Always Choose HAPPY

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Today is International Day of Happiness!

March 20, 2018

I hope you’re finding ways to spread happiness throughout your neck of the woods today. If you’re not sure how to share happiness, check out the ideas over at¬†www.dayofhappiness.net. By joining the “movement for a happier world”, you’ll be able to access all sorts of images to share on social media and ideas for children, adults and your community to make the world a happier place. BUT…

… if you’re finding it hard to smile and the circumstances of life are pulling you down today, the following music video by MercyMe is a must watch! By the end of the song, I guarantee you’ll be SMILING – maybe even dancing! – and I know you’ll want to pass the SMILE along.

“Happy Dance” by MercyMe

(By the way, the video begins like it’s a totally different song but hang in there til 0:24 – it’s totally worth it! Besides, that’s only a 24 second wait. You can handle it! ūüėČ )

Are you feeling happy, yet?

Good!

Now go spread that happiness to everyone you meet!

Have a HAPPY, HAPPY International Day of Happiness!

#InternationalDayOfHappiness

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A Year of Smiles – Day 349: The SMILES of Christmas

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Christmas SMILE #15 (Reason to SMILE #349): THE SEASON OF GIVING

What do you want for Christmas?

That tends to be the question we hear this time of year, especially when talking with children. It’s part of the whole season. I love to hear little children rattle off their Christmas lists. Their eyes sparkle. Their faces glow and their bodies wiggle with excitement. Mom and dad, on the other hand, may not share in their child’s excitement as the list tends to go on and on and on.

Children always have an answer to “What do you want for Christmas?”. In fact, most people can come up with something. However, when my husband asks this question of me, I never seem to be able to answer. I’m not sure why. It could be because I don’t want him spending any money on me. I’d rather we spend our money on the boys. But I have no problem spending our money on gifts for him (which drives him crazy, by the way) so money can’t be my excuse.

Maybe I can’t answer because I’m not a decision maker. Of all the wonderful things in the world, it’s possible I simply can’t choose. If you take into consideration my problem with choosing what I want to eat in restaurants, it seems quite clear that my decision making skills could be the issue. There are too many yummy foods offered. How can I choose just one? How about one of everything! ūüėČ That’s it! Maybe I want it all for Christmas.

Nah, that can’t be it. I don’t want everything.

I believe the reason I can’t tell my husband what I want for Christmas is I just don’t think about it. I’m busy trying to figure out what I’m going to give to everyone else! To me, giving is a huge chunk of the Christmas fun. Searching for the perfect gift for those I hold dear and packaging those gifts in brightly colored paper and bows is a joy. And nothing compares to seeing the SMILES on¬†each recipient’s face or the tears in their eyes as they open their special gifts.

Shouldn’t giving be our focus at Christmas, anyway? After all, a gift is the reason for our celebration. In a manger more that two thousand years ago, a baby was God’s gift to the world – a baby that would give His own life to save yours and mine. That is why we give. We give because we have been given so much more than we deserve. We give because God gave to us.

What are you GIVING for Christmas?

Me? Well, at the moment, I’m giving the gift of salsa! ūüôā
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A Year of Smiles – Day 326: THANKSGIVING DAY

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #326: THANKFULNESS

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Before the Thanksgiving meal each year, my family gathers together to pray. My dad usually says the blessing but before he prays, he is faithful to remind us of how good our God is, of the many blessings that have been bestowed upon our family and of the hope we have in Jesus. Dad reminds us to count our blessings and sometimes, he gives each family member the opportunity to name one thing for which he or she is thankful. It is a special time of Thanks Giving and though it usually makes me cry (because I am a huge crybaby), it always brings a SMILE to my heart.

In the midst of all¬†your Thanksgiving festivities, remember to take¬†the time to give thanks for all the blessings in your life. Everything that you call yours – your loved ones, your friends, your possessions, your job¬†– is a gift from the Heavenly Father.¬†He lavishes these blessings upon us because of His great love for us. The least we can do is¬†pause for a moment to say, “Thank you.”

Giving thanks – what a fabulous reason for a holiday! And what a¬†fabulous¬†reason to SMILE!¬†The great¬†thing is, if you make Thanks Giving a daily habit, you’re guaranteed¬†a daily SMILE.¬† Now,¬†who¬†wouldn’t want that? ūüėČ

A Year of Smiles – Day 319

Reason to SMILE #319: THUMBS UPS, STARS AND HEARTS

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I love, love,¬†loooooove (D’ya think that’s enough empasis?)¬†receiving likes on my blog and social media posts. Finding¬†notifications from WordPress or Facebook on my phone in the mornings puts a huge SMILE on my face and a spring in my step. And, oh, how I need that extra boost in the mornings!¬† (True story.)

I’m pretty sure if we’re all being honest, we’d agree that seeing those seals of approval from our friends, family and even strangers makes us feel good. Maybe that’s why so many of us gravitate to social media. Where else can you post a picture of your breakfast and get 50 approving reactions in 30 seconds or less? Where else can you comment about current affairs and find a whole group of people anxious to discuss (though maybe not all agreeably) the issue with you? Where else can you post pics of your babies and have people share in your pride of those precious kiddos? Where else can you brag about accomplishments, whether big or small, and find a whole world ready to applaud for you?

