Friday, May 13, 2016

Forever Happy Days

Many of our readers have probably seen the #foreverhappydays photos that both Kyle and I post every day on Facebook. Today marks the start of the third year we have been posting the photos, and it's truly become not only a daily habit, but a daily inspiration.

Day 1 - our first #100happydays photo.
It started on May 13, 2014, when a friend of mine, Stephanie Carls, shared that she was going to join the #100happydays challenge. The idea is simple; post a photo every single day for 100 days in a row that makes you happy. Their website, sites that 71 percent of the people who start the challenge fail to complete it, and say it's because they ran out of time. In reality, most days, it takes us less the one minute to post a photo or multiple photos of something that made us happy that day.

Day 14 - at the Hillsboro Memorial Day service.
The website goes on to say that people who successfully complete the challenge started noticing more what makes them happy every day, were in a better mood, started receiving more compliments from other people, realized how lucky they were to have the life they have, became more optimistic, and some even fell in love during the challenge.

Day 18 - nothing beats a good Dairy Queen ice cream cone.
Kyle and I started the challenge six months before we had ANY idea what the four letters INAD stood for. Grace had some delays, and we were working on that with her, but we started it long before we knew just how devastating four little letters can be.

Day 190 - Grace's first Thanksgiving Day program at preschool.
We started it together, on the same day, because we felt like no matter what happens each day, there was always something that happened to remind us how blessed we are.  I'll be honest, some days that's harder than others. Some days, when the alarm clock goes off, I want to snuggle back under the covers and go back to dreaming about Grace walking and talking and about a world where INAD doesn't exist.

Day 353 - the first Step Up to the Plate for Grace series.
However, INAD is a reality for me and for Kyle and most of all for Grace. Unless new medical discoveries are made, INAD means that Grace will never walk. She will never talk, and she may not live to see her 10th birthday. And that's devastating. Every single day.

Day 400 - Bowling has always been one of Grace's favorite games!
But here's what INAD can't take from us. INAD cannot take away the chance to see Grace's smiles each and every day. It can't take away our opportunities to make as many wonderful memories with Grace as possible. And it can't take away our love for Grace and for each other.

Day 455 - Big Puppy has also been one of her favorite toys!
After becoming part of the 29 percent of people to complete the 100 Happy Days challenge, Kyle and I decided that wasn't enough. We created our own hashtag, #foreverhappydays and continued posting photos, reaching both the one-year and two-year marks. Since Kyle and I both post #foreverhappydays photos, the campaign represents more than 1,400 moments over the past two years.

Day 464 - Grace's Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii!
People stop us all the time to tell us they log onto Facebook each day to make sure they see our photos, and how much it inspires them. And we love hearing that. We love hearing how many lives that Grace touches and how her happiness can be contagious.

Day 724 - Just pure happiness - no caption needed.
But the people who are impacted the most by #foreverhappydays are truly me and Kyle.  There are some days that I feel like life is too tough to find a way to be happy. But instead of dwelling on that, I work hard to find the things that make life worth living, even on hard days.

Day 728 - Bowling with the princess.
Shortly after we started the photo challenge, Kyle's sister, Mikaela, sent us a quote that said, "When life gives you 100 reasons to cry. Show it you have 1,000 reasons to smile." And no matter what life throws your way, I challenge you to find 1,000 reasons to smile, just like Grace. You won't regret it.


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