"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘smile’

Out with the old

2013 is done and gone. And frankly, I’m glad to see it go. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past year has been one of the worst years of my life. But in addition to making one miserable, having a rotten year can also be an excellent and effective teacher. Here are three lessons I’ve learned:

First, I’ve learned to love the Psalms. They say misery loves company, and there is something very comforting about having someone else pour out his heart in words I can’t seem to find in mine. Just listen to a few of the many verses of the Psalms I’ve relied on this past year:

 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul. (94:19)

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them. (34:7)

But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (73:2, 23-24, 26)

Psalm 37:24

Psalm 37:24

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the Lord. (31:7, 14, 19, 24)

The Psalms have reminded me that this is not my burden to bear. God will fight for me if I allow Him to, rather than trying to control everything myself. I can’t do it; but He can!

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You. (56:3)

Psalm 68:19

Psalm 68:19

And I can’t leave out an old favorite from Psalm 55:22,

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Second, I’ve learned the necessity of daily focusing on the positive. I’ve been blessed so abundantly, yet it’s easy to look past all the great people and things I’ve been gifted with if I’m focused on the rotten parts.  Spending time every day expressing sincere thanksgiving goes a long way toward helping keep the focus on what’s great about this life.

Four of my many, many blessings

Four of my many, many blessings

Third, I’ve learned to long for heaven. Yes, I’ll admit it: Sometimes my world is SO good, SO easy, SO comfortable, that I lose sight of the fact that we who are Christians are just passing through this world on our way to heaven.

But this year I have looked forward to Christ’s return like never before, and it has kept me going forward. In the words of Psalm 27:13,

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

So, maybe it wasn’t such a rotten year after all, since I learned some much-needed lessons.

What about you? I hope 2013 was FANTASTIC for each of you reading this post. But I suspect I’m not the only one who’s had it hard this year. If it’s been a difficult one for you, too, why not take a moment right now to leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are truly thankful for? You may be surprised at how quickly it will put a smile on your face, just acknowledging one of the many ways God has blessed you recently. In fact, even if you’ve just had your best year ever, I still encourage you to share what you’re thankful for here. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the perfect reminder the rest of us need.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

If Juan won a wand

“Hey,” he asked Remi, “Did you and Mommy get some pretzels at the store?”

Eyes wide, she asked, “HOW did you know that?”

He smiled, obviously enjoying her reaction. “Does it seem like I’m magic?”

“Of course not, Daddy. You can’t be magic.”

Surprised (and maybe just a little deflated), he asked, “Why not?”

“Because you’re not a ballerina!”

Now he was just confused. “What makes ballerinas magic?”

“Because they have a ‘WON’ [wand].”

(This, said in that “duh” voice you often hear from toddlers who are sure they know everything, was in reference to the scepter-type wands ballerina princesses carry. But duh, you knew that, right?)

She went on to add,

“There was a kid at PTP, and his parents named him ‘WON’ [Juan].”

There was silence, while she thought about that, followed by this conclusion:

[shrugging shoulders] “I guess they thought he was magic.”

Remi with her magic "won."

Remi with her magic “won”

Thanks for stopping by!

The scroll that made me smile

“Hey, Mommy,” she said, “look at my new scroll!” And she proudly held up the roll of black lawn trash bags and unrolled it for me to see. (Yes, you read that right. Trash bags.)

“What do you have there?” I asked.

She explained that it was her “scroll,” and that she was right in the middle of reading the Old Testament—specifically, the book of New Corinthians. She laid it down on the dining room table and unrolled it more, exclaiming, “Boy, I sure have a lot to read! Look, it goes all the way to this piece of cereal!” (This was said while pointing to a piece of cereal still sitting randomly on the table, long after breakfast was over. Sigh. At least it let her know just how much reading she had ahead of her.)

Throughout the day she continued reading from her scroll, occasionally stopping to struggle over “a hard word” she was reading. Although she was mainly “reading” to herself, and therefore softly, I picked up a few tidbits now and then:

“You shall not praise the Lord as a guest of Egypt.”

“[something about] members of the faith”

“Always be thankful for healthy food, and for everything you want . . . like hands.”

Eventually she decided the strain on her eyes was just too great, since the words on the scroll were written “this small” (said holding her thumb and pointer finger so close together they were almost touching). She went for her glasses, and with a sigh of relief, was able to continue reading.

I love the way this little girl’s mind works. It makes me smile! I hope you are smiling today, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Celebrate the ones you love

Happy Valentine’s Day from our family to yours!

