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Have the best day ever.

It doesn’t take much to bring a smile.

 

This image sure does bring a smile to your face.

I came across it in my phone’s photo library. Don’t know if someone sent it to me or if I found it myself. But it immediately made me smile. So, I in turn sent it to two people. And both wrote back right away. One said it was just what she needed. And the other said she had been thinking about me at the same time so she found the timing just perfect.

 

No effort needed.

After hearing from both these ladies, I began thinking about how something so simple brightened their day. There was no cost involved. Very little effort on my part. But huge payoffs all around. They smiled. And that made me smile.

Let’s spread a little sunshine.

Knowing how easy it is to spread a little sunshine, let’s think about doing it more often. Here are just a few thoughts on how we can bless others.

  • The minute someone comes to mind, be proactive. For me that typically means using Siri to set a reminder for a time when I can actually do something or make a plan.
  • Don’t let anything get in the way. A quick “I’m thinking of you” text or note means as much to a recipient as a gift delivered to the front door.
  • Baked goods hand-delivered or mailed are always appreciated.
  • Pray for that person. Right then. Later, let them know. Praying for others is always so appreciated.
  • Do something tangible. Be specific. Offer to bring a meal, “babysit” a child or their elderly parents while they go out. Offer to clean the bathrooms or do some laundry.
  • Drop off a plant or a single flower.
  • Send a card. It’s rather old-fashioned but who doesn’t like getting fun mail rather than just bills in their mailbox!

The ways to bring a smile are endless. But don’t put it off. Find someone to bless today.

What are your thoughts? How do you bring a smile to someone?

Mimi

 

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Oh no! Not the scissors.

Aging has some fascinating aspects.

There are the typical face crinkles (wrinkles actually, but the word crinkles sounds a bit gentler), the annoying aches and pains that remind us we’re not as spry as we once were, the occasional brain fog where we tend to look for our glasses, only to discover we’re already wearing them. And a thousand other things that serve as continual reminders that though we’re not old, we are indeed aging.

But this reminder is annoying indeed.

While some reminders are mere annoyances, others seem to mock us. For example, something we all need to do but don’t necessary share with others: clipping our toenails.

Some opt for pedicures. But this frugal gal knows she can pocket $25 and do it herself, so she does. Typically, without any issues.

Of course, it is getting more difficult as each day goes by. Here’s why. I can no longer leave my feet on the ground, bend down with scissors in hand, and actually see what I’m doing. I wear progressive lenses and that very small reading or magnified portion is so small I am unable to get close enough to really see what I’m doing so I can ensure not only a straight cut across the nail but a straight cut without injury to my toe.

The solution?

Sample pedicure position minus the sock.

Glad you asked. As you can see in this picture, I lift my foot to the bathroom counter to get better access with the bright overhead lighting. This worked for years in my Orlando house, but our new house has higher counters so it’s nearly impossible to get the leg up, position the foot in the best light, and hold still long enough to make THE CUT.

This endeavor is quite the balancing act. And most times goes off without a hitch. But then this happens. As it did today. But I didn’t just drop the scissors; I yelled “Oh no!” like dropping them was the worst thing in the world. I guess at the moment it really was. Here I was, leg on the counter, ready to proceed with my own version of a pedi, but the scissors were now w-a-y down there. What to do?

Still the sock…but look down, w-a-y down on the carpet.

I had to detangle, get the foot off the counter, bend to get those pesky scissors, then figure out all over again how to get back into position to finish up.

In reality, dropping the scissors is just a minor annoyance, though at the time it seemed a huge hurdle to overcome, hence the “Oh no!”

Two things come to mind.

First: it really was no big deal. Annoying yes. After all, it’s not easy to “un-pretzel” yourself, bend those aging knees, then get all the way back up on the counter into just the right position to finish what you started.

Second: it is indeed a mocking reminder that I am aging and need to embrace adaptations that make life more manageable, sometimes easier.

Does this mean I’m old? Of course not. But as each year marches on, my body changes. My abilities physically and mentally are different than they used to. And my perspective needs to change as well. Because how I feel about all this will set the barometer for whether I can embrace this new phase I find myself in or whether I will despair and lament what’s been lost.

Some encouragement.

The Bible, my life guide, reminds me of what God has in mind for my aging years:

  • Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. (Proverbs 16:31 NLT)
  • Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:12 NIV)
  • Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
  • Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged. (Proverbs 17:6 NLT)
  • I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28 NIV)

With promises like those above, there is never a reason to lament. I still have much to offer others. I am being renewed every single day. And God is still speaking to and through me. And that’s not the half of it! There’s so much more.

Here’s to each of us finding the “more” in our own lives. The more that God promises. And the more that He takes delight in giving us.

Mimi

Off course.

