Embrace the Goodness


This moment—and this one, too—is filled with beauty and hope, love and joy. If you look closely, you will see all that goodness swirling around you in the faces of family and the actions of strangers. If you listen carefully, you will hear it in the laughter of children at play and the chorus of songbirds at dawn. And if you fling open your heart and your arms, you can send it gently seeping into the lives of others as easily as fireflies dancing on a honeysuckle breeze.

Despite all the recent negativity, hatred, bickering and discontent, there are countless reasons to embrace the goodness of this moment and this world—and countless reasons to smile. (C’mon, I know you can do it.)

Right now,

Someone, somewhere is having the very best day of her life. And she doesn’t realize that even better days are to come.

A baby is giggling over a never-ending game of peek-a-boo.

A determined young man is proving the doctors wrong, one trembling step at a time.

Volunteers around the world are building homes, digging wells, planting food plots, donating clothing and blankets—all to better the lives of people they’ve never met.

Grown men are dogpiling on the playing field after a come-from-behind, winner-take-all victory.

Someone is zipping into a pair of jeans she hasn’t worn in 15 years.

Long-lost friends are gathering in a reception hall, laughing at shared high school memories.

A co-worker is bringing doughnuts to the morning meeting just because.

An elderly woman is smiling contentedly while petting the beloved little dog napping in her lap.

Little girls are skipping down sidewalks while little boys are pushing Tonka trucks through mud puddles.

A long-married husband and wife are holding hands in a darkened movie theater.

A young mother is feeling the first flutter-kicks of her unborn child.

Someone is retrieving a long-awaited passport from the mailbox, dreaming of all the places she will go, while someone else is reciting a citizenship oath to the United States, dreaming of all the opportunities that await him right here.

Someone is pushing herself to previously impossible physical limits—and then just a little beyond.

Little ones are baking chocolate chip cookies with their grandma.

A teenager in love is making a wish on a falling star.

A Good Samaritan is changing a flat tire for a stranded motorist.

Cherished friends are reuniting at an airport—hugs, tears and laughter all around.

Two 90-year-olds in a nursing home are exchanging wedding vows.

Mothers and fathers are witnessing their children’s first smiles, first words, first steps, first training-wheel adventures.

A thoughtful man is writing a heart-felt, handwritten note for a kindness extended to him.

A stranger in the grocery store is complimenting another woman’s sweater, hair style, eye color, children—without realizing the compliment is the first kind words she’s heard in a long time.

A protective big brother is chasing away his little sister’s nightmare demons.

Someone is hearing the word “benign” while someone else is rejoicing that her final chemotherapy treatment is behind her.

A stranger in line at the drive-up window is paying for the order of the people behind him.

An excited young man is preparing for his first day of work at his dream job.

Another young man is singing along to his favorite song on the radio, much to the delight of other drivers waiting at the stoplight.

Someone is kneeling to help pick up the contents of a spilled bag.

A former student is stopping by to say thank you to a teacher who made a difference in his life.

One gentleman is holding the door for others, while another one is giving up his seat on the subway.

A woman is marveling at the sunrise, letting the brilliant colors fill her with peace and hope for the day ahead, while someone else on the other side of the world is standing in awe of a spectacular sunset, feeling all the day’s worries sinking into the horizon.

A customer service representative is going out of her way to be helpful.

A kind soul is donating bone marrow to a stranger.

A five-year-old is presenting a dandelion bouquet to his precious mommy.

Friends are gathering for their weekly celebration, enjoying pizza and drinks but most of all each other’s company.

A mother is counting down the hours until her grown sons arrive for a much-anticipated, long-awaited visit (that mother is me—one more sleep!).

I’ve had my share of bad days, just like everyone else. I’ve cried an ocean of tears. I’ve succumbed to anger, allowing it to consume my thoughts and control my actions. I’ve suffered through the heartache of unthinkable tragedies. But I have learned the tears I shed accomplish little, while the anger I hold onto is self-destructive. And I have learned that heartache—even though it may leave lasting scars—still eventually heals.

Through it all, I have also learned that I almost always have the power to choose whether my days will be good or bad simply by what I choose to focus on. And for that reason, I choose to focus on all the beauty and hope, love and joy—in this precious moment and in this magnificent, marvelous, perfectly imperfect world—and I refuse to let hatred and negativity cloud my vision or steal my sunshine.

Nope, not gonna happen.

edit13lowres“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.”
― Cheryl Strayed
(Full moon setting over Bull Shoals Lake)

edits“Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.”
– Michael Leunig
(A freedom rose in my garden)

edit 1“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” ― Henry David Thoreau
(The sun setting over Bull Shoals Lake)

18“Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life, love harmonizes it.
Hatred darkens life, love illuminates it.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
(Fuzzybutt Falls in Northwest Arkansas)

ox-eye daisies low res“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

edit 1

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy? –Oscar Wilde
Happy Independence Day from the U.S.A.!

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About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
This entry was posted in Advice, Beauty, Gratitude, Kindness, Love, Photography, Simple Pleasures and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Embrace the Goodness

  1. Sanchari says:

    I loved how you brought in so many different situations and tied them up together. Can’t help but feel better about life now 🙂

  2. Debbie aka Castlefreak says:

    Thank you! At a moment when I was feeling so disgusted and disillusioned by this world, you came along and gave me a glimmer of hope and a smile.

    • Thank you, Debbie. I’ve been a little disgusted and disillusioned myself. Have others forgotten how fortunate we are to be living in the U.S., where we are free to make choices and voice opinions? What if we lived in a place where we could be denied an education because of our gender? What if we lived in a place where we could be imprisoned for our opinions, stoned for our love, or beheaded for our religious beliefs? I think I’m lucky, and I think so many others are, too, and I wish we could all realize that and stop focusing on negativity.

  3. DJ Circle says:

    Thank you, Mrs E. Simply… Thank you!! 😀

  4. David Smiley says:

    Beautiful, genuine and very spiritual and moved me to tears. Thank You.

  5. RayEtta says:

    Beautiful pictures and text. I needed that…thank you.

  6. Sue says:

    Thank you, Karen!!! As always!! It is just what we all need to hear and you always say say them just when we need them most!!! Thank you – words and pictures are both especially beautiful!!

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