Madeline-EvaMy mother was ‘on’ me all the time as a child. “Smile and say something nice,” she’d prompt. I remember being annoyed. Maybe I didn’t feel like smiling or saying something nice! So there.

But here I am (age five) with Mom (on the right). She must have just told me to smile!

Years later I realized she was right. The world is so full of sadness and worry and fear. If a smile and a few words of kindness and encouragement could be a blessing to others, why not be ready to give both to everyone I encounter. Mom had a beautiful smile and she was a good listener as well as a kind encourager. For years now I have been following her example and my life is full.

“My purpose is to give you life in all it fullness.” (John 10:10)

Just last week a man at the recovery meeting I go to came up to me. “Every time you smile I feel courageous,” he said. I was so taken back I didn’t know what to say except “thank you.” I gave and he gave in return.

Today I smiled directly at everyone I met at the gym and at the grocery store. I told one of the produce men how much I appreciated his advice on what berries to buy for the best price.

And a gentleman in my gym class looked my way today and instead of brushing past him I stopped and smiled and said, “Hello.” When class was over he made a point of smiling at me and even flirting a bit!Β  πŸ™‚ It was nice for both of us. You may remember my writing about him months ago after my husband died and I was not yet smiling much or ready for anyone to ‘hit’ on me.

Thursdays are my gardener’s days to mow and trim. I wave to him and when we meet in person I thank him for keeping my yard looking so healthy and beautiful.

During exercise class last week I spotted a woman who had obviously lost a lot of weight. I told her she looked fabulous. She lit up like a street light and proceeded to tell me how much she’s lost and then pulled up her pant leg to show me how slim her legs are becoming.

It takes so little to open up to others. Why did I wait so long? A smile can be worth a book of words. What has been your experience?


“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”
Paramahansa Yogananda





Smile and Say Something Nice — 22 Comments

  1. What an incredible compliment: “Every time you smile I feel courageous.” I’m glad you’re getting your smile back. The world needs it. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi, Karon,
    This reminds me how my mother used to remind me to say “Thank you for a nice time,” to my girlfriend’s mother whenever I left their home. Now I realize how much appreciated thanks are, even when “canned.” It’s rare to meet a thankful person. So glad you shared today. I’d love to see your smile greeting me anywhere!

  3. Smiles are definitely a warmth of friendliness in a very cold world. Smiles keep away frowns n chases the stresses of life away.

    Smiles light up any room you enter and draws people to you.

  4. My experience is a lot like yours! I am sure I have mentioned this before but when a lady at church commented on how much she liked my smile I whispered to her: ” It improves your face value”! ( not original).
    When one lady told me I was her inspiration I asked her “why” ? of course I was smiling at her. She looked at me for a moment and said: ” I don’t know! All I know is regardless of how I feel, when I see you I feel better.” WOW ! Talk about a surprise answer? Sure made me feel humble and wonder if it could be my smile?!? We never know and a smile does not cost us one penny! Thanks for sharing this, Karen, and I think your mother was a wise lady and she sure has a beautiful daughter “named Karen” !
    Blessings with love, Margaret

    • Thank you for your darling story, Margaret. It seems you each ‘made’ the other’s day with your mutual admiration comments.

  5. What a lovely post, Karen. And you do have an engaging, uplifting smile. It’s not always easy to offer it when our hearts are grieving. It sounds like your heart is healing, and that is very good news. =)

  6. I loved today’s post! I would just like to add that many of we ‘more seasoned’ mortals begin to feel a bit invisible when out in the general public. I always challenge myself to give a warm smile to one of my golden age sisters when I walk by them. To see their face and eyes light up and return the smile is like a ‘two-for-one’ special. My step always feels a bit lighter as I walk away, basking in their gift back. Try it for yourself!

    • This is wonderful, Andy. Thank you for encouraging all of us to smile at others so we can enjoy a ‘two-for-one’ special as you have.

  7. I love seeing a photo of you when you were five! So cute!!! Yes, I notice a warm smile surprises people and lifts their day. There’s so much sadness and hurt in our world that a little kindness goes a long way!

    • So true, Sherry. A smile and a bit of kindness and understanding are gifts that cost us nothing but provide so much for others.

  8. Karen, we got preached to Sunday by our pastor about telling people our troubles when they ask us how we are. They may be spiritually low and when we tell them our troubles they feel lower rather than lifted up. personally, I took notice of his advice and vow to be uplifting from now on. However, I am always careful to be upbeat when at the Nursing Home and it helps the residents there to feel better. But sometimes they give me compliments and make me feel good. You were cute in that picture. I can tell you had a good upbringing, Karen.

    • Thank you, Mary. I really enjoyed hearing what your pastor had to say about sharing our troubles with others. Sometimes it simply adds to their burden and to ours too. It was so nice of you to compliment me on my childhood picture. That day was such a long time ago. These two women, my mom and my Aunt Madeline, have been gone for years. I still miss them both.

  9. Hello Karen, I want to tell you how much I have enjoyed your new book My Senior Moments have gone High-Tech! What an awesome insight to the frustration of all these high tech changes we seniors have to go through, we can totally relate to the wonderful true stories that are in this gem of a book! I’ve come to the conclusion that my grandkids think I’m so totally ingnorate when comes to my I Pad and other gadgets I have, because when something goes array, their like, “Mamaw I just checked it out and nothing’s wrong”…. silent inward scream…lol God gives us the patients to thank them anyway and give them a hug. Again we appreciate your books so much I know God is in control of your writing may He continue blessing you with more grace, and good health! With love, Walter, and Cathy hopper

    • Cathy, you are such a sweet friend, always supporting me–and my writing! So happy you enjoyed the book. Grandkids have become my ‘tech team’ too. This younger generation has the savvy we need because for them it all comes naturally. Have you seen the cute commercial on TV where two grandchildren show up at Grandma and Grandpa’s door? The older folks welcome the younger ones by handing them their laptops and telling them they simply don’t work. Pretty cute and very true.

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