A Year of Smiles – Day 281

Reason to SMILE #281: SMARTIES

It’s funny the things we remember from our childhoods. I remember chasing my brothers around the house with a plastic baseball bat and getting stuck on the monkey bars because a snake had decided to crawl under me and hold me hostage. I also remember piling into a little Ford Fiesta, along with the seven other members of my family, to go to church every Sunday. And at this church was a pastor who would carry gumballs around in his suit coat pocket. All of the kids knew it and as soon as the service was over, we’d excitedly make our way to the pastor to get a piece of gum. What an impression this pastor made! With the simple gift of a piece of gum every Sunday, this pastor showed us kids how important we were to the church family.

At the church I attend now, we also have a smartiesman who is making a lasting impression on the lives of children. He is affectionately known as the “Candy Man” and the kids are always seeking him out. They all know that each Sunday he hands out Smarties and they love it! He has a big heart and loves to see the SMILE on the face of each child as he hands him or her a piece of candy. It may seem like a small gesture but I know the impact it has on these kids and the love they receive with each pack of Smarties will last a lifetime.

Oh! And each Sunday, the Candy Man makes sure I receive a pack of Smarties, as well. He walks up beside me, reaches for my hand and secretly sneaks me the candy. “You may be the Children’s Director but you’re just as little as they are. So you get a piece of candy, too!” Makes me SMILE every time.

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A Year of Smiles – Day 245

Reason to SMILE #245: THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE


Look at what I’m wearing! I can’t remember the last time I wore a dress. I’m a blue jeans and comfortable (but cute!) shirt kinda girl. I simply don’t do dresses. They require too much fuss.

Today, however, was a special occasion – my niece’s wedding. So I set aside my preferences and said “yes” to a dress! Ha! Really, it wasn’t a difficult choice to make. It’s what you do for family. It’s what you do when you care for someone.

I sat in my aqua sundress and listened as sacred vows were spoken. I was reminded of the covenant of marriage and of the importance of saying “I do” – not only on your wedding day but each and every day after. 

I fidgeted with my dress.

Yes, sometimes saying, “I do” means setting aside your own preferences. That’s what you do for someone you love.

It’s those things we do for love that bring SMILES to our hearts each and every day.

A Year of Smiles – Day 231

Reason to SMILE #231: FELLOWSHIP

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An Italian plumber with a proclivity for heroism, a teenage wizard marginalized because of the events of his past, a bird with severe anger issues, a wrestling phenom with a superiority complex, a sneaky little pig plagued with kleptomania and a wrestling personality using his fame to spread the message of Jesus – what a diverse group of characters! And they’re all welcome at the dinner table of a seven-year-old boy…

True fellowship as seen through the eyes of a child – a SMILE worth finding, fostering and following.

A Year of Smiles – Day 226

Reason to SMILE #226: TRUTH

My SMILE today may seem a bit unusual and may not actually feel like a SMILE at all.  As I’ve been pondering recent events in our world, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a song I wrote many years ago.  My heart aches for our children and the world we have created for them.  My only solace is the Truth of God’s Word, the promises of His plan and surety of His control.  No matter what the situation around me, the foundation of God’s Truth on which I stand brings a peaceful SMILE to my soul.

I share the following with you in hopes that you will be inspired to make a difference in the world around you and to point the way to the TRUTH.


Fires burn across the land,

The smoke fills the skies.

Angry men shout out and scream;

Some break down and cry.

 

Children watch as people die;

They see the hate, the pain.

Their little eyes can’t believe

The suffering and the shame.

 

Is this the world we want to show our children?

Is this the place we want them to call home?

We tell them that we love them but don’t show them the same.

Is this the truth we want them to know?

 

I wrote these lyrics twenty-five years ago.  I was almost eighteen years old and had just watched news coverage of the Los Angeles Riots of 1992.  I was horrified as pictures of violence, hate, fear and desperation flashed before my eyes.  I was overwhelmed with uncertainty and fear even though I lived on the opposite side of the country.  I did not understand it all and I knew there were children and other young people trying to make sense of the chaos, as well.

I wondered what these children were learning from the situation.  What lessons about life were they gleaning?  Were they giving up all hope at that moment?  Was their innocence slipping away as disturbing images of humanity at its worst invaded their ideals of safety and security?  Were they resigning to believe that this was how life was supposed to be?  Were these children accepting the hate, violence and pride as their truth?

Now, twenty-five years later, we find ourselves seeing familiar images flash on our TV screens.  And I cannot help but wonder.  Where are those children who watched similar scenes so many years ago?  They are the adults of our world now.  Are they watching in horror as they did as a child?  Are they worried about their own children and the effect this situation will have on their young lives?  Are they outraged?  Are they scared?  Are they worried?  Or are they hitting the power button, shrugging their shoulders and walking away?  After all, that’s life.  That’s the truth of our existence and there’s nothing anyone can do about it….

Oh, my friends, there is hope.  We can redefine the truth that our world accepts today by pointing the way to THE TRUTH, Jesus Christ.  He is our only Way to healing, restoration and salvation.  He is our only Truth in the midst of the chaos and deception orchestrated by our enemy, the devil.  He is our only source of abundant Life, peace, hope and yes, SMILES.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

The road to Truth starts with Love.  Love starts with you and me.

Soapboxes and Servants

I’m revisiting one of my posts from several years ago.  It seems God wanted to remind me of its message today.  Perhaps there’s another who needs to hear this message, as well.


