Button Stories

Be sure to scroll to bottom to read more stories from people!

The Buttons first appear:  Sunday, July 28, 2013

5:30am the Port Columbus Airport. Everyone is sleepy, groggy and some grumpy.  Would you like to be a Happiness Ambassador and wear one of these buttons and take one for someone else?  As if a twinkle of light awakened them from a spell, one by one each person lit up with a smile saying “what’s this?   sure” and put the button on.  The flight staff at the gate desk were very enthusiastic saying, “we really need this. This will brighten things up a lot, especially for people who are having problems.”

6:30am.   Sitting waiting to board, I viewed 50 people in the gate area wearing the buttons, upbeat and chatting.  I felt a wave of positive energy/happiness go through this part of the airport. Also, I felt a huge energy of openness and expanded breathing go through my chest.  I hadn’t realized the huge positive effect the giving of the buttons was having on me. On the plane I was smiling as everyone was wearing the buttons including of course the flight staff.

50 buttons shared with others.  Next stop San Diego airport:

As I’m sitting in a dark and dingy airport grill restaurant awaiting a friend’s arrival, the waitress says to me “what are those?” ..the buttons are in a baggie on the table.  “Can I have some?”  “Sure,” I say.  Next thing the wait staff, who had blank facial expressions when I arrived, are all wearing the buttons and smiling. The waitress returned asking for more to place around “people will pick these up right away. This will be great as our customers are so grumpy and this will help them feel better immediately.” I didn’t make up these words, they were coming from her.

Hilton Resort and Spa Staff wearing the buttons, San Diego:

The concierge staff and check in staff excitedly put the buttons on and so guests started to see the buttons immediately when they arrived at the hotel.  And I saw the staff wearing them every day for as long as I was there attending Live Out Loud’s Alumni event.  Staff was smiling and some asked me for additional buttons to give to their co-workers.  The buttons actually seem to communicate the good will of the wearer to the person who views the button.  This is promising for challenging interactions that involve attempts to solve a person’s problem, when that person is very unhappy with what’s happening.

Live Out Loud Alumni Conference attendees wearing the buttons:

During the Alumni event July 29th-Aug. 1st, 2013,  everyone gladly received a button and put it on. Some people expressed disappointment, when they realized that they left it in their room and asked for another and put it on.  Everyone was upbeat about the buttons. Approximately 200 people were wearing the buttons. I felt energized and uplifted as I offered them to people. Something that startled me, that I hadn’t anticipated was that everyone was greeting me and calling me by name throughout the event.  I realized that a serious connection was made during the giving of the button. We hadn’t “just” exchanged business cards … there was the emotional experience of bringing happiness up to the surface in each of us. More memorable than the usual sharing  “what do you do?” It also seemed more meaningful than a question I usually ask which is “What can you tell me, something meaningful about you?”    I started to get very excited about the various possibilities emerging.

Glen Morshower, guest speaker (actor on 24) received the button with delighted enthusiasm.

250 additional buttons received by others.

eWomenNetwork Conference    August 6th – 11th, 2013, Intercontinental Hotel – Dallas

For me this event began with the hotel staff eagerly putting on the “I am Happy No Matter What” buttons and immediately asking for additional buttons for their co-workers.  Even the Starbucks sales staff put them on.   As people came into the hotel I asked if they were with eWomenNetwork and whether they said yes or no, I offered them a button. People immediately engaged in conversation about the button and began sharing about themselves. What an amazing and engaging activity. I love the connection I feel during and as a result of these interactions.  Later on that day, some people texted me that they encountered some staff members who did not have a button and could use a lift in their spirits. That’s when I started to walk around with a bowl of buttons encouraging people to take for themselves and some to hand out.  I got a call of thanks for giving a button to the staff member who needed a lift;  guess what,  someone else must have given her the button :-).

These buttons are taking on a beautiful generous life of their own. We are their transporter.

I walked around the conference handing out buttons Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 6 days. What a rush of clearing, loving energy I experienced. WOW is all I can say.

