Monthly Archives: June 2017

Week #146 – Summer Fun: Take a hike! (And bring someone with you!)

“Point Dume, CA” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #146 – Summer Fun: Take a hike! (And bring someone with you!)

Greetings, All — and Happy Friday!

As I mentioned last week, there are exactly ten Fridays between now and Labor Day Weekend.  And while many adults are busy planning their kids’ summer fun — they often overlook their own!

So I’ll be counting down the ten Fridays to Labor Day with some short “Summer Fun” suggestions.  Because I want to make sure YOU have fun this summer, too!

This week, I was reminded of how nice it is to get out and walk.  When I lived in New York, we used to loop the Boat Pond and Bethesda Fountain pretty regularly.  Down the shore, I walked the boards every chance I got — wind, rain, or snow.

But when I moved to Los Angeles, I stopped walking as much.  I’m not sure why.  Los Angeles is known for some great walks — and there is no shortage of recreational space.  Still, the dusty hiking trails and noisy Valley traffic didn’t appeal to me.

More recently though, we discovered a lush little neighborhood right around the corner.  It’s still pretty busy with cars…but it offers a reliable 20- or 30-minute loop where we can stretch our legs, take in the towering old trees, and catch up on the day.

And the best part?  While we do carry our phones, we rarely look at them!  There’s something about walking that requires a very present focus, which lends itself to…


…con-ver-sa-tion!  🙂

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: Take a hike!  This week — grab someone you care about (or someone you want to get to know better) and take a hike!  A good walk requires no special equipment, no fancy clothes, and no high tech training.  Just lace up and go…and let the conversation ramble!

Remember, the best way to teach others to have fun — is to have fun yourself!

Spread Happyness — share your favorite walking spots with others!

6/30/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #145 – Summer Fun Lists! (What’s in YOUR top ten?)

“Sand Art – Santa Barbara” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #145 – Summer Fun Lists! (What’s in YOUR top ten?)

It’s that time of year again!

The Summer Solstice occurred on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  Proms and graduations are over.  And the last few days of school are taking place.

Summer 2017 has officially arrived!

And I’m going to ask you again — are you PLANNING to have fun this summer?

There are exactly ten Fridays between now and Labor Day Weekend.  And while adults are usually busy planning their kids’ summer fun — I’ve said it before: they often overlook their own!

And I want to make sure YOU have fun again this summer!

So I’m recapping last year’s list…37 random suggestions for FUN during the summer months.  And I’ll say it again:

Don’t let the kids have all the fun!

The best way to teach others to have fun — is to have fun yourself!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: Make your Summer Fun Lists!  What are the top ten ways you are planning to have fun this summer?  Brainstorm by yourself, with your family, or with your friends.  Then get planning!  There are exactly ten Fridays between now and Labor Day weekend.  Don’t let it pass you by!  Make this the summer you take that trip, cross off that bucket list item, make that leap, try that thing, get serious about that project, or just get plain silly!  Peruse this list, brainstorm with the family, share it with friends!  And then report back — because it’s no fun to keep all the fun to yourself!  😉

Here are 37 random ideas to get you started:

37. Take a 3-4 hour “swamp walk” in the Florida Everglades
36. Have breakfast for dinner — or dinner for breakfast!
35. Tubing down the Delaware!
34. “One Tank Trips”
33. Surprise trip for spouse or loved one
32. Kayaking
31. Beach time
30. BBQ’s
29. Tourist for the day in nearby city
28. Walking the boards
27. Rock climbing
26. Scuba diving
25. Touring an estate
24. Time with family
23. Sitting on the porch
22. Watching for rainbows
21. Learning to surf
20. Gardening
19. Writing a book
18. Working on a “summer” project
17. Moving to a new town
16. Planning a spa day (or half-day, or even lunch hour)
15. Taking Fridays (or Mondays) off!
14. Day at the ballpark (Minor League stadiums are great, too!)
13. Outside concerts/music events
12. Hot air balloon ride/festival
11. Pool volleyball (a Church-family classic!)
10. Take yourself or someone you love for ice cream!
9. Weed your front yard garden (and talk with neighbors and folks walking by!)
8. Lose yourself in wonderful music, either listening or singing
7. Play in the grassy backyard
6. Play with your dog (or maybe your neighbor’s dog!)
5. Sing karaoke
4. Explore your town, county, state…through food and drink!
3. Visit a farm
2. Make plans to see friends you don’t often get to see (or schedule a gathering!)
1. Blind-folded Make-overs!  (Great for a rainy day!  Bonus points if you go out in public after!)

How do you plan to have FUN this summer?!

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts or ideas in the comments (or by email) and keep the list growing!

