Reasons to Smile

Brenda Nail DeLauder


In the mornings after Pepper and I have been for a walk, it’s Catcher Kitty’s time for attention. We usually sit on a bench beside the house where he gets pets and in return I get my very own special purr. It is just for me as I am the only one allowed to hold him. His deep rich purr makes me feel greatly loved and I swear it melts away tension and tiredness every time!

Down below our house near the creek, there is a utility cut-through. Finally, the weeds have died down enough for Pepper and me to make our way along the deer paths. The first day we were able to make this journey we were following three deer. Pepper was all excited and wanted to catch up with them, but kept looking back to be sure I was still there. Once we rounded the first curve, we were out of sight of the rest of the world. From winter until mid-spring we can walk this path where we check out whatever catches our attention, which can be nothing or something really cool like a turtle, an armadillo or a Great Blue Heron. Following the paths we go on an adventure to find new things to investigate. It’s our special time to escape the world and just have some fun!

Monday nights are when my friend Bebe and I slip out of our hectic lives and share a few moments of laughter on the phone. We either chuckle over something we have done during the previous week or pull out some old memory to relive. It’s our escape from the ugly parts of life and I look forward to our time of shared humor and positive ideas.

A week before Christmas, while I was having breakfast, Pepper let me know someone had arrived. It was a young man who grew up in our community. He had brought by his lovely spouse and precious child for me to meet. We had a great time catching up on our lives and before he left he gave me a big bear hug. I felt so honored by this surprise visit and it gave me a smile for the rest of the day!

During this time of year our bird feeders are “happening places!” I love looking out at any given time during the day and seeing a variety of birds on the feeder tray. There are usually a few bluejays, several redbirds, along with chickadees, nuthatches, mourning doves, at least one red-bellied woodpecker and a titmouse or two. By late morning the crow family will stop by to fuss over who gets the last of the peanuts. Before Christmas I was in the kitchen baking quite a bit, so I really enjoyed watching from the windows, seeing all the antics of the birds. They figure out how to live together as a community and oh how I wish people could follow their example!

Someone asked me if I got everything I wanted for Christmas and I said “Yes!” While I received some lovely gifts, my joy didn’t come from the store-bought items. It came from God’s Gift of Jesus and all the love He brought to us!

The love I feel from my critters, chats with old friends, and hugs from neighbor kids far outweigh gold and silver. In each of these reasons to smile examples, I have seen the glory of Christ. His grace and truth come to me through nature, people’s love and laughter and even in a good purr! As we end this year and begin a new one, take the most important part with you. Take Jesus!

Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.