The Value Of a Smile

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Teresa

It releases endorphins making us feel happy.

Reduces stress and the stress hormone cortisol.

Laughter expands the lungs and strengthens muscles.

Its an attractive expression that goes with whatever your wearing.

So why wouldn’t you smile?

In writing today – the Police Chief ends up on the wrong side of his handcuffs.

Have a fabulous day, and smile often.

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Kindness Should Be Practicd Often

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa

PM Jacinda Adern of NZ, frequently asks the team of five million to be kind to each other.

The kindness of a teacher, coach, or scout leader cheered us up, encouraged us when we were young.

Let’s send out endless echoes today, being kind to everyone we meet.

In writing today, its complicated, with twists and turns. Oh what fun. Thank goodness I took time to plot this – not a detailed plot just points to write to. I know where I’m going and how to get there.

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Swans Building A Nest In The Avon

The Swans are building a nest where I sometimes take Benji for a walk.

As I stopped to observe their progress, another lady joined me (keeping her distance). She was all smiles. “And there are ducklings around here, too”, she said.

We were joined by a couple (keeping their distance).

All of us strangers, enjoying company and birdlife in the river.

“Peace comes with a Smile” – Mother Teresa. We all felt at peace as we watched the business on the water.

In writing there was everything but peace for my MC, Lauri. She feels betrayed by her best friend and her own mother.

May your day be filled with peace and many smiles.

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Swans builing a nest on the Avon River, Christchurch, NZ

Feeding Five Thousand One At A Time

Each day, between us, we can just feed one person at a time.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Mother Teresa

True, there are so many in need it can feel overwhelming. And yes, some people are looking for a handout and not a hand up.

My friend Murray made an interesting observation this week as we remember the 9/11 disaster. His post noted how hard it was for many at the time.

He purchased his tourism business in August. The twin towers and the pentagon were hit in September.

The tourists with plenty of money to spend stopped coming. He had an instant drop in income.

There were no government handouts. In order to put food on the table he did whatever it took. Many, many small jobs, including an original version of uba. He continued looking for other ways to make his business succeed, and he did. But the tourist profile changed, so he adapted his business.

The times were desperate. His family needed to be fed and his commitments met.

Times are tough again. When we are stressed, our creative juices dry up, but we can nurture them to flow.

To be creative in ways to feed ourselves and give away just one meal. We could all do that, couldn’t we?

As much as it is possible, find things to laugh at.

In between, take a digital holiday and let your creative brain have free reign as you walk, jog, paint or watch white clouds drift across the blue sky.

Find what tickles your funny bone and comment below, laughter is the best medicine. When we open our eyes to joy, we see more opportunities.

May you find awesome blessings to brighten your day.

In My Writing
The mystery man who turned up at Lauri’s Mom’s Memorial Service is getting even more mysterious.

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Thunder and Lightening, Very Very Frightening

Actually, I love a good storm. It clears the air and paints the world clean.

But I hate the storms with high winds and destruction knocking out power, and damaging property.

I didn’t make it all the way home last night because the wind gusts were too strong against my high sided RV.

After being pushed across into oncoming traffic with the strong wind gusts, it was time to reassess the situation. How fortunate to be able to pull over and park up safe, away from trees, nose into the wind.

Around 2am I was woken by Benji trying to burrow under my pillow. He’s never been afraid  of thunder and lightning before! I wasn’t too impressed with the early wake up call at 2am.

Yet how can I judge my faithful little companion who comes and presses into me when I’m sad.

This isn’t on the grand scale of Mother Teresa’s love, but a good reminder not to judge, instead to fill our hearts with compassion, comfort and understanding for scared little dogs and frightened or sad people.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa

Have a truly awesome day, especially if you have work to do repairing damage or waiting for power to be restored – just breath and count your blessings.

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2AM Wake Up Call

Shooting What The Sunrise Is Reflecting

Wisdom is thinking through the warnings, taking everything into consideration and then making a decision.

There are trees across state highway 1, powerlines are down, causing fires, roofs and sheds have been blown away. Don’t go!

A front came through rocking the campervan around, the rain heavy. Dont go.

Check in with what is actually happening. The sun is shining. Its cold. The odd sciff of rain is coming through. Maybe I can go?

Decisions, decisions.

Other girls have got through. Maybe?

The Motorhome Babes are meeting in the village of Glenavy, near the mouth of the Waitaki River. Its been months in the planning. We’re at level Delta2. People can gather, inside up to 50 if the space is a certain size, 100 if its outdoor.

We’re all in our own shelter – some of us even live in our RV fulltime.

The front went through. The wind died down. The sun came out. I went.

The tree blocking the road at 3am was long since cleared. No flooding. Some of the babes left homes with no power, shed blown away. Nothing more they could do.

