Smiling Because They Happened

Hey, everyone!

I am predicting that this is going to be the most honest blog post I have ever written.  Lately, I am been trying to focus on being a genuine human- I want to be thoroughly authentic and honest about my life whether it be on social media, in person, or this blog.  The last thing I want this blog to become is a place where you can get five minutes of cheer about only the positive things in life and move on pretending that life is just, OH, so happy all the time.  I would love for you to leave inspired but a large part of inspiration relates to being totally transparent about life’s great moments, but more importantly, the learning moments. So with that in mind, I am going to try to be 100% authentic while writing what has been on my heart for a long time now…

I still remember right before my grandma passed away she made sure to ask my cousin, Becca, and I to speak at her funeral. My grandmother was a beautiful and strong woman- she had a lasting presence in every room she walked into.  I am realizing it more and more that she was exactly who I aspire to be.


When she passed on October 18th, 2010 the funeral was planned quickly and I wrote out everything I could think of to say on small notecards.  I still remember pacing my room late at night attempting to practice talking about something I could barely wrap my mind around as a 14 year old.

I have always had a thing for quotes.  Quotes and sayings help me understand this crazy life we live a little bit easier.  The quote that I based my reflection of my grandmother on was one of Dr. Seuss’s most famous quotes, “Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.” At rudimentary as that might sound something about it really struck me.

When I got up to say my reflection I specifically remember not feeling one ounce of sadness.  I know that sounds rather crass of me to say but I remember looking around the church filled to the brim with people and feeling an incredible amount of joy and gratitude.

I was gracious because God brought my grandmother into this world to bless all of these people- in that moment we, as a room full of people, were smiling because Gwen Rennie HAPPENED to us.  We were lucky to even be sitting in that room together because that meant she happened to each and every one of us.


Ever since that moment in her funeral I have had a different perspective on people coming in and out of our lives.  I am not going to sit here and sugar coat it- It is HARD when someone leaves.  Whether it be for good or bad reasons, whether it was your choice or not, it is heart wrenching.  It’s the kind of heartache you feel in your chest and you wonder if it will ever fade.  When you are in pain, it is hard to smile because that person happened to you.  There is no denying that.

As you can probably tell from the paragraphs above this concept of change of the people surrounding you is something I have been wrestling with for months now.  If I am being transparent, I have spent a lot of hours at 6am up and unable to sleep thinking about it.  I don’t admit to have any answers to the challenges that come with the transitions, let’s be real, I am 19 and don’t have ANY of life’s answers, but I can imagine this might be one of those life lessons where it comes with time.  But one thing I do keep thinking about is that Dr. Seuss quote. Smile because it happened.  But in my head, instead of “it” I replace it with “they.”  Smile because they, all the people who have entered and exited your life, happened to you. Smile because they taught you lessons.  Smile because they were apart of your life.  Smile because they made a difference in your life and who you are.  Smile because they happened to you.

And at the end of the day, if wonderful people have happened to us, what more could we ask for?

In times of transition, hold on to your friends who love you, your family who loves you, and even your dogs (shout out to Molly & Bear) who love you.  In times of transition, never forget to be extraordinarily grateful for what you are transitioning from and for what you are transitioning into.  In times of transition, never forget that you are blessed to have had phenomenal people happen to you.

In times of transition, as incredibly hard as it can be, remember to smile because they happened.

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

The Cheek Hurters

Hey, y’all!

Okay, so in all honestly I was hoping to catch your attention with the title of this blog post.  Yes- it does sound a little odd but if we are being up front I honestly could not think of another way to describe these folks that I labeled “The Cheek Hurters.”

So, here we are 😉

Anyways- last week as I was driving to meet two of my best friends for dinner I started thinking about how phenomenal they are.  Within two minutes of walking into the restaurant I found myself already grinning ear to ear.  Which is very typical when I am spending time with these two.

