Friday, August 31, 2012

Discovery Fridays - Nooks & Bedrooms

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I adore nooks and uniquely decorated bedrooms and so I decided to share a few that I have found!

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What kind of creative bedroom or nook ideas do you like?  

~ Missy

Oh! Just one final picture! Can you say - WOW!?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oh! How I Love to Tease!

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My family has always loved to joke and tease each other, and oh the fun we do have!  It seems that no matter the subject, my family can always find something to laugh about.  The subject of boys, however, was rarely ever a matter that any jokes were made about.  The occasional joke would pass once in awhile between my sister and I, but for the most part, it was not really a subject that was discussed in our home.  Both my parents had made terrible mistakes when they were younger and they wanted so much to save their daughters from the terrible heartache that they themselves had experienced.  And so, in a house of two daughters, the “B” word was a very serious subject and not one to be taken lightly.  

In my late teens, I made some very good friends who I enjoyed immensely.  They were wonderful examples to me in many ways and greatly brightened my life, however, there was one very bad habit that I picked up from them - teasing other girls about boys.
Of course, I had been around this kind of teasing before.  I believe it’s quite impossible to make it to almost any age without such teasing coming up in some form, but this, however, was just a more concentrated form of teasing than I had really been around before. (And much more fun!)  I remember a stack of us girls stretched out on a bed, teasing each other about different boys.  It seemed so fun, so absolutely harmless and even innocent.

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     At home, I began to tease my sister, and she too discovered it to be fun and tossed a bit of teasing back at me.  The teasing grew steadily worse between the two of us until neither of us could mention a boy without the other saying, “Ohh la la!” or making some other comment.  And it was fun, very fun, but something began to bother each of us down deep in our hearts and a discontented feeling grew stronger with each comment made.  

     If you have created a mental image that my sister and I were perfect angels on this subject, you can just erase that thought because, we certainly were not!  We were, however, raised to be very careful in this area of our lives, and for that I am ever grateful!  We had each struggled with different issues and discontentment at times but it was nothing compared to the feelings of discontentment that were fed by the continual teasing of one another on this subject.  What had seemed like innocent, harmless fun had turned into something that made each of us feel as though we would never be able to survive unless prince charming came into our life - and very soon!

The two years that my sister and I spent in continual teasing of each other turned out to be the two most discontented years of my life.  I was extremely frustrated that the right guy had not yet come along and that was nearly all that my dreams and focus for my life had turned into. 

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Since my sister and I made the choice to stop teasing each other so continually on this subject, I have been able to focus more clearly and not feel like a frantic, discontent single.  Of course, I someday would like to meet the right man for my life, but more than that, I want him to be the one that the Lord chooses for me. Without the teasing, I am able to more clearly focus and look ahead, where as before I may have chosen a relationship that would not have been the Lord‘s best for me.  Before I may have been driven more by my feelings and not actually because he was the right man for my life.  I have been able to gain a broader perspective on my life and future and have been able to gain a more clear direction for my life - with or without marriage in the picture.  In the past three or so years, since we chose to cease such teasing, I have watched many friends choose relationships based on their feelings and that were against the strong moral values that they had once held so strongly to. Relationships that have only taken them farther away from the Lord instead of bringing them closer to Him.  Discontented and driven blindly by their feelings without being able to see the whole picture clearly.

Simple. Fun. Harmless. Innocent……. Or is it?  

~ Missy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Natural Homemaking: Cleaning (Part 5)

I am sure you have often walked into the house and thought "This could smell a lot nicer."  If you haven't, please pass on your trick! :)  Mine doesn't smell "bad" - but it doesn't smell "good" either.  Sometimes it just needs some sprucing up.  So here are a couple of things that you could do to help it smell much nicer!

Linen Spray & Air Freshener
1 Tbsp isopropyl alcohol
1 tsp Lavender Essential Oil (or an essential oil of your choice)
Water (Most would say it needs to be distilled, but I use tap water)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a spray bottle.  Mine is in a 12 oz bottle, and what isn't used up by the alcohol and lavender oil (all that remaining free space) I fill with water.  You don't NEED the alcohol, but it keeps the water and oil mixed together a little better so you don't have to shake it as much.  I then spray this mixture on linens, couches, and in the air just to freshen our house up a bit.

