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Sunday Mornings with Rania: A Thousand Reasons to Smile

Rania Mankarious
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Rania Mankarious

Rania Mankarious is executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston(Photo: lawellphoto.com)

I’m sitting here writing at almost midnight. The images on TV seem to be playing in a loop. I find myself simply wondering what is going on in our world? For instance:

There were bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey. 

There was a “mass” stabbing in a mall in Minnesota.

An officer in Tulsa faces manslaughter charges for killing. 

Charlotte is in a complete state of emergency.

These are just a few stories that have made headlines in the past week. It gives me pause. It makes me think, what now? What do we do now that we seem more fractured, more at risk and more vulnerable than ever before? 

Helen Perry, a dear personal friend and friend to Crime Stoppers, recently spoke on life and living after tragedy. Last Tuesday, she joined us and about 250 others for a Breakfast with Crime Stoppers. She bravely, heroically and beautifully shared details surrounding her sister’s death in 1993.

Everybody knew and loved and had a connection to Marilyn Sage Meagher but her light was taken as two gained entry into her home and killed her in an attempt to steal her vehicle. Marilyn had just come back from the semi-annual sale at Tootsies. She was more than likely having a wonderful day. According to Helen, her last words were “Please don’t kill me, I have two kids.” Marilyn’s beloved daughter found her lifeless and beaten body in her home.  

Life can seem so sad sometimes but as Helen shared the story, the entire room was left with a deep feeling of peace, of joy, of meaning. It made me think of a quote I recently read and loved: 

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life you have a thousand reasons to smile.

I thought of it again after hearing Helen speak so beautifully. And it made me think of each of you. So many of us are dealing with difficult issues. You have challenges at work, with your relationships or with your kids. Some of you have recently lost a beloved pet or other family member. There are health issues, hardships in the economy, rising crime rates or dreams that are not being realized. While everyone’s list will vary, encouragement is critical just the same. Encouragement. We all need it from time to time.

Here’s just one inspirational, encouraging quote from Helen’s speech: 

“Some of you may be in the midst of a really tough season in your life . . . We either let God transform pain into peace and joy and surrender or we will surely transmit it. Transform it or transmit it.”

While we recognize the true reality of the “downs,” are you ready to join Helen and focus on a “thousand reasons to smile?” Are you ready to be stubborn about your quest for happiness (note, not a quest for perfection but a quest for happiness – there is a great difference!)? If so, for the sake of Helen Perry, for her sister Marilyn Sage Meagher and for all the strife we see in the world right now, take my challenge (and challenge your friends and families to do the same).

Share this post and, when you do, add your top 10 reasons to smile. Or, add your top 10 reasons in the comment section below. 

Here are mine:

  1. Good health 
  2. Strong family 
  3. Important work 
  4. Foundational faith 
  5. Friends who have become family 
  6. The ability to travel 
  7. Great food 
  8. Low humidity that leads to non-frizzy hair 
  9. Sunny mornings 
  10. Great coffee

We are so lucky to be on this journey of life. Every now and then, the twists and turns knock us down but getting back up is what makes the ride so incredible. In case you can’t hear the choir cheering you on, this post is for you. I’m cheering you on. And wishing you find strength in your own personal thousand reasons to smile.

For more information on Crime Stoppers of Houston, go to crime-stoppers.org and follow Crime Stoppers on Facebook. Have topics in mind that you’d like Rania to write about? Email her directly at rmankarious@crime-stoppers.org. Connect with Rania on Instagram and Twitter. Read past Sundays with Rania posts here.

Editor's Note: Views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Buzz Magazines.

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