Welcome! This site is an endeavor to spread an attitude of positive thinking and optimism. By searching for joy and beauty in all things - even the mundane, perhaps a smile will spread from my computer ... to you!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Candy Corn, Wax Lips, and Pixie-Sticks" (original publish date: Oct. 31, 2009)

Ah, the memories: Trick-Or-Treating in the neighborhoods we grew up in; costumes we bought - or costumes we made (usually at the last minute!); parties and Fall festivals; visiting our first "haunted" house; begging our moms to buy our favorite candy to hand out to our friends, but finding out later that the begging didn't do any good - our parents always bought their favorite!

What I find extremely funny is that now I'm doing the same thing! This morning while doing a little grocery-shopping, I found myself in the just-for-Halloween-candy-aisle, searching through what was left of all the sugar-coated, chocolate-coated, individually wrapped, bags of goodies. Of course I wasn't alone, and peeking out of the corner of my eye I happened to notice that the other three or four adults standing in that section were all middle-aged (like me). Surprised that none of us standing there had any kids roaming about, I could only assume that those parents of younger children had already prepared and purchased their treats and were (wisely) at home making their final preparations for an evening of fun with their families.

Did you ever notice how just standing in a candy aisle, with your mouth watering over all those sweet, gooey, delicious selections could bring back a host of childhood memories? I still enjoy sitting around with friends and family comparing the favorites we loved as kids: fake candy cigarettes (which our mother's abhorred), Pixie-Sticks, wax soda-bottles, wax lips, wax teeth, the (nasty) gum that came with the baseball cards, Zotz, Pop-Rocks, various bubble-gum and candy-bars...I'm sure we can all add to the list! It's really no coincidence when you think about it, how so many of our fondest memories (especially those of our childhood) contain a thought or two centering around candy. Whether it's digging through the trick-or-treat bags, pulling out our favorites and hiding them for later so that no-one else (or the kids!) can swipe it, or just having enough change in our pocket for that favorite candy-bar in the check-out line, candy holds a very special place in every one's heart.

A dentist's worst night-mare and a mother's last resort for bribery, a small piece of candy or chocolate can be an intense instrument of persuasion or "drug" (if you will). Depending on your "flavor" of choice, that first bite can totally transform a person's current state of mind. Taste and smell are amazingly powerful senses - when triggered, those senses have the ability to take us back in time, completely change our mood, even emote feelings of pure pleasure!

Sometimes those cravings for candy or chocolate are just that - our taste buds are screaming for something sweet, something to satisfy a hunger, or even cure a "bad taste" left over from perhaps a too-spicy meal. Personally I find that I derive the most from chocolate when eating it only for the sheer pleasure of it!

There's an old advertisement for Tootsie-Roll Pops that I've disagreed with my husband over for years....remember that old owl who was always wondering "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-Roll Pop?" I believe that old owl had it completely wrong. Commercial after commercial, that owl could NEVER wait and just savor that lollipop (which my crunch-happy hubby is in total agreement with - he can't even suck on a mint or cough drop properly!) Me - I believe it's all about the enjoyment...with everything us working moms tend to be involved in these days, why do you think we "crave" chocolate so much? (Gentlemen, it DOESN'T always have to do with hormones!)

Simple pleasures....some might say "guilty" pleasures, but a pleasure all the same. The next time you indulge in your favorite sweet - be it a form of chocolate, gum-drop, jelly-bean, taffy or gum - try savoring that first taste. Let it linger on your tongue...for just a moment. Close your eyes and let your senses take over. It's really only seconds out of your day, but those few seconds can immediately transport you elsewhere and perhaps even ease a weary mind and body. A bit of Joy from one little piece of candy...no wonder these kids are so excited at my door tonight...they've already got BAGS full of the stuff!

There goes the doorbell again - have a treat - and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Pay it forward - spread a smile!

(photo courtesy of Google images.)