A few weeks ago I saw one of my mentors refer to two of her best friends as “life giving” on social media.  After seeing her say that the expression stuck with me.  In that moment of already smiling within two minutes in the restaurant I realized that these were the two of the most “life giving” people I have ever met.  To me- someone being “life giving” means that every time you leave a conversation with them you feel revitalized- you feel so excited and enthused about life that you could go run around the block.  These are the best type of people to surround yourself with. These are the type of people that push you to be a better version of yourself.

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Emily Lawrence and Nick Czerwonka are EXACTLY that- they are life giving.  By the end of our time together I was actually having to do face exercises (I am sure I looked ridiculous) because my cheeks hurt THAT bad from smiling so much within a hour.  That is where I got “Cheek Hurters” from- they legitimately make my cheeks hurt from smiling so much!

So, today the purpose of this blog post is to say a very large thank you to The Cheek Hurters of this world.  You provide so much joy to those around you,  you remind people what pure happiness feels like, and you inspire people! YOU will be the people that make a difference in lives around you because YOU show people what living a life of laughter and contentedness should look like.

This world needs you, this world is blessed by you, so thank you!

For those of us that are the ones leaving with sore cheeks and doing facial exercises- we need to stick close to the people that remind us how important true joy feels like.  These are the type of friends that will lift you up and never tear you down.  These are the people that will change the world.  So take a moment to say a genuine “THANK YOU” to all of the Cheek Hurters in your life today.

Cheek Hurters 2

Thank you for being my friends, Emily and Nick.  I am forever blessed by your friendship.

Go hug the Cheek Hurters!

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

A Lesson For All

Hey, guys!

Happy July!  I have a more thoughtful post for y’all today.  Like the title suggests- it’s about a lesson that anyone can learn.

I have seen so many blog posts going up giving advice to 18 year olds about to enter college.  On one hand I like to read them because I think it is interesting what the writer thinks the most important pieces of advice are- it’s awesome because you start to realize that those pieces of advice are the ones that really helped them specifically get through their first year.  But the main reason why I love these posts is because once you read them you realize how applicable they are to everyone, regardless of where you are in life.

Over the summer I have also found myself looking up quotes more often on Pinterest because I have more time than during the school year.  There are some that stand out to me because they are so complex, some because they are so simple…here is one that really struck me….

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I think that life is measured in milestones in some capacity- one of the biggest milestones is going to college.  I also think that we subconsciously reserve moments of reflection and inner change for these huge transitions.  You don’t find many articles providing inspiration or advice for someone entering junior year of high school, or advice for people entering their fourth year of employment at a company, etc, etc.  We become so comfortable in places of consistency and wait for any personal discomfort to happen at our next transition time- we tend to ignore the fact that you can take advice to become better at ANY time! Not just when you enter college, enter the workforce, get married, have your first kid, etc.

So today, whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you take this quote and really reflect over it….

If you are entering a huge transition time where you find your family, friends, or the internet wishing you luck or giving you advice- please take this quote to heart.  You will not create things worth remembering if you don’t take chances in your brand spanking new environment. Comfort zones can be good at times- but at this moment, you have a chance to make a difference, to make a mark, and that mark is NO WHERE near your comfort zone. So do it- get out of your comfort zone and do great things in your new stage of life!

If you are like me, entering another year of something you are already relatively familiar with, I hope you really mull this quote over (suggestion: I am making a canvas to put on my desk at school to continue my mulling in next semester!).  I hope you grab hold of every opportunity that comes your way.  One of my favorite things to do is think about something or someone I really love and trace back in my mind how I got there or how I met them exactly- what was put in my life that got me to one place, that lead to stepping stone after stepping stone, and plucked me down where I am now.  It makes you really process that if you didn’t take that FIRST step, grab onto that FIRST dream, you would NEVER be where you are at this moment.  So do it- step out of the comfort zone you have been in for months, or maybe even years now, and make your mark as well.

So, to all of the 18 year olds entering college in a few weeks, to all the new college grads, to all the employees going on your 8th year of employment, to those getting married next Saturday, to those married for 25 years, to the new parents, to the parents having their fourth child, and to the high schoolers just trying to get through another year of school- step out of your comfort zone.  Grab onto the things that make you uncomfortable.  Don’t wait for the next big transition.  Do GREAT things now.

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}