A Year of Smiles – Day 177


I don’t know what came over me.  I was browsing through smiley-with-handbagthe oodles of purses at a local department store and there it was.  I had to have it.  Now, I would normally gravitate toward the safe and boring colors, like brown or black, but I was drawn to the pink handbag.  Pink!  I don’t do pink.  At least, I didn’t until now.

I have come to the conclusion that I am going through a mid-life crisis.  I’m buying clothes and accessories in colors I normally wouldn’t wear.  I’m wearing lipstick which I’ve rarely ever done.  I’m painting my toenails orange, for Pete’s sake!  It’s either a crisis or… hmmm… I don’t know what else it could be.

So, if you see me dressed in chartreuse polka dots while toting my hot pink handbag, just SMILE.  I’m sure I’ll be back to my normal self in no time unless…

…this could be me not caring what anyone else thinks, choosing things that make me SMILE and allowing my true self to finally shine.  Yeah.  That sounds much better than “mid-life crisis”, don’t you think?  😉


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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



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 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 162

Reason to SMILE #162: CHANGE

I do not like this thing called change.

I do not like to feel so strange.

I do not like to try new things.

I do not like the fear it brings.


I would not like it even if

You sent it to me with a kiss.

I would not like it with a SMILE;

You can’t make me with your guile!


“Oh,” you say, “Change may be good

You should embrace it if you could.

Change may be just what you need.

You will like it. Try it and see.”


Yes, I know it may be time

To mute this stubbornness of mine.

Change may be just what I need

To find the SMILES that bring me peace.


Change – it’s a fact of life no matter how hard we try to ignore and resist it. Change can seem like the devil in disguise but if we give it a try, change can be the catalyst that pushes us toward the great and wondrous works that God has waiting for us.

Change – it may be hard but the SMILES you’ll find on the other side of it are worth every chance you dare to take.

P.S. I seemed to be channeling Dr. Seuss today but he always makes me SMILE. Hope you find a SMILE, too!

A Year of Smiles – Day 161

Reason to SMILE #161: TIME

A blessing and a curse.

A giver and a thief.

A healer and an afflictor.

A reality and a belief.


A precious commodity

Of which we must take care.

If spent very wisely,

A bounteous fruit to bare.


If squandered carelessly,

Great failure to regret.

Wasted opportunities

O’er which we mourn and fret.


A gift that we should give

To our families and our friends.

A gift for which we hope

When life is at its end.


A sacrifice taken

When causes grand arise.

An alm for which we grasp

When it’s time to say goodbye.


Time is ours to spend or waste.

It’s ours to hoard or share.

It’s ours to fill with love or hate.

It’s ours – so beware.


We’re only given a set amount.

Once spent, it can’t be beckoned.

So fill your time with SMILES and love

And don’t regret a second.

A Year of Smiles – Day 160


It wasn’t until I saw them that I realized how much they make me SMILE.  They remind me of my childhood, of living out in the country, of camp meetings in the summer, of simpler times. So tonight, I sit in the wondrous beauty of God’s creation serenaded by the crickets and cicadas while watching the lightning bugs shine in the night…

…and I am SMILING. Oh, what peace!

A Year of Smiles – Day 157

Reason to SMILE #157: TACO SALAD

4:29 PM.  I’m preparing for the third night of Vacation Bible School at my church.  I have an hour before the night begins so I’m pretty busy.  My phone whistles.  “On no!” I think. “Please don’t let it be someone who can’t make it.”

I pick up my phone and am pleasantly surprised to see that it’s my older son who is currently away for the summer interning at a church in North Georgia.  He has this question for me:

text 1Several things begin to run through my mind:

What a horrible mom I am for sending my kid off on his own without teaching him how to cook!

How am I supposed to get everything I need to do done in the little time I have and teach my kid how to cook at the same time?

And how in the world am I supposed to teach this kid to cook via text message?

Over the next few minutes, my son and I text back and forth while I go about prepping for VBS Night Three.  From how much meat is needed to browning the meat to heating up the black beans, I give the instructions as succinctly as I can and I say a quick prayer for safety.  Lord, please don’t let him burn down the Youth Minister’s house!

6:59 PM.  VBS was running smoothly.  I decide to find out how the cooking went.  So, I send my son another text:

text 2    taxo salad

He did good!  He made his momma SMILE.

I may have been busy when that text was sent to me this afternoon but it made no difference.  My son needed me and I was going to do everything I could to help – even if it meant giving a cooking lesson by text!

A Year of Smiles – Day 154

Reason to SMILE #154: HELPING HANDSshake-my-hand-smiley

My “to do” list today was at least five yards long. I awoke dreading what I knew would be an exhausting day. I pulled the covers over my head hoping to go back to sleep and wake up again to find the overwhelming list was all a dream…

It wasn’t.

Regardless of my reluctance, I began my day and my list. Fortunately, I did not have to tackle my list alone. Today I was surrounded by many helping hands who gave up a Saturday to ready our church for Vacation Bible School. Though the list seemed at times to grow rather than shorten and time seemed to flitter away rather than linger, those helping hands worked tirelessly until feet were pained, backs were aching and eyes were heavy.  I was blessed today by their commitment, faithfulness and willingness to serve. They made up for my lack of drive and excitement and at the end of the long and wearisome day, all of their hard work had paid off and the church was finally ready.

I thank God for sending those wonderful helping hands today. They brought a SMILE not only to my face but also to my soul – my very tired and worn out soul!

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