If you’ve ever had someone ask you, “What’s wrong?” … and then actually wait for you to answer, it’s obvious that they can tell something is up. Or down. Or mixed around.  Our mood affects others in one way – or a hundred- just as it affects us in our ways.

Hope can turn a smile upside down. Just like the song we used to sing when I was in Girl Scouts (even though I can recall almost nothing of those Girl Scout days, other than the gladness I felt in wearing my uniform, earning badges, and selling- and eating- those cookies), little shifts may bring big and better changes.

It was fun to sing. It made me happy inside, and it brought smiles to all of us young girls. Our leaders must have tied that song to the principle of hope, because I always felt more hopeful after our meetings. If I carried that smile back home with me, it undoubtedly was a bonus for my family.

These days, hope has a much deeper and more full meaning for me. My hope is anchored in Christ, in his atonement, and in my ability to claim eternal life and exaltation if I accept and live the principles that will grant me that desire.  When dark clouds of trouble hang over me, as they do from time to time, I have a way of fighting against the angst and the pain. My Savior knows how I feel, and as I turn my burden over to him, I can go on with the daily living of life He expects me to do.  The sour times come, but they will not remain as an obstacle if I kneel down and turn upward!

If “pleasant words are …sweet to the soul.” (see Proverbs 16:24) then pleasant, hopeful thoughts are sweet to the mind and heart, as well. They are a much better option than the sour feelings, thoughts, and words that would bring us down.

I’ve decided that:

  • A sour mood is a waste of time.
  • “Sour-ness” is heavy, and is a load I shouldn’t carry.
  • It’s a waste of my divine make up as well as the store- bought kind that causes streaks where I cry.
  • The sooner I grab hold of hope, the sooner the mood can shift in a positive way.
  • My rejoicing can be in tiny ways that only I recognize, little ways that only those closest to me can see, or in larger ways that are evident to most people. But always, my Father sees and knows and my Savior can relate to, and celebrate with me.
  • Regardless of negatives thrown at me in this world, a better and higher road offers a smile of gratitude, or sweet joy, or of better understanding.

So – these days I’m scouting for elements and principles and activities far different from the old days of being a girl scout. But the bottom line seems to be the same as my leaders taught me as a child – learning how to take a frown and turn it around, grabbing hold of hope and allowing it to bless me – becomes a gift to myself, my family and friends, and to Diety.

A simple, small strategy. But a huge, beautiful way to sweeten up a sour mood!

Vickey has taught Church youth & family programs for 25 years, and has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Her newest venture is the creation of a website to focus on, bring attention to, and grow the goodness in this world. Visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com