Do we want to serve God?  Do we want to have a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father?  Do we want to further His Kingdom?  Finally, the pastor inquired of the congregation once again, “What do you WANT to do?”

Now at this point in a sermon, I fully expect my younger son to be slumped down in the pew or leaning forward with his head in his hands half-listening and half-daydreaming.  It seemed, however, that my son was fully alert and attentive on that particular morning.  As soon as the pastor asked, “What do you want to do?”, my son leaned over toward me and whispered, “I want to teleport!”

Okay.  So, he was just half-listening and half-daydreaming and he definitely missed the pastor’s point.  That’s my kid, though – never a dull moment but those moments always make me SMILE! 

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 16

Reason to SMILE #16: DREAMS

“I have a dream today … I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low.  The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.  This is our hope.  This is the faith that I go back to the South with.  With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.  With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.  With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some dreams are meant to effect change and impact the world around us.  Some are meant to influence only the individual with the dream.  No dream, however, will accomplish anything unless it is pursued.

Do you have a dream today?  Maybe it’s a dream for your own future.  Maybe it’s a vision dreamy-emoticonof the lives you want for your children.  Maybe it’s an idea that will impact the entire world.  Don’t sit on it.  Do something.  Take that first step toward your dream.  Simply dreaming of change or a brighter tomorrow will only leave you dissatisfied and regretful.  Putting your dream into action – now that will leave you with a SMILE.

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 14

 

Reason to SMILE #14: QUIET

There are thousands of titles on Netflix and I couldn’t find a single thing to watch.  I shushing_facebook_emoticonflipped over to Amazon.  Same story – thousands of options but nothing appealed to me.  Finally my husband said, “Let’s just sit here in the quiet.”  I turned off the TV and leaned back on my pillow.

My husband was laid back in the bed all snug under the blankets with his phone in his hand.  I sighed and reached for my phone.  There we were sitting side by side scrolling through Facebook on our phones.  It was nice to sit in silence but when I think about it now, I realize that it wasn’t really quiet.  The noise in the room may have been gone but our minds were filled with the chaos of social media and all the distractions that technology has to offer.

We live in a busy, busy world.  Everyone is always doing something and whatever they’re doing, it almost always involves technology of some sort. Rarely do you see anyone just sitting peacefully on a park bench enjoying the scenery.  What you do see, however, are people with phones in hand, ear buds or Bluetooth in ears, rushing through life doing all that they can to avoid the world around them.

Don’t you think it’s time to be still for a moment?  Let’s give ourselves a break.  All this technology and all of our busyness is stealing our peace and drowning out the quiet in our lives.  So, today, I challenge you to turn off the technology – Wait! Not yet. You have to finish reading this. 😉  Find a quiet spot and just be still.  Enjoy the peace and quiet that is sure to give your soul a reason to SMILE again.

Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”

Ecclesiastes 4:6 (ESV)  Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 13

Reason to SMILE #13: DOING GOOD

It’s Friday the 13th.  We all know the stigma associated with this day.  If anything bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen today.  To add to our qualms,  we are only one day past a full moon.  Hmmm.  That must be why my alarm clock screamed, “Let the craziness begin!” this morning. 😉

Why don’t we make today different?  Let’s turn this Friday the 13th into a day that good things happen.  Find someone to surprise today.  Bake your neighbor some cookies (and actually take the cookies to them – I’ve discovered that it doesn’t count if you don’t deliver them!  Who knew? 😉 ).  Go visit your grandmother that you haven’t seen in flowers-smiley-for-youages.  Complete a task that is your co-worker’s responsibility – lighten his or her load.  Hold open the door for someone at the store; carry their bags to their car.  Pay for someone’s meal.  Give money to the person holding the cardboard sign on the street corner.  There’s all kinds of things that you can do to transform this dreaded day into a welcomed day for some unsuspecting person.

Let’s show our world that God is good and His “perfect love expels all fear” (1 John 4: 18 NLT), even on a day like Friday the 13th.

