Saturday, August 31, 2013


A young woman sat down with me for lunch and we had a very long chat.  I didn’t know her as well as I should have, but after our chat, I knew everything that I needed to know.  She always smiled, laughed and I couldn’t figure out how she could be so happy in life when she had every reason to be miserable.  Her life was filled with one horrible experience after the other.  On all accounts, most people would think her life tragic.  I wanted to cry for her, and did as she told me the true stories that I don’t think I could have lived through myself.  When I asked her how she could be so happy and optimistic after living through one tragedy after the other, she told me that it simply wasn’t worth the hurt  and the energy to hold on to bad memories. 

 At a very young age, this young woman learned to forgive.  She told me that she doesn’t wait, stew, brood, and be miserable about the constant barrage and continuous flow of bad events that never seem find her at every turn, because she is determined to be happy in spite of them.  She believes that these events won’t ever cease, explaining about the little grey cloud that follows her wherever she goes.  She laughs and says she was born with it and like her shadow, will never stop following her.   She found that by forgiving others of their offenses, is the umbrella (metaphorically speaking) that prevents the rain from keeping her soggy wet. She knows it’s just a matter of time before she’ll get dumped on again, but understands that nobody is immune and it is just a matter of how we determine we will meet the challenges of life.  Forgiving others is what keeps her happy.
After this conversation, I took a very long look at myself and realized that I had been holding on to things way too long.  I realized that holding on to the bad memories and experiences in my own life, and never letting go was like a second nature to me, you know, kind of like a mole on your neck that you didn’t ever dare to have removed.  That evening, I took a long look into my 3 x zoom mirror and noticed how that mole had grown over the years.  It used to be so small that I just ignored it, but over the years it had grown into what looked more like a melanoma, a humongous protuberance that had to be removed.  I knew I needed to set an appointment with the Dermatologist to take care of it once and for all.

What a refreshing feeling it is to get rid of old baggage, and to be able to smile without regrets; and I had to learn it from someone half my age.  I wonder for you who are reading this story,  just how long you have held on to your excess baggage and how much longer will it take for you to be able to forgive, move on and be happy?  Lighten your load, forgive others, and be happy once more.
Please enjoy this little clipable printable to clip and post wherever you need to see it to remind yourself of your new attitude of forgiveness.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


How many times have you thought about things that you like and don't like about yourself?  Just how critical are you about the way you look, your hair, the shape of your body, your personality or so many other things?  When we constantly criticize and scrutinize ourselves, how can we ever really like who we are or expect others to feel the same?  I love, love, love the story about Thomas Moore, who was a famous 19th century Irish poet.  I want to share this wonderful story with you.  The story goes like this:

Thomas was called away on a business trip.  Upon his return he was met at the door not by his beautiful bride, but by the family doctor.

"Your wife is upstairs," said that doctor.  "But she has asked that you do not come up."
And then Moor learned the terrible truth:  his wife had contracted smallpox.  The disease had left her once flawless, lovely skin, pocked and terribly scarred.  She had taken one look at her disfigured reflection in the mirror and commanded that the shutters be drawn and that her husband never see her again.  Moore would not listen.  He ran upstairs and threw open the door of his wife's room.  It was black as night inside.  Not a sound came from the darkness.  Groping along the wall, Moore felt for the gas jet to turn on the lamps. 

A startled cry came from a black corner of the room.  "No! don't light the lamps!"

Moore hesitated, swayed by the pleading voice of his wife.  "Go!" she begged.  "Please go! This is the greatest gift I can give you now."

Moore did not go.  He went down to his study, where he sat up most of the night, prayerfully writing.  Not a poem this time, but a song.  He had never written a song before, but now he found it more natural to his mood than poetry.  He not only wrote the words, he wrote the music too.  And the next morning, as soon as the sun was up, he returned to his grieving wife's room.

The room had the shutters drawn and it was dark as night.  He felt his way to a chair and sat down.

"Are you awake?" he asked.

"I am," came a voice from the far side of the room.  "But you must not ask to see me.  You must not press me , Thomas."

