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“Happiness is something we create.” ~Sugarland

People often look at me and wonder why I am so damn happy.  They want what I’m having!  But the truth is, how could I not?  I’ve had a pretty incredible life– from the beginning.

Gratitude became ingrained in my little being when my younger brother and best friend was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate– among other health conditions. What is amazing is that his very tiny body decided to fight for life and we are all better people because he did. 

That little boy chose to wake up every day without complaining– becoming a pillar of strength not only in our family but in our community.  He seemed to be born with the inner wisdom of knowing he had a choice.  His choice was to accept what he could not change and to do it gracefully. 

For 17 years I did not see him feel sorry for himself– not even once!  He had over 40 surgeries and countless hospitalizations.  When you grow up with that kind of strength it is hard not to be strong yourself.  You also develop a unique perspective on life–one where you are grateful that’s not you–that you don’t have to “suck it up” and not know why.  Despite all this, we treated Joey like he was one of us, but the truth is, none of us could compete with his caliber.

Happiness is a choice and we all have so much to be thankful for.


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