Reason to SMILE #6: HUGS

Reason to SMILE #6: HUGS - Are you a hugger? |

I give warm hugs.

This is the message on one of my t-shirts. Beside this message is a picture of a goofy little snow man that seems to be falling apart.

You know that snow man, right?

He was really popular a few years ago when that one movie was released.

Remember that movie?

It was the one with princesses, a bad guy pretending to be a hero, a reindeer and an ice delivery man who becomes a reluctant hero.

Ring any bells?


Okay, I’ll Let It Go then.  (Yuk – yuk – yuk)

Anyway, I feel a bit strange when I wear this t-shirt because I’m not usually one to offer hugs freely. It makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know why. Don’t get me wrong. I give hugs. I hug my family. I hug folks I haven’t seen in ages. I hug those who offer a hug to me. But I don’t go around hugging every person that I see every time I see them. People who do that are true “warm huggers”. They have a gift.

There are times, though, when I need a hug – times when my heart is heavy, when the burdens of life overwhelm, when there’s no answers to my problems and I just need to be held. During these times, a warm hug is most welcomed and does so much good.

It’s amazing the power of a hug. A hug can lift spirits and lighten a load. A hug can even reduce blood pressure and improve emotional well-being and overall health. It’s true! I read it on Facebook! 😉

Well, I do know one thing for certain – a hug given at just the right time can make the heaviest of hearts and loneliest of souls SMILE again.

So I suppose I shouldn’t be so stingy with those hugs!

A Year of Smiles – Day 274



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 175

Reason to SMILE #175: BARE FEET

The first thing I do when I get home is take feet-42939_640off my shoes.  Not because I’m worried about my carpet or anything – I live with three males so that concern went out the window years ago.  No, I take off my shoes because I’d much rather go without them.  Who needs shoes when the feet God gave us are perfectly adequate!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m no wild child longing to run rampant through the great outdoors barefoot and carefree.  Not me at all!  I love a cute pair of shoes but the older I get, the more I just want to be comfortable.  So off the shoes go when I hit my bedroom door.

The funny thing about my longing to unshod my feet is that I have just the opposite desire for my kids at church.  One of our rules is to keep your shoes on your feet.  What they don’t know is that all afternoon on Wednesdays, I’m usually running around the church barefoot as I’m preparing for our evening activities.  Pretty unfair, isn’t it?  No.  You try being in the same room with thirty kids who have just been playing out in the heat for twenty minutes and have all decided to kick off their sweaty, smelly shoes. Thus, the rule!

I wear my shoes because society dictates.  And because my feet need protection!  I live in the South and I’d be suffering from third degree burns in the summer if I tried to walk on the asphalt with just my bare feet.  And speaking of the South…

What prompted this post today was all of the shoes I see lying in the road.  Everywhere I go, I find that someone has lost a shoe.  Not both shoes just one!  How do you lose a shoe when you’re driving down the road?  Does this happen other places?  Well, all I can say is that the South must be full of SMILING people free of their shoes and society’s restraints… at least they’re free of one shoe anyway!  😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 150

heart-home-imageReason to SMILE #150: HOME


Home is where the heart is.

It’s the place where I belong,

The place where rest comes easy,

Where I never feel alone.


Home is where guards are dropped –

True colors can be shown –

Where PJs can be worn about

And hair need not be combed.


Peace and love fill its walls;

It’s often filled with laughter.

Of course, no home is perfect –

It’s worth we must look after.


Times may get tough and bleak.

Trials may come and tempers flare

But a multitude of sins

Can a loving home repair.


I find it hard to wander

From this place that I call home

For it’s where my SMILES begin

And where my Loves are grown!



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A Year of Smiles – Day 35


“You look like a rock star!”

These are the words my husband said to me as he was leaving for work.  I have no idea what prompted this sentiment.  I suppose it could have been my wacky bed head – hair sticking up every which way – but I’m thinking it was my fuzzy bathrobe.

