6 Unexpected Benefits Of Smiling: Enhance Your Face Value

benefits of smiling

Even when the occasional Lyme-induced brain fog causes me to forget what I was thinking two seconds before I’ll not soon forget what happened one wintery day when we lived in Mt Vernon. Our two middle kiddos, both redheads, lost teeth at school the same day.

The nurse gave them one of those little plastic tooth necklaces to keep their teeth safe until they got home and could show me before placing them under their pillow for the Tooth Fairy to collect that night before leaving a little treasure behind.

Cooper and Maddie are originals (as you can probably see in the photo below).

You know how twins have their own language (cryptophasia)?

Well I’ve often said these two speak their own middle child language. And they do.

They have such a rapport with each other and they’ll say things to each other no one else

health benefits of smiling
Toothy smiles, turtlenecks and ginger love.

seems to understand. And then they’ll bust out laughing. Yes, they’re hilarious. And so much fun.

I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the red hair. 🙂

Anyway, I’ll never forget those giant toothy (yet, partially toothless) grins, the turtlenecks they were wearing because it was so cold that day and the tooth necklaces around their necks.


Smiling and laughing come naturally to children, but as we get older do we get more serious? Or do we still remember how to laugh with the reckless abandon of a child?

Even though adult life changes as we have bills to pay, bosses to please and families to support don’t forget…you’re only as old as you feel.

Smiling and laughing on a daily basis is not only acceptable, but it might be just what the doctor ordered.

6 Unexpected Benefits Of Smiling

1. Reduces Stress And Anxiety

When you smile the pituitary gland releases chemical endorphins throughout the body. These neurotransmitters naturally lower our stress and cause us to feel happier…and who doesn’t love that?!

2. Stimulate The Immune System

Smiling causes your body to make white blood cells which fight off illness. A 2015 study showed laughter therapy boosted the immune response in women who had just given birth to babies. (1)

3. Makes You Appear More Approachable

Smiling makes you more confidant and attractive to others.

A smile is welcoming and shows other people you’re open to interacting.

4. Increased Longevity

A 2010 study found that positive emotions, such as smiling are directly linked to an increased life span. (2)

5. A Better Mood

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, try smiling because it just might help. Findings of a 2010 study reported that when you make yourself smile when you’re feeling sad emotions it improves your state of mind and helps you view life more positively. (3)

6. Improved Relationships

benefits of smiling
Our Drew (who is now 20) smiling as a little guy.

People who smile a lot are often likable, and this can positively impact your relationships. Positive emotions are associated with more successful interactions and happiness in marriage.

The Takeaway

Whether young or old, the benefits of smiling for your health and relationships are too many to count.

The simple act of putting a smile on your face can boost your mood and positively affect your day. People will find you even more likable when you show off those pearly whites and flash them a smile. 🙂

What benefits have you experienced from smiling? Any funny stories to tell?

Please share in the comment section below…I love hearing from you!

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Disappointment Hack: When You Want A Swimming Pool But Get A Dirt Road

disappointment hack

disappointment hack
The obligatory back to school photo… So maybe summer break could have been a little longer?

This was the first day of school. The boys are heading back to college soon, and now with David and the girls at school every day it’s just me and our Boston Terrier, Max.

So after getting the kids to school this morning Max and I headed out for a walk around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, we barely made it out of the driveway because Max was having trouble walking on our new road.

So our neighborhood recently got a chip and seal road and it was hurting Max’s feet to walk. This little dog who normally lives for his walks had the most distressed expression on his face.

Sad, right!? Poor puppy. So we headed back inside.

Now some of you may be thinking Max should toughen up, or perhaps he’s too delicate, and maybe you’re right. (He is our baby after all.) But I’ve never seen him pass up a walk. He’s usually pulling me because he’s so excited.

We live in a sprawling neighborhood in the country, made complete with beautiful rolling hills and fields of wildflowers.

Every dog’s dream.

Until now.