I will sing to you, then," he answered.  And so for the first time, Thomas Moore sang to his wife the song that still lives today. Press the play button and enjoy the words so beautifully sung on the video as you read them below the video box:

"Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly today,
Were to change by tomorrow and flee in my arms,
Like fairy gifts fading away,
Though wouldst still be adored, as this moment though art--
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still."
The song ended.  As his voice trailed off on the last note, Moore heard his bride rise.  She crossed the room to the window, reached up and slowly drew open the shutters.

Learning to love ourselves, even with our all of our faults and flaws, is essential to our own happiness.  We tend to express our displeasure about ourselves on others, like Thomas Moore's wife, believing that her husband could only love the lovely bride she once was, and could never love the pock marked and scarred woman she had become.  True love looks past that.
There is loveliness and goodness in all of us, that is lovable in spite of the flaws we all possess.  We need to get past those, and go on living our lives, which in turn causes others to see past our flaws and pock marks to the true beauty we hold inside.  I hope that this story will help those of you who do not love yourself, or even like yourself to look at yourself in a different way.  You are the only one who can truly control what you think of yourself.  Look past your differences and love yourself and be happy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Happiness is a state of mind and nobody could better teach us this than Eeyore, the cute little donkey with the tail that keeps falling off, from Winnie the Pooh.  HE can teach us a lot about the ups and downs in our lives.   Don't you just love the messages taught in these wonderful stories.  Read between the lines and you will learn a lot.  Speaking about Winnie the Pooh you can read between the lines in this little video below, because in our own life, there are never enough honey pots to satisfy our wants and needs.   People are never satisfied and always seem to want more.   From this, we must learn to be grateful for what we have, and enjoy like Winnie the Pooh, very smithereen, until our pots are emptied and we need to find some more honey to fill them.  Watch this video to the very end and you will see what I mean.

Youtube Video:  "It's not much of a tail but I'm attached to it." 
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a woman, who is so lovely and sweet but she made an interesting comment about herself.  She said, " I have the ugliest butt, always have had it and always will. I will never be happy with it, but it is what I have been given and I won't get another, so I guess that my ugly butt is something I have to deal with.  I'll just have to get use to it and be grateful that I have other qualities I like better."
"Eeyore's Secrets of Happiness - The Tao of Pooh" 
(Click on this title link above to take you to the next video.)

Sometimes we can’t find our happy place alone, and that's where friends  come in, who can help us to lift ourselves from their own experiences. Sometimes we are  sad, and need someone to help cheer us up!   Each friend is unique and has different suggestions and advice to offer us, like the friends of Eeyore.  The following are the things, each friend of Eeyore felt like would help him to be happy. Here is the setting:  Eeyore was sitting up on top of a mountain with rain clouds hovering overhead, and looking pretty sad.

Piglet:  “If I were a very sad animal, I’d want somebody to cheer me up!"
Tigger:  “Roo and me will teach him how to bounce.” 
Roo: “Don’t worry Eeyore, bouncing will make you happy!” 
Tigger:  “Yeah, and you’ll be twice as happy, because you have twice as many legs to bounce with. 
(Tigger and Roo’s best attempts to teach Eeyore how to add bounce to his step, doesn’t work, because what is good for them, isn’t always good for others.  Sometimes friends best intentions to help us, will not always work out,  because everyone is different, but how lovely is it to know that at last friends care enough to try to help.  That message alone should make us happier.)

