Don’t you love to be around people who are fun?  Not people who use fun in the wrong way – to belittle another person, but the kind of fun that makes you laugh till your stomach hurts!

I loved being around my Grandpa – because he was so much fun.  He loved telling jokes and pulling pranks. I remember one summer when I was about 10 years old and we were spending the week at our family cabin down at the lake. Behind our cabin was an old cemetery that dated back to the 1800s –  known as the Carver Family Cemetery.

In the room I slept in, my bed was underneath the window which faced the cemetery.  One night I woke up and thought I heard a noise outside my window.  I was afraid but wanted to see what it was so I sat up in bed, then I carefully and slowly pulled back the curtain and I just KNEW I saw an old man wearing a tattered old hat circling one of the tombstones.  I was too scared to scream or get out of bed, so I laid back down, pulled the covers over my head and waited until I fell off to sleep.

The next morning at breakfast I told my cousins (there were about 10 of us) the story.  We all ventured out to the cemetery so I could show them where it happened.  It turns out the tombstone where I saw this old man was the tallest one representing John Carver – the patriarch of the family.  The cemetery wasn’t kept very well at the time and so the grass was high.  The crazy thing was that the grass was packed down in a circle around the tombstone…but there were no signs of footprints walking away, just around his tombstone.

Of course, as a bunch of kids, our conclusion was that I had seen the ghost of John Carver!

So that night I went to bed – prayed for God to protect me from the ghost – and no sooner had I fallen asleep than I heard something brush against the window.  It wouldn’t stop and got louder and louder.  I slowly sat up in bed, pulled back the curtain and all of a sudden my Grandpa’s face jumped out at me!  This time I DID find the courage to scream, get out of bed and run to find my Mom!

The joke was on me!  It was my Grandpa!  Don’t get me wrong, he took life serious as well. He raised 5 kids and had hardships along the way, but one of the things all of his 28 grandchildren remember about him to this day is that he liked to laugh have fun!

Have you ever noticed that by the time we are adults, it seems like it’s harder to laugh?    Life gets complicated.  We get jobs and have kids.  We wonder how we are going to make ends meet.  Disappointment and heartbreak can become overwhelming.

Yet in the midst of life, God wants us to have fun. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)   In other words – laughter is good medicine.  Seriously?  Can that really be true?

Here’s what scientific research says about laughter:

  • A study from Vanderbilt University concludes – Feeling rundown? Try laughing more. Laughter just might be the best medicine….
  • Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.
  • The Mayo Clinic says Laughter is a great form of Stress Relief and soothes tension.
  • Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative.

Are you afraid you have an underdeveloped — or nonexistent — funny bone? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.

  • Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos or comic strips that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office. Keep funny movies or comedy albums on hand for when you need an added humor boost.
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
  • Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
  • Knock-knock. Browse through your local bookstore or library’s selection of joke books and get a few rib ticklers in your repertoire that you can share with friends.
  • Know what isn’t funny. Don’t laugh at the expense of others. Some forms of humor aren’t appropriate. Use your best judgment to discern a good joke from a bad, or hurtful, one.

Thousands of years ago, these words were written by King Solomon, who is known as the wisest man who ever lived, “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun!” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

When is the last time you had a really good laugh?   If you can’t recall when that was, do a ‘Google’ search for some good clean jokes and then share a laugh with a friend or family member!

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