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When was the last time you laughed? Like hardcore, belly, almost pee your pants laughed? Laughter truly is the best medicine!  If you can’t remember I challenge you to think about the company you keep and find a crowd that causes the above-mentioned kind of laughter. Why? For your own mental health during this crazy time with the coronavirus, but also because today is National Let’s Laugh Day!

Here are the other reasons why you should spend time with people that make you laugh (even if it is via FaceTime with a cup of my chai tea for now.) According to the Mayo Clinic, the short term and long term benefits are that laughter can lighten your load mentally and it can actually induce physical changes in your body. It can also:

  1. A laugh fires up and cools down your stress responses and it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.  The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  2. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation.
  3. Relieve pain-Laughter produces natural pain killers.
  4. Laughter boosts the immune system-don't we all need that right now? Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  5. Last, but not least, laughing burns calories. 

If you don’t spend time with a fun crowd here are some tips for getting in a good laugh each day.

  1. Read the good old funny pages.
  2. Watch YouTube videos about cats and cucumbers.  I love this one!
  3. Look up some funny memes, there are some SUPER creative people out there creating memes about the virus.
  4. Pull up some comedians on YouTube

We don’t laugh because we’re happy — we’re happy because we laugh. ~ William James

What makes you laugh? Any favorite jokes that you like to tell?

From the gravel road,

Jen

We had a ton of laughs at our Fondue Party, maybe you could try while your family is participating in social distancing.

If you haven’t heard it, no worries, I linked the music video below.  The music I am referring to is “In My Blood.”  An amazing new song that was just released in celebration of National FFA Week at the end of February.  It is a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of female membership in the FFA organization.  For me, listening to it the first time on the Shining Bright Podcast brought a massive lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.  Song lyrics have a way of doing that to me, especially when those lyrics are speaking words that I hold in my own heart.  Tenille’s words and the images from Marji are an amazing combination that has truly left me reflecting on what is In My Blood.

Love is in my blood

There’s a piece of me in these fields of gold, when I drive by I feel it in my soul…

Love of the land and the animals we raise.  I could take a drive around our beloved Hawkeye state every Sunday from now until the day I leave this earth and never tire of looking at the fields, herds of cattle on green pastures, and work being done to the landscape.  I will never tire of seeing a newborn calf stand on wobbly legs or the feeling of watching hay go up in the barn. It’s in my blood.

Community is in my blood

Everybody waves hello...

For as long as I can remember my parents have been members of boards or volunteered to be part of organizations, whether it was the local rural cooperative, women’s group, or church board.  My parents taught us to not only give to those in need financial but to also give to our community by being a leader.  I continue to give by holding positions on boards at church, the Floyd County Fair Board, and leadership teams at work.  I believe giving back is one of the greatest things we can do for our community.  It’s in my blood.

My dad was a member of the Butler County REC Board for 15 years.

Grit is in my blood

Little never givin’ up is what I’m made of…

I have had fabulous role models in my life that have helped instill the courage and perseverance that I have today.  Setting goal after goal is how I live, whether it is a financial goal, fitness goal, or goal on our farm.  Have I hit every goal? H, E, double hockey sticks, NO.  I believe that’s what keeps us going.  Every fall or stumble gives the push to keep moving forward.  It’s in my blood.

It's in their blood

Just like my mother and her mother, too. I am gonna find my way...

I am thankful EVERY single day that it's in their blood, too. We are blessed to instill the values of hard work, grit, giving, and love in our girls. I pray daily that they find their way. As Tenille has said in many of her interviews, "It makes me feel like the next 50 years are in very good hands.” I am beyond grateful for the men and s women that have led the way and helped me find my way, including one of the Rockford FFA's former Chapter Sweethearts, my mom.

My mom, chapter sweetheart, prior to females being allowed to be members of FFA.

From the gravel road,

Jen

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