Every time you smile

Matt with a few of his many friends at church in Fairfield, California, bidding him farewell on our last Sunday there in August 2004.

Matt in Fairfield, California, with just a few of his many friends at church,
who were bidding him farewell on our last Sunday there in August 2004.

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

I wrote last year about Matt’s smiles, and how they have decorated countless photos and memories in his 28 years.  That post is linked below.  He’s had some help and encouragement in that regard, because people have showered him with beautiful smiles all his life.

Can you think of anything as easy, simple and free as a smile that adds so much joy to the world?  If we could all manage to give away more sincere, honest smiles — not the plastered-on fake kind, but genuine greetings of friendly regard — wouldn’t that instantly improve everyday life?  Let’s try it.  Smiles open hearts and minds and doors to friendship.  They are beautiful things!

One year ago today, it was Easter weekend, so I’m adjusting the posts to fit.
April 20, 2013 is linked today
March 29-31, 2013 will be linked on Easter weekend. 

Almost one year ago today:

A species of talent

And for a special treat, see Lisa Bruneti’s beautiful collection of smiles from Ecuador!


  1. Susan

    I agree, Julia! I remember a line from Our Town, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” A dour, angry look really doesn’t get you very far, but people sure are hungry for some positive energy and good cheer! Plus, as you said, it does have to be genuine.

    • I would like to see Our Town again sometime. It seems like I saw it many years ago, and I know I remember reading it, but I have forgotten most of it. It really is amazing how much better everything — really EVERYTHING — can seem if one stays cheerful. I think when we are finding it hard to be genuinely cheery, sometimes we can “fake it til we make it” or at least resolve to keep quiet until our negativity passes.

  2. raynard

    Julia other than a kool aide smile i told my wife as im in my casket people will look down at me a see a smile like the joker from Batman then there will be no chicken and potato salad at my repass lol be blessed

    • That Joker smile in the Batman movie was brilliant, wasn’t it? I think Jack Nicholson should have gotten an Oscar for that role. Although I hate seeing myself looking like that in a photo, which seems to happen more often the older I get…

  3. There’s something in my pocket which belongs across my face. I keep it very close at hand in a most convenient place. I’m sure you couldn’t guess it if you guessed a long, long while, so I’ll take it out and put it on ~ it’s a great big Brownie Smile! That song just popped into my head from when I was a young girl scout! Big smiles to you today! 🙂

    • Hey, believe it or not I never heard that. I was never a Brownie (which I regret) but I love that sweet song! I hope they still sing it.

      • MaryAnn

        That is a “~~Believe it or not~~”! My mother was our Girl Scout leader, then as a teenager, I was a Brownie troop leader. So, this cute song is very familiar to me. We performed it many times on stage. When I taught 2’s & 3’s class (1964-2004), I sang the song with a slight revision: “it’s a great big Christian smile!”…Smiles are a BIG DEAL!

        • WOW, 40 years of teaching 2’s and 3’s – don’t know of anyone who could claim that! No wonder you are the famed “wind-up toy for kids!” 🙂

  4. Suzy

    I love the pictures of all these special people with Matt! I remember Fairfield friends and his smile like it was yesterday- not almost ten years ago! 🙂

    • Thank you Suzy! You and Brian were like second family to us, and especially to Matt. We miss you so much.

    • MaryAnn

      Hi! Suzy! Your smile lights up every place you enter! I miss you & my Dentons!
      Love, Mom Clontz

      • Totally agree about Suzy’s megawatt smile (now shared by her four kids whose smiles are just as bright, especially JULIA’s! 🙂 )

        • Suzy Snow

          Thank you MaryAnn & Julia! 🙂 We sure do miss you two. This picture was from Aug. 2004- my big girls were born that month on the 21st. In a way it seems like yesterday when we all worshipped together in Fairfield but it is hard to remember not having kids… Time sure does go by fast. We will be praying for Matt’s next surgery. Hugs! 🙂

          • Suzy I believe we have a photo of you and Brian with Matt (or Drew) that same day, and you can tell the girls were going to be there SOON! After I had kids I used to wonder how I ever thought I was busy before… 🙂

  5. I send a genuine 🙂

    • Back at you! 😀

      • Sheila

        😎Smiling with y’all…..

        • Hey, I love the sunglasses! I wish I could manage to do fancy emoticons here. Maybe I can crack the code somehow…

  6. Rene

    Matt needs a beret!

    • Hey, that would be perfect! I didn’t think about it until you mentioned it, but it would look just right. Maybe Boomdee can photoshop one in. She’s good at that kind of thing. Her photo captions are HI-larious.

      • LOL! I sure could if Matt would know it’s just for fun. You let me know which one you’d like to Boom-erize (these words never end HA) and I will do a screen print 😀

        • Hey, no worries there, with Matt EVERYTHING is just for fun. Almost everything, anyway. Just pick the easiest one to Boom-erize. I love these words too, we can Boomdeefy the entire language as far as I’m concerned. 😀 Have a Boomdeeful day!

          • LOL, shall do. It never crossed my mind when I chose a blog name that it’d become part of the lexicon. That worked out handy 😀

            • Yes, it’s perfect. I think one reason why people love Star Wars and Tolkien and other imaginary worlds is that they have their own esoteric words and names and language. So along with Tatooine and Middle Earth, we can now travel in our imaginations to Boomdeeville, where gnomes, cats and fun abound, and the bad guys never blow anything up!

