"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
April 30, 2014
Aren't Mondays Great?
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

My friend Allison shared a neat story with me about having an uplift on Monday. She went to the gym feeling a bit down. A woman came in smiling and said, “Aren’t Mondays great?”

Allison smiled and — as she shared the story with me — added, “I thought to myself that I need to do a better job of being positive.” The woman at the gym then continued to say that Mondays are great, and every day after Monday just get better and better.

Allison said that the woman put a smile on her face, and Allison worked the rest of the day to make other people smile too. She ended with, “Smiling is contagious.”

Yes, it is. There is something magically good about people who have a positive, optimistic trait that runs deep in their souls. It brings out the sunshine in those around them, and makes this world more user friendly.

Gordon B. Hinckley’s counsel to cultivate a spirit of optimism is a very attainable goal. Happiness grows more quickly and abundantly when we’re growing our internal sunshine — our positive attitude.

I know this is all old news and it’s easier on some days than others. To be effective, it needs to be real. Faking it till we make it is better than nothing, but I’m not sure how much we strengthen ourselves or anyone else until we sincerely desire to have that innate joy.

There are a few thoughts that have remained with me, having been taught by two mostly positive parents, to help me when the optimism quotient lags.

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22
I am all over this one. Laughter is heavenly. It has gotten me through many a tight spot, through harsh times of ill health or worries over children or any of life’s ugly lessons that we must learn.

(I know I shouldn’t worry, because…. All the stuff we read and hear about faith replacing fear, and worrying is just a waste of time, and blah blah. I know this. But sometimes the knowledge just doesn’t make it from the brain to the heart. So — I still have to work at it.)

One thing I like to do is visit with people even when I may not physically feel like it. I am blessed with some awesome friends. Invariably, we will laugh together somewhere in our visit. We can smile and share good stuff together. It is like a dose of heavenly medication to my soul. It’s good for me. It brings more sunshine into my being.

Even when I’m alone in the house, which is often, I practice smiling. This might sound odd, but I’ve learned that when we smile, our insides respond to that outer upturned lip. Deciding to work at smiling, popping by a mirror now and again to see that smile, is a good way to feel it inside myself. Really — try it!

My mom sang a song to me as a little girl called, “Let the Sunshine In.” I dare say most of you have never heard it. Here’s a link to the McGuire Sisters version (which I dare say many of you have never heard of, either).

When I pulled it up today, I sat and smiled at the computer screen, just listening to it. Maybe it won’t affect you in a positive way, but the words? They’re worth learning, I believe!

Call someone on the phone. Go visit a neighbor. Send a text or email. Choose someone prayerfully, and share a positive, happy message with them.

This one is a “Go and Do” in order to have happy, positive feelings “Come and Stay” in our own mind and heart. It’s hard to give away smiley, fun, loving messages without a bit of it sticking to ourselves.

Here’s the thing. Happiness is contagious. It seems to be made out of sticky, gooey substance that we feel while we cannot see it. Like a sneeze, little molecules of HAPPY find their way all around us and bring contentment to our soul. Having shared with one we care about — in whatever capacity — brings us warmth and the smile of heaven’s approval.

These are little things that can make a big difference. “Men are that they might have joy”. In some ways, this is easy to understand. Even in the midst of struggles, there is happiness to be had and joy to gather in while we spread it around.

Surely the Lord smiles in approval. One thing is certain: the ones we share with are better for our sharing. It’s such a simply good thing.

And goodness matters.

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About Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal communications.

A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!

In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and EFY's theme song.

She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.

She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets.

Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.

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