Not perfect?

Well, you’re in good company because none of us are!

The good thing is God loves us anyway.

So give yourself a break today and go ahead and SMILE.

The Other Serenity Prayer

By Eleanor Brown

God, grand me the serenity to stop beating myself up for not doing things perfectly,
the courage to forgive myself because I am working on doing better, and the wisdom to know that you already love me just the way I am.


Why I Keep Sharing SMILES

Why I Keep Sharing SMILES - Finding hope in the midst of turmoil and chaos |

To some, it may be silly. To others, pointless.

To some, it’s naive positivity. To others, a resented point of view.

To me, it’s a necessity and the SMILES will continue.

They must continue…

Since the onset of this COVID-19 craziness, I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions.

I’ve gone from fear of an unknown virus ravaging the world and destroying all I hold dear to anger over the decisions made by others, decisions that affect my safety and the safety of my family.

I’ve moved from sadness over the death of people that I know, that I’ve worshipped with, that I’ve worked with, to relief over my own suspicious symptoms being deemed non-virus related.

I’ve worried about family and friends, praying for the safety of those who remain healthy and for the healing of those who are fighting for their lives in isolation.

I’ve been grateful that my job is considered essential, that I can make a paycheck, pay my bills, buy groceries, while simultaneously feeling guilty that I’m still working when so many are not and are struggling to make ends meet.

I’ve been anxious, stressed and overwhelmed as I’ve navigated these uncertain times with a husband who has been dealing with major health issues, non-virus issues, but problems that seem to have no remedy, problems that keep arising and causing him to worry, stress and be overwhelmed.

I’ve found solace in Scripture and listening to worship music throughout the day only to have that consolation disappear as the lights turn out at night and the prayers begin…

Why, God? How much more of this can we take? How long, Lord?

I am emotionally exhausted.

There are times I want to give in to it all – to the fear, the anxiety, the stress. There are times when I can barely fight back the tears, those same tears that flow so freely as I’m writing this post. There are times I feel helpless believing there’s nothing I can do to make things any different.

But maybe I can.

Maybe, I can hang on to my faith. Maybe, I can trust that no matter what happens, all will be well. Maybe, I can share that hope with others.

So, guess what? I’m going to keep grasping for reasons to SMILE. I’m going to keep thinking of ideas that will spread those SMILES to others because I need to. I need to focus on the light, on the hope. I need to focus on the Source of that hope.

If I don’t, well…

My sanity, my emotional health, my faith, my hope – there’s just too much at stake.

SMILES in Times of Crisis

SMILES in Times of Crisis - Are you finding it hard to stay positive in these troubling times? Here are a few ideas to help you keep smiling. |

So, you’re stuck in quarantine. Or should I say shelter-in-place? You’re kids are home – all day, every day – and they’re getting on your last nerve. You’re running out of your favorite snacks, places to hide from the kiddos and reasons not to choke the life out of your spouse. You don’t know how much more of this you can take.

But the news updates are turning from bad to worse. Grocery shelves are being emptied faster than they can be stocked. Fear is running rampant turning the world upside down and there is no hint of when this thing is all going to end.

What are we supposed to do in times like these?

I have a few ideas:

1. Limit your social media intake.

It’s a given that our news feeds will be filled with information about the pandemic. We need that. But we’ll also find posts feeding our fears, condemning our leadership and encouraging panic. We don’t need that. Limiting your time on social media can help keep your emotions and your mood in check. Don’t worry. There are plenty of other things to do with your time. Play games with the kids. Take a walk. Read a book. Binge watch your favorite television show. Learn a new language. Be creative.

2. When you are on social media, make your posts positive.

Be a light in these dark times. We’ve all had our fill of reasons to panic, reasons to cry and reasons to lose hope. We need to see the silver lining. We need laughter. We need goofiness. We need fun. Be the positive message that brightens someone’s news feed.

3. Listen to your leaders.

Stay home. When you have to go out, observe social distancing rules. Wash your hands often. Be smart.

I know this is killing all you extroverts out there (Introverts like me are pretty much okay with it!) but there is a reason we have been asked to stay home and stay away from each other. It’s not an overreaction. It is a necessity and when all this is over, you’ll be very grateful you listened to the mandates.

4. Count your blessings.

Sure, you need a break from the kids. You’re dying for an iced mocha latte and all you have is decaf store brand coffee because it was all that was left at the grocery store. But let’s put this into perspective. You are home with your family, healthy and safe. So many others are not. So many others are putting themselves and their families at risk to care for those who are suffering. You have a lot to be thankful for.

5. Pray.

What better way to spend your free time – talking to the source of all Joy, to the only One who knows our needs and who can meet each and every one of them. Talk to God about your stir-craziness. Talk to him about your frustrations with your kids. Tell Him about your fears. Pray for those who are sick. Pray for the medical professionals who are caring for them. Pray for provisions, for a cure, for healing. Pray for all those who are making decisions. Pray for the families who have lost loved ones. Just Pray!

