When I was in the eighth grade, I walked into a classroom where there was being spoken a foreign language by the most brilliant, bright-eyed, lovely, quirky, caring teacher I still have ever known. Her name was Mrs. Mahuron, but since her husband worked a few doors down in the science department, we sometimes just called her Mrs.

She was always smitten with her chemist husband, who was equally brilliant and caring. Theirs was a marriage worth having. They subtly displayed a genuine, deep care for one another, and a genuine, deep sense of their calling as teachers. Our little town was so incredibly blessed to have them.

For five years she instructed me in the language, and then and since in all the ways of life.  She was always there. And she was always smiling. And she was always giving off the sense that she cared about us so much, and at the same time expecting us to preform to the absolute best of our ability. Her care for us never excused our mediocrity; her care was so genuine it demanded more from us. The best from us.

Mrs. was a steady, dependable constant at a time in my life when all was chaotic and in perpetual motion. She was always there. Over the course of five years, she showed up for me. She listened, but didn’t pry. She counseled, but didn’t lecture. She encouraged, but didn’t pressure. The atmosphere she created within those hard cinderblock walls was one of warmth and invitation. It was as if walking through those doors were walking right into a warm blanket on a cold day.

Outside of my family, she has been the greatest influence in my life.

My favorite exercise she had us to complete was a journal. It was informal. It was handwritten. It was loose leaf paper tucked in a plain manilla folder. An unassuming facade for a sea of thoughts and teenage emotions. Oh, how I wrote. It was as if I had been bound, and all of a sudden I had been set free. I, of course, journaled about very mature and distinguished things. Boys. Homecoming. Prom. Upcoming collegiate adventures….to where? What should I do? Where should I go?

Do you know that she always took considerable time to answer my quandaries? Her written responses were thoughtful and wise, deliberate and sure. She never dismissed my juvenile woes. I can still see her distinct handwriting to this day in my mind’s eye.

A few weeks ago I was able to speak to her by phone. She smiled as she spoke. I am sure of it. And do you know what she said? She said these words me, “Oh, I know I didn’t have anything to do with it, but I’m just so proud of you.” And she said other beautiful things that I could hardly swallow through my tightened throat and tear brimmed eyes.

And I just want to say now, Mrs., that YES YOU DID. You had everything to do with it. You taught me. But you taught me in the truest sense of the word. You taught in a way that compelled me to learn. To yearn to be a seeker of knowledge, and ultimately of Truth. Thank you. Thank you for compelling me to learn. Thank you for demanding my best, but most importantly for demonstrating yours. Yours is such an incredible testimony to Truth. Of excellence and steadfast perseverance.

And Mrs. Mahuron, thank you for showing up for me. Your classroom was always a refuge and your smile always a comfort. I cannot imagine the number of students whose lives you touched in your tenure at our small school. I cannot imagine the ripple effect that flows from your influence. I only know that there is more excellence and less mediocrity in the world because you taught in it. I know there is more warmth and less arrogance, more authenticity and less pretense, more security and less confusion. Because you have taught in this world, there are more smiles and down right more joy. Your influence knows no bounds.

Para la idioma de español, muchas gracias. Para la idioma de enseñar, infinitas gracias. Tu ejemplo es un regalo muy muy precioso.


(By the way, Mrs., ….fragments in the above reflection are intentional and for dramatic effect.) 😉



For those of you who have followed this blog since it began, I am eternally grateful.  Your encouragement has been phenomenal, and I have cherished every exchange. I am so excited to tell you that I have turned this little blog into a book…and until September 13th @ 11:59p.m., you can get FREE SHIPPING if you preorder it!  Just go to our website ( to order your copy today!  Books will be shipped after October 5th.