Friday, September 27, 2013


YEAH, I KNOW .... it's been a while... BUT SO WHAT????
What a better way to get back into the writing habit than to remind us all that PAYING IT FORWARD in some small way - on a regular basis - can do so much for so many?
I've personally been through so, so much over the last (almost) two years...  and honestly, it is way too much to write about and list here today.  Once again, I've let the ups and downs of life personally keep me from doing one of the things I dearly love ... putting pen to paper (or, in this case - fingers to keyboard!)  Trust me, if I tried writing about all of it here today, it would be a pitiful listing of grievances, and come off appearing as a  "woe is me"   kind of dialogue - and that is not what I like to convey!  I can say that we have had some peaks and valleys within our family recently, and are hopefully coming out the other side of this desert, where we've experienced some major medical, financial and emotional challenges.
However - throughout all the recent upheavals in my life, there have been a couple monumental things that have kept me moving forward:  
#1 - My faith in God.  Yeah, sometimes I don't feel like getting up and going to Mass.  And ashamedly, I've done that.  But ya know what?  I believe that our God is a loving and forgiving God - yeah, I know He can get angry... but God also knows our human natures...after all -  HE DESIGNED US.  I personally believe that He gets it when I'm  Angry.  Upset.  Frustrated.  Hurting.  Scared.  Annoyed.  I have finally figured out that I don't have to feel "guilty" any more just for feeling these feelings.  It's what we do with those feelings - our actions - that can make or break us.  That's where sin comes in.  And it's also where GRACE comes in.  All we have to do is ask - and God will grant us the GRACE to deal with what we need  - at that moment.  I plan on discussing this amazing gift again - I've begun to learn quite a bit about it recently!
#2 - Random Acts of Kindness.  By this, I mean I've been on the receiving end of kindness throughout all of my recent tribulations.  Whether from family, close friends, acquaintances or complete strangers, I've had some glimpses of perfect love and charity passed  to me in recent months, and the effect has been over-whelming at times.  It always seems to come to me when I need it most. 
And that's the important thing.  You just never know what the person on the receiving end could be enduring at that particular moment in time. Maybe they're having a good day - who knows!  Then your small random act of kindness will be a positive reinforcement to their current joy in the world around them - and hopefully, that person will immediately pay that act of kindness forward to another. 
But what if that person on the receiving end of your random act of kindness is not having a "good" day?  What if they are experiencing extreme hardship, stress, ill health, grief, anger ... or any number of sad or negative experiences? 
I have to say that I believe that your while your act of kindness may not be paid forward as "quickly," the impact and effect that it has AT THAT MOMENT could just be a small gift of grace that that person needed.  Perhaps they are experiencing too much to even consider passing on a random act of kindness to another human being.  However - the probability that they would never forget your actions is high.  They will remember the small smile you gave them, the favor you granted, the cut in line, the free cup of coffee, the kind word, the wave, the ride home... and perhaps, when life seems a little less stressful, they will remember and then pay it forward - to someone else who really needed it at that particular moment.
I've been told by several people in my life that paying it forward is really just creating "good Karma."  I have to disagree...  because when you truly commit a random act of kindness from your heart - from the depth of your soul - you care.  You care about that fellow human being at that moment - you care, really, for all of humanity.  It's no longer just a question of "tit-for-tat" or matching up what comes in or goes out spiritually.  Love has to be involved for it to truly work.
I've run across several blogs, websites and articles over the years on the effects of "Paying It Forward," and one of the best quotes I've come across is this:
"Any random act of kindness can cause a positive ripple effect restoring our faith in the love and compassion of the human spirit."
In recent months, those acts have given me new hope, renewed my strength, and restored my faith...  I'm finally arriving back to the place emotionally where I can fully open myself up to passing this on.  Again - I didn't forget any of those moments.  They have stayed with me, and I pray that I can be an example and conduit of Grace now to someone else.
“It is my wildest dream that the concept of paying a favor forward instead of paying it back would take over the world and results in a cascading flood of people helping their fellow human beings. This may never come true but I believe that if just one of the people I help does the same for another person then it has made a difference to the world. I do not have a lot of money, I am not extremely gifted or intelligent, I don’t now how to make things better for everyone but if I can help anyone in some small way, whether that be opening a door for a lady who has her hands full with shopping, directing a lost tourist, informing an elderly man as to when the next bus will arrive or even just saying “thank-you” and smiling at a sales assistant who appears to have had a bad day, I know that my small favors somehow, somewhere make a difference, and that’s enough for me. Don’t pay it back – pay it forward. The world wont change, but you can.” posting on a kindness website by Bree, a 20 year old Australian
May you be Blessed today - and every day!
(Quotations from "Pay It Forward Day - Best Pay It Forward Stories":  payitforwardday.com)
Pay it forward - Spread a Smile !

