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 196

Reason to SMILE #196: HEAVEN

My Nana used to tell me a story from when I was very young. I hadn’t started walking, yet, though it was long past the developmental stage when I should have. I would watch other children, my brothers and sister, running, jumping and playing and I longed to be able to do the same. “Want walk,” I’d cry to my Nana. She would grab me up and place me in a bouncy swing where my feet were able to touch the ground and the swing held my weight just enough for me to feel as though I was walking. “How you’d smile and laugh in that swing,” my Nana would say.

I finally walked to the surprise of my doctors. And I am still surprising the doctors today. When reviewing my muscle disorder and my scoliosis, a later development, the doctors are astonished that I get around as well as I do. I’m sure God laughs every time he hears their words of amazement. To me, their words are surreal for I realize the severity of my situation but stand in awe of how God has blessed me all these years.

As I grow older and have neglected to care for this body I’ve been given, I feel the effects of my muscle disorder more and more every day. I find it harder to walk from point A to point B. And as I am walking, I find that I have to keep reminding myself to pick up my feet so I won’t trip and fall. Simple things like carrying groceries or lifting books are becoming more difficult and I certainly can’t carry these things up stairs. It’s hard enough to carry me. All of the difficulties our bodies experience with age seem to be augmented by my muscle disorder and I find myself dwelling on the problems instead of on the blessings. It’s a struggle.

But one day, this physical body of mine will be no more. I will no longer struggle to climb a staircase or worry that I may be pushed down in a crowd or be embarrassed because I cannot stand up from a seated position without extra help. I won’t be concerned with how others perceive my labored and waddling gait or whether my clothing has successfully hidden my body imperfections caused by my scoliosis. None of that will matter because I will one day be made whole. You better believe that I am looking forward to that day!

But until then, I search for ways to SMILE to keep me from dwelling on my problems. I hold on to the promise that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that God can use all things, even my disability, even my physical abnormalities, for something good… for His good. I only have to keep my ears closed to the lies of Satan who constantly tells me I have limits that will prevent me from an abundant and happy life. I have to keep my eyes open to the opportunities God places before me to use my God-given talents and skills to make a difference in this world and open to the blessings He gives me every day. And I must hold on to the hope of heaven where there’ll be no more tears, no more sorrow and no more pain, where I’ll stand perfect in the presence of my Creator.

Yeah. I can’t wait for that heavenly SMILE!

A Year of Smiles – Day 176

Reason to SMILE #176: GRACE

John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.


God’s grace is not restricted to those who are powerful, those who are rich, those who come from the right neighborhood or those who behave a certain way.  God’s grace is freely given to ALL who believe.

So why is the grace we choose to show limited to only a select few?

Knowing that I am loved, forgiven and accepted by God no matter my past, no matter my mistakes and no matter my proclivity for messing up, is the greatest SMILE of all.

Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Matthew 7:1-2 (ESV) Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.


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A Year of Smiles – Day 162

Reason to SMILE #162: CHANGE

I do not like this thing called change.

I do not like to feel so strange.

I do not like to try new things.

I do not like the fear it brings.

 

I would not like it even if

You sent it to me with a kiss.

I would not like it with a SMILE;

You can’t make me with your guile!

 

“Oh,” you say, “Change may be good

You should embrace it if you could.

Change may be just what you need.

You will like it. Try it and see.”

 

Yes, I know it may be time

To mute this stubbornness of mine.

Change may be just what I need

To find the SMILES that bring me peace.

 

Change – it’s a fact of life no matter how hard we try to ignore and resist it. Change can seem like the devil in disguise but if we give it a try, change can be the catalyst that pushes us toward the great and wondrous works that God has waiting for us.

Change – it may be hard but the SMILES you’ll find on the other side of it are worth every chance you dare to take.

P.S. I seemed to be channeling Dr. Seuss today but he always makes me SMILE. Hope you find a SMILE, too!

A Year of Smiles – Day 38

Reason to SMILE #38: YOU ARE ALIVE

this-heart-is-for-you

You are not a joke.

You are not a reject.

Your life is not a waste.

You are not an accident. 

 

For you were wonderfully made

by the God of all Creation. 

 

You have a purpose that is filled with hope.

You are precious in the Father’s eyes.

You are loved and wholly accepted.

You bring God joy for you are ALIVE

 

You are alive and you can SMILE today!

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A Year of Smiles – Day 15

Reason to SMILE #15: CHURCHboth-thumbs-up-smiley

What comes to mind when you hear the word “church”?  Are you filled with excitement when discussing church?  Do you look forward to each opportunity to worship with your church family?  Or do you groan at the thought of it and find every excuse to stay away?

