A Year of Smiles – Day 221



• splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss

Tonight at Kids Central (the children’s ministry at my church), we celebrated the promotion of six of my kids to the youth department (The City). Each year, I make a huge deal out of this rite of passage by making the rising sixth graders wear graduation caps (made from construction paper and yarn), donning them with honors (a beaded necklace with a plastic graduation cap pendant) and having them march from the children’s hall up to the youth area to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance.” The kids think I’m crazy! I think it’s fun.

Why not make a fuss over the promotion of these kids? It’s a big deal, especially to these 6th graders. For the past year, they’ve been itching to hit The City. They had reached the top of the pecking order in the children’s department. They’d been the top dogs, the leaders, and were beginning to feel a little out of place. To these kids, they are no longer kids and they’re ready to be considered a young adult.

I see it a bit differently! In my eyes, they’re still kids. Being in the youth group doesn’t change that. They’ll always be my kids and I’m going to miss them at Kids Central. That’s why I make such a big deal of their promotion. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of what they’ve learned in their time at Kids Central. I’m proud of their growth – personal, social and spiritual. And I know that The City will be a little brighter now that some of my kids are a part of it.

Okay. Now I’m making myself cry!

I can’t stop these kids from growing and I can’t keep them at Kids Central no matter how much I want to. Though I hate to see them go, I will continue to usher them into the youth group with all the pomp and circumstance they deserve. And I will SMILE as I watch them march down the hall knowing that God has great things in store for these kids.

I’ll also SMILE knowing what’s waiting on these new youth group members once they walk through The City doors: a clobbering with pool noodles, an attack with silly string, an assault of noise makers and all the fun stuff that comes with welcoming the newbies!


A Year of Smiles – Day 100

birthday-party-emoticon-for-facebookReason to SMILE #100: MILESTONES

Golden Anniversaries, “Lordy-Lordy Look Who’s Forty” Birthdays, first real paychecks, first cars, falling in love, getting married, having babies, first kisses, finding a true friend – there are so many milestones in life to celebrate.  We look forward to these times.  We mark our calendars.  We plan parties.  We record these precious moments and post our milestones on social media inviting all the world to join our celebrations.  We’ve reached a milestone and we want everyone to share in our joy.

Life is full of important milestones that we all want to reach.  I’ve celebrated many and I am looking forward to ones further down the road in life, like seeing my children get married, having a book published and retiring in the mountains.  Most of the time, though, I’m just happy to make it through the day.  “Yay!  I get to go to bed now!”  There’s a milestone that will certainly bring a SMILE! 😉

Today, however, I celebrate the milestone of 100 SMILES shared with you.  I hope you’ve been able to find a SMILE or two in these past 100 days.  If not, don’t worry.  I have 265 more SMILES to go.



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