Have you ever looked closely at an exclamation point?

Don’t tell the punctuation people, but just between us…

….it’s nothing to write home about.

Seriously.

It’s a line with a dot.

Simple.  Unassuming.  Uncomplicated.

But here’s the brilliance of a little unassuming punctuation—when you see it at the end of a sentence doesn’t it make you smile?  Give you hope?  Let you know that the writer is happy to be talking to you?  Engage you? Make you believe there’s a brighter tomorrow.

Case in point:

I like you.  I like you!

Your fall hutch is cute.  Your fall hutch is cute!

Wait until you see how I decorated my hutch.  Wait until you see how I decorated my hutch!

See what I mean?

It’s never the end of the conversation with an exclamation point…

…it’s just the beginning.

Why?

Why don’t we use more exclamation points?

Why is it that positive punctuation sprinkled with a little more positive punctuation sometimes are forgotten and swept aside….

…..and we embrace the negative instead?

Why does a single negative un-exclamation pointed statement stick?

Who even gave the negative permission to take up residence and start ordering rent-to-own furniture?

Truth?

I’m the first one to say “brush it off” and “who cares” and “remember how amazing you are” and “they probably still have maroon shag carpeting in their home.”  

I try to concentrate on the good, not the bad.

But sometimes the overwhelmingness of it all can bring you down.  Make you sad.  Make your heart heavy.

Especially lately.

No one really has a filter anymore.

You’re sitting at home about to watch a Hallmark movie marathon and the crickets are chirping and the sun is shining and the laughter is all around you and you pull up your phone and glance for a moment….

…..and your heart stops.

Negativity and ugliness just knocked at your door.

So this week I tried something different.

I didn’t answer when negativity came knocking.

Instead?

I took all that energy that I spend on sadness and thinking and worrying….

….and flipped the script.

I tried with every last little bit of everything I had inside of me to leave exclamation points wherever I went.

I pushed my cart through WalMart and smiled at everyone and if they didn’t smile back, I grinned even more.  I commented on blogs with dozens of exclamation points.  I told a random lady in aisle four of the dollar store that her nail polish was pretty.  I extra tipped and then ran away before they noticed.  I called my mom and told her she was amazing.

I smiled so much that I made myself laugh.

And guess what happened?

It was amazing.

You are brilliant—so you know where this is going.  I was so busy being positive that I forgot all about the negative. It couldn’t compete.

And the best part?

The more exclamation points I gave away, the more I had to give.

They multiplied.

And now?

I have extra.

So just in case you are reading this post and are sad or overwhelmed or stressed or feeling alone or tired or weary or worn….

….here’s a little punctuation just for you (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

PS  Now it’s your turn.

Don’t keep that punctuation all to yourself.

There’s a world that needs it. 🙂

PPS  If you are on the East Coast facing down Hurricane Florence, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Comments

  1. Image for Linda Linda

    I read your blog every day, just not this early usually. So glad I did this morning, as it's starting my day off better!!!!! You are ABSOLUTELY correct about smiling and being positive!!!!!!! Thanks!!!!

  2. Image for Shannon Gryszkiewicz Shannon Gryszkiewicz

    I absolutely love this!!!!! It really works doesn’t it!!!! I try to do that whenever I go out! I love to see people smile- it makes such a difference in everyone’s life including our own!!!! :)

  3. Image for Carrie Carrie

    You give and you get EXTRA exclamation points!!!!!! People feel better being around you. What a gift. !!! And, keep yourself so busy being positive that "ain't nobody got no time for negativity" :)

  4. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I loved it!!! I'm an exclamation point over-user myself, but I'd never considered it this way. Thank you for such a wonderful start to my morning!

  5. Image for Kim Kim

    YES Karianne!!!!! PREACH!!!!! My kids think it's a riot because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE exclamation points and they can hear my happiness and excitement every time they read a text from me followed by a gazillion exclamation points!!!! Thanks for a wonderful and meaningful blog today!!!!

  6. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    I agree!!!! Get out negativity....you are not welcome here!!! Thanks for the uplifting post Karianne.....these days we certainly need more smiles and positivity 😊

  7. Image for Karen Karen

    You're AMAZING!!!!!!!! I really needed this!!!!!!!! Thank you, sweet & precious friend!!!!!!!! Thanks for everything you do!!!!!!!! Roll Tide!!!!!!!!