  7. MaryAnn

    In honor of having the most precious, always available, loving SMILE, the top award goes to Matthew Denton! On any & every occasion, Matt has his bright, friendly smile ready to share!!! I was privileged to witness it even while he was hospitalized. I love you, Matt!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann! I know you will join us in praying that the smile holds up through his upcoming open heart surgery, which will be the riskiest yet (owing primarily to it being his 5th one; with each surgery the overall picture gets a bit more complicated). Matt loves you too and so do we!

      • MaryAnn

        thanks for the reminder…we will be in continued prayer for my Matt!

  8. Yes…indeed Matt has a beautiful smile!!
    What a blessing. 🙂

    • Thanks Merry! Even before he went through years of orthodontics and then a very grueling orthognathic surgery on both upper and lower jaws, we always thought he had a gorgeous smile. It lights up our days. 🙂

      • yes…I can see how he would do that. 🙂

        • 🙂 Hope you had a fun and jolly day too!

  9. Sheila

    Julia, the “Matt smiles” that you’ve shared from time to time are so heart warming. I’ve commented before that he is so special and I truly hold him close in thoughts and prayers!
    Here’s to sunbeams that we enjoyed today!

    • Thank you so much Sheila! Your thoughts, prayers and friendship mean so much!!!

  10. Larry

    Those pictures made Grandmother smile! She thought how handsome those smiles are!

    • Thank you Larry, I’m so happy she likes the photos! They make me smile too. 🙂

  11. Michael

    Matt has a great smile, and it looks contagious.
    Pema Chodron -a Buddhist monk-says the one thing we can do to start off our spiritual growth is to draw our lips back slightly into a gentle smile. So smiling definitely has a spiritual dimension.
    Who is the agent on criminal minds who never smiles? Agent Gordon? He is like those British guards at the palace.

    • Michael, I must admit I don’t know anything about Agent Gordon or Criminal Minds – is that a TV show or movie?

      I like the idea of a gentle smile. I tend to go with the big toothy grin, but a serene “Mona Lisa” smile is very appealing. The Dalai Lama has that down for sure, doesn’t he?

  12. Michael

    What are the prettiest flowers between your nose and your chin?

    Two lips.

  13. xoxoxooxoxoxox

  14. Michael

    Criminal minds is a police FBI-profiler type show. One of the few shows we get now since dropping cable. Am working on my other application for Grady Hospital. Not sure I told you about that job. Today my son is riding his motorcycle down to Westpalm, Florida from Atlanta/. Long ride- a little worrisome for the parents.

    • Congratulations on dropping cable, I have been trying to convince Jeff to do that for years, but until I can find some way to stream the ESPN channel he’s used to, I don’t think I’ll be able to manage it. However, I look forward to the day when everyone just watches what they specifically stream or otherwise order, rather than channel surfing and taking in all those commercials. It would be so cool if you went to work at Grady. That’s where my entire family was taken after the horrible car wreck years ago, so my memories of it were mostly traumatic until our grandson was born and named after Henry Grady, for whom the hospital was named, and Drew’s best friend (son of our beloved friends from Texas) started his residency there. For my entire life, Grady was the next big landmark we would see (after the “launching pad” Fulton County Stadium) as we drove into town. It’s quite an Atlanta institution. You may have noticed the “I wouldn’t be here without Grady” ad campaign they have going. I can’t imagine how worried I would be about having a son riding a bike all the way to Florida – I guess we should just focus on how much fun he will have and how much fuel he will save! I’ll say a prayer that all goes well for him.

  15. Your dear Matt certainly has a million watt smile. His joyfulness shines through in these and other photo’s you’ve shared. It’s really contagious ! When you’re around a cheerful person, you can’t help but have a good day. It’s really something you have to make a habit of consciously I think and when you do, people will approach you with kindness and their own smiles.

    • Thanks, K, Matt really does have a sweet smile and people do seem to find it contagious. I find that smiling gets easier and more natural the more I do it, although I’d like to work on that subdued smile Michael mentioned, instead of the “all horse teeth, all the time” look I’ve always had – but at least Julia Roberts made it a bit more stylish! To me, though, there’s no such thing as an ugly smile if the eyes are also smiling and the intent is benevolent.

  16. hehe, isn’t it great to have a place to exercise your silly-bone whenever you want? This Blogging thing is a riot 😀 I hadn’t seen that message until you mentioned it. BTW J, Julia Roberts and YOU have gorgeous smiles! I think I mentioned this, but where I used to work, I had a sign on my cubicle wall that said SMILE. Because, when you’re smiling and taking a difficult customer call, you sound more affable if you’re smiling.

    • Yes, blogging is a riot, isn’t it? I agree that we can HEAR it (and feel it) when people are smiling – I’m smiling now!!!

  17. Michael

    I should find out more about Henry Grady. Grady hospital looks very much like our county hospital here in Seattle– Harborview, which actually has a view of the harbor and was build in 1932.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta’s Grady hospital was built around the same time. From the one time I remember being there, it was like a labyrinth inside, but of course most any big hospital might look that way to an 8-year-old. Having a view of the Harbor is a definite plus – Atlanta’s Grady can’t boast that. I wonder whether any of the patient rooms have that view? If so it might actually help them get well to have a gorgeous view every day.

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