Remember to Ask

I have had the pleasure of spending this weekend with my mom and dad to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early since I will be out of town next weekend. I got to spend quality time with them that brought a reminder to light that also showed itself a couple weeks ago.

When we were preparing for our trip to North Carolina for my dad’s 80th birthday with all the family, my mom called and asked me if I had my grandmother’s baked bean recipe as she could not find hers. I searched, but it appeared that I did not have it as well. Knowing that we lost grandma a couple of years ago, I suddenly realized that if neither of us could find it, it was lost forever as she was no longer there for us to ask.

This weekend, mom, dad and I got into a similar conversation and were talking about the fact that as we are now older, many of the people that we would like to ask things about regarding our family are now gone. With them goes the memories and a lot of the family history that we could no longer find. In many cases, they don’t even have to be gone. They could be still alive and suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other ailments that rob them of their memories.

While the subject may not be very uplifting, the beautiful part is that for those that are lucky enough to have family members still around to answer our questions, there is still the opportunity to learn what we want to know. The question is whether or not we take the time to actually sit down with them and ask?

Think about some of your recent family visits. Are they spent exchanging the normal pleasantries and then you just do what you need to do to get through it so you can move on and go on about your own life. Or, do you take the time to actually sit down and have a conversation and learn all there is to know about them, your history and their lives before you no longer have the opportunity to do that. In doing that yesterday, I learned things I never even knew, which was wonderful.

For many, things have happened within their family circles that have estranged them from the ones that they were once close to. Often, there is good reason why those chasm’s have been created. However, at some point we have to ask ourselves if it is worth the risk of waiting and taking the chance that they will no longer be there to repair what we might not think repairable. We can only do that when it is right for us and we know it in our heart. But sometimes changes in circumstances, being out of bad situations and time allow healing that gives us the strength to make that move before we no longer have the opportunity.

Do you have a little family history that you want you want to know? It is often only a phone call or a visit away. Make the effort to have the conversation and remember to ask. Sometimes you will learn things that you never even knew that can be used to enrich your own lives. I am thankful that I still have that opportunity and plan to ask all the questions I can, while I can.

Have a great Sunday and remember to be the reason someone smiles.


A New Day

Good morning. I don’t usually write on the weekends, but consider this a special edition of my daily inspirational posts. I just felt like writing this morning so here goes.

Have you ever been up at the time of morning when the dark blue of the night sky is starting to change to the beautiful orange and purple as the sun starts to come up over the horizon? All that was still during the night starts to come alive as a new day is beginning. The horizon takes on a magical air and the excitement of a New Day starts to stir. If you are out an about, the cars become greater in volume, the houses start to light up with their morning routines, the streetlights start to pop on and suddenly a new world of opportunity emerges.

The beginning of a day is always exciting for me. The main reason is that we wake up with a clean slate and an opportunity to craft for ourselves a day that can be anything we want it to be. Whether we have pre-made plans or we decide to just be spontaneous, every minute of those hours that we will be awake are alive with the potential to be something great.

As I was sitting on the train yesterday, for a brief period I was just looking at my watch. As the second hand continued to move around, it suddenly dawned on me that every minute that passed by was a minute that I was never going to get back again and I realized how incredibly important it was to make every minute matter. That’s not saying that we don’t need our downtime and rest. I could definitely use more of that. But I think what I was feeling was the importance of making the most of the minutes where I am active and to be aware of and honor them in a way that makes life more meaningful and good.

My favorite part of the morning is to get up, grab my cup of coffee and sit down and write my inspirational post for all of you. It is a reminder of the work I have done to make my life what I want it to be. It is also a reminder of the work I do to hopefully provide you with a nugget here and there that you can uses to enrich yours a little more.

A new day is a gift. Although it sometimes starts to go astray the minute we get up, we have the power within us to alter that course and make it our own. No one else can do that unless we give them that power over us. I am sure you have experienced the beauty of the morning at sunrise. If you haven’t, your missing something beautiful, so set your alarm, take a step outside and see for yourself the magic of a New Day. Then grab it by the reins and make it your own. Use the promise that a New Day offers to make a promise to be good to yourself and make every minute count and remember to be the reason someone smiles.


When the Heart Speaks

Do you ever find yourself in those moments where your heart is speaking to you and you are really torn on whether or not you should act on what it is saying? It can be about a number of things at any given time, but when it happens you know that there is some reason the universe is speaking to you, even though you may never know why. One such event happened to me yesterday.

