It began one year when Mom decided to have an end-of-the-year project.

“You’ll each have to spend forty hours on one subject of your choice,” she said.

It was a risk for her, because she had no idea what we would pick and what we would do. She said that it had to be about something we’d learned a bit about that year.

“Cool!” JR and I cried, brainstorming what we might do. Nate wasn’t as excited.

I, after much hesitation, picked snails. So I researched, researched, looked up, and researched about snails. I spent eight hours just researching about snails. Finally, I had drained what felt like everything about snails out of the internet, out of books, and out of minds.

The boys had grown sick of my reading straight facts aloud in the car. I had about twelve handwritten {double sided}  pages on snails.

Just facts.

So, I decided, I’d move on. I made a snail game, wrote some snail jokes, and even wrote about their neighbors, squid and octopi.

That year, my project was very, very factual, but I thought it was pretty good. Even if all my wild snails died.

This past school year, mom announced it again. This time,  JR and I had been anticipating it. We had picked out our subjects.

JR focused on electricity.

I focused on smiles.

I set to work, researching like crazy once again. I found much more than I thought I would, however.

Did you know that smiles can help you live longer?

Did you know that smiles are contagious?

Did you know that smiles boost your immune system and make you seem friendlier?

Did you know that smiles make you more attractive?

As I read page after page of interesting, amazing facts, I felt the corners of my mouth perk up a bit more often.

Did you know that smiles can help hide {and erase} your fear?

Did you know that smiling is a universal sign of happiness?

Did you know that just the motion of clenching your teeth around a pen in the shape of a smile can make you feel better?

Wow. I had an idea. What if I were to see how many people I could bring to smile?

I smiled at the cashier at the grocery store. She smiled back.

I smiled at the man in the meat market. He smiled back.

I smiled at the banker behind the counter. She smiled back.

I felt confident, finally realizing that all I had to do to make someone feel better was smile.

Spreading smiles will be my thing, I thought.

What about you? Are you up for spreading smiles?

Keep spreading smiles {now you know the reason},