A Year of Smiles – Day 264


TRANSPARENCY

The smiles have seemed so far away this week. I have been overwhelmed with concerns, distracted by discouragements and dragged down by disappointments. So, today, I’m having a difficult time finding a smile to share with you…

It happens. Life gets messy, confusing and downright ugly sometimes. And if I’m being completely transparent, I often become stuck in the middle of it all. My smile becomes a mere facade. But I am only human. Besides, no one ever said that life wouldn’t be messy. God’s Word even tells me I’ll walk through valleys…

The good thing is God has promised to walk with me in the valleys. Ah! Now there’s a SMILE. I am never alone; God is always with me. Do you remember that SMILE from Day 22?

God also promised to help me through this difficult and overwhelming season in my life. That was my Reason to SMILE #159. God’s help is only a prayer away. 

Oh, and I must keep telling myself that what I’m going through won’t last forever. It’s only temporary. I’ve already shared that encouragement with you, too. Check out Day 73!

I’m thinking I’ll revisit a few more of my SMILES today. Maybe it’ll restore my focus on what and Who truly matters. In the meantime, keep looking for SMILES and when you find one, shoot it my way. ❤

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A Year of Smiles – Day 262

Reason to SMILE #262: TODAY

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This IS the day the Lord has made – yes, even THIS day. And all the days He made before it have prepared you for today. All the moments of gladness, moments of struggle, moments of doubt, moments of triumph and moments of sorrow that have filled your previous days have built the foundation of strength that will see you through this day.

This IS the day the Lord has made and HE will not allow you to live this day alone.  HE plans to spend it with you. HE intends to experience every moment by your side.  You can walk through this day with confidence for there is nothing in this day that will take it’s Maker by surprise.

Yes, this IS the day the Lord has made.  No matter what it holds, joy or sadness, healing or pain, celebration or mourning, THIS day is God’s gift to you.  And in this great gift, you can REJOICE and be glad!

A Year of Smiles – Day 248

Reason to SMILE #248: COMFORT

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You may feel that you will never find joy again.

Hold tight, my friend. You will.

Until then, lean into the strong arms of your Heavenly Father. When the sorrows of night have passed, you will know JOY anew – JOY unmeasurable and SMILES innumerable.

But for now, rest in His comfort.

A Year of Smiles – Day 243

Reason to SMILE #243: LAUGHTER 


We all need it – sometimes more than others. This joyous outburst affects our entire being. 

It lightens our load. 

It drowns out sadness. 

It redirects our thoughts.

It promotes healing.

It brightens our face.

It makes snot shoot from our noses, tears stream down our cheeks, food project from our mouths and muscles stretch and ache!! 🤣 It’s awesome!

How amazing this gift of laughter! It truly is the best medicine. It’s even better, though, when given by and shared with a friend. 

I hope you find a SMILE today and a good dose of laughter!

A Year of Smiles – Day 220

Reason to SMILE #220: ENERGY BOOSTS


What refuels your tank? What inspires you and keeps you going? What encourages you when you’ve lost your moxie? What gives you that extra oomph to get you through the home stretch?

Good friends?

Inspirational quotes?

Cute little memes?

Prayer?

God’s Word?

Great! Those are all fantastic. Keep seeking that encouragement!

Now. What brings you down? What stops you in your tracks? What makes you stumble? What snuffs out that flame within?

Negative people?

Bad days?

Disappointment?

Criticism?

Struggles?

What if, instead of allowing these things to bring us down, we converted all that negativity into fuel for our fires? What if we took everything meant to stop us and harnessed its power and energy to push us even further toward our goals?

What if? Negativity is thrown at us everyday. We have a choice to either allow it to bring us down, stifle our growth and rob us of our joy or to let it strengthen our resolve, affirm our callings and broaden our SMILES. 

Energy siphon? Or energy boost? Which one will you choose?

A Year of Smiles – Day 219

Reason to SMILE #219: A GOOD, SWIFT KICK 

… in the pants! 

Yep. There are times when it is completely necessary. Sometimes we get in a funk and can’t seem to find our way out. We begin wallowing in self-pity and despair over lost love, an unfavorable situation at work or a missed opportunity. The more we think of our unhappy circumstances, the more we whine and complain. And with each verse of our sob songs, we make ourselves and all those around us more and more miserable. Until… 

… someone decides to gives us a good, swift kick in the hiney or a smack on the back of the head. Sure. It may not always take a physical altercation to bring us out of our negativity and back to the land of abundant living but a kick sure does grab the attention! And when we’ve made it past a certain point in our little pity parties, it often takes something drastic to wake us up from our self-indulgent stupors.

Even more, it takes someone special to do the waking, kicking or rescuing. It takes someone willing to take us by the shoulders, look us in the eyes and tells us to get with it, to stop dwelling on our problems and start counting our blessings. It takes someone willing to risk a friendship or risk the backlash they may incur in order to help a friend find joy again.

We need lots of someones like that in our lives. We need to be those someones for others.

A good, swift kick in the pants most likely will not make us SMILE – at least not at first. But if it works, if it wakes us up from our stupor of negativity and self-pity, we’ll be grateful to the one who cared enough to do the kicking!

A Year of Smiles – Day 213

Reason to SMILE #213: YOU’VE GOT THIS!

