Monthly Archives: May 2015

Week #37 – “The Power of Love” (What’s on your summer playlist?)

"The Power of Love" (photo credit: Grace Church)

(Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #37 – “The Power of Love” (What’s on your summer playlist?!)

During one particular summer growing up…a newly released movie called “Back to the Future” featured a little ditty by a guy named Huey Lewis.  “The Power of Love” became a mega-hit that year…and you could hear it playing EVERYWHERE you went.

As an adult, Rob always texted me whenever he heard it.  He called it our “Great Adventure song” because during that particular summer growing up, maybe it was the first summer we ever went to Great Adventure, it seemed to be playing every single time.  (FYI — Great Adventure is what people from New Jersey used to call Six Flags!)

Now…to this day…it carries more than just the memories of a theme park.  Every time I hear it, it’s a reminder of HIM.  HIS memories…the things HE found important…and the times HE cherished.

“Summer” unofficially began this week and I’ve been feeling dark.  I miss him.  We all do.  And the start of another beach season just serves to remind me that he’s really gone.  Last year there was hope.  This year…not so much.

This week I heard The Power of Love playing in a restaurant.  It reminded me of Great Adventure at first — but then it reminded me of him and all the summers we shared together.  All the miles we drove to ride roller coasters and water slides.  Memories that are just as much alive today as they were last year…and will be forever.

A smile crept across my face.  That’s the Power of Love…indeed!

Your assignment for the week: What’s on your summer playlist?  What songs take you back to good times, fun times, happy times?  As a kid, we’d assemble all those songs individually and then record them on a “mix” tape.  (Maybe we’d even give them to someone special!)  Now your phone can do it for you!  With today’s technology we are never far away from happy memories.  Assemble yourself a playlist…and remind your body (and your brain) how it feels to have the time of your life!

Spread Happyness — roll down your windows and blast that music!

(And share your favorite summer songs in the comments!)

5/29/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church





Week #36 – “Remembered Always…” (Putting the Memorial back in Memorial Day!)

"Senior Rock" (photo credit: Grace Church)

“Senior Rock” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #36 – “Remembered Always…” (Putting the Memorial back in Memorial Day!)

Almost immediately after Rob died, a covert band of brothers (and at least one soul-sister!) hijacked our high school’s “Senior Rock” — a large flat rock that overlooks the student parking lot.  For decades, it’s been the senior class’ unique privilege to paint the rock with their very own messages.  I couldn’t tell you what was on the rock before…but what was on it after Rob’s cronies were done will be forever painted on the walls of my memory in signature green, black, and silver:


That was in September.  For eight months the seniors haven’t touched it.  Even after they’d lost a classmate of their own in February, they let his tribute stand.  A symbolic half-staff for those of us still remembering.

I finally got word last week that the senior class — the Class of 2015 — re-claimed their rock for themselves.  I was thrilled!  I wanted to take a moment to thank them publicly for allowing Rob’s tribute to stand as long as it did — and for allowing his name to watch over them daily as they scraped and clawed, laughed and cried, celebrated and crumbled, and otherwise rode the wave of arguably the single most memorable year of their lives…their last year of high school!

But most important — it was like raising the flag to full staff.  It reminded ME of the resilience and resolve necessary for life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happyness!

Memorial Day, for certain, is a day set aside to remember those who died serving our country.  But before it was called “Memorial Day” — it was called “Decoration Day” because it was a day when families reunited at burial locations to “decorate” the graves of their fallen.  And because many people traveled very far to get there — they would relish the opportunity to visit and reconnect with relatives, usually accompanied by a pot-luck or picnic supper nearby.

So, our modern traditions of family reunions and bar-b-queing are not really that far off — it’s the REMEMBERING that we’re sometimes missing!

Your assignment for this week: Put the MEMORIAL back in Memorial Day!  Enjoy your family, the nice weather, and the freedom you have — just remember to REMEMBER!  This may mean simply raising a flag, bringing a note or flowers to a grave of one who lost his/her life in service, or writing a name in the sand for all to see.  You could make a donation, plant a tree, or lay a wreath at the base of a statue.  Even after the day is past, the flowers fade, or the ocean wipes the shore clean — you never know how long your tribute will stick to the walls of someone else’s memory!

Thanks to all those who painted the rock — those who let it stand — and those who reclaimed it for the Class of 2015.  Your memorial is now part of my memory “4EVER”.  😉

How will you put the MEMORIAL back in Memorial Day?!

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts or ideas in the comments!

5/22/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #35 – “My Sunshine on this Earth” (What weather best describes you?)

Eternal Summer (photo credit: Grace Church)

Eternal Summer (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #35 – “My Sunshine on this Earth” (What weather best describes you?)

We had a beautiful 90-degree day this week.  The breeze out of the west was soft and warm.  And for the first time in what seemed like a long, long while — I was hot.

And honestly — it felt great!

I sat for a moment on my front step with the sun on my face, my shoulders, arms, hands, and bare feet.  The neighbor cat joined me and flipped himself over on the sidewalk to roll on his back and soak up the warmth through the fur on his belly.