Here’s what some of my favorite people said about the book. (I cry every time I read their words):

“This open file of life experiences will be your go to when you need a fresh perspective during the most demanding of days.  You will laugh.  You will cry. You will not feel alone in your journey.”  
Adair Moorefield, fellow sojourner, mother of 2

In the breathless world of iPhone notifications and extracurricular everything, Blessons offers us a moment to stop, to catch our breath, and to remember that this world’s clock has not bound God’s timeless hands. ChristiAnna Coats invites us into her reflections on an ordinary life that feels close to home but helps us to see the God who often goes unnoticed when life stays ordinary and home stays close. If the Christian life is lived forwards but understood backwards (Kierkegaard), this is a book that demonstrates the possibility of hindsight in a world that puts life on fast-forward. In that way, Coats shows us what it means to think like a Christian and thus how to speak like a Christian–not through the mystical way of escape, not through the political way of protest, not through the pious way of perfection, but through the human way of remembering. The God in these pages is a God who is real enough to remember and true enough to transform our memory. I have no doubt that anyone who encounters these testimonies will remember this God as well, even if for the first time.”

-Jeremy Spainhour, fellow reflector, father of 3


I’m so emotional about this whole endeavor. I cried when I read my ISBN number. I cried when I saw the cover. I don’t know what I’ll do when the actual hold-me-in-my-hands book arrives at my door….


This morning I woke up to a nice little pudge in my belly, which I have unaffectionately begun to refer to as “Christmas 2014”.  My people are just too good in the kitchen.  My brother is home and so dinners are meat with a side of meat.  And everything has its own butter based dipping sauce.  And every meal requires that you eat seconds.  Because food that good is meant to be devoured until it’s gone. Also my mother-in-law made these delightful things which involved a bacon, cream cheese and generous mounds of brown sugar all nestled in and around a jalapeño pepper and baked just long enough to make you angry that they weren’t already in your mouth.  I simply called them “breakfast”, three days running.  I coupled my  breakfast poppers with pecans which were coated with several layers of cinnamon and refined sugar as well as homemade cheesecake that I would fist fight you for.  My sister-in-law also had a creamy buffalo dip that I hid from Michael so I could eat it all by myself.  I bought heavy whipping cream for my coffee only because it was Christmas and I felt obligated to use it in place of it’s more slender cousin, half-n-half.

Going back to work today DID NOT EVEN HELP.  I brought the leftovers with me, which I enjoyed alongside all the candy that people have given to my children. YES, I ATE THEIR CHOCOLATE.

I actually think that eating fast food might lower my caloric intake.

The obvious goal here would be to get rid of “Christmas 2014”.  However, that would require scales and numbers and a thing called a diet.  I went on a diet one other time in my life. It wasn’t good for the people around me.  So, I’m going to try to just eat less than a football player’s portion and hope things even out before March.

Besides all that, I do not ever make New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m not a very good ‘maintainer’, which I have come to accept, so I generally just try to keep right on doing what I was doing in December. My goal is always the same: To love God and love people.

Even though I try to steer clear of resolutions, I feel like God is whispering something to me.


Everything to which I am committed gets a little portion of me, and lately the things that are non-urgent seem to be taking more time than I honestly care to give.  I must prioritize my time.

All the clothes and gadgets and toys and shoes have consumed so much of my home, there is scarcely any room left.   I must prioritize my space. 

The luxuries that are considered ‘must haves’  by the Jones require energy and resources to purchase and to maintain. I must prioritize my finances.

I don’t have a goal or a number or a limit to assign any of these categories.  It’s not about a number.  I am simply to prioritize them.  

When I look at how I spend my time, it is to be a reflection of my purpose.  Does my calendar reflect my goal to love God and love others?

When I look at how I use my space, it is to be a reflection of my purpose.  Does my home and my office space reflect my goal to love God and love others?

And when I look at how I spend my money, it is to be a reflection of my purpose.  Does my checkbook reflect my goal to love God and love others?

