Awesome Humans: Kellie Haddock And The Thank You Project

We talk a lot here at Happier about what it means to really practice gratitude. How do we focus on the good without becoming weighed down or bitter about the not-so-good? How and when is it appropriate to turn gratitude into action in a meaningful way?

Kellie Haddock lost her husband in a terrible accident ten years ago. The staff at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, however, were able to save her infant son (who was also in the accident)… and years later, she decided it was important to let the men and women who took care of her critically injured baby know exactly how grateful she was.

(Grab a tissue for this one. It’s worth it, but your mascara may not be safe.)

That’s gratitude. That’s choosing to be happier and spread that happiness around. That’s grace.

Read more about Kellie on her site, where you can also get a free download of her song, To Say Thank You, between now and Christmas.

Awesome Humans: Angel Magnussen And Hugginz

Science shows us that those who feel grateful and more prone to what’s call “pro-social behavior.” In a nutshell; when you feel grateful, you feel compelled to do good for others. We think Angel Magnussen must experience a boatload of gratitude, because just take a look at what this enterprising 18-year-old has done:

Hugginz by Angel exists solely to make sure sick kids are wrapped up in warmth and love. How many 18-year-olds do you know who would make this their mission in life?

I’m grateful to TELUS’ We Give Where We Live program for shining a light on incredible young adults like Angel who are doing wonderful things for others, and grateful to Angel for being such an amazing philanthropist. (You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook if you want to keep up on her work.)

Gratitude is good for us, and good for those around us. Now that’s awesome.

Awesome Humans: Doris Redding And Charlotte Crane, 90-Year BFFs

awesome-humans-102914I’m not going to lie; this story both inspired me and made me a little bit jealous. I can’t even think of anyone I’ve been friends with since preschool, and the friends I see on any sort of regular basis nowadays are exclusively folks I’m met in adulthood. Can you relate to this pair?

94-year-old Charlotte Crane and Doris Redding from Missouri have been friends for—no exaggeration—90 years. They met as kids (they lived down the street from one another), stayed in touch through college, then worked together until retirement. Nowadays they reside in an assisted living/hospice facility together, still friends as they’ve always been. While we wouldn’t attempt to quantify the value-add of a longtime friend for anyone, the story about these women points out that because Crane now suffers from dementia, this friendship is an even more special gift in many ways.

In November, Redding will be 95. Crane will blow out the same number of candles the next month.

[Redding’s daughter] Deubel speculated her mother and her lifelong friend might see a century together.

“The doctor told mom once, ‘You might live to be 100 if you keep going like this,’” Deubel said. “You know, I think that might be true.”

“Friends forever” can be a lot more true than we thought. We tip our hats to this, a most awesome friendship. Rock on, ladies!

Awesome Humans: Mercy Sigey Takes On Elephant Poachers

inspiring-humans-mercy-sigey-100114There was no shortage of inspiration at the United Nations Social Good Summit this year, but one story really stood out to me.

With support from Innovate Kenya, teenager Mercy Sigey and her teammates worked to develop a detection system that would alert park officials to the presence of poachers in protected areas. Their sensors were created to protect elephants against illegal slaughter, but there was another benefit, too—they also detect wildfires.

Read more about Sigey’s invention and see her presentation over at TakePart. This young woman is changing the world for the better!

Awesome Humans: Greg Krueger Gets Creative For Cats

awesome-humans-greg-krueger-091714Sure, you love your pets, but do you love them as much as Greg Krueger loves his pets? Krueger has spent over 15 years turning his house into a veritable kitty playground for his cats. His house now sports over 100 yards of overhead catwalks, cat-shaped access cutouts, and a plethora of cat-sized hideaways.

Krueger credits his high-functioning autism for blessing him with “great focus” to not only conceive of new features for his feline friends, but to work on them to completion no matter how long it takes. Seriously, this is amazing. Take a look:

Today we’re inspired not just by this fantastic creation, but also Gary Krueger’s dedication to what makes him happier. We should all be so creative and lucky!

Happier Spotlight: Aim High, Let Go

Here at Happier there’s nothing we like better than hearing that something we brought to your attention made your day a little brighter. And now that Happier Notes is going out to so many folks every day, our reach is growing and more folks are writing to let us know how their lives are becoming happier.

Although we try to vary the content of Happier Notes each day, we recently started including a daily mantra from our very our Dave “Yeah Dave” Romanelli. The idea was that a simple phrase could serve as a touchpoint throughout the day, as needed. We hoped it would resonate with the community, and wow, did this one make us smile.

Check out the email we received from Elizabeth:

I LOVED yesterday’s mantra of: Aim high. Let go. Relax. Trust the Flow. Yesterday was the defense of my dissertation. I got my technology set up, all things were a “GO” and I just relaxed. My husband was stunned at my confidence and calmness. But I even tweeted this mantra so I had a record of how I felt on the day of my dissertation defense, and the day I became Dr. Elizabeth Wallace!

Thank you!

Aim high. Let go. Relax.

Trust the flow.

Thank you, Elizabeth… er, Dr. Wallace. We’re thrilled Dave’s mantra helped you on your way to an awesome dissertation defense. It sounds like you aimed high, let go, and rocked.

Awesome Humans: Jacob Cramer and Love For The Elderly

happier-jacob-cramer-091014While most early high schoolers are adjusting to a new school, figuring out how to open their lockers, and maybe hanging out and eating pizza with friends in their spare time, 14-year-old Jacob Cramer is busy coordinating Love For The Elderly, his project to collect and distribute letters of kindness to senior citizens throughout America.

The letters and cards are flooding in from all over the world, each one brightening the day of its recipient. Cramer says he wanted to do “something productive” with his free time. Spreading happiness, especially to those who might otherwise feel isolated? We’d say that’s out favorite kind of being productive.

We think Love For The Elderly is awesome, and you can get involved by writing a letter if you want to be part of it. Rock on, Jacob Cramer! You’re spreading happiness, and you make us happier!