(For this Heart Hat Craft and other Valentine activities for little ones, see this post.)

Hopefully, regardless of how you feel about the commercialism that has crept into our society around the holidays (ugghh!), you are still making this a special day for the ones you love.

We are keeping things simple around our house this year. Before the kids came downstairs this morning, I mixed up some pancake batter and put it in this…..

…..which made it really easy (even for me!) to pour these…..

I added some strawberries—heart-shaped-already-by-God, you know—and ended up with a fun Valentine’s Day breakfast that made all the kids smile.

(I got the idea from Pinterest, and it came from this website.)

When I set the table, I added a box of chocolates for each child. So, YOUR challenge of the day is to figure out which candy was for which child.  Leave me a comment below if you think you know!

The kids weren’t the only ones who woke up to a special treat this morning. As you may remember, I have a secret admirer. I hear from him every Valentine’s Day, and this year was no exception. I found this sitting on the bar when I woke up today:

Inside was one of my all-time-favorite treats:

Oh, boy, I am in trouble now. 😉

If you haven’t already, you can go here to read about my secret admirer.

I’d love to hear what you are doing for your little (and big) Valentines today. (I won’t reveal Troy’s just yet since that would ruin the surprise for him.) Please leave me a comment to let me know what special things you are doing today, and don’t forget to guess whose box was whose!

Thanks for stopping by,

At least she’s honest

My three year old smiled up at me sweetly and began this conversation:

Her: Mommy, I love you so much.

Me: Awww…I love you, too, Sweetie!

{10-second pause}

Her: I wish I had a real race car.

Me, with dawning realization: Wait a minute…Did you just tell me you love me just so I’d get you a real race car?

Her, with the same sweet smile and without a shred of guile: Yeah!

 

And then I found her like this…..

At least she’s honest. (But she’s still not getting the race car.)

Thanks for stopping by!

One year of smiles

It’s been a year now.

One year exactly since I started this blog.

One year of sharing my thoughts, my ideas, my goals, and even my insecurities with you here.

One year of showing off my favorite people: my precious family.

One year of challenges, quotes, funny stories, and lessons learned.

One year of hoping I’ve made you smile.

In that year I’ve published 134 posts. (That’s roughly equivalent to a post every two and a half days. Each one contains at least one photograph. This one had ONLY a photo—nothing else.)

My goal with each post has been to remind you—and myself—that there is so much to be thankful for, to laugh at, to smile about.  My desire has been to challenge you—and myself—to look for those reasons to smile, to appreciate the little things, to be thankful both for simple pleasures and huge blessings.

Thank you for coming along with me on this year-long ride. If it’s God’s will, I’ll keep writing. I’ll  wonder some days who’s reading. I’ll question what I’ve written. But I’ll keep writing, nonetheless. I’ll watch for your comments, and they will make me smile.

I hope you’ll keep smiling, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chocolate medicine

I’ll be the first to admit it: When all four kids are sick at once, the proverbial silver lining can seem pretty elusive. But today I determined to find it anyway, and here it is:

*Having everyone sick at once is actually better, in some ways, than spreading out the misery. If we’re having to cancel activities and stay home, we might as well get this over with all at once!

*It is forcing us (ME!) to s-l-o-w  down and giving us a mandatory break from our hectic schedule.

*I reminds me to be thankful that we have good doctors close by and medicine readily available.

*I’m also reminded how blessed I am to have such great people in my life, like the sweet friend who brought over an amazing spread so I wouldn’t have to cook dinner tonight. (Thank you, Debbie!) And then there’s the thoughtful group of ladies at church who were prepared for just such an occasion and provided us lunch yesterday, literally within minutes of finding out we had sick ones. (Thanks, sweet friends!)

*We declared a day off school today so everyone could rest and heal, and letting the kids sleep in gave me a chance to do the same.

*I have a husband who is willing to help out when he can.

*And to top it all off, I was able to enjoy this conversation with my three-year-old (the sickest of them all) when she first woke up this morning:

“Hey, Mommy, do you think we should share some B-H-Y? That spells chocolate. Did you know that eating chocolate in bed helps little children get healthy again?”

I told her I hadn’t realized that, but assured her I did indeed want her to get better, and gave her a little piece of chocolate. When she was done, she handed me this…

…and said sincerely, “Here, Mommy. Do you want to make a scrapbook page out of this?” (She went on to ask if I knew how to write “I love you” on candy wrappers.)

We all have hard days, hard weeks, and more. But there is ALWAYS something to smile about and be thankful for. Sometimes we just have to search a little deeper.

Thanks for stopping by!

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