For other things you could use a carpet deodorizer (found in part 2 of this series) or you could scrub your couches down which is found at this site: Nuts for Apples.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Recipe Mondays: 50 Fun Recipes for Rice Krispies Treats

Want 50 fun and super creative ways to use Rice Krispies? I am by no means saying these are healthy, but they are totally fun and yum! :) I hope to make some of these for special treats as my husband loves rice krispies! Snap, Crackle, and Pop!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Let God Write Your Love Story

We’ve all heard it. “Let God write your love story.”  And it is a very true statement.  But sometimes I think we forget HOW true.

When we hear that statement, we usually think of God leading us to a person who we get to know, fall in love with, and marry in a Godly fashion.  But it does not stop there.  It goes much further.  Once you are married, you still must let God write your love story by following your husband and living a Godly life in your marriage and as the woman of the house.  When we surrender to God’s commands in the Bible, that is when He is continuing to write our love story.  And when we look at the list, it might not look romantic at first.

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 This means that, as ladies, we must respect and listen to (obey) our husbands.

  • It means we must continue to walk in purity.
  •  It means we must love our husbands with all our heart – putting only God ahead of him..
  •  It means we must train up our children to do what is right in the sight of God.
  •  It means that we must not be idle, but instead must employ our hands to do profitable things.
  •  …and there are many other things, as well.

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But it is when we follow Him in these commands that our marriage blossoms and it is so beautiful.  It is romantic, because you have a healthy relationship with your best friend, your husband – while following God wholeheartedly.  And once you have accomplished that…you can have a very happy, peaceful, romantic marriage.  

 So next time you hear “Let God write your love story” I hope you aspire to really let Him have control.  But aspire to let Him have control your entire life – even after you are married.  Before you are married is wonderful…but after that wedding ceremony is even better! 

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Friday, August 24, 2012

"Pretty Is as Pretty Does"

We are girls. Well, perhaps there is a guy out there reading this.  You are not a girl.  (Just to clarify that really quick.)  But…provided you are of the feminine race, you are a girl.  Which is usually synonymous with “I want to be pretty.”  And there is nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful.  But how we make ourselves beautiful and pretty IS important.

God created us as ourselves.  In our society, however, we try to make ourselves different than who we really are.  We try to reach ourselves up to be something we aren’t – something that Hollywood and our society has changed and distorted.  They have changed us from being pretty girls whom God created, to hot girls whom Hollywood and photoshop created.  Take, for instance, this video.  This was a pretty girl whom God created, but it is someone totally different that you see on the billboard ad!

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  There was an article written by Pat Archbold called “The Death of Pretty” on the National Catholic Register.  While I do not agree, in any way, shape, or form, with the religious beliefs of this website…this article is completely right on how true prettiness has died.  Here are some excerpts.

“Pretty is dying. People will define pretty differently.  For the purposes of this piece, I define pretty as a mutually enriching balanced combination of beauty and projected innocence. Once upon a time, women wanted to project an innocence.  I am not idealizing another age and I have no illusions about the virtues of our grandparents, concupiscence being what it is.  But some things were different in the back then.  First and foremost, many beautiful women, whatever the state of their souls, still wished to project a public innocence and virtue.  And that combination of beauty and innocence is what I define as pretty. By nature, generally when men see this combination in women it brings out their better qualities, their best in fact.  That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it. Young women today do not seem to aspire to pretty, they prefer to be regarded as hot. Hotness is something altogether different.  When women want to be hot instead of pretty, they must view themselves in a certain way and consequently men view them differently as well. […Women are then viewed as…]A consumable that consumes as it is consumed but brings no warmth. Most girls don’t want to be pretty anymore even if they understand what it is.  It is ironic that 40 years of women’s liberation has succeeded only in turning women into a commodity.  Something to be used up and thrown out. […] Our problem is that society doesn’t value innocence anymore, real or imagined.  Nobody aspires to innocence anymore.  Nobody wants to be thought of as innocent, the good girl.  They want to be hot, not pretty….”

When I grew up, I read a lot of old classic books and one quote that I found in many different books was “Pretty is as pretty does.”  A lot of “pretty” comes from how you act and the way you project yourself.  Are you an object just to be used?  Or are you a created human being whom God uses for His purpose?

Most girls also seem to think they need to disguise or change themselves to make them pretty.  I know countless girls who use so much makeup that you can barely recognize that they are the same person depending if they are wearing it or not.  Used correctly makeup can add a little to you and is not bad.  But too much makeup changes who you are and gives an impression of something you are not.  The same goes for hair dye.  God created you to be uniquely you.  That means you don’t need to dye your hair a different color.  

