~~~~~~~The Smile Project~~~~~~~
What began as simple musings (about the effect a smile has on a person's physical appearance) has turned into a massive project for the boys and I.  These musings fused together with the desire to collect autographs from famous people.  Instead of just autographs I wanted to know a little bit about the person I was communicating with.  My own lifelong association and recent fascination with smiles seemed a logical conclusion.  :)  However,  I decided that I didn't want to just include famous people in this endeavor...I wanted to know what makes the people in my life smile. These are the people who are more valuable to me than strangers I have only seen in the media. 
This project started forming in my mind well before we ever left Grand Forks, ND in December of 2004.  I composed the letter of request somewhere along the line and did a mass printing in April 2005.  The first mailings were not sent out until late May/early June 2005.  The boys have taken a keen interest in the results and have been a great help by filling envelopes with the SASE (self addressed stamped envelope), a small card with our current contact information, and the colored paper for the answers to the question and the autographs.  They have been with me on trips to the post office to mail the letters out.  We received our first response at our house on June 29 (the first batch of UK destination letters had our home address on the reply envelopes) and you should have seen Josh's face and heard the excitement in his voice!  He was the first one to wake up that morning and heard the mail delivery.  I awoke to the sound of "Mom!  Mom!  It's the smile project!!" and there was Josh standing over my bed with the biggest grin and waving a letter around.  The fun we are having with this project is beginning to outweigh the workload.  :)   It will be interesting to see who replies. 
We will be assembling all responses in a scrapbook sprinkled with quotes about smiles.  
Not the very beginning, but a scene from early in the process of this project.
Working on the smile project...Josh is ready with a smile.
One of the mailings from the base post office.
Connor & William also have smiles to share. :)
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Josh pops another letter in the post.
Ongoing growth:
355 letters mailed out (6 countries/29 US States)
144 answer cards received (not counting our own)
16 autographs and/or photos only
4 letters of regret (saying they cannot participate)
as of 20 Sept 06
12 August 05
Finally received scrapbook for the project.  Funny how things seem to take so much longer the more eager one is to receive them...
Thanks Heather!  Your help is much appreciated!
: )
12 August 05
closeup of imprinting on front of scrapbook
What Makes You Smile?
I have had a good number of people interested in the results of our "little" project.  Since I cannot sit down with each of them to share our scrapbook (just thinking of being able to do that makes me smile!  How much fun we would have!!), I have decided to post some of the answers on this page.
However, since the letter we sent out did not say the answers would be published, I am only including first names and last initials...if you are one of the participants and would like to have your name published in full...(or if you want me to remove your answer from the page)...please email me and let me know...I would be happy to honor your request.    (click here for latest additions)
~~the face of a trusted friend
~~my guys playing together
~~swans on calm water
~~weeping willow trees hanging over water
~~sunsets, sunrises...beautiful skies  : )
~~seeing my guys being kind to one another
Shirley M.
Wrestling with Dad makes me smile (even though it hurts sometimes).
William M. (age 13)
Josh M.  (age 8)
Connor M. (age 6)
My three sons Wendell, Fred & Lynn and their wives make me smile a lot.  My nine grandchildren & thirteen great grandchildren make me smile...
Geneva M.
I smile because God has given me a good life and I can look at the pictures of my great grandchildren and can put my arms around them and love them.
Lillian M.
Monica B.
North Dakota
My wife smiling
Rick B.
North Dakota
Today is my 27th wedding anniversary!  So what makes me smile?  Waking up every morning to a man who loves me more than anything.  A man who loves me faults & all.
Debi D.
West Virginia
My husband makes me smile, sometimes when I get into one of my bad moods he will start making funny faces at me and, of course, I start laughing.  A lot of things make me smile.  My friends and my family make me smile.  Jesus makes me smile.  They all bring joy into my life too.
Laurie G.
Knowing that God's mercy is new every morning makes me smile.  : )
Jacki B.
Another smiling face.
Eric B.
Catching the glance of someone I love!
Britta B. (teen)
"What makes you smile?"
1.  Being with family.
2. Sharing with friends.
3.  I smile in public places to see response of people.  This is rewarding.
4. A smile is a great gift!  Be ready to give one away.
Beverly B.
Because I know Jesus as my Savior & Lord many things make me "smile."
I know Jesus loves me & is in control of everything.
I know without Him I could do nothing.  He walks with me all the time.  I know Jack is with Him!  What comfort!!
