Monthly Archives: September 2015

Week #54 – Welcome Fall! (Celebrate the first days of Autumn!)

"Welcome Fall!" (photo credit: Grace Church)

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

Week #54 – Welcome Fall!!! (Celebrate the first days of Autumn!)

Greetings Happyness Tribe — and Welcome to Week #54!

For many weeks now, we have focused on Spreading Happyness to others.  This week — as we kick off a new season — I want to remember that Happyness starts with ourselves!  This weekend — I challenge you to take stock and regain your balance for the 13 weeks ahead!

This past Wednesday at 4:22 a.m. ET marked the Autumnal Equinox — 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 the moment — perfect balance.


I don’t know about you…but Summer always leaves me feeling a little unhinged.  Long days, lots of sun, an abundance of visitors, activities, and things to do.  Couple that with the added pressure in the Northeast to “get out and enjoy it”…and summer can feel like a mad rush to some finish line that ends three weeks early on Labor Day weekend.

Thankfully, we’re all smart enough to know that Summer doesn’t “really” end until September 21st — and many of us have been able to get out and enjoy the additional three weeks of beautiful weather we’ve been having!

But as the air turns a little cooler, the wind picks up, and maybe those boots and sweaters are starting to look pretty good — the Autumnal Equinox gives us the perfect opportunity to step back, take stock, and re-balance.

If Autumn is creeping up on you, don’t fight it — WELCOME IT!

Your challenge for this weekend: CELEBRATE THE FIRST DAYS OF AUTUMN!  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 2016.  13 weeks is 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!

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!

9/25/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church



Week #53 – The Next Wave

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

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

Week #53 – The Next Wave

Greetings Happyness Tribe — and Welcome to Week #53!

A BIG thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to my survey questions last week — and to share your thoughts and ideas so generously!  Your continued encouragement and support is appreciated — but your feedback is invaluable!!!  There’s a lot of emotion tied up in this blog — and your objectivity was just what I needed.  Without it, I wouldn’t know whether to stop or start — or how best to proceed.

Throughout the week I’ve poured over the responses, thoughtfully processing each one, and steadily tallying the feedback.

The results…?

The single most frequent comment I received was this:  KEEP GOING!!!

And so today, I’m ready to paddle out to catch another wave of Happyness in the year ahead!

But first — I’d like to share with you the top five remaining results of my little poll:

1. FRIDAY TIMING — Most of you mentioned that you like the Friday timing, that it’s a kickstart to your weekend, or that it helps put the focus on something positive as you transition from the work week.  I’m glad this resonates with you — because the timing’s not accidental.  Rob died on a Friday morning — so the post day/time honors his transition.  I’m grateful to be able to continue with this timing!

2. OTHER STORIES — The second most frequent comment had to do with guest writers and/or other stories about Happyness in action.  I’ve been toying with this idea myself and promise to give it more thought.  While this blog was definitely inspired by Rob — I know there are many other Happyness-Spreaders out there and I’m eager to hear about them!  If you know someone who fits the bill, please let me know and we’ll see how this idea develops!

3. PICTURES — The third most frequent comment was that you’ve enjoyed the weekly pictures of Rob and the family stories that go along with them.  This is good to know — especially as I’m trying to expand the blog to other stories.  Hopefully I’ll be able to strike the right balance!

4. CHARITY/GIVING — The fourth most frequent comment had to do with paying it forward — and many of you remembered the 50 for #50 virtual toy drive last year.  One of the most interesting questions I received was “What would Rob want?”  Other than getting his life/health back — Rob frequently said to me, “Grace…if I get through this, I want to help other people.”  Sadly, he didn’t get through it — but we did.  It’s my hope that we can continue to carry that torch forward, as well!

5. COMMUNITY — The fifth most frequent comment had to do with community.  Whether we get together online or in-person — it seems many of you are looking to connect with others who are committed to Happyness.  There are many ways of accomplishing this — and I’ll be noodling on this one for sure!

