Monthly Archives: October 2014

Week #7 – Don’t Pretend…Make Plans! Go “Get Your Wings!”

Flight Suit (Photo Credit: Grace Church)

Flight Suit (Photo Credit: Grace Church)

Week #7 – Don’t Pretend…Make Plans!  Go “Get Your Wings!”

Happy Friday — and Happy Halloween!  What are you planning to be today?

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 plane photos, Rob’s pilot log, his flight suit — and on the word board he wrote: “He’s finally got his wings!”

Jim is an artist…a sensitive soul who sees poetry in most people.  His comment is a poignant metaphor…and poetic completion of Rob’s long held desire to BE a pilot.  And Rob didn’t just dream about it…he pursued it every way he could.  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 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 behind that mask that represents a calling to BE something more in your every day life?

Your assignment for this weekend:  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 need to do to go from pretending to planning?  Write it down — and DO IT this weekend.  Don’t pretend…MAKE PLANS!  Go get your wings!

To quote Dr. Frankenfurter’s sweet refrain from Rocky Horror: “Don’t dream it…BE IT!”

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

10/31/14 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #6 – “Pure Energy!” (Are you an outlet — or a plug?)

(Photo Credit: Grace Church)

Week #6 – “Pure Energy!” (Are you an outlet — or a plug?)

As the weeks roll by I continue to hear story after story about how Rob influenced, affected, touched, or otherwise blessed one individual after another. When you hear all these stories at once, you wonder how one individual could spend that much time with other people — in addition to a full time job, various personal interests, and logging 50,000 miles on his car in a year!

Rob was indeed full of pure energy. As a result, he was an outlet to most people who crossed his path — they could come to him, plug in, and get happiness. But was it a gift — or a choice? Certainly Rob was blessed with an outgoing personality.  But he also did things in his life that assured he’d have plenty of time and energy to fill himself up and fuel his own interests. He chose to eat well, exercise, sleep, drink water, say no to things he didn’t want to do, step away from unnecessary drama and distractions, and make room only for the things that lit him up. I believe that because he tended to himself FIRST — he had plenty of time/attention/love/encouragement/and insane goofiness to share with everyone he met. (Dogs, cats, parrots, snakes, butterflies and armadillos included!)

We’ve talked a lot about how to SPREAD HAPPYNESS over the last few weeks…so tell me, how are you doing?  Are you becoming an outlet of “pure energy” that others can plug into — or do you still find yourself looking to others to fill you up?

Your assignment for this weekend: Brainstorm a quick list of things you can do to fill yourself up FIRST — then pick ONE and follow through for yourself TODAY.  Don’t be a plug!  Charge yourself up first, then get out there and let your PURE ENERGY light someone else’s day!

What did you come up with?  SPREAD HAPPYNESS — and share your success stories here!

10/24/14 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #5 – How to be “Beautiful!” (In three easy steps)


Beautiful (Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #5 – How to be “Beautiful! (In three easy steps)

Many people have used the word beautiful to describe my brother — myself included.  It’s an odd word to use for a male — but it was the first word I wrote on the word board at his funeral.  And I still catch myself saying, “He was a beautiful human being.”

What does it mean to be beautiful — and what can we learn from Rob in order to spread happyness to others?

1. Beautiful on the Outside — Obviously “beautiful” means handsome, pretty, and fine on the outside.  Rob was not the most perfect human being ever created — he had skinny legs, a slight underbite, and some seriously floppy ears.  But no one I know worked harder at their physique — and took great care of his physical appearance.  Rob did everything he could to be healthy, which is why the cancer was such a kick in the teeth.  Despite taking great care of ourselves, physical bodies may fade or fail us…what then?

2. Beautiful on the Inside — Beautiful also means agreeable, genuine, and real.  There is something called a beautiful mind — a mind that is agreeable, open to possibilities, willing to explore, to appreciate, to be interested, to be clear and precise.  Most of the words on Rob’s board are not about his physique, they are about his character.  We’ve covered some of them on this blog — his enthusiastic wave, his big hello, his affectionate nicknames, his depth of character.  These are the things that made him beautiful on the inside.  These are the things we can control…the choices we make within ourselves.  Are you still with me?   

3. Bring Beautiful Out in Others — A French writer named Stendhal defined it best in a way I never heard before this week — but one that certainly resonated with me and the mission for this website: “beauty is nothing more than the promise of happiness.”  There is no doubt that Rob brought out the best in people — their physical beauty through his observation or encouragement, their inner beauty through his genuine interest and ability to be real with people, and the promise of happiness to all — as soon as you saw his smiling face, his big wave, or heard his unique hello, you knew you were in for a positive interaction!

