Important decision

Contagious happiness: Carla snapped this photo of Ms. Ella, Raynard and Mary with Matt and me. That's a yummy chocolate cake in the tin on the table in front of me. But I digress... Virginia Beach, July 2015

Contagious happiness: Carla took this photo of Ms. Ella, Raynard, Mary, Matt and me.
That’s a yummy chocolate cake in the tin on the table in front of me. But I digress…
Virginia Beach, July 2015

“The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.”Voltaire

In the grand scheme of things, it might seem that Voltaire is exaggerating to describe a mere mood as being so important.  After all, there are plenty of huge and life-changing decisions that are far less transient than how we feel on any particular day.  But when you think about it, our moods have such a pervasive effect that it might not be too much of a stretch to say they have the potential to change almost everything.

A good mood is, in most circumstances, a choice we make.  While there are burdens and sorrows that are too heavy to allow us to just “snap out of it,” I think that most of our daily irritations are relatively minor.  Have you ever known someone who seemed to take everything in stride, smiling even when things don’t go well?  People like that serve society well, because a good attitude is contagious.  How different would the world be if everyone managed to keep a positive and sunny spirit through everyday frustrations?

Looking at the picture above, you would never guess that Ms. Ella, Raynard and Mary had just spent most of their day sitting in horrible traffic.  But that’s exactly what had happened.  After several planned meet-ups that fell through for one reason or another, we had finally found a day when it seemed we would be able to get together in Virginia Beach.  My sister was in town from Alabama, and I was taking her for a late breakfast at the Belvedere.  We figured our friends would arrive around lunch time, and Raynard had promised to bring me a freshly-baked cake that would be one of the three choices I gave him (chocolate, chocolate or chocolate, or if none of those worked out, chocolate).  We all looked forward to meeting face-to-face for the first time after years of online friendship at Upper Room and this blog.

Though it was a Saturday, none of us guessed that the beach traffic would be so bad all the way from Delaware down to Virginia.  I guess that’s always a risk when driving down the outer coast. To complicate things, I was using a new cell phone that I couldn’t figure out how to answer, so every time they called to give us an update, I ended up having to call them back because I didn’t know how to answer their calls.  It seems funny to think about it now, but at the time it was driving me crazy to be unable to answer my own phone.

If you’ve been reading the comments here, you probably remember that Raynard is a cheerful type who can see the humor in almost any situation.  That comes in handy if one is snarled in traffic.  I don’t know about you, but there is hardly anything that can ruin my day more quickly. By the time they got to Virginia Beach, they didn’t have much time to do anything but grab a quick bite and turn around to head home. But the short time we had together was quite memorable, and we had that delicious cake as a take-home souvenir.  It’s the first time someone has ever baked me a cake for their own birthday!

Matt, Carla and I all had a great time chatting with them, and their short visit was a note of cheer that lasted for days.  Mary even figured out what I was doing wrong with my cell phone, and with her help, I’ve been able to answer calls ever since!  Meeting all of them was certainly a high point of the summer for me.

Sometimes we might feel that there is not much we can do to change a world that is too full of sadness and nasty behaviors and outright tragedy.  But if you are blessed to know someone with a sunny disposition, you know that they can take almost any situation and turn it around.   I’d like to be that sort of person, wouldn’t you?

This post was first published seven years ago today. Out of all my 1100+ posts, this one is among the five most popular, if you believe the statistics from WordPress. I know this is entirely due to the topic being about Raynard and Mary, who have a huge circle of friends online and in real life, too. The post itself explains the reason for their enduring popularity. Since the post was first published, Ms. Ella has passed from this life, but the memory of her beautiful spirit and warm smile remains with me.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    For the past three days, Raynard has been sending me links to “Our Daily Bread.”
    Normally, I don’t click on links that people seems me especially if the links aren’t accompanied by a little text from the sender, letting me know it’s not Spam and they weren’t hacked.
    I suppose he’s checking up on me, since I haven’t been commenting much in the Upper Room lately. There are a lot of posters commenting now, and many of their posts are quite lengthy so I don’t have time to read them all prior to getting up and going in the morning, like I used to do. I try to post a few words, when the topic is especially meaningful to me, to let the UR know that I haven’t forgotten them. But Raynard posts faithfully every day.
    I agree – it is such a blessing to know him and Mary and to have met sweet Ms.Ella.

    • Susan, I had forgotten that you probably met Ms. Ella when you went to see them (in Delaware?) before we met in person for the first time…which, if I recall correctly, was also nearly seven years ago. That means there probably will be a post coming up pretty soon, about our walk with the cameras that day. 😀

      • Yes, that’s right! I had met them, including Ms. Ella, for supper the day before I met you, and I stayed at an AirBnB the night in between.

        • In some ways that feels like a million years ago. Sobering how much can happen in seven years. Re-posting these blogs is showing me that. I’m steeling myself for the ones that will arrive in a couple of months. Speaking of which, it was six years ago today…

          • I wish I could somehow be more helpful in walking through this with you. I am praying for you. May our God comfort you and light your way.

            • Your prayer and presence here are helpful beyond measure. ❤

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