Rabitt:  "Gardening is the only true happiness!  Happiness is seeing the benefits of good hard work. Watching the things you’ve planted with your own hands, springing up-- fresh and green.  And then, harvesting them.”   (What we can learn from Rabbit is that developing talents, hobbies, and passions, and using them in constructive ways, can give us great joy, especially when we get to reap the harvest, seeing and enjoying what our little hands have created. Sometimes just being out in the little garden that we've created for ourselves, nurturing the seedlings and watching the plants grow, makes us happy.)
Owl:  "Flying.. soring the light fantastic, sailing high over the hill."  (Owl ties balloons to Eeyore so he can share with him how much fun it is to fly.)
Owl:  "This is more fun than sitting on your old mountain top."  (Owl gets Eeyore up in the sky and then proceeds to pop the balloons.) 
Eeyore:  Why'd you do that? 
Owl:  Because it's time for your solo.  How I remembered my first flight, soring on high, the wind in my feathers... the whole world opening up before me.
(Friends can jump in and do their best to help us to be happy and try to lift our spirits, but we should not become dependent on others to create happiness for us.  It's like learning how to fly, once we are finally lifted up, we need to be able to do it on our own, and as owl says, "Take our own first flight, and letting the whole world open up before him.")
Pooh:  The way to stay the happiest, is to let your tongue lickle, and keep your tummy tickled. (There is one thing that Friends can do for us that really does make a difference and it is something that anyone can do.  Friends can lift spirits by taking us out to lunch, or when we are really down, friends bring in meals.  Sometimes just not having to prepare a meal for ourselves really gives us a lift.  Friends can do that for us.   Pooh fed his friend, and didn't stop until his tummy was full or in his words, "keep your tummy tickled."  )
Eeyore:  Go ahead, I'm ready ... cheer me up.
Piglet:  Oh Eeyore, I'd love to, I'm supposed to, but I guess I'm really here to apologize.  you are always sitting up here so sad, and everyone did such a good job of cheering you up, and I had no way to make you happy.
Eeyore:  "So that's what this is all about.  I'm grateful to you all, even if you almost killed me.  But I don't come up here because I'm sad, I come up here because I'm happy.  Let me show you something, because you are a good friend.  Now watch that cloud. (Piglet watches the clouds look so pretty, when the sunshine comes shining through a break in the dark clouds.) Eeyore turns things around and invites his friends to join him to see why he likes being up on the mountain.
Piglet:  "Thank you for sharing this Eeyore, it's made everyone so happy."
Eeyore: " Just returning the favor."

When our friends rally around us at our most difficult times in life, like Eeyore who was grateful for his friends attempts in trying to cheer him up, he too was able to return the favor and make them happy too, by sharing something with them that is special to him.  Piglet simply could not think of a way to cheer him up and did nothing, later feeling the need to apologize for it.  There is no need to apologize for lack of knowing what to do, or how to act when a friend is in need.  Spending time with that friend might be the very best medicine, you know... lending a listening ear, and being there when a friend is in need.  

I hope you saw all the applications that I found in this darling video and use them to be the friend of an Eeyore in your life.

Do something about the negatives in your life!

Do you know someone who is constantly negative?  Do you know someone who can't let the bad things that have happened to them go, and keep bringing them up?  How can anyone be happy if they continually focus on the negative and never let the true picture of their life develop?  Here is a cute little poster, that I made for you to put up for yourself, or pass out to somebody who needs it. 

A good friend of mine once told me a quote that I will never forget the jest of.  It went something like this.. "God made our shoulders round, so we could let things roll off.  If they were square, things would just stack up and weigh us down."

Now, go out and have a Happy day! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I would like to direct you to an article found in the Deseret News today, by a blog follower, Rebecca Adams, of Illinois.  This article about a young girl who lost her family in a tragic automobile accident.  She was only 8 years old at the time, and suffered tremendous loss.  The story tells how she and her family were on their way to Idaho to a family reunion, when their pickup truck blew a tire, jumped the median and collided head on with a semi trailer.  Both her parents and sister were killed, but she was injured. A couple who saw the accident rushed to their aid and protected and comforted her until help arrived.   Joie's Aunt and uncle took her in to raise her.   After the accident lots and lots of people, even some they didn't know,  came to their aid with food and meals and comfort. 

Today, Joie is 14 and she had the idea last year about starting a Facebook page called Random Acts of Kindness:  Celebrating kindness, and encouraging strangers to participate.  On that Facebook page, it reads, "When tragedy hit, so did the acts of kindness, many fro strangers.  Each year, we give back, to remember."  1,500 people accepted the invitation, and did random acts of kindness.  Josie said that it makes her smile because they are doing these random acts in honor of her family, and that makes her HAPPY.  I hope that you will join in this years tribute and pay it forward, and be happy too!