  8. Image for Faye Faye

    I sometimes feel like I use too many exclamation points in my emails and texts! But thank you!!! Thanks for the permission to exclaim!!!! We need more people like you!! And I like you too!!!! :)

  9. Image for Cynthia Nessel Cynthia Nessel

    I love exclamation points and I love how you can take an exclamation point and write a great blog post! Can’t wait to see you at Pinners. I’ll be there cheering you on girl! XOXO

  10. Image for shelly bartz shelly bartz

    Wow! That was sooo beautiful!!!!!!!!!! Thx for reminding us to keep on spreading positivity! Just perfectly awesome!!! Thank you!!!!

  11. Image for laura laura

    i normally use a lot of exclamation points and had never thought of them being negativity chasers, but they are!!! or, swords of enthusiasm!! thanks for the reminder!!

    1. Image for Celeste Celeste

      Oh I like that! Swords of enthusiasm. I will never look at exclamation points the same way again. And Karianne, you are our exclamation point!

  12. Image for Jan Jan

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Right back at you and thanks for the reminder to "think positive". We all sure need it today and everyday as we're becoming a very negative world, it's so sad. God bless!

  13. Image for Sandy Bowers Sandy Bowers

    Exactly what I needed to hear today! KariAnne Wood you are the best! You've got this! PS: I love love love my new devotional, it was a birthday present to myself and I'm saving them for a celebration on the 9th of each month!!!!!!

  14. Image for Gina Gina

    Yes! Remember that hurt people hurt people. You like to spread the joy you feel inside to others you meet throughout your day. I am the same. Also, that was nice of you to mention those in the path of the hurricane. A year ago it was me and Hurricane Irma came hard. I remember opening blogs to read them and just couldn't because we were facing something so serious and I couldn't think about decorating mantels and things like that at the time. I'm sorry you found negativity. I have a theory when I see thumbs down on YouTube videos. I believe 10% of the people are just hurt and will be negativeand try to hurt others. So if 10% of the comments are negative, you just have to say it's not about you, but it's about them. Don't let that 10% bring you down! Happy day to you!!

  15. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Spreading happiness everywhere you go-thanks for passing it along!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    So you are someone who enjoys exclamation points as much as I do. This is a good thing! Sometimes I think I over use them when writing.. YOU just gave me permission to use all I want because they will multiply! Good post, making folks think MORE positive about life!

  17. Image for Dianne Miley Dianne Miley

    This is exactly what makes you so special, Karianne! And why I love you so much!!! (Notice all the exclamation points!) I love spreading joy too. One favorite time was stuck in traffic with the windows down and the tunes cranked up singing. Everyone around me started doing the same thing! Another time I kept waving and smiling at 2 elderly ladies walking their dogs as I left for work. They actually scowled at me! But I kept waving EVERY DAY. Until those scowls faded, then faint smiles appeared. Then one day, about THREE MONTHS LATER, it happened. They waved back!!!!! Now we’re neighborly friends. LOVE YOUR ATTITUDE!!!!! PS- We evacuated Charleston SC and are sitting on the screened porch of my friend’s vacation home on St Simons Island, GA. Listening to music, relaxed, trusting God to protect our home. I know He will!!!!

  18. Image for Christie Christie

    I’m pretty new to your blog and today I was feeling overwhelmed and a little down and a little worry some about my grand babies in North Carolina, so thank you, thank you for your post today. 10 smiles or more out of me and lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Image for Laurin Laurin

    Thank you for this! I love exclamation marks. My boss used to get so peeved that I used them in my emails to him. He didn't like them. Differences of opinion happen, but I use them anyway!!!! Thanks for the encouragement to share a smile with everyone. It really does change your own feelings about the day!

  20. Image for Rosanna Rosanna

    So true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This world would be so much happier,so much more peaceful,and so much more enjoyable!!!!!!!!! Let’s share folks!!!!!Let’s smile,just because we can!!!!!!!! And...see what happens!!!!!!!!!!😁🎉💥🌈💕 PS..Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Image for Lynn Lynn

    You my friend are the one that is the most awesomest!!! I may have misspelled that but you know what I mean! I tell my granddaughter all the time to remember what Thumper's Daddy said, if you can't say something nice don't say nothin at all!!!!!!! Rock on my friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Image for susan 0sborne susan 0sborne

    Sometimes we all need a reminder to focus on the positive, best and brightest things. I try to get an hour long walk in every day, and realized I was always looking down, or at least at things that were at my eye level. So I was amazed at how fantastic everything appeared when I took just a few moments to look UP!!!!!