And last but certainly not least…

6. Keep SMILING.

The SMILE is a very powerful thing. Never underestimate what it can do for you and for others.

Remember, there’s nothing in the social distancing mandate that prevents you from sharing a SMILE! Keep spreading those SMILES – it’s in these times that we truly need them.

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy – Day 4

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy - Day 4 - Can you be thankful even on the difficult days? If you’re having trouble counting your blessings, this post is for you. |

There’s nothing like a Monday to create an inconvenient detour along the pathway to our Joy!

Is it even possible to wake up on a Monday morning with an attitude of gratitude?

Is it?

This morning, I would’ve bet good money my husband tried to punk me by setting my alarm an hour early. (He didn’t. It alarmed me at exactly the same time as every other morning. I checked. He’s off the hook.)

As I was getting dressed, I discovered the socks I wanted to wear were dirty because I didn’t have time to do laundry over the weekend. (I wore dirty socks to work. They were the only pair that matched my outfit. We can keep that fun fact between us, can’t we? 😉)

Then, on the way to work, I was entirely too short for the sun visor in my car to do its job. I stretched as much as I could to be taller in my seat. It didn’t work. Not only did I end up with permanent blind spots singed into my corneas, I’m pretty sure a trip to the chiropractor is now in order. (I can hear the conversation. Doctor: How did you hurt your back? Me: I was trying to be tall. 😉 )

But the cherry on top was the spinning circle of lies taunting me from my computer screen as I tried to clock in. “Ha ha ha!” my computer laughed. “You just think I’m about to open up the time clock for you!”


It sure is easy to be negative, isn’t it?

Of course it is. Negativity is all around us. It’s in our faces, on our TVs, in our news feeds, on our social media walls.

To live a life of Thanksgiving, however, is to find the good in the midst of all that darkness, to look for the silver linings, the little things that God places right in front of us, the countless blessings that we miss because we are preoccupied with the negative.

“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The graces of God are all around us, too! If we fix our eyes on those blessings, I bet even our worst days can yield reasons to give thanks. And I’m sure I can find a few more blessings from this “horrible” Monday to continue my list of graces. Let’s see…

11. Waking up to another opportunity to get something right, to bless someone else, to honor my Heavenly Father (Did I make it count?)

12. Hearing my husband say, “I love you” before he leaves for work

13. Watching the yellow, orange and red leaves of the trees dance like flames of fire in the brightly shining sunlight (We have quite a talented Creator!)

14. Seeing the shadow cast by my car on the road in front of me (It reminds me of the character Shrek. The side mirrors poke out like Shrek’s ears. I know. I’m weird. Oh, well. It makes me smile. 🙂 )

15. Realizing that this is only a 3-day work week for me! WooHoo! That blessing right there can make any Monday worth enduring.

Now quit focusing on your negatives. What are the wonderfully positive blessings God has given you?


Reason to SMILE #47: HAPPY PEOPLE - So that's why they're so happy! |

“Welcome!  How are you today?” I heard as I entered the store.

Looking over toward the checkout counter, I discovered a young man with the biggest smile on his face and the happiest spirit about him. His happiness seemed to resonate throughout the store as he spoke with each customer and made positive comments about every item being purchased.

This was not what I expected when I walked in the store that day but it was a most welcomed surprise. I left the store with a smile on my face and it’s all because of that young man’s happy attitude.

Don’t you just love to be around happy people?  Their joy seems to rub off on everyone they meet.  And the cool thing is when they leave, the happiness remains.

But the same goes for unhappy people.  Their gloom and misery spread to all those around them and linger long after they are gone.  Most of us do our best to avoid the perpetually unhappy.

I learned a song in children’s choir a long, LONG time ago called “Humbly Grateful or Grumbly Hateful”.¹  It starts with a little rhyme that says:

I have two friends with funny names that sound a lot alike
But once you get to know them, they’re as different as day and night.
One is happy all the time and has lots and lots of friends.
The other always gripes and complains and no one really likes him.
You may wonder who they are and why they act the way they do.
The difference is the way they see things, it’s called their attitude.

So, which one are you?

Are you HUMBLY GRATEFUL, lifting others up with your happiness?

Or are you GRUMBLY HATEFUL, leaving others disheartened and discouraged?

I want to be like that young man I met in the store and leave everyone with a SMILE!


¹”Humbly Grateful or Grumbly Hateful” by Janet McMahan-Wilson and Kathie Hill

Reason to SMILE #30: MONDAYS (Really??)

Reason to SMILE #30: MONDAYS (Really???) - Do you have an aversion to Mondays? Discover how to find a SMILE in the most dreaded day of the week. |

Mondays, for me, are like mornings. I’d much rather avoid them.

The problem is I can’t hit the fast forward button and skip over Mondays just like I can’t skip over mornings. Well, I suppose I could stay in bed and wait til Mondays pass but if I do that, my week would begin with Tuesdays. Then Tuesdays would end up being my Mondays and you’d eventually be reading a post about how much I hate Tuesdays.