I could go on but I want to give you the link to the Deseret news article, so you can go back and read the whole story.

With all this young lady suffered, she certainly has a right to be angry, sad, depressed, and still in grief, but instead, she says that she doesn't like living in the past and would rather be HAPPY and live life to the fullest.  Let me ask you.... could you do the same?  Have you done the same or are you still living in the past because of a hurt, tragedy or deep sadness that has happened to you I the past?  If you are still hurting, try what Joie did, and pay it forward.  Move on and don't let past events ruing your happiness for the rest of your life.  Go out and instead of looking inward, look outward and find someone that you can give service to, even if it is just starting with a smile.  I hope that you will join in this years tribute and pay it forward, and be HAPPY too!


Here is a free printable for you or for you to share with others.  To print, click on the image, then save it to your computer and print from there. When you consider these qualities, look to yourself and see if you posses them.  The ones you fall short on, work on, and I guarantee, you will become a happier person.  BE HAPPY!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Be happy and you will make others happy too!

Free Printable Message reminder for yourself or others.  To print click on the image to enlarge, then save it to your computer.  Put it somewhere you will look at every day as a little reminder that happiness is contagious, and if you will BEE happy, you will make others happy too!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's a hap, hap, HAPPY day!

Don't you just feel good listening to music?  I love it and know that there are so many songs that can lift the spirits of those who need it, just by listening.  I love vintage everything, and I found this darling image video that goes with  the OLD song... It's a hap, hap, happy day.  Share this link with someone you know needs a boost today.  This song is certain to put a smile on your face, and send you off into the world with a bounce to your step.   For some reason I cannot pull up the actual video for you to see right here, but click on this link and it will take you to Youtube where you can view it.

By the way, I created this cute little poster printable for you to help brighten up your day!  Starting the day out with a positive message and a smile will make anyone happy!  Feel free to download it and be sure to share it with someone who might need a bit of "HAPPY" in their lives too.  You know, there is always something to smile about, though sometimes we need to be reminded.  Enjoy!  BE HAPPY!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Accentuate the POSITIVE, eliminate the NEGATIVE

Since I was a child, my mother use to sing this song to her children.  We all recognized it, had it memorized, and understood exactly what she meant when she started to sing it.  I thought I would pass my mothers secret to stop murmuring and try to be happy.
Here are the lyrics:
"You've got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative,
And don't mess with Mr. in-between!"

Never wear a sheepish Smile PRINTABLE

I just made a little printable for you to print off and enjoy.  This is a pass along, to promote smiling, and being happy!  Give it to someone who needs it or to someone you want to make smile.  Just enjoy!!!  By the way, the poem is by me, the illustrious writer and author of this blog.  Made you smile!

If you want to be happy, Think happy, stay happy

If you want to be happy, think happy, stay happy
I love this quote and found a great site that has printables, calligraphy, ideas and happy things, that really go well with the messages on my blog.  Click on the title and you will be magically whisked away to this wonderful website called, HAPPY HANDS PROJECT. 

I want to share a message about what I think this means, but I am too tired to write it tonight, so tomorrow will be the day.  Check back in with me to see what I have come up with.

This morning, as I was contemplating about what I might share on this blog today, I decided that the way to stay happy is to think happy, and to go out and do something to make someone happy, and that I did today. 

This story begins about 30 years ago when I was a young married woman, and had 3 little children.  We lived in a cute little neighborhood and people were friendly. One day at church,  noticed a cute little old man who sat alone but always seemed to have a smile on his face.  I determined that I needed to meet him so one day, after finding out where he lived, I took my little children on a walk to meet Quayle Munson.  He lived by the park, so my kids were all too happy to go meet him if we could stop off at the park as well.  We knocked on his door, and after what seemed to be a very long time, the door opened and a surprised Quayle Munson answered the door. We introduced ourselves to him and told him we had noticed him at church and wanted to meet him.  He invited us in and this began a good friendship with this cute little old man.