I had stopped over at my local Publix to pick up a few things around lunchtime. As I got out of my car to go into the store, I was approached by an elderly man, very unkept and disheveled. He walked up to me, shaking some change that he had in his hand and said “could you help a guy out to get on the bus?” Now anyone who has ever spent time in or lived near a large city knows that this is often a very common occurrence. You almost get immune to it as if it is white noise. As I often do, I said sorry I have no change in my pocket. Once in a while you may drop a few coins, but most of the time you assume it is just going to be used for liquor or drugs. A built in preconceived notion.

When I got inside the store and went up to the counter to make my purchase, the woman that was coming in behind me walked up the counter and asked for the manager. She proceeded to tell him there was a “vagrant” in the parking lot asking for people for money and that they should do something about it. I understood why she was doing what she did, but for some reason at this moment it did not set right with me.

I proceeded to make my purchases got back in my car and headed for home. The further I got from the store the more I felt a tug at my heartstrings and for some unknown reason I felt the need to go back and find this man. He was nowhere in sight when I left the parking lot. I wrestled with my inner self and finally did a U-Turn in the middle of SR54 and headed back to the vicinity of the Publix. I figured having been chased out of the parking lot by the store, the man was probably long gone by now.

As I entered the left lane to turn back into the Publix, I looked over to right and saw the man sitting at the bus stop. Now at this point I am all the way to the left, with four lanes of traffic to my right and cars everywhere. Normally, there would be a line of cars behind me waiting to turn in as well, but I was alone. All of the sudden, all four lanes of traffic were completely empty of cars and I was able to cross all the lanes and get over to the side of the road in front of where the man was sitting and called him over.

He approached my window and I put several dollars through the glass. He looked at me and said “God Bless You”, with a tear in his eye. He told me he was waiting for the bus in hopes that he could convince the driver to let him ride for free so that he could get back home. I told him he was welcome and drove off.

I will never know why that particular moment yesterday caused me to do what I did. I just know that for some reason my heart was speaking volumes to me and on the drive home I felt like my heart had increased three sizes. The universe had put me in a situation where for some reason I needed to respond and fortunately I listened to my heart and the world was a little better off for it. Sometimes, we just have to follow our heart without question when it is speaking that loudly.

Keep your eyes out for your moment today. You never know when it will appear, but when it does and your heart speaks to you, listen. You may never know why you did, but you will know in your heart there was a reason and for that moment you will have enriched your life just a little bit more. Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles!


Listening to your Body and Soul

Good Morning Bring Smiles Family.  Happy Thursday!

Have you ever had that moment when your body and soul are trying to tell you something but you just can’t quite figure out what it is?  There is something you are supposed to know, yet you either are just too busy trying to get on with your day and life that you don’t take the time to stop and listen?  Finally, when you do figure out what it was, you wish you had because it would have been better to know sooner? This morning I am going to share a personal story that reminds us all of the importance of listening to our body and soul when it is trying to speak to us.

About eight years ago, I woke up one morning with a very weird feeling. This particular morning, I sat up in bed and all of the sudden a voice inside of me told me that I needed to schedule an endoscopy (a procedure where they go down through your throat and take a look at you from the inside). I had been on acid reflux medicine for many years and had an endoscopy done back when they put me on the medicine, but that was six or seven years prior.  The doctor had never told me I was supposed to have them periodically to check things out because I had been on the medication for so long. However, this particular morning my inside doctor was speaking loud and clear.

For once I listened, promptly found a gastrointerologist and made an appointment. Within a week I was scheduled for the endoscopy. I expected it to be routine.  I was young…well younger in my 40’s, healthy, feeling fine and absolutely no symptoms. When I sat down with the doctor post the procedure, I was floored by what he told me. He spouted out a bunch of words I couldn’t understand and recommended that I see a specialist within the week, which I did.

To make a very long story much shorter, I discovered that I had a gastro intestinal stromal tumor (GIST) which was very rare at the junction of my esophagus and stomach. I had never even heard of these tumors and went to work doing my research.  Anyone who has had anything will tell you that researching what you have on the internet rarely is good experience.  I learned that there wasn’t a lot known about these types of tumors because they were so rare, that catching them early was key and that they almost always turn to cancer.

