Make a wrinkle today…

September 4, 2022

I forget where I saw this quote; perhaps on the Jack’s Winning Words blog or perhaps in one of the emails I get about quotes of famous people, but it just seemed to click with me today – “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”  (Mark Twain)

Smiling is not something that happens without thought. If you ever have the chance to see what you look like when you are not consciously trying to look any way at all, you will see that your mien (the natural, relaxed state of your face) is not only not a smile; it is usually not very pleasant looking. It’s not that you are unhappy about anything; it’s just that when our faces relax our faces and lips droop into what can be interpreted as a frown or unhappy look.

Most of us, myself included, aren’t always conscious of what we look like (or what people see in our faces) as we go through the day. That’s why someone may ask you if something is wrong or if you don’t feel well. You can change that by smiling throughout the day.

If nothing else, you may be pleasantly surprised at people’s reactions to seeing you smile as you pass by. They may smile, too. They may even speak to you, because you seem to be a pleasant person who is obviously happy. People may seem to be flocking to you. That is partially because those who avoided you and your frown in the past will now engage with you and partially because people prefer to be around happy people and not sad or down people.

People don’t often ask frowning people to share whatever it is that is making them frown; however, many people will be curious and may ask about what is making you appear to be so happy that you have a smile on your face. Frowners look like they just swallowed a frog, while smilers appear to have just hit the lottery. Which would you rather look like?

So, today, make a wrinkle; make the conscious effort to smile as you go through the day. You may find that it is not easy. We often smile when we think of something that makes us happy. Perhaps if you make the effort to smile, happy thoughts will come to mind. Happiness does seem to feed upon itself.

Make a wrinkle today – SMILE!

Being happy with me…

November 16, 2020

In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this Jim Carrey quote – “I think that everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.

Freed went on to write, I’m satisfied to be who I am, even if I’m not a millionaire.  Are you satisfied with who you are?

It is important that you be happy with yourself. I’ve written here before about loving yourself before you can love others. Too many people spend way too much time wishing that they could be someone else, usually someone famous. What they seldom realize is exactly what Carrey and many other famous people have shared – that the fame and fortune that they have has not made them happy. In fact, in many cases, it has had the opposite impact upon them and in extreme cases led to suicides.

“Image courtesy of Simon Howden /”.

Happiness is not fond by amassing fame or fortune or even in accomplishing some lesser life goal that one may have. Successes in business and life are often fleeting and possessions are incapable of returning love. Most often the happiness that we seek in life is found in relationships. Long and successful marriages provide one example. Long and close friendships are another example of things that truly make us happy.

Perhaps the most important relationships that we can have to insure our happiness are with ourselves and with God. We must like ourselves, even love ourselves before we can even attempt to share love with others. A key to loving yourself is to accept the love of God, which frees you to forgive yourself and to love yourself – to be happy with who you are.

It is all too easy to get down on yourself, to be unforgiving with yourself, to be disappointed with yourself, to be unhappy with yourself. People who go too far down that path end up in the dungeon of depression and many have a hard time escaping. It is the overwhelming sense of futility with life that drive some to suicide. They see that as the ultimate way out of their unhappiness with themselves.

But, that is not the answer. The answer lies in accepting and forgiving yourself for whatever was in your past and turning away from the darkness of the dungeon and towards he light of hope. Whether faith kindles that hope or the hope provides the spark to light your faith up and show you the way out, a key step is the step you take towards God as part of your escape. Accepting God’s unconditional love allows you to love yourself and move on.

You can start by saying. “I’m happy with who I am, what I am and what I have.” From that point on, it is OK to seek more, achieve more and acquire more, so long as you always stay happy and thankful for whatever you become and whatever you achieve or acquire. Good thing and some bad things may happen in your life, but you will always be able to cope with whatever happens, if you are grounded in a love of God and self.

So start with God and ask him to help you be happy with “me”. Carrey was alluding in his quote to that real answer.

Decide to be happy today…

November 14, 2019

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used a couple of quotes that seem to fit together and which lead to my thoughts about the topic.

“The world of the happy is quite different from that of the unhappy.”  (Ludwig Witherspoon)

“We are about as happy as we make up our mind to be.”  (Abraham Lincoln)

Do you know someone who seems always to be unhappy? How about someone who seems to be happy all the time? Which would you rather be around today? Why?

The first quote that Jack used gives you the best clue about why you might choose to be around the happy person – their world is a happy, pleasant place to be. There are smiles and laughter and good feelings that are contagious; whereas the dark world of the unhappy person is foreboding and full of frowns and tears and sorrow – not a pleasant place to be. The two worlds are different and those who choose to abode in it with them are impacted by that difference.

