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

Adobe Spark (7)

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! 😉 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! 🙂


A Year of Smiles – Day 222

Reason to SMILE #222: SHARING A SMILE WITH ME (Yes, me!)

Wow! I’ve made it to Day 222! That’s a whole lotta SMILES. Only 143 to go! I’m having so much fun sharing with you everyday but…

Lately, I’ve been thinking how unfair this relationship between you and me really is. And it’s time I got this off my chest. Day in and day out, I give and I give. I offer you the best SMILES I can and what do you give in return? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. 

<Insert awkward silence here.>

Hahaha! I’m only kidding!! I love sharing my SMILES with you. Bu-ut… 

I really would love to hear from you once in a while. Let me know what makes you SMILE. What turns the corners of your mouth toward the sky? What makes you happy? What delights your soul?

I know there’s a list forming in your mind right now so c’mon! Make me SMILE today. I want to hear from you. Remember, your SMILE can make a huge difference in the life of another. Don’t hold back. Let the whole world see!

A Year of Smiles – Day 107

Reason to SMILE #107: GIVING

We’ve all heard that it is more blessed to give than to receive.  We all nod in agreement when we hear these words.  We say a hearty “Amen” and raise our hands to testify of this great truth.  But I wonder if our agreement is contingent on who we see as the giver and who we see as the receiver.  When someone else is the giver, we praise their gift and cry, “Bless your heart.”  When the act of giving falls on us, however, our attitudes about giving don’t always remain the same.

Icute-smiley-in-a-gift-box-for-facebook‘m not sure why it is so difficult to give to others at times.  Maybe, it’s fear that we will be left without.  Maybe, it’s just pure selfishness.  Maybe, it’s forgetfulness of all the times others have given to us.  Whatever the reason for our lack of giving, I am certain that when we choose not to give, we hold back blessings from both others and ourselves.

You see, our gifts impact more than just those who receive them.  Think of the last time you gave a gift to a friend or loved one.  How did it make you feel to hear the sincere thanks of the receiver of your gift so carefully chosen and lovingly given?  Did it make you feel empty, like your resources had been depleted and you had nothing left to give?  Or did it make you feel full, like your heart was overflowing and all you wanted to do was go out and give again and again?

Giving always reaps SMILES for both the receiver and for the giver.  Even more, when we give, we bring a SMILE to our living God who richly gives us all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).


Image by symbols-n-emoticons.com

It’s Christmastime!

It’s Christmastime everyone!

Time to deck the halls –

Time to string the lights

‘Round the tree and on the walls.


It’s time to go a-wasselling –

Wasselling?  Hooray!

Don’t know what it is

But we’ll have fun anyway.


It’s time to join the bustle,

Time to shop the stores,

Time to wrap the gifts –

Wait! I need just one thing more.


Celebrations everywhere,

Yummy treats to eat,

Old friends to laugh with,

And memories, oh, so sweet.


Families all together,

Loved ones held so close,

Christmas is the time

That we truly love the most!


But the joy of this season

By all is not shared.

There are those burdened

By a heavy load of cares.


There are those who are hurting,

Those who have no hope,

Those who are hungry,

Those who cannot seem to cope.


Christmastime to these dear ones

Is just another day

To struggle all alone,

Not a time to sing and play.


They simply can’t comprehend

The reason that we sing.

Their woes are too great;

They think miracles silly things.


They’re searching for an answer,

Escape from their plight.

They’re holding back tears

As they kiss their kids goodnight.


Oh, it’s time we look around –

Open up our eyes

To a dying world

That thinks no one hears their cries.


Our lives are filled with plenty;

We’ve so much to give.

We’ve a Hope to share

With a world that longs for it.


It’s Christmastime, after all!

Time to spread the news,

Time to tell of Jesus

And His love for me and you.


It’s time to go a-serving!

Serving?  Yes, indeed!

Meeting needs of others –

What great joy and peace it brings!


So, let’s celebrate this season

Telling of His birth,

Giving unto others,

Spreading Hope and Love on earth.


Leftovers“Look mom!  I saved you some candy!” my 8 year old son proudly exclaimed as he pointed to a bag of Gummy Life Savers on the kitchen counter.  I picked up the bag of candy and peered inside to discover a handful of orange and green candies.  Can you guess which flavors my son doesn’t like?  Yep, orange and green apple.  So I was stuck with the leftovers…again.  Thanks a lot!!

As I was enjoying these delicious treats (sarcasm is so difficult to express in written form), I began to wonder if this is what God feels like when we give Him our leftovers.  What does He think when we so proudly present Him with those unsavory flavors of candy – that last five minutes of the day or that last ten bucks in our checking account?  “Look what I’m giving you, God!  Aren’t you proud of me?” we say after we’ve torn into the blessings He’s given us, consumed all the good stuff and left only the crumbs for Him.

Ouch!  Gummy Life Savers are supposed to be soft and chewy!  This bag of candy was tough to swallow or at least the lesson I received while eating it was.   And what a lesson!  My God gives me all that I need.  He blesses me beyond what I deserve.  He gives me life and hope through His Son, Jesus.  He forgives; He saves; He heals; He provides.  And all I can give Him are the orange and green Life Savers?  It appears my kid was not the only one needing a lesson on giving.

So, thank you, God, for the leftover orange and green Gummy Life Savers.  Thank you for reminding me of the abundance of your goodness.  May my gifts to you always be the first fruits of your blessings though I know that no gift can compare to all that you have given to me.  And may my children learn the lesson on giving by watching their mother live it.  Amen.

Oh, by the way, what my child didn’t realize when he gave me the candy is that in a bag of the Original 5 Flavors Gummy Life Savers, there are two candies that are colored green – one is dark and one is light.  And one of those green-colored candies is watermelon flavored which he actually does like.  Did I share that bit of information with the kid who ate all the good ones and gave me his leftovers as if it were the best present ever?  Are you kidding me? 🙂