Archived Opinion

Five things a month to smile about

Five things a month to smile about

In what feels like a previous life, I was a mom blogger. After the birth of my youngest son, now age 10, I created a blog called Zealous Mom. This was during the early years of blogging when it was all about content and connecting with others in the blogging community as opposed to pushing out posts on social media and seeing how many likes and views it could get. 

One of my most popular blog series was one called “Five Things to Smile About.” At the conclusion of each month, I would look through photos and videos on my phone and think about small moments and big adventures that brought joy, love or feelings of gratitude.  Not only was this enjoyable for me, but it encouraged my readers to pause and consider their own lives and experiences that made them smile. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about five specific things that have made me smile within a month’s time frame, so I decided to sit down for a few minutes, look at photos on my phone and previous events on my calendar to remind myself of the past month’s activities. Below are five things that make me smile.

Snowshoe: At the end of February, we went to Snowshoe with three other families, including my two close friends and sister. We spent a long weekend cozied up in our cabin or on the mountain skiing and snowboarding.  Although it takes a lot of time and energy to prepare for a ski trip, especially with multiple families involved, it was well worth it. Further, there is little to no cell service at Snowshoe, which made it even nicer. It’s so pleasant to disconnect from the noise every now and then 

Reading with my son: My youngest son is a good reader but doesn’t love to read long spans of text such as that in a chapter book. He prefers graphic novels, which are laid out like a comic book with short spurts of text and illustrations. This format keeps a child’s creative mind engaged. To motivate him to read a traditional novel, he and I started reading “Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone” together. We alternate reading two pages at a time. This helps move the story along quicker and allows us to discuss the plot after we read. And even though I’ve already read the book multiple times, it’s relaxing to pause the day’s hustle and sit down for 20 minutes to view the story through his eyes. 

WMS Track & Field: I ran track in middle and high school, and when I was teaching at Waynesville Middle I coached the track team for several years. My oldest son started running track at WMS last year, and I volunteered to work with the hurdlers, which was my favorite event when I was young. This is my second year working with the team, and these kids are so inspiring. They work hard every day and are always trying to get better, stronger and faster. If you’re ever feeling defeated about the future, watch a middle or high school sporting event. It’s bound to lift your spirits.

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Sharing my book: I’ve been asked twice in the past month to read my children’s book, “The Jolt Felt Around the World.” The first event was with a youth group and the second was with a children’s “Clean and Green” group. The conversations were much different with the older group than the younger; however, I was blown away in both instances by the wisdom and concern our younger generations have for the earth and the worrisome trajectory of global warming. 

Baseball cards: We all have certain items that conjure feelings of nostalgia. For my boyfriend, Matthew, one of these items is baseball cards. When he was young, he enjoyed collecting baseball cards and especially loved pulling a Ken Griffey Jr. His affinity for baseball cards was resurrected several months ago when our kids started collecting them. Since then, Matthew has created a YouTube channel called Finding Griffey, an online outlet where we can have a little fun opening packs in hopes of seeing a Mariners hat and that signature Griffey smile.

The world feels heavy from every angle. On local, national and global scales, it’s one thing after another, a constant hamster wheel of turmoil and uncertainty.  It can all become overwhelming, and we occasionally need to push the reset button. For me, this often means quiet time to reflect on what’s positive and true in my life. Writing down five things that make me smile is a simple activity on the surface, but the gratification runs deep. 

(Susanna Shetley is an editor, writer and digital media specialist with The Smoky Mountain News, Smoky Mountain Living and Mountain South Media. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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