Tuesday, July 7, 2015

the plans God has for me

I find so much comfort and hope in holding onto God's promises.  He has never left my side.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

good morning!

I am not a morning person.  It's true.  I don't mind the morning, it just doesn't come easily for me.  So, I've tried to get really creative in my attempts to wake up and get going each day; one of the greater challenges I face!  Recently, I've taken to using songs in my iTunes library as my alarm, but picking the right song is tricky.  Do I go with a lively favorite or something a little softer to ease into the day?  No matter what song I choose, it seems to pretty much end up on a list of "I Don't Like These Songs Anymore".

Fortunately, I think I've finally found the perfect song!  Not long ago I stumbled upon "Let them See You" by the JJ Weeks Band, a beautiful song with a message that speaks to my heart and soul, and reminds me of my daily purpose.  It is a very peaceful way to start my day, feeling grounded and connected.  It's amazing that something so simple has proven to have such an impact on giving me not only a wakeup call, but also a daily inspiration.

To see a video of this song, you can click the link below:

Photo: thank you Miss Daley Smith

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

He's got this

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."  Prov. 3:5-6

I lost my daddy 4 years ago today in a senseless tragedy.  It's something that I definitely can't "lean on my own understanding" and make sense of.

Last night, as I was straightening up before I went to bed, I came across a card that my dad had given me.  Inside was a priceless treasure... a handwritten note from my daddy to me.  I could hear his voice as I read the words, "Dear Denise, I'm so very proud of you."  My heart and mind went back in time as I read on, "God bless you for what you mean to me."

Again and again, God brings me back to His promises, and this one has always been prominent in my life. Unfortunately, I try to understand everything and make sense of things in my own mind.  But, God reminds me often (yet gently) that I don't need to understand everything, that I just need to acknowledge that 'He's got this' and let Him direct my steps.  Today, I will cling to His promise!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

new life

It's April 8th, which could seem like an ordinary day, but does have historical significance for me.  Four years ago, it was a day of tragedy and loss. But today, I choose to celebrate new life. New beginnings, new hopes, new excitement, new adventures. I don't let go of the things I have always loved, but I embrace the new things I have been blessed with. 

I will rely on God's promises for me.  
“I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you.” Ezekiel 36:27

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

hidden blessings

I've come to realize that every corner of my life provides hidden blessings.  I commented a few months ago (about my life) that "the more things change, the more they keep on changing".  I said this kind of in jest, but mostly because every time I think I have things figured out, they change... and I'm talking big change.  I would like to think that I'm pretty flexible by nature, and I would definitely say that I tend to be more optimistic than not.  But, it seems like I encounter a lot of surprises, and at times I'm taken aback by these startling changes.  Sometimes I have to work hard to wrap my head around a new idea or circumstance.  This tends to be a bit challenging for me, and I can definitely detect the onset of growing pains.  But, even when I'm feeling apprehensive or resistant to something new or different, once I get over myself, I can usually settle down and resign myself to a level of faith that allows me to accept what appears to be my fate.  Even when things seem bleak, I can somehow find a ray of hope amid the impending doom.  (that might be an exaggeration.... or maybe it's not)   But, always, I find blessings hidden among the details of my life.  I'm so grateful that I am able to look back on the changes I've experienced and easily identify the blessings I've been given.  I feel so fortunate that this realization allows me to have hope for the future and recognize that every good thing comes from God.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Whimspirations: soooo Letter Loved!

Whimspirations: soooo Letter Loved!
It's a great Day to be letter loved!
Wow!  Thank you, Joanne Sharpe, for not only sharing your talents and being such an inspiration, but for including my art on your blog as a Letter Love 101 example!!  I am thrilled & so very honored!  Knowing that 'I always had the power' is an amazing concept, but realizing that I'm learning to actually put my thoughts and ideas onto paper is a fabulous reality!  Thank you again for the wonderful opportunity to Choose Joy & be blessed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

making a big old mess

I'm still loving letter love!  It's a great excuse to collect tons of fun art supplies, use random bright colors all at once, and make a huge mess! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

joyness. who knew?

