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How to Shine Every Day. Really?

March 14, 2020

Another Way for week of March 13, 2020

How to Shine Every Day

(Editor’s note: Tenth and final in a series on physical, mental, relational, and spiritual health.)

Our last word in this ten-week series of dynamic action words found on my favorite cereal box is “Shine.” One of the first things to spring into my brain with the word shine is a song we used to sing in Sunday school: “Oh let the sun shine in, face it with a grin; smilers never lose, and frowners never win.”

Or this: “Heavenly sunshine, heavenly sunshine, flooding my soul with glory divine.”

Or this, from more recent years: “Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with our God’s great glory. Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.”

Each of these church songs are inspiring and uplifting to me but I doubt those were the images and lines the marketers for the Kashi cereal had in mind. But that’s ok. I hope the song snippets flow with you through this coming week as we all face challenges brought about by the world-wide virus crisis of 2020. [I actually wrote this about two weeks ago, before the U.S. got down to business in dealing with the coronavirus.]

Shine is a bright invigorating word that, especially if the sun is shining, gets most of us going in a very good way. It can be harder to crawl out of the covers on a dark, dismal, rainy (or snowy) day. We’ve heard, or know firsthand, about seasonal affective disorder and the depression and negativity that can settle over one’s spirit during a season of shorter, darkened days. In regions of the world where people experience very long nights (such as northern Arctic regions), they sometimes have increased issues with alcoholism or depression—just because of the dearth of sunshine in winter.

Throughout history, light from the sun has given life and hope and existence to not only humans, but animals, nature (think flowers, growing things), and indeed sets the pace for daily routines: for life itself. From the early stories of how the world came to be, in Genesis 1:3 we read, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”

But what does it take to shine in our inner spirit and in our relationships with others [even as we practice social distance!]? We may not be as bright as the sun or stars but certainly some people radiate brightness with their very being.

Betsy and her red hat given to by her friend, Jamie.

Isn’t the hat just too cute?

When I think of people who shine I must name Betsy, who is a new friend I’ve met since I retired. We met at a wellness center in a pool exercise class. Betsy is almost always smiling, a remarkable achievement I have never been able to manage, but I’m working on it. She almost glows. Her eyes sparkle and she has a beautiful smile whether with teeth showing or closed. She is in her 90s but still swims almost every day. She dons a bright red hat on a dull day and looks ready for Fifth Avenue shopping.

Betsy reminds me of another woman I knew decades ago at our church, Katherine. She almost always had a smile and it seemed genuine. Such folks lift my own spirits. She was one of the prime movers behind a robust Weekday Religious Education organization in our county, where children are still invited to come and learn from the stories of the Bible, which should be part of any well-rounded literary education. Obviously, parents and children can choose whether they participate in it, conducted off school grounds.

I also must give a plug here for a children’s Sunday school, nurture, or faith formation curriculum, Shine: Living in God’s Light, because of its name. Shine is under the auspices of the publishing/media organization I retired from last March, and is used and recommended by a number of Christian denominations, although published by Mennonites and Church of the Brethren. Find more at 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. It has been both a challenge and helpful to have these word prompts for ten weeks sparking ideas. Thanks to many of you who have added your thoughts online. The secret to shining every day? Think positive thoughts no matter how glum your spirit or current situation, and as so many have said, take things one day at a time. Reach out to others if you are the one “standing in the need of prayer,” and return the favor when friends and loved ones are in need of your help, as many are in these difficult days. Keep the internal—and eternal light of love—shining.


How do you plan to keep shining, even when you are feeling bum or depressed or anxious? Share stories or comments here!


Please let me know what inspired you most through this series? Was it too long? About right? What was your favorite, or the most “meh” of the titles. I love to hear any feedback.