The Exhibit Table at the eWomenNetwork conference:

In testimony to the “I Am Happy No Matter What” buttons, I sponsored a table at a conference highlighted by a bright sunny yellow table skirt, flowers, baskets of the buttons, and balloons, along with the book and CDs.  The display looked like a beautiful sunlit garden.  People couldn’t help but smile when you walked by the exhibit. Most of the other exhibit tables were dressed with black skirts. It was as if light was shining on and through this table area.  Everyone who passed by received a button, and as they entered the booth area a smile came into their eyes and they seemed noticeably lively. The crowd made comments such as “I saw sparks in her eyes.” In three days’ time the entire hotel staff was wearing and commenting on the “I Am Happy No Matter What” pins.

A person reported:  I actually saw it happen.  I was sitting in a lobby area just people watching; it was the last day of the conference and you’d think people would put the button away, the conference was over… Not so.  The hotel staff, the people from the conference, and the restaurant workers still had the buttons on their jackets and had a smile on their face.  It’s uplifting and inspiring to see people smiling!  There was a distinct difference in the faces of people not wearing the buttons – no spark, eyes were disengaged from people.

Platinum networking event:

In addition to handing out buttons, a dear friend urged me to offer feathered boas to this special group of which I am a proud member.  I loved the idea and so I made it happen. That night, with total excitement we offered the boas, attendees lit up even more and eagerly donned sunny yellow and sky blue feathered boas … again and again as if I could beam from my chest … it was as if I was breathing through expanded wind pipes? It was as if clear mountain air was coming through me.

750 additional buttons received by others.

Buttons requested for purchase   August  2013

Two people said, “I’ve got to have buttons.”  One said, “I want to give them to everyone.”  The other said, “I want my staff to have these and to have my staff give them to our patients.”  Each of those people bought 100 buttons. What a thrill to now share with others the experience of giving the buttons to others. I felt even more deeply enriched and a sacred reverence for the raising of the energy of good will and happiness has emerged in me.  The next thing I knew, I was sharing about these purchases with colleague who creates events providing self care opportunities for care givers and she said, “I want 500 buttons; I have events coming up and I’m going to need more than that.”  Now I’m feeling blown away. The next thing I know is that I’m having an other worldly experience… in a flash of seconds I feel as if I have handed 500 additional people buttons. This really was profound. And I knew that my colleague was going to have an experience with those 500 people.  What I realize is how layers of the experience of giving are present and available upon each “thing” given. And here it is with 500 such “things.”  And these “things” buttons symbolize the feeling of happiness which they trigger/bring up within the receiver and within the giver simultaneously.  I quickly rushed to figure out what was needed to put the buttons up on the behappynomatterwhat.com website, for sale. I’m inspired to and have my assistant create an online form where people can answer three questions about their experience with the buttons:

  1. What do you experience when you see (so many) people wearing the buttons?  
  2. What do you experience as you, yourself wear the button?
  3. If you give a button or buttons, what has been your experience and what has been the response of the recipient?

I believe sharing the responses to these questions can expand the sharing of the buttons by yet others and feed the spreading of the awakening of happiness globally.

700 additional buttons purchased.

9/12/13  eWomenNetwork Columbus meeting.


Today, as I’ve been experiencing, faces lighting up as I walk around with a small serving bowl containing the buttons.  “Oh I’ve wanted one of those.”  “Can I take a few?”  “What’s this?  I want some.” “Tell me about happiness and these buttons.” It was amazing once again.

Inviting others to share the buttons:

5 of us were going on into the evening to attend the Women’s Book event at which Arianna Huffington was to be the keynote speaker. I made up zip lock bags of 30 buttons for each person to share with others.  Before knowing how many of us were going on into the evening, I made up baggies for 10 sharers.  In the parking lot after the afternoon meeting I gave each of the 5 people one or two baggies of 30 buttons with the encouragement to have fun and feel the giving experience while handing them out. I said, “use it, yes to bring up happiness in the wearer and to connect you memorably with others during the amazing networking opportunity attended by 1000 women. Have fun with them in whatever way works for you.”

Arianna Huffington.  The Women’s Book book signing event 9/12/13.

