Monthly Archives: March 2017

Week #133 – Feedback & Follow Up!

Week #133 – Feedback & Follow Up!

Greetings Happyness Tribe!

This past week I’ve been reminded several times of the importance of feedback — and follow up.

The first reminder was Monday, when Stephanie L. Jones took the time to share my “Happyness in Action” post about her Giving Challenge to her author page on Facebook (and several other group pages).  More important to me than the share — was her comment that “this was one of (her) favorite interviews!”  Those posts are among my FAVORITE posts to write — and every time I share someone’s story I worry that I’m doing it justice. Her feedback was a real boost to me!  And it certainly Spread Happyness my way!

The second came while sitting with a new industry contact who read some of my work and wanted to offer some advice.  In this world, niceties are plentiful.  There is a saying that “you’ll die from encouragement.”  Most everyone wants to be the good guy, to tell you to keep at it, to follow your dreams…blah blah blah.  It’s much harder to find someone to tell you honestly what you need to do to improve, to strengthen a weakness, or as this person told me lovingly (and in much more colorful words): you’re talented…now step up your game!

The third came on the heels of sad news.  Early last week I asked a small circle of friends back home to pray for a family friend who was losing her battle with cancer.  It’s not something I would normally do (or discuss with you now publicly) but I really felt the urge to enlist help on her behalf.  As I blogged last week, Cindy passed away just a few days later.  After sending the appropriate condolences to those involved — I made a point to circle back with the group to update them and thank them for taking the time to think of her.  It’s important to share news — good and bad — with those who have volunteered to carry a concern with you.

Do you owe someone feedback — or a follow up?  Then this week is for you!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: GIVE FEEDBACK — and FOLLOW UP!  Has someone done you a favor or good turn — if so, follow up and THANK THEM!  Be specific…and let them know what was helpful or made the difference.  Has someone mentored you — inspired you — or helped you solve a problem?  Share the results and celebrate with them!  Has someone asked you for feedback on a problem or idea?  Don’t hold back — risk being honest and tell them what they might need to hear in order to SUCCEED.  And if someone has carried a burden or concern for you, lent an ear, or just sat in the dark and worried with you (or about you) — update them on how you are doing or share the outcome with them.

We are born to learn from and lean on each other — no one can go it alone.

Spread Happyness — give feedback or follow up this week!

3/31/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #132 – “We are all on our own stage, and it’s up to us how to act!” (In memory of Cindy Tedesco)

Halloween 2008 (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #132 – “We are all on our own stage, and it’s up to us how to act!” (In memory of Cindy Tedesco)

Greetings Happyness Tribe!

This week’s post comes on the heels of yet another loss: a family friend — and friend to SO MANY others — Cindy Tedesco, passed away on Thursday after a nearly 5-year battle with Ovarian Cancer.

She was young.  Too young.

As Cindy’s Facebook page filled with condolences, I was reminded of a blog post she wrote in March of 2015 that was published on the website.  (You can read Cindy’s post in its entirety here.)

Cindy was so proud to write and share her story — and I was so happy for her when it was chosen.  When I shared her post on Facebook the day it published — I wrote that Cindy was a true warrior.  Not simply because she survived — but that she chose to THRIVE.

One of the things I most appreciated about Cindy was her honesty about her battle.  She shared openly about the highs, the lows, the anxiety, the grief.  But she also shared her joy and exuberance for life.  The day-to-day moments that made her life precious: meals with her husband, time with her cat, days at the beach, new haircuts and shoes, painted nails and toes, afternoons at her pool, and emojis!  Oh…the emojis!  Cindy left no stone unturned.

Perhaps because she knew there was no time.

Cindy‘s last line in her post sums it up perfectly:
“We are all on our own stage, and it’s up to us how to act!”

Cindy dedicated her post to her husband, Anthony Tedesco.  Caregivers are a special breed indeed — and my thoughts and prayers goes out to him in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: Chose to THRIVE!  This is trite — but life is not a dress rehearsal.  You are on a stage all your own.  Step out.  Share honestly.  Spend time doing the things you love, the things that make you laugh, the things you want to be remembered for.  Our time is short…sometimes shorter than we imagine it will be.  Chose to THRIVE!

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your life openly and honestly with all who were lucky to know you.  And to Cindy’s family, friends, loved ones, coworkers, and Teal Sisters — my deepest condolences to you all.  There are some losses we never get over…we just have to go on, broken-hearted as we are, and live as they would want us to — fully.

Spread Happyness — remember Cindy, tell YOUR story, and chose to THRIVE!

3/24/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

(Cindy’s post is referenced with permission — and originally appeared on


Week #131 – Out with the old! (What are you holding on to?)

Week #131 – Out with the old!  (What are you holding on to?)

Greetings, All — and Happy Friday!

While some of you may still be buried in snow, Spring is right around the corner…literally!  The Vernal Equinox will occur this Monday at 6:28 a.m. ET!

Like most people, I’ve been getting a head start on my Spring Cleaning.  Well, it’s really more of an ongoing project.  As many of you know, I hold on to things.  Which means “decluttering” is a routine item on my to-do list.

Since I do have trouble parting with things, I try to make a game out of it.  I gather like items together (Konmari Method) so that I can “see” what I really have.  I count items as I toss them (Clutter Free Method).  I set timers (I can FLY!).  I even made a game out of my cross-country move last year, calling it “The Year of the Purge” and swearing that by this time, next year, I’d be “move-out ready” — surrounded only by things I want, need, and love.

Well, I’m definitely “move-out ready” — because a lot of my stuff is still unpacked!

And in a way, that’s a good thing — because while I do enjoy a good cleaning and decluttering session, I’ve been trying to enjoy my life also.  There’s been a lot of new things to see, do, and experience.  And I want to make sure I don’t miss it!