For many, church has a negative connotation.  Whether these people were forced to go as a child or they’ve had a bad experience, there’s just something about church that rubs them the wrong way.  And if you get them talking about it, well, you might as well sit down.  That conversation is going to last a while.  Their reasons for disliking church will go on and on (and on and on and on 😉 ).

I must admit, though, that I understand those negative feelings.  I’ve been going to church all my life.  I’ve seen the bad and I’ve felt the hurt that drives away so many.  But I’ve also seen the good and have felt the love that reaches out to all of us.  I’ve discovered that for all of the reasons not to attend church, there are that many reasons, and more, in favor of going to church.  You simply have to adjust your focus.

Remember, the church is people and people are not perfect – none of us.  When we keep that in mind, it’s a whole lot easier to put away our list of reasons to stay away from church and start seeing the multitude of reason why going to church really can make us SMILE!

Psalm 122:1 (KJV)  I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 11

Reason to SMILE #11: MORNINGS

sleepy-emoticon-yawning

Have you ever met a morning person?  No matter how early, a morning person is always cheerful and ready to meet the day with vim and vigor.  This person sings, “Hello” to everyone he or she encounters and bounces across the room like a child running off to play.  It truly is disgusting. 😉

As you may have guessed, I am NOT a morning person.  It takes me quite a while each day to get moving and when I do, I really do not mind if no one says, “Good morning” to me or even speaks to me at all.  The only things I desire in the morning are coffee and silence.

Regardless of my aversion to mornings, I am grateful for each one.  Mornings are a gift.  They offer each of us a fresh start, a new beginning.  Yesterday is, well, yesterday.  The mistakes we made, the hardships we faced, the messes we created, these are all in the past.  In fact, each day is like our own personal “do-over” granted to us by God Himself!  With each ray of sunlight that peeks over the horizon, God is saying, “Here you go.  Let’s try this again!” Now that ought to make us SMILE!

Oh, sure, the troubles from yesterday may still continue.  Hey, we made the mess; we have to clean it up.  But each new day gives us the opportunity to make better choices, to rid ourselves of bad habits, to repair broken relationships, to do whatever was left undone yesterday.  I may not be a morning person but I thank God for the mercies He gives to me with each new day.  And as I drink my coffee in silence this morning, I cannot help but SMILE at the endless possibilities this day has to offer.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)  For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 65:8 (NIV) The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 3

Reason to SMILE # 3 – COMMUNITY

Last night, powerful storms ripped through southwest Georgia.  Torrential rains gave the earth a good beating as high winds whipped through the treetops. Tornado watches turned into warnings and instructions for taking shelter blared from every phone in the house.  Facebook posts from friends and neighbors morphed from “It’s looking bad out there,” to “Power’s out”, “Tree’s on my front porch” and “I’m not usually scared during storms but this one…”.  It was an intense couple of hours.

The storm moved quickly and as the winds waned and the rains slowed, surveying the damage revealed that a tornado had indeed touched down.  Homes have been destroyed. Centuries-old oak trees have been uprooted. Cars have been demolished. Power has been knocked out.  The devastation is overwhelming.

As videos and pictures of the damage have begun to fill Facebook, there is one theme that prevails among all the comments – community.  People are asking, “Is there anything I can do to help?”.  Folks are picking up chainsaws and helping their neighbors dig out cars, remove trees from driveways and clear roads.  Strangers are checking on family members of Facebook friends that live elsewhere and cannot reach the ones they love. Community.

In times like these, we don’t think about smiling or happiness or joy.  But times like these give all of us the opportunity to provide a smile to those who need it most.  If you are in the area affected by last night’s storms, now is your chance to spread a little joy to those in need. If you can, get out there and help those whose lives have been wrecked. Show up with your chainsaw, or rake, or trash bags, or hammer and nails.  But whatever you take with you, don’t forget to show up with your SMILE.  Maybe, just maybe, you can help your neighbor find a smile of their own.

2017 – A Year for Smiles

Have you ever seen the Christmas movie about the extremely cheerful and hyperactive elf? It’s awesome and I love it! One of my favorite scenes is when a store manager asks the elf why he is smiling and the elf replies, “I just like to smile.  Smiling’s my favorite.”

Who doesn’t like to smile? Even more, who doesn’t like to see people smile? I love smiles. I love making people smile. Knowing that an encouraging word or kind gesture that I’ve shared brings a smile to someone’s face is a wonderful feeling.

It’s not always easy to find a smile, though. Troubles and sorrows overwhelm this world and reasons to smile are difficult to find. So, I’ve decided to find a reason to smile everyday this year and share those reasons with you. Maybe my reasons to Smile can help you find your Smile!

Day 1- New beginnings. Brushing off the old and starting over. Letting go of bad habits. Picking up the good ones. Knowing that the past is the past, living a better present and hoping for a brighter future. There is always Hope and that is most certainly a reason to SMILE! 😄