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  If we have good character, combined with the looks that God gave us, you will be pretty.  Remember the words of 1 Peter 3:3-5 which states, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”  Proverbs 31:30 reaffirms this fact through the words of “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Pretty is as Pretty does.

Discovery Friday - Mud Rooms!

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Messy mud rooms can be such a pain to organize but I found a few really awesome,
 nicely organized mud rooms for inspiration!  Enjoy!

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Do you have a messy mud room?  Look for unique organizing ideas and then share them with me!

~ Missy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When the Waiting Ends

When the Waiting Ends

If you have been in a group of Christian girls, you may have heard the concept of “True Love Waits.”  Many girls dedicate themselves, not only to staying physically pure before their wedding night, but also to wait and pray that the Lord would pick their husband and write for them a marvelous love story.
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 What does a God written love story look like? There is an over abundance of stories that portray two people who were willing to earnestly give this part of their lives unto the Lord, and of how He proved Himself faithful - giving them a true, pure love story that they could have never imagined on their own.  And the best part?  By these couples who were willing to lay this most precious part of their lives down at His feet, it brought an abundance of glory and honor to Jesus Christ, our Savior.  
I myself have come from a large group of girls who desired such a God-written love story.  Each of us were firmly determined that no matter what the case, or how long the wait, we would let our Savior and King rule over this precious part of our lives.
But for many, the wait was to long…

Since that time in my mid-to-late teens, I have watched as many of these girls became discouraged and slowly veered away from letting Jesus be the Lord over this area of their lives.  I do not scorn these girls or mean to judge or disgrace them in any way.  Waiting and trusting, when it seems as though all other friends are getting married, is very difficult, and it is even more difficult when a certain man has caught a girl’s special attention.
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From my own experience, the hardest part of the waiting process has come when a man expressed an interest, or, at least, showed an interest in me.  And yet… that still small voice in my heart would say, “Not yet,” or “Not this one.”  Oh how easy it would have been for me to push that tiny voice aside!  It was such a faint whisper, I could have proceeded but I still would have heard, “Not yet, he’s not the one.”  Oh to know what it’s like to have a boyfriend!  To have someone with whom I could share mutual affections with! How wonderful that must be!  Yes, I can see quite clearly just how easy it would be to ignore that small inner warning and to say “Yes,” to someone I wanted.
So why wait? Our culture tells us to try our relationships in all aspects and that multiple boyfriends is a good thing.  But it doesn’t take a very in-depth look to see that this simply is not a good approach.  It may be fun at the time, but the shattered hearts and broken lives that such relationships leave behind is sickening.  But what other choice is there?  How can a girl find a husband without dating?! Pray, and listen for that still small voice - it is far more trustworthy than fickle feelings and emotions. 

I have observed many girls who have chosen not to listen to that still, small voice and who have instead chosen to be led by their own deceitful hearts instead of by the strength of the Lord.  Many are driven by loneliness, which is something that I too have struggled deeply with, but as much as girls would like to believe that a boyfriend or marriage would fix that, it’s simply not the case.

I have closely observed the relationships of those girls who gave it all to the Lord and of those who gave up the fight and decided to follow their own emotions.  The difference is these two groups of girls and their relationships is astounding.  The girls who have whole-heartedly given their love stories to the Lord are eventually blessed with a relationship that is joyfully accepted by friends and family, and that draws each of the them closer to the Lord. 
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As for the girls that have given up waiting, there is often talk by friends or family who disapprove or feel un-easy about the relationship.  Such relationships tend to be self-focused, lustful, hasty and rash, and more than anything else - blind to all of those things!  This type of relationship is where the term “Love is blind,” comes from, for the two people involved have become blind and often refuse to even acknowledge the wise counsel of those around them.  Such people begin to surround themselves with un-Godly friends who support their relationship instead of the strong Godly influences that they had once respected.
The difference in the married life in these two different groups is also astonishing.  The marriages of those who before marriage gave their emotions and desires to the Lord, vs. those who were driven by their emotions and desires throughout their relationship are nearly opposite.  No marriage is perfect - but I am inspired the most by those who chose to wait and pray!