OK. That’s a little too much thinking for a Monday.

So, how can I turn the dreaded Monday into a SMILE? To be honest with you, I’m still working on that one.

But I have an idea.

What if we turned the beginning of our work week into a celebration? You know, like New Year’s.

No, I’m not talking fire works (though my neighbor, who doesn’t seem to need a reason to shoot off fireworks, wouldn’t mind it!). And, no, I’m not talking alcohol, either. You can’t very well begin your work week tipsy, now can you! (The correct answer to that is “No,” in case you were wavering on that concept. 😉 )

I’m talking about turning your Monday into a day you can look forward to. Find a way to have a little fun. Blast some tunes as you’re getting ready for the day. Do a little dancing to get your blood flowing and those endorphins jumping. Splurge on your favorite coffee from that expensive coffee shop. Pick a new route to work. Buy donuts!

You see, it’s all about perspective – about focusing on the positive instead of the negative.

Monday is a new day, a new beginning, the start of a fresh work week filled with new opportunities for all sorts of SMILES – SMILES for you and SMILES to share with others.

Still not convinced that Mondays can be SMILES? That’s okay. Just keep telling yourself there are only 4 more days til the weekend and SMILE anyway!

So, what are you waiting for? Pump up the music and keep the coffee flowin’.

Let’s get this Monday started!

Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility

Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility - Do you find yourself struggling with the ever-changing circumstances of life? You may want to take a peak at the lessons I learned from attempting to cook this Yummy recipe. |

Yum! Yum! There’s simply no other way to describe this Sweet Corn Pie.

Did you hear those words?

Sweet. Corn. Pie.

Uh. Yes, please!

Ever since I began broadening my cooking horizons, I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest looking for recipes that my family and I might enjoy. But rarely do I veer off the “Cooking for Dummies” beaten path. The recipes I attempt must be simple and require ingredients that I already have in my fridge or pantry. Most importantly, though, the recipes cannot contain “google” ingredients. You know the ones. Those strange ingredients you’ve never heard of so you’re forced to either call your mom or perform yet another google search that begins with, “What the heck is a…”

Let’s face it. If I have to google an ingredient, there’s a pretty good chance it’s not in my kitchen and an even greater chance I’m not going to try the recipe.

Fortunately for me, the recipe for this Sweet Corn Pie (There are those delicious words again!) was simple and straightforward. No google required. (You can find the recipe over at Natural Comfort Kitchen.)

I must say that my Sweet Corn Pie turned out perfectly. Well, almost…

You see, I didn’t have Panko crumbs so I substituted crushed Ritz crackers. And I didn’t have quite enough crackers but thought I’d get away with it because who besides me was gonna know how crumbly the pie topping was supposed to be?

I also didn’t have white pepper so I substituted black pepper. And I really should have googled the difference between the two. If I had, I would have known that my substitution of black pepper should have been in a smaller quantity because white pepper has a much milder flavor.

I didn’t have garlic cloves so I used minced.

I didn’t have kosher or sea salt so I used good ol’ table salt.

I didn’t have frozen or fresh corn so I used canned.

And lastly, I didn’t have a round pie plate so I used a rectangular casserole dish instead.

Now, you might be thinking the shape of the dish doesn’t make any difference. Au contraire, my friend. My grandmother and my great aunt prepared the same cornbread recipe all of their lives. The only difference was the shape of the pan they each used and my dad swore that my aunt’s cornbread in a round pan was much better than my grandmother’s cornbread in a square pan! Apparently, the shape of the dish is vital! Sadly, I don’t own a round pie plate. Why would I? I don’t bake pies. (Except for shepherd’s but that’s not really pie, now is it. 😉 )

So it seems my culinary masterpiece was not perfect at all. I improvised all the way through the recipe. But amazingly, the dish was wonderful. Three out of four in my household agree!

As I was eating my slice of sweet corn deliciousness and marveling at how flexible my cooking skills have become, I began to think (“A dangerous pastime – I know!”).

Wouldn’t it be nice if I was just as flexible in other areas of my life? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all were?Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility - Do you find yourself struggling with the ever-changing circumstances of life? You may want to take a peak at the lessons I learned from attempting to cook this Yummy recipe. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comInstead of whining and complaining when we don’t have everything we want or even need, what if we learned to appreciate and make the best of all we do have?

Instead of counting people out or trying to make others fit our mold, what if we learned to appreciate the uniqueness of those around us?

Instead of insisting on a round pie plate way of doing things, what if we listened to the ideas of others, tried something new and acknowledged that a square pan might be just as good as a round one?

Hmm. That’s a whole lotta “What ifs” in one slice of Sweet Corn Pie! Oops – I mean chunk of Sweet Corn Pie – er – uh – maybe it’s Sweet Corn Casserole…

… ‘Cause everyone knows it can’t be pie unless it’s baked in a round pie plate! 😉