A Year of Smiles – Day 283

Reason to SMILE #283: THE ORDINARY

Adobe Spark (23)

Dear Lord,

I take so many things for granted, so many little things. A comfortable pair of shoes, a warm sweater, a hot meal, the light of each new day, the consistency of my every breath, a job that provides for my family’s sustenance – all these things are mine because of your goodness alone. With careless hands I receive such wonderful gifts and my words of thanksgiving for all of these things are spoken in hypocrisy.

Every day I experience your inexhaustible goodness yet I do not allow myself to see it. How happy I would be if I learned to appreciate the ordinary for extraordinary may only occur once in a lifetime. The ordinary, however, fills all of my days.

Thank you, Lord, for pouring out your goodness into my life despite the many times I do not acknowledge that goodness. Help me to see the good in the ordinary, to find the SMILES in the everyday things and to know that even the smallest things of life are extraordinary gifts from you.

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A Year of Smiles – Day 282

Reason to SMILE #282: VISITORS 

You know that moment when the doorbell rings and you open the door to see the smiling face of an old friend you haven’t seen in what seems like forever? Or when you walk through the grocery store and bump into an old college roommate? What about when you walk into the church welcome center and find your former pastor and his wife chatting away with church members as if time had never passed and they had never said “Goodbye”? 

The latter was my situation this past Sunday and oh, what a wonderful surprise! It was such a blessing to see my pastor and his wife again. They have only been gone for about six months now but I have to tell you, it seems like a lifetime. And although we were only able to visit for a few moments, it was just enough time to stock up on hugs, prayers and SMILES.

Visiting with those you hold dear but aren’t able to see often is a precious gift that comes with so many SMILES. Though tears may come when your time together is over, nothing can compare to the happiness found in the moments you share together.

A Year of Smiles – Day 281

Reason to SMILE #281: SMARTIES

It’s funny the things we remember from our childhoods. I remember chasing my brothers around the house with a plastic baseball bat and getting stuck on the monkey bars because a snake had decided to crawl under me and hold me hostage. I also remember piling into a little Ford Fiesta, along with the seven other members of my family, to go to church every Sunday. And at this church was a pastor who would carry gumballs around in his suit coat pocket. All of the kids knew it and as soon as the service was over, we’d excitedly make our way to the pastor to get a piece of gum. What an impression this pastor made! With the simple gift of a piece of gum every Sunday, this pastor showed us kids how important we were to the church family.

At the church I attend now, we also have a smartiesman who is making a lasting impression on the lives of children. He is affectionately known as the “Candy Man” and the kids are always seeking him out. They all know that each Sunday he hands out Smarties and they love it! He has a big heart and loves to see the SMILE on the face of each child as he hands him or her a piece of candy. It may seem like a small gesture but I know the impact it has on these kids and the love they receive with each pack of Smarties will last a lifetime.

Oh! And each Sunday, the Candy Man makes sure I receive a pack of Smarties, as well. He walks up beside me, reaches for my hand and secretly sneaks me the candy. “You may be the Children’s Director but you’re just as little as they are. So you get a piece of candy, too!” Makes me SMILE every time.

A Year of Smiles – Days 278 and 280

It seems I skipped a day. Boy, is my blog thread going to be messed up! But here comes two SMILES for you today.

Reason to SMILE #278: WINNIE THE POOH

My older son was participating in a youth camppooh.jpeg last weekend with the church he interned for over the summer. He sent me this picture and asked, “You want?”

I assumed he was at store and thought I might want him to buy it so I asked, “How much?”

His response: “Free… I did that.”

Umm. Yes, I want it! You really had to ask? 😉

He painted this from a picture he saw on a t-shirt. The kid has skills! And it will be a SMILE I always cherish because…

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” – Winnie the Pooh

 

Reason to SMILE #280: REESE’S COFFEE CREAMERCoffee Creamer

I gotta tell ya. This right here might be the best SMILE ever! Well, at least the best SMILE today, anyway. You know I love my coffee but what you may not know is I love my Reese’s just as much as Pooh loves honey. This indulgence just might have me looking like that silly old bear before I know it!

Maybe not. But it may help me find my SMILE a little earlier every day. 😉 Mmmm. Mmmm. Good.

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 279

Reason to SMILE #279 – BECAUSE IT’S WORLD SMILE DAY!

Adobe Spark (21)

Did you know that today, October 6, 2017, is World Smile Day? I didn’t until only a few moments ago. How did I not know about World Smile Day? Someone really needs to get me a better calendar!

Well, I’ve learned a few things about this awesome day (and you can learn more by clicking here). World Smile Day has been around since 1999. (Seriously, where have I been and what have I been doing all these years?) It is recognized on the first Friday of October each year and it is celebrated by doing an act of kindness to help at least one person to smile. I love World Smile Day. We should have so many more than just one!

It’s late in the day but there’s still time to make someone SMILE today. Find a frown and help turn it upside down.

You still here? Get out there and spread the SMILES!