  23. Image for Donna Donna

    ❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️

  24. Image for Linda Joseph Linda Joseph

    Thank you for your uplifting, positive-energy post! People respond favorably to happy people, and you are a happy face to us all. (❤️💕!!!) On a separate note, I just love the little squares next to the commenters’ posts. Aren’t they just the cutest little Amish-quilt looking squares, different designs and colors, like those often seen on barns in some areas of the country?! Makes me want to copy them, maybe an art installation similar to your wall.

  25. Image for Renae Renae

    Love all of it!! And I have no idea who would ever send any negativity your way...evidently they have no idea who they are up against!!

  26. Image for Marjie Marjie

    Yas Queen!!!!!!! It’s in my D.N.A. to see the glass is half full, but not everyone is as lucky. For those who have a hard time seeing the positive in their surroundings, they have YOU Karianne!!!!! I love your hutch!!! I feel the need to acquire apples and display them. Fall is here!!!!! Love, Marjie

  27. Image for Tania Tania

    You are an amazing writer!! Thanks for the reminder on how easy it is to be just a little nicer in this crazy world!

  28. Image for Linda Linda

    Dear Karianne….I need to move to Texas or you need to move to Oregon....right next-door to me...please. Until we make those arrangements, I'll simply open up your pages each day to gain a lighter step on my way out the door.....Thanks!!!!!

  29. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Preach!!!!!!! I personally love to use entirely too many !!!!!! And I’m unapologetic about this. Happy early September day my friend!

  30. Image for KATHY BRANGWYNNE KATHY BRANGWYNNE

    Karianne, You are a Joy!!!!..I have not been feeling well and am on antibiotics!!..They are starting to work...Bringing blessings to people by being positive and smiling is a gift.!!!I love spreading cheerfulness around!!!!!...I too enjoy all the different little quilt squares on your post!!...My mother taught me to compliment others. Making others smile is a Gift and you have it!!

  31. Image for Julie Miller Julie Miller

    Thank you precious lady!!!! I needed this post!! And YOU are amazing and LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 <3

  32. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    This just might have to be one of your greatest posts ever...and so, so timely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;))))

  33. Image for Janet Janet

    Thanks so much!!! I needed your extra love today!! I was sitting in my bathroom crying and trying to shake off all the hard things in my life right now when I read your post!!! You are amazing and inspired!!! I’m sorry you have negativity in your life too!! God bless you!! He is certainly aware of us and our challenges!!! Thanks for being so cute and amazing!!! PS I love your hutch ❤️❤️❤️😘😘

  34. Image for JanL JanL

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder! My use of exclamation points has irritated some co-workers in the past, so I usually write my message with my usual number of !!! - then read back over & lessen or redistribute those little positive signs. I read your blog message just after receiving a call from the school counselor. Discussing 5th grade homework completion and assignment books can make a person feel the very opposite of a cheerful !.

  35. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    YOU are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, you amazingness is why, even though my life has become SUPER busy, I still read your blog, and only your blog, every chance I get. Keep up the awesomeness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Image for Dewena Dewena

    I'm going to stop worrying about the exclamation point police after reading this wowzer of a post! I love these posts of yours that leave me believing in myself and in others! Thank you!!!

  37. Image for Jane Jane

    PREACH IT, GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!!! You remind me of what my grandmother used to tell me: “ Be the kind of person that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says, ‘Damn, she’s up.’” My first comment! From a relatively new subscriber! And, book buyer! Jane

  38. Image for Sheila Cullins Sheila Cullins

    Thank you for this post. Really needed this. My dad passed away a month ago, been really hard! If you are giving yourself away no time for negativity or sadness!!! Love this!!!!

  39. Image for Jeannie Jeannie

    You made me smile! I use exclamation points a lot. It just looks so much more exciting. See a picture of a cute puppy. Respond: cute. Meh, boring. But...cute!!! Ah, that's more like it. Have an amazing, happy day!!! Prayers for our storm-threatened neighbors.