Visited Costco two weeks ago. Typically, that’s a $100 or $200 hit. Today it was a $900 one!!!

Two eye exams, three new pairs of glasses ordered, and a $135 shopping trip. Yikes, that adds up fast!

Feeling Grateful

But today, instead of being miffed about spending all that money, I’m actually feeling grateful. I’ve been having daily headaches for about a month. Tough ones, every day around 4pm. The eye doc feels certain tweaking my script just a bit and getting a slightly bigger lens with more reading area will resolve them.

And ever since Greg got new glasses two years ago from a competitor, he’s been getting dizzy when he wears them while walking. His glasses are quite expensive so he didn’t want to think about purchasing new ones. But he’s basically been miserable and not wearing the glasses as much as he should. The eye doctor discovered his lenses were not allowing his eyes to work together so she tweaked his script as well which should correct the error and allow him an easier time while wearing them.

In both our cases, the scripts were close; they just weren’t close enough. And with some very slight adjustments, the encouragement is that our troubles will be fixed. Which means no more late afternoon headaches for me and the dizziness for Greg should abate as well.

Being off just a bit can have an effect on…well, everything!

Sometimes we make big deal choices and super bad decisions that really mess us up and take us further from God. And most of those are easy to spot. But other times it’s little things, like the prescriptions on our eye glasses. Things that seem insignificant. Things that most people would ignore.

But over time, these small decisions, small “disobediences” to God result in getting us further and further from Him. And they can have devastating effects.

It doesn’t take much to get us off course.

Our friend Bob Taylor used to remind us that even a tiny deviation at the beginning, if not corrected, will continue to get us farther and farther from the Lord. And this type of path is so dangerous because we don’t really know how far we’re straying until we’re really far away. At the beginning we feel as if we’re right next to the Lord but the illustration below shows how devious this thinking can be as we’re lulled into thinking all is well when in reality we’re in trouble. (Imagine this is one long piece of paper, rather than three segments. If you look at the far left of the top illustration and see the far right of the bottom one, you can see how being very slightly off course ends up with disastrous results.)

The Narrow Gate

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Even choices that aren’t necessarily wrong but lead us just ever so slightly away from God rather than toward the narrow gate He is asking us to enter, carry consequences and can interfere with our relationship with God.

I want to be aware daily of my Christian walk. I want to make good choices that please God, where my utter dependency on Him is evident, and that result in an ever-closer relationship with the one who is my whole purpose for being.

Mimi

That beautiful sweet fragrance…

I take a walk about five days a week in my community. And it’s so very interesting. My walk begins in the low, flat section of houses where I reside. About 10 minutes in, however, a rather steep hill begins. Along the way up to my turn-around spot, I see palm trees, pine trees, oaks, and lots of magnolias. And those are my favorite tree along my walking route.

What a fragrance!

At this time of year, the flowers, which budded weeks ago, are starting to open up and release their beautiful fragrance. I often wish I had smell-a-vision so I could capture the sweet delight of their aroma much like I capture their beauty with my camera.

As I walk past these wonderful trees back down the hill to the flatland, the delicate aroma seems at first to welcome me. Soon, the delicate smell gives way to a glorious moment of saturation where all my senses seem to be completely captured within the amazing fragrance.

The aroma of Christ.

And it’s in these moments that I often think of 2 Corinthians 2:15 and Ephesians 5:1-2:

For we are to God a sweet fragrance of Christ…(MEV)

You are God’s children whom he loves, so try to be like him. Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God (NCV).

Just one magnolia bloom emits so much of a fragrance that I can identify it without even seeing a tree. But when there is tree after tree, covered with blooms, you can imagine how unbelievably beautiful it is to be completely surrounded with the aroma.

And it’s this all-encompassing aroma that’s talked about in scripture. The aroma that pleases God, the fragrance of Christ on and in us as we become more and more like Him.

Do I love walking? Not exactly. And certainly not in the Florida heat. But getting to smell those blooms at this time of year, and realizing that I, too, am a sweet-smelling fragrance of Christ to God, well, that kind of changes my perspective a bit about taking a stroll each afternoon.

Mimi

 

Oh, the stink!

While opening the pantry the other day, I bent over to look on the bottom shelf when wham! I was hit with a stink so bad it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

I knew that smell. No identification needed other than the familiar and very nasty odor. A rotten potato (or two).

Easy enough to deal with, too. I pulled out my basket of potatoes and tossed them in the sink. If you look at the top picture quickly it might appear as if all is well. But zoom in (see the second pic) and you’ll see one tiny one-inch potato looking kind of smushed. Yup, that was the one. That very small tater caused so much stink in my pantry, I had to air out the closet and wash off the rest of the potatoes just to remove it. (And, of course, I tossed out the offending one in the process!)

