Smile Hard

Last week I challenged myself to Project Smile where I try to smile at my kids each time I see them. Um… Friends, smiling is hard!! Usually because when I hear my name called – before I even turn around – someone is tattling on someone else. There is nothing that makes me want to smile about that.

Nevertheless, I am trying. I have smiled at my kids more this week than the last and you know what? As difficult and fake as it feels sometimes, I noticed my kids responding to me better. They are quicker to obey and more willing to confide. Also, I noticed myself laughing more. Enjoying small moments more. Definitely worth the effort.

This whole Project Smile thing is not nearly as easy as I thought it would be, but I do believe it is totally worth it. It is changing the atmosphere in my home as well as in my own heart.

pray for them

Let us all pray for wisdom as the holidays approach. Wisdom in decisions, family matters and friendships.

Lord, let (Name) be blessed when (he/she) “finds wisdom, and [becomes] the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.” In your name I pray, amen. –Proverbs 3:13-14

Prayers taken from the daily prayer on the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Classic Cranberry Sauce

What is Thanksgiving without Cranberry sauce? But this year, let’s not slice it.  Here is such a simple, basic recipe I make every year. So good.

  • 12 oz Whole Cranberries
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • Orange Peel Curls

In a sauce pan heat sugar and juice until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and stir until they begin to pop. I wouldn’t let it boil, you may scorch it. Once they begin popping stir and smash berries then pour into your serving bowl. Garnish with the orange peels. The sauce will thicken as it cools but you can serve it warm or cold, both are delicious.

Serve it for Christmas too! Throw a dash of Cloves in there and its Christmas in a bowl.

Recipe taken from

Project Smile

Remember when you walked into a room and your baby beamed a smile up at you? No matter how many times you came in, they were always happy to see you. My girls are growing up too fast and I’ve been missing those precious smiles a bit. Now  they are usually engrossed in something when I walk into a room and I get a smile when I drag their attention away from it. Maybe.

I couldn’t tell you how many times a day I teach my kids to put themselves in the other person’s shoes. So many of my conversations begin with How would you feel if…? It got me thinking one day. What if I was the one who genuinely smiled at my kids every time they walked into a room? What if my deliberate actions told them they were the light in my life? That I love them and they are always welcome to be with me. How would it impact my relationship with each of them?

It’s not that I don’t smile at my kids, but that my smiles are almost always a response to an antic, comment or silly face. My smiles are more often reactive than proactive. So I came up with an idea for myself. I call it Project Smile, and I want to challenge you to it too.

get proactive about smiling in your home

For one month let’s all proactively smile at our kids, our spouses and our relatives. I believe the entire atmosphere in the home will change. Just as I respond better to someone who is smiling at me when they are asking a favor, my kids respond better to my requests when I am smiling at them too. Physiological research tells us that smiling facilitates healing within the body. I am convinced it will do the same in the home too.

Let’s work to protect our relationships with our kids. They are so special and no one can ever take our place in their lives. Shall we Project Smile? Let’s intentionally strengthen our relationship with them through smiles. Not all of us are good with words, but we can all muster up a genuine smile for those we love.

One month. I will share my outcomes and want to hear about yours as well.

pray for them

Goodness is something of a lost concept today. But I believe those who are followers of Christ are called to goodness as we serve and represent a good God. There will always be evil to contend with, but only goodness in people can overcome it. Let’s pray for our loved ones to develop this quality of goodness in their speech, actions and thoughts that they may be a part of the driving force that pushes back the advance of evil.

Lord, I pray that (Name) will “not be overcome by evil” but be empowered by you to “overcome evil with good.” Let (him/her) show your love through action. “If [his/her] enemy is hungry, [let (name)] feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing [name] will heap burning coals on his head.” in the name of Jesus, amen.   – Romans 12:21,20

Prayers taken from the daily prayer on the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

7 Layer Cookie Bars

Everyone has this recipe and it rarely varies. So I’m just revisiting it because it is delicious and every now and then the craving out weighs the calories. (If you’re going to make it, just commit and don’t even ask.)

  • 1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Butter (unsalted)
  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Butterscotch Chips
  • 1 1/3 cups Shredded Coconut
  • 1 cup Chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 dish. In order, layer the rest of the ingredients and press down with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes.