Week #166 – Seven Weeks to Happyness: “It feels like you have forever…you don’t.” (JoCheryl Holcombe)

(JoCheryl Holcombe via Facebook on 11/15/17)

Week #166 – Seven Weeks to Happyness: “It feels like you have forever…you don’t.” (JoCheryl Holcombe)

I’m counting down the last ten Fridays of 2017 — and today, as we head into Thanksgiving Week, I’m simply going to quote JoCheryl Holcombe, who lost EIGHT family members (TEN if you include an unborn child and a close family friend) in the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting earlier this month on November 5th.

An acquaintance of mine is friends with her and shared her Facebook post from this past Wednesday, November 15th — the day her town gathered together to celebrate the lives of the Holcombe and Hill families that were killed en masse just ten days before.

You can see JoCheryl’s public message on FB here.

I couldn’t possibly add anything to that — except to agree and share it with you.  As you gather together with family this week — if you get along or you don’t get along — remember, it may feel like you have forever.

You don’t.  

(But then again, you do!)

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead is this quote from JoCheryl Holcombe:
“So, when you think of those you love and it feels like you have forever, just remember you don’t, but then again, YOU DO! make this life matter, our soul is the only thing we take with us when we are done…it’s worth tending, it’s worth making meaningful deep connections and living each moment in the fullest most meaningful way. BECAUSE everything can change in a holy instant 
(JoCheryl Holcombe via Facebook — 11/15/17)

Spread Happyness — make your moments matter!  

And Have a Happy Thanksgiving Week!

11/17/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #165 – Eight Weeks to Happyness: Thank a Veteran!

Thank a Veteran (photo credit: Robert Church, Jr.)

Thank a Veteran (photo credit: Robert Church, Jr.)

Week #165 – Eight Weeks to Happyness: Thank a Veteran!

I’m counting down the last ten Fridays of 2017 — and tomorrow is Veteran’s Day!

So, once again, I wanted to repeat last year’s post — because after another contentious election week, there is always one thing we can agree on:

Thanking a veteran is always the right thing to do!

Tomorrow — November 11th — is Veterans Day.  It was originally known as “Armistice Day”, marking the first anniversary of the end of WWI — which came to an end on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Since 1954 it has been known as Veterans Day — a day set aside to honor all those who served in the United States Armed Forces, who swore on their very lives to support and defend this great country and her constitution.

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: Thank a Veteran!  That private vote you cast (or chose to abstain from) this week…was protected by a veteran.  That free speech you have enjoyed in your workplace, in your place of worship, or online…was protected by a veteran.  That right to protest…or to protest the protesters…is protected by a veteran.  The freedom to oppose, support, engage in, or criticize our democracy…all protected by a veteran.

So regardless of what side of the aisle you are on…put down your words and your weapons, even if it’s just for a moment, and THANK A VETERAN!

Spread Happyness — and thank a veteran, ALWAYS!

11/10/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #164 – Nine Weeks to Happyness: Vote “YES” to Happyness!

vote-1

Week #164 – Nine Weeks to Happyness: Vote “YES” to Happyness!

I’m counting down the last ten Fridays of 2017 — and here we are coming up on another Election Week!

So I thought I’d repeat last year’s post, because while some decisions come around only once every year (or four years) — there are hundreds (if not thousands) of little decisions that shape us every day!

This Tuesday, November 7th, people all across the country will cast votes once again — this time for Governors, Mayors, School Boards, and local representatives.

Perhaps you’ve supported some of these candidates, debated these choices, or stood up against the ones you don’t believe in.

Can you think of any other decisions you’ve given that much time to?  Or how many “votes” you’ve cast within that time — for or against all kinds of decisions in your own life?

A quick internet search returns multiple sources quoting that people make up to 35,000 decisions every day…from when exactly to get out of bed to when to call it quits for the day.  Some sources say that we make over 200 decisions about food alone!

