Photo Essay: Something to Make You Smile

 

 Sending out a little “Instahappy” from my Instagram account.

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Cousins playing bouncy house basketball

 

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Summer raindrops

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Donuts! 

By the way, my hub’s t-shirt says, I know the muffin man. You know, the one who lives on Drury Lane?

 

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 Farmer’s Market tomatoes (for after donut cleansing)

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Something cuddly.

Actually, I don’t know what kind of caterpillar this is, so I probably wouldn’t suggest getting too close. 

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Blue heron waiting patiently for dinner at the James River.

I was surprised at how close she (he?) let me get.

Guess I’ve got street cred now.

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Duck snack rush at Byrd Park. 

Getting eats in the animal world sure doesn’t look as easy as walking up to the donut truck.

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Drawing time.

I’d totally get excited over a colored pencil/Sharpie truck!

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 Sending love and hugs.

 

What makes you smile? And is it something that can be sold in a truck?

Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Finding the Opportunity to Smile Awhile

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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.

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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.

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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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The Soothing Power of a Smile (and Cupcakes)

Happy Friday!

After a long week filled with lists, goals, resolutions and changes, I am in need of something a little soothing.

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Because every now and then you just need something to calm you down, and maybe even make you smile.

So for that, I offer you the obviously underrated, power of a Q-tip.

 

Have a happy, relaxing weekend!

 

Questioning the Power of Positivity

This weekend I watched a bit on a news program that questioned the power of positive thinking.

“If things don’t go well, if you get sick, or if you lose your job, or fall into poverty, it must be your fault because you weren’t sending the right thoughts out into the universe,” said Barbara Ehrenreich, a breast cancer survivor and the author of Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America.

According to Ehrenreich, Americans discount reality for “magical thinking,” and she puts her stock in realism, rather than the promotion of positive thinking when it comes to dealing with adversity.

But adversity is a gift, right?  We’ve all heard that, but then again some gifts suck.

Remember Ralphie wearing his gift from Aunt Clara in A Christmas Story?

It’s okay to not be okay with what arrives at our doorstep. It’s normal to feel angry, sad or confused. It’s okay to want to cry, even wallow. Our feelings are real, even if you feel like no one else feels the same way.

Ehrenreich mentioned feeling guilty for not feeling the can do positive spirit during her bout with cancer, and she said she was tired of feeling guilty.

And it’s easy to feel guilty if you think you’re supposed to smile over the pain, the depression and the fact that life as you knew it feels over. And even more guilt inducing if you complain only to hear: “I was complaining that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet.” (Confucius)

No one should be made to feel guilty about their choice of focus. Your adversity, your choice.

But what is guilt? Could it be something wired in us to perhaps get us to rethink our direction? If we are struggling with our reaction to something, is it because we want to think differently?

There are plenty of people who disagree with Ehrenreich, in fact many say making a plan for hope actually aids in mental healing.

Because there is scientific proof that positivity is helpful. “I think there is a part of attitude that may play a role, and we’re still trying to understand that,” said Dr. Barry Boyd, oncologist and director of nutrition and cancer for the Yale Health System. “Working to build hope and build optimism may, in some individuals, change the biology of their cancer.”

Of course there are experts who disagree. “I think there’s a ton of pressure based on the belief that if they’re positive that they’ll live longer,” said Dr. James Coyne a University of Pennsylvania psychologist. “And then the downside of that is that if they deteriorate and they ultimately die of cancer, that they are somehow left being blamed: If only they had been more positive.”

But positivity is not about denial, but about interpretation. Your feelings are true and you can’t help what you feel, but you can help what you do about those feelings.

Crap happens and no one is immune, but how does staying in the crappy moment of that reality do any good?  What is wrong with hope?  Why does deciding to focus on the positive equal fantasy?

Positivity isn’t a Pollyanna view. It doesn’t mean ignoring realities or neglecting self-care for good thoughts. There’s a difference between Pollyanna and making a plan for how to live the rest of your life after facing adversity.

Just because you look toward the bright side, doesn’t mean you are blinded from the truth.

I don’t think the power of positive thinking is about living LONGER, it’s about living BETTER.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. in fact our response is the only thing we control.
In our response lies our growth and freedom.“
– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

But not everyone believes that, and that is their prerogative. Some find value in cynicism, in much the same way some enjoy their Pollyanna glasses.

“One man’s toxic sludge is another man’s potpourri.”   How the Grinch stole Christmas (2000)

In fact while looking at the reviews of several popular self-help books I saw plenty of negative ones that read, a lot of glass half full crap.

Cynical, right? But then again, that person not only read that self help book, but took the time to write a review.

Maybe they didn’t find what they were looking for, but still they were looking for something.

In the meantime, positive thinking is there for the taking.

What do you think about the power of positive thinking?