Vivian M.
What makes me smile is watching Alex while he sleeps.  He and Phil bring more joy to my life than I ever could've imagined possible.  I am truly blessed.
Kay M.
My smile & joy come from little ones having fun & their giggles.  My joy comes from my family & my church, especially the joy the Father brings to me each day.
Cathy J.
North Dakota
As I considered "What makes me smile?" so many things came to my mind & I discovered they had one thing in comon--(well, two)--simple & free--
--A call or letter from a friend (or a friend remembering I like Hobb-Nobs)
--My girls giving me hugs
--My husband calling just to tell me he loves me
--A song on the radio that brings fond memories back to mind
--Sharing Jesus w/someone & seeing their face fill w/hope.
LeAnn B.
Babies and small children make me smile.
The one who brings me joy in my life is my husband.  We've known each other for 54 years, and will have been married 50 years in March 2006.
Joyce G.
The baby Jesus in the manger.  Smile with tears rolling down face on Easter Sunday.  The birth of a newborn baby.  A fresh piece of strawberry pie.  When my daughter said her wedding vows.  I smile when I sit in the church pew and see my family from grandkids to grandparents praising God together.  When my husband makes eye contact with me and winks.  When I pick my 1st ripe tomato that I've grown in my garden.
Deanna M.
Singing around the piano and drums with my family and friends.
The sound of my children laughing as they play with their Daddy.
Martha B.
God's love--music--dogs--games--serving--ice cream--horses--water--swimming--skates--kids--drawing--swinging--mall--You
Rachel L. (teen)
North Dakota
Baby--animals--You--Rachel--Craig--kiss--God and Jesus--Mom--smile
Chris L.
North Dakota
My family makes me smile.  Dogs, cats, flowers, reptiles, frogs, pools, my friends, playing and other pepole smiling also make me smile.
Elizabeth M. (teen)
My three kids make me smile every day.
...so do puppies & sunsets and flowers and love songs and other people smiling.
~~Myra M.
The one thing most likely to bring a smile to my face is a pleasant surprise:
--seeing someone or something nice;
--hearing a pleasant sound;
--touching or feeling a pleasant sensation;
in short, if I like it, I will smile!
Richard S.
North Dakota
What makes me smile.
1.  I smile when someone kindly smiles at me.
2.  Watching my children being kind to one another or others.
3.  Watching my children succeed at something.
4.  Playing catch with my dog.  He's so cute.
5.  I smile when our pastor compliments his wife in front of others.
Who brings joy in my life.
All stems from Jesus.  He's the reason to smile & He's given me these blessings that I've listed above.
Sharon S.
North Dakota
What makes me smile:  When somebody says a funny joke I usually smile.
Matthew D. (age ?)
What makes Belinda D smile?
~~ I smile when other people smile at me.
~~I smile to see someone smile back at me.
~~I smile because I am loved by God unconditionally.
When my son (1 1/2) puts a sly litle smile on or when he hugs me.  When my wife imitates me.  When I see young people talking about Christ.  When I remember stories about old friends I haven't seen in years. All these make me smile.
~~Matt V.
I smile when my son laughs, and my husband whispers sweet words of love.  When I'm with dear friends, and when I plan a loving surprise for someone...and it works.  I smile when I cross off the last thing on my "to do" list, and over a good cup of coffee.  But above all, I smile when I remember that God is on His throne, that He loves me, and has a plan!
Michelle V.
God, Winnie-the-Pooh, my toys, popscicles, playing the "head-butting game", Rushy, going outside, lollipops, candy, spitting in the shower, going to the playground.
Owen W. (almost 3)
A good sunrise or sunset
A job well done
Children and my wife
good memories
Ron A.
God's sense of humor, spontaneous hugs from Owen, Mat's sense of humor, rough-housing with Owen, seeing Mat & Owen playing together, our silly cat, outing with friends, the kids in our youth group, seeing a pregnant woman or newborn baby, these are a few.
Kris W.
My husband when he comes home from work.
My kids when they get off the plane for a visit.
My dog Charlie when I get home from work.
When I wake up and know God loves me.
Brenda A.
Seeing my baby girl who's nearly 2 mothering other little babies under 1
~~so precious!
Monica W.
The Love of Jesus makes me smile!!
I have a smile ministry to everyone I meet.