So, the choice is to be dragged down into an unhappy world or to be lifted up in joy by a happy environment.

It is now important to understand what Lincoln said. You have the choice to make each morning about which world you will live in that day and which world you will let the public see. Your world, and your day, will be quite different, depending upon which choice you make.

You may retort, “That’s easy for you to say, you aren’t facing the problems that I have today.” Before you start sharing that pity party routine, let us establish that you are correct that no one else has exactly the same challenges facing them as you do. However, there are also people facing much worse situations and problems than you have; so, you can start by being thankful that you are not in their situations. That may lead you to realize that you should be thankful to be alive, so that you can deal with your issues. You are already one-step better off than the alternative and a step closer to a happy place.

Perhaps those two realizations will have already led you to thanking God for another day and for not being in a worse place; but, if not, take time now for that. While you are thanking God, ask for His help in facing your issues and the day. You might be surprised how fast God can put a smile on your face after you have said the little prayer, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Your world will be different. You may not think of yourself as being happy. Perhaps you feel that you are just less unhappy. That’s OK. It will show on your face and in how you interact with others. You might be surprised how much more people want to interact with you when they see you as happy, rather than seeing a sourpuss. People would much rather interact with a Cheerful Cherise  than with a Debbie Downer.

A side benefit of deciding to be happy, rather than down, is that more people will also be willing to help you with your problems. The reason is that many people tend to avoid an unhappy person, so they never get to know you well enough to offer help. Whereas, people who have encountered a happy person and gotten to know them want to help you stay happy, so they offer help.

So, take Lincoln’s advice and make up your mind to be happy today. Take the time to thank God for all that He has already done for your and ask Him for His help with the issues that you are currently facing. Then put on a smile and head out into a happy world. It’s a better and more helpful place to spend the day in.

Decide to be happy today!

Don’t dis the gruntled people that you meet…

October 29, 2019

In today’s post to his Jack’s Winning Word blog, Jack talked about the fact that “gruntled” is an actual word in its own right, even though we almost always use it in the negative sense (as in disgruntled) as a way to describe unhappy people.

The dictionary tells us –





  1. pleased, satisfied, and contented.

I suppose that you could greet someone who approaches with a smile by saying, “You look particularly gruntled today.” They probably wouldn’t know how to react to that.

How do you react to gruntled people when you encounter them during your day? Is your reaction one of trying to bring them down – sort of what the heck are you so happy about? Or do you immediately share their gruntleness and smile back? After all, isn’t it more pleasant to be happy with them than to force them to join you in whatever state of disgruntlement that you were in?

Perhaps, if you keep the word “gruntled” in mind it will help you take the higher road. It is pretty hard to say in your mind, “you look very gruntled today” and not smile or chuckle to yourself. If nothing else, you can congratulate yourself for knowing a unique word to describe their happy state.

So, don’t dis the gruntled people that you meet today. Join them in their gruntled state and have a better day because of it.

Be happy…be gruntled.

Entitled to nothing; but, thankful for everything…

August 12, 2017

Today’s quote is one that I saw on the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently – “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”  (Tiny Buddha)

I would have added the words “they have” to the end of that quote. It is the human tendency to covet what we don’t have that causes dissatisfaction and dissention in our lives. Perhaps the most over-abused term in our modern language is the word “right”, as in it is my right to have (put in anything that you have heard lately using that phrase). Many people feel that they are entitled to or have a right to things that they don’t have and they somehow come to the conclusion that the society that they live in have some sort of obligation to provide them with that things or service or whatever it is that they feel entitle to. In fact, this feeling has become so prevalent in America that news casts often capture people characterizing things like access to health care or a clean water supply as “basis human rights.”

Let’s be clear. There are no such things as basic human rights or entitlements. One has only to journey to the wilds of the South American Jungles or the jungles of Africa to find primitive tribes living hard-scramble subsistence existences to find examples of peoplei want living in the most natural state of human rights. Anywhere else, where people are given, or have free access to, things above the subsistence level by the society they live in, is an example of privileges being extended by that society and not examples of people having rights to those things.

Those people living without entitlements in the wilderness are very happy when the tribal hunters return from a successful hunt or when what crops that they might plant bear fruit. They may wish for an easier life, but they may also be happy with what God has provided them from the land around them, even if their concept of God is somewhat murky.