If you’ve missed some columns in this series, I can send you the complete series by email. If you don’t have email but would like a copy, I can print and send it for $2 Contact me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834. Or download the entire series in this PDF: Go. Rise. Play.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  








  1. I think the timing of this was perfect. Although 10 weeks ago (12 weeks if you count the 10 prompts & writing it 2 weeks ago) you never would have thought that we’d all be wanting a cheery, sunny post for this week. And here it is, in the midst of the dark, often ‘downer’ part of the news right now, you have a post on SHINING!

    This past week or so I find myself straddling the balance between the two extremes. I feel I need to read on the current virus status and stay informed and stay smart. But…I also don’t want to go to excess and find my life consumed with it. I find I reach a ‘maximum exposure’ point and I need to get off of FB, hibernate a bit, and only look for the positive and uplifting moments, trying to see the multitude of reasons I have to be grateful.

    I enjoyed seeing how you took this list of delightful words from a cereal box and turned them into ten enjoyable columns to read each week.

    • Trisha, you have a great approach to not let our lives be consumed with worry and minutia, while still staying informed and smart. And no, I doubt any of us could have imagined being where we are right now even a month ago. Prayers for all.

      Thanks for your kind comments. Now on to my new list of ideas that have stacked up while doing the cereal box thing!

  2. I’ll keep shining, but probably with lower amperage to save energy – ha!

    The news at our house is filtered – way low, too – I’m regarding this time as God’s call to be vigilant, more quiet, and open to things eternal.

    You’ve done a great job in this series, especially with all of the changes in your daily life: Stuart’s surgery and recent losses. Prayers ascend, Melodie!

    • Thank you, Marian. Wondering if your church was closed today too. We missed it, but spent more than the usual time in God’s word at home. And thanks for your prayers.

      • Church closed but service live-streamed. Adjusting to a different, more contemplative, phase.

  3. martyw37 permalink

    A great series Melodie and although I didn’t reply to each one, I have appreciated sharing them with others both by email or on the FB site.
    I like to tell them that you are my longtime cyber friend and that although we have never met personally, I feel close to you and your family.
    My mission these days, since I can no longer do my music ministry of over 40 years, because I now have a neurological disorder, is to share the Love of God with others through what has now developed as an online ministry and hopefully this is my way to SHINE!

  4. martyw37 permalink

    Ps Our church held a “closed service” yesterday morning which consisted of our lead pastor Paul and the praise team of Pastor Levi ,his wife Amanda and our youth leader’s wife on the keyboard, plus the technicians that videoed it for “Live” broadcast on the internet.
    We watched it from home with our computer hooked up to our widescreen TV and we felt like we were right there!
    I normally do pictures at our morning services and I did it yesterday as well right from the TV and posted them on my FB page for those who did not get to see it Live!

    • Caro-Claire, continuing your personal service of doing pictures at your morning worship is a great idea. I think our church is moving to do live streaming as well beginning next Sunday.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the series and shared it widely, I appreciate it. Yes, I feel like I know you. You used to write by letter, too!

      I’m sorry to hear of your neurological problems; Mom is now in rehab after breaking her hip and was so disappointed to learn of their need to shut down the facility even to family. My sister Nancy, a retired RN, has been checking in on her often. So the rest of us will increase our phone calls to her, and I’ll write more letters too. The Goshen News there uses my column and she so looks forward to my weekly column there, since she does not go online or on Facebook. You can remember Bertha in your prayers, and thanks!

  5. martyw37 permalink

    Many churches are now working on setting up live broadcasting via the internet .
    Years ago , long before we moved here we lived in a small town that had a local TV cable supplier that allowed us to broadcast for the community channel and he donated the time from 9:30 – noon to our church and we broadcast a live service for nearly 40 years We had very up to date TV cameras and my husband Martin was a part of the TV ministry for almost the 38 years we were there.
    The owner sold the business and that ended the TV ministry too,

    Sorry that rehab facilities for your mom are in lock down
    Similar situations are going on here in Canada too.

    Our Prime Minister has just had a big TV announcement of all the things that are taking place here as well. It is very,very serious,

    We will pray for you mom and your family
    Indeed we need to pray from our mutual countries and one another.

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