To smile at someone tells them
...that they matter to God
...that they are important to me
...that they are worthy of my respect
...and that I've just touched them with the Love of Christ.
Pastor Bob B.
North Dakota
The assurance of my salvation...God's precious gift.
Hearing the giggles from Emily in unison with Michael's laughter.  Happiness and my entire family together--perfect!
Julie D.
North Dakota
Fishing with the kids.
Jim H.
Seeing my grandchildren playing, sleeping, laughing, and talking always makes me smile!
Glenda H.
What makes me smile?
When I come home after a long day at work and see my girls' smiling faces.
Patrick B.
What makes me smile?
riding horses.  Something else that makes me smile is my dogs and cat Amber, Dixie, Mint.
Jessica B. (age ?)
What makes me smile?
To look at my daughters and thinks "I gave birth them."  How beautiful they are and all the joy they have brought me.  I thank God for them.
Renae B.
What makes me smile?
playing basketball, skate-boarding, and playing with my friends.
Kassidy B. (age ?)
    The thing that brings me joy is knowing deep inside that God holds my life and all creation in His hands.  Therefore I can put my full trust in Him.
    The result of this knowledge is the ability to enjoy His creation, to smile at the part of God that I see in people.
    I especially enjoy watching children and am reminded that what pleases God is that we come to Him with the innocence and trust of little children.
~~Diana G.
On thing that makes me smile is hearing the birds in the trees, the wind, and children playing and laughing outside.
Carrie G. (age ?)
Fried chicken makes me smile; homemade pies make me smile & clowns make me smile.
Steve P
Anna makes me smile!
Jason P.
A baby giggling
Tara P.
Watching my daughter Brittany do well in softball and triumph over obstacles.  Watching my husband watch winning Chiefs games.
Sherry P.
Seeing the K.C. Chiefs football team win makes me smile, and getting to see someone get baptized into Christ makes me smile!!
Sherry makes me smile!!
Brian P. 
1.  Steve makes me smile--when I see him walk thru the door especially if I've had a bad day --or am feeling down-- he won't stop cheering me until I smile!
2.  see a newborn baby
3.  to read how much God loves me in His Word
4.  to get a surprise package in the mail!
5.  to get the picture album out & look at all the memories
6.  a foot massage
7.  to bake a favorite pie for someone
8.  to hear "our" song on the radio
9.  to know my family & myself will get to go to Heaven someday!
10.  to know my kids are happy
11.  canned tomatoes make me smile--those I've canned myself--I especially liked giving them to Albert--he loved them.  Psalm 128:2
12.  watching the birds in the winter & spring
13.  watching a little child try to blow his first bubble
14.  getting to see loved ones you haven't seen for a long time
15.  stories of Mom & Dad
16.  the smell of clothes that have dried outside
17.  white fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky
18.  singing "silly" songs
19.  fixing Steve's favorite meal
20.  a "just" cleaned house
21.  buying or making a gift for someone & knowing they are going to love it!!
22.  sending cards
23.  eating homemade ice cream
24.  getting together with my "sisters"
25. a telephone call
26.  a good night's rest
27.  taking a walk
28.  when your child is born, graduates from school, gets a job, finds a Christian mate, gets married, has your grandchildren
29.  walking in the rain--splashing in the mud puddles
30.  You make me smile every time I get a note from you--you brighten up my day!!
Connie P.
Christ-Like Love
Jamie H.
What makes me smile is:
seeing my baby smile, and hearing my 2 year old saying something that sounds grown-up
Patrick S.
North Dakota
What makes me smile is:
seeing my children smile or giggle.
...seeing friends who have been away for a while.
Andrea S.
North Dakota
Knowing I'm a child of God makes me smile
my kids
my grandkids
just feeling good
Dee K.
It makes me smile when I think about Robert helping me uphook the spy equipment in my room : )
~~Eric M.
I felt the ultimate feeling of joy when my second child was born.  We didn't know if it was a girl or boy and when he was born and indescribable joy came over me.  The gifts of God are so precious!  I smile as all 3 of my children learn and grow.
Mollie M.
It makes me smile when people tell me jokes, and when animals do funny things : )
Katy M. (age 8)
It makes me smile and belly laugh when my older brother acts silly.  After I talk to my grandparents on the phone, I give my mom a huge smile.
Danny M. (age 5)
It makes me smile when I open a gift.
Mathew M. (age 7)
My husband taking my hand to hold, after being married to each other for 48 years.