Walking from the parking garage I handed out buttons to people I saw, “here’s something for you” I said. Girl scouts and official Women’s Book ushers were guiding people through the massive Columbus Convention Center to the event. There was convention center event staff as well as maintenance staff all around assisting  Each person lit up and eagerly put the button on. Literally, I felt like I was doing nothing other than serving the buttons in a small plexiglas bowl. I started to say, “have a button…it’s like candy with no calories.”


People excitedly took them and put them on, smiling and saying not just “thank you.” They said things like: “oh, I AM happy no matter what and I need this button,”  one maintenance staff member said, a huge grin coming to his face “thank you so much m’am, I love you,”  a greeter said, “oh, what’s this?  I need this for a friend,” and she took for herself, quickly put it on and took a button for a friend, then said “can I take a few?” The buttons I had were going quickly and I wasn’t in the event area yet.

Reported that Arianna Huffington receives a button from a Women’s Book greeter.

Realizing I left my phone in the car in the garage. I decide to return to the car, get the phone and the rest of the buttons as I thought I wasn’t going to get to share them all. Returning from the garage, approaching the long walk back to the event area, a greeter came up to me asking for another button, “oh great, can I have another button? I gave my button to Arianna.”  Now even more excitement came up in me.  With even more enthusiasm (as if I could have more :-), I walking around with the serving bowl and every few minutes I was refilling the bowl from the baggies of buttons in my bag.  There were approximately 10 out of all people I encountered who passed on the opportunity to take and wear the button.


People started coming up to me, “can I have another button, someone asked me for mine?” one of those people came up to me three different times.  I, with a huge smile on my face said, ” here take a bunch and enjoy giving them out.”  She thanked me emphatically.

Meeting Arianna Huffington.

Amy Ostigny, who urged me to coming this evening, gathered us and be-lined us all to Arianna up at the stage after her talk. As if by Divine design, we meet and I introduce her to Shellee Fisher the Women’s Book photographer and the next thing I know is that we’re are on stage. I give Arianna a button which he receives with such welcoming grace and gratitude, putting it on immediately.  Shellee takes a picture of us all. And I think, “and we’re all wearing the buttons.” So much breath is going through my chest … as if my breathing is expanding with every breath.  I somehow think to give Arianna the one copy of my book Be Happy No Matter What.  She sweetly looks into my eyes and as if I’m the only one in the room, I know in my heart she has received the book as she says shares her appreciation of the meaning of the title. I’m elevated in vibration and expanded in many ways.

Ellen and Arianna

Below are experiences others have had —

E. Brock Associates, Cincinnati, OH:

It immediately brings a smile to my face & a lift to my spirits.

B. Anderson, Canal Winchester Local Schools, Canal Winchester, OH:

Empowerment and determination to remind ourselves that it is in our control.

Dr Mary Lou Luebbe-Gearhart, Luebbe Hearing Services, Columbus, OH:

At the office, we are all wearing your buttons. Our patients remark and smile. We take them off and pin them on our patients and they BEAM!They say, “This is exactly what I needed”.“When you have a disappointment, shocking news, a rough day, a shooting pain… just touch your button and you’ll feel better”.I think your “I am Happy No Matter What” button is the modern-day “Touchstone”. The world is ready to share your buttons!”   “Wearing the button actually gave me a sense of… well, happiness which is odd. How can you not smile when you are proclaiming such an affirmative message?That happiness is contagious. People want to be happy but sometimes need a catalyst which can be as minor as a shiny, yellow button with a self affirming message.Such a small gesture is so contagious!The buttons are the key to reopen the door and allow people to connect with each other.

Melody Firmani:

I had my “staying positive in stressful situations” workshop today. It went well but not as smooth as I would have liked it. The audience was about 10 folks who were maintenance, kitchen and aides. The majority of them didn’t stay to the end because they had chores to do. Any way….. I had asked a question and no one wanted to participate. Out came the buttons. “Anyone who answers a question will get a button. Doesn’t have to be the correct answer, just an answer”. From that point forward I had full participation! Worked like a charm!  It actually lead to a small discussion that started with, “I can’t make someone happy”. To which I replied, “no you can’t make them happy, but by giving someone a button, you show them that they can choose to be happy. You give them permission to make a choice. They all got that!

