Monthly Archives: October 2015

Week #59 – Nine Weeks to Happyness: Don’t dream it…BE IT! (Go get your wings!)

Flight Suit (Photo Credit: Grace Church)

Week 7: Flight Suit (Photo Credit: Grace Church)

Week #59 – Nine Weeks to Happyness: Don’t dream it…BE IT!  (Go get your wings!)

This is a re-post from Week #7 because it’s worth repeating.  (You can find the original here!)  Our Ten Weeks to Happyness is underway.  Last week, we separated the “Must Haves” from the “Nice to Haves”, etc. — and challenged ourselves to take that first action this past week.

This is where the rubber meets the road.  This is the difference between “pretending” and “planning.”  Read on:

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 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 Happyness Challenge for the week ahead:  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 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!

10/30/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #58 – Ten Weeks to Happyness: “Get your priorities straight!”

photo 1c

“Get your priorities straight!”

Week #58 – Ten Weeks to Happyness: “Get your priorities straight!”

Last week I challenged you to take some time to look BACK at the year so far…and take note of your highlights and happy moments to date: achievements, successes, special times or significant developments.  THEN I challenged you to take that ONE THING left to do this year…and break it down into ten steps.  These will be our TEN WEEKS to HAPPYNESS so that you and I together (wherever we are) can yell: “I LOVE MY LIFE!” on New Year’s Eve this year!

But if you’re like most people…(and me too!)…to pick one thing is hard.  You have varied interests, obligations, and maybe a secret wish or two.  Picking one thing means leaving the others to whither up and die, right?

Or does it?

This is where knowing your priorities comes in handy.  I had the blessing of being retold the story of Rob’s first home-buying adventure this week — and how priorities played a big part in the search and selection of that first purchase years ago.  There was a clear list of “Must Haves”, “Nice to haves”, “Willing to Compromises”, and “Not Importants”.  And as I entertained the questions myself in other areas of my life…I felt the clarity that the answers delivered.  And I heard his voice joking with me, saying:

“Get your priorities straight, Graaaaace.”

Priorities don’t mean you forget about the “Nice to Haves”, “Willing to Compromises”, and “Not Importants”.  It just means you put them in their place.

Your assignment for this week: “Get your priorities straight!”  As we count down the last ten weeks of the year — where better to start than with the most important things!  So…get out a calendar and look ahead to December 31st.  If you can, lay out all three months side by side so you can see them all at once.  Then, set a timer for 15 minutes and jot down all those many and varied wishes and dreams you have (for you and your loved ones and family) for the next ten weeks.  Finally, next to each item, ask yourself: is it a “Must Have”, a “Nice to Have”, a “Willing to Compromise”, or a “Not Important”.  These questions don’t just apply to house-hunting…they apply to Happy Hunting as well!

You might be surprised at what you find!  How many “Must Haves” do you see?  THESE are your priorities.  It doesn’t mean you forget about the other items…it just gives you a point of focus.  NOW…pick one, break it down into steps, and take that first action on it this week!

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts in the comments (and if you know someone who is struggling to get clear on something, share this with them)!

10/23/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church


Week #57 – Are you “Loving Life” in 2015? (Ten weeks left to make it happen!)

"Loving Life!" (photo credit: Grace Church)

“Loving Life!” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #57 – Are you “Loving Life” in 2015?  (Ten weeks left to make it happen!)

On January 2nd I challenged you to “Love Your Life” in 2015.  Do you remember?

(If not, you can revisit Week #16 here…or just keep reading!)

If you don’t remember…don’t worry!  I warned you that might happen.  That’s why I encouraged you at that time to start tracking your accomplishments.  We talked about a daily list, a gratitude tree, a photo journal, and a Happyness Jar…any system for recording your achievements, successes, highlights, and otherwise happy times THROUGHOUT the year ahead!

Have you been keeping up?

(To be honest…I’ve struggled to keep mine up-to-date as well!  That’s actually why I’m writing this post this week!)

The turn into October is usually a checkered-flag moment for me…a time to stop, take stock, and set a course for Q4: the finish line of the calendar year.

Because I was traveling, I overlooked it.

And then I looked up…and now we’re just ten weeks away!

So I’ll ask you the same question I asked you on January 2nd of this year:

Are you on track to yell, “I LOVE MY LIFE!” on December 31st?  

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: Have you been keeping track of your highlights?  If so, GREAT WORK!  (And please share your methods in the comments!)  But if not, don’t worry.  Take some time this weekend to look back over your calendar, your emails, your texts, your tweets, and your Facebook wall and make a note of any special or significant moments.  I, myself, have lapsed in my daily rundown — missing several significant moments like career milestones, projects completed, and payments received!  The holidays are a slippery slope…don’t let your Happyness get caught in the landslide!  Take time to REFLECT now and set yourself up for a satisfying end to 2015!