Betty M.
North Carolina
Seeing someone come to church services that wasn't expected to come.
Richard M.
North Carolina
My wife!
Tim C.
What makes us smile; 2 words
Aubrie & Dawson
What treasures they are to us.
David & Jennifer Leonardi
What makes me smile is my 2 kids (2 1/2yr old boy & 4mo old girl)
Just seeing them in the morning makes me smile.
It also makes me smile to share an experience with a friend--a small thing (dripping ice cream?) can be very funny with a friend.
Aura V.
What makes me smile...
...couples holding hands
...my children/husband
...going to church
...being with family
...my cats
April M.
What makes me smile...
When someone gives me a compliment.
Anna M. (age 11)
What makes me smile...
riding my bike
my family
Sean M.
What makes me smile...
Driving my RC car
working on my RC car & other things
Dustyn (age 11)
What makes me smile...
riding my bike/doing tricks
seeing my brother Dustyn entertaining people, making them laugh
Seth M. (age 7)
What makes me smile?
Freshfallen snow
Seeing other people smile
Randy G.
What makes me smile
1.  Seeing loved ones or friends succeed after putting forth lots of effort
2.  Realizing the big and small things God does for me each day
3.  Seeing the uniqueness and beauty of God's creation
Mary Beth G.
My parents
Aaron Q (age 7)
my baby brother
Jason Q (age 8)
Seeing a new believer commit their life to Christ.
Deborah Q
What makes me smile?
Walking down the street seeing smiling faces make me smile broader.  If they don't smile I always have a smile for people and to see the happy smiling reactions coming back make me smile even more.
Have fun with the project.  Have a smile ready for  all the people in this world.
Kiran S.
Babies and children, knowing that God is always with me, tulips, caring people, love in every form, animals, butterflies, friends, chocolate and nice people.
Linda P.
Playing with my toys.
Michael W. (age 5)
When other people smile at me.
Courtney W. (age 8)
My son's laughter!
Matthew B.
My kids make me smile, Aaron and my kids give me the greatest joy.
Amy S.
North Dakota
my family makes me smile
Aaron S.
North Dakota
funny jokes and people doing silly things
Anderson S. (age 8?)
North Dakota
Delaney S. (age ?)
North Dakota
baby brother, Christopher
Ryan S. (age 5)
North Dakota
Mary B.
chocolate chip cookies
a good cup of coffee
a vacation with my wife!
Tim B.
The Ocean & Books
Hannah B. (age 12)
A phone call from a friend.
Sarah B. (age ?)
Playing in a flowing river.
Amanda B. (age ?)
My Daddy!
Marissa B. (age ?)
*I smile when I notice something cute my children do.  It's like taking the time to smell the roses in the very busy garden of life.
Shari S.
North Dakota
I smile when I look outside and see the blue sky, the sun, and the green trees and grass.  I also smile when I hear one of my Dad's corny jokes.
Bethany S. (teen)
North Dakota
What makes me smile is receiving a letter from a former student and his family because it makes me feel special that they took the time to think of me!  : )
Mrs. Lana W.
North Dakota
Great to hear from you.  I am thankful that the London tragedies did not discourage you from  your "smile" project.
There are three things that make me smile:  salvation; my wife, Denalyn; and our three daughters.
Max L.
What makes me smile/joy to my life?  Knowing that my Heavenly Father has the best plans for my life~~
He sees the whole picture and I can trust Him thru the valley b/c I am joyful in all things!  I am joyful and have a wide smile b/c He specifically brought Bob & I together and then gave us Sarah and then Sophia.  Wow.  To think He planned my family~~How cool!  Now that makes me smile to hear my children call my name in the morning~~before our day starts~~when Bob touches my arm as we pass in the hall~~Being able to call a few ~~friends~~and knowing that I could/can truly trust them~~they are my sisters in Christ~~
Thank you for making me remember why I smile and why I have joy in my life.
Jill S.
When I see my daughter happy.  It makes me smile!  When I see my wife enjoying her life.  It makes me smile.  When I see my dog waiting on me to give me kisses when I come home from work!  It makes me smile.  But what really fills me with joy is when I see anybody receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Jim M.
A lot of things make me smile!  One thing that does is when my boyfriend Ryan tries to dance.  He know he's being silly and it makes me laugh SO HARD!  The best part is that he won't dance for anyone but me.  No one knows how hilarious he can be!  Gosh, I smile just thinking about it.
