Things That Make Me Smile

Yesterday, for my Catholic Moments Podcast, I had the opportunity to interview Mark Hart, one of my favorite authors. It continuously amazes me that busy, talented people will take time out of their day to share their thoughts and ideas with someone like me. If Katie Couric asked Mark for twenty minutes, I could understand him dropping everything to answer her questions, but when a mom from Fresno calls and he gives her almost half an hour… now that's a generous soul!

My son Adam and I were perusing Mark's latest book, Ask the Bible Geek 2, after the interview and we came across a passage entitled "Does your pillow change temperature?" In the reflection, Mark ponders the great joy of some of life's simplest pleasures: hugs from his daughters, eating buffalo wings with buddies, and yes — the feel of a crisp, cold pillow when you're really tired. Mark's point is that some of God's greatest gifts are these tiny moments of extreme pleasure — things so simple that often we take them for granted.

Reading his reminder to be grateful for life's simplest pleasures gave me the opportunity to ponder some of my own favorite, simple things:

  • Snuggling on the couch with my husband at night with a glass of red wine and an episode of Survivor (remind me to tell you some day my plan for winning the million!).
  • Driving Eric home from football practice and listening to him walk me through his day at high school.
  • Adam's frequent statement: "I need a hug!" Not many almost-13 year olds have the time of day for mom.
  • Talking with my sisters, my mom and my daddy on the phone.
  • Sitting with my feet dangling in the pool reading a good book.
  • Receiving an email from someone who's visited my site and been touched by something I wrote.
  • Kneeling in Mass on Sunday after having received the Eucharist, surrounded by my family and friends.

Most of life is not Parisian vacations or Caribbean cruises. It's driving car pools or sitting in the cubicle at work. It's washing the dishes, the dog, or the car. It's serving the people we love with caring hearts, even if that serving is washing their smelly football uniforms or changing their dirty diapers. True joy is finding those moments along the way that make you smile and stopping to appreciate them. Some of the happiest people I know lead lives of great simplicity, but live them with an attitude of constant gratefulness for the gift that is each day. What makes you smile? Look for opportunities in your world today to smile, and to bring smiles to the faces of others.


Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast. Visit her at

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  • Guest

    So true!  Each day is filled with blessings, if we take the time to recognize them.