Who knew that such a simple phrase could brighten so many days?  I'm currently taking an art class (Letter Love), and I was given an assignment to create a "delightfully doodled" word.  It's kind of hard to pick one word.  joy? peace? play? fun? .... So many fabulous words to choose from.  I finally settled on joy.  I love being around people who exude joy... it's so contagious, and it always leaves me wanting to embrace the attitude.  In contemplating my design, I decided that one word just wouldn't do.  I wanted the message to be intentional.  So, "choose joy" was the obvious conclusion.  My Letter Love class has a Flickr page and a Facebook page where everyone posts pictures of their work.  It can be intimidating to put your work out there for all to see.  and judge.  and critique.  But, I just have to take a deep breath & post! The response to this phrase has been really moving.  The comments haven't been only about my artwork, but so many have replied that the message changed their day, inspired them, or put a smile on their face.  Wow!  Who knew that a simple message could have such an impact.  I love knowing that something I created really did bring joy!  Now, the only problem I'm feeling is..... replicating.

Monday, February 13, 2012


2.12.12... Isn't it funny how you wait and wait for your birthday, even when you're supposed to be a grown up?  For a lot of reasons, I decided a long time ago not to grow up.  Maybe loving my birthday is one of those reasons.  And really, it's not about anything other than the thrill of the sound of the date.  February 12th has always been my favorite day of all days.  I just love it.  I love the sound of it...  I love the feel of it.  Usually, I love it because I know that spring is so near.  But this year.... what a surprise!  Snow on my birthday!  I promise I've never seen snow on February 12th before!  It made for such an extra special day.  I love February 12th because.... it makes me feel good inside, I smile bigger, I'm eager to get out of bed, and I stay up as late as I can.  I just want to maximize every second of the day... because it's the best day of the whole year.  I look at life & everyone differently, and I feel joy in my heart.  And today, just as every other February 12th in my life, I know that I've been blessed beyond measure.  I have a family that I love, a boundless number of friends that surround me, and every good thing in my life is a gift from God.  

Friday, January 20, 2012


This was a fun project.  I love the bright colors. It definitely fit the mood of the day.

Monday, January 9, 2012


This is "happy".... and doesn't it just make you feel uplifted, energized, and.....basically happy when you look at it?  Vibrant color, fun shapes. It was fun to create!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


This was a fantastic collage project to work on!  It took a long time to piece it together, but I loved it.  The color is so vibrant... this picture just doesn't do it justice.  Maybe I need a better camera?  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fall in Love

This new page from my art journal has to be my favorite so far!  I experimented with mixed media and layering.  I had envisioned the idea, and it unfolded beautifully.  I love that.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I love that I was able to capture the beauty of this amazingly pink  rose!
I have become so inspired to create!  My mind is flooded every day with creative sparks, ideas, concepts, and possibilities.  It's very exciting, but it can also be a little deflating when I'm not able to orchestrate my art time.  On the days that I'm actually able to find time to put some of my ideas on paper, I'm totally fulfilled, and I find it hard to stop at the end of the day... I'm very reluctant to go to bed!  So, I've been really working to squeeze in at least a little bit of creativity each day.  One of my biggest challenges tends to be "Where to begin?"  I have so, so many ideas and interests that I'd love to pursue, but I don't know where to start.  Paint?  Paper?  Photography?  Print?  Graphics?  So many choices!  The absence of a true work space or studio can also be frustrating.  So many ideas = a lot of supplies!  I've been glancing through websites and pouring over blogs that show pictures of true work studios that have amazing work spaces, like Leslie at her studio for A Creative Mint. Her work space is so completely fabulous (as is her talent)!  Now that I have all of this inspiration pouring out of my heart, mind & soul, and flooding through every part of me, I've just got to figure out ways I can channel it into my creative endeavors.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