We learned that he was in his 80's, and his wife had died many years before.  He did not have any children living instate, so he didn't see them very much.  He had pictures all over his house of his wife and children and I could tell he loved them dearly.  Over time, we learned a lot about this little man as we adopted him as sort of a surrogate grandpa. He had something unique in his house that he loved to show off and that was his bathtub.  I can't remember if it was orange or red, but he considered it his claim to fame because nobody had a colored bathtub.  My kids asked to see his bathtub every time we visited and he was only too happy to oblige. 

We nurtured our friendship with this kindly old gentlemen in many different ways.  We baked him cookies, invited him to our house for dinner and had lots of visits to his house. We  really enjoyed his company and he always had a story to tell to my children.   This friendship went on for 2 years, until my husband was offered a great position in his company in a different state, and we put out house up for sale, and prepared to move. 

When we visited Mr. Munson to tell him we would be moving soon, tears filled his eyes and it made him very sad.  I told him that we would still write to him and when we came back for visits, we would come visit him.  He hugged each of us and told us that he would really miss us, and that he had something he wanted to give to us to remember him.  We were standing at his front door, and when he returned to the door, he had in his hands a set of 4 dinner plates.  He then went on to tell us the story about them.  He told us that his wife had worked for a short time in the White House in Washington D.C., when Richard Nixon was serving as president.  He said that his wife worked in the kitchen, though I don't recall exactly what she did.  When she left that position, she was given as a going away gift, these 4 dinner plates, that were used as everyday china, that the Nixon family ate their dinner on.  Besides these two plates, he went and retrieved some cut  glass water goblets, that were also used by the Nixon Family. 

We were all quite taken back by this amazing gift.  I felt very much hesitant to accept such a gift as it was precious to him because it belonged to his deceased wife, and also had some pretty interesting heritage behind them.  He insisted, and we thanked and hugged him and left a tear filled little man, watching us walk home. 

I have kept these dishes for 30 years, remembering this wonderful little old man that we had a fabulous friendship with.  Recently, I had occasion to think about when I die, who might inherit such a treasure, and determined that I needed to try to find his family, and give it to them.  I love to research on the Internet and used some of my genealogy search tools as well as my private eye abilities, and eventually found the name of his wife and children.  It took many hours but I also found the names of his grandchildren, who are still living today.  One of them happened to be a Dentist in California and his office contact information was on the Internet.  So.. this morning I made a phone call to this dentist, and it happened that his patient had not yet arrived, so I was able to speak with him and tell him this whole story and offer to him a family treasure.   In our conversation, we exchanged contact information and I told him if he or any of Mr. Quayle Munson's grandchildren were to be in my area of the world, to  please drop by and they could claim these historically valuable and personally connected dishes and goblets of his Grandfather and Grandmothers. 

After hanging up the phone, I cannot tell you how happy I felt to give such a gift.  I could have kept them and even sold them and made a pretty penny, but the value I received for giving them away to someone who valued them in a way that I did, was worth it. 

To sum this all up, if you want to stay happy, then think happy thoughts and go out and do something for someone who needs it.  Find joy in the giving, and receive the happiness that is a natural result of doing something good. 

Monday, August 12, 2013


I always go to the wrong checkout line at the grocery store.  Never fail, I pick the wrong line.  Inevitably I end up in the line with the cashier in training, who takes double the time to check people out with their groceries, because she’s learning.  I seem to be drawn to the line; behind someone who has a purse bulging with coupons, needing them scanned individually or who has been dumpster diving for coupons and they are burning a hole in their wallet.  Occasionally I get behind people who don’t have enough money to pay for their purchase, so they have to recalculate and put things away until they reach a point that their food items, match the money in their purse.  This was one of those days and I’d like to share this story with you.

