• Stephanie Hammond

What value a smile?

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa, who opened her first Calcutta slum school in 1949 and established her Missionaries of Charity order. She died on September 5, 1997, my 50th birthday.

Yes, a smile is a very powerful thing. We were at the supermarket one day when we saw a group of happy Uni students moving through the mall. A few of them took time to slow down and smile at this gorgeous little girl, about 4 years old. We were surprised and thrilled at her reaction. She ran joyfully up to her parents shouting: "They smiled at me! They smiled at me!" We were surprised that this was her reaction, thinking that she would have had lots of smiles in her young gorgeous life. Maybe she did. Still we were thrilled that a smile gave her so much pleasure and it reinforced the truth of Mother Teresa's comment - a smile is a wonderful gift, a beautiful thing, an act of love. I love to smile! I love to be smiled at. When you smile at me, I do feel loved.

This photo is of a young boy in India who welcomed us with the wonderful gift of joy in his eyes and smile. (2007)

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Last Days in Atlantis. (Young Adult Novel)

Mari is thrust into a position of responsibility as the warrior leader of the Atlantean Hill People before she's ready. She strives to make choices that are best for her and her people against a backdrop of deception and intrigue. She becomes entangled in the power struggles between her people and the rulers of the City of the Golden Gates. 

Events test her trust in the traditions of her people and her confidence in those who are dear to her: the Elders, her mother, and the young man she is expected to share her life with.  Mari believes she has failed the task and struggles to overcome her feelings of grief, guilt, and betrayal as her very survival is threatened. 

I have written two children's stories about Beatrice, a young angel-in-training with one large wing. The first to be published, Beatrice Learns Compassion, was illustrated by my granddaughter, Bella, when she was 10-years-old. Bella is currently illustrating the secon book, Beatrice Spreads Joy. 

The Beatrice book is available on Kindle. It's suited to young children. Print copies are available to purchase through the contact page