big smile

Today someone said,
"Big smile.  I like that."
It just made my day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

perfect spring

I had an extremely discouraging day recently.  Since my dad died one year ago, I've really struggled with the loss and the unwanted adjustment it's brought to my life.  For a million reasons, I found myself exceedingly disheartened a couple of weeks ago.  I couldn't imagine how in the world I was going pick myself up... until my sweet friend, Amy, texted me at 10:40 pm.  This girl has such an amazing heart for others, and was thinking about the kids at my school late that night.  She has organized a birthday ministry to help children in need, and is continually trying to make all of the arrangements to get gifts to the kids.  It's a full time job on top of her full time job!  So, at 10:40 pm, she texted me about birthday presents and then asked me how I was doing.  My answer was 'frustrated and very sad'.  Her perfect response was, "Let this encourage you." I waited a minute or so wondering what the encouragement was going to be.  She texted an amazing scripture to me:

The Lord will guide you always.  He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a spring whose waters never fail.      ~Isaiah 58:11

These were the perfect words for me for so many reasons... Spring is my favorite season.  I love it when the weather finally begins to warm up, and everything starts to bloom.  I love the bright green of spring.  When these days arrive, I always make it a point to walk in the afternoon when I get home from school.  On April 8 last year, I came home and began getting ready to enjoy a most perfect spring day.  It was so warm, so beautiful, and made me know that summer was on it's way.  I was completely dressed, iPod in hand, and just stepping out the door when my sister called to tell me that my dad had been in an accident.  Everything closed in and my world seemed to fall apart at that very moment.  In an instant I had gone from loving my day to losing my dad.

When I finally made it back home, spring was in full force, but I couldn't really take notice of it.  Someone had turned off the lights and I couldn't turn them back on.  Spring turned into summer, fall, and winter without me.  Even throughout the winter, I couldn't look forward to spring, I just didn't have it in me.  Although spring was on its way, I couldn't lift my eyes to see it.  That pretty much brings me to the night I received Amy's text asking me how I was doing.  'Frustrated and very sad.'

The verse she sent to me immediately lifted a lot of the heaviness I had been under.  It reminded me that I am not in this by myself.  And, although I've felt like I was a sun-scorched land, God will make me "like a spring whose waters never fail."  The words have an underlying message for me, that the "spring" inside my heart is not gone... instead it has waters that will never fail.  This brought me so much hope and encouragement that has stuck with me.  I know and I trust that I will be like spring... ready to wake up, ready to bloom, and filled with light.  Thank you, Amy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

blond at heart.

My day was filled with so many blond moments that it became a blond event.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

...not today

There are some days when, despite my best efforts, I am not mother of the year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

a hoo-head?

My daughter came into my room this morning and said, "Mom!  You look like a Hoo!"
"A what??" I asked her.
"Mom.  Your hair.  It looks like a hoo-bun.  Just look in the mirror, you look like Cindy Lou-Hoo's mom."
What a great way to start my day!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Would you rather live in the center of a circle or on the side of a square?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"I'd give it a 4!"

I had my last real responsibility at Murfee this past week. As the previous Teacher of the Year, I had the privilege of presenting the award to this year's recipient. There have been a lot of things I've missed since leaving Murfee, and I was excited to visit such familiar surroundings. The challenging aspect was actually writing the presentation and then speaking in front of a crowd, which always makes me a little nervous. I spent a lot of time writing and rewriting the sentiments I would share in front of people I truly love and respect. It's been awhile since I've written like that, and it became a laborious task as I searched for just the right words and the perfect flow of speech and language. Having been a writing teacher, I've come to love language and the assembling of thoughts. I've also learned over time, that it takes a lot of courage for me to "put my words out there" where others can hear and critique my style. Well... the presentation went great, I didn't get too noticeably nervous, and the new Teacher of the Year had been honored. As I was finishing, I saw my sister in the back of the room, so I made my way toward her. I sat down and we smiled at each other. She said, "Good job, Neesie. I'd give it a 4!" She ended up being the one with the most perfect words that night.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A few days ago I had a great idea for a new fragrance called... Blue Velvet.  But, as I contemplated this, I realized it might be confused with Aqua Velva, so I guess I won't pursue that.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

an unbelievable year

Today is January 1, 2011.  I'm not exactly sure how I feel about the passing of 2010... it was quite an unbelieveable year in so many ways. 

