Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Life Smiles

I woke up the other day dreaming about a friend of mine back in Portland.  Gina.  She is one of the happiest people I know.  She just radiates a sense of peace.  Warm.  Friendly.  Loving.  I loved being around her.  I didn't see her very often except for the occasional book club but when I did see her, it made me smile.  And she was usually smiling.  With her whole self.  I felt safe with her.  She is one of those genuinely kind hearted people that sees the good in people and things. We were never that close but I think of her from time to time as a person that I admire.  In my dream, her words were so clear and meaningful. Loud and distinct.  They were the first words I "heard" when I was waking up to the day.  She said something along the lines of Smiling.  Smiling with your heart and looking for the things to smile about because when we SMILE and find those things to focus on, we get MORE of them. This made me smile right away.

Many things make me smile lately.  And the more I've been running consistently again, the more I find myself SMILING and feeling truly excited about life.  I came home from my run last night feeling so 
Not to say that I'm not also feeling a bag of motherhood stress from the end of summer, life stress, personal bumps here and know, all that "stuff" that comes with LIVING. Stuff worth working through.  Life isn't all roses and butterflies all the time.  But with running involved, life sure is more enjoyable.  Easier.  Running brings with it 
A Bigger Sense of ourselves and the possibilities 

Today, I'm making a SMILE LIST.  So many things around my house and in my life that make me smile. Really SMILE.


  • My husband.  So thankful for him.  Gosh, he's so patient with me.  Kind.  Loving.  Giving.  Marriage is work and a good marriage is FAR from perfect.  I see this more and more. After 10 years now, I'm realizing more than ever how easy it is to just "settle" and stop doing the little things that make a marriage strong.  I'm thankful for many chances to keep growing with this man.  I truly want my marriage to flourish...not just last.  But be the part of my life that I hold most dear.  Smiling at the opportunities, wake ups, and desires that I have to work here.  

  • The Gift of Tin for our Ten Year Anniversary.  Not sure what I'll do with this special little card box but for now, I love it on my mantle.  It makes me smile.  

  •  Finding notes of love like this on our family message board in our dining room.  

  • Old Books.  Especially this old book.  I recently went into a bookstore with two of my dearest friends and as they chatted, I wandered through the unique rooms filled with shelves of old and used books.  Gosh, I LOVE bookstores. When I walked in the tucked away room full of art related books, I told myself that I just wanted to find a book that jumped out at me.  Then I found this old 1895 edition of What is Art by Leo Tolstoy.  It was all alone surrounded by newer books.  Just sitting there on a bottomish shelf waiting for me to find it.  And when I did, I instantly fell in love.  Not even that I wanted to read THIS book right away but I fell in love with the look, the feel, the smell, the way it was worn, the repaired pages, the underlining that tells a story in itself (I Love when I get a used book that has been underlined and written in).  Finding this book made my spirit light up. It made me smile. I do plan on reading it but for now, I am finding smiles and joy in just having it in my house, flipping through it, and wondering about the many stories that book can tell from over the years.  Thankful for the GIFT that it is.  

  • Gifts of ART.  This one makes me especially smile because it makes me think of two friends that bring so much love to my life.  Thankful.  It reminds me that life is so much better with safe friends that accept you as you are, support you, listen to you, and love you even though they know about so many of your bags of crap.  True friends are such blessings. 

  • These Girls.  What a treat it was to have them visit me for a Girl Weekend.  My husband packed up and took the kids camping and we were able to just "Be" together.  I have to say, they inspire me on so many levels... running (they are fast), marriage, learning, career.  Just love them.  They make me SMILE.  

  • Beautiful places to run.  I've had many of these moments this summer.  Alone and with friends.  This Smile of a Run was in the White Mountains of New Hampshire but there are lots of runs like this around here.  Nothing quite like getting lost in the beauty of a run.  

  • Of course this image that I shared yesterday.  How can it not make me smile?!

  •  Summer Mornings where we all start our day with reading for 30 minutes.  Big SMILES when this actually happens with all of us at the same time.  

  • Boggle.  I've just started playing this game in the last month or so.  The first time I played it, I got my butt kicked!  It was so hard for me to get my brain thinking in the Boggle way but now I can't get enough of it.  My husband has been humoring me and playing it with me almost every night. This weekend we had some alone time and we played it for much of the day.  So far, I beat him most of the time.  But let's not talk about what happens when we play Cribbage together.  He's the Number man and I'm the one who loves words. 

He may or may not be wordlessly expressing some frustration at not winning here.  Ha!

