INITIATIVE: Take the Initiative and Start Things– Or At Least Get Involved

By Sally Tippett Rains

From my book: Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation. Each week we will look at one key to having a happy life. This week: Initiative

15 Keys to happy life, Choose Happy

Remember when you were in grade school and you wanted to make friends? Little girls generally say, “Hi my name is___, what’s yours?”  Boys generally throw a ball at a kid and if they join the game they are friends. I taught that to my sons. We would go to the park and shoot baskets and if they saw a kid looking like he wanted to play they would throw the ball to them. If they saw a group of kids they wanted to play with– they would catch one of their balls when it went out of bounds, and generally got the nod to join in.

That’s not a difficult concept: have the initiative to do something and you will make things happen you never could have imagined.  Is no fun standing on the sidelines watching others having fun. Now is a wonderful time to use your initiative to make things happen.

Even if this is a “bad day” for you, even if you are sitting beside or in a hospital bed… even if you are filled with fear today… even if you can’t understand why the world has gone so bad… with a little initiative you can improve your own day and maybe even someone else’s. For one thing, find that one thing that keeps you going and thank God. Another way to take initiative in a difficult time is use your imagination to when things will be better. They WILL get better for you so just bide your time and be kind to everyone you meet because as they say– we don’t know what others are facing either.

Just Be Kind Sign

Now, when so many are in distress about what is going on in our world. Many people are trying to do the right thing but we don’t know what the right thing is. Voices are telling us what they think we should be doing. Its get so loud I have to remind myself the only voice I really need to listen to is God’s. There is so much at stake here. It goes beyond the hospitals, schools, cities and nation– it is our own souls that can be crushed if we let them. We are in a pandemic– everyone’s in a “damn panic”– do something.

Find somebody and toss them a ball.

Now is the time we can do things we might not normally do– we can go out of our comfort zone to provide something positive for someone else. Example: Last December, a friend’s father had suddenly gone downhill and his memory was failing, so Rob and I packed up our karaoke machine and brought it over to his house and sang Christmas carols with him. It was something I thought he might remember and it turned out to be right. We aren’t good singers and we weren’t sure how it would go but we took a chance and he loved it.

Comfort Zone

Another example: During the pandemic, our neighbors (several different ones) have hosted special days where they set out either activity packets, popsicles in a cooler, root beer, one even had a food truck come to the neighborhood. The first person who did it didn’t know how it would be received, but they took a chance. They tossed a ball, and people caught it and joined in. We didn’t know each other before COVID-19, but we went out of our comfort zone and started reaching out towards each other.

But in order for this type of “initiative” to work, someone must pick up the ball and play. If you can’t start something, then join something.

If you take the initiative to do something and it doesn’t work, my favorite saying in that case is “oh well.” Move on, you tried. Never let a failure keep you from acting on your next great idea.

If you see someone out there trying to do something positive, show them your support. Parents are trying to figure out a way to have virtual school with their kids. If you are doing in that situation, you will do great if you take the initiative to make things fun. Look at it as an adventure and make the best of it. If you don’t have a school-aged child, maybe there’s a way you can help someone; reach out.

Do something nice for someone

Taking initiative comes in so many forms. You don’t have to start a company or have a life-changing idea; send cheerful cards to people you think might be all alone, pitch in to help someone who needs it during COVID-19, write letters to your lawmakers if you really want them to know how you feel, help a young parent who may be overwhelmed right now, check on older citizens to be sure the are doing ok, surprise someone by sending them a gift or flowers.

Pick up the trash you see, help a short person reach the cans on the top shelf, offer to pick up groceries for someone– just have some initiative.

We can either sit in our homes and mope about the way the world is going or we can have the initiative to make our little corner of the world a better and more happier place.

good proverbs

Time is moving on and there’s no time to “feel dumb” or “not want to bother” people. We’ve got to live our life full out and shine our lights every day. There’s no time to hide your religious foundation because you are afraid how others will perceive you. I’ve said it before; I don’t know where I’d be without my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ–but I’m not trying to change you if that’s not your belief. I just know what helps me, and if there’s anyone who needs a nudging to rely on YOUR faith this is the time to do it.

