Monthly Archives: May 2017

Week #141 – REMINDER: Keep the “Memorial” in Memorial Day!

"Remember to Remember" (photo credit: Grace Church)

“Remember” (photo: Grace Church)

Week #141 – REMINDER: Keep the “Memorial” in Memorial Day!

This week’s post is a repeat from Week #36  and Week #89 — because it’s always a good reminder to keep the “Memorial” in Memorial Day!

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”  (attributed to Plato — and George Santayana)

We are coming up on another Memorial Day Weekend — and there is no doubt that you’ll see a lot of commentaries about Memorial Day this weekend.  Here is one more — but it may not be what you think!

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, as I’ve written before, our modern traditions of family reunions and bar-b-queing are not really that far off.

It’s the REMEMBERING (and DECORATING) that we sometimes miss!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: Put the MEMORIAL back in Memorial Day!  Enjoy your family, the nice weather, and the freedom we 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!

How do you keep the MEMORIAL in Memorial Day?!

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

5/26/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #140 – Clear the deck! (Summer’s coming!)

“Clear the deck!” (Grace Church)

Week #140 – Clear the deck!  (Summer’s coming!)

Memorial Day is NEXT weekend!!!  And while I may be living in the land of eternal sunshine (which, by the way, is not all it’s cracked up to be) — most of my friends back east are heading into summer.  And for many of you, it’s the BEST season of the year!

One of the things I miss most about New York/New Jersey is the weather.  Four clearly cut quarters of the year with distinctly different seasons always served as a great reminder of the swiftness of time passing, and the importance of capturing the moments right in front of you.

And when tomorrow may not be beautiful…again…there is a sense of urgency to grab it while it’s there.  To make the most of it.  To squeeze the life out of it.

To eat the ice cream on your plate.

And the best way to do this…is without guilt!

I know this…because I’ve spent a lot of time taking care of to-dos when I should have been out enjoying myself.  And I’ve tried to enjoy myself when I know I should be taking care of other things.  It’s a delicate balance.

You can’t be in the moment if you’re still catching up on spring cleaning, taxes, or putting that Christmas stuff away (come on…I know there is one of you out there that still has a tree up!).  So make a list…check it twice…and get some of that old stuff done and put away in time for Summer 2017!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: “Clear the deck!”  I know many of you (both parents and students) are WORN OUT from the school year and looking forward to coasting for a bit.  Give yourself one more good push!  Sit down and brainstorm a quick list of things you want to get done before summer sets in.  What do you want done?  Out of the way?  Finished?  Completed?  Think about what it would look like to be able to sit out on your deck and watch the grass grow, to take that spontaneous day trip to the beach, to huddle the kids together and enjoy that thunderstorm — all without the guilt of thinking “I should probably be doing (fill in the blank) right now.”  Life is precious.  Time is short.  We never know what the next season of our lives will bring.  Check some things off the list this week…and make space to enjoy the Summer of 2017!

“Live each season as it passes…” (Henry David Thoreau)

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts in the comments!

5/19/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #139 – “Take care of yourself!” (Especially on Mother’s Day!)

“Take care of yourself!” (by Grace Church)

Week #139 – “Take care of yourself!” (Especially on Mother’s Day)

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 14th!  Last week, I re-posted what over 50 REAL MOMS said they REALLY wanted on Mother’s Day (and it wasn’t always reservations).  If you haven’t made plans yet, don’t panic!   Read this first for a list of ideas that you can’t find in a store or restaurant!

This week, I’m re-posting again — because for many women, Mother’s Day is not a happy day.  For some women…it is a day of mixed emotions.  And if this is you…please read on, and know you are not alone!

Mother’s Day and Mixed Emotions

Many of the women I exchanged ideas with reported feeling mixed emotions on Mother’s Day.  Issues of infertility or infant death, the loss of parents or children at any age, disconnection from living parents or children, disagreements among family members, decline of elderly parents, or disappointments in childhood or childrearing — they all come front and center on a day when it seems like “everyone” else is out celebrating with their perfect and loving families.

If you feel this way, please know you are not alone.

There are many articles circulating about what to do when you can’t, won’t, or don’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day.  The bottom line is this…and it’s in my own mother’s words:

“Take care of yourself.”

These are tough words to hear when you feel victimized, bitter, or powerless.  They’re more like a bed of nails than a soft place to fall — trust me, I know.  But they are true.

Because if you won’t take care of you…then who else will?

As I said last week, many women reported mixed feelings on Mother’s Day.  Their advice?  Seek refuge in the comfort of safe friends, the company of like-minded people, or in the things that you really want for yourself and your future!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: “Take care of yourself!”  Mother’s Day is a great day to remind each of us that “mothering” is an age-old practice.  And while one woman may be have brought you into this world (and maybe even another brought you up)…all that she taught you, good and bad, instructs how you carry and deliver yourself your entire life!  If Mother’s Day is a struggle for you — do what you need to do to take care of yourself this year!  

And take care of others, too — because everyone needs a mom sometime!

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts in the comments!

[This post originally appeared on Week #86.]