Sometimes I stand on my soapbox.  Sometimes I climb even further and sit on my high horse.  I like it from up there.  I can see much more clearly in that position.  I can think without the distractions of the opinions of others.  I can make my declarations without interruption from those standing below.  I can feel satisfied and proud of myself for standing up, for saying what I believe, for spreading the message of truth and what is right (at least, what I think is truth and what I think is right).

Yes, I can stand on my soapbox and sit on my high horse because it’s the easy thing to do.  In fact, we all can do what is easy.  It’s the difficult that gives us problems.  It’s those things we know we should do, such as walking in the steps of Jesus, that we find so hard.  For His steps may lead us to the houses of sinners or require us to love the unlovable.  Jesus’ steps may direct us to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters in Christ, to serve our neighbors or to forgive our enemies.  The steps of Jesus may even require us to rethink our definitions of truth and re-evaluate what we believe is right.

Certainly, to follow in our Savior’s steps is no easy task but I can’t help but think that we make it harder than it should be.  You see, it’s tough to be a servant from the lofty heights on which we choose to stand.  And it’s difficult to share our Savior’s love while clinging to the reigns of our pride.  It appears it would be easier to follow in the steps of Jesus if we were a bit closer to the ground.

Oh, Lord, forgive me for climbing atop my soapbox and for mounting that high horse in times when You want me to deny myself, swallow my pride and simply serve others.  I want to follow in your steps.  So make me a servant, dear Lord.  May my words and my actions exalt only You.  Amen.


Mark 10:45 (NIV) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Mark 9:35 (ESV) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Galatians 2:20 (ESV) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 174

Reason to SMILE #174: WEDDINGS

 

Blissful and elegant,

A charming delight,

Eagerly enters

The beauty in white.

 

Dapper and dashing,

A fear-stricken mess,

Anxiously awaits

The groom at his best.

 

Shiny and lighthearted,

A roomful of grins,

Respectfully dotes

Their fam’ly and friends.

 

The scene is a wonder

Where time has no end.

When two become one,

A new life begins.

 

But is it the picture

We place on the wall?

Is it as perfect

As our minds recall?

 

Last time I checked,

A wedding takes work.

One day of magic

Leaves dad in the lurch.

 

And on the blessed day

Not one thing is right –

Not flowers, not cake,

Not dresses, not lights.

 

The Moms are both frantic;

Dads sink in defeat.

The flower girl’s mad

And stomping her feet.

 

The bridesmaids are fighting;

The groomsmen don’t care.

The bride’s feet are cold;

The groom is… nowhere!

 

So many emotions

In such a short time.

So many mishaps

To thwart groom and bride.

 

So what’s the big hubbub?

Why all of the fuss?

Is it all worth it

To turn me to us?

 

Despite all the chaos,

There’s one thing that’s true:

It’s worth any price

To hear said, “I do.”

 

“I do take my lover

To be by my side

I promise to stay

Our love will abide.

 

“I will fight to uphold

This most sacred vow

And when times are rough

We’ll make it… somehow.”

 

And when your days married

Have turned into years,

You’ll look back and smile

(Perhaps shed some tears)

 

On all of the folly

Of your special day

And thank God for blessing

Your life anyway!



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A Year of Smiles – Day 170

Reason to SMILE #170: WHEN SOMEONE THINKS OF YOU


“I have a ticket that I’m not using,” said the voice on the phone, “and I thought you might like to have it.”

It was early afternoon when my phone rang. My friend was returning home after being out of town and wanted only to rest when she arrived but she had a ticket for an event that she didn’t want to go to waste. She thought of me. Although I wasn’t able to attend, either, I was appreciative of the offer. She may not have realized it but her simple gesture made my day. 

It’s a wonderful feeling to know someone is thinking of you, isn’t it? Imagine if we all decided to let others know how often we think of them and pray for them. What a difference such a simple thing would make! We wouldn’t be able to count the SMILES!

Had anyone on your mind lately? Did you see a picture or hear a joke and think of a friend you haven’t spoken with in years? Did a name cross your mind out of the blue? Call that person. Send an email. Text a message. Whatever method of communication you choose, I know the person on the receiving end is sure to be SMILING.

A Year of Smiles – Day 169

Reason to SMILE #169: SUPERMAN

“I’m Superman,” my dad declared. “Didn’t you know that?”

“No, you’re not!” my siblings and I all protested.

“I am! I can lift this car with one hand,” Dad claimed.

We all responded with cheers to see our dad prove he was indeed Superman.

“Ok, here goes.” Without hesitation, Dad continued, “Wanna see me do it again?”

We protested again, “You didn’t do anything!”

With a grin on his face, Dad explained, “I did it so fast you couldn’t see me!”

He may not have lifted our car but there has never been any doubt in my mind that my dad is Superman. There’s no better dad and I’m grateful for him. He is my biggest fan and I can always depend on him for support, for help, for wise advice and for prayer. 

I’m blessed to have such a good father in my life, someone I can look up to, follow in his footsteps and trust to always love and accept me. You may not be able to say the same – at least not about an earthly father.  But you do have a Heavenly Father who is always good. He loves you and will always be there for you. He will never let you down or disappoint you. He’s even better than Superman! 😉

Cape or no cape – my dad always makes me SMILE and I know it’s because he’s following the example of the greatest Father of all!

Psalm 68:5 (ESV) Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

1 John 3:1 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

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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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