For now…

Your challenge for this week: GIVE SOMEONE A PUSH!  You’ve blessed me with encouragement, support, and the honest feedback I asked for in order to push forward.  Now…go out and give someone else that extra push into their next wave!  When someone asks you for feedback or your opinion, don’t hold back.  Give ’em your best!  (And don’t be afraid to ask for help if YOU need a push!  Just remember…not everyone is a cheerleader.  Asking for help can be hard…so proceed with caution!)

Spread Happyness — encourage someone to KEEP GOING!  (YOU may be just the push they need this week!)

And remember — share your thoughts in the comments!

To Life!  To Love!  To Happyness!

9/18/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #52 – Endings and Beginnings (A big wave hello or goodbye?)

(Photo credit: Courtesy of Gina Buongiorno)

WAVE BIG!  (Photo credit: Courtesy of Gina Buongiorno)

 Week #52 – Endings and Beginnings (A big wave hello or goodbye?)

Greetings Happyness Tribe — and welcome to WEEK 52!!!

A year ago my world changed forever.  And as friends, neighbors, colleagues, co-workers, service-providers, professionals, and other acquaintances lined up in their own distress and sadness to pay their respects…I recognized immediately that I was not alone.  You had lost someone, too.  Rob was important to all of us!

So, I pledged to deliver a little dose of him every Friday morning via this blog — along with a little challenge to keep things going.  SpreadHappyness was born because I believed Rob’s legacy was his natural ability to spread happiness to anyone who crossed his path — and I didn’t think that had to die with him.  I wanted to carry the torch forward — because cancer wasn’t the only thing that could spread.  I knew happiness could, too!

Week #1 started with a challenge…and one of the things we all missed the most: His BIG WAVE hello!

Since then we have Spread Happyness the ways he showed us how: through big hellos, nicknames, music, long drives, looking ahead, looking back, breathing fresh air, riding the wave, giving to others, focusing on fun, celebrating our achievements, and having a Rob-Church-Kinda-Year!

The question is…what’s next?!

I’ll be honest with you — some people have told me to wrap this up.  Others have told me to make this bigger.  It’s easy for me to keep going…but this blog isn’t about me.  It’s about YOU!  All of you who loved Rob, all of you who miss him, all of you who are now just getting to know him: all of you who wish to spread a little happyness — just because he crossed your path!

So the question I’ve been pondering is this: Is this a BIG WAVE goodbye?  Or a BIG WAVE hello?

Your assignment for this week: I WANT YOUR FEEDBACK!  I’m not tech savvy enough to set up a poll…but I would like to pose some questions to you here, and I invite you to respond to me in the way that works best for you.  For those of you visiting this site — you can share your thoughts with me through the comments.  If you’re receiving this through Facebook, you can reply there.  (And if you want to have a private conversation — reach out to me and I’ll figure out a way to do that!)  Your perspective is invaluable — and I’d love to know what you think!

(Here are some prompts — you certainly don’t have to answer all of them!)

  1. Is this the end — or just the beginning of SH?
  2. What do you like most/least about SH?
  3. What’s been most/least helpful to you?
  4. Are there features you wish SH had?  (email list, social media links, FB group?)
  5. What content would you like to see?
  6. Have you recommended SH to others?
  7. How can I make SH better?
  8. How can we best carry the torch of Rob’s spirit forward?
  9. What blog topics would you like to see covered?
  10. How can SH help Spread MORE Happyness in the year ahead?

Whether I hear from you or not — and whether we continue or not — let me take this moment to say THANK YOU to each and every one of you who logged on, followed along, shared your thoughts, supported the effort, and above all — who SPREAD HAPPYNESS this past year!!!  At a time when it would have been easy to give up, you gave me something to do — and in the doing there was direction, and in the direction there was hope: one week at a time!

To life!  To love!  To Happyness!