5/12/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #138 – Mother’s Day is May 14th! (Read this before making reservations!)

“What’s on your menu” (by Grace Church)

Week #138 – Mother’s Day is May 14th! (Read this before making reservations!)

May is here — and I wanted to take a moment to repeat my little public service announcement from Week #85 — and remind those of you who are celebrating Mother’s Day this year:


But before you pick up the phone to make a reservation, take a moment to think about what the ladies in your life REALLY want.

And I’m not talking about jewelry or clothes, purses or perfume.

I polled over 50 ladies in the week prior to my original post, and asked them:

What do you REALLY want but are afraid to ask for?

The answers may or may not have be surprising — but one thing is for sure: very few of them can be purchased at the mall or served in a restaurant.

Mother’s Day is one of the most stressful days of the year in restaurants.  It is NOT a good day to make last minute plans or take your party of nine to try a new place.  If the lady in your life LOVES to dine out, and everyone is up for behaving, being on time, and figuring out the bill without her help — then by all means make your reservations now!  (But if that’s the case, you’ve probably already done that!)

If not, take heart — and listen to what REAL MOMS told me they REALLY want on Mother’s Day:

For Starters
– Extra Sleep: 
this may mean sleeping in, a nap during the day, or an undisputed and early lights-out.  Most of all — moms want sleep!
– Time Alone: moms have a difficult time asking for this because they love their families — but next to extra sleep, all moms expressed some desire for time alone to read, watch TV, swing in a hammock, putter in the garden, work on a project, or just finish their morning cup of coffee.  From just a few extra minutes of solitude to 48 hours away from home — moms want a little time that’s all their own!
– Peace & Quiet: over and over again, moms longed for a day of no fighting, fussing, stress, or strife.  This is a good day for kids to practice their best behavior (dads too!).

The Main Course
– Spa Service/Pampering: 
Meals are big part of any occasion — but most moms I polled want some sort of pampering.  A massage, manicure, pedicure, facial, or full service — ladies love to be pampered.  (Just be sure to find out her favorite places — or get a recommendation from a friend!)
– Special Dinner at Home: While some do want to go out, most moms said they’d prefer to eat a meal at home — they just don’t want to be responsible for planning, preparing, and cleaning up after it!  If you decide to treat mom to a home-cooked feast — just be sure you are prepared to take care of everything (or maybe just order out)!  Cleaning up someone else’s mess is not a gift!  😉
– Time with Family: I know, I know — moms said they wanted time alone, right?  Well, they also want time with their families.  Just gathering everyone under one roof, for one day, could make your mom’s year!  (Oh — and maybe ONE good picture of everyone!)
– Gardening & Yard Supplies/Help: Several moms mentioned gardening and yard supplies, and a little help getting things done!  One of the most entertaining accounts was of a family that gathered to weed and plant while the mom sat in a chair and gave instructions!
– Stuff: A hammock, flowers, something pretty, something tasty, a movie night, or a scuba diving excursion — there is still a desire for presents, but not always the ones you’d expect!  (Don’t be afraid to ask!)

– Handmade Cards/Projects from Kids: 
Above all, moms cherish those little creations made by tiny hands!  Engage the kids in a project for mom (preferably while they are out of the house so mom can read, sleep, pamper, putter, or binge watch her favorite show!)
– Loving Note from Husband/Significant Other: Several moms mentioned that they love to hear from their husbands/partners on Mother’s Day.  Just a few words of acknowledgment and appreciation go a long way (but not always all the way…so no strings attached guys, okay?).
– A Simple Thank You: Two words that mean more than anything money can buy!

EXTRAS:  It’s hard to make a list of things NOT to do — but over and over again, moms expressed the desire for a day that included:
– No Chores (ideally done for her, not left for Monday morning!)
– No Decisions (mom might like someone else to take the reigns today)
– No Requests
 (a day without question marks would be delightful)
– No Fighting (for one day, please!  You can do this!)

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: Mother’s Day is May 14th!  Do you know what the mom in your life REALLY wants?  Use this list to jump start the conversation!  Present her with a menu of options and have her circle her favorites.  You might even be able to multi-task to make sure she gets a little of everything she wants throughout the day.  The most important thing is to PLAN AHEAD!  Whatever she wants — don’t leave it to the last minute.  And if it is reservations — please make them now (and be sure to take care of your server, chances are it’s their Mother’s Day too.)

Above all: Remember that Mother’s Day is available every day — not just once a year!

[A big THANK YOU once again to all the Dreamers & Builders who took the time to respond to my poll last year — and whose honest sharing made this post possible!]

Spread Happyness — PLAN AHEAD!  And share your Mother’s Day ideas in the comments!

PS: I realize that for some, Mother’s Day is not always the happiest of holidays.  Death, disagreements, disconnection, or decline can bring about mixed emotions.  If this is you, you are not alone.  Many women reported similar feelings.  Their advice?  Seek refuge in the comfort of safe friends, the company of like-minded people, or in the things that you really want for yourself!

[This post originally appeared on Week #85.]

5/5/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church