I didn’t want to take much time in the grocery store because I needed to get home to prepare dinner.  I only had a few items that I needed to purchase and I felt pretty certain that I would get in and out of the grocery store within a 15 minute window.  I knew the layout of the store, grabbed my few grocery items, and proceeded to the shortest checkout line.  Ahead of me was a cute little old silvery haired woman that I had seen, rolling through the isles of the store in the electric scooter.  Her few items were in the scooter basket, and she was taking out each item, setting them on the check out counter.  The problem began after the scanning was complete and the store checker announced the total amount of her purchase.  I heard an audible gasp, as she began fumbling through her purse, looking for extra change that had dropped to the bottom.  She laid all the found coins on the counter for the checker, but after counting, she was still short.  The checker was friendly and cute and proceeded to try to ease the embarrassment or her customer, suggesting that maybe some of her items could be saved for another shopping day.  A bit frazzled, this little woman, started sifting through the sacks to see what she could put back.  Out loud, she accounted for every item saying, “I need this for dinner, can’t make my casserole without this soup, and I need everyone of these prescriptions.”  There was nothing she could could put back, and needed everything, yet she didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

In the meantime, behind both of us, were three other grocery shoppers, who were wrestling with their children, and seemed obviously annoyed that this little old woman was taking so much time.  I was uncomfortable too, but not for myself and my own time constraints, but because I could see that this little old woman needed everything in those shopping bags, and didn’t know what to do.  She even mentioned that her ride home was out sitting in the car, and perhaps the checker could wait for her to go out to the car to see if her ride had any money to contribute. It was then that someone behind me let out a loud and frustrated sigh, and if she had a horn in her hands, it would be honking.   

My heart began to pound fast,  and a lump in my throat grew as I felt compelled to take action.  I knew what I had to do and as quietly as I could, I asked the cashier how much more the old woman needed to complete her purchase.  She told me it was just a little over $6.00.  I knew that I was all out of change, but asked the cashier if she could put the balance of her purchase on my purchase and I would pay for it.  She smiled at me and said, “Sure”, looked at the little old woman, and took the amount of money that was lying on the counter and said, “Paid in full”. 
The old woman was startled, and said, “But I don’t have enough!”
The cashier said, “It’s been taken care of.” Before I could get the cashiers attention to tell her to not say anything, she continued, “ paid by the woman behind you .” 

Oh how I wished that she hadn’t revealed that tiny piece of information, thinking this woman could have somehow thought that the food items she bought were on a 1 minute special sale or that she was the 100,000 shopper and won that as her prize.  Maybe the cashier could have pretended that she had miscounted the change, and it ended up being exactly enough, but my little secret deed was revealed.
Then I saw the old woman try to turn her silvery gray head around to see me.  She seemed stiff and could only turn her neck half way, but as I looked at her profile, I saw tears welled up in her eyes and streaming down her face.  She uttered the words, “Thank-you!”  Speaking she suggested that d that if I would follow her out to her car, she could write down my name and address, and send me the money in the mail.

I laughed and said, “Today is your lucky day, and there is no need to worry about paying me back.”
She said, “Oh, but I can’t take your money!”

I told her that she wasn’t taking anything, because it was a gift for being such a lovely person.  I went on, “I hope that you have a wonderful day, because you have made mine very happy!”
She wiped her nose and face, and with a sniff, repeated in whispers, "Thank-you, thank you so very much... how can I ever repay you?”

By then, I had such a good feeling all over me, and tears were in my eyes that I told her “No, it is you I need to thank,  but if you feel you must repay me, then pass this gift on, to someone else you find in need!”  She shook her head up and down, understanding what I had said, as the bagger lifted her groceries sacks into her scooter basket,. and walked with her to assist putting the groceries into the car. 
My groceries only took a minute to scan and pay for, and I was out the sliding doors walking toward my car.  I noticed this darling little silvery haired woman getting into the car parked right next to me, telling the driver of the car about the experience she had in the store.  She was still crying and wiping tears as she spoke. 