No one wants to return to a crude, subsistence level of living in the jungle; however, all of us could learn to be a little more thankful and happy with what God has provided and be less focused upon what we don’t have. That is not to say that we need put up with cases of overt discrimination or criminal activities, such as happened in the Flint water crisis; however, we should couch our response to such activity in the proper terms. It was not that the Flint residents had a basic human right to clean water so much as it was that the residents who were paying for water to their houses had the right to expect that the water would be clean and safe to drink and use. That was not the case in Flint and is perhaps not the case in other locations in America. In some cases, it involves ineptitude on the part of the governmental bodies that supply the water and in others it involves criminal conduct by those who knew that they were doing wrong, such as in Flint.

woman-prayingOne can get in the right frame of mind about life by starting each day with a little “thank you” prayer to God for allowing you to awaken to another day. You weren’t even entitled to that day, so right away you have been given a gift to enjoy. Everything beyond that is just something that you should enjoy and be thankful for having. So, take the advice from today’s quote and make the best of everything that you have; rather than spend your time and energy worrying about things that you don’t have. God has just given you the most precious thing that money can’t buy and which isn’t a right – time. Use your time today wisely; be thankful and happy and make the best of what you have.

Be happy to be you…

December 19, 2016

If you Google the little phrase “Happy to be me”, you’ll discover that there are a number smiling-sunof videos from Sesame Street skits to pop songs that all have that same title and theme. The string that runs through them all is that you should be happy to be the person that you are and not try to be someone else.

Sometimes it’s hard to be happy being with yourself, especially in the formative years when you may not be real sure who that is anyway. Children take cues from all around themselves as they grow and learn and try to find their identities. Sometimes they are not happy with their circumstances and who they think they are, especially as compared to others whom they think they would like to be like. They get predjuiceshung up on how they look for dress or act in public and who they hang out with (or are not invited to hang out with). It’s hard to be happy with yourself if you don’t see yourself as being “cool” or being a member of the “in-crowd”. I posted here about that in a blog Trying to be Cool Isn’t Cool.

Sometime those who were rejected by one “in-crowd” form their own alternative groups. That phenomenon is seen a lot during the middle and high school age years. Those are still very chaotic years in the search for one’s identity and some since of comfort with who you are. There tends to be a false sense of security in being a member of some group during school-of-fishthat time in our lives. Being in those groups is like being a fish that is swimming in sync with a large school of fish. One can look around and feel a sense of security and belonging that feels good. Just go with the flow and everything will be alright. You’ll be cool.

Some never really outgrown that need to be identified within some group context and many of those people never really get comfortable with themselves as individuals. Most, however, at some point after high school develop a sense of understanding and comfort with who they are and move on with life witfake people sign.jpghout depending upon the approval of a group to bring happiness. They discover that they are “happy to be me”. We tend to identify people who are at that stage in life as being self-confident. People who have not yet arrived at that level of self-aware comfort with themselves are sometimes be said to be “phony’ or perhaps “fake”.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better. In fact you may wish to start each day with a little prayer that says, “God help me be the best me that I can be today.” That isn’t asking God to change you, only that He allow you woman-prayingto remain focused upon being as good of a you as you can be and not get distracted by desires to be something or someone else.

I wrote a while back on this topic with a post called Just be you. Be happy with who you are and ask for God’s help to be the best you that you can be. The rest of life will take care of itself, if you get right with yourself first. Have a great week just being the best you that you can be.

Reading between the wrinkles…

October 10, 2015

“Your wrinkles either show you’re unpleasant and cranky, or that you’re always smiling.”  (Carlos Santana)

I’ve written here before about smiling, even if you have to force that first smile. Most of us do not have a smile on our faces when we have our “at rest” face on. That’s the face that the world sees when we are totally oblivious to how we look – the face that is just there when we aren’t trying to put any particular expression on it. Both frowning and smiling tend to wrinkle our faces a bit, especially around the eyes and mouth, and sometimes the forehead.

I guess over time those wrinkles settle in and become a part of our natural look. I, for one, would certainly rathersmiling older fce be known for always having a smile on my face; rather than being thought of as unpleasant and cranky. If I’m going to get wrinkles that may as well be happy wrinkles.

So before you go out into the world today, take a little time to think of something that makes you smile, maybe a happy time or event in your life or someone that you love and love to be with. Not only will that get a smile on your face, but it will put in you in a great frame of mind; because –

“If you smile when you are alone, then you really mean it.”  –  Andy Rooney

Embrace your little happy’s

November 14, 2014

“I’m happier now, because…”  (Nataly Kogan)  – from a recent post at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Kogan’s book – 3 Minutes A Day tells about Nataly who founded “Happier, Inc.”  After discovering that chasing the “big happy” wasn’t working, she began to look for the little happys in her life, like making a smilely-faced pancake for her young daughter…the things that brought her joy.  Her Happier website invites people to share their small, tiny, positive moments.

man mad at himselfFor most people the realization will eventually set in that chasing the big happys often only results in disappointments or frustration in life. Learning to be satisfied with life’s little everyday happy moments is a much better path to take.  Happiness is often accompanied by a sense of contentment, at least for a little while. But, life goes on and it is all too easy for one notice out on the horizon the next big happy that could be chased.  Once that next big thing becomes the thing to chase in order to be happy, the feeling of contentment with the current fades quickly away.