Being as I am in my early 20’s, I freely admit that often times it is hard to wait any longer!  And yet, the older I get, the more girls I see fall away from waiting on the Lord, choosing a different path and I have also clearly seen where it leads. 
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I have seen the results of the choices that were made by those around me, and with each I will only pray more that the Lord would give me strength to wait for His best.  Even when that means turning away from someone to whom my heart, emotions and desires say “Yes!” to, but for whom that still small voice says, “Not yet, he’s not the one.”
I will choose to listen to the One who knows what is best for my life and trust that He will make all things clear to me in His perfect timing.
I still chose to wait.  I have written this with many prayers that it will help those singles who read it to be encouraged to do the same.

Will you wait with me?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Natural Homemaking: Cleaning (Part 4)

Ready for the fourth part of Natural Homemaking: Cleaning? 

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This one has a dual-purpose.  While I use these for cleaning, these are also my diaper wipes. Yes, I make my own diaper wipes.  It might sound a little weird -- but it works and it is awesome.  (They not only clean different things around my house great, but they also clean my baby up without giving him a diaper rash as he has very sensitive skin!)

I also have to admit that this is not my original recipe...  A friend gave this to another one of my friends who gave it to I do not take credit for this - so I hope it benefits you just as much!

Baby & Cleaning Wipes
1 Roll Paper Towels - must be heavy duty
1 Gallon sized plastic zipper bag
2+ Cups warm water*
2 tsp baby wash
1 tsp olive oil

Cut paper towel roll in half.  Save half of the paper towel roll for the next time you need to make them, and place the other half in the gallon sized bag.  Pour remaining ingredients over the paper towels.  Zip up the bag.  Smash the water mixture around the paper towels.  Pull paper towels out of bag and set bag aside near the other half a roll of paper towels for next time.  Pull out cardboard insert. Pull paper towel out of center to start the roll off.  Put in some sort of container to keep the paper towels moist.  Mine stay moist for about 2 weeks in a normal diaper wipes container.

*While the original recipe calls for 2 cups of water, the maker of this recipe noted that it might need a little more or less depending where you live and what type of paper towels you use.  With my climate and type of paper towels, I usually end up using about 2 and 1/2 cups of water -- but you will need to experiment to see what works for you.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Recipe Mondays: Aussie Bites

Want a healthy snack that you can make and they'll fly off the plate so fast you'll wonder what happened?  Try these Aussie Bites! They are super yummy - and healthy! :)  You can also experiment by substituting honey, apple sauce, and coconut oil for the sugar and butter...making them even more healthy!

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Smiles - A No Smile Day...

        It was a no smile day.  Gloomy, depressing, rough.  One of those days when it felt as though all joy had been locked up in a box and someone had thrown away the key.  Then my sister came to me and said that she wanted  to share with me a verse out of the Psalms and here is the passage;

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        Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

 (Talk about having a bad day - but look at his response) 

“I will bless the LORD at all times; 
his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; 
let the humble hear and be glad. 
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, 
and let us exalt his name together!
  I sought the LORD, and he answered me 
and delivered me from all my fears.  
Those who look to him are radiant, 
and their faces shall never be ashamed. 
 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him 
and saved him out of all his troubles. 
 The angel of the LORD encamps 
around those who fear him, and delivers them. 
 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! 
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!  
Oh, exalt the LORD, you his saints, 
for those who exalt him have no lack!  
The young lions suffer want and hunger; 
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”
Psalm 34:1-10

This passage still serves to encourage me on some of the most dreadful days  - I hope that it will do the same for you.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Discovery Friday - It's All About Kids!

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 I absolutely love working with kids and am always open to new ideas to keep them entertained!
Stick active glow sticks in balloon and then blow them up!  A fun, glow in the dark must try!

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Who would have guessed that just a simple glove could make such a cute creature!

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Now that's simple and very cute!
 A cloths pin, Popsicle stick airplane!

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A marble racetrack made out of a swimming noodle and a shoe box!  This will keep kiddos entertained for hours!

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Use an old shower curtain to make a driving track for toy cars!

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For those of you who like bigger, more creative projects, use an old cabnet to make a cute little stove!

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Home Schooling - At Home or Always on the Run?

Home schooling brings about many sentiments when people hear that words.  Some people think it’s awesome, others awful, still others strange. My parents home schooled me through high school and are in the process of doing the same with all of my siblings. I loved it, and I plan to home school our kids, as well.  But when searching through Pinterest the other day, I saw a pin that really struck me.  It said this, “Why call it homeschooling if we are never home.” 

