For starters, my book was printed and fully published in mid October! So exciting!!! I am overwhelmed by the response of those who thus far have read my work of love, and am so grateful to know that it is accomplishing what I set out to do: bless those who read it. And it's just the beginning! I will enjoy sharing it with many more of you as the new year unfolds!
As soon as my publisher printed the first run, I finalized preparations for a trip abroad and on November 2nd I joined 14 others from our church for a short-term mission trip to the beautiful Philippines! What a fabulous experience–one I will surely never forget! We accomplished a lot while we were there: laid foundations for two churches, did community outreaches, and played with the adorable kids. But when I think about this incredible adventure, the things we accomplished are not what stand out in my mind. I have pondered that trip often since returning home just in time to catch my breath and get busy baking pies and cooking our Thanksgiving turkey. The Philippine people are so gracious, warm, and welcoming. Many of the faces of those I was blessed to encounter have popped into my mind repeatedly. And do you know what I see in my mind's eye? I see there smiles. We may not have spoken the same language, but as we shared our smiles with one another, we spoke a thousand words. A smile can say, "Hello." It can say, "I'm happy to be here with you." or "I care about you." or "You are important to me." A smile can warm a heart, cheer the sad, or make a connection with a stranger. A smile is a powerful bridge across cultural differences, yet it is so easy to extend. And here at home it is just as powerful. In fact no matter where we go we can share our smile and make a difference in someone's life–we may never know to what extent. A smile is a universal language all its own. Everyone everywhere understands it. And the amazing thing about our smile is that no matter how many we give away, we'll never run out! What a gift! It doesn't cost us a dime, but the return on our investment is a high yield. Try it out–be mindful of giving your smile away often. You're gonna love the results!
Have a bright day!