This week many of the children in my church begin another year of school. The first day of school is always a dreaded day in my household (actually, any school day is!) and I’m sure it’s the same for many other households. Of course, there are a variety of reasons to be anxious over the beginning of a new school year. For my kid, it’s merely that he doesn’t see the point of school! (Yep. Tell me how do you deal with that one! – – Please!) No matter the reason, I completely understand. I had a whole list of them myself. So, for all of you out there who may have kids hesitant to begin this new school year, here’s a SMILE to pass along:

You've Got This Adobe Spark

 

And if you’re not a student, well, this SMILE is for you, too! Remember, no matter what you are facing, God and You have got this!

A Year of Smiles – Day 151

Reason to SMILE #151: PRAYER

How often do you pray?  I find myself praying all the time.praying-hands-emoticon

“Lord, help me make it through this day.”

“Lord, please keep so-and-so safe.”

“Heal so-and-so quickly, Lord.”

“Thank you for all your blessings, Lord.”

“Ok, Lord, give me strength ’cause these kids are killin’ me!” 😉

The day to day conversations with God come pretty easy.  It’s like chatting with a friend or co-worker.  There’s merit to those little prayer snippets but I’m not sure this is truly what prayer is meant to be.

When was the last time you actually got down on your knees and spent hours in prayer with the Heavenly Father praising him for His blessings, casting your burdens at His feet, asking forgiveness for your transgressions and listening for His still, small voice to speak to your soul?  Now that doesn’t come so easy – at least not for me.  Often, I set out to spend time with God but weariness or busyness interrupts.   Oh, how it must make God feel when I can’t even make time to sit and talk with Him.

Right about now, you’re probably thinking that this doesn’t sound much like a SMILE.  Maybe not yet but hang on, folks.  I’m getting there.

I may not be the prayer warrior that I should be (God’s still working on me!) but I know without a doubt that there are mighty prayer warriors out there praying for me.  How do I know?  Because there’s no way I could have made it through some of the things I’ve been through without the prayers of loving friends and family.  And when I have a need, those prayer warriors – my mom, my dad, my pastor, my best friend, my church family – are there to pray me through whatever I am facing.  Now, to me, that’s worth a hundred SMILES and so much more!

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 136

Reason to SMILE #136: PEP TALKS 


Have you ever had one of those days when everything seems to go wrong and no matter what you say or do, you can’t make it right?

Have you ever felt as if nothing you do is good enough? 

Have you ever believed yourself to be insignificant to the world around you?

I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve felt these things many times. In fact, today has been one of those difficult days that makes finding a SMILE a serious challenge. And if it weren’t for a little pep talk I received the other day from a friend, I’m not sure I would have even attempted this blog post.

I know I’m not the only one who has days like today so I am passing this pep talk on to you. No matter how bad the day, no matter how convinced you are that your life does not make a difference, remember that YOU ARE AWESOME and YOU ARE LOVED!

Click here for your pep talk!

Now, go share this SMILE with someone else who just might need to here those three small words: YOU ARE AWESOME!

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A Year of Smiles – Day 60

Reason to SMILE #60: BELIEVING IN YOURSELF

“I can’t!” I declared.

I was in Junior High and basketball was on the agenda for P.E.  My teacher knew I would not be able to run up and down the court but she wanted me to participate in some way.  She encouraged me to at least practice shooting the basketball.  Well, I had tried before and couldn’t do it.  What was the use in trying again?  I was only going to be humiliated by my failure.  I begged to be excused from the activity.  I cried and repeated over and over, “I can’t do it.  I just can’t!”

Unfortunately, my teacher was good friends with my parents who had instructed her not to give in to my “sob story” tactics.  Of course, my parents knew full well my physical limitations due to my muscle disorder but they never let me use it as an excuse.  I always had to try something first so a “Get Out of P.E. Free” card was never a possibility.  Aren’t parents awesome?  (They really are!  I just didn’t think so at the time.)

I was doomed to shooting basketball.  My teacher was lovingly relentless in her encouragement to keep trying.  “Never say you can’t,” she’d say, “because you can do it.”  I tried.  I failed.  I tried again. I failed.  I tried again and again and again each time failing miserably.  Soon, however, I discovered that my efforts were paying off.  The ball was going a little higher, a little further out and closer to the basket each time I made a shot.  My classmates began to join the teacher in her encouragement.  Never once did they laugh because I could not make the basket.  I kept trying.  Then one day, I shot the basketball and boom!  I did it.  I actually made it.  My classmates cheered.  My teacher hugged me and I learned to say, “I can.”

I’ll never forget the day when I made my first basket.  It was thrilling.  I actually did it but I wouldn’t have if it had not been for the encouragement of my parents, my teacher and my classmates.  It was their belief in me that led to my own belief in myself.  I won’t sit here and tell you that I have never said the words “I can’t” again but that personal triumph has made a lasting impact on how I approach challenges in my life.

You see, there are always going to be people who tell me that I can’t do something.  There will be those who look at my appearance, who know my physical limitations, who know the mistakes I’ve made and all of my shortcomings and they will shake their heads and say, “There’s just no way.”  If I join the naysayers, or allow their opinions of me to become my own, I’m defeated before I even get a chance to try.  I am guaranteeing my own failure because I can never succeed if I never try.  I must believe in myself.  Even more, I must believe in the One who made me who I am and who faithfully whispers in my ear, “Yes, my child, you can.”  thumbs-up-facebook-smiley-face

So, how do I keep believing in myself when others insist on discouraging me?  It’s simple.  When others look at me and say, “You can’t,” I remember my first successful basketball shot, look those naysayers straight in the eyes, SMILE and proudly say, “You just watch me!”