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Do all things with joy.

I spent last weekend at Toddhall Retreat Center.  There were fourteen of us who went up there to write for the weekend.  At meal time, we’d head on over to the dining hall to see what they had prepared for us.  As a mom, I have to tell you that I love it when the shopping, cooking and clean up just happen.  Would it be pushing it to far if I said it was a miracle?

Take a tray. Get your utensils and then move through the line.  Come dinner, I noticed that everyone in line was seriously upbeat.  I wondered what we were having.  Then I stepped into the serving area and was greeted with an amazing smile.   As she plated your chicken and rice, she also served up a great big, sincere smile.  I found myself grinning back.

Each and everyone who made eye contact with this joy-filled woman came away with their own heaping spoonful of joy.  A single person armed with a serving spoon and a smile, she also shared a heaping spoonful of all that is good and right with people today.

Seeing eyes and a big smile.  Why not be that person for someone else today?



“What’s wrong?”


“No really.  You can tell me.”

Nothing, really.”

I don’t know how many conversations like this I had with people before I realized that my resting face may resemble a scowl.  No, really.  I’m just figuring something out.  It’s no big surprise that I thought life would be easier if my resting face was a smile.

Then I noticed my son smirking in the midst of whatever.  I don’t actually remember what was going on but a smirk was not appropriate.

“Quit smirking.”

“What smirk?”

“The one on your face.”

“What smirk?”

Oh, well.  Apparently the resting smirk face causes just as much trouble because people wonder what you are up to.  Still a smile is a great way to connect with people.  When you check out, when someone takes your order, when you ask for help, look the person in the eye and smile.  Spread a bit of God’s light and love as you go about your day.


Social acceptable language is not entirely within my father’s grasp at this point in his life.  So I wasn’t even remotely surprised when he pointed to another resident of the nursing home.  “I hate her.  She’s always a crab.”

I glanced toward the woman at whom he was scowling.  Sure enough.  She returned his scowl with one of her own.  She looked fierce.

When she looked my way, I decided to try a different approach.  I grinned.  Instantly, her expression changed to a big smile.

The next time you find yourself waiting in line, try smiling at someone.  Maybe you could smile at the harried cashier.  Or the woman ahead of you in line with the toddler.  Sometimes the person facing you just needs a reason to smile.  Why not be that reason?


Connect with those around you. Smile! 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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