Friday, January 6, 2012



Well, after a year (actually - it's been OVER a year!) I'm back....  at least, I think I'm back! (insert smiley face here!)

Alas, what BETTER time of year - when making New Year's resolutions - to re-start, jump-start, RENEW my outlet for self-expression and optimism?  Due partly to just letting LIFE "get in the way," I've also experienced some major set-backs within my life - I think I've spent the last few months of this year just reflecting on all that has happened in that time-frame.  Both good and bad, it's definitely been a roller-coaster of a ride!

One thing I've discovered in my absence from this page, is that I was experiencing a tremendous amount of guilt during those less-than-stellar moments in my life when I attempted to sit down to spread a positive thought out into the world... I mistakenly felt that I just couldn't do it.  I've always known deep within me what I wanted this blog to represent.  During all these lower points, I took a (probably) too-deep look at my current situation and ended up developing a major pity-party for myself in the process!

Besides a major health scare and another open-heart surgery for my husband, ailing parents, financial issues, job searching... I previously thought the year was just going down hill all the way.  But believe me, I've also had PLENTY to be happy and thankful for as well this past year...  So then, what about those moments that weren't so bad, or so ugly, or so horrible?  Simple.  Laziness.

I let myself slip out of the habit of writing  - and sharing.  The next thing I knew - three months had gone by - then six, then twelve.  Isn't that how we let most bad habits take over?  Without thinking - without focus  it . just . happens .

And so - my "theme" this evening, if you will - in keep with our traditions of renewal during the month of January - is that it's o.k. .....


My mission statement within this blog has always been - and will continue to be - to spread a positive word - or smile, if you will.  I hope you will continue to walk with me in that endeavor, while I learn to cut myself some slack in my self-expectations! 

I might not be able to write each and every single day, but I'm going to set a NEW goal that I start by trying to post at least once a week - and hopefully, the good habits return, and I post more than that! And if I don't - I don't.  But I won't get all "hung up" about it!

I sincerely pray that all of you are looking UP at this time - looking ahead to the possibilities, and taking the time to re-charge and re-kindle your batteries.  Happy New Year to all of you - I look forward to renewing some blogger friendships, and making new ones!!!

Pay it forward - spread a smile!!!


(photo courtesy Google Images)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Personal time....

Sorry for the absence, friends.... still dealing with some personal issues.  I will be out-of-town for the next week, and hope to return to you (and my page) with bells on as soon as I return.

Thanks for the understanding, and good wishes -  it's appreciated!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Wordless" Wednesday: Craving....Sand & Surf !

Do you ever get the feelin' that you got to get away?
It's a sympton of the fever all across the U. S. A.

My family doctor told me "son the flu is what you have!"
But I know it's island fever, and I got it real bad.

Hey doc I need a pain reliever!
(Oooo I got it bad) I got the island fever!

I got it bad, I got the island fever!
(Oooo I got it bad) I got the island fever!

from the song: "Island Fever" by The Beach Boys
(Tom Melcher & Mike Love)

Well, we're not getting any beach-time soon...but I have amazing memories of previous vacations spent on sandy shores. 

Watching the waves roll in, clouds drifting in endless shapes and sizes, the sun warming my skin and healing my soul. 

Just looking at these pictures brings a smile to my face, and Joy to my heart as I recall those sensations.  Craving?  Yes.  But happy that I can always return another day....

Pay it forward - spread a smile!