A Year of Smiles – Day 277

Reason to SMILE #277: FINDING THE “AARONS” AND “HURS” IN YOUR LIFE

Adobe Spark (20)

Do you know an Aaron or a Hur? Is there someone you can count on to pray for you when you need it most, to hold you up when you’re struggling to stand, to fight beside you in your battles? If so, then you know an Aaron and a Hur and I know your life is better for it.

Curious about these two fellas? Check out this post which I wrote about these amazing friends of Moses: Victory: Our Supporting Role. You can also read their story from the source, itself, in Exodus 17:8-13 (NIV).

I have discovered that I have many Aarons and Hurs in my life – those who will stop what they are doing to pray for me, to help when needed and to be my strength when mine is gone. Oh, what comfort to know my family and friends are praying me through the struggles of this life. And though the struggles wage on, I can SMILE knowing I am being held up by so many faithful Aarons and Hurs.

What about you? Do you need someone to hold you up today? Let me pray for you. Or maybe you know someone who is losing their own battle. Maybe you can be that struggling soul’s strength. Begin praying now. Then reach out and let that person know you will stand by their side and hold them up until their battle is won. Don’t wait. Time is precious and the SMILES are waiting.

A Year of Smiles – Day 276

Reason to SMILE #276: YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER

Adobe Spark (19)

I will not be overcome!

What power in this phrase.
What victory when spoken.

Though tossed about by life’s responsibilities,
I will not be overcome.

Though overwhelmed by fears of failure,
I will not be overcome.

Though attacked by changing circumstances,
I will not be overcome.

Though the enemy tries to steal my courage,
I will not be overcome.

For I am a child of God,
And my God will overcome.

No longer need I worry over threatening tasks.
No longer need I live in the shadows hiding from the unexpected.

I will cower no more under the abilities of others.
I will not live subjected to the expectations of this world.

Though I may be shaken or even set aback,
I will not be overcome.

The promise of my Lord is
He will overcome!

A Year of Smiles – Day 274

Reason to SMILE #274: STEPPING OUT OF THE BOAT

boat-p1.jpg

Because God’s Servant Stepped Out of the Boat

(Click the link to read the story of one who faithfully stepped out of the boat and changed the lives of countless, including the lives of my son and husband!)

Comfort is a good thing. We like it and that’s okay. Comfort, however, tends to beget complacency. And complacency makes it difficult to do the work God calls us to do, especially when the work is something new or somewhere new. Often times, God must wake us up out of our complacency if we are to be of any use to Him.

Just as He called out to Peter to step out of the boat and walk to Him on the water, God also calls out to us to step out of our boats, to step out of comfort zones. At times, the step God wants us to take may be small, such as reaching out to a new neighbor with an invitation to church or sharing the Gospel with a co-worker. Other times, the step God calls us to make is a giant leap of faith, such as packing up your life and moving to a foreign land to serve the Lord as a missionary or pursuing a new opportunity for ministry.

No matter the size of the step, when we heed God’s call to get out of the boat, the result will always be a blessing. If we step out in faith and keep our eyes on the Lord, the SMILES will not only be ours but they will belong to every person whose life we touch along the way.

A Year of Smiles – Day 273

Reason to SMILE #273: YOUR PASSIONS

What is the one thing in life that you love most, that you love doing the most? What is the one thing that excites you, that stirs up the embers of passion inside of you? Is it your job? Your hobbies? Charity work? Taking care of your family? Crafting? Building?

One of my greatest passions is writing. (Well, of course. This is a blog, right?) My love for writing began in my high school years, I believe, but I seriously began to hone my craft of word weaving in college. Take a look at one of my entries in a journal I was required to keep for a Spiritual Formation class in seminary:

I have so many things, Lord, so many gifts of this world. Collections of this and piles of that fill my empty spaces. The emptiness is never quite satisfied, however, and I am left with a desire for more. I search for the perfect pictures to cover my barren walls. I seek out the best attire to fill the cavities of my closets. Only the finest furniture can decorate my lifeless rooms. Only the most scholarly books can line my wanting shelves.

I acquire but the shelves still lack. The walls still beckon for companionship. I allow myself to be trapped by selfish desires, by misleading promises and by relentless lies. I dare to believe that objects can fill my empty spaces, that possessions alone suffice.

Lord, only you can fill my emptiness. Only you can line the shelves of my wanting. Only you can animate my rooms of lifelessness. Your goodness alone can fill the cavities and adorn the barren. God, you are enough for me.

Who is this writer? And how can I find her again? 😉

Regardless of the styles in which I choose to write, the passion remains the same. It is a passion given by the Lord and one which I will always use to give glory to His name. That is truly what all of our gifts, skills and passions are for – to honor the Lord, to make His name famous and to reach a dying world in need of the Savior. Our passions may be the driving force behind our happiness and contentment but using our passions to glorify the Heavenly Father will always fill our lives with joy and lead to a life of SMILES.