How It All Happeneddisappointment hack

Let me preface this next part by saying we love our neighborhood and our neighbors. We simply have different opinions about how our money should be spent.

So here is what happened with the road situation: Over a year ago a few members of our neighborhood decided we needed to repair the road due to a few minor cracks. Overall the asphalt road was in good repair and was smooth to drive on.

So we all voted whether we agreed that the repairs were necessary. Needless to say, we along with others didn’t vote for it, but we were (apparently) outnumbered.

When you have two kids in college and two on the way let’s just say your financial priorities are a bit different from someone who is retired.

We were given an estimate of the repairs and everyone was to pay their part (even those who didn’t think it necessary).

Because that’s how a Homeowner’s Association works.

Which was a bummer because, to us and our kids, a neighborhood swimming pool would have been a much better use of the money.

The benefits of a neighborhood pool include

  • health and fitness
  • a great place to socialize and get to know the neighbors better
  • a fun place for the kids to spend time (and stay out of trouble)

But those in charge of the project decided they wanted a chip and seal road. (In other parts of the country you might say “tar and chip“). It’s basically a low-cost alternative to asphalt. It’s made by spreading a layer of toxic, messy tar then covering that with rough gravel.

I believe the hope was because it’s summer that we would have blazing hot weather that would bake the gravel into the tar, but that hasn’t happened, at least not yet. Since they did the road we haven’t had the hot August weather that’s typical for Missouri.

So it’s dusty and the gravel is loose, like a dirt road. When you drive on it the gravel goes flying. It’s a far cry from the smooth blacktop road we used to enjoy.

But, it would make for a good movie scene.

Like a no holds barred sort of Thelma and Louise we’re bustin’ outa’ this town sorta’ scene. The rebels (without a cause) roar down the dusty dirt road, car top down, hair flyin’ everywhere, tunes cranked up.

You get the picture.

Needless to say the asphalt road we had before had a few minor bumps and cracks but was much better than this, but you can’t win them all, right?!

Disappointment Hack 101

We teach our kids how to deal with disappointment and roll with the punches. But when things don’t turn out how we’d hoped do we take our own advice? (I’m asking myself here too.)

Here are some tips that can help you cope when things don’t go the way you’d hoped.

  1. Deal with emotions. Allow yourself to feel your feelings (like Maddie is doing in the back to school photo above) and don’t stuff them down. Once you’ve processed them it is easier to move forward.
  2. See the big picture. Consider that people are unique and have differing perspectives and opinions. Keep an open mind and allow them to have space. Don’t try to control others.
  3. Don’t expect perfection. People are not perfect so don’t expect them to be. When you are flexible with others and don’t get uptight about your schedule it takes the pressure off and encourages a more relaxed vibe and atmosphere.
  4. Move forward. Accept that disappointment and frustration are part of life. But they are also opportunities for growth. Learn to accept things you cannot change and address the aspects you can.
  5. Write a blog post about it. Do you see what I did there? 🙂

The Takeaway

Disappointment is a part of life. Whether you want a swimming pool and get a dirt road or you’re dealing with something bigger and more life-changing, learning to deal with life’s frustrations is essential. Practicing the tips I shared above will help build resilience and strength through life’s struggles.

How do you deal with frustration and disappointment?

Please share your thoughts and tips below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!

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Fun In Nashville: Cupcake ATM, The Parthenon & Girls Day Out

fun in Nashville

If you missed my earlier post I shared about a recent trip we took to Tennessee.

It’s easy to have fun in Nashville! We’ve been a few times over the years. There’s so much to see and do. I wanted to share a little more of our trip with you if you’re able to visit the area sometime.

Many people enjoy the slower pace of the South and even the Southern accents when visiting there, especially if you’re from another part of the country.

(You may want to learn how to speak with a Southern drawl in How To Speak With A Southern Drawl, The Heimlich Maneuver And A Mini-Vacation To Nashville.)