I started with my space.  It was bogged down with things.  I went through the closets in total Tasmanian-style purge mode. I don’t know where it all came from. But I can tell you where to pick it up: GOODWILL INDUSTRIES.  I’ll be dropping a load off in the morning.

My space already feels so much freer.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

I’m tackling time next. Me and the calendar have a longstanding love/hate relationship.  But God is clear.


“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” Joshua 1:8

How can I meditate on the His Word day and night when I fill up my time with so many useless, meaningless things that will not make a Kingdom difference?

And what about my money?  C.S. Lewis’ words from Mere Christianity haunt me:

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”

He gets his lesson from the widow to which Jesus refers here:

“Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” Mark 12:41-44

I am so thankful for having been able to quiet down the past few weeks to hear Him whisper.  I am so looking forward to giving Him more time, space, and resources. I can only imagine my obedience in prioritizing for Him will result in a blessing that cannot be purchased or consumed. Or maybe it will be a jalapeño popper.

I’m good either way.







(Written in February, posted in November…there is no storm today!)

Yesterday, in great anticipation of Snowmageddon 2014, I studied in the library rather than my office. There is a beautiful view from the windows out to the water, and I perched myself facing outward so as to alert the campus upon the first flake’s appearance. I felt it my duty as the midwesterner in the building. The whole of North Carolina was out of sorts because of the impending storm. They were calling for inches. PLURAL. The last time we had this much snow I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with Zachary. This happens never. Or every 5 years. But mostly never.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off the birds.

A whole flock had descended on campus, apparently to ride out the storm. They were working so hard. They were flying from the ground to the trees in hasty, calculated, determined fashion. They did it for four straight hours, without stopping.

They were getting ready.

A less calculated flock was at Food Lion in Archdale. I was one of ‘those’ people, who, unlike the birds, had not gotten ready. There were lots of us. One poor man was wondering aimlessly about with a bag of bread in his hand looking helpless. He knew to get bread, but beyond that, he was lost. The cashier was nearly in tears explaining that she was just trying to ‘serve the customers’ and some of them had been so mean to her. Bless her heart. The manager was darting to and fro, sweating, and looking worriedly from the parking lot to the long lines and back to the parking lot. Bless his heart.

It’s not their fault we weren’t ready.

I had actually made a half-hearted attempt the day before. I went to Target, but only ended up with brownie mix and some Valentine’s candy. Hardly what was going to sustain the masses over the next three days.

Others were ready. The schools let out fully 24 hours before the first flake fell. READY. Businesses posted their quitting times online and on TV. READY. The local hardware store ordered extra sleds, which I purchased (the morning of the storm). READY (and business savvy). All 2 of North Carolina’s salt trucks had worked hard to get the roads covered. Bless ’em. READY.

The fullness of my under-preparedness didn’t occur until after my stop at the store. The snow accumulated so rapidly, that 20 minutes made all the difference. It was a mess, a whiteout, a slippery blizzaster. I’m one of those drivers that is really questionable to be on the road anyway…but in conditions like that, well.

‘so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’ Matthew 24:39b-42

The Word says He will come like ‘a thief in the night’. Which can be translated ‘like a snow storm in the south’. There will be those who will embrace His coming. Who were ready. And there will be those who aren’t.

Our lesson today comes not from the grocery patrons, but from the birds.13952232-458091







(Image from





Our legs moved slowly through the palpable heat as we ascended the slight hill to the modest meeting house for worship.  Slowly, because that is the only speed left after a full day of travel including a four hour layover and customs and three additional hours of relentless curves and holes in the road.  The night before proved quite restless as the anticipation of the week ahead took over my thoughts and won over my will to sleep.


The service began slowly.  The Pierce family would fit in so well here.  Start times are  more a suggestion than a rule, and there is no one getting bent out of shape over lack of punctuality. We must have Jamaican roots.  There was an attempt to move the air around to provide some relief by way of an oscillating fan.  A few dogs sauntered in and stretched across the tile floor.  I was tired.


