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Last month I wrote about things that bug me. Sounding like a curmudgeon, I joked about writing my next column - becoming an optimist.
But then I thought about the expression of looking at the glass half full versus half empty, and I decided to list all the things that make me adhere to the former more than the latter.
At the top of my list are children. I volunteer at Westminster Elementary School because kids make me smile. It's hard to have a bad day when a second-grader - whom I was helping with spelling - wrote that his favorite food was basketti.
Or when another young student wrote me a note with a P.S., saying, "Can you and me have lunch on Sunday?"
And who could possibly be grumpy after being hugged by a child? Their innocence, honesty, unconditional love and enthusiasm are consistently filling my glass of optimism to the top.
Nature also inspires optimism in me and is a tonic for all the things that can infect my brain. The tranquility of watering the flowers provides a quiet time for reflection and, literally, to smell the roses. I always come away from that task with a feeling of accomplishment and the satisfaction of watching my garden grow.
My husband and I had the pleasure of viewing a dove's nest in the transom just above our front door. It was like watching the Discovery channel as we observed their daily behavior close up for a month from inside our home.
We laughed and wondered if the birds were as fascinated watching our routine from dawn till dusk as we were theirs.
Another notch in my half-full glass is courteous drivers. Yes, I did say courteous. There are those who will wave you to proceed ahead of them and who will patiently wait as you park your car.
Whenever this happens, it makes my day.
I'm also encouraged when I hear countless stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, such as risking their lives to save a stranger's life.
How many stories have we heard relating to acts of heroism during the Boston Marathon bombing?
I'm convinced the majority of people are good and this fills my glass also.
Recently, this fact became even more evident after a loved one in my family had surgery. Upon his arrival home from the hospital, good friends delivered a day's worth of food, including cans of V8 juice to enrich his vitamin intake.
Other friends sent balloons to the hospital, delivered fresh bagels one morning shortly after his return home, and ran errands, delivering extra things they thought he might need.
A nurse and a physical therapist, who live nearby, made sure their phone numbers were available should he need their help.
Much later, during his recovery, mounds of cards, numerous phone calls and kind acts continued, including a gift of freshly made vichyssoise delivered on a hot day.
Some of these people are acquaintances and it is moving to me that they would respond though they hardly know him.
I believe because of all the caring and prayers that surround him, my loved one is on the road to recovery.
In conclusion, I've observed the joy of children, the wonder of nature and the innate goodness of people. It's no surprise that my cup - of optimism - runneth over.
Dolly Merritt writes from Westminster.

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