The Parthenon At Centennial Park

fun in Nashville
The girls at The Parthenon in Centennial Park.

Centennial Park is located 2 miles west of downtown Nashville. It features a walking trail, sunken garden, dog park, pond and a variety of aquatic life.

A section of the park contains historic wartime memorabilia, including cannons from the Civil War, an Air Force fighter jet from the Korean War and a locomotive.

The Parthenon is the only full-scale replica of the original Greek temple. The building is quite impressive in size and the detail is impeccable.

The girls and I enjoyed a girls day out touring downtown Nashville on foot, then capping off our adventures at The Parthenon. It’s a wonderful place for capturing memorable photos!

There is an art gallery inside The Parthenon you can pay a bit extra to view, but we had to get back to the hotel to pick up D for dinner so we didn’t do this.

Here’s some more information on Centennial Park and The Parthenon.

fun in Nashville
The girls walking down Broadway in Nashville.

Fun In Nashville: Live Music

We walked down to the Cumberland riverfront and the girls took a few pictures.

We went to Ryman Auditorium, which was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974.

There, I took the girls picture with a life-size bronze statue of Little Jimmy Dickens. He was 4 foot, 11 inches tall. Apparently the statue is fairly new and was recently introduced, along with a Bill Monroe statue, by country music greats Brad Paisley and Ricky Skaggs on June 7, 2017.

We strolled the Broadway strip, otherwise known as country music row. Saw lots of boot and cowboy hat shops, and tons of restaurants.

Live music is playing all the time. And not just country music, but also jazz, rock, and bluegrass.

Fortunately I did a little research ahead of time and found some inexpensive parking in the downtown Nashville Public Library parking garage. It was $4.50, I think. The library is pretty impressive on its own.

Pizza And A Cupcake ATM With Cousins

fun in Nashville
The girls and their cousins in Nashville pre-cupcake ATM (AKA, sugar rush).

After our trip to the city, the girls and I returned to the hotel, picked up David (who had attended educational conferences all day) and drove to meet my sweet sister-in-law and her kids for pizza and dessert.

Because my sister-in-law lives in Nashville she knows some of the best places to eat and fun things to do. She had some great suggestions and I appreciate her sharing them with me!

We went to a fun cupcake place called Sprinkles for dessert. They have a cupcake ATM, you can order cupcakes 24/7 and they come out in a cute little box. I tried a dark chocolate one and it was amazing!

The kids had fun and we enjoyed getting together!

The Takeaway

fun in Nashville
The girls and I with Johnny Cash at The Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Some of us were trying to figure out if he was real or not, thus the wide-eyed expressions. #helookssoreal (The bag behind my back reveals we had just returned from the Opry Mills shopping mall.)

As you can probably tell, we had fun in Nashville last week. It was nice to see some new scenery for a few days.

I hope you are able to get away or do something fun and out of the ordinary this summer.

We all need times of refreshing in our lives, whether it’s spending time with family or friends, listening to great music, taking a mini-vacation, going on a walk in nature or even using a cupcake ATM.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that can bring us the greatest joy.

What do you enjoy doing when you need a break from the everyday routine?

Please share below in the comment section! I love connecting with you!

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How To Speak With A Southern Drawl, The Heimlich Maneuver And A Mini-Vacation To Nashville

Southern drawl

Hey y’all!

How’s that for a Southern accent? Hope y’all don’t mind me tryin’ it out on ya. 😉

So, part of our family (David, the girls and I because the boys had work) just returned from a fun mini-trip to Nashville, Tennessee. And I’m pretty sure if I stayed much longer I’d pick up their Southern drawl fairly quickly.


  1. Because I like the relaxed vibe of the South.
  2. Because when I was in college my friends from the “Northern” U.S. commented on my Southern accent and I was asked several times if I was from Texas. True story. This, despite the fact that I was born and raised in good ‘ole Southwest Missouri.

    Southern drawl
    Cowboy boots never go out of style.
  3. I like cowboy boots.
  4. And cowboy hats.