  40. Image for Lonna Berridge Lonna Berridge

    Awesome post!! I usually write texts and then go back and take out "extra" exclamation points! I don't need to do that any more! I don't think you have any idea of the far reaching good you do every day. Oh, we need so many Kariannes in this world!!

  41. Image for Marijean Marijean

    You are too sweet lady!!!!!!!!! I think the exclamation mark needs a smiley face instead of the dot! I agree. Let’s spread kindness and love!

  42. Image for Anna Anna

    I truely love your posts and always look forward to them. But today, reading it was extra special. I, like several million others, spent the day yesterday in the car driving down the coast, away from my home. Depressing and stressful. I needed to hear your comments. You made me feel happy. Thank you!

  43. Image for Rosalie McCreary Rosalie McCreary

    Oh so true!!!!!! I find that if I smile at someone who has a frown or furrowed brow, it usually perks them up!! Particularly cashiers who may be having a crappy day! I'm always using exclamation points when I write!!!!! I'm sure people think I'm nuts!!! Have a great rest of your week Karianne!! ps...thanks for the reply yesterday! And love your hutch for fall!!!!

  44. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    Oh, geez, exclamation points. I hate them. I think they are overused. I think they are like those fake smiles that salespeople give you when you are asking a legitimate question and they would prefer that you drop dead. YET, anytime I end a comment or a reply with a period, it feels SO SAD. Devoid of energy. Unfriendly. I want to deliver a heartfelt smile. Encouragement. Sincerity. This is, of course, the challenge of the written word. I work from a PC, so I don't do emoticons. Maybe there's a way, but, being more than age 13, I am too old to know it. BTW, if you don't know the podcast 99% Invisible, it's totally worth checking out. And they actually had an episode about punctuation--the "interrobang," a real thing, which is the love-child of the exclamation point and question mark. Look it up and enjoy!

  45. Image for laura laura

    Find the Good! My exclamation points are running outside the margins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! laura in colorado

  46. Image for Kristin M Kristin M

    Karianne you are Extra!!! I love the color you have added to your new/old home. When you first started your decorating it was pretty but just not quite you. You are sparkly joy, light and love. Now your house matches you!

  47. Image for Jackie Jackie

    I love exclamation points!!!! I use them all the time!! Someone was told me I use them to much, so I stopped using them so much. :( After reading your blog post today, I will go back to using exclamation points all the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank YOU!!! Jackie

  48. Image for Peggy Z Peggy Z

    You are AMAZING! And this is such a good word for today. You always make me smile! Taking your advice to heart and putting out a some punctuation ❣️

  49. Image for Anna Belle Anna Belle

    For some reason, being positive is hard work, but it can be a bright spot in someone's dreary day. !!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I actually cried reading your post!! Thank you for all the beauty and love you bring into this world!!!!!! XO!!!

  51. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Wow!!! I read your wonderful, spirited blog and all the positive comments. You are an amazing decorator and writer. Saturday, my little book of devotions will arrive. I can’t wait!!! When I taught 8th grade language arts and read great writing or fabulous character analysis, my comments were followed by lots of exclamation marks.

  52. Image for Nita Nita

    Love your fall styling! A few years ago I took to speaking and smiling at everyone I would meet coming or going. Most of them smile and speak, some ignore me, but that's ok. Maybe they didn't hear me or their mind is elsewhere, we never know. It just makes me happy to smile!!!! and yes I love exclamation points and use them a lot!!!! :) I received my Country Living magazine yesterday and the new color is everywhere! lol Sweaters, scarves, shoes, jackets, furniture......you name it. But I really like it. Keep styling......

  53. Image for Barbara Moore Barbara Moore

    Needed this today, friend. Thank you! I will never understand why someone would take time out of their day to send ugliness online. Glad you showed them!! Not sure anyone could ever be able to dim your smile. Shame on them for even trying.

  54. Image for Donna Donna

    Karianne , Thank you for the exclamation point celebration today !!! I always use them and often feel that I should edit my exuberant over-use !!!! I have learned today to not apologize for my joy !!!!