This year began as most others... a mom of 3 great kids and a teacher of 60 fabulous 4th graders.  My first goal of the year was to write & direct a fantastic production (with my 4th grade teammates) for the kids in my grade level to perform at the end of January.  That play, Night at The Museum of Texas History, was a sensation!  On the night of the performance, much to my surprise, I was presented with the Murfee Elementary Teacher of the Year award.  I was so very honored, and I felt immense gratitude for the amazing blessings I have received as a teacher.

Meanwhile, I continued to work diligently on my master's degree with a June finish date in sight. 

The month of March arrived and brought with it a trip to Dallas with my daughters to see John Mayer in concert.  We had long awaited this big day, which will always remain a memorable event for us!  Unfortunately, the month of March ended with sadness.  My grandmother, Itha Farmer, passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.  We had a huge gathering of family for her funeral.  At the time, I had no idea how remarkable those moments with my family would become. 

We all returned to our homes and continued with our daily lives until 3 weeks later, April 8, my father had a tragic accident and suffered a massive head trauma.  My sister, brother, and I raced to be by his side in Austin, where he remained in ICU for 8 days.  It was an agonizing time and was compounded by my daughter having her 17th birthday while I was away from home.  My dad, Glyn Day, passed away on April 16.  All of our family, who had just spent time together in my grandmother's honor, came together again to remember and honor my dad.  I cannot express how grateful we all were to have had that time with our Poppy just weeks before. 

Amidst this grief, my graduate classes did not wait.  I was not allowed any opportunities to postpone assignments or tests, so I just continued.... I had no other options, and I became more determined than ever to not only finish, but to finish strong.  And, that's exactly what I did.  During the months of May and June, I completed my last 3 courses and all other requirements.  I did it!  I finished grad school... with a 4.0.... a feat I had never in my life imagined possible.  At the end of June, I took the state Principal's exam and interviewed for an Assistant Principal's position.  In July I found out that both of these opportunities were a success.  I passed the test, and I got the job!

On August 14, my daughters, mom, and I traveled to Beaumont where I graduated from Lamar University.  I was now officially Denise Day Smith, M. Ed.  I was so proud, completely humbled, thrilled to be there with my family, and so very sad to be there without my dad.  I knew, though, that I was there by the grace of God, and with the support of so many people who love me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The rest of the year.... well I could say it has gone beautifully.  I've begun a new career learning so many new things.  I continue to be blessed by my three amazing kids, and I have come to love and appreciate my family and friends in totally new ways.  I'm closer to my brother and sister than I've ever before, and recognize the strong united force we make altogether.  Mostly, I'm amazed at how God has continually met my needs and blessed me.  I could never have foreseen any of this on January 1, 2010.  Today, January 1, 2011 begins a new year with a new set of unforeseen experiences.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

make a joyful noise unto the Lord

As Christmas approaches, I am reminded of many memories from past holidays. As a child, I can remember the fun of decorating the tree and rearranging the presents over and over again with my little sister. I also fondly remember the time we bundled up switches to leave for our parents with notes from "Santa" about the bad things they had done that year. Of course, it was all in fun, and we laughed every year when my mom put out the switches as part of our holiday decorating... it became a tradition.
When I became a mom and began to make memories with my own family, it was important to me to create traditions for my children and to make the holidays meaningful and fun. Recently, my daughter commented that our family doesn't have any traditions. That statement really took me aback, and I began frantically searching my mind about what traditions we do have in our family. I began to easily identify the things that we do to make the holidays special, and I took it upon myself to prove that we do have traditions in our home. So, I started making a list. In only a few minutes, I was able to list over 20 things that I consider to be traditions. When I shared the list with my daughter, she disagreed about many of the items being "a tradition". I realized that the word tradition is actually a pretty loose term. I had no choice but to surrender to the fact that my children don't recognize some of the same traditions that I do. That was a little hard for me at first, but I came to terms with it eventually (albeit unwillingly).
I decided that it's ok for us to have different ideas about traditions, as long as one thing always remains. In my home, and with my family, we will always celebrate the Christmas holiday as the birth of our Savior. After all, this is the underlying truth that rules our lives and holds our family together every day of the year.
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth." Psalm 100:1

