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Love, Work, and Lots of Smiles

A smile will almost always make a positive improvement to both the love and work that you have in your life. "Love and work... work and love, that's all there is. " According to Sigmund Freud, only two necessities exist for a worthy life - to love and to work. Who knows this better than working couples with children? I think Freud was right as long as both love and work have lots of smiles! A foot rub from my husband at the end of the day can make me smile inside and out and give me the will to do it all again tomorrow. The relationships we have with our friends and family have a far greater impact on our happiness than our jobs do. They are the instigators of our smiles, the sun shining through!

We all need money to support our basic needs, but our happiness is not significantly affected by how much money we make; it is affected by our level of optimism. The Pollyanna in me is optimistic and smiles because I know my attitude can make my day! Being compassionate in all the things we do every day can give us peace of mind and solve a lot of problems simply by realizing that our problems have valuable lessons. Love is always the best solution. If we choose to give positive energy and smile then I think we can become immune to the ups and downs of life and so can those around us.

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Photos: Ashley with her daughter Zooey and son Quincy.
When I was in a bad mood, my Dad would always tell my brother and sister and me, "Smile, you'll feel better! He'd say, "Just let the corner of your mouth move upward ever so slightly and you have a start on it that won't stop!" Even if down in the dumps, smiling would always pull me out of my funk! I like to see this working on my children too. Smiles automatically elevate our mood. Have you heard it takes a greater number of facial muscles to frown than to smile? It really is sooo easy!
Some people and cultures find it annoying or unsophisticated to smile too much. Just look at Posh Spice or the French! Americans smile a lot because we are friendly culture. The French, however, don't smile unless they mean it. That is simply the way of the French. Now Posh, I just don't get!

Haven't you noticed, we are naturally drawn and attracted to people who smile? We want to be near people who are happy so we can figure out how to be happy, too. Frowns and scowls put people off -- but a smile draws people in. When we smile, our body is sending the rest of us a message that "life is good!" We can say sayonara to depression, stress and worry just by smiling!

I can't help but think of Nat King Cole's song:

Smile though your heart is aching;
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through for you.

I think most people genuinely care about other people. We look after one another if given the chance. I remember the sweet nurses who would smile at me when I was in labor; it was encouraging and made me feel safe. Nurses must have lots of altruism to do what they do.

If we can rescue Freud's "love and work" every day with a smile, it brings us back to the happy place we are meant to be. All the other problems don't have a chance to grow. Smiling really is contagious -- just seeing a happy face primes our brain and gets us ready to join in on the fun. Everyday smiles can become both a rescue and surrender to life; it really is all good!

I love this time of year. Spring is approaching; it's a time of new beginnings. People smile easily when they can soak in the sunshine of warmer temperatures, see tulips bloom, and children are anxious to search for leprechauns and bunnies. It's a happy time for all.

There is an Irish Blessing I know by heart and it always makes me smile. I think it's perfect for any occasion, but it especially reminds me of spring with the wind, sun, and rain. And being an Irish blessing, it's the perfect welcoming to St. Patrick's Day! I hope it makes you smile!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Photos: Ashley and her husband Derek. Why are we smiling? We are on our honeymoon (in Italy) :)

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