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Little smiles

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Little things

HAPPY PLACE Little things can prompt big smiles in the midst of our day-to-day routines. (Illustration:

After the holidays, I was visiting with a friend about what to do with all the Christmas cards. Throwing them away just seems wrong, but who can keep so many stacks, year after year?

My friend’s answer was genius: Take pictures of them with your phone, and then add the pictures to your phone contacts. Every time someone calls, their picture – or one of their kids – pops up. I did it, and I was (and still am) giddy every time a smiling friend appears on my phone. Really, it doesn’t get old. I called to tell my friend how happy her idea made me, and she said, “That would be a great story! What little things make you smile every day?”

So here they are – some little things to bring more smiles in 2017, as told by a few Buzz neighbors.

“I read in a book called The Happiness Advantage that our mind is trained to notice things that we see frequently. So I make a quick little note in a planner that I keep in my backpack for my to-do list for school, not even a full sentence, of three positive things that happen through the day like, ‘Had lunch with someone,’ or ‘Beautiful day,’ or ‘Great night out.’ It makes a difference. – Mollie Gaylor, Memorial

“I have an alert that goes off on my phone every day at 3 p.m. that says, ‘Gratitude is my attitude,’ and I stop what I’m doing for a few deep breaths and a moment for a gratitude break. It always makes me smile. You can put them in your kids’ phones too. Adam has one that says, ‘Today is going to be a great day,’ every morning. How can you not smile?” – Ali Katz, Bellaire

“I get a lot of joy out of random songs on the radio. Whenever a song that I particularly enjoy comes on, it feels like a gift to me!” – Barbara Trautner, West University

“I just read an article … that says there are three groups of foods that have been proven to reduce depression and are ‘happy foods.’ They are dark green leafy vegetables, oily fish like salmon and mackerel and dark chocolate. I know if I eat enough dark chocolate truffles I am smiling. Until I think about the calorie count. But happiness is more important that fat hips. Right?” –  Kathryn Rabinow, River Oaks

“Bobby and I wrote notes taped to the mirror. When he died, the note on his side of the mirror was, ‘The important things in life are not things.’ For our children, I wrote a poem or love note with their lunch. I still love writing my children and grandchildren notes.” – Diana Brackman, Tanglewood area

“With one child still in elementary school, I still love any opportunity to volunteer. They are so cute! They are smiley and happy, and they make me happy. And they impress me each and every time with all their enthusiasm for whatever it is they’re doing – whether it’s art, lunch, PE, computer or music.” – Jennifer Deutsch, Bellaire

“Sitting with the admin during lunch. They have the funniest stories of office secrets!” – Melanie Herz Promecene, Meyerland

“Instant videos of family. For those of us in our 60s, we remember having to take 35 or 75 photos to be able to [fill the roll and] take the film to Walgreens for development. Then it took two-and-a-half weeks to get pics! … Dogs when they’re embarrassed. … The look on a 3-year-old’s face when they realize you know all the verses to children’s songs. … Listening to the Eagles. … Watching old people dance, because they all dance whatever dance was popular when they graduated from high school.” – Nancy Beck, River Oaks

“Chocolate, chocolate, more chocolate, and then dreaming about your next round of chocolate. Chocolate chip cookies, soufflés, chocolate croissants fresh-frozen from Williams Sonoma, where you put them in the oven and you cook them in your own time. You leave them out overnight so they poof, and then you cook them in the oven. This article could really be called, ‘Chocolate of every pleasure.’” – Anonymous, West University

“Budweiser, my golden retriever, is perpetually happy and content – when he is not asleep. He greets me at the back door whenever I come home with a joyful tail wag and dog love. I can’t help but smile back. He’s always so happy to see me. Whatever the day holds, he is there to remind me that it’s all about the love.” – Heather Kearney, River Oaks

Editor’s note: What brings a smile to your face? Reading about your happy thing could bring a smile to your neighbor. To share, email [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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