And so, I am reminded of a post I wrote in April 2015 (Week #27) — I recalled a phrase that Rob used to say to me: “Let the balloon go, Grace.”  He was talking about worry (and sometimes needling me about my stuff) — but it has taken on a new meaning now as I look around at the things I’ve held on to, and the time (either now or later) that it will take to “do something” about it.  Even if that means ultimately just throwing it away.

Do you have things that you are holding on to that might be holding you back?  Is it emotional clutter — like anger, resentment, grief, loss, a mistake, a regret, a secret, or simply a missed opportunity you are punishing yourself over?  Or maybe it’s physical things that are standing in your way?  Or a toxic relationship that is stealing your joy?  

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: OUT WITH THE OLD! What better time than the first days of Spring to open up space for new possibilities?!  This weekend — find a release ritual to help you “let those balloons go” and open your hands to what’s possible.  Here are some ideas:

(But whatever you do PLEASE DO NOT release real balloons into the air…they are only a metaphor!  And otherwise very bad for the environment!)

  • Write it down – then burn it (safely please!), flush it, float it out to sea, send it down a river, sink it in a lake, or bury it in your garden.  Write your NEW intention on a fresh piece of paper and keep it front and center as something for you to build on, rather than something that tears you down.
  • Throw/Give it away – I’ve been decluttering my space and it’s been helpful to keep a tally of how many items I’ve thrown away, and in some instances even take photos of those items (and share them only with the closest of friends or small group).
  • Love it — enough to let it go!  Sometimes the last thing we need to do to release something is to love it, to accept it, to acknowledge its importance, and to be honest about its role in our future.

They say to love something is to set it free.  I remind myself of this over and over as I sometimes grasp too tightly to the memory of my brother, afraid I might lose him forever.  He would never want me to do that.  I know full well I must open my hands so that they are free to do my best work: the work ahead of me.  The work of Happyness!

What “balloons” do you need to let go of this week so that your hands are free to do YOUR best work?

Spread Happyness — “Let those balloons go!”  And share your Release Rituals in the comments!

3/17/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #130 – Two years, six months: “Ride the wave!”


“Forever Young!” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #130 – Two years, six months: “Ride the wave!”

Last Sunday, March 5th, marked two and a half years since Rob died.  March also brings this first-year anniversary of our move to Los Angeles — and another birthday for me tomorrow.

It’s been a time of deep reflection.

There are so many ideas I want to write about — but at times like these I feel I need to stop and ground myself in the origin of things.  To remind myself of who I am, where I come from, and how I got here.

To not take things for granted.

So I want to repeat this post from Week #25 and Week #77 because as I paddle into another birthday, another year in LA, and yet another year without Rob — I’m once again very keenly reminded that while the conditions of life may change, it’s up to me to “RIDE THE WAVE.”

“Ride the wave” became a sort of mantra during Rob’s funeral.  I had written it on the back of his car in window chalk…because it was the last thing I said to him.  He was fighting so hard.  And having no words, no answers, no nothing for this perfectly healthy and beautiful young man with everything to live for…the only thing that came to mind was a surfing analogy.

But the words are not mine.  They are wise words that came to us from an experienced screenwriter friend as we were riding the rapidly changing highs and lows of our first script going out to market.  Our friend is a surfer too, and it was a language we immediately understood: you can’t control the outcome, just the effort.  Skills, preparation, determination, focus…those were all on us.  After that, just “ride the wave” the furthest and best you can.

It became a mantra for us when facing difficulties or challenges: “just ride the wave.”

Surfing was a language that Rob understood, too — and it can teach you a lot about life.  You don’t just run out and jump in hoping for the best.  There’s a lot to learn before you get that first ride — and there’s a lot more practice after that in order to do it even moderately well.  Like most things Rob picked up, he took to it almost immediately — and enjoyed it immensely.  And his happiness became our happiness, too!  (You can ride waves of happiness, too!)

Are you — or someone you know — facing a wave right now?

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: “RIDE THE WAVE!”  Like the waves of the ocean, we can’t always control the conditions in our lives.  You can try to go over them, under them, around them…or get knocked down by them.  Or you can RIDE THE WAVE.  With a little practice and preparation…you can be ready to paddle in when the wave comes to you.  Perfect conditions or not…we can only control our responses.  The enjoyment and fulfillment is in the ride itself!  (And it’s helpful to remember that wipe-outs are legendary, too!)

Whatever you’re facing…you’ve got this!  Paddle in, pop up, and ride that wave!  

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts in the comments.  And RIDE THE WAVE!!!

3/10/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church


Week #129 – WANTED: Happyness Spreaders!

Spread Happyness! (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #129 – WANTED: Happyness Spreaders!

Greetings, Happyness Tribe!

Last week’s post about Stephanie Jones’ “Giving Challenge” reminded me about one of the things I love most about this blog: sharing OTHER people’s stories!

I went back through my posts — all 128 weeks — and singled out the ones that I dubbed “Happyness in Action” and collected them on one page of my website.  Stories like:

Reading back through the stories reminded me of how energizing it is to learn about others who get are not only inspired to Spread Happyness — but TAKE ACTION to Spread Happyness to others!

So, if you know someone who embodies Happyness in Action — someone who has stepped up and Spread Happyness in the face of a challenge, or who’s taken that step beyond wishing or complaining and took action to benefit others — I want to hear from you!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: HAPPYNESS HUNTING!  Be on the lookout for those who are Spreading Happyness in your communities.  Read the stories above for an idea of what to look for.  And then, let me know about it!  You can email me directly at — or tell me about your nomination in the comments and I’ll contact you to find out more (and maybe feature them in a blog post)!

Spread Happyness — nominate and celebrate a Happyness Spreader you know this week!

3/3/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church