A Year of Smiles – Day 22

smiling-sun-emoticon-with-sunglassesLOOK! THE SUN!!

After the severe storms of January 2nd, the City of Albany and Southwest Georgia sure weren’t looking forward to another storm system rolling through this weekend.  Hail, lightning, flooding and tornadoes are not the ingredients for a weekend filled with SMILES.  They are, however, great reasons to PRAY.

And pray we did!  Through each weather alert, through the continuous rolls of thunder, through every lightning strike, through the heavy downpour of rain and through the intense gusts of wind, we prayed.  Then as the SUN broke through the clouds for a few brief moments after the storm had passed, we prayed again thanking God for the reminder that even in the storms, we are never alone!

When the storms of life are brewing, we can SMILE because our God is always with us!

Psalm 91:1-4 (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.


Joshua 1:5c (NIV)

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Image by symbols-n-emoticons.com


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.