Finding the Opportunity to Smile Awhile

wrinkles go where smiles have been quote_opt

Last week I participated in the local JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) walk to cure, walking with family as Team Dan the Man  in memory of my brother who died in 2006 due to complications of type 1/juvenile diabetes.

It was a beautiful day where we raised money for a great cause, but when the bagpipes began to play at the start of the walk, I started to cry.

All around me were cheerleaders, balloons, and a whole lot of festivity, and for just a moment that atmosphere clashed with missing my brother. Suddenly I felt out of place, on the flip side, as if my loss and sadness didn’t belong.

JDRF walk to cure Richmond_opt


Of course that wasn’t true. I’d lost not only my smile, but my perspective. So, I looked again at the cheerleaders, the balloons, and at the kids running around…and I remembered what powered that festivity: hope.

I was a part of creating hope for other families.

And…I found my purpose, my optimism, my smile again.

So it took some effort, some perspective. Yeah, as much as I love to smile and laugh, sometimes I have to work at it.

 coleen laughs resize_opt


And then other times, smiling can be oh so easy.

 Like getting an email from one of the associate producers from The Ellen Show to let me know they would be using a couple of my YouTube videos for their Smile Awhile challenge.

Smiles powered by giddiness!

Or, something as simple as ducks.
Once they realized I had a bag of bread, these ducks managed to find me at every turn around the lake.

It’s awesome when you get to smile for a while.

Tell me, what’s making you smile this week?

Happy Monday!

Coleen xo






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40 thoughts on “Finding the Opportunity to Smile Awhile

  1. What fun to be (sorta) on the Ellen show! I love her. She does such amazing things for regular people. She’s the chocolate chip in my cookie. 🙂

    I’m glad that you were able to get back your smile and enjoy the event for what it really is all about. I know how difficult that must have been. You have a huge heart!

    Ducks are so funny. Love ’em.


  2. Sounds like you found a moment of grace in the JDRF walk. I liked hearing how you dealt with your feelings. It’s great you support such a worthy cause.

    Wow — you’re a star! I absolutely loved your submissions. That put a smile on my face for sure. Congratulations for being selected. Your husband was great!


    1. A moment of grace–yes, I think you’re right, Patricia. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got too much noise going on in my noggin, but eventually I figure it out and enjoy. Well, most of the time, anyway. Thanks!!!


  3. I loved your video submissions. Your hubby and son are adorable. So glad you got to be featured on national television. I love Ellen.

    Keep on smiling kiddo.

    I was smiling a lot the past couple of weeks, but this week so far, not so much. It’s back to work and mountains of laundry. Your post made me smile though. Thanks for that bright spot in my day.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Yeah, the weeks right after vacation can make smiling a challenge. The laundry alone. Ugh.
      I love Ellen too. Wouldn’t it be like the coolest to not only see her show in person, but be there during one of the 12 days of giveaways? Okay, now I’m really smiling…


  4. One of my coworkers ran the Air Force Marathon this weekend (half-marathon, actually) and at lunch was telling us some of the funny things people did while running. We were cracking up! And your posts always make me smile. 🙂 Congrats on your video!


  5. This post made me smile. It’s such a great case and so glad to see you doing this. Sorry to hear about your brother. I also have family members with diabetes. Very cool about the Ellen video!:-)


  6. I am so, so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. That is awful. How lovely that you’re keeping his memory alive by helping the larger issue, though. Well done.

    Jules of Canines & Couture


  7. Being mobbed by ducks!? I’m still grinning from that 😀 – can always count on you to find the smile, Coleen. Thank you! What else is making me smile this week? A short reprieve from staring at computers, springtime sunshine and the chance to read a magical manuscript from a faraway nephew 😉 All good fun.


    1. Those ducks are still making me smile. They were so cute, especially because before I went back to my car for the bread, they posed for pics for me, letting me get up close–and they didn’t even know I had food yet! Thanks, Alarna. I’m thinking about you and your spring sunshine. Awesome!


  8. Bagpipes’ secret power is their ability to trigger emotion. During the JDRF walk, your emotions would have been close to the surface, so you were powerless against the pipers. I admire the way you found the smile in the day.

    Love those videos!


  9. Your video definitely put a smile on our face. Loved it. And, congrats for being on Ellen. You really are an inspiration for others. BTW, Bagpipes get Mathair and I every time. We’re Irish, so you’d think we’d be used to it, but once that initial note starts we’re ballin’. LOL


  10. Hey Coleen! What an awesome organization to participate in. And may I just say how sorry I am to hear about your brother. Diabetes is a horrible disease no matter what the age. My mother-in-law died from complications from diabetes. Nothing worse than to watch someone you love suffer. My thoughts are with you Coleen! Way to go! Love the ducks. 🙂


  11. My heart aches for you with the loss of your brother, but how wonderful of you to give back and inspire others. Diabetes (Types 1 and 2) are in my family, and I would LOVE to see a cure in my lifetime.

    I love that you were on Ellen! And with those smiling people on the other side of your camera, I guess you have plenty of reasons to smile yourself. Thanks for sharing some with us.


  12. What an emotional moment. Seeing everyone together to help those in need but also remembering what brought you all there in the first place. Bittersweet.

    Congrats on Ellen choosing your video. So fun!


  13. I’m glad you found perspective and were able to smile on that day. It’s hard when we are reminded of a terrible loss. And you want to smile for all the good that is being done and hope that others will not face what you had to.


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