Each decision is a silent vote:
– YES – I will get out of bed.
– NO – I will not hit the snooze bar again.
– YES – I will floss.
– NO – I will not pick at that blemish.
– YES – I will weigh myself.
– NO – I will not check Facebook before I shower.

The list goes on…and it’s easy to see how we can amass THOUSANDS of little decisions in a short time.

Some of these decisions are quite easy — because we’ve already made bigger, pre-set decisions about them so they fall neatly in line:
– YES – I will go to work and be on time
(therefore, I will get up and out of bed and hit the shower immediately).
– YES – I will take care of my physical health (therefore, I will floss every day, leave my face alone, and weigh myself daily).

When you “vote” early and often for the things you truly want in life — temptations, like really wanting to stay in bed, become small and insignificant compared to the big goals of providing for your family, succeeding in your career, or living a happy and productive life.

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: Vote “YES” to Happyness!  While some decisions only come around once every year (or four years) — there are hundreds (if not thousands) of little decisions that make up EVERY SINGLE DAY of your life.  Add those up — and you have millions of little decisions that shape the course of your entire lifetime.  So what do you say?  Yay or Nay?

Vote “YES” to Happyness — one precious moment at a time!

Spread Happyness — and share your thoughts!  How do you say “YES” to Happyness?

11/3/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #163 – Ten Weeks to Happyness! (Don’t pretend…make plans: “Go get your wings!”)

"He's got his wings." (photo credit: Grace Church)

“Got his wings.” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #163 – Ten Weeks to Happyness! (Don’t pretend…make plans: “Go get your wings!”)

This has turned into an annual re-post — because it’s worth repeating!  (You can find the original here!)  

There are exactly TEN Fridays left in 2017 — and where better to begin the Ten Weeks to Happyness countdown than with this refrain:

“Don’t dream it…be it!”

To recap the backstory: for Rob’s wake, a work friend of mine (who didn’t even know Rob) drove nearly two hours to attend his viewing.  While Jim H. waited patiently on line he saw the photos of the planes, Rob’s pilot log, his flight suit — and on the word board he wrote:

“He’s finally got his wings!”

Jim’s comment echoes as a poetic completion of Rob’s long held desire to BE a pilot.  And Rob didn’t just dream about it…he pursued it.  He spent time at airports, around planes, talking shop with pilots, logging hours, and enduring long hot summer days on the tarmac at airshows.  I still will never really know what it meant to a boy who never traveled very far from home to be miles high in the air with nothing but a propeller to keep him going!  But it made him happy…and he planned around it…and that was enough for me to believe he could be it!

Are you making pretend…or making plans?

Halloween is a day for pretending…pretending to be fierce or funny, scary or sexy.  To masquerade our secret selves…or maybe even disguise our real ones.  But look closer: is there more to your costume than an attempt to collect candy or win an award?  Is there a dream or desire or longing behind that mask that represents a calling to BE something more in your every day life?

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: Don’t dream it…BE IT!  I’ll ask you again…if your “costume” became your clothing on November 1st and beyond…what would you pick?  What props or clues, habits or traits would you need to let people know…this is who I am, this is who I was meant to BE.  Then ask yourself…what is the ONE NEXT THING you can do to go from pretending to planning?  Write it down — and DO IT this weekend.

Don’t pretend…MAKE PLANS!  Go get your wings!

Spread Happyness — share your dream, your plans, and your support of others in the comments!

10/27/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #162 – “To Whom It May Concern…” (Say “Thank You” this week!)

Week #162 – “To Whom It May Concern…” (Say “Thank You” this week!)

Greetings Happyness Tribe!

This past week I’ve was reminded of the simple art of praising loudly.

  • Someone I know who works in sales received a letter from a customer (sent to the boss) praising his above-and-beyond efforts during a requisition.
  • Someone else I know who works in a restaurant received a nice note written on the bottom of their credit card slip thanking him for his excellent service (and hopefully accompanied by a nice big tip!).
  • And finally, a performer at a local venue took the time to publicly thank the facility’s staff for taking care of him and making him feel so welcome.