My heart was warm, as I refreshed in my mind, the events that has just happened inside the store.  I felt so good in side.  I needed that experience that day because it lifted my spirits and I thought about how blessed I am to have my health, enough money to pay for all the necessities of life and so much more.  I am so glad that I acted upon the promptings I had received.  Such a small price to pay, and I received so much more than I gave. 
If you want to be happy, give something away!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Make Someone Happy

This morning, I woke up singing this wonderful old song, "Make someone happy."  I found the video clip on You tube and wanted to share with you.  Listen to the words, as they make sense, that is if you want to be happy!

Make Someone Happy by Durante, Jimmy
Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy;
Make just one heart the heart you sing to.
One smile that cheers you,
One face that lights when it nears you,
One girl you're ev'rything to.

Fame if you win it,
Comes and goes in a minute.
Where's the real stuff in life to cling to?
Love is the answer,
Someone to love is the answer.
Once you've found her, build your world around her.

Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy,
And you will be happy, too.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Some years my family moved from our hometown, friends and family, to a new home in a new state and town.  There is always a certain amount of fearfulness about fitting in, making friends, and being accepted, and these thoughts were in all of our heads.  Even our children were apprehensive about this move, and hated to leave behind their friends, to start over again in this new neighborhood.  I have learned from past experience that not everyone will come running to your front door to meet you, if you are a new move in, but I knew that we could either sit back and hope it will happen or we could be proactive to make it happen.  We took the proactive approach and created a plan to meet our neighbors.

People love cookies, and I know that unless you are severely diabetic, nobody will refuse the offer of a freshly baked cookie.  I gathered up my children, and together we added the ingredients to make our best recipe of chocolate chip cookies.  After they were baked and cooled, we divided them up on several paper plates, making sure that we left one for our own family.  Then we made a plan about who should be the lucky recipients of our cookies.  This would be our way of meeting them, and hopefully putting a smile on their face in the process.  We were excited and everyone eagerly participated.

We selected 4 different families in our neighborhood to deliver these cookies to.  The very first family we picked lived directly across the street from us.  When we had moved in, and before we had our phone, we needed to make a phone call, and asked if we could make a call from their home.  They were kind enough to let us in, and so we thought that we would return the favor. 

With my children's faces wiped off, and hair combed, we took our cookies and walked across the street to present one to this family.  We knocked on the door and the mother opened the door.  She had quite a surprised and perplexed look on her face.  Maybe me any all my children were a little bit overwhelming, so I quickly said, "We wanted to thank you for the use of your phone a couple days ago, so we baked you some cookies."  My kids were all smiling and excited about sharing but somehow she didn't seem as happy to receive them as we were to give. 

She then said, "Why are you giving me a plate of cookies?"

I said, "Because we wanted to say thank-you."

She then said, "Who does this?  Why the cookies?"

My kids began to squirm around and became a bit uncomfortable, as our best efforts seemed to be questioned like we had put poison in the cookies or maybe we were trying to sell them or something.

The woman's mouth was pretty much open, with jaw dropped and her kids had gathered around her at peering through the doorway at us.  I wanted to cut the uneasiness a bit, so I then said,
"We live across the street and wanted to meet you.  This is our way of meeting you."

Once again, the woman said, "But why the cookies?"

I brushed it off and began to name the names and ages of my children and then said that we hoped that we could become good friends one day.  My kids were only too anxious to leave their uncomfortable presence, until finally she said, "Well thank you!" (That thank-you seemed to have a question mark at the end of it.)

She went on to say, "Nobody has ever brought them a plate of cookies or anything, and that she was so surprised that she didn't know what to do or what to say."

I said, "that's ok," and my daughter continued... "Maybe you will get more use to it if we keep bringing you cookies again."  At that our neighbor smiled and seemed to warm up and her kids were pulling on the plate of cookies, to get a better look at them. 

We said a quick good-by and walked back across the street.  I gathered my kids around in our family room,  and the conversation when something like this....."Who doesn't like cookies?" "Wow that was uncomfortable." 

I asked the kids how they felt about giving the cookies away, and each of them said that it made them happy, even though they weren't received in the way that they had hoped.