The service officially began in song.  The minimal chatter was silenced with the melodious solitary tune of a woman, who I gauged to be in her seventies.  The sound was sweet and deliberate, and she was swiftly joined by the congregational choir that surrounded us. The only instrument was a tamborine. I attempted to join in, but a hard lump had formed in my vocal chords instead. The emotion of returning to this country nearly twenty years after my first visit, the experience of which impressed so heavily on me as to choose a career path, coupled with exhaustion and the realization that I was really going to be away from my kids for nine days was more than I could bare.

Worship had begun.

The next two and half hours were filled with song, exhortation, silence, prayer, teaching, a baby dedication (bawled my eyes out, y’all) and a direct charge from the pastor not to come down here and complain about this heat. Duly noted.  The closing hymn was Have Thine Own Way, Lord, which was also played at our wedding and since we were also celebrating our ten year anniversary – I was an out and out mess.  I was concerned I would cry the entire trip and accomplish nothing of any meaning because of my over sentimental self.

Have thine own way, Lord.  Yes, I thought. For this trip, and my life, have Thine own way.

Once I finally pulled it together, we began to distribute flyers (which really means we told everyone verbally) to advertise a sports camp we would hold there later in the week.  Walking through the community was such a reminder of how overly complicated we make things in our country.  Three boys (the age of mine) took turns climbing way up in the trees  for prized ginup or a mango.  We hover so, I thought.

We left the community to return to our homestead for the week.  We were staying in another meeting house in an urban area on the upper east side.  A slightly different connotation should be established for the Jamaican upper east side.  According to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, Jamaica’s per capita is about a quarter of that of the U.S. and the unemployment rate is almost double.  But what they seem to lack in economic prosperity, they more than make up for in cultural expression.  And besides all that, God seems to have heaped the majority of the world’s natural beauty right smack on the small island nation.  And we loved every molecule of it.  Whether it was stopping mid afternoon to dip our sweaty toes (yes, even your toes can sweat I discovered) in the ocean water or picking every mango within reach, we were enamored by the intensity of tropical beauty that surrounded us the entire week.

IMG_6643 IMG_6632 IMG_6657 IMG_6656Go ahead and die.

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Your breath is gone isn’t it? Taken away.IMG_6499 IMG_6452

In a stroke of brilliance on the part of our mission coordinator, we were more than visiting this site to offer our aid.  Yes we led a sports camp for 4 days.  But we led the sports camp together with our Jamaican Friends. The real mission experience was the coming together of two distinct cultures, unified by our Savior, to support one another in the Commission entrusted to us by the Savior Himself.  We bunked together, cooked together, cleaned together, rode in those vans together, relaxed together, worshiped together, ate together, and served together alongside our Jamaican Friends.  We had coffee together, ok?  We were able to experience the result of decades of partnership between the North Carolina and Jamaica Yearly Meetings.  It was so evident the investment that has been established there.  It is my humble opinion that any other mission experience is inferior.  When cultural, social, and economic boundaries are shattered, I think we get the closest to the Kingdom this side of heaven.

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I love this girl so much. My devo partner for the week.


I don’t know how to explain how close we were without this picture: cards, corn rows, and cuddles.IMG_6570 IMG_6577

Miss Pauline.  My hero. IMG_6547

Morning praise. Jamaican Joys.IMG_6549 IMG_6502 IMG_6492 IMG_6480

The one with the football is at least 60.  She outran us all. 


There are 26 people in this van.  There isn’t more love than that.IMG_6449

Worship on the riverbank.  I adore this circle.
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The charge I come home with is one that should ring familiar to my Christian brothers and sisters.  The mission field is everywhere and always.  No one is really exempt from cross cultural mission or local mission or familial mission. We step onto the mission field every morning when we step out of bed.  If you are a stay at home mom, your home is your mission field.  If you work in an office, the office is your mission field.  If you live in a community, your community is your mission field.  If you go to Wal-Mart for milk and fabric softener and you are standing a line that is 37 buggies long and the lady in front of you is looking despondent and helpless, that is your mission field for that moment.  And if you feel a tug on your heart for a region of the world that is far far away, that is your mission field.  Because sometimes your mission is the next country over and sometimes it’s the boy next door.  We are called to be ambassadors for Christ for as long as we are in this world to the very ends of the earth.  Everywhere and always.