Being Just a Little “Off”

It’s such a clear illustration of how just getting a little “off” in our Christian walk can affect absolutely everything. Allowing in just a little of the world or allowing just a little sin taints our thoughts and actions. It may be barely noticeable at first, like the smashed potato. But as we continue to allow what shouldn’t be there to remain and fester and decompose, soon enough the stink of what we’ve allowed becomes noticeable. And then before we know it, wham! It takes over and covers up all the good to the point that all we or others are aware of is that which stinketh (my own King James emphasis).

The potato stink didn’t appear overnight. It kind of snuck up. Same with sin. It often makes a subtle entrance, weaving its way right into our lives. Sometimes we are unaware and because so, we do nothing about it.

Sometimes we are quite aware that we should be standing clear, yet because we don’t feel God’s judgment at the moment or the Holy Spirit’s conviction, we can end up thinking it’s no big deal so we do nothing. Until the stench becomes so bad that it forces an action on our part.

I believe at other times we begin to be aware of the smell but aren’t ready or willing to turn away. We try to cover it up, make it look pretty, pretend it’s not as bad as it seems. With sin, we may end up ignoring the Holy Spirit trying to get us to turn away from the sin and instead of running from it, we end up embracing it, incorporating it into our lives. At times, even defending it and making excuses for its presence or why we accept it.

The deep sorrow here is that our hearts can then become hardened. We may stubbornly refuse to deal with the sin. We may become so dependent on it we start believing the enemy’s lies that it needs to remain. Or we believe the lies that say there’s no way to overcome, forgetting that while we may be unable, there is One who is more than able.

None of us intentionally wants to keep the stink. We know it keeps us separated from our heavenly Father. We know it’s wrong. And we know it’s detrimental for our Christian walk.

So dear friends, while we know there’s always hope and help in overcoming sin, perhaps the best response is to never allow sin to take root in our lives. Ask daily for the Holy Spirit to help us be aware and watchful. Repent sincerely when sin is pointed out. Humbly present ourselves before our Lord, asking Him to reveal any wicked way so it can be quickly addressed.

What to do?

  1. Recognize or acknowledge the sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
  2. Repent of the sin. This means to turn away from it, leave it behind, have nothing to do with it.  “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
  3. Receive God’s forgiveness. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
  4. Remember that in this world, trouble is here to stay. But we are in relationship with the One who has overcome and his power is available for us as well. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  5. Rejoice in God that He has provided a way past the sin. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Mimi

Life sure is messy.

Do you ever think to yourself, “Boy, my life is a mess?”

I sure do. And just like the above picture of my messy computer wires, right now, I’m really feeling it. While my own life is relatively smooth (for the moment), I have countless friends whose lives seem to be falling apart: sickness, legal trouble, family issues, broken relationships. You name it, and I seem to know someone who is experiencing it big time.

As a friend, as I’ve stated before, I always vote for the trouble to disappear. But as a true friend, I pray for others and try to help in any way I can. However most times, there’s no fancy dessert, offer to clean a house, or even a monetary gift that will bring about the desired change or answer to prayer.

So, while I consistently pray for my family and friends, I also actively have to trust that God is in complete control and knows what He’s doing. He loves them more than I do and is always after our hearts and the big picture. So thankfully He is completely trustworthy, even when things seem dark.

Whether your life is a mess right now or you know someone else who is experiencing tragedy, don’t give up the fight. Find ways to serve them but your prayers are mighty and so very important. Often the one in the middle of the fight is so overwhelmed they can’t pray as they should; but that’s where you come in. You can.

So, stand firm on their behalf, and pray, pray, pray.

Trust in the Lord forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (Isaish 26:4)

Mimi

Take comfort: the Lord is your Shepherd

I discovered the above pic around Christmas time and it was very poignant. I think we often miss our loved ones a little bit more during holidays.

I lost my mom in 2016 and my dear friend lost her parents one year apart, one in 2016 and one in 2017. Both near Christmas. And while the first Christmas or two are no doubt filled with sorrow, my hope is that future Christmases for her are sweet with wonderful memories.

I hope the same for me as well.

And while I certainly can’t speak for Heaven and cannot attest to what our loved ones there are doing at any time or capable of doing, it really is a nice thought to look at the sky, see the stars and think maybe at that time they are whispering reassurances that they are fine.

And if they indeed are in Heaven, then we have great assurance that they are not only fine, but more than fine. They’re in the presence of the One whose beauty is beyond description…whose love for us is beyond understanding…and whose very essence is (in the words of the song) absolutely more than wonderful.

My heart goes out to those who have recently lost someone they love. Most times the pain of the loss begins to fade, at least with time it can. But for those whose pain is fresh and raw, may you find comfort in our wonderful Lord, experience His sweet peace, and rest in His arms of love.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23 NLT)

Mimi