About Jolly John

Late at night is not the time to be writing your biography, so please watch for the coming excitement of the web page dedicated to making your life more positive. Join John Wernecke on the journey to a more happy, healthy and joyful life. Find the resources you need to get out of the mire of negativity and "not enough" to find the joy and hope in the gifts available to all people. Watch as this journey traverses the reality of life fueled with the power of a joyful, healthy outlook on the world. Re-discover the creativity and playfulness that has been clouded and crusted over and drowned by the everyday challenges, stress and struggles poured out by so many expectant voices of gloom and doom. Breath new oxygen and vigor into your life and family as you learn to kindle anew the fire for life.

Getting Started

It has been a long time since my last post. A friend of mine told me I should get writing no matter what. So today I am going to start once again. The challenge is writing something that will be worth reading. Something that will be coherent and clear and make a difference for those who take the time to read it. With millions of blog posts flying out into the world wide web, how can the words I write be found, let alone bring the skills of positivity to people so they can incorporate them into their daily lives? I am concerned about grammar and punctuation, logic and value, but will I be able to fulfill that standard. Right now, I am content to admit I am a novice when it comes to getting everything right and perfect before I share it with the world. However, I have insight, courage and a message that could help others and so I can’t remain silent even in the face of my fears.

In Elie Wiesel’s acceptance speech before the Nobel Peace Prize committee, in talking about his experience of surviving the evil of the German Concentration camps, he said, “I must explain how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” These words echo in my ears as I think of the challenge of helping people to see the dangers that our cultures face from the enemy called, ‘Ignorance.’ Then Elie goes on to say, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”  Interfere when bullies act, when intimidation and shame are heaped to gain power and supremacy to keep awesome, creative people from reaching their full potential. Being and remaining positive helps people by providing their brain, mood and body with the best building blocks necessary for find the creative solutions for peace, harmony and life. The truths are available for us when we listen to those who won’t remain silent.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

Sharing Positivity, Jolly John

The Power of Thoughts

A concept I came across while reading THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. is “thinking regulates action.”  In order words, what I think about the most is where my actions spring from. Copy of FullSizeRenderIf my thoughts are negative and filled with stress, than my mood and actions will also be more negative and depressive. One the other hand, if I find the positive realities in my environment and consider those things which are blessings or positives in my life, my actions will be more upbeat and positive. I’m not a research scientist, but I do understand that certain chemicals affect our thinking. One alcoholic drink or two can lead to changes in behavior brought about by the chemicals influence on the brains function. This is why we have laws concerning these chemicals. Our bodies and brains in particular use chemicals in many parts of its everyday functioning. Some are depressive and suppressive substances while others are positive and uplifting. So there are chemicals which can encourage positive moods and work with your thinking and there are chemicals which will fight with our thinking and work against a positive mood. What one dwells on in their thoughts either assists the body in producing the natural feel good substances or the negative feel bad chemicals. Open your thoughts to see the blessings in life and meditate of them. Try it for a week or two and see the difference it can make in your life.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope & Laughter,

“Jolly” John

The Challenges of Life

Do you have time to just be? I know this sounds a little odd, but we are so caught up in doing that we hardly have time to just think. We have been taught that taking a few minutes everyday to step off the merry-go-round of life to find some perspective and ask ourselves where we are going, is a waste of time.  It is not a waste of time. Trying to stop everything, even thinking and just breathe helps us to get centered.  It helps us tune into the blessing of who we are. Allowing ourselves time to consider who we are, can be of great assistance when we would also like to help others. Taking time to be is also called mindfulness. Mindfulness practice, as it is called, is a way to go “out for recess” while still on the merry-go-round. Just plain standing on a merry-go-round takes practice but the more we do it the better we become.


Everyday we use words to communicate. We use words to express emotions like joy, happiness, love, contentment as well as anger, dislike, frustration and boredom.  Just as these words have different spellings and different sounds they also have different meanings. However, there is another aspect of words which we often forget, and when we do, it can make a huge difference in the response we get. Words also have connotations and denotations. They can be highly emotionally charged as well as being very benign or innocuous. The real challenge in communication is resonance, that is, using the right word, with the right inflection that the hearer will understand as it is meant. If the hearer hears some tone or emotion in the words which was NOT meant, then they will not really understand the message of the speaker or writer. Decoding words, understanding language and deciphering messages is a life-long endeavor.  Think about the way we express ourselves. Could we do a better job sometimes?

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope & Laughter,

“Jolly” John

To Take a Nap or Not?

This may seem like a funny question to be asking in a blog which shares information about positivity and creativity, happiness and joy, but when you realize the benefits of taking a nap between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. you may change your thinking.  One of the books that I read on my journey to this place is “The Brain Rules” by John Medina.  It if filled with great information about how our brains work and the best ways we might benefit from using this information to optimum health. Here is a little snip it of his wit and wisdom. Just click http://vimeo.com/93047638 and you see a short video with his explanation.

Once again, I am doing my best to bring you useable information to make your life more positive.

Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope & Laughter,

“Jolly” John

Staying Current

I can’t believe it. It has been a year since I started sharing Up With Positivity. One thing I found out about myself, while keeping up with the aspects of my life that really do matter most to me, is that it all takes time. To stay current, I need to spend time writing and posting, reading and growing. Yet, in the midst of all the “positivity work”, there are grand children, family events, a little work, eating, sleeping, yard sales, and de-cluttering (which I have been in the process of doing for the last year).  In the midst of it all, I still have to stand strong against the demons of negativity and “what’s the use” thinking.  Today, I logged in to put something new on my website. I do this to tell you all I have not forgotten the promise of Up With Positivity. I realize we all need encouragement. Our children, students, employees and even the strangers we meet during our daily journey, need encouragement. Yet, when our mood is depressed by the negativity of life it is hard to do that for others, which is really just what we need. When we encourage others, when we smile at others and seek to give joy to them, it raises our joy and our mood. I hope to do a whole lot more mood raising in the future. Please keep me in your prayers.


Blessings, Peace, Hope, Joy & Laughter,

“Jolly” John

Find More Joy, Hope and Meaning

Many people wish to make positive changes in their lives. There are habits which we would like to change, but change is often very difficult. And change is even more difficult when we are stressed and overwhelmed with the choices in our life. The science of recent brain study shows us that when we are stressed our body is flooded with hormones which have been triggered by the brain to get us ready for some perceived danger. And when our body is preparing to meet the danger it shunts the valuable resources of oxygen and nutrients to the heart and the muscles, effectively cutting off the prefrontal cortex which is where our creative thinking takes place. So you see, if we are stressed it is more difficult to think creatively. However, in our modern world of negativity stress seems to be chronic. In order to neutralize these stress hormones our brain needs to signal these chemical producing glands to stop producing the stress hormones. Using the skills of positivity to create a different mindset helps us to teach our brain that we are really okay.  When we do things like laughing or smiling, we show our body that everything is all right which causes it to produce chemicals such as oxytocin, one of the feel-good hormones, that leads our bodies to de-stress. In this de-stressed condition we are more readily able to access the prefrontal cortex or the creative thinking part of our brain to more effectively solve the challenges which make us stressed in the first place.

As we add more practices of positivity to our life we will begin to see more joy, hope and meaning which will in turn allow loss to be in a more positive place. This is how positivity broadens and builds in a family, a community, and even in our society. I hope you will join us in making our community a more joyful place by signing up put to learn more and join us as we establish a real Laughter Club in Bay City, Michigan to help the positivity broaden and build among us.

Blessing, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John



Figuring “It” Out!

One of the hardest things I have to do is organizing or prioritizing what is important in my life. I love to learn new and exciting information about the world around me. However, learning for myself can be a pretty selfish pursuit. So I also seek to figure out how the things I learn can be integrated into my life and shared with others. My passion in life is and, I think, always has been to improve “life” (however you define it) for those my life touches. As the youngest of four, I was the brunt of a certain amount of “picking on”, ridicule and criticism. As a teacher, I heard and saw how children “picked on”, put down and ignored some of their classmates.  And I believe we have all felt the shame of “not being enough” in the eye of someone we may like or even look up to. I have recently become aware of what this behavior can or does do in the developing brain and awareness of young, very young impressionable children.

Therefore, I am embarking on this website, a different course in my life, and the risky goal of changing a whole community of people. These are people like you and me, who were raised by good people, doing the best that they could with the knowledge and understanding they had at the time. Yet, many of the patterns, styles and methods they used did things that were never intended.  They left adults who struggled to mature. They created a world where children have become a nuisance or an inconvenience. These seemingly harmless methods, that were meant to help, have in many ways lead to a culture less creative, more hostile and saturated with negativity. By turning our gaze often, daily and intentionally to see the extraordinary ordinary positive realities all around us, I believe that a world, a society and a culture can be turned around, unlocked and become amazingly more creative.  We can change the world if we will unlock the power found in the “broaden and build” effect described by Barbara Fredrickson in her recent book titled, Love 2.0. My goal is to make the community I live in the Joy Capital of Michigan using the skills, behavior, actions and methods I continue to learn about through positivity and the fruit that grow from its core.



If you wish to join me, smile at someone, and then, if you wish, write a comment to tell me how it made you feel. Then do it again. Make a habit of it. Spread the joy of a sunrise or the serenity of a sunset and watch the positivity grow!

Blessing, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John



Maybe Being a “Pollyanna” is a Good Thing!

What are you truly and genuinely thankful for?  A couple of days a go I was listening to a book on my iPhone on the Audible app called 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik. He told a story about reading, Pollyanna, the best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter, to his daughter. As he told the story, I realized how profound the message of a book written in 1913 was and how quickly the culture turns something beneficial into something negative. Being able to remain positive in stressful situations is not something to laugh at or minimize but something more people need to learn. And the truth is, what we are learning about the brain recently, tells us that people who are happy and able to focus on the good in their lives are more resilient.  We also know that stress inhibits creative thinking and the more stress we feel the more our brains prevent us from having the thinking resources to find good solutions to difficult problems.  I don’t know about you, but I think I need to reread this profound story and continue learning the skills of playing the “Glad Game.”

Blessing, Peace, Joy, Hope and Laughter,

“Jolly” John


I am learning everyday about things which influence our attitudes and behavior. Today, I watched this TED Talk because I read about it in the Laughter Yoga newsletter. Dr. Madan Kataria has always said when it comes to the benefits of laughter we must, “Fake it until we make it.”  In other words our bodies receive the benefit from Laughter even if it isn’t real when we begin. Our bodies do not know the difference between “real laughter” and “fake laughter”. Humor is a cognitive reality while laughter is a physical reality. Professor Amy Cuddy a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, shares her research in how your body position influences others and even your own brain. She studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. And her training as a classical dancer  is evident in her fascinating work on “power posing” ! Check this out.