Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

A lifetime ago I had a job in social work where I was privileged to work with folks who were everyday heroes in desperate circumstances. Fortunately, there were many substantive things we could do to help our clients. However, small thoughtful little gifts –  like a KEEP SMILING BAG – were also much appreciated. 

A Catholic might call this a Caritas Bag; a Buddhist, a Metta Bag; a Jew, a Chesed Bag. A Native American might call it a Medicine Bag. I just call it a KEEP SMILING BAG.  It’s a bag full of affection and support in the form of bracing little reminders.

I originally posted this piece in early 2011 but these are trying times for so many people I know. I thought I might post it again. You may have a few people in your life who could use a KEEP SMILING BAG. You might even prepare one for yourself. This is a gift that is meant to go with a prayer and loving intention.

These are the supplies you’ll need to gather:

    • A tiny cheery gift bag
    • An eraser
    • A few glass marbles
    • A fat rubberband
    • A few colored crayons
    • A birthday candle
    • Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses
    • A short stript of silk ribbon
    • A few gold stars
Gather the goodies into the bag and prepare an instruction card to go with it:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Here are a few things to get you through the days:
  1. Eraser – to erase your negative self-talk
  2. Marbles – for when you think you’ve lost yours (you haven’t)
  3. Rubber band – you can s-t-r-e-t-c-h into new activities, fresh points of view
  4. Crayons – events may color your life, but you choose the colors
  5. Silk ribbon – to tie everything together when it seems it’s all falling apart
  6. Stars – to get to the top of the mountain, you need to reach for the stars
  7. Candle – your inner light – the true you – is bigger than the circumstances of your life
  8. Hershey’s Hugs & Kisses – Someone cares. Me! 🙂

© 2014, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credits ~ Bag, Ann Cervova, Public Domain Hershey’s Kisses ~ courtesy of IvoShandor under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikipedia. Flowers ~ (c) my Mother’s Day flowers, Jamie Dedes.


  1. This is a great idea, Jaime, to bring a smile and remind people that they are not alone. At the Girl Scout leader meetings, once in awhile the service unit would give one to us. They included a Life Saver and a bandaid.


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