The holiday season is coming to an end, and we either spent many weeks dreading it or enjoying the process. We always have a choice in how we look at things. If we think something will be hard, then we make our own wishes come true. What we think about, we bring about! We don't have to live in the shadow of negativity.

Every single day of our lives we have choices! Our first choice is whether to get out of bed or lie and wallow in our self-pity. Every hour contains a new set of choices that need to be made. We may not even know that we are making choices. Sometimes our choices are made by not making a choice and just allowing whatever to happen. Does that sound like procrastination to you?

We are the queens of procrastination — even when it comes to being in control. We would rather blame circumstances instead of making a decision and accepting the consequences of that decision process. Then when things don't go our way we make a conscious choice to pout, whine and be in a bad mood. Here is the funny part of all this. (That is, if you can call this kind of behavior funny!) If we can make the choice, whether consciously or unconsciously, to be in a bad mood, then why in the world can't we make the choice to be in a good mood? Sounds simple doesn't it! Well, it is! It is all about making up our minds to be happy! Once we make the decision to be happy, our focus is on goodness! Release the negativity and walk with a positive attitude!

That positive attitude becomes a force field of joy that protects you from the circumstances that used to cause us to take to our beds and be pitiful. We have a choice to be happy or a choice to be sad and make everyone's life around us miserable. You get to choose! Imagine that! It is in your control, and we just thought that our bad moods were produced by the people we live with. We have a choice, and when we choose happiness we create an atmosphere of peace in our homes.

The weird result in choosing to be happy is that your tormentors don't get to see you respond to your buttons being pushed. They are no longer in control! You are!

You have a choice! Put on a happy face and practice smiling! You are going to be so surprised at how your body responds to that smile! Those turned-up ends of your mouth tell your head that you are smiling, and that releases chemicals that actually make you feel better. So you see, "Fake it till you make it" is not such a silly cliche! It works!

The choice has always been yours! As a good friend of mine told me once, "We get to change the channel, Marla!" We can choose to feel bad because we can't do anything to fix the situation, or we can turn the channel and find something that we can do and do it! Then he quoted the first verse Serenity Prayer to me. When I got home I looked up the "Serenity Prayer" and read that first verse; then I saw that there was a second verse. I was so surprised. The line Reinhold Niebuhr wrote jumped out at me: "Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace."

I believe that the key word here is accepting! That is making a choice! We all have choices. With the new year we have a choice to be happy or whine and feel bad. Over the years we have all suffered through bad things. I am thankful for each one of them because they have made me who I am today. I would not change any of them. I made a choice to see what good could come out of those trials, accept the consequences of my actions and smile!

My smile has brought me many wonderful memorable moments. My sweet darling told me that he fell in love with me at first smile! I fall asleep every night with a smile on my face! Your smile tells everyone that you are happy! Pass that smile on and watch it light up the world from the inside out!

My gift to you — if you choose to open it — is a sense of peace that comes from making a choice to be happy!

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out: or "Sink Reflections" published by Bantam and "Body Clutter" published by Fireside. Copyright 2007 Marla Cilley. Used by permission in this publication.