Time went by and so did plates of cookies, casseroles, and many other goodies.  We became friends with this neighbor, and we all knew that happiness does come into our heart when we give something away, even as simple as cookies. 

Kathleen Gauger


Throughout my lifetime I have had opportunity to enjoy and share a quote that is probably my most favorite.  It contains the secret of what it takes to be happy.  Let me share with you...

 "There is a destiny that makes us brothers, none goes his way alone.  All that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own."  Edwin Markham

I suppose I could stop here and leave it up to you to connect the dots and figure it out, but since this has been a livelong activity of mine, I will explain.  If we want to be happy, I mean truly happy, then we need to extend ourselves to others and by doing so, happiness and joy come back to us ten fold.  To further explain, I would like to share a true story:

Many years ago, in fact, about 20 years to be exact, my family lived in Nevada.  We moved there to further my husbands career.  While living there we made lots of friends, but one friend in particular at one point in her life, became withdrawn, somber and depressed.  Anyone who would look at her from the outside would think she had every reason to be happy.  She had a handsome husband and very beautiful and accomplished and talented children. She had a large and elegantly decorated home and was provided every comfort in life that anyone could imagine.  Her husband was a prominent physician and they lived what most people would think to be a charmed life.  They had just about everything and anything that life could offer and wanted for nothing except for one thing---she wasn't happy.  Eve (as I will call her) struggled for some time, and never felt happy.  She went to all kinds of doctors, who diagnosed and put her on medications that were meant to make her feel better.  She lost weight,  which you'd think would make anyone happy and boost their esteem, but even a slimmer body didn't cheer her up. Her husband and children were at a loss and felt horrible that she was so miserable.

One day, Eve knew that she could not continue to live this way, and determined that there had to be a way to feel better that she had not explored.   For the lack of something to do, she decided to go down to the convalescent center which was located close-by her home, and paid a few visits to some elderly women she knew there.  She entered the home, and found her way down the long hallway to  the room of the first woman who greeted her with joy.  How happy she was to get a visitor, and an unexpected one at that.  Together the women chatted, and many stories were heard of a past life, family and children.  Laughter was heard and warmth was felt between them.  This emotion was vaguely familiar to her, but it grew and grew as they chatted. The conversations ended, and Eve was on to the next room, and was greeted much in the same way as the first visit.  Time passed, memories shared, and joy once again filled Eve.  She was beginning to feel alive again, though at first she didn't understand it.  By the time she had visited the last woman in the convalescent home, Eve's countenance was transformed.  She felt warmth in her heart, joy in her soul and she smiled as she left to walk back down that long corridor to the parking lot.  She had become a different woman.  She was happy and actually felt it.

As Eve contemplated the conversations she had with each woman, and reviewed the feelings expressed and shared, she understood that if she wanted to be happy, she needed to give something away and the more she gave the more that came back into her own.  Eve gave away her time, compassion and listening ear, and the natural consequence of doing something good like that, was happiness.  Her spirits were lifted as she lifted the spirits of others. 

Eve's darkness  had been replaced by happiness, for the first time in a very long time.  She determined that she would continue her visits there, and did.   Each visit she would do something a little different for these women, who were so happy to see her.  She brought a new brush and brushed and styled the hair of one woman.  She painted her fingernails of another.  For the next, she brought a favorite treat to share, that had been mentioned in a previous visit. 

Eve's whole countenance changed, as she reached out to serve others.  She never dreamed that by doing something so simple, could have such dramatic effects on herself.  As her family witnessed the change in their mother and wife, they too joined in and also became involved with visiting more and more people at the convalescent center.  They all understood the joy that a simple visit would bring. 

Friends of Eve's saw the change and asked her what had made the difference in her, because she was joyful and seemed to glow.  When she told them, they too joined in, and this service at the convalescent center became a ripple effect throughout the neighborhood and community. 

When we reach out and serve others, it does come back to us.  Happiness is something that comes when we forget about ourselves and reach out to others.

I hope that all of you who read this post will go out and find your own happiness just like Eve, and if you do, please write back to me and share your experience.

Best regards, Kathleen Gauger