Three separate incidents…absolutely no cost to anyone…and plenty of benefit to go around.

It’s easy to complain.  It’s easy to notice what is wrong, what might not be up to par, or what was missed.

And the internet has made it SO convenient — we can even do it anonymously!

But it’s a lot more fun catching people doing things right!  There are probably people you encounter every day who take care of you, who serve you first, who meet your needs without you even asking or saying a word.

Have you thanked them?

Have you let them know you appreciate them?

Have you praised them?  Loudly?  Publicly?

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: Say “Thank You!”  Be on the lookout for people doing things right this week!  And when you find them, be sure to thank them — loudly and publicly!  Be specific…and let them know what made the difference.  Our culture is saturated in complaints, criticisms, and score-keeping.  Be one of the good guys this week and let someone know you see them, you appreciate them, and you’re not afraid to say something nice!

Spread Happyness — catch someone doing something right this week!

10/20/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #161 – “Roll Me Away!” (Listen to your longings this week!)

“Rollin’ away down the shore!” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #161 – “Roll Me Away!” (Listen to your longings this week!)

Good Afternoon, Everyone — and Happy Friday!

I’ve been taking care of some long-overdue to-dos these past few weeks.  It feels like 2016 (yes, that’s LAST year) just will not let me go!

And while I have gotten quite a few important and somewhat urgent things done — one thing slipped through the cracks completely: my motorcycle endorsement.

And I’m not happy about it.

When I moved to California last year, I had a year to take the written test again in order to transfer the endorsement.  The year passed, and I never retested.  I haven’t confirmed anything with the DMV yet…but I’m afraid it might be gone.

I know that in the grand scheme of things…this isn’t important.  There are some really sad, complicated, and important issues going on in our world right now.  But it was my brother who taught me to ride.  Who helped me achieve a life-long dream of getting my license and riding solo!  That “M” represented an awful lot of him.

And there is part of me that feels I lost another piece of him this week.

But there is another part that knows for sure…I will take a class, I will retest, and I will ride again!

Which reminded me of this post from Week #18.  Because try as we might…we can’t be perfectly happy all the time.  Longing is part of the human condition…it’s what keeps us dreaming, keeps us envisioning, keeps us journeying to find out what’s beyond that next bend in the road…and then over those hills…and then out further along that plain…

So, once again Bob Seger’s words speak to me: “Next time…we’ll get it right!”

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead:  When you come across something you “aren’t happy about” — don’t just settle for unhappiness!  Identify the longing…and use it to get focused on what you want.  Then, get a theme song to inspire you!  When I was leaving my corporate job, I listened to Boston’s “Don’t Look Back” every single day on my way to work to remind me that my future was AHEAD of me…not behind me!  Now, it will be Bob Seger’s “Roll Me Away” as I set off to recover my endorsement.  Maybe for you it’s a workout song…or a vacation-starts-today-song…or an interview song.

Whatever it is, try it…and tell me about your “escape” song in the comments!

Spread Happyness — listen to your longings this week!

10/13/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

 

Week #160 – Q4 is Here! (What do you have left to do in 2017?)

Q4-2017 (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #160 – Q4 is Here! (What do you have left to do in 2017?)

Greetings Tribe — and Happy Friday!

With the flip of a calendar page to October 2017 — we have made the turn into the fourth quarter of 2017.

There are three months and exactly 13 Fridays left in the year.

A dozen weeks to finish STRONG!

If you’ve been keeping up with your dreams and goals…good for you!!!  Hopefully you’ve been keeping track, as well: gratitudes, achievements, highlights, benchmarks, photos, accomplishments.

(If not, don’t worry.  Check out Week #68 for some surefire ways to remember these things!)

As I wrote last year about this time, the turn into October is usually a white-flag moment for me: the last lap.  A time to stop, take stock, and set a course for Q4 — the finish line of the calendar year.