That Christ’s mission may be paramount in my existence, my heart cry is this:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

Have Thine own way, Lord, that all my come to know you.


I learned a swift lesson about the freedom we enjoy in this nation the day we picked up a Cuban refugee family from the airport.  Reading about the perils faced by those living in restricted nations does not compare with beholding their relief upon their first taste of freedom. There he sat, staring at the bleak and desolate Carolina December landscape, with tears streaming.

“We have made it to free soil,” he said in his native tongue.  He gave an assuring look to his wife, whose smile is as bright as the sun, and gently rested his arm across her shoulder and touched that of his son. They had made it to freedom. My friend nearly choked on the words as she translated for me, as I was struggling to understand their dialect.

The words etched on Lady Liberty’s statue manifested before my eyes in that moment:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

There is no telling what they have had to endure.  I’ve never been comfortable with the phrase “I’m proud to be an American” (because of Gal. 6:14).  Glad, yes. Grateful, abundantly.  It’s not that I’m unpatriotic.  Pride insinuates that I have had some part in acquiring my birthplace, and that is not the case.  I simply had the good fortune to be born here, and not elsewhere.   To that I owe gratitude to my ancestors from Germany and Switzerland, who braved the Atlantic and left their countries to seek new opportunity in this new nation.  And subsequently I owe a debt of gratitude to those who have served to defend that freedom and that opportunity in the hundreds of years since.  Like my father’s father, whom I never knew.  He died long before I was born.  To his service, and those like him, I owe an untold debt.

I am deeply and humbly and abundantly grateful for the freedom I enjoy as a citizen of this great nation.

Recently I saw a Facebook post that said, “Memorial Day: It’s not about the Barbecues.”  But may I submit that it is about the barbecue, the parade, the family gathering?  May I be so bold as to suggest that gathering together and enjoying the company of our loved ones is precisely what they were fighting for?  Are not the carefree smiles of our children a gentle reminder of the sacrifices made?

Today, we pause briefly to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  We wave our flags, visit the cemetery, attend a parade, or gather with our families.  A pause. But the greater chance to pay our respect for their sacrifice comes in all our tomorrows.  May we live our entire lives in such a way to honor those who gave their lives for ours.  Let not their death be in vain!  Let not our freedom be in vain!

The Christian clause here is obvious:  With that great freedom, comes great responsibility.  For to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).  It is my humble belief that we followers of Christ must use this gift of freedom for His glory.  We have the great privilege to proclaim His name freely! Without threat of imminent death!  May we not take that liberty for granted for a single moment!  And may we not miss the opportunities that abound to proclaim Him to those who are still captive.  For there is no purer freedom than that which is found in Christ (Rom. 8:2, John 8:32).

For freedom, we thank our country.  For being set free, we thank our Savior.

I am infinitely grateful for both.

May my life be a reflection of my gratitude….by offering both a lifted lamp and a saving Light to any  ‘yearning to breathe free’.


My mother’s side of the family is inflicted with a terrible condition.  We get tickled and laugh uncontrollably at desperately inappropriate times.  We’ve suffered long and hard with the affliction, to no avail of the torment.

We are a family who has spent more hours in the pews of churches than I care to count.  We gather often and always join hands in prayer before a meal.  We have been passed on the legacy of music, helping others, and the serious study of God’s word with fellow believers.

And in each of the aforementioned settings, we have combatted bouts of hysterical laughter to the absolute disgrace of anything sacred or pure.