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I saw the most vibrant double rainbow yesterday afternoon.
God's promises continually amaze me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Poppy!

My dad was a supreme baseball fan. When I was little, he would take our family to see the Rangers play every summer, and when my son was born, my dad made sure that he took Dane to see Nolan Ryan pitch every year until his retirement. When Dane was in 4th grade, he chose to portray Nolan Ryan in the school's Living Museum exhibit. On the morning of the Living Museum performance, my dad showed up on our doorstep at 6:00 a.m. He had driven into town (an hour's drive) to deliver an important artifact for the big day. When I opened the door, he was standing there with a baseball, autographed by Nolan Ryan, for Dane. Although he couldn't come to the Living Museum, he wanted Dane to have something really special for his exhibit. Dane was thrilled, and I (obviously) never forgot that touching act. What a great Poppy!
Today is October 19, 2010, and the Texas Rangers are playing in the club's first playoff series in their history. Today also would have been my dad's 68th birthday. I can't think of a gift he would have loved more than a Rangers playoff win! Happy birthday, daddy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day Life Lessons

My daddy was proud and very strong in his opinions and beliefs. I've taken many of his life lessons to heart and made them my own. And the other ones.... well, they just make me laugh... Day girls have class.

Always vote. It's what we do.

A boy will rue the day he lets you go.

Wear nice shoes. People notice your shoes, especially on first impressions.

You're not ready to take your family skiing until you can flush a $100 bill without wincing.

Blue Bell ice cream is best eaten with a tiny spoon.

A man's got his needs.

To wake up, put "feet on the floor".

Never stick your tongue to the inside of a freezer.

I don't have a high arch, it's actually a "Day heel".

After a long day on the slopes, it's good to "ski the bar".

Sometimes, love can best be expressed with "a hun".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"You get in, you get done, and then you get gone."
~by John Mayer, Assassin
This brilliant, insightful lyric is so applicable to my day.
Actually, it's perfect widsom for many things in life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm so proud of my daughter. She's beautiful, intelligent, articulate, persistent, and continually full of surprises. She's fought to overcome some huge obstacles and has kept her end goal in sight. Today she received the payoff for her hard work and was accepted into the college of her choice! It's a very happy day in our house.

"...But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

Monday, September 27, 2010

"I'm only good at being young." This must be my favorite John Mayer lyric... I can identify with it.

"I'm only good at being young." This must be my favorite John Mayer lyric...
I identify with it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

just a girl

"You're quite the funny girl today. Thanks."
~That's the nicest thing anyone said to me today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I saw an old friend today who told me, "You've reinvented yourself." I like that!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

a good day

What a wonderful day to be a day girl! After 18 months, I graduated with a master's degree this afternoon. I have learned so much about myself.... such as, I'm not a 3%-er anymore! As my brother said, "It's a hell of an accomplishment considering the circumstances." As my sister said, "This is a new beginning." I like the sound of that.... let it begin!
I have so much love and appreciation for my greatest supporters. It's been a long, challenging road for me with many successes, as well as the devastation of losing my daddy during the last months of my graduate program. I know he was planning to be here with me... we had talked about it when I saw him just a few weeks earlier. Thinking of him today brought many tears to my eyes, but I know he would be so proud of me. That is one of the many reasons I'm proud to be a day girl.
What a wonderful, wonderful day!