Fortunately for me, I had a great set of doctors. I underwent surgery where they removed the tumor and a piece of my stomach where the tumor was located and waited patiently for the lab results to come back. Finally, the news came that we had caught it in time.  It was benign and they were able to remove it with great margins.  Today other than having an endoscopy every five years, so far no return of the tumor or any new ones.

I learned a lesson that day to always listen to my body and soul. It often speaks to us and lets us know that it needs attention.  It is incredibly important that we take the time to stop, listen and devote the time and energy to understand what our body and soul are trying to say.  I listened that morning. Because I did  I am still here doing the work that I was supposed to do in this lifetime.

The next time your body and soul are trying to send you a message, whatever it may be, listen. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, it makes it impossible to take care of others. When we believe in our own importance and remember that we have a purpose for being here, even if we haven’t discovered it yet, in time we will.  We just need to listen.

With that, take care of yourself, have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.





The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


Welcome from our Founder

Thank you for following Bring Smiles to Seniors blog.  Bring Smiles to Seniors is a 501 (c)(3) organization that works with schools and civic organization to make and decorate cards for seniors.  Cards are distributed to seniors in nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities and to seniors at home through our home mailing program.  In addition, we provide cards to elderly nutrition programs (such as County and Meals on Wheels programs) to be delivered with seniors’ meals.

I started this program in honor of my grandmother, who was in a nursing home and had dementia. I recognized a need to teach children and others the importance of remembering those that paved the way for us to ensure sure that they knew they were cared about and loved.  We began the program in March of 2016 and delivered 18,810 cards in 2017.

Through the generous donations of card artists around the country who support this program, Bring Smiles to Seniors has a goal for 2018 of delivering over 20,000 cards.  Having delivered over 11,000 cards so far this year, we are well on our way to meeting that goal.

As a part of the program, I write a daily inspirational column Monday through Friday that will now be posted to this blog.  Sharing life stories and philosophies, my goal is to enhance and enrich the lives of our readers and program participants.

We are so happy to have you join us on this new chapter of Bring Smiles Smiles journey.

Ron Tyson, Founder, Bring Smiles to Seniors, Inc.                              Instagram: bringsmilestoseniors

Pet Effect on our Lives

Good Morning Bring Smiles family. Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday, I was sitting at my computer and I got an unexpected visit from my cat Moochie. He just came and sat next me, started rubbing up against my hand, purring and sharing his kitty love that doesn’t always come through. It got me thinking about the importance that pets play in our lives.

Now we all know that some people just aren’t animal people and that is okay. I was one of those people. We had a couple animals when I was growing up that had pretty tragic deaths and I swore that I would never have an animal again as long as I lived. Nor would I allow myself to get close to one. That was until 14 years ago when we were asked to pet sit for one of our friends cats while she was away and my heart began to melt.

After she returned and we had to give Tuxedo up and we decide to take the plunge and adopted Moochie from the local shelter. He was 9 months old, had been adopted out twice and came to us with the name of Maverick, which just didn’t fit. He was mooching for food all the time and one day the name Moochie stuck. We lived in NJ at the time and Sopranos was big so we made his formal name Maverick the Mooch, Mafia Kitty.

One of the amazing things about animals is the life lessons they can teach us, especially about unconditional love. Feed them, walk them and take care of them and you have a friend for life. They don’t ask us to be anything but ourselves. They provide comfort for us in our times of need and they bring joy to our lives in the most unexpected ways. Several years ago I was diagnosed with a tumor in my stomach (more on that another time). The night before my surgery I was laying in bed and Moochie came and laid across the whole of my back and stayed there all night, something he had never done before. He sensed something was going on and he wanted to let me know that he was there to support me. Fourteen years after adopting him he is starting to show his age and now it is our turn to return the favor.

Last week, I posted a couple of videos about programs that bring newborn kittens into nursing homes to the benefit of both the animal and the senior. On visits to senior communities we have seen the power of animal visits first hand when a seniors eyes light up and agitation ceases once they are in the presence of an animal. Some communities even have their own animals adopted by the facility that become a part of the community family. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

The lesson of unconditional love is an important one that animals teach us. From them we learn to transfer that unconditional love to our own lives, which only enriches it and makes it better. If you have an animal, give them a little extra love today and remind them of the important part they play in your life. If you don’t consider donating a can of food or money to an animal shelter striving to take care of those who have been abandoned. Those of us who have them understand they are an important part of our family and they remind us of that every day.

With that, through these pictures Moochie wishes you a good day and reminds you to be the reason someone smiles.


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