Forty brave girls put on their big girls panties and drove their RVs with courage. Getting more familiar with driving, backing, parking, hooking up (the power) emptying the waste, with every trip.

Last night’s gathering was fun. One babe had been chatted up, invited out for a beer. Did I mention the average age of the babes is around sixty? Although this babe is much younger, a true babe.

Sometimes wisdom isn’t looking at what the masses are doing, but thinking for yourself.

Sometimes the photo of the sunrise is its reflection and not the sunrise itself.

Watching the sunrise at the Twelve Apostles, everyone was facing east. Except me. I was facing west, watching the sunrise on the (no longer) Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia. Wisdom isn’t always following the masses.

Writing was brief – I needed to pack up, before taking the boys to school.

My MC meets a stranger she’s never met before, yet he seems familiar. He lingers after her Mom’s memorial service. He knew her Mum. But who is he? A murderer? No, he’s an old man with a shuffle more than a walk.

Today’s photo is The Southern Alps of New Zealand, looking up the mighty Waitaki River.

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Where have you been; where are you going?

I’ve just completed reading Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown. In it, the characters are challenged to answer the question Where have you been? And where are you going?

“If you don’t know where you’re going any old road will take you there.” – Lewis Caroll

Or, as Dolly Parton said, “If you don’t like the road you are walking on, start paving another one.”

We need to know where we’ve been in order to know where we’re going.

Grief can take us along a dark and shadowing road, with dread around every corner. But there comes a time to see ourselves walking out into the sunshine and take a new and better fork in the road.

Choose the light and leave the shadows behind.

After a week of careful plotting and making notes on the characters as they revealed themselves, finally, the first chapter is written. Wahoo! Love it when a new book is underway.

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Give Away Your Smile, It Costs Nothing

“If you see someone without a smile today, give ’em yours.” – Dolly Parton

The same thing has been said in different ways by many people. Its a bit cheesy but there’s a truth behind it.

If someone isn’t happy, you might be able to brighten their day with your smile. It costs nothing, but can mean a lot.

I nearly didn’t use this last quote from Dolly, but masks are mandatory in New Zealand at the moment. Today the children returned to school, I lined up in a store, and yesterday shopping for masks, sanitizers etc. it struck me that very few people were looking me in the eye.

So when the smile isn’t reaching their eyes – the features we can see, give someone a genuine depth-of-the-soul crinkle-at-the-corners-of-the-eye smile, when they’re brave enough to look us in the eye. 

In writing sprint’s today, a stranger turned up to the memorial service for my MC’s mother who died during lockdown. Who is this old man who knew her mother? (This was in the plan, and no surprises today for this hapless writer).

See if you can count how many smiles you give away and let me know how got on in the comments.

The book I’m reading at the moment is a historical romance written by my friend Eva Shepherd for Mills & Boon “Stranded With The Reclusive Earl” about a girl with a sunny disposition – the reclusive earl in need of more than a smile.

May your day be richer when everyone is smiling.

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Expect Good Things And Make Them Happen

“When I wake up, I expect things to be good. If they’re not, then I try to set about trying to make them as good as I can ’cause I know I’m gonna have to live that day anyway. So why not try to make the most of it if you can?” – Dolly Parton

Life isn’t always perfect, but we can make the most of what happens, looking for the best solution.

We can begin by being proactive, looking for what we CAN do.

Then we can praying about the rest, our day will be much better than the alternative.

I was late to the writing desk this morning after coughing half the night. My voice had become deep and raspy, so there would be no phone calls today. I was thankful to hit my 1500 word target as the amateur sleuths gathered to examine the facts.

I needed to go and get some honey lozenges to sooth my throat  and was about to climb in the car when I realised I was still in my nighty (in the middle of the afternoon!). Well we were still in lockdown.

Its true, poor writer’s starve in small spaces, writing in their pj’s (maybe I exaggerate).

This morning my voice has returned and I know this day will be awesome.

Enjoy yours.

In today’s photo did you notice the grey heron flying off the track to the left? From cycling the Otago Central Rail Trail.

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Otago Central Rail Trail

Who do you want to be?

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

What do you need to do to be that person?

When you look at the person you want to be, what choices will you make that draws you closer to being that person?

How will you define success in becoming the person you want to be?

Child of God, choose a life that will give and receive blessings, joy and peace. Everything else is bling.

If you are a writer, my friend, editor and fellow author Judy L Mohr of Blackwolf Editorial Services has created a course to help writers find the writer within.

Don’t settle for mediocre.

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.

In writing today, how did the house end up surrounded by a tactical unit ready for a manhunt? I said the writer never knows what their characters are going to do.

The models in today’s photoshoot are Indi with her buddy Benji.

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