I guess this goes to show that everyone has an accent of one kind or another.

And our perception of another person’s “accent” is influenced by where we’re from and the dialect we’re used to hearing and speaking.

Interesting, right?

Drawn To His Southern Drawl

So, we had a discussion about accents on the 7-hour trip down (or east from Southwest Missouri). Like how David lost his Southern accent and how long you have to live somewhere (such as Nashville) before you start to talk like the locals.

D is originally from Kentucky and when I met him in college I was drawn to his Southern drawl.

He sat behind me in a class and after several days of hearing his smooth Kentucky accent, always the curious one that I am, I just had to turn around and put a face to that voice.

And boy was I glad that I did. 😉

(He’ll love me for saying that.)

The rest they say is history…

Well there was a bit more than that.

Southern drawl
Carrots are nutritious and high in beta carotene.

Like the time he gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in our college cafeteria (shout out to Meller’s Cafeteria! where our son, Cooper now works) when I choked on a very large carrot.

For real.

My airway was completely obstructed and he saved my life!

Maybe that sealed the deal?

But I’m pretty sure I knew he was the one way before that.

Based on the Southern drawl and all.


Why Learn To Speak With A Different Accent?

Southern drawl
We saw lots of cowboy boots and guitars in Nashville. Boot, scootin’ boogie.

There are different reasons for wanting to learn to speak with a Southern drawl:

  • if you’re an actor, you can expand your repertoire
  • it’s fun!
  • to impress your friends and family
  • to impersonate someone from the South

Okay, so maybe not the last one.

If you enjoy learning new things like I do, you may like this next part.

Tips For Speaking With A Southern Accent

  • Speak slowly–People from the South tend to draw out their words, especially the vowel sounds. There’s a lilt to their speech and a single syllable vowel can become two syllables. For example, “fill” becomes “fee-hill.”
  • Drop the “g”s. So words that end in “ing” will lose the “g”. For example, “eating” becomes “eatin'” and “running” becomes “runnin’.” Some of us tend to do this in the Ozarks too.
  • Use “y’all” instead of “you all” every chance you get. Even better, and a slight variation, try using “all y’all.” This is my personal favorite.
  • Remember your manners. Generally speaking, Southerners are polite. So try, “‘Scuse me”, “Thank ya”, “Yes M’am”, and “Sir” on for size.
  • Learn and practice some local phrases. Over the years I’ve been entertained by D’s long list of “Kentuckyism’s. These are phrases, or sayings, he grew up hearing in his home state of Kentucky. Many of them he learned from his Granny Mildred, I think. Examples of such colloquialisms could include: “As scarce as deviled eggs after a church picnic” or “I love them roastin’ ears (corn on the cob)” and “If the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”
  • It’s important to keep in mind when we’re talking like someone from the South (or any other region or country) that we show sensitivity to their culture so we don’t cause hurt feelings or offense.

Here’s a video that can help you understand Southerners and some of the things they say. (I realize the still video picture below goes against my comment above about showing cultural sensitivity, but thought it was one of the more informative videos so chose to share it anyway. Hopefully it doesn’t offend anyone out there…this is definitely not my intention.)

The Takeaway

It can be fun to visit new places and observe and interact with different people.

Nashville is an especially fun place to travel to. It’s rich in Southern pride and tradition.

Every person has a unique accent. There are different reasons you might want to learn to speak with a Southern accent. Learning new things can be fun! Or maybe you’re thinking of moving to Nashville to work at becoming a country music star. More power to ya.

Either way, I hope you continue learning new things, and exploring new horizons. Most of all, I hope you had fun reading this post!

Do you like learning new things? Do you enjoy traveling, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures? 

Please share below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!

For more on our trip to the South, you may enjoy: Fun In Nashville: Cupcake ATM, The Parthenon & Girls Day Out

If you enjoyed this, you might want to check out:

Learn how to do the Heimlich Maneuver here.

Connect With Me Below:

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