Monthly Archives: April 2017

Week #137 – “Grab a coffee!”

“Mmmm…coffeee.” (photo and capuccino by Grace Church)

Week #137 – “Grab a coffee!”

I have to be honest…I don’t socialize much.

It’s not because I don’t want to.  Between odd working hours, night-owl status, and the love of quiet time — I just don’t get out during the day a whole lot.

And…I’m not too good at it.

Which means I don’t do lunch, coffee, or even happy hour nearly as often as I should!

But this week…someone invited me to coffee.  And despite every cell of my being wanting to run home to the next project on my to-do list, I accepted.

And you know what?  It was really nice!

Ever notice how really hard it is to make friends as an adult?  Everyone is so busy with kids, work, husbands, wives, elderly parents, or soccer/baseball weekends.  It leaves very little time for adults to get to know each other.

I don’t even have kids and this is true for me.  Many of my adult friends have been made through work.  Sweating and stressing side-by-side has a way of bonding people!  (You also have the added bonus of learning about people’s character before you venture into social engagement with them!)

Meeting up with an (almost) complete stranger to “grab a coffee” was a challenge.  Would I be interesting or funny enough?  Would it get too heavy?  Would I talk too much?  Not enough?  Would I ask the right questions?  Would we have to talk politics?  To be honest…it was uncomfortable.

Which is exactly why I did it!

I work with strangers every day…and have no trouble talking to the random guy on the train, the lady at the grocery store, even getting critical notes on my work.  But to sit down and have a conversation just for the hell of it?  That’s a whole different thing!

But I’m so glad I did!

Swapping stories with someone about who we are, what we do, how we got here, what we’re working on, and where we’re going — it helped shake up my own perspective.  Not just of myself — but others.  To spend time listening, engaging, asking questions, and sharing experiences — it not only connected me to another person, it re-connected me to myself.

And that might be the most important coffee date of all!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: “Grab a coffee!”  Find someone this week that you’d like to get to know better — and grab a coffee!  It could be a coworker, a neighbor, another parent from school, or a seat mate on your commute home.  Yes, it might be awkward…but give it a try!  Set a time limit, have some place to go, or only so-much-money in the meter…but don’t back out!

Your invitation, just like mine, might be the only one that person receives in a long time!

Spread Happyness — grab a coffee (or a Jamba Juice as it turned out)!  And share your stories in the comments!

4/28/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #136 – Repost: “All I need is a pair of wheels…”

Week #136 – Repost: “All I need is a pair of wheels…”

Today marks the third anniversary of the initial x-ray that set this whole thing off.

It’s a heavy day.  And for some reason, I’m reminded of the simple joys of my daily bike ride — and a post I wrote last year on Week #83 about my new bike!

So here it is!  (And for the record, I’m still unpacking…and I still sometimes forget that Rob is gone!)

Week #83 (4/15/16):

Still unpacking…but we’re getting into the good stuff!  (I unearthed my 8th grade photo album yesterday!  No one is safe!)

There’s two major excavation projects going on here:

  1. There is the moving and unpacking of the “current” stuff — that’s the stuff I’ve been living with in my apartment for the past 8 years.
  2. And then there is the unpacking of the “storage” stuff — that’s the stuff that’s been in storage for more years than I care to calculate.  Some goes back to college.  Some — as I mentioned — goes back to 8th grade!

No wonder I am waking up disoriented!  I barely know what city I’m in — let alone what decade!

The crazy thing is…through it all, I sometimes forget that Rob is gone.  Like gone…for good.  I swear there are days when I’m certain I could call him and he would pick up his phone.  The distance — or perhaps the disruption in location — has allowed me to reconnect to him in an entirely new and unexpected way.

And while I’m supposed to be purging things…I have added a few items.  Most recently, I bought myself a bike.  I’ve had lots of different commutes in my lifetime — anywhere from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours.  I’ve walked across town, driven the freeway, rode the train, taken the subway, and sat in a bus on Route 3.  But never have I used a bike…until now!

It was the last place I expected my brother to show up!

