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Category Archives: Reflections

Book Review : In The Garden of Happiness


Carolyn Bolton, the writer

I cannot say enough about the delight that is wrapped in this beautiful little gift book: “IN THE GARDEN OF HAPPINESS“.

When Dodinsky first published “In the Garden of Thoughts” I was an instant devotee. Lyrically beautiful thoughts about life, presented with charming original artwork. It is my very favorite gift for others, for any and all occasions and for individuals of all ages.

Now, “In the Garden of Happiness” has raised my delight another octave.

There is something so magical about the way Dodinsky captures a profound thought in a truly remarkably new way, with words that reach around your heart and your spirit inciting smiles of delight – as well as moments of thoughtful reflection. The philosophical concepts and the whimsical artwork truly make this book a jewel.

This jewel has facets that make it perfect for youth in their tweens … and teenagers as well. It catches the light of the soul from a slightly different angle for seniors who might be finding themselves in the twilight of their lives, with all their memories and life experiences. AND there are facets that shine in a profoundly magnificent way for people of all ages and all situations in between.

I love how I can pick up this little jewel of a book when I only have a quick minute – and find a message that brings hope to my heart and a smile to my lips. Off I go! Remembering that happiness is a choice. first look

I love how I can pick up this little book in the quiet of the day, when I am focused on reflection, and find a message that sets me upon a path of contemplation so much deeper than my mere cursory readings of the same page … and how it results in me finding new truths about life and choice, happiness and intention.

Dodinsky presents myriad facts of happiness, perfectly chosen and artfully brilliant with light that reaches me deeply – and helps me shine to the world as I walk through my day.

Christmas gift? Wedding gift? Graduation gift? Get well gift? Just because I’m thinking of you gift? Gift for that special person you love? For your child or grandchild? Oh my … the list goes on and on. I sincerely would gift this magnificent book – “In the Garden of Happiness” – to almost anyone for any occasion.

Of course, I made to sure get myself a copy first! And I cherish it.

[View sample pages below. If you order now you will receive limited edition awesome giveaways!]


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It Might Hurt A Little Bit, But….

one day

Written and designed by SC Lourie

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The Power of Love

[This particular essay is often attributed to Brad Pitt. But according to SNOPES, a fact-checking website, Brad Pitt did not author this beautiful essay. The writer remains a mystery but it doesn’t take away anything from the beauty and inspiration of the story. Hope you enjoy it!]

My wife got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and problems with children. She has lost 30 pounds and weighted about 90 pounds in her 35 years. She got very skinny, and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman. She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs. She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the morning and got tired very quickly during the day. 

Our relationship was on the verge of break up. Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself. She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role. I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon … But then I decided to act on it. After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on the earth. She is the ideal of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her shoulders.


I began to pepper her with flowers, kisses and complements. I surprised her and pleased every minute. I gave her lots of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends.

You won’t believe it, but she blossomed. She became better. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and loved me even more than ever. I had no clue that she can LOVE that much. And then I realized one thing: the woman is the reflection of her man. If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.


The end of the story, but we hope this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship with your significant other. — Positive Outlooks Team


The Generous Homeless Man


Mark Cook, Positive Outlooks Contributor

There was a horse trailer parked at DD a few minutes ago. The owner was rubbing the horses face while one of our young homeless folks approached and asked to pet the horse. He then took some change out of his pockets and told the owner to help feed the horse with the change. The owner refused to take his change. So I whispered to the owner that the man was offering all that he has and it would make him feel real good to help an animal. So the owner gratefully accepted the change.

The homeless man was happy to pet the horse. This is probably a huge reward for him just being near a horse after living in the city and never having a chance to be with something so majestic. I then went into DD and bought my iced coffee. The homeless man came in and sat down. He’d probably been on his feet walking around all night. I could tell he was tired. I bought a $10 DD gift card for him and asked the woman behind the counter to go hand it to him. He just stared at the card for a few minutes before getting in line. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he was staring at that card. I hope someone leads him to our Mission. I just couldn’t approach him with teary eyes.


Image only for visual representation. Photo Credit: Gane from Flickr.