  55. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    LOL I wish I had commented earlier today 'cause today was POSITIVE THINKING DAY!!! Yay! Good replaces bad, positive replaces negative, and praise replaces...well...all that's wrong! Couldn't live without those exclamation marks! :D

  56. Image for Jane Jane

    OMGosh! I so needed to hear this today! You are so, so sweet and a really and truly good person. A hater never wins. Negative comments that are used to hurt rather than help are just out of line and we needn't spend our energy replying. It is however, very hard to keep that little ticker tape of comments and possible replies from playing over and over in our heads. I haven't been through what you have, I just have a few toxic people in my life and it has become so overwhelming that I don't know which way to turn. So I'm taking a cue from you. Smile and spread some happiness! Jane xo

  57. Image for Patty Patty

    Thanks so much Karianne for this post of encouragement! I've cried a couple of times this week over sad things that I cannot control - but today it hit me how blessed I am! I still wish I could change the sad things and I'll keep trying to think of ways to at least help - but in the meantime I'll give out more smiles, try thinking positive, and give out lots of "!" in my sentences. Bless you! (I'm in NC, but more inland - praying for our coast)

  58. Image for Botanic Bleu Botanic Bleu

    KariAnne, Thank you for the sweet email reply to my last comment. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Judith

  59. Image for Pam Pam

    It's been a really bad week with a much beloved sick dog and your post brightens my day! I just love your blog, your way with words and your beautiful spirit!! I'm a big exclamation person and you deserve many because through your blog you make the world a better place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. Image for Pat Pat

    Yes, negativity and ugliness says more about the person spreading it than the person it is directed toward! Bless your little smiling, joyful soul for bring that beautiful smile to all around you, ROCKSTAR!!! Pat

  61. Image for Ann Ann

    YES!!! I am a big believer in exclamation points -and your post and YOU are amazing! Spread sunshine! Smile! You never know how your comments can pick people up - God Bless!!!

  62. Image for Wendy Wendy

    You are so right about exclamation points. Like you, I try to smile at everyone. Even if they don’t smile, it still makes me feel better!!!!!!

  63. Image for Anna McWilliam Anna McWilliam

    Exclamation marks gratefully received across the pond in England !!! Smile and the world smiles with you etc etc !!! All our thoughts are with those people in the eye of the storm on your East Coast X

  64. Image for JudyCinNC JudyCinNC

    Exclamation marks gratefully received in North Carolina !!! My family is ALL safe (Jacksonville, Wilmington and Raleigh) and in clean-up mode and will be for days.!!! We are all working together to ge it done!!! (I like groups of 3 exclamation marks) Currently looking a generator for granddaughter and three great grands in Wilmington!!!!!

  65. Image for Rev. Suzanne Rev. Suzanne

    Beautifully written encouragement. Thank you for touching so many lives with a positive message, Karianne.

  66. Image for Stacy Stacy

    You are loved!!!! Thank you for sharing your talent and being so kind and full of life! I feel like you’re one of my best friends!!! ❤️

  67. Image for Jamie | anderson + grant Jamie | anderson + grant

    Your posts always leave me with a smile on my face! I think everyone should be reading what you wrote here and trying a little harder to bring their own positive outlook to the world because it really does feel amazing after you do.

  68. Image for Jaybird Jaybird

    Good for you!!!!!! This is a great post and an affirmation for me since I use bunches of exclamation points! My family gives me a hard time about it, so now I have a explanation for the exclamations!Blessings to you, J

  69. Image for PJ PJ

    Hi, KariAnne! In addition to sharing explanation points, I keep a strict media diet. I find that reading the news, rather than watching it, makes me feel less overwhelmed. I love following your blog and a few others, but find that limiting screen time and choosing the more constructive blogs enhances my day. I do not have a "fancy phone" as service here at the farm is spotty at best and, for that, I am grateful. Please continue to be the cheerleader you are!

  70. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    Karianne, it's hard not to let those negative gremlins steal our joy sometimes...I get it. We all just have to remind ourselves that giving it attention gives it power--and we all must continue to refuse to do that. Have a beautiful day my friend!!!!

  71. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I wonder about the negativity that is sent your way (or others.) It is really their problem and not yours, or mine, but if it's sent my way it takes my breath away, but then I can breath again and laugh and feel free--but they cannot--they must live in their own little world.! We can strive to live, laugh and love to our hearts content!!!

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