When I first started dating my college sweetheart, I thought his last name was so cute – Bud Peppers. Of course the Beatles popular Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was still popular and I sang it all the time.
Then as graduation and our impending wedding drew near, I realized I was going to give up my beautiful French name, Debra Duvall, to Debbie Peppers! So I decided to go with the flow of the name and began planning the names of our future children: Belle Peppers, Salt Ann Peppers, Chili Peppers, and a plethora of other “groaners.”
The year after our marriage I began my high school teaching career; of course my students all made fun of my name and I laughed along with them. Instead of apples for the teacher, I always received peppers gifts – pepper earrings, bracelets, paintings, even an overhead paddle fan with peppers instead of the fan blades.
Twenty years later, the definitive application of the name came as I completed my doctoral and became Dr. Peppers! I was tempted to drop the “s” and claim my inheritance from the Dr. Pepper soft drink line but chose higher ground instead.
Upon retiring from teaching at a university ten years later, I was well on my way with my new career as a motivational speaker.
Having also landed a job on a local radio station called The Salt and Light of St. Louis, the marriage of the Salt and Peppers was born. Ever since then, I have been Dr. Peppers, Shakin’ the Salt. One of my favorite seminars is “Humor is the Spice of Life.” And I truly believe that it is. When people can laugh at themselves and all of the ridiculousness in the world, instead of worrying and crying, it makes the lives of everyone around you – and yourself – a whole lot happier.
When I was only in my early twenties, I went through a period of deep depression, and even suicide attempts. I had so many people pouring love, light and joy into my life until I healed. I began to keep a “Joy Journal” chronicling my life – its fortunes and misfortunes, along with my favorite jokes and stories from around the world. Having traveled in all 50 states and 65 foreign countries, I never run out of material. Some say I may have the gift of “embellishment” but I say it’s just the effect of being a good storyteller.
I have seen people who have every reason to be down and depressed, instead pick themselves up and share the gift of joy and laughter.
Here are a few ways to “shake a little salt” yourself: pick up a book and read to children in the hospital, visit the elderly in retirement homes, volunteer for a soup kitchen, teach a Sunday School class, or perhaps take a lonely neighbor to lunch. The real secret of joy and contentment, is to give it away. And you can’t give away what you don’t have! So go for it!
Dr. Peppers’ prescription is:
- Determine to add humor to your life daily
- Begin a healthy lifestyle routine
- Seek to help others who need help
- Pray and meditate daily
- Have an attitude of gratitude!
Life is too short to waste time worrying or complaining. Ask my fellow members of the National Speakers Association who have lost an arm, or have to speak through an artificial larynx, or have been diagnosed with cancer. My ninety year old parents would agree with the proverb: “A merry heart doeth good like medicine.” There is no better medicine than deep, heartfelt joy given away in massive doses to others.
Amazingly, our joy buckets gets fuller and fuller the more we give away! So go ahead, step out of the darkness into the light and spice up your own life as well as that of others. Now you know why my tagline is – Dr. Peppers, Shakin’ the Salt!
Read more posts by Debra Peppers, Ph.D., here. Dr. Peppers blogs for JenningsWire.
The online feature magazine, JenningsWire.com, is created by National PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book promotion services to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major high impact radio talk interview shows, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media outlets and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers across the country.