glitter, glisten, smiles and sparkles

Add a sprinkle of glitter to make your day sparkle

Children love to create artworks using pencils, crayons, paints and anything they can stick to a surface using glue. With access to a variety of materials, they can be absorbed for hours creating their masterpieces.

While they might select from the materials offered, I found the one thing that few children could resist was glitter—and the more of it, the better.

There is nothing like glitter to add a bit of sparkle to the day. The only trouble is, glitter is so light and so small, that it goes everywhere—on the artwork, on the table, on the chair and on the floor. It sticks to the hands and is smeared on the face and takes forever to remove from the hair. But everyone loves it nonetheless, and it adds a little brightness to the day.

Smiles are like glitter in that they also spread easily and brighten the day. However, they are not nearly so messy, cost nothing, and require no cleaning up at all.

I think smiles are the glitter we should add to the artwork that is everyday life. And if there’s one thing about smiles, the more you give, the more you receive. Smiles come from a bottomless well, from a source that never dries up. A sprinkle of smiles will make anyone’s day sparkle, and who knows what difference a smile can make to another’s life.

The Ripple Effect by Tony Ryan

I often think of The Ripple Effect, written by Tony Ryan, and its inspirational stories. I especially enjoy this quote by Bette Reese included in the book: “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.”

quote about effectiveness and size by Bette Reese

One of Tony’s stories describes the following scenario:

“As you enter the freeway, you discover that the traffic is heavier than usual, and is moving quite slowly. You then notice that the young driver in the car beside you is trying to enter your lane, because her exit is coming up. No-one is letting her in, and she is becoming tense and upset.”

Tony then describes the turning point in her day:

“You stop, and wave her in front of you with a flourish and a smile.”

and the ripple effect:

  • “she returns your smile, acknowledges your thoughtful action, and drives on
  • her tension dissipates, and she arrives at her company office feeling buoyed by your little effort
  • as the main receptionist, she is the first to greet the hundreds of people who enter the office each day
  • with her positive greeting, she decides to brighten up the life of every person she meets throughout that day
  • because of her efforts, many others in the business district are inspired to focus on their own positive efforts.”

Like glitter, we can never know how far the effects of our smiles might travel. There can never be too many smiles in any one day, especially in a classroom filled with children.

man glisten a flash fiction challenge by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about man glisten. It was a fun term coined by two men with glitter in their beards. What more could it embrace? Look to the unexpected and embrace a playful approach. Go where the prompt leads.

I’d only come across the word “glisten” before in the Christmas carol, Walking in a Winter Wonderland.

But Charli’s prompt reminded me of an incident in my childhood that had absolutely nothing to do with glitter or glisten (I don’t even remember glitter in my childhood) but loads to do with smiles. I’ve rewritten the incident to include glitter and other alternative facts. I hope it gives you a smile.

Glitter smiles glisten

Relentless rain meant no beach for the country cousins. They spent eternity on the verandah, making artworks, playing games, and bickering.

On the last day, when Mum said to clear space for their mattresses, they fought over who’d do what. Toys and games ended up in a haphazard tower with the glitter bucket balanced on top.

When Dad bent for goodnight kisses, he stumbled and demolished the tower. Glitter went everywhere—including all over Dad. The children gasped.

“Your hair glistens, Dad,” smiled the littlest.

Dad smiled too, then everybody laughed.

Dad wore a hat to work that week.

Writing Skills workbook with Strike Me Pink

I previously wrote about this incident for inclusion in a Writing Skills Homework Book published by Pascal Press. Workbooks such as this are very different from the teaching resources I now share on readilearn, but: it was paid work.

This version is closer to the truth.

Strike Me Pink!

Because we lived near the beach, our cousins visited one Easter. Unfortunately, it rained all weekend. Just imagine eight children under ten years old and four adults cooped up in one tiny cottage. Everyone’s patience was wearing thin. We children were starting to whinge and niggle each other. The adults were trying to keep cool and prevent us from hurting each other.

One night when it was all too much, the children were sent to bed early. Four of us were on mattresses on the floor. The line for drying washing, strung across the room overhead, held only one item: my pink dressing gown. I had carelessly tossed it there out of the way.

When Dad came in for a goodnight kiss he thought we looked like a row of toy soldiers in a box. Bending down he exclaimed, “Strike me pink!” And he was! The dressing gown fell from the line and draped over his shoulders like a cloak. What mirth erupted at the sight of my father looking like a pink general. The tensions eased and smiles returned to everyone’s faces.

The next morning was fine as our cousins left for home. We hadn’t been to the beach, but we did have a story to share that would bring a smile to our faces for many years to come.

Note: I don’t know how many others used the term, but my Dad often said, “Strike me pink” to express surprise.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.