BONUS CHALLENGE: Is there something you still need to do that is nagging at you?  If so…you’ve got TEN WEEKS to do it!  Break it down into ten steps…share it with a friend…find yourself a buddy…and then get to work!

Most important…keep collecting 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.

I still want us to yell “I LOVE MY LIFE!” — from wherever we are — at midnight this New Year’s Eve!  Are you still with me?!

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts and plans to “LOVE YOUR LIFE! in 2015 — and encourage others to do the same!!!

10/16/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #56 – Looking for Signs (Which do you see first?)

"Which do you see first?" (photo credit: Grace Church)

“Which do you see first?” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #56 – Looking for Signs (Which do you see first?)

I took this photo last week on a beachy road in Santa Barbara.  It was a profound moment.

Which sign do you see first?

As I wrote last week, my trip to LA started off a little rough.  There were times when I wished I could go back home, back to my routine, back to where I knew what to do, when to do it, and how to make people happy.

I’ve been there before…caught in the cul de sac of doing what others want, what they need, what they approve and like you for (because the people who love you, will love you anyway!).

And you know what?  It wasn’t a cul de sac.

It was a dead end.  And I knew it all along.

But it was my own fault…because I never looked for an alternate route!  I thought the dead-end meant turning around and going BACKWARD.  Starting again.  It took me years — and more recently again, the loss of my brother — to realize that LIFE was calling me to move forward.  To take some risks.  To get out of the safety of my “vehicle” and find another way!

The Crossing!

Do you see it?  Do you see the Crossing sign indicating another route?  Moving forward just requires a different vision.  Maybe a different set of tools.  One step forward…then another.  Cautious…of course!  The sign itself indicates some danger…but it still beacons: there is another side.  Another way.  Another world to explore…if you just do two things:

  1. Accept that, in one sense, it is a dead-end.  Plowing forward, business-as-usual, would result in an obvious disaster.  And the harm would only come to you.  The dead-endedness of the road will remain ever the same.  Identify it.  Accept it.  And then…
  2. Open your eyes.  You don’t have to abandon your destination…just find another way!  You may have to leave the comfort and safety of your vehicle.  You may have to proceed with some caution.  It may take some time, some courage, and even a few attempts that fail…but you are not shut out.  There is another way.  FIND IT!

This week’s challenge: Dead End or Crossing?!  As you move through your week, play a little game with yourself (or your friends who may need it).  When facing a challenging situation — ask yourself if it’s a dead-end or a crossing?  If it’s a dead-end — if it’s truly going nowhere — ask yourself if it’s time to turn around and find another road to travel.  If it’s a crossing — if there’s something on the other side that’s worth exploring — ask yourself where it’s going, what you’re truly after, and what you need to do to take those first courageous steps.

Bonus challenge: THEN DO IT!

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts, support others, and look for signs this week!

10/9/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #55 – Which way to Happyness?

Which way to Happyness? (photo credit: Grace Church)

Which way to Happyness? (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #55 – Which way to Happyness?

Greetings Happyness Tribe — and Welcome to Week #55!

I’m writing to you from the West Coast…James and I are on our first trip to LA in over two years.  And I have a confession…

…it has not been entirely happy.

To return to the place I first lived and worked out of college, the place I struggled and celebrated my first highs and lows, the place where I made my first adult friends (many of whom are still friends to this day!) — it’s always been a fun trip down memory lane.  But this time things have changed…and I’m not talking about LA.  I’ve changed.  I’m not the same person I was a year ago…and I can feel it HERE more clearly than at home.  Getting away from all the things that make me “Me” just leaves me wondering…who am I, really?

And I need to tell you — that’s a very empty thing, especially now.

But is it weird to say that I kind of like it?

Because it’s causing me to dig deep.

It is the first Friday of the month — and Rob is on my mind.  I had planned to make this post about him — but coming to the West Coast has left me reaching in two directions.  My LA-brain is still reaching backward for Rob — wanting to share the experience with him, struggling anew to compute the reality that he is gone.  My East Coast brain — which has been processing Rob’s death for a year — is facing forward, looking to the horizon, and adjusting to a future “without” him.

Which way to Happyness?

As I was looking back for a picture of Rob for today’s post — I was drawn to this picture I took just yesterday!  That one lone surfboard just waiting for a rider reminded me of him.  At first it made me sad…and then I realized: although Rob is not physically present (and Lord knows I wish he was!), his spirit is felt in each and every moment I remember his absence.  Yes, I can look back at old photos and see what he was…but I can also look forward and see him still, reminding me at every turn to choose Happyness!

This week’s challenge: Which way to Happyness?!  As you move through your week, and you encounter those damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t moments — ask yourself, “Which way to Happyness?”  Sometimes Happyness isn’t the easiest, or safest, most popular, or even most sensical option.  Those are valid questions to ask, for sure.  But be sure to ask yourself which way to Happyness, too.

“My giant goes with me wherever I go.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts, support others, and embrace those giants!

10/2/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church