There’s something about being on a bicycle that takes you back to when you were a kid.  That first taste of freedom.  The ability to get anywhere, faster.  Down the street, through the woods, or maybe even the next town over.  As soon as we were able — we rode our bikes.  EVERYWHERE!  (As long as we were home by dark!)

And while Rob never rode a bike up Ventura Boulevard with me — I remember him, and all the neighborhood gang, with each and every push of the pedals.  “All I need is a pair of wheels!”

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: “All I need is a pair of wheels!”  Do you have memories of riding your bike when you were a kid?  When was the last time you were on one?  Believe me, it’s true what they say: you don’t forget.  In fact, you may remember more than you think!  Now…don’t just jump on and go riding into traffic if you haven’t been on one in a while!  But if you have an opportunity…jump on a bicycle this week.  And see where the memories take you!

Spread Happyness — share your stories in the comments!

4/21/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #135 – TO LIFE! (What are you looking forward to this Spring?)

Week #135 – TO LIFE!  (What are you looking forward to this Spring?)

Happy holiday week to all!  (No matter what you are celebrating — it’s good to remember that new beginnings are non-denominational!)

Easter is a strange time for me — it’s the first time I remember Rob texting me to tell me that he wasn’t feeling well.  That he was going to see the doctor.  And it wasn’t too soon after that that he had the x-ray, and then was admitted to Sloan.

The dates are noted on my calendar…each one a stepping stone to the end that I know now.  In a little over four months, he’d be gone.

Some people tell me to forget those dates.  To live in the present.

I choose to keep them, as a reminder to LIVE.  Period.

Time passes quickly.  And I don’t know about you, but my calendar is already filling up with important dates in April, May, June, and July.  Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, proms, graduations, class trips, Father’s Day, Fourth of July…

It’ll be Summer before we know it!

I wrote about this at the beginning of this year…it’s well-documented that planning ahead is directly related to happiness.  There’s less than 10 weeks left of Spring 2017.  Don’t let it pass you by!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead:  While you have everyone together for Passover or Easter this week, why not get together and talk about all you are looking forward to this Spring?  What would you like to do (or get done) before summer vacations, breaks, activities, and visitors take over your calendar?  Finally — and most important — how are you going to CELEBRATE all that you’ve achieved and experienced so far this year?

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”  (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

Happy Passover!  Happy Easter!  Happy New Beginnings to each and every one of you!!!

Spread Happyness — and make the most of Spring 2017!!!

4/14/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #134 – Forgive!

“Forgive!” (Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #134 – Forgive!

Greetings Happyness Tribe!

Last week I talked about how we can Spread Happyness through feedback and follow-up.

Today I want to talk about forgiveness because…well, I needed a measure of grace this week.

And I didn’t get it.

I made a mistake.  An oversight.  An error in judgment.  Call it what you will.  It wasn’t intentional — and I made amends.  No one is dead and no one’s in jail (as I like to say).  Still, it may have cost me something I value.

But I may have received something more valuable in return: insight.

Forgiveness is hard.  I know.  I’ve been there.  But what I realized was this: it gets easier with practice.

A little grace, here and there, turns us into more compassionate beings overall: a little more understanding; a little more likely to give the benefit of the doubt; a little more willing to say, no harm no foul and go about our day; or a second more to consider the burden WE voluntarily pick up and agree to carry when we decide to hold a grudge.

I’m not suggesting you let your guard down to danger or compromise a healthy boundary.  Those are topics well beyond the scope of this site.  But this week — Spread Happyness, and let someone off the hook.  A hook you might not want to get stuck holding on to in the first place.

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: FORGIVE!  Again, I’m not suggesting you pick up the big-ticket items, the deep wounds, and the outright betrayals that may be haunting you.  Just start small: forgive the guy in the car in front of you who is driving too slow; the lady at the grocery store who waits until the whole order is rung up and bagged to dig for her wallet; the clerk or the waiter who didn’t give you the best service this time around; or the fumbling trainee who is still learning the system. You get the idea.

It is SO EASY these days to complain, to call someone out, to cry foul.  And as customers, clients, and patrons — we may be right.  But just a small dose of compassion might change someone else’s day — and it might change yours even more!

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”  (Alexander Pope)

Spread Happyness — forgive someone this week!

4/7/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church