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 I am sure you all knew a home school family (or two…or three…) who home schooled but you never knew how they got things done because they were a.l.w.a.y.s. gone.  Perhaps that was even your experience if you were home schooled.  In my experience, that family’s house was always chaotic and stressed because they were never home to focus on the basics.  To do what needed to be done.  To have time to think.  To do school right.  They were simply never home.

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Now, I am not saying it is bad to get out and do things.  I don’t think we should leave as hermits isolated at home.  What I am saying is, if you choose to home school, don’t forget the basics.  Don’t forget about the importance of being home.  Some families can handle more than others, so how much you need to be home is going to vary family by family.  But I do know this – no family can really keep things in order at home and succeed at getting school done right if they are always gone.  Kids need to be taught how to care for things at home and live as a family at home just as much as they must be taught math, reading, and writing.  It is important to remember that home should always be a focus – whether you are home schooled or public schooled or have no kids at all.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Natural Homemaking: Cleaning (Part 3)

Welcome to Natural Homemaking: Cleaning (Part 3).  Today's post will be quick - full of quick hints that I use in my house!  Ready? OK!
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Want something to quickly disinfect the countertops or cutting boards without having to scrub and pull out all sorts of different solutions?  Here are two options!

Keep a squirt bottle of hydrogen peroxide under the kitchen sink.  Spray down those countertops and cutting boards, and wipe clean with a paper towel or rag.  You are then good to go. 

....Or you could keep a squirt bottle of 50/50 white vinegar and water with 5-6 drops of tea tree or lavender oil mixed in and use the same process!

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Want a fast fabric softener but don't have one on hand and don't want to have to mix it up? 

Drop a capful (approximately 1/4 cup) of white vinegar in your load of laundry and they will come out feeling nice and soft!

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While this one isn't exactly "natural" - this is my go-to for stains in the clothes.  With a baby in the house and plenty of action flying around, inevitably a shirt or some sort of clothing gets something in it that will stain.  When I have a chance, I pour some Dawn dish soap (it does have to be Dawn, at least, in my experience) and scrub it into the fabric.  I let it sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse it out.  I then place that wet article of clothing in front of a window to let it get natural light (it does not need to be sunny - just natural light).  I check it the next day to make sure it looks like the stain is getting out.  If it is, it goes in with the next load of laundry.  If not, I repeat the process. I've never had to do it more than twice.  This works for oil and grease stains, as well.

If it is not a really bad stain, I will simply dampen the clothes with water, and place it in the natural light in front of the window (living in a rainy, cloudy climate has taught me that it does not need to be sunny!).  I leave it for a day, and then throw it in the wash with the rest of the clothes!

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...Ok, so that wasn't as quick as I expected...  But...those are your quick hints for today!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recipe Mondays: Banana-Nut-Chocolate-Chip Quick Bread

If you are like me, sometimes you just hanker for a sweet.  If you are like me, sometimes you want something sweet that is quick and easy to make.  And if you are like me, you often want that sweet to be not tooo terrible for you on top of being quick and easy to make.  It's a high order.  And it's not always possible.  But one recipe that I like to go to in this mood is the Banana-Nut-Chocolate-Chip Quick Bread.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming this is "healthy."  But I am claiming that this isn't as bad for you as a lot of other sweets that you could go for! :)  Check it out - you might end up finding that you make it fairly often -- if you are like me.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Smiles - Don't Have a Pretty Smile?

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        As you all should know by now, I am a huge advocate of changing the world through a big bright smile - but what of someone who doesn’t have a pretty smile?  Maybe you think you look funny when you smile.  Braces, crooked teeth, or maybe even no teeth at all!  For a person with such a problem, it may just be embarrassing to them to smile.
"Look Mom!  No Teeth!"
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My friend, if you have this problem, I feel for you.  Self-consciousness about such a problem can be a very huge thing to overcome, but let me encourage you to not let it stop you.  If you have read any of my previous smile posts, you should well know by now just how powerful a simple smile can really be.  It’s a gift that the Lord has blessed each of us with and what a difference it can make!  Be encouraged by this, my friend; some of the most beautiful smiles that have encouraged me throughout my life have been from people who didn’t possess the prettiest set of teeth!   When a genuine smile is given, it is beautiful and encouraging no matter what state the person’s teeth may be in.  So let the joy of the Lord fill your heart and glow from your face in a smile!