A Year of Smiles – Day 333

Reason to SMILE #333: NUGGETS OF TRUTH a/k/a I KNEW IT! MOMENTS a/k/a GOD MIGHT GET ME FOR THIS ONE

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“Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as CURSING.”

Proverbs 27:14 ESV (emphasis added)

See there. Even God thinks all you overly animated morning people need to bring it down a notch! At least give the rest of us grumps time to have our seemingly excessive but completely necessary eight cups of coffee.

Hehehe! I couldn’t resist this one today.

SMILE! But please do it quietly. I’m only on cup number three. 😉

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A Year of Smiles – Day 332

Reason to SMILE #332: SHOWING UP

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There’s a war waging over ownership of your day – your attitude, your emotional well-being, your actions, your reactions, your words, your resolve, your joy. You can fight this battle relying on your own strength but I must tell you, the odds are against you. If you truly want to experience victory each day, your strategy needs to be a bit more unconventional. Actually, it needs to be entirely illogical.

Well, maybe not entirely.

You see, the key to winning the daily battles of your life is to realize they’re not your battles to fight. Whatever you are facing, whatever situations you are dreading, whatever fears are advancing – these battles belong to the Lord and He’s already claimed the victory.

All that is required of you is waking up, dressing up and showing up. Wake up to the gift of each new day. Dress up in the armor God has given you. (Ephesians 6:10-18 – Man! I wish I would have thought of this while writing yesterday’s SMILE. <Forehead slap> Oh, well. Put on the Full Armor and a cute outfit! 😉 ) Then show up:

Show up to work, to school, to the grocery store, to the post office, to your kitchen, to your laundry room or wherever your day leads with confidence in your steps.

Show up with an attitude of gratitude.

Show up ready to honor your Victor with all you say and do.

Show up to your day with a SMILE knowing the Lord is with you to fight each battle.

You know what that means, don’t you? It means a victory celebration is waiting for you every single day! And who wouldn’t want to show up for a celebration! 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 331

Reason to SMILE #331: DRESSING UP

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I’m pretty sure I’ve thoroughly established that I am not a morning person. Give me til 10 or 11 o’clock. By that time, I should be a fully functioning human being.

Should be. (That may depend on the available supply of coffee.)

The problem is I don’t have the luxury of waiting til mid-morning to start my day. I have a 9 to 5 job so I simply must face those early morning hours. Facing them with a SMILE can be a challenge.

But there are all kinds of ways to begin the day with a SMILE even if the day begins too early. You can start by remembering that waking up is a blessing. (That was yesterday’s SMILE!) If you’re still dragging after counting your blessings, though, I have another idea for you. Get yourself dressed up! Yep. Find you’re cutest outfit. Style your hair differently. Wear your favorite shoes. Whatever clothes, makeup, accessories you have that always make you feel good about the reflection in the mirror, wear them.

I know what you’re thinking. It does seem a little shallow, doesn’t it? Nah. When I think I’m looking particularly good, it helps me to feel good, too. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for this but I don’t know it so you’ll just have to trust me. Better yet, go try it. The next time you’re feeling discouraged or you’re dreading the day ahead, make yourself look your best. It’ll help. I promise.

And remember: no matter your outfit style, color scheme or choice of shoes, your best and most beautiful accessory is always your SMILE! (Yep. Betcha knew that was coming! 😉)

And, by the way, guys, this goes for you, too!

A Year of Smiles – Day 330

Reason to SMILE #330: WAKING UP

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The first morning back to work or school after any holiday is never a happy occasion. In fact, it’s downright miserable – at least it is in the Smith household. There’s always a struggle. No one wants to wake up. No one wants to get ready. No one wants to leave the house. No one.

This morning was no different. My husband was aching from working on bathroom renovations over the break and I didn’t want to give up my extra sleep that has been so lovely these past few days. My older son hit his snooze button at least three times and my younger son, well, he suddenly came down with an incurable disease. So to say that this morning was difficult for my clan is pretty much the understatement of the century.

I’ve been at this game long enough, though, that I anticipated the problems this dreaded morning would bring. I awoke early (miracle of all miracles 😉 ), drank a cup of coffee and had my “Unless You’re Dying, You’re Going to School” speech prepared. Though the morning was determined to beat me down, I was more determined to begin this day with a SMILE.

Whew! It was a tough battle. My speech did not make me Mother of the Year and I didn’t end up being Wife of the Year, either. I wasn’t taking excuses from anyone today! And when the morning’s battle had been waged, I sat in my recliner in the glow of the Christmas lights (I needed all the help I could get this morning. 😉 ) overwhelmed by feelings of defeat.

Those feelings grew even stronger when I heard my husband leave the house. I believed that he had left for work without saying “good-bye” but a few minutes later, he came back inside to tell me he had started my car. You see, it was cold and he wanted the car to be warm for me when I left. There it was – my SMILE.