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Yep. Seeing those “thumbs ups” is pretty awesome. But how¬†much more awesome would it be if we gave those stars and hearts and likes in “real” life? What if we slapped a Heart Sticker on the shirts of our friends every time they told a funny joke or showed us a picture of their kids? What if we gave out shiny Star Stickers every time our co-workers did a good job or completed a difficult task? Or what if we passed out Thumbs Up Cards to strangers on the street or in the grocery store just as a way to brighten someone’s day? Could you imagine the looks on people’s faces? Could you imagine the SMILES?

Okay. Okay. The more I think about covering people with hearts and stars and thumbs ups, the more I realize how silly it would be. But it does’t change the powerful impact of these little signs of approval. They really do make me SMILE!

P.S. I’m seriously considering getting some Thumbs Up Stickers printed. You don’t know how badly I want to see the expressions on people’s faces when I slap one on those stickers on their shoulders! (Hahahaha!)

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!! ūüėČ

A Year of Smiles – Day 303

Reason to SMILE #303: PHOTO BOMBING

A new Marvel movie is out and, of course, my boys (hubby and sons) and I had to go see it! 

Thor: Ragnarok – get your tickets now! ūüėČūüėČ

As we made our way to our seats, my husband noticed a lady in front of us taking a selfie. He couldn’t resist. He stood right behind her smiling and waving at her phone until she noticed. It took her a minute but she finally saw him.
Fortunately for my hubby, this lady was a good sport. She thought it was hilarious and took the picture anyway. Can you imagine the conversations she’s going to have later if she posts that selfie on Facebook?

Who’s that?

I don’t know. Some crazy man at the theater.

Well, that crazy man didn’t stop there. He had to snap a picture of his own. And, of course, she was happy to say, “Cheese.”

See, folks. Smiles and laughter really do go a long way. Joy is what we all desire so why not offer it to everyone around us? I promise the more joy you spread, the more you’ll feel. And if my husband can share SMILES with a photo bomb, you can find a way to brighten your world, as well.

Shucks! It’s too bad I forgot to get the selfie lady’s consent to post her picture on my blog. She really does have a beautiful SMILE!

A Year of Smiles – Day 299

Reason to SMILE #299: THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARDuntitled (4)

Look at this! I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award.¬†All can I can say is “WOW!”

Thank you, Gail, of gaillovesgod, for thinking of me. I am honored and I was blessed by your words of encouragement that came with the nomination:

May this put a smile on your face, as you do mine and His all the time.

I certainly am SMILING but not only because of the award. It makes my heart soar to know that my daily posts are being used by God to encourage others. My SMILES are spreading! ūüėČ

Here are the Rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions asked.
3. Nominate 11 other blogs and ask 11 new questions for them.
4. Finally, list the rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in the post.

No. 1 was easy. What an encouragement Gail is to me through her blog and her uplifting comments on my posts. I need to be thanking her daily!

Now on to No. 2. My answers to Gail’s questions are:

1. How are you doing?

Honestly, I’m a little down. This week, I¬†had to tell my kids at church that¬†my last day¬†as their children’s minister is this Sunday.¬†I’m really going to miss these kids but I know I am following the Lord’s direction. It’s tough and I’m pretty bummed.

2. How are you and Jesus getting along? (It’s okay to be honest)

Jesus and I are talking more and more. I am leaning on Him for so much and trusting my Good Shepherd to lead me where he wants me to be.

3. What did you last blog about?

My last SMILE post was about breakfast! Yummy, yummy!

4. What season is it where you live?

We finally have Fall weather in southwest Georgia! Yay!

5. What encourages you to be positive?

The promises of God always remind me that He holds me in the palm of His hand. He has a plan for me and He is working for my good. Believing this makes it difficult not to be positive.

6. Do you know someone waiting to be nominated?

I’m¬†sure there are many¬†bloggers out there who could use¬†the encouragement that these awards bring.

7. What do you like to do on the weekend?

I love to relax, sit outside with my husband while he grills and binge watch The Flash or Once Upon a Time on Netflix.

8. What’s your favorite song right now?

“What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship and “Even If” by MercyMe both resonate within my soul right now. My all time favorite is an oldie – “Joy Comes in the Morning” by the Gaither. That’s good singing right there!!

9. Have you ever read the entire Bible?

Yes, but for me, it takes a lot of discipline.

10. How do you feel to know you make others smile? (anyone I nominated makes me smile! and God!)

Well, it makes me SMILE! Seriously, I’m cheesin’!! ūüėČ

11. Do you know how much God loves you? Because He does!

Yes, Yes! His love for me Рand for everyone Р is immeasurable!

Whew!¬†This is a¬†lot of work! Oh, but here comes the good part. Step No. 3 allows me to nominate 11 more recipients of the Sunshine Blogger Award. ¬†I get to pass the SMILE on to others! So, get out your catcher’s mitt, there’s a SMILE coming your way.

