The Smiles of Life

Smiling Baby

The Smiles of Life

I’ve been giving thanks to God for “big things”: His Son, His grace, my wife, and my elder son (I’ll write about my younger son later in the month). We dare not forget the “big things” God gives us, but today I want to give you some “little things” for which I give thanks. By “little things,” I mean things that won’t matter in eternity. These things won’t matter to a hill of beans in eternity, but they brighten my life.

The smell of tobacco.

I grew up in Kentucky, and when you put down the windows on the bus, you could smell tobacco curing in the barn. I’ve always loved that smell. Today it brings back memories of home.

The University of Kentucky Wildcats.

It’s hard to be humble when you’re a Wildcat fan (unless they lose in the final Four, or, worse yet, don’t make it to the Final Four). There’s nothing like cheering the Cats to victory.

Autumn.I love to see the Blue Ridge Mountains as they change colors in the Fall. I love to see yards covered in brightly colored leaves, and I love the smell of those leaves as they decompose. I love the harvest of apples and pumpkins (two of my favorites).


I could eat watermelon by the ton. I once lost a job because of watermelon — A congregation wanted to hire me, but they had a watermelon social after worship, and I spent more time eating watermelon than socializing. The church felt I was too unfriendly to come and work there.

New car smell.

There’s just something about that smell.

Sunday afternoon nap.

I don’t know why Sunday afternoon naps are so enjoyably refreshing, but they are.

Civil War history.

Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up in the South around so much history, but I love learning about the Civil War. I have a great-great-great grandfather who served in the Union, and I have a great-great-great grandfather who fought for Kentucky in the Confederacy. My Confederate ancestor was defending the major salt mine for the C.S.A. and was captured by the Yankees and spent time in a Union prison in Ohio. Another Confederate ancestor was killed by the Yankees defending a hill in Floyd County, Kentucky. I wouldn’t know all of that if I didn’t enjoy learning about the War Between the States. And, by the way, Virginia is a great place to live for a Civil War buff.


I often call coffee the “nectar of the gods.” Coffee wakes me up in the morning and keeps me company as I write during the day (I think I’m going to write from Starbucks tomorrow).

Rummy.Nannie taught me to play rummy years and years ago. My boys enjoy the game, and RJ loved it the first time he beat me (I’ve been known to cheat like my Nannie).


I know some Christians conscientiously abstain from Starbucks, and I fully understand that and would never ask them to violate their conscience (Microsoft and Nike also came out in support of same-sex marriage). I love Starbucks, and it’s one of my guilty pleasures. For me, there’s nothing like sitting down with a java chip frappuccino, eating the whipped cream off the top, and enjoying every sip.

As we give thanks to God, let us not forget that sometimes He gives us small gifts for which to be thankful. After all, every good and perfect gift comes from Him (Js 1:17). Enjoy life as you walk hand in hand with God. I know He’ll walk with you as He has walked with me.

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