Last year, October got away from me.  A few significant deadlines, the holidays, the debates, a trip to the DMV…and before I knew it, it was Halloween!

(And Halloween is a slippery slope into the holidays and the end of the year!)

So this year, I’m not waiting!  A friend posed this question to me last week, and I’ll share it with you:

What do you have left to do this year — that you don’t want to take into 2018?

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: What do you have left to do in 2017?  Is there something you still need to do that is nagging at you?  If so…you’ve got a full three months to get it done!  Don’t take unfinished business into the new year.  Break it down into a dozen steps…share it with a friend…find yourself a buddy…get to work…and get it DONE!

Most important…keep collecting the good stuff!  Keep on keeping track of the good stuff!  Because we need more of that.  More focus on the wins.  More focus on what’s right.  More focus on loving our lives — so that we can live our lives more fully.

“Give yourself the gift of done!”  (Jon Acuff)

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts and plans for Q4 in the comments!

10/6/16 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #159 – Not sure what to do? (Reach out and help someone!)

Week #159 – Not sure what to do? (Reach out and help someone!)

Greetings, All — and Happy Friday!

If you’ve felt overwhelmed, insufficient, and distracted lately — I want you to know you are not alone!

The issues that our world is facing right now are intense and varied and coming at us at a rapid pace.  It has been enough to throw the most balanced people I know off balance, the most focused people off course, and caused the most compassionate people I know to throw up their hands.

Frustration is a slippery slope…it leads to bitterness, resentment, and disempowerment.  (In other words, all kinds of un-happyness.)

When the world’s, or the country’s, or even your town’s problems seem beyond your grasp — reach out and grab hold of the hand (or hands) that are within your reach!

  • Our families — while we are busy keeping up with world news on our screens, there may be a person (spouse/kid/parent/sibling/etc.) right in front of us that needs our attention.  LOOK UP!!!
  • Our neighbors — while we debate over how best to help those in affected communities around the globe, there is a neighbor on our street that needs help with the garbage, the lawn, or a ride to an appointment.  LOOK AROUND!
  • Our friends — someone you know and love is probably struggling with a life change, a career challenge, sickness, or crisis.  LOOK THEM UP — and check in on them!
  • Our coworkers — while we’re busy gabbing about the latest news and events in the break room, one of our coworkers may be secretly struggling with something.  LOOK THEM IN THE EYE — and listen to their stories!
  • Our communities — each one of our communities has needs that only we can uniquely address because we live there.  Whether it’s a local school, place of worship, building/association, union/guild, or organization — LOOK AHEAD for the people within our reach who can benefit from our assistance, support, and participation.

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: REACH OUT!  The second you are feeling overwhelmed and under-equipped to take on a big problem this week — shift your gaze to the people within arm’s reach!  Leverage your time, talent, and compassion on the people right in front of you.  It will make a tremendous and very real difference to them — and with practice, build confidence in ourselves to take on the bigger problems in the world!

Be the source — Spread Happyness!!!

Spread Happyness — reach out and help someone this week!

9/29/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #158 – Welcome Fall!

“Welcome Fall!” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #158 – Welcome Fall!

(This topic is a perennial favorite — and worth repeating!)

Greetings All — and Happy Friday!

The Autumnal Equinox will occur at 1:02p PT today — the exact moment when the sun shines equally on both sides of the Equator.  The word itself means “equal night” — as these days are marked by equal parts sunlight and darkness.

And for a moment — perfect balance.

I know for many of you, the “end” of Summer is a sad time: light fades, the air cools, summer flowers surrender.

For others, the “beginning” of Fall is a celebration: work/school routines are back in place, trees start to show their colors, football, sweaters, boots, and pumpkin-everything is back!  🙂

Whether you’re on Team Summer or Team Fall — I hope you squeezed all you could out of the Summer of 2017.  But if not, don’t despair.  Another 13 week season starts today!  A new beginning, a new quarter, and for many a new year ahead!