I hope what he experienced this morning will give him hope in his heart. It gave me hope in my heart that someday all people will look at homeless folks, not as bums or addicts, but as the kind and loving folks they are. When you see a homeless person, smile at them. Don’t turn your head the other way. A smile or a small gesture of kindness can brighten their day. I know that today my day was brightened and blessed by just witnessing this man’s generosity, despite him not having a penny left to his name.


Mark Cook is a homeless advocate and Founder of The Matthew 25 Mission, a homeless outreach center in Taunton, MA. Mark has worked with the homeless and poor for over a decade. You can follow him on Facebook, HERE.

Photo Credit: Gane

The Yard Sale That Made Me Rich


Carolyn Bolton, Positive Outlooks contributor

Sun is shining through the windows of my office, making the butter yellow paint on the walls seem to smile. Something about the light and the color takes me back 15 years to a significant happening I’ll never forget.

It was a June day. The day that the yard sale of the century was held in my back yard in Salem, Oregon. A number of us joined efforts to hold a one-day extravaganza to rid ourselves of all our extra stuff! The weather was perfect, the dickering invigorating, and the experience of a collaborative sale a sheer delight.

By 3 o’clock in the afternoon, despite the fact that lots and lots of stuff had sold, there was still plenty of stuff on hand. So we regrouped and decided to offer all that remained for free. We wanted it gone!

Word spread like wildfire through the neighborhood and beyond. Soon the back yard was jammed with people . . .  elbowing each other, diving to be first, wild-eyed and hunkered down, stuffing their bags until those bags burst.

Four Hispanic men walked cautiously into the melee. One approached me holding a man’s hat and spoke softly, “How much?” I smiled. “It’s free. Everything is free! Take whatever you want.” His forehead furrowed and he paused. Slowly, with increased volume, he repeated, “How much?” I took the hat, put it in a bag and placed it back in his hands. “Nada!” (My Spanish is VERY limited!) “Everything is free. This is yours!”

Reunited with his companions, he seemed perplexed. They spoke with heads together, then turned to look at me with questioning eyes. He approached next with a tea pot. “How much?” Placing it in a bag, I smiled and gently said. “Nothing. Nada. Everything is free. Please. Take what you need.” He walked away, shaking his head and gesturing his bewilderment to his companions.  This process continued with several well-considered items until one man’s eyes fell on the bike with training wheels that my daughter had long since outgrown. He pointed and looked at me. I walked the bike over to him. “You have a bambina?” I smiled, and held my hand to measure the height of a small girl. “Si,” he responded proudly. “For your bambina.” I gently pushed the handlebars toward one of his hands and placed the matching bright pink bike helmet in the other. “Please, take it. For your little girl.”

The four amigos paused at the gate for a long time, with worried faces, speaking softly.  They were clearly hesitant to leave the yard, not knowing if this pale, strawberry blonde American woman with the suspiciously ceaseless smile was (a) loco, or (b) setting them up to be arrested for stealing, or (c) actually GIVING all these things to them without expecting money in return.

Finally the designated spokesman came back and spoke imploringly, “How much do we pay you?”

Realizing they were afraid to leave without a financial exchange of some kind, I quickly wrote a pseudo-receipt on a piece of scratch paper listing what they had chosen, signified “Paid in Full,” then signed my name.

“Gracias” they each repeated, tentatively shaking my hand. As they walked down the sidewalk, they glanced around nervously to be sure they were doing the right thing. I waved and called, “Adios.” The satisfaction I felt was indescribable.

At sunset a sound came from my front porch. Opening the door, I saw a sight that brought tears to my eyes. There sat a cardboard box filled with a 2-pound brick of Colby cheese, a package of flour tortillas, a bag of corn chips, two pomegranates, and a child’s drawing of a pink bicycle with careful letters that read: “Muchas gracias.”

True generosity returned from grateful hearts. I was overwhelmed with emotion. To this day, I still am. And so I continue to reflect on it some 15 years later. In gratitude, I ponder it still.

muchas gracias


If you wish to follow Carolyn Bolton on Facebook, click HERE.



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