Minda G. Garr, MSW, ACHT:

Ellen, I loved reading the journal entries. I found myself smiling as a read, and feeling generally uplifted.  Wonderful, wonderful work. I’m sending the excerpts to my daughter as I know it will resonate with her.  I will definitely check out your book the next time I’m in the States – which is coming up soon.

S.N. – artist, teacher, Los Angeles, CA:

So, I’m given these bright yellow buttons with “I am happy no matter what” emblazoned on them.  I pin one on my shoulder, another on my carry on bag and put the rest in the beverage holder on the side of the –carry-on.  Now what?  Would I have the courage to ask people to wear them?  Should I leave them on the tables in the airport and hope that is enough. Walking up to strangers is not in my nature—but I had taken the buttons and with that, I felt an obligation to my dear friend, Ellen, to try.

Wearing the button actually gave me a sense of …well, happiness which is odd.  How can you not smile when you are proclaiming such an affirmative message?

First stop, the TSA screening.  We are told that we could keep our shoes and jackets on, and keep laptops in their bags.  I exchange a surprised look with the  young couple next to me and we comment about how either we are very lucky.  They are smiling—who better to ask if they wanted a button—they both said “yes”.  Two down.

Now to the waiting room.  Asha, an adorable toddler is doing what toddler’s do best—running around with Mommy close behind.  She sees the button.  I ask her Mother is she can have one and another button finds an owner.  Mom lets me take a picture to send to Ellen—I take two.

I discover I left my tuna salad sandwich in Linda’s refrigerator and backtrack to the Pinkberry stand for nourishment.  The cashier sees my button.  She wants one.  The young man behind the counter says” That’s a cool button”.  All 3 workers take buttons.  I turn to the 3 older women who are next in line.  “Would you like a button?  We’re trying to change the atmosphere in public places to a more positive feeling.”  All three take buttons and want a fourth for there friend.  “Would you like one for a complete stranger?”  And they take another.

Finish my yogurt and realize that I should get something for the plane.  I see an Au Bon Pain and find a thai peanut wrap and approach the cashier.  As I am waiting in line behind the current customer, I see the cashier looking at my button.  As it comes to my turn, I ask:  “Are you looking at my button?”

“Yes”, she says.

“Would you like one?”

“Yes”, she says.

“Can I take your picture?”

Another button and another picture for Ellen.

Walking back to the waiting area, I’m feeling surprised at the positive responses and also, well, I’m feeling happy—and emboldened.

Across from me is an elderly couple who are enjoying each other’s company.

“You seem like perfect ambassadors for these buttons”.  Two more buttons.

Their family arrives –a young couple with a little girl.  Grandpa says, “Look, people will now know that I’m crazy!”

“But crazy happy”, I say.

The flight is called, I have one button left.  Behind me a Sikh family of four is having a hard time with their adolescent son who refuses to turn off his electronic game.  The embarrassed father looks to me.

“You look like you could use this button.”  I say.  “No thank you,” he replies.  My first rejection.  I think, maybe he thought he needed to pay.

Onto the plane..  I sit next to a lovely couple who live near the LAX airport.  Marsha is coming back from hearing a famous yogi speak.  I tell her about the button and the book.  She wants the button and reads the intro to the book.  She plans to buy the book.

We exchange numbers and plan to get together in the future.

No more buttons.

So, what did I take from this experience?  That happiness is contagious.  People want to be happy but sometimes need a catalyst which can be as minor as a shiny, yellow button with a self affirming message.  That being the messenger, is, in itself, self affirming. I adopted the attitude of the buttons, I became happy.  Do I need a button to be the messenger—no.  But it gave me the courage to not only be happy but to promote happiness.

I didn’t have enough buttons in a central location to see a mass effect.  But I smile to think that 4 buttons went to people who serve the public so that there will be the opportunity for many people to be affected by the message.