~~Dawn M.
My daughter Dawn, who has a great sense of humor, makes me laugh.  She loves to dance around, being silly...it's so cute and funny.  She has a wonderful attitude that makes me smile!
~~Melinda M.
My children
Cate B.

What makes me :) ?
My Family
My husband can somehow bring a smile to my face no matter how sad or mad I am.
My kids are always saying the darndest things.  They continuously make me smile at things only a kid can.
Michelle D.
North Dakota
Things that make me smile are:
talking with my sisters
when I get to see my grandaughter
things at work
nice weather
little children playing
just talking to some people sometimes
going to church
getting a letter from you all
Nancy M.
My wife makes me smile!
Salsa dancing also makes me smile!
Salsa dancing with my wife really makes me smile!!!
Ben B.
A beautiful sunset
Suman B.

Many things bring us joy...
New experiences
Apryl, Lee, Alex, Erik, Andrew N.
NFL Football & Music
Cedric B.
Dancing, my dog Lillie, my boyfriend Joey, chocolate pie & spending time with my family
Kelli R.
"a happy thought"
"a funny joke"
"the innocent actions of a child"
"the peace and comfort of God's love"
Terryl H.
When I am doing my job (playing music), seeing someone enjoying listening to the music.  That's one thing.
Terry M.
A baby's innocent smile...the trust of a small child.  Laughter of an elderly person!
Bill B.
Another person's smile.  Watching young animals or kids playing.
My wife.
Richard O.
Signing autographs makes me smile.
when you see my autograph--you'll smile too!
The Cajun Connection
No matter what mood I'm in, when I walk down the street and see leaves swirl, dancing with the wind, I always smile.  I feel like it's a magic trick performed just for me.  :)
Anne H.
Things that make me smile!!
*My 5 girls--they are a blessing!
* A newborn baby
*A beautiful sunset
*My husband--especially when he brings me a fountain soda!!
Karla L.
I have a natural frown.  Since I was a kid I have made an effort to smile a lot to avoid my "sour" look.  So, what makes me smile?  Almost everything.  :)
Sarah P.
Good news
Ben P.

A happy child!!
Warwick D.

God's love...
babies smiles...
silly friends...
loud music...
Teri S.
When I'm outside on a walk or having a picnic, totally surrounded by nature...
it makes me smile because I can always hear my Grandmommie singing a song she always sang with us.
"God's beautiful world
God's beautiful world
I love God's beautiful world
He made it for you
He made it for me
I love God's beautiful world"
Becca P.
I can't help but smile when I wake up on a Saturday morning and the sun is shining through the window onto my bed!
Kevin P.
My Kids...
Amy G.
sunshine :)
family :)
kids :)
people :)
In my bad mood I'm smiling because it makes people smile
so when I see thems miling I start to smile back in a great mood. :)
Irina S.
My kids make me smile
Garry M.
Every morning when I open my door knowing I will be spending my whole day w/my beautiful grandson, Kjell.
Watching him grow & learn.
Having an all loving family from husband, kids, mom to brothers, sisters, nieces nephews.
Having a God who loves me unconditionally.
Blessings I am given on a daily basis.
Knowing we did a great job raising our boys.
Pamela M.
What makes me smile?
The sight of my 14 month old twin girls and their two year old sister all hugging each other on the floor!
lots of love and smile on!
Jamie B. 'Apollo'
What makes me laugh is my ability to play with my children and allow them to turn me into a child.
Jay L.
It makes me smile to see what the Lord has done in the life of my eldest daughter.  In her I see the "Basic 4".  That is; a pure heart, a blind love, a Christ-centered faith and an enduring hope.  It gives me joy to know that my son and younger daughter will also receive the basics of life because of God's promise in Deuteronomy 4:29 and Jeremiah 4:13
Marie C.
It makes me smile to know the truth that Jesus spoke in Matthew 19:26 "Humanly...it is impossible, but with God everything is possible."
My wife, Marie, and my four daughters (Debbie, Shirley, Mandi and Jackie) bring joy to my life.  I love them all.
John C.
My wife's smile
Hearing my children laugh
Seeing my children reading the Bible and learning about God on their own
Robert M.
Seeing my dog with her tongue sticking out of her mouth.
Jorge G.
What makes me smile?
My wonderful & crazy family
Jackie P.
Sunday lunches with my family make me smile
John N.