Scout Labradoodle, post hair-do, making me smile

A SMILE A DAY…: This morning I’m keeping my post simple and upbeat. We all need to smile more often.

Smiling is not only great exercise for the face, smiling is also a well-documented positive mental-health intervention. And it’s not the “feeling good makes you smile,” equation – it’s the other way around. Smiling actually makes you feel good.

Anyway, I’m sharing some “feel good” today, and it’s my prayer that these pictures and words make you smile, too.

HER DOGNESS: Okay, folks, if you’re not smiling already then I don’t think there’s that much I can do for you. I didn’t start with this image of Scout Labradoodle because the photographs are pro-rated in any way or shared in order of merit, I started with Scout because it’s such a compelling invitation to smile right back!

She had her summer haircut yesterday, but they left enough character around her face that – when she flopped down, sighed, and gave me that “I can’t believe you let them do this to me” look – the photograph was a can’t miss.

On the porch with good friends - at the Taylor family home in Montreat

REBEKAH: Yesterday, Rebekah returned home from her four-day R&R in the North Carolina mountains. It made me smile to see her again, of course, but this photograph makes me smile because it’s obvious she’s relaxed and enjoying the cool mountain air in the presence of great friends.

“The Good Life” is as much about relationships as it is anything else. I feel so blessed to be in a marriage and in a faith-community where we value one-another.

Rebekah and I have so many “heart-level” friends, women and men we can be completely honest with, and who are willing to move beyond the surface level of communication where too many people camp out for fear of being actually known at the core of who they are.

All of these people really and honestly know me. And that makes me smile.

David, celebrating his six-month milestone with a little power-nap

DAVID: Well, our most wonderful grandson turned 6-months-old yesterday. Naomi caught this picture of him napping. Of course it doesn’t take much for my grandson to make me smile. But what makes me smile even more is the understanding that Naomi loves him so much and that – along with Craig – they are making such a joy-filled family, even if it’s so far away in Connecticut.

And it makes me smile to think about the far-reaching impact such a loving and faithful family will have on this world. Rebekah and I have been privileged to reach literally thousands of people though our work… but we also understand that the simply fact of being a loving family, where loving-out-loud via kindness and grace is so obvious, may be the most powerful witness of all.

So thanks for the smile, David Henry Campbell. I’m smiling again, just watching you sleep.

Alicia and Andrew in Rome - image "borrowed" (without permission) from Andrew's facebook page!

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE POND: Andrew makes me smile too. Just thinking about his exciting life in Italy, traveling vicariously through him, and the peace that Rebekah and I have in knowing that he is happy and fulfilled and doing what he loves – it all brings light to our eyes.

Then we see a photograph like this, taken this past week when Alicia was visiting with Andrew in Tuscany, and we break out into the biggest smiles ever! It’s not that we are dependent on our children’s happiness for our own – that’s an unreasonable expectation and contrary to the foundational premises of the life-charged life. But we can’t help but smile all the way down to our toes when we see this kind of evidence of his joy.

Sometimes lucky is better than good!

FORE! I’ll wrap this post with this golf pic – also from yesterday.

I’m smiling because this hole was so funny! My drive took a sharp dive to the right and headed toward the middle of the lake. But somehow it struck a tree, flew back toward the tee and even further to the right, coming to rest 160 yards from the flag with the entire lake and a bunch of tall trees in the way. Meanwhile, Tim Black’s ball was closer, but in the mud at the edge of the water and behind some trees. Unbelievably, both of us put our second shots right on the edge of the green!

SO I HOPE these pictures have made you smile too. I’ll leave you with one more from the golf course.

Life is good, friends, and it is a simple pleasure for me to wake up every day in the understanding that my joy and my peace are rooted in love and commitment and faithfulness and authentic relationships.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17

Diamond Hill Golf Course, Valrico, Fl

photography The Life That Truly is Life The Life-Charged Life The Pets The Story

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Derek! i was hoping for pictures of people falling into pools while walking and texting and stuff like that. oh well, nice pics anyway 😀


  2. “Unbelievably, both of us put our second shots right on the edge of the green!”

    Sure you did, and why am I not surprised that there is no visual evidence?


    • Ahhh. The visual evidence is A) the cheesy grin on my face. B) the mud-spatter on Tim’s shirt. C) the consistent truth that you simply can’t make up stuff that’s this good…. 🙂


  3. Every one of your pictures truly represents “The Life-Charged Life”. Andrew and Alicia make a fabulous couple. Of course David Henry makes everybody’s day brighten considerably and so does Rebekah. I’ve never been on a golf course, but sharing time with Tim sounds deliciously refreshing. Peace and Blessings, Henry


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