Spidey’s Serene Sunday #414 – Smile

“Peace begins with a smile.”

Mother Teresa

What a beautiful quote, Spidey!

I’m all about the smile. That is me.

When I started uni, before we all got to know one another, I was known as ‘that smiley curly-haired girl from Birmingham’.

And, even now, you will rarely see me without a smile on my face. It may be small and contemplative or wide and manic as I navigate through a crazy day with the kids at school, but it is ever-present.

If you see me without one, you know that Ritu is broken, that day. That is very rare.

You see, I firmly believe that just the act of smiling can change the way your emotions are playing out in your mind. You can alter how you feel to a more positive direction with a smile.

And then there is the rest of the world.

I’ve always got a smile for others.

It is funny to see how strangers react, though.

A smile is the most natural form of communication, yet some people think you are a lunatic for smiling at them.

I’m not talking about a big toothy grin beaming its way to them, but just a small upturn of the lips. An acknowledgement, if you will.

A smile has started all manner of little connections in my life.

My favourite one is with John, an older gentleman. As I navigated the aisles in Asda one Saturday morning after dropping Lil Man at his football training many years ago, I passed the same faces as we all crossed each other’s paths multiple times. I’d smile if there was eye contact, but most of the time, most people’s eyes were either scanning shelves or looking down, just getting on with their shopping.

There was one man who beamed back at me every time. And after the third or fourth time, he stopped me. “Excuse me,” he said. “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but thank you for the smiles. Nowadays, people don’t have the time or inclination to smile, and it makes a pleasant change.”

We would pass each other every Saturday for many months and always stop at some place for a chat. I learned about his adult children and wife, and he asked about my family. He met the kids on the odd shopping trip. One day, he said, “I have something for you!” He pulled out an old photo of a church and said, “You must show this to your son. This was his original school around 400 years ago!”

He asked how to send it to me, so I could show Lil Man. So we ended up Facebook friends, too! Over the next year or so, we would bump into one another and have a catch-up. I learned about his wife being ill, and he supported my blog and book release, too.

Obviously, Covid hit. Shopping trips were few and far between, but we still passed the odd message on Facebook. He lost his wife and has had bouts of illness, but we still stay in touch.

That’s the power of a smile.

So, Peeps, what are your thoughts on smiles? 😊

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 337 – Rakhri


“Brothers and sisters separated by distance, joined by love.”

Chuck Danes

Thanks Spidey, for a wonderful quote, apt for today, as it is Rakhri, or Raksha Bandhan, today.

This is a special day, celebrated in India, and by Indians worldwide. It is a day for brothers and sisters.

Raksha means to look after. Bandhan means bound together.

Traditionally, a sister ties a special thread around the wrist of her brother(s) and feeds them something sweet. A brother returns this with a small gift.

That special thread is filled with blessings and a promise to always be there for the brother, praying for his wellbeing at all times. The brother takes this duty seriously, and if a rakhi is tied on him, he vows to look after his sister, forever, too.

When I was younger, it was a wonderfully profitable day! I have many, many cousins, and it’s not just your brother you tie on, but anyone who is like a brother to you, so cousins, friends who are close enough to be brothers, etc. and they all gave a token, or money, as their little gesture, responding to the sacred thread tied on them.

It was always an exciting time amongst all us girls, and oen that the brothers loved, but dreaded, knowing they would be lighter in the pocket by the end of the day, especially if they had lots of sisters!

Obviously, there are a few changes to this nowadays. Sisters tie on sisters, too, because you don’t have to be a male, or a brother, to look after one another. And, it’s not about the money, or gifts, either. It is the thought behind that thread that is tied. The bond that shouldn’t ever break.

It’s always a bittersweet day for me, as, nowadays, rarely will I get the chance to be with my own brother, to tie his rakhi on him, personally. We faithfully post ours, me to him, Lil Princess to her two little brothers, out there, in Helsinki, and they get tied on our behalfs. They know we are there for them, with them, forever.

At least I get to see my own two, performing this age old ritual. Though, the promises are to look after each other, not just the brother looking after his sister! (And she still expects a little gift!)

So, what about you? Do you have a close bond with your siblings, if you have them?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 336 – Smile


“Smile. It makes people wonder what you’re up to.”

Jill Shalvis

Thanks Spidey, for reminding me of that quote.

I’ve always liked it.

And it’s so true, isn’t it?

I’m not talking about that great big grin that some people flash, though, or the genuine smiles of happiness when you see people together, enjoying each other’s company.

I mean when you see someone, possibly alone, with that kind of Mona Lisa smile playing on their lips. Don’t you wonder what’s put that smile on their face? Is it a lovely message they received? Are they reminiscing some special moment? Thinking of something they arae about to do?

I love imagining what happiness is keeping a smile on their faces.

And, did you know, smiles are kinda addictive? Go on, try it. Smile at someone, pass on that kindness. It could trigger a smile revolution around you!

(Oh, and smiling is so, so good for exercising your facial muscles, so there is even more benefit!)

So, what about you? Do you exercise your smile muscles enough?


Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

One Liner Wednesday #1LinerWeds – 2020

Do something, today, that ensures you leave 2020 with a smile, not a frown.”

Ritu Bhathal

For Linda’s One Liner Wednesday Challenge

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 256


“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

Phyllis Diller

Well, thank you for that, Spidey. You know exactly how I feel about smiling. 🙂

Personally, I feel so much better, when I have a smile on my face. Even if times are tough, that slight upwards curve of my lips, sets the tone for how I approach things.

I guess a smile helps to send positive hormones around your body, and they will make you look at situations in a much brighter way.

Equally, greeting someone with a smile (a genuine one, though) eases moments too. I know that as long as I have a smile for my parents, when opening the door every morning, and more smiles for my pupils, the parents leave, reassured, and the children come in happier, too.

I am known for having that smile on my face. When I was at university, I was described as ‘that smiley, curly haired girl from Birmingham’. See, the smile was always noticed first!

And I am totally unable to put a false smile on.

Even if I try and smile to mask any hurt or upset, it is quickly picked up on by those closest to me. Because that smile won’t reach my eyes. (That’s how you can tell anyone’s genuine smiles – if they smile and their eyes shine, or even crinkle at the edges, that’s a real one. If they are all teeth, but the eyes are a bit dull, and wide open, hello fake smile!)

Equally, a smile from a stranger can be worth more than you know. It costs us nothing, but benefits us by exercising plently of facial muscles, and can give someone who may be feeling forgotten, a real boost.

So… today, I won’t ask a question. Today, a challenge. Try and smile a little through adversity, and see how it might change your outlook on a situation. Or give someone who looks like they need it, a smile.

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps.  Smile, and enjoy your week! ❤ 

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