The Autumnal Equinox gives us the perfect opportunity to step back, take stock, re-balance — and to finish the year strong!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: WELCOME FALL!  Welcome this season of harvest, storage, and preparation by turning inward: take stock in yourself, make room for only what’s necessary, and set a goal or direction for the next three months of your life.  The Winter Solstice is exactly 13 weeks away!  Don’t wait until December to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and goals…START NOW!  Use the Fall Season as a runway into 2018.  The next 13 weeks are going to pass one way or another…how do you want to spend this season?!

Some ideas:

  1. DECORATE — this is the easiest way to mark the change of seasons.  Don’t wait for the leaves to turn or for Halloween decorations to appear…get out your scarecrows and pumpkins now and give yourself a visual cue that a new season has arrived.  WELCOME IT!
  2. CLEAN — there is a lot of talk of “Spring” cleaning at the Vernal Equinox — but Fall has it’s own cleaning and decluttering rituals too.  As we turn our focus inward to our homes — it makes sense that we would declutter and clean in preparation for the indoor months ahead.  Use this time to get rid of things you no longer need — and make room for the things that will sustain and nurture you through the dark and cold of winter.  WELCOME IT!
  3. SET NEW GOALS — Just like cleaning and decluttering makes room in our homes, cleaning and decluttering of the mind makes room in our psyche.  Every thirteen weeks we are given the opportunity to start a “new season.”  Start this Fall with a little quiet time to consider what you’d like to accomplish by the END of the year, what obligations or habits you need to shed to make that possible, and what new resources you may need to help you get there!  WELCOME IT!
  4. PLAN FALL FUN — NOW is the time to look at your fall calendar (October/November/December) and plot some time for the activities you like best.  Harvest festivals, ghost tours, apple picking, that one last Indian Summer day at the shore…think about the things that bring you joy this time of year and plan them out ahead of time!

At the very least — set aside time this weekend to think about what you need to feel happy in the 13 weeks ahead.

Remember — it takes a happy person to Spread Happyness!

Spread Happyness — share your favorite Autumn rituals and activities in the comments!

9/22/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com

Week #157 – Another Wave! (Reflections at the Three Year Mark)

"A New Wave" (photo credit: Grace Church)

(A gift from Pat & Tom — photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #157 – Another Wave! (Reflections at the Three Year Mark)

Greetings Tribe — and Happy Friday!

Last week was a mash-up of anniversaries: Rob, the blog, 9/11.  The dates came at me faster than I could process.  Add to that the current activities in my day-to-day life — not to mention the events in Texas and Florida — and there was very little time to reflect.

I couldn’t catch my breath.

So I did what surfers are taught to do: go under.  I put my head down and let the white water roll over me.

It reminds me of a game that Rob and I used to play when we went to the shore as kids.  We called it “Over and Under.”  We would stand at the break line and call out a challenge as each wave rolled our way, “Over!” or “Under!”

“Over” meant we had to try to go over the wave.  If it was small or it hadn’t broken yet, this was easy.

But when the wave was big or it had already broken and the white water was on the move…the easiest and safest place to go was “under” the wave.

There is a permanence to Year Three.  Rob is gone.  Really gone.  And I will not see him again in this lifetime.

And yet, I will paddle out to catch another wave of Happyness this year.  And if I listen closely, I can hear him yelling to me once again: “Over!”

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: OVER or UNDER?  Are waves coming at you faster than you can handle?  Or are they crashing so violently that you’re getting tumbled?  Don’t be afraid to go under it all.  It’s great pre-game talk to glorify running head-on into challenges and getting banged up in the process…but sometimes the safest (and most peaceful) place to be is UNDER the wave!

Spread Happyness — and find peace UNDER the waves this week!

To Life!  To Love!  To Happyness!

9/15/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church
grace@spreadhappyness.com