“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Will Rogers, humorist


With seven letters or less on a personalized license plate, you can tell everyone on the highway who you are or what you are. I recently shared the road with these folks.










Some drivers use their license plates to offer advice.







Some drivers use their license plates to ask a question.




Some drivers use their license plates to tell you how they feel.




Be on the look out for this plate.


That’s me and the MK BLEV stands for make-believe. It’s a tribute to walt disney who said,

“If you can dream it, you can do it.’

If you don’t have a personalized license, no problem. Your smile described by Webster’s Dictionary as, “A facial expression in which the eyes brighten and the corners of the mouth curve slightly upward,” is always available for making a first impression.

When it comes to smiles, no one in my memory could beat Mrs. Keller. She was a teacher at the elementary school I attended. She was smiling the first time I saw her. She was smiling the second time I saw her. She was smiling every time I saw her. I don’t think her face knew any other position. I saw her at the grocery store twenty-five years after my first encounter with her and guess what, she was still smiling. She had given up teaching school but she was still teaching everyone how to wear their face. I thanked her for the special gift she was continuing to give the world.

License plates are a great way to introduce yourself, but the great thing about a smile is that you can take it with you everywhere you go. A few short years after that reunion with Mrs. Keller, I met her niece. She was smiling too! What a gene pool that family swims in. If you’re not smiling, you need to jump in too. True, you may not always feel like smiling – smile anyway. The very funny Phyllis Diller offered this advice, “If you want to wake up with a smile on your face – go to sleep with a coat hanger in your mouth.”

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”

William Arthur Ward

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.

Dennis Waitley

“…I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile.”

Job 9:27


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“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you”?

William Arthur Ward, writer


After six weeks in a cooking class at The Ohio State University, my crowning achievement was to walk away knowing I could bake a batch of date nut bars.

“Care to try one? No? Okay, maybe later.”

Even though, for reasons I haven’t figured out yet, I didn’t learn how to cook like Betty Crocker and Sara Lee, I did enjoy the class. While exploring the pages of a cookbook, I ran across some quotations.

I guess you would call them food for thought. My favorite was this:

“Our days are identical suitcases, all the same size, but some people pack more into them than others.”

While enjoying my next meal in a restaurant, I began to ponder what was in my suitcase.

Before deciding, I took another look at the quote, “Our days are identical suitcases…” it began. It made no mention of how many days (suitcases) we will have. No guarantees. No one knows when they’re packing and unpacking for the last time. If I were taking a vacation, I said to myself, and could only take one suitcase instead of 20 – I know I would spend considerable time figuring out what to take and what to leave behind.

Dreams, goals, time with friends and family – those are in there right beside clean underwear and a toothbrush. When it comes to words, I hope my suitcase holds plenty of thank yous and most important, I love yous. A sense of humor is essential no matter what kind of traveling you’re doing. I put it next to forgiveness. After looking at the quote again, I realized there are some items in my suitcase that I really don’t need. They are worry, resentment, anger, and guilt.

At this point I should have been ready to close the lid and get on with the rest of the day, but something inside me wouldn’t let it rest. I decided to take a survey among friends, family, and coworkers. I handed out 25 questionnaires with the quote and asked people to tell me what it meant to them – what was in their suitcase and what was missing.

Five people didn’t have time in their suitcase to answer. Twenty-four hours didn’t seem long enough but that is all we get in a day. Of the 20 who did respond, most had trouble getting the lid shut and fun seemed to be the first thing tossed out.

Work, school, and other obligations certainly have their place. I vote for a little less anxiety and a little more joy. Come on folks, not all the news is bad. It’s not a round trip ticket we’ve been given.

Smell the roses.

What’s in your suitcase?


“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

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