{countdown to thanks} what happened to your laugh?

When was the last time you laughed till you couldn't take it any longer?

You know that stomach aching laugh that brings you to tears?
Maybe you laugh daily.
Maybe you laugh till you cry daily.
Its possible that you have nothing to laugh at.
Life is not light hearted and hurt has stolen your joy.

Sometimes we go through no smile seasons.

Have you been there?
Life is serious, there are bumps in the road and laughter is missing.
A couple years ago I had the realization that I had stopped smiling.

The smile I had been complimented for my entire existence was no longer.

God snapped me out of my 
gloomy focus on the hard 
and revived my smile.

We easily forget God is alive and active in our lives!

I asked our kids what they were thankful for and one of the boys said, 
What a gift it is to bust out into hysterics.
 I love it when Keaton laughs so hard he chokes and tears stream down his face
Zach's laughter is crazy!
 He runs around the house and stomps his feet. 
He cant settle down for 30 minutes. 
Peyton's laughter is either screeching or silent. 
I love his mischievous smile and snickers.
Molly belly laughs...
the kind is contagious causing us all to laugh back at her.
My laughter wakes the house. 
It causes my husband to brace himself because the volume is loud.
When he laughs hard he cant see straight, cant walk, and sheds some tears.

I am thankful for laughter.

I love this passage in Job chapter 8 where Bildad is giving Job a pep talk.
I am a giver of pep talks to other people...
When laughter is lost, I need to listen to my own advice.

"The same happens to all who forget God, 
The hopes of the godless evaporate. 
Their confidence hangs by a thread. 
They are leaning on a spiders web." -Job 8:13

When our confidence is minimal and our hope has evaporated,
there is hope!
Only because we know He deeply understands our down days.
Only because we trust Him to walk us out of the dark and into His light.
He goes on to cheer...

"But look, God will not reject a person of integrity, 
nor will he lend a hand to the wicked. 
He will once again fill your mouth 
with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." -Job 8:20

This may be one of my favorite "thanks" to write about.

It is not food, friends, or family.
It doesn't require looking for and cant be programmed.
It is a posture! Find the good, seek out the joy and enjoy healing laughter.
"On your feet now-applaud God! 
Bring a gift of laughter, 
sing yourselves into his presence." 
-Psalm 100:1
Here are a few tips as we countdown to thanks.
Include the gift of laughter into your preparation and celebrating.
Its the best kind of healing medicine.

*Rearrange your time to 
make room for conversations
 that allow for laughter.

*Crank up the music. 
Throw a dance party in your living room.

*Stop yourself from taking life so seriously.
 I mean there is a time and a place for serious, 
but it can not outweigh your joy.

*Be in the moment with your company
 as you celebrate together. 
Allow your OCD tendencies to 
leave the room so you don't miss 
a chance to enter into memory lane laughter.

*Ask your kids the funniest memory 
they have of Thanksgiving or Christmas!
Don't be offended if it includes YOU! 

*When you are tempted to be mad, 
give yourself and others the grace to laugh at yourself!
That frees them up to actually enjoy your company.

I hope you find yourself enjoying some good, healthy laughing as you prepare for the festivities.
Let your guard down and make some unforgettable moments with your family and friends.
It just may be the medicine your soul needs!