And for a moment — I felt present.

In the middle of Rob’s word board there is a little tag that says, “My Sunshine on this Earth.”  I totally get that.  In a world where things can be dark and cold, stormy and uncertain…Rob had a way of radiating a steady, warm, and happy light.  Much like the little neighbor cat on the sidewalk…we’d eagerly stop everything to sit still and soak it up!

You’ve probably known people who darken your door, brighten your day, breeze in and out of your life, bring thunderbolts and lightning, sunshine and happiness, or rain on your parade.  There are fair-weather friends, stormy relationships, and…well…”Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

The question is: What’s the forecast for friends or relatives, coworkers or clients, when YOU come to town?

Your assignment for the week: The un-official start of summer (Memorial Day) is just around the corner — and it’s that time of year when we start to pay close attention to those weekend weather reports.  What weather pattern best describes you?  Abundant sunshine…rolling fog…a summer shower…or a perfect storm?!  😉  Furthermore — do you set the mood?  Or is your atmosphere easily changed by others?  Think of yourself in terms of weather this week — what’s on your horizon?  And what is the forecast to those around you?

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts (and your forecast) in the comments!

5/15/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #34 – Start with Your Heart (Nine ways to be “Truly Compassionate”)

"All Heart" (Photo credit: Grace Church)

“Start with your Heart” (Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #35: Start with Your Heart (Nine Ways to be “Truly Compassionate”)

The words “Truly Compassionate” appear in thick, black Sharpie ink on Rob’s word board.

The word “compassion” literally means “to suffer together.”  And that’s a tall order — because we all want to be helpful, right?  But we don’t want to get hurt or dirtied up in the process. defines compassion as “feeling deep sympathy or sorrow for another…with a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”  (And wow…that is one fully loaded ellipsis if I ever saw one!)

One thing I notice though…the definition says “desire to alleviate the suffering”.  This eliminates two paths we male and female humans most often take:

1. Commiserating:  Literally, this means “being miserable together.”  Sometimes misery does love company…and a cold beer…or some ice cream…and a good movie. But let’s just be honest and call it what it is!  This might get our MINDS off the suffering…but it does nothing to fix the problem.

(Which leads me to…)

2. Fix it for them:  The definition says “desire” to alleviate…not “take action” to alleviate (or “take responsibility, either!).  Compassion requires that we feel first…and I think that’s important because our nature is to want to get our HANDS into it and fix things.  (And most of us know this can be maddening when we haven’t quite had the chance to feel and sort out our own feelings first, anyway.)

One of the ways, I believe, Rob was “truly compassionate” was he lead with his HEART.  What about you?

Your assignment for this week: Compassion may seem complicated — but here are nine synonyms that offer specific ways to cultivate compassion in your own life.  Pick one as a theme for the week or try different strategies on for size.  Either way — start with your heart!

  1. Benevolence: simply…the desire to do good toward others (wish someone well, even if it’s only in your heart)
  2. Empathy: identify or understand the feelings of another (help someone name a difficult feeling)
  3. Grace: forgiveness (remember…it doesn’t mean forget, it just means release expectations)
  4. Humanity: instead of just “people-watching”…take a step back and watch human hearts at work/play instead
  5. Kindness: literally…treat others like your own
  6. Mercy: goodwill or forgiveness towards an enemy or offender
  7. Sorrow: share distress, grief, or sadness with another
  8. Sympathy: share feelings at all (happy ones too!)
  9. Tenderness: soften your heart in a difficult situation

Spread Happyness — and Start with your Heart this week!  (And remember to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!)

PS: Happy Mother’s Day!!!

5/8/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #33 – “Heavy on my mind…” (Who are you thinking of?)


(Photo credit: Grace Church)

(Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #33 – “Heavy on my mind…” (Who are you thinking of?)

Rob’s always on my mind…but he’s been heavy on my mind this past week.  The last days of April bring up a different kind of anniversary…the first x-rays, the first admittance to Sloan, the first mention of the “C” word.

As we stood in Rob’s hospital room last year this time, we were all in shock.  “This is crazy…” he said more than once in disbelief.  “How can this be?”  Who knew what the next few months would bring…where it would take us…how it would bring us together…or ultimately take him away.

One thing’s for sure…he was on my mind every single day.  And I made sure I took the time to let him know it.

There’s a lot of criticism over our dependence on digital communication these days…but I’ve seen ways that it can help people who otherwise couldn’t possibly stay so connected under intense pressure or circumstances.  A quick little text, a Facebook post, a short email, or even just a voicemail that doesn’t require a call back…these are all ways to let someone know you are thinking of them.  Just thinking of them…period.  Not expecting anything in return.

This week’s assignment: Who’s heavy on your mind?  Take time…right now…to send them these three little words: “Thinking of you.”

That’s it.

Just three little words.

Spread Happyness — and see where this takes you!  Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments!

(And PS: I’m thinking of YOU!)

5/1/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church