Stumped on Christmas Gifts? We Got You!!

Ann Woodall has got it going on for real. I look phony. Flash is plotting something.

This fall beloved Saint Ann Woodall came into town and we started remembering Ann’s theology of  “the ministry of the smile.”  The picture above shows a right way and two wrong ways to smile for I am faking it and Flash looks like he wants to bite someone. Ann has a smile that is the gift that keeps on giving! I remember back in the old days I would go lie down on the sofa in Ann’s office and say Want to know who is on my last nerve today? (Sorry Harry!) And Ann would laugh and smile me out of my crankiness.  Smiles are miracles. 

Look Ann!  The staff still has LOTS of huge smiles.  We are SO happy and proud for Tremaine Davis, our webmaster!  Tremaine graduated this week from Georgia State and also just got a great job in his hometown of NYC teaching people how to build websites and make them more exciting!


Around this block we rejoice with those who rejoice! And yes, weep with those who weep.

Here is an oldie but goodie nineties era Smile-Fest from Jim Pritchett who got DOCC up and running— Disciples of Christ in Community!!  Jim just retired as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Western North Carolina. I keep up with him on FB so you might connect with him there.  A good priest, good guy.

DOCC was GREAT!  Look for you or someone you love!

Below is a present day picture of what you might call WARM SMILES!! GALAS collected a record breaking number of coats for kids at Threads!


Tim photo-bombed but he is smiling, too!

Sometimes people smile with their whole body (Look at BBT!); sometimes people smile with their whole face (our friend, Catherine Meeks) and sometimes folks smile with their eyes (priest and psychologist and one of the saints of Canterbury Court, Walter Smith)

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And then there is whole ‘nother kind of smile from Flash Sterne – ears to tail! Creation is full of the glory of the Lord—sometimes in the smiles of creatures large and small.  What creaturely smile do you love?

For a small dog living on the 28th floor, running free on a beach is kingdom of heaven.

Sometimes a smile is somewhat complex. Flash took a while to warm up to Tim but he did. Sort of.  This photo was taken in the pre-warmed-up-to-Tim moment.

Flash is rarely cowed but I think Tim’s smile cowed him!

Who smiles the smiles you count on??  A smile I love is Mike’s who is the shepherd of the place where Carroll and  I live.  Mike smiles through it all and has since Park Place opened almost thirty years ago.  He even knew how to smilingly manage my mother-in-law and those of you who knew Helen Hopkins Sterne  know what an exciting job that would be!!


Mike can multi-task smile!  

When you tell MIke something you are worried about, he smiles reassuringly and says, “I got you.” I’m not sure what that means but it helps.   Once when my own mother became confused and slipped out of the building, Mike, followed her and brought her home like the Good Shepherd.  She was smiling.  And that was a miracle.

No matter how dire the situation, look around for an encouraging smile or try to offer a smile.  Around this block, smiles are the gifts that keep on giving. Here is an old smiler Carroll spotted in Greece.

Does he terrify you? He inspires me.

Here are smiles to break the heart open. Our newest refugee family. From Burma by way of a long time in camps in Malaysia. Once they had no people. Now we have each other.  You will notice their beautiful celebration/wedding clothes: I hear the garments were created by their mother, and they wanted to wear their wedding garments to meet us. (Jesus told a story about that!) Please pray for the almost 7,000,000 displaced persons in the world, and may we continue to be a welcoming home, family after family.

How beautiful it is when strangers are welcomed.  For all of us have been strangers somewhere, too.  

Finally, a blessed Advent from some of the generation to generation smilers in my family.  These are also complex smiles that kind of make my eyes well up. Christine was just finishing the 2015 New York Marathon running on the Beat Pancreatic Cancer team in memory of her truly darling mom, Tisha, (an Irish/English immigrant). The picture of Carroll, Anna, Charles and me was taken last week   two hours after we said goodbye to our beloved brother-in-law/uncle Yves.  The kids – well that’s just an old pic of them that I threw in because our grandson is smiling such a great fake smile and our granddaughter is smiling such a long-suffering big sister smile. 

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Pass a smile on today. And then catch one from friend or family or pet or stranger.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Martha +




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