Seriously!  This bathrobe is awesome!  It’s soft, warm and extremely cozy.  It even has a hood.  And if you promise to keep this between you and me, I’ll tell you a secret.  Are you ready?  Here it is……

…………Every time I put on this bathrobe, I feel like Rocky heading into a boxing ring.  Stop laughing!  Maybe it’s the whole hooded robe look.  Maybe it’s the fact that I watched one of those movies recently.  Or maybe it’s simply psychological – the name “Boxer” is all over the inside label.  No matter.  I love this fuzzy robe.

It’s nice to have something that brings comfort and relaxation smiley-with-nightcapafter a long and tiresome day.  For some it might be a big, comfy chair.  For others it might be a blanket and a book.  For me, its a fuzzy bathrobe and PJ’s.  They make me SMILE!

So, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to don my fuzzy jammies, bundle up in my boxing robe and relax like a rock star!

A Year for Smiles – Day 2

Reason to SMILE #2: Banana Popsicles!

The year I turned 12, I had to have my appendix removed.  For those of you who’ve never experienced appendicitis, you must know that it is not enjoyable.  I was miserable!  Stomach pain and nausea kept me trekking to the bathroom so many times that I finally decided to stay there.  The last thing I remember before finding myself in the hospital was lying on the bathroom floor crying and wishing the pain would end.

I don’t recall much else of what happened before surgery.  What I do remember, though, is the hospital starving me after surgery.  At least that’s what my 12-year-old mind believed.  By day two, I wanted real food but the doctors only allowed broth and jello.  A kid can only stand so much broth!  But there was one thing that made my recovery much more bearable – Banana Popsicles.  I’m not sure if the hospital ran out of every other flavor, but the popsicles that were served to me were all banana flavored.  And I just so happened to like banana flavored popsicles.  Yummy!!

I have to admit that by the time I left the hospital, I had eaten so many banana popsicles I was actually tired of them.  And to this day, no one in my family can be admitted to the hospital for any reason without my mother or myself jokingly inquiring of the flavor of the hospital’s popsicle supply.  Even last night, after I received a text about my nephew in Wisconsin being moments away from an appendectomy, the first thing that came to mind and my encouraging words to him were, “It’s going to be alright!  And when it’s over, you’ll get to eat lots of Banana Popsicles!”

So today, on Day 2 of my Smiles in 2017, I smile about Banana Popsicles.  As a 12 year old recovering from surgery, these popsicles were my comfort.  They made me smile and the memory still makes me smile today.

What about you?  Are you going through something unexpected?  Are you facing a situation that has knocked you off your feet or derailed your plans?  My advice?  Grab a banana popsicle – or piece of chocolate or cup of coffee or handful of almonds (gotta throw something healthy in there!).  The littlest of things can often bring the greatest comfort.  No, your problems won’t disappear but I guarantee while you’re enjoying that popsicle, you’ll find a reason to SMILE.

Look Up!

Have you ever been to the dentist?  What a traumatic experience it can be – lying back in the dentist’s chair with mouth open wide.  You have no where to go.  You cannot speak and your discomfort is certainly not being eased by the dentist’s off key rendition of Broadway show tunes.  You could close your eyes and imagine a gentle brook babbling in the midst of a lush green field but the thought of sharp metallic instruments prodding your teeth and gums encourages an alertness like you’ve never experienced.  You have nothing to do but look up.

There are many times in life when we find ourselves in the dentist’s chair – vulnerable and helpless while being prodded by the antics of the world.  We search for escape but the realities of the situation seem to hold us hostage with no where to go and no where to look … but up.  What better direction to look!  Look up to the One who already knows our troubles and needs.  Look up to the One who can give us comfort and relieve our pain in times of distress.  Look up to the One who holds tomorrow and all of life in the palm of His hand.  He is our answer.  He is our help.

So when you find yourself in the dentist’s chair of life, don’t fret.  LOOK UP!!

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 33:20 – We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  – Jesus