One such instance was just a few weeks ago.  I was staying with my cousins in Durham for a few nights while I attended a conference.  It was on a night that their Bible study gathered, so they invited me to attend.  I hadn’t met any of their friends so the leader asked me to introduce myself.  I said “Sure! I’m Christi Anna and I’m Kim and Kelly’s husband.”

So, apparently I was looking at Kelly’s husband when I said this, and instead of ‘cousin’, I said ‘husband’.  Well..that was it.  Kim and I struggled to regain composure throughout the entire study.  I was so tickled, I didn’t even ever correct myself. Mass confusion.

This scenario plays out in a variety of  ways.  Sometimes the only trigger is being together. The most troubling aspect of this affliction is that the more inappropriate the setting, the harder it is to regain composure.

The scene: Christmas, 1998.  Candles are lit, decorations are hung, table is set.  Super cool teens decked out in Abercrombie attire stroll in late.  Grandmother begins to read a devotion the Lord laid on her precious wonderful heart about the joy of the Christmas season.  Jason and I get tickled for no apparent reason and the absurdity of our disrespect propels the laughter to an all-time high.

We are scum of the earth.  Desperate for her forgiveness, we return to beg for mercy at her feet. Apologizing profusely, feeling absolutely miserable that after all of the hard work she put into making Christmas special; we laughed through the most meaningful part.

The scene: Thomasville Friends Church, 1991. The six of us cousins are singing a song my Grandaddy wrote entitled, “Jesus, a Lover of Sinners”.  Someone put gum on someone else.  We got tickled and couldn’t really finish the song. My Grandaddy, y’all.  Could we be worse?

The scene: Anytime in my adolescence.  I was overly dramatic and emotional. <shock> When I was passionately expressing my opinion to my mother about the color of dress I needed to have for the spring fling or how immaturely my brothers were behaving, she would outright giggle at me.

I get it now.

The condition has been especially difficult in parenting.  Michael has had to ask me to leave several discussions with our children on account of my laughter.  Sometimes their defenses for their behavior or their facial expressions or their choice of vocabulary strike me funny.  And I’m no use at all in the discipline.  I know it. He knows it.

If I feel a bout coming on, I duck my head and try to keep my body from shaking.  It takes strength.  I have suppressed so much laughter that I actually have somewhat defined abdominal muscles without engaging in a vigorous workout routine.

As mentioned, the condition is genetic.  We get it honestly.  My mom and aunt began telling stories about their days at John Wesley and singing in the choir.   As representatives of the school.  And of Jesus.  They told of the time my dad came in on the wrong note with great zeal and volume, to their absolute shock and to the end of anything holy.  They were preforming an EASTER cantata.  The crowd decided to release Barrabas, instead of the savior of the universe, and my aunt was cackling in the tenor section.

Serendipitously, I now teach at the same institution.  I wish I could say that there is a professional exemption from this illness. There is not.  One of my students was leaning back in his chair this semester during class.  I was giving a lecture on social reform.  The chair gave way and he hit his head on the back of the cinderblock wall.  I was initially concerned.  Once I saw there was no bleeding, I started giggling.  I regained composure, but 10 minutes later burst out laughing again….mid sentence.

And now my kids have it.  Josiah has an especially debilitating case.  He’ll say, “I know I shouldn’t be laughing, but my body won’t stop. I really don’t think [people falling, people farting, any word associated with the bathroom] is funny.”


Maybe I will outgrow this.  If I look at my genetic history, however, it seems unlikely.  My Grandmother used to complain that Granddaddy would have bouts of laughter during the night, which shook the entire bed, waking her, because of something that happened during the day.  He would giggle and she would roll her eyes.  It was frequent.

I have this solace.  At least laughter is positively correlated to longevity. My Granddaddy is 93 years old.  And a cancer survivor.

It is as the Proverb says, I suppose, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

So, in the words of a really cheesy product, “Have you laughed today?”