What are you waiting on?  Go get busy doing good and watch the SMILES spread!

 

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Christians, Assemble!

Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25 – A lot of us are quite familiar with this verse.  We often hear it quoted when folks are talking of church attendance and fellowship with other believers.  But we hear it most, I think, when we are being chastised for being a slacker and skipping out on church!  As an argument for faithful church attendance, though, this verse is a good one (it is God’s Word, after all) but have you ever taken a look at verse 24?  I think if you do, you’ll see church attendance or regular fellowship with your church family in a brand new light.

To be honest, I had no clue what was in verse 24 until I came across it in my daily Bible reading.  Maybe you’re like me and right about now, you’re reaching for your Bible to take a look.  Well, here’s what it says,

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds… 

I know what you’re thinking and I can hear that confused tone in your voice as you are slowly saying, “And????”

Exactly!  The phrase “let us consider how” in verse 24 clues us in that the author is about to explain something and that we must keep reading if we want to partake of the knowledge to follow.  That leads us to verse 25.

So, read verses 24 and 25 together:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Wow!  These two verses definitely don’t need to be separated.  Let us consider why.  (Do you like what I did there? – It’s an indicator to keep reading!)

At first glance, verse 25 appears to be a reprimand.  It seems that there were some among the Hebrew believers who had made a habit of playing hooky.  It’s obvious the writer did not approve for he clearly pointed out the fault.  But when verses 24 and 25 are read together as one thought, it becomes clear that the writer is doing much more than scolding.  He is revealing the great role that meeting together plays in the life of the body of Christ.

So, what is that role?  Look back at verse 24.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds… 

The family of God should be building each other up and encouraging one another, so much so that it compels each one of its members to go out and do the same for others.  How can we do this?  Where and when does or should this take place?  First and foremost, this should be happening in our church.

Now, I’m curious. Why do you go to church?  Come on, you know you have a list of reasons.  Most of us faithful church attenders do and we’re always ready to rattle these reasons off as soon as we are questioned.  Do these sound familiar?

I go to church to worship God.

I go to learn more about God.

I go to grow in my relationship with God. 

I go to church to spend time with other believers.

I go because the Bible tells us to gather together with other Christians.

Well, I’m a member of the finance committee, a Sunday School teacher, the children’s minister (wink, wink), etc., so I’m expected to be there.

But have you ever stopped to think that when you step into that church building or wherever your local body of believers meets, your purpose for being there is to encourage those around you?  That all that you say and do while you are together should be lifting up fellow believers so that when you leave each other, those brothers or sisters in Christ can walk away feeling blessed and encouraged and compelled to share that love with others?

Imagine if we all had this purpose in mind as we ready ourselves for church on Sunday mornings.  Forget the committee meetings, the Sunday School lessons and the choir specials.  Yes, yes, these are important, too, but what if the first thing on our minds was finding that person who’s had a rough week (we know who they are – we’ve seen their Facebook posts!) and giving them a great, big hug, praying with them and letting them know that we’re there for them.  What if we focused our attention on the person sitting beside us in our Sunday School class and the problems they may be secretly facing?  What if our first thought as we walked into the sanctuary was, “Is there anyone sitting alone today?”  And what if we made a beeline to that person so we could sit with her and make her feel welcome?  I just wonder what a difference it would make.

What if we changed our thinking about why we go to church?  What if our sole purpose was to love on each other, to encourage one another, to pray for one another, to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds”?  Imagine the smiles, the burdens lifted, the lives changed. Imagine the sound of the people of God saying, “It was good to be in the House of The Lord today!”  How pleasing to the Heavenly Father that would be!!  And there, my friends, is your worship.  There is your fellowship with God.  There is your spiritual growth.  Loving as God loved, following in the steps of Christ – what better way to worship our Heavenly Father!

So, what are your plans for this Sunday?  Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of your brothers and sisters in Christ?  Are you ready to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds”?  Well, I don’t know about you but I sure am!