As I wake up from my slumber I notice a bear with its beady eyes staring at me. I slowly peek open my eyes and see on the other side of me a pink shoe, an elf and a laughing face. As my eyes come more into focus I spy by my feet a tiger, a duck and an octopus. There’s also a bone, a short colorful rope and a tennis ball nearby.

Somewhere in the middle of all that is the love and warmth of our two dogs snuggling as close to me as possible.

Somewhat amused I recognize I am not at a funny farm. I am safely tucked in bed and these are the stuffed toys of our younger dog who likes to have all his favorite things close by especially when he sleeps.

I hope he never loses his puppy approach to life where it is simply what’s around him that makes him happy.

I think about that in life. We should surround ourselves with what brings us joy. That doesn’t mean we have to take a fishing rod, hunting rifle, a football, a hockey stick, a pizza or a leg lamp to bed with us. We should though keep close by our treasured loved ones, favorite memories, our dreams, a sense of humor, a positive outlook and optimism. Oh, and a couple of doggies always helps.

Having good around us can make such an impact on our days. It makes moving through life more enjoyable. It can make a difference to be around those who add sunshine, support us and enhance our lives.

Have you ever spent time with people who have negative energy and point out only the bad? Notice how exhausted and discontent you feel after and how long it takes to get out of that dark cloud? You can be the most upbeat person in the world, but if all around you are people weighing you down it is difficult to feel light.

Sometimes we can’t avoid it. We will run into those less than desirable people or events. But, we can keep adding good to offset it and focus our energy on what makes us feel happy.

And hey, I won’t judge if that beady-eye bear is actually your childhood Teddy Bear that adds comfort while you sleep as that’s all part of surrounding ourselves with things that bring us joy.

*Melissa can be reached at


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