Nominations:

  1. Rae of Real as the Streets
  2. Dr. Andrea Dinardo of Thriving Under Pressure
  3. Carolyn of BeautyBeyondBones
  4. Jeff Rab of RabBits
  5. Romy at savedandblessedblog
  6. Brandi of Brandi’s World
  7. Christina Embree at reFocus
  8. Rotimi Elijah at Inspire Me
  9. Apostle Gabriel Cross at Pure Glory
  10. Ndifreke Efiok Akpan at Kip Walkin
  11. Jon & Hayley at Red Letters

I know some of you may not want to participate and that’s perfectly okay.¬†Just know that you inspire and encourage me and so many others. You make¬†me SMILE¬†and that’s good stuff! ūüôā

If you do decide to join in, here are the 11 questions I have for you:

  1. Why did you begin blogging?
  2. Who inspires you?
  3. What are your methods for overcoming writer’s block?
  4. Are you a published writer?
  5. Do you aspire to be a published writer?
  6. When was the last time you were truly happy?
  7. Do you have a favorite childhood memory? What is it?
  8. What is one of your goals in life?
  9. If you could have a conversation with any celebrity (dead or alive), who would it be?
  10. What’s your favorite ice cream? (Ha! I don’t know why just knowing your answers will make me SMILE. ūüôā )
  11. What would you like to be your legacy?

Let’s see. I believe I’ve completed all of the steps. Yep, my award acceptance is complete but I have to give one more great big shout out to Gail. THANK YOU FOR THIS AMAZING¬†SMILE. Boy, did I ever need it.

Okay, nominees. It’s your turn. Keep the SMILE going!

A Year of Smiles – Day 290

Reason to SMILE #290: EEYORE

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I think of all the characters in the Hundred Acre Wood, my favorite has to be Eeyore. Oh, there are other creatures in the Wood more pleasant, more cheerful but I love that pessimistic old donkey. I just want to cuddle up beside him, scratch him behind the ears and tell him everything is going to be okay, even though I know he wouldn’t believe me.

I may actually know a human or two like Eeyore. You know the ones – the people who always see the negative, who see the glass half-empty, who find the smallest bit of darkness in the midst of overwhelming light. Many people try to avoid these Gloomy Gusses in life. The thing is, though, God loves the Gloomy Gusses just as much as he loves the Suzy Sunshines.

And they need to know how much they are loved. We need to park ourselves beside them, put our arms around their shoulders and tell them everything is going to be alright – yes, even if these “Eeyores” won’t believe us. It’s what God has called us to do.

Is there an Eeyore in your life? Show God’s love to him today and keep on showing it. You just might see a SMILE on the face of that Gloomy Gus one day!

Carrying Them to Jesus

“He’s back!” shouted a voice from outside. A young man jumped to his feet and peered out of his doorway.¬†To his surprise, he saw crowds of people running down the path in front of his house. He turned to his friends inside¬†and without a word, the three young¬†men inside¬†the house¬†rose to their feet and they all headed to the back room.

The men knew that the news of his arrival was spreading quickly. There was no time to lose. The four friends reached down and firmly grasped the bed upon which a fifth friend was lying. Though startled, the infirmed friend did not make a sound for he, too, had heard the commotion outside. He braced himself for the move as his friends began to carry him outside and into the street.

Their destination was not far, just a few houses away, but as more and more people joined the entourage in the street, the journey of these five friends seemed endless. The four men carrying their bed-stricken friend looked at each in desperation. Were they going to make it? Were they going to miss him? In tandem, the men hastened their steps and carefully weaved through the parade down the dusty pathway.

As they reached the house at the end of the path, the men noticed an unusual silence. Though the crowd was great, the typical noise of such a crowd was replaced by the sound of a single voice trickling through the masses and pouring out into the air. Hearing the words spoken by this single voice, the four burdened men felt a resolve as never before to carry their friend to the one speaking. They tried every entryway, each door, each window, but their attempts to enter the house were thwarted. No one in the crowd was willing to sacrifice their position.

All hope seemed lost until one friend had an idea. With the nod of his head, he convinced his friends of the solution. Not once did any one of them raise a question as they maneuvered their infirmed friend onto the roof of the crowded house. Once atop, they set to the task of tearing a hole in the roof large enough to lower the bed through without jeopardizing the safety of their friend. Though difficult, ingenuity and perseverance prevailed. Slowly, the men lowered their paralyzed friend into the house and laid him at the feet of Jesus. The faith of these four men yielded the forgiveness and healing of the fifth and five friends walked away changed forever.

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There are people all around us who are paralyzed, spiritually and emotionally. Their lives are crippled with fear, with hatred, with regrets. They need healing and restoration but most cannot find their way to the One who can forgive their sins, heal their hearts and save their souls. They cannot find their way to Jesus. They need someone to lead the way. They need someone to carry them.

Do you know someone who needs to be brought to Jesus? Do you know someone who cannot make the journey on their own? Will you carry that one to Jesus today? Are you willing to help that friend, that loved one, that neighbor? Take their hand, help them scoop up the broken pieces of their lives, give them a shoulder to lean on and carry the hurting, the broken, the weary, the lost to the Savior. Your faith can make all the difference.

(Adapted from Mark 2:1-12.)