A collage of smiles


It was my last day debriefing the group of women that I had come to know well in the course of a week around our nightly circle, and we began in the way that we always do… “I want you to close your eyes and imagine your day as a video playing back in your mind. Choose a photo of the day that you don’t ever want to forget.” Most days I ask the question and enjoying listening to each group member’s answers without thinking twice about my own picture of the day, but after spending a day at Parque Fundidora with the Family Christian Stores group of ladies and some children from Casa Hogar del Norte, I was not getting off the hook tonight. So I shuffled through the images in my mind, attempting to choose one. 401930_10151589850730138_1022976679_n264493_10151589850830138_338192440_n

Instead, I found myself focusing in on a collage of smiles.

So yes, I basically cheated with my own question. But the truth was, I had been attentive throughout the day to the things that made individual people smile or laugh and that was just absolutely beautiful.

This little guy (pictured above with the water bottle in his hand) sat on a bench next to me, quite discontent with our park outing—until he saw a person on a bike or go-cart pass by. As soon as there was a moving vehicle passing by, he was all smiles and giggles.

263228_10151589851205138_1333179205_n<– This group member lit up when she got to hold baby Isaac all day. And I couldn’t help but smile as she held his hands and I reached out for him to take some steps toward me.

I couldn’t help but giggle when one of the946554_10151589844520138_862234010_n caregivers, who has quite a hard job, began to joke with one of the teen girls and cracked herself up.

A little later, that same teen girl cracked a smile as she dreamed aloud of one day dating a man who would buy her roses. –>

580281_10151589849225138_28984508_n<– And although she tried, Blanca couldn’t really hold back her smile as her new American friend sought her out after an ice-skating adventure to invite her on a walk around the park.




My friend Brenda smiled as she talked about ice skating, and our plans to celebrate her belated birthday. The social worker at the children’s home bought her sandals for her special day—she was pretty glad to show those off too. Someone had remembered.  –>



<– And I got the privilege of holding this little one on the bus ride to the park. She has lived at the children’s home for less than a month. It wasn’t until she was tickled or sang to that I first saw her smile. I just started to sing “We are going to the park today” and she giggled like crazy. Beautiful.

These are the snapshots of the day that I do not want to forget. what makes you smile?
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