InitiativeGod gives us ideas all the time. Some are even crazy ideas– but when you feel you are being led to do something (like maybe write an inspirational blog) or call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, maybe you should take the initiative.

I want to end with part of a prayer that Franklin Graham said this past week. Franklin Graham is the son of Billy Graham, who was a non-political person, having friended and prayed with many presidents of both parties, and various faiths. I thought this particular portion of his prayer sums it up very well.

“Our Heavenly Father, which art in Heaven, we thank you for the great bounty you have bestowed on this nation and the many blessings we have received the past four years. We are forever grateful.”

“As we come tonight, our country is facing trouble. Tens of thousands are in the path of a deadly storm. The pandemic has gripped millions of hearts with fear. We are divided. We have witnessed injustice. Anger and despair have flowed into the streets. We need your help. We need to hear your voice at this crucial hour. We ask that you would unite our hearts, to be one nation under God. For you are our only hope. We declare today our total dependence upon you and our need of repentance as a people.” 

As you go through your life this week, remember that no matter how hard we try– we can’t save the world– but we CAN help brighten a little portion of it. Let’s use our initiative to bring light to our world.

Have a great week. Toss someone a ball, help someone get theirs back– or ask for help finding your own. Whatever you are facing, you can do it. Choose Happy.

Bible Verse

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”     — Matthew 18:20 ESV


“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”   — Conrad Hilton,Hilton Hotels
“The right man is the one who seizes the moment.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Their comes a moment when you have to stop revving up the car and shove it into gear.” — David Mahoney,  business leader, philanthropist and author
“I would rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not.” — Lucille Ball

Action Plan

In Case You missed My COVID-19 Initiative– The Dream and Wonder Room

(I mentioned this in an earlier blog– this is for those who didn’t see it.)

I woke up in the middle of the night and wondered how could we serve the families of children with cancer that we work with through Rainbows for Kids. Somehow I got the message to ask my sister Barb if we could turn her spare room into something we could use. I told her I had the idea and it was still simmering in my brain but I knew it would develop.

So we got together and she worked so hard, transforming not only one room, but three into awesome space we could use. I just asked for the room but she took the initiative to make cute curtains, put up twinkly lights, paint furniture and just make it amazing. There is an activity room we named The Dream and Wonder Room (because I literally dreamed about it, wondered if we could do it and then took action (called initiative). There is a relaxation room called The Mermaid Room because Barb has always wanted to be a mermaid ever since we went to Weeki Wachee  in Florida as children.

Back porch

Then she even fixed up her screened in area to be The Porch and we have an area for people who still don’t feel comfortable going inside with others due to the pandemic.

Ethan, Jezica, Zephany Collage

Families come one at a time and the parents are able to relax while the kids do activities in the Dream and Wonder Room. It’s not a huge thing– it’s just a little idea, but by listening to it and acting on it initiated a lot of joy during this time.

Harper's mom Julie relaxing

So there are these three rooms (Mermaid room shown above) which are available when not being used by the charity and another idea came: Let’s spread the joy to others.

You can do this in your own town or area. You can start a Dream and Wonder Room. It can be anywhere– a church, an office that can’t be used during the virus, or even a home like we did. We call our initiative ChooseHappySTL. It’s a way to have fun during a pandemic.

We realized that the Community College Continuing Education classes are all called off or virtual and the Dierberg’s Cooking School is out of business, so we decided to offer classes–at a social distance. Only one to a table, four total people at a time. Masks must be worn.

DW long shot from back porch

So if you are in the St. Louis Area and interested in finding out about our ChooseHappySTL classes please email me. In this short time I have connected many fun friends who would otherwise not have met. We have a great list of classes being taught by professionals and not so professionals. We even have an instructor from the Dierberg’s Cooking School.

Facebook post about Choose Happy STL

Email me at if you are interested in finding out more about our Dream and Wonder Room in St. Louis or how you can start one yourself.