What about you?  Are you beautiful inside and out?  Do you bring the “promise of happiness” to others?

Your assignment this weekend:  On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate yourself in each of these three areas?  Evaluate your answers.  Then name one thing you can do to create more beauty on your outside, your inside, and for others.  Then do it!  And don’t forget to share your results!

Be beautiful!  Be honest!  And be real with yourself and others!

Spread Happyness — and tell us about it in the comments!

10/17/14 by Grace Church
© Grace Church


Week #4 – “Got Character?!”

Build Character (photo credit: Grace Church)

Character Muscles (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #4 – “Got Character?!”

There have been many words used to describe Rob in the month since his passing.  The word board at the funeral home was filled with over 150 words or phrases.  My parents have received hundreds of notes and cards, each filled with unique and loving descriptions of Rob from the many and varied corners of his life.  And more words have spilled out on his tribute page, on Facebook, and on this blog.  Hundreds of words — many different words — that all together assemble a complete picture not just of a human being, but the entirety of a soul.

The first words I jotted down were the Sunday after Rob died.  I had been asked to prepare something for his funeral — but for the first time in a long while, I couldn’t string any thoughts together.  So I just began writing down words that reminded me of Rob.  Shortly after, I was standing outside talking to some people about him and a woman, standing a little too close by, uttered the words: “he was a real character”.  I asked if she knew him, but she didn’t.  She said those words just came to her.  I wrote them down…and here we are!  The first among a long list of words that are the fuel for this blog.

Most of what I’ve learned about character I’ve learned through screenwriting.  Simply put: great characters make great movies.  This is because they are integrated: we understand quickly WHO they are, WHERE they come from, WHAT they do, and WHY they do it.  And because of that — good or bad — we are willing to follow them anywhere (at least for a few hours).

The root of the word “character” literally means to scrape or scratch (as in, engrave). Figuratively it means “symbol or imprint on the soul” — or “the collection of qualities that define a person.”  (Thanks to for this insight!)  Together each week we look at a different aspect of Rob’s unique character — not only to celebrate his life — but to gain insight into our own lives, and learn to spread happyness to others in our path.  What about you?  Have you “Got Character?!”

Your assignment for the weekend: Assemble a list of words that people might write about you.  If you’re really brave — you might even ask a few close friends for some ideas.  What are the collection of qualities that define you as a person?  WHO are you, WHERE do you come from, WHAT do you do, HOW do you behave, and WHY do you do it?  Remember, flaws and foibles are okay…that’s the stuff heroes are made of!  Write them down — all of them.  Now ask yourself — is this truly who you are?  Is this the mark of your SOUL?  Are these your best character muscles?  If so — tell us what they are!  Flex ’em loud and proud!  If not — pick one quality you want to develop or improve and start exercising it this weekend!

It is never too late to build good character!  How will you start today?

Spread Happyness — and tell us about it in the comments!

10/10/14 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #3 – “Shakers!” (aka Nicknames…and other ways to win friends and influence people)

(Photo credit: Grace Church)

(Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #3 – “Shakers!” (aka Nicknames…and other ways to win friends and influence people)

In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote: “a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Sorry, Dale…I disagree.  A nickname is even sweeter!

Rob — also known as Baab, Babadino, Rob-a-dob, Rhubarb, Runt, Mayor, Gov’, or Platypus — rarely called anyone by their proper name.  This has been alluded to already in the comments both on the website and Facebook — and is one of the things seared into people’s memories of him.  From grade school through adulthood — Rob would often use nicknames, nut just as a sign of affection, but as a secret nod acknowledging an entire memory or experience just the two of you shared.  Mine was a long drawn-out “Yeesssssss, Graaaaaaaace.”  His signal to me that I was brooding far too much about something unimportant and missing the fun of the moment right in front of me.  How right he so often was!  What about you?

Your assignment for this weekend: sweeten things up by playing the nickname-game!  You can say the first things that come to your mind (goodness knows Rob would!) — or, if you need a little help, try adding a “-ster” or “-dino” or “-dob” or “-toozie” to everyone’s name.  Come on folks, for the love of happiness, are you willing to try this?!

What do you think of nicknames?  Spread the happiness…and tell us in the comments!

10/3/14 by Grace Church
© Grace Church