54 thoughts on “Add a sprinkle of glitter to make your day sparkle

  1. Pingback: The Ripples of Life | Norah Colvin

  2. Hugh's Views and News

    I’ve never heard of that expression before, Norah. I do, however, remember using lots of glitter and glue as a child. I’d make my own Christmas cards and gift tags out of the previous years Christmas cards. Glitter was sold in small clear tubes and always made me think of Christmas. I know that some people also put a small amount of glitter inside their Christmas cards. Of course, it goes everywhere where you open the card up and can be found for most of the following year. Then, just as you think it’s all gone, Christmas cards start arriving again. It’s a little like finding the pines of Christmas trees around the house all year long.


  3. Tina Frisco

    I love the analogies in this post…Smiles and glitter and fun, all rolled together as one! Both stories are wonderful, Norah, but having to wear a hat to work for a week takes the gold 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Tina. I’m pleased you enjoyed the stories. While my dad laughed off the pink dressing gown, I don’t think he would have enjoyed going to work with glitter in his hair. It was a good thing (if the event had happened) that he worked outdoors. I hope I haven’t misjudged him. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. robbiesinspiration

    I really enjoyed this post, Norah. I have always loved using glitter in artwork and I also use edible glitter for my edible art sometimes but I remove most of it before eating. I enjoyed both your stories, the real pink dressing gown one and the glitter version.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Miriam Hurdle

    I remember the glitter in the classroom. That was fun. You bring back the joyful memories, Norah. I also remember the Christmas cards that had glitter are more expensive but are common. I think the new cards are in different styles without glitter.
    By the way, I looked at this theme, it doesn’t have the same widgets anymore. I found a couple that has a built-in widget I want, but it doesn’t scroll. I’ll spend a little time every day to search, so I could still do my daily things. Thank you for helping!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Miriam Hurdle

        Yes, thank you, Norah. Those were fun days. One summer when I taught summer school, my daughter was my helper. She was going into first grade.
        I’m constructing my new blog. I may get a premium theme but I need to try on different ones to find what I want. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jules

    What a delightful memory you have shared. I like how you incorporated glitter for your CR entry.

    However sometimes glitter can be a nuisance. I was at the library the other day with Little Miss and one of the volunteers was upset because it was also graduation day for the local High School. Some parents had chosen the library flower and bird garden to toss glitter and take photos of the graduates. And they didn’t clean up after themselves. I suppose they were thinking they weren’t responsible and that some maintenance person could easily sweep up. Not so easy in a stone patio surface with lots of nooks. The head librarian was out for several hours using tweezers to pick up the small glittering stars so the birds wouldn’t eat them and choke.

    Public spaces need to be treated as if you were at home, maybe even better. So the natural glitter can shine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Your story makes me so sad, Jules. The thought of birds choking on glittery stars is just awful. But of course, why wouldn’t they be attracted to it?
      Paper confetti wouldn’t be quite so bad for the environment, but just as messy. It used to be quite common here at weddings but lots of churches and function centres have banned it. Perhaps glitter should be banned in outdoor spaces too. I don’t like having to put bans on things so it becomes like a nanny state, but if people can’t be sensible on their own, what else is there to do?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sandy Briggs

    These imaginitive stories are engaging and memorable. I also love the language in both, especially the idioms, the words that comes from your language culture in a different English-speaking country from mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting in such an encouraging way, Sandy. I appreciate it. I thought that “strike me pink” might be a local idiom but it was familiar to others in the UK and New Zealand as well as Australia. I wonder where it started. 🙂


  8. Annecdotist

    Yes, Norah, your post made me smile. Glitter is so environmentally unfriendly while, as you say, smiles sparkle in a much stronger and less damaging way. I was trying to work out which of your flashes I preferred – I don’t have to choose, I know – but I think it’s actually the one with pink rather than the one with glitter. Men used to be so scared of that colour, even though a generation earlier pink was for boys and blue for girls, and you’ve captured that so strongly in your flash.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you got a smile from the post, Anne.
      I didn’t put in the post about how environmentally unfriendly glitter is, but I did think about it. I’m pleased you mentioned it. We do need to be mindful of all the little actions we take that harm the environment, and what we could do instead.
      It’s funny how fashions in nearly everything, including colour, changes, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      So it’s a saying around the world, Geoff. Pauline wondered if it might have originated from a blush of embarrassment. “Swelp me” is a good one!


  9. thecontentedcrafter

    ‘Strike me pink!’ Isn’t that an odd expression for surprise – but yes, I remember my older relatives using that term. I wonder if it began as an indicator of something to blush over? Both your stories are fun, the real one I find really heart warming! I have in my craft supplies an amount of glitter in little vials that is rarely used simply because it makes such a mess. But I am fond of my alternative supply of glitter glue – sparkle without the mess, smiles guaranteed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      I like your conjecture about the origins of “strike me pink”, Pauline. Funny, I had never thought about how it may have originated.
      Glitter glue! A teacher’s friend. 🙂 And an artist’s. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. cynthiahm

    We love glitter at our preschool! And sequins too. So sparkly. We even add glitter to the playdough which brings forth plenty of smiles. Thanks for brightening my day with your blog post and story, Norah!

    Liked by 2 people


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