With great love and affection for you all…
Grace (aka “Rob’s sister!”)

Spread Happyness — please share your thoughts in the comments!

9/11/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church


Week #51 – Summer Fun Challenge: “CELEBRATE!”

Fun at Jim-n-Dede's (photo credit: Dena Sommers)

Fun at J&D’s (photo credit: Dena S.)

Greetings Happyness Tribe — and welcome to week TWELVE of our Summer Fun Challenge!

WE MADE IT!  Twelve weeks ago I challenged you to “come play with me” and make the commitment to have FUN this summer!  Each Friday — as the weeks counted down to Rob’s anniversary — we made a conscious decision to focus on FUN!  We rode the rides, walked the boards, surfed the waves, took a drive, got wet, found some quiet time, protected family time, took a lesson, planned a meal, sat and watched, and kept our dreams flying!

There’s only one thing left to do: CELEBRATE!!!

This weekend will mark the one year anniversary of Rob’s death.  There are no words to describe to you what was going on in our world a year ago today…and there will be plenty of opportunity in the future to share the lessons we’ve learned since then.  Today, one thing remains certain: I believe Rob’s legacy was his natural ability to spread happiness to anyone who was lucky enough to cross his path.  And I don’t believe this ended with his death.  Whether you knew him or not, I believe his light shines through each of us…every week…each and every time we choose happyness!

Your assignment for this week: “CELEBRATE!”  Not only have we completed TWELVE WEEKS of Summer Fun Challenges…but together we have MADE IT through the entire year!  It is so easy to look back at what we have lost — but this week I challenge all of us (myself included) to look back at the wins — and CELEBRATE!  Did you have FUN this summer?!  What were the highlights?!  The successes?  Are there new and precious memories to cherish?  Did you try something new?  Learn something amazing?  Did you have a breakthrough?  Did you touch the life of another person?  Above all…did you SPREAD HAPPYNESS?!

Please join with me this weekend in celebrating the life, health, vitality, love, and friendship of the one and only Rob Church — by CELEBRATING your very own!

Spread Happyness — did you have FUN or WHAT?!  Share your CELEBRATIONS in the comments!

To life!  To love!  To Happyness!

9/4/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

PS: WE DID IT!  Our FUN LIST is complete!  How many items did you check off?!

– Take a 3-4 hour “swamp walk” in the Florida Everglades — behind Clyde Butcher’s Everglades Gallery in Ochopee, FL!  (Thanks, Ms. Whelan!)
– Have breakfast for dinner — or dinner for breakfast!  (Thanks, Jeannette!)
– Tubing down the Delaware!  (Thanks, Jenn!)
– “One Tank Trips”
– Surprise trip for spouse or loved one
– Kayaking
– Beach time
– BBQ’s
– Tourist for the day in nearby city
– Walking the boards
– Rock climbing
– Scuba diving
– Touring an estate
– Time with family
– Sitting on the porch
– Watching for rainbows
– Learning to surf
– Gardening
– Writing a book
– Working on a “summer” project
– Moving to a new town
– Planning a spa day (or half-day, or even lunch hour)
– Taking Fridays (or Mondays) off!
– Day at the ballpark (Minor League stadiums are great, too!)
– Outside concerts/music events
– Hot air balloon ride/festival
– Pool volleyball (a Church-family classic!)
– Take yourself or someone you love for ice cream!
– Weed your front yard garden (and talk with neighbors and folks walking by!)
– Lose yourself in wonderful music, either listening or singing
– Play in the grassy backyard
– Play with your dog (or maybe your neighbor’s dog!)
– Sing karaoke
– Explore your town, county, state…through food and drink!
– Visit a farm
– Make plans to see friends you don’t often get to see (or schedule a gathering!)
– Blind-folded Make-overs!  (Great for a rainy day!  Bonus points if you go out in public after!)

(Thanks to all who submitted their ideas for this list!  You make Happyness possible!)