I suppose that we could all say, “I’m happier now, because it’s Friday”, but that isn’t the point that Nataly is trying to get across. I suspect that we all fall into the trap of chasing what she calls “the big happy.” In my mind that is when you have this big thing out there that you just feel sure will make you happy if you ever get it or achieve it. Maybe that thing is a possession – “I’ll be happy of I get that new car”; or, maybe it’s achieving some goal or accomplishing some task, like, “I’ll be happy if I get that promotion.” For some people the key to their happiness is supposedly to travel to some exotic place. For many the belief is that happiness will be theirs when they meet Mr. or Ms. Right.

The point that Kogan seems to be making is that we can all be happier if we focus on all of life’s little smiling manvictories and happy moments that we experience every day, instead of becoming obsessed with chasing a few “big happys.”  What are the little things that make you happy? Would you smile and be happy, if only for the moment, if someone gave you a pancake shaped like a smiley face?  The fact is that we get lots of smiley faces every day, if we just know how to look for them. Sometimes they are gestures of thanks for something that you did, like holding a door open for someone or helping a stranger carry something. Many times they are the small, sometimes hasty, thank-you’s that we get from significant others or children for something rather ordinary that we did for them. Learn to accept them as little smiley faces in your life and be happier because of them.

bathWhat little things in your daily life make you happier? These are your little happy’s. Accept them and embrace them. They are what takes life beyond tolerable and makes it worthwhile. You may find that a strange side-effect of being satisfied and content with life’s little happy’s is that life’s big happy’s just naturally happen, too. It’s all part of living life with a positive mental attitude.

So, listen to the words of Bobby McFerrin’s song and Don’t Worry, Be Happy. As you listen complete the sentence in this post title for yourself –“ I’m happier now, because…”


What makes you happy?

October 16, 2014

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  (Wayne Dyer) What makes you happy?  In the movie, “The Jerk,” Steve Martin needs his dog to make him happy.  But the dog growls at him and runs away.  Sometimes the happiness we seek is not the happiness we need.

man with questionHappiness can be an elusive state in our lives, especially if we have wandered off into the weeds, in terms of how we define what makes us happy. So many of us get caught up in, and go along with, happiness being somehow defined based upon achievements and awards or perhaps possessions and pay scale. In truth, happiness has nothing to do with any of those things. Today’s quote by Wayne Dyer points to the correct place where happiness is achieved – in your mind and in your way of thinking.

There are people (even in America) who can be found sitting beside the road with absolutely nothing to their name – no big, showy possessions, no prestigious titles or awards, nothing – who are happy because the day was warm, they found enough empties to return to make money for dinner and they are watching a beautiful sunset. Are they crazy? No; they’re just happy.  Why? Because happiness is within them and they allow it to come out.

So; want separates us from that state of happiness?  It is all in our minds and in the conditioning that we have grown up with ibn our materialistic society. Who decided that you shouldn’t be happy until you have what “the Jones” have? They did. Who said that you can’t be happy unless you get that big promotion? They did. Who said that you won’t be happy unless yo marry the richest guy or the prettiest girl? They did. Who are they? Have you always assumed that they were the happy people that you were trying to be like? Do “they” really exist; or, are they just another figment of your imagination?

One begins to see the truth in life as one gets a bit older.  The bigger house didn’t really bring the level of happiness that was expected. The bigger, faster, fancier car was great, but it too failed to bring true happiness. After a while the realization sets on that true happiness is facing new dayfound within and in relationships with others and not in possessions or titles or prizes. Waking up in the morning makes you happy at some point in your life.  Making it through the day is cause for more happiness. And being surrounded by and being able to interact with those that you love makes you really happy. It is somehow ironic that only at the closing stages of live do you really appreciate life itself. Before that you take in for granted. Only when you begin to sense the end do you begin to appreciate the present and find happiness in just being a part of it.

What makes you happy? Do you think that getting that next possession is the key for you?
How about getting that bigger house or that new car? Are they you key to happiness? If you think so, go back to the top and re-read. Happiness is a state of mind that starts with being content with what you have, because you realize that having things is not nearly as important happy faceas having loved ones. So; start being happy today by refocusing on what is really important in life – the people you love and who love you.


Have a great day and be happy!