My husband’s simple act of love reminded me that no matter the morning struggles, no matter the frustrations or aggravations that await, waking up is a SMILE never to be taken for granted. And waking up to a family that loves you, even when you are reprimanding and making them do things they don’t want to do, is a SMILE I wouldn’t trade for anything – even another hour of sleep! 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 329

Reason to SMILE #329: TRUSTING GOD’S PLAN

This was my Christmas tree.

crooked tree

It was not being very cooperative. And it certainly was not making me SMILE. (Nor my husband – Yikes!)

This is the third year that we’ve purchased a real tree. I suppose it was time for one of them to rebel. 😉 No matter what we did, the tree simply would not stand up straight. We tried everything. It was so frustrating. I almost resigned myself to decorating this leaning tower of pine needles and cocking my head to one side every time I looked at it. Tilt to the right. There! It’s perfect! 😉

As I surveyed my crooked tree, I wondered why it was being so difficult. Didn’t it know that soon it would be decorated with twinkling lights and colorful ornaments? Didn’t it know that soon it would be fulfilling it’s purpose – being a Christmas tree?

Yeah. I realize it didn’t know anything. It’s a tree but by the way it was fighting me, I couldn’t help but see it as an ornery child or…

… a stubborn Christian.

We often act like this uncooperative evergreen, don’t we? We hear God’s voice telling us to move and we feel His hand nudging us in the direction He wishes us to go but we tenaciously refuse. We’re quite comfortable with where we are, who we are and what we’re doing. Why should we make a change?

“No, God,” we object, “I don’t want to go there; I’d feel out of place. I don’t want to do that; I’m not qualified. I don’t want to get rid of that habit; it’s not that bad.” Our objections are plentiful and the “buts” flow freely as we firmly plant our feet or run in the opposite direction. Surely, God doesn’t know what He’s doing. Surely, God is mistaken.

Oh, but if we only knew. The change we so adamantly refuse or the direction we do not follow or the call we do not heed is only pointing us to our intended purposes. If we’d yield to the Heavenly Father’s urgings to move, to change, to follow, we’d enable God to create something amazing with our lives. If we’d trust His Plan, we’d discover a life more fulfilling, more abundant and more beautiful than we’d ever find on our own.

decorated tree

And in following God’s plan, we’d always find a reason to SMILE.

tree smile

A Year of Smiles – Day 328

Reason to SMILE #328: SHOPPING

What???

Not for me! There’s no way I’m going shopping on Black Friday! No bargain is that good. Spending the Friday after Thanksgiving cleaning, rearranging and pulling out the Christmas decorations – that’s what makes me SMILE.

Well, looky there! It’s beginning to feel like Christmas at the Smith household. Yeah. Sitting in the glow of the Christmas lights watching movies is a much more satisfying SMILE than shopping. 😉

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? 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 325: Thanksgiving Countdown

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #325: THE AFTERNOON COMA

Plates have been emptied.

Bellies have been filled.

Belts have been loosened.

The afternoon food coma has begun.

As the miserable groans of overeater’s remorse begin to replace conversation, there’s nothing left to do but retreat to the living room and kick back in the recliner or relax on the couch. As a collective, my family doesn’t care much for “the game” (Unless it’s golf, which I don’t understand at all.) so our afternoon recuperation usually involves watching a movie. Let me clarify – a movie suitable for kids.

Yep. All of us from grandparents down to the kiddos sit together and watch the latest children’s movie. It’s fun to see who laughs the most, who makes it through to the end, who falls asleep and who bails on the family time first by pulling out their technology. I would name names but I do have to spend the entire day with these folks tomorrow so…

The afternoon food coma – it’s a SMILE that begins with the blissful agony of being stuffed to the gills, continues with a restful time of movies and relaxation and always ends with,

“Okay. Who’s ready for pie?”

My belt has no more notches (Heck, I’m not even wearing it anymore.) and my eyes are swimming in gravy but “Me, me, me! I’ll have a piece of pie!”

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And the SMILE of the Thanksgiving afternoon food coma keeps on giving. 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 324: Thanksgiving Countdown

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #324: THE STORIES

Adobe Spark

We all have them – stories about ourselves that only our families know, stories that our siblings use to hold us hostage or blackmail us into doing their chores or keeping their secrets, stories that will forever haunt not only our dreams but also our every waking moment. These are the tales of our past mistakes or those silly things we did when we were too young to know what we were doing. These are the anecdotes parents tell when the new boyfriend is introduced or the in-laws are invited to dinner. These are the stories we long to forget. Still, these stories are told over and over again.

Every.

Single.

Year.

Yeah, but isn’t it fun to sit around the dinner table, tell each other’s stories and laugh at each other’s embarrassment? And what better place to laugh at each other than at the Thanksgiving table?

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without our annual reminiscing sessions. Since there are six of us kids, there are plenty of stories to remember and retell and, therefore, plenty of opportunities to relive the humiliation, embarrassment or hilarious frivolity. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy remembering the time her older brothers held her down and tickled her til she couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard? Hmmm. I still don’t think that was a fun moment. That might be why I chased my brothers around the house with a baseball bat!

Family stories – even if they’re embarrassing, they’re still fun to remember. And there wouldn’t be quite as many SMILES at the Thanksgiving table without them!