Other smiles:
  • Reading
  • Sunshine
  • School Starting next week.  Hello Routine!  
  • Having a nature park right by our house that we can walk to in a few short minutes
  • Living downtown in a cute little town
  • That we never stay the same but are always growing and moving on to the next stages of our lives.  
  • A November Marathon (a gift from Brooks) to run for Fun and Travel. Still making final plans here.  More on this soon.   
  • Adirondacks Ragnar relay coming up in September.  I've got my tickets booked to Boston, plans to drive to the start of the relay with friends, and then a day with my friend AM after the relay as I recharge.  Yay!
  • Kids writing letters to family so that I get writing time too.  
  • A healthy body.  
  • Getting a text message from my husband this morning telling me that he NAILED his hard run this morning!  On track for his September Marathon!  So proud of him.  So glad we can share in this sport as something we both love to do.  
I plan on continuing my Life Smile List this week  here.  I like the idea of taking snapshots of things that make me smile.  Some of you might get sick of my #lifesmiles photos but they make me smile so hopefully some of them will make you smile too. 

What are some of your Life Smiles right now?  


  1. You have such a huge part in refueling my soul!
    That picture of you and Waylon at the top... perfection! Beautiful!!!

  2. And I love these life smiles. I may join you.

  3. LOVE life smiles!!! I am cherishing and soaking in the slow summer mornings where the possibilities of the day are endless!

  4. A beautiful post that made me smile with happiness at my own good and wonderful life! Thank you for the reminders!

  5. This was definitely a post to smile about!
    My smiles these days are when the boys get home from school!!! (we started back yesterday and I was not ready!) Today I will have plenty of smiles when I get to 7 - between 5 & 6:30 I need to be in 2 places one with one of the boys and Chris is gone so when I navigate the evening I will smile for sure!!

  6. Ah-smiling! The power in a smile!! Like paragraphs spoken without words in a simple smile. I always try to remind myself to smile during a race even. Smiling makes me feel strong and confident and happy. It also elicits smiles in return:) Your smile is positively contagious. One can't help but smile when you're smiling.

    Great list! So much to smile about!! Can't believe your kids start school so soon! We still have until after Labor Day. I smile thinking of your cute character house with your cute front porch in your cute little town with your great little coffee shop! Yay on the November marathon for fun and travel and the gift Brooks provided! What a fun birthday weekend!! Getting to give you a birthday hug makes me just want to haul ass to Savannah. Adirondacks sounds so fun. LOTS to smile about with that opportunity. Good friends, endorphins!

    I smiled so much both in anticipation of just "being" with you and AM and then again in actually being with you. Still smiling now when I think of so much of my time spent there with you guys. Yes, a good feeling to be accepted for who you are-all of it-and something I'm for sure thankful for in my life.

    My smiles these days are pretty fact most of the time I have a smile on my face I think! Things that make me smile the most at this moment are: getaway weekends with my hubby, passions in my kids where they stumble over their words because they are so excited to share, freshly painted walls and rediscovering things that have brought me so much joy...good patient friends, future goals, 2 new family members even though they are not yet with much more but my lunch break is over!!

  7. seems like your summer has been lovely! smiling certainly takes work, a conscious choice most days. especially when it comes to marriage, there are hard days when i most definitely do not want to smile and feel rather ragey.

    hope you are enjoying those precious last few days of your little ones before they tote off back to school!

  8. There's so much to smile about when we take a few moments to think about it. Yesterday I had so many happy moments (it helped that it was a public holiday). I had a walk and coffee with a friend who makes me laugh. I got to bake then watch the family enjoy my offerings. And I got to sit quietly in the evening listening to my house full of family - the boys and their girls. One of the girls is studying interstate and even she was here via skype.

  9. OMG! I LOVE LOVE LOVE boggle! We should play! And you look so beautiful in your picture. Just radiant!
    What a lovely old book. Such treasures. My sister is a librarian, and specializes in "special collections" (mostly rare or old books). She sends me pictures of such precious volumes. Sometimes my library has a few in the stacks and I'll check them out - just for looks! Usually pre-1900 they get put in the basement, but sometimes a few slip through.

  10. Gosh, you and Waylon are just beautiful people! Love the pic! And love the smiles! Yes, lots and lots of smiles! LOTS of reasons to smile if we just notice them:) Our last girls' trip left such a mark on me, and everytime I look at "that" painting I think of you and Jenn...which is often since it is on the wooden frame of my living room window. So, so nice to connect and enjoy ourselves, run with you, and meet your kiddos! Miss you, and miss them! Keep smiling that contagious beautiful smile of yours!

  11. This is beautiful! I love your life smiles, and reading your post tonight was just what I needed! Thanks for your uplifting outlook on life!

  12. That photo of you and Waylon is stunning!!!!!!!!!