Smile More

I think we can all agree that 2020 was not the greatest year, but when we look back on difficult times, it’s important to look for the great moments too.

We are now experiencing all of the one year anniversaries of events that happened during a global shutdown. Perhaps these anniversaries are bringing up some painful memories that you would rather not revisit. I know this is true for me.

So today, let’s celebrate the moments that made us smile. What were the best things that happened to you this past year?

Here are my Top Ten Favorite Moments Since the World Shut Down:

  1. Movie Marathons with my Family- we watched the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, the “Harry Potter” series, the entire “Star Wars” saga, the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy and many others. It was a time when we needed an escape and I’m glad we made those memories together.
  2. Epic Game Nights- we have friends who love games and are introducing new ones to us all the time. We learned to play “Love Letter” this past year and it is a new family favorite.
  3. Trips to the Beach- Living next to one of the Great Lakes was a huge blessing during the Pandemic. There was always a beautiful place to just go and be. In our most anxious times, we would go to the beach and allow the beauty to flood our souls.
  4. Driver’s License Test- Our oldest was ready to get her driver’s license before everything shut down, but we hadn’t scheduled her road test. The result was that by the time she was able to take her test, she was MORE than ready. There was no stress and she was more comfortable behind the wheel then she ever could have imagined.
  5. Trips to church camp- my teenagers were excited to be on staff at a Christian camp last summer, so when things shut down, they were deeply disappointed. However, Camp Hickory Hill went above and beyond to have family camps and special camp days that still met the requirements. We were able to attend a pastor’s family camp and it was exactly what we all needed. The friendships my kids have made as a result of camp have been an amazing blessing to them.
  6. Reading- Sheltering in place gave us ample time to read, so read we did! I don’t have a final count of how many books I read in 2020- I lost track- but it was a lot. I love getting lost in a book!
  7. Music- There were times last year when I felt like I was drowning. When I couldn’t get to the beach, I would listen to music. I found two YouTube channels that I would listen to frequently- Sounds Like Reign/Tiny Notes from Home and Jonathan Ogden/Rivers and Robots. I listened and watched and was encouraged and challenged. I’m no longer in that desperate place, but these channels became the soundtrack for making it through dark days. I’m forever grateful!
  8. Trip to the Adirondacks- Our friends have a home on a lake and it has become one of our favorite spots on earth! We have now been there three times and each time has given us an opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family, explore beautiful places and make unforgettable memories. My happy place!
  9. Trip to Pennsylvania- This memory brings its own grief and sadness, but also joy. My Mom went home to be with Jesus in October. She had been suffering for a long time and was so ready to go, but I’m not sure you can ever be ready to lose a parent. The remarkable thing was that all of us- her three daughters and sons-in-law and all of her grandkids- were able to come together and celebrate her life. THIS was an incredible blessing in the middle of the worst year ever. She would have been so pleased.
  10. Journaling and Reading Scripture- This became an absolute lifeline for me! I’ve shared this before, but there is nothing like the Word of God to help you fix your eyes firmly on Jesus. And nothing can lift you out of despair like He does! I knew this was true, but now, I REALLY know it. All else will fail, but He never will!

As you reflect on 2020, what makes YOU smile? I pray that the Lord will help you to keep your focus on the blessings. We need to learn from the difficulties, but I don’t believe we are meant to dwell there.

Smile more!

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