6/23/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #144 – BE STILL!  (Celebrate the Solstice!)

“Manhattan-Henge” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #144 – BE STILL!  (Celebrate the Solstice!)

Greetings, All — and Happy Friday!

The longest days are upon us!  At most latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere the sun is coming up at its earliest all year (5:42 a.m. local time for me) — and will soon be setting at its very latest toward the end of the month.

Depending on your time zone — the actual solstice will occur late Tuesday night (6/20) or early Wednesday morning (6/21) this year.  This is the moment when the Earth’s north pole is pointed closest toward the sun — and the time in our calendar year when the sun seems to “stand still” (literal meaning of the word sol-stice) in its arc across the sky.

Of course, we know that WE are moving (not the sun) — and, to blow your mind, it’s to the tune of about about 67,000 miles an hour through our orbit!

No wonder the ancients worshipped the solstice!  I would too if it seemed we could stop the world and catch our breath for just a moment!

Summer is always a bit of a paradox, isn’t it?  Nostalgia and fantasy (not to mention advertisements and social media) all lead us to believe that summer should be a time to slow down and relax.  To kick back and take it all in.

But the reality is, for most people, it just picks up the pace.  Kids are out of school, summer activities are scheduled, there are camps, vacations, summer reading lists, and endless projects (now inside the home AND outside in the yard!).

If you are one who gets to feeling run-down and depressed during the summer — please know you are not alone.  It is not your imagination.  You just might be BUSIER than you are all year!

Which leaves little time left for you.

So take a cue from the sun this week…and BE STILL!

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: “BE STILL!”  If you are already feeling frenzied and hectic about the summer months ahead — take some time this week to get quiet and be still.  I know this sounds like the very opposite of what you think you should be doing — but find some time and a space to tune into yourself.  Think about how you want to spend these days.  What experiences you’d like to have.  How you want to remember the next ten, twelve, or thirteen weeks.  There is only one Summer of 2017…don’t let it become a runaway train crashing into the start of the next school year.  Make time for silence…and see if you can catch the world standing still!

“Summer afternoon – Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  (Henry James) 

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts in the comments!

6/16/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #143 – Father’s Day is June 18th!  (Read this again before you buy another necktie or coffee mug!)

Father's Day To-Do List (by Grace Church)

Father’s Day To-Do List (by Grace Church)

Week #143 – Father’s Day is June 18th!  (Read this again before you buy another necktie or coffee mug!)

In early May, I gave you a heads-up that Mother’s Day was just around the corner.  Well — June is underway, and I wanted to take another moment this year to repeat a little public service announcement to those of you who are celebrating Father’s Day this year:


But before you go out and buy another necktie or coffee mug or singing fish, take a moment to stop and think about what the man in your life really wants.

Not that!

The other things!

Last year, I polled the guys:
What is that you REALLY want/wish for on Father’s Day?

I have to be honest, getting answers was like pulling teeth.  While over 50 ladies responded within hours of my Mother’s Day question, I had to ask the guys three separate times — and then only received answers when another guy intervened on my behalf.  (Why is that, guys?!)

Like the ladies, most guys don’t want something that can be bought in a store.  Hell, most of them don’t even want to leave the house!  A few brave ones even told me: “Nothing.  To do nothing.”  That doesn’t make for a sexy wish-list!

It took some arm-twisting — but a brave group of guys took me up on the question and told me what they REALLY want on Father’s Day.  And it can be summed up in four words:


FOOD: From morning until night — most dads responded with some sort of food request: breakfast on the deck, donuts, waffles, burgers on the grill, ice cream in the fridge, and beer in the cooler.  Rather than buy your dad something at the mall, head to the local grocery store instead and pick him up the makings of a king-size breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, OJ, and coffee), a deli lunch (fresh bread, sandwich fixings, side salads, chips, cookies, and deli pickles), or a Grill-fest dinner (burgers and dogs, ribs and chicken, or steaks and potatoes).  Make sure you back it up with his favorite dessert — you know, the one just for him (even if the kids don’t like it!).

FUN: Whether it’s a day at the park, a trip to the ballgame, an outing on the golf course, an inside day at the science museum, or the latest action movie — dads do want to have fun!  (As long as they’re with the ones they love!)

FAMILY: In almost every category (except one, see below) — the dads I heard from all wanted to spend time with their families!  Laugher, cuddles, and a few “I love you, dads” don’t hurt either!

THE NAP: Moms aren’t alone in their request for a little extra sleep!  Napping was the number one response I received from dads, too!  Extra sleep goes a LONG way!  Make sure you get some on Father’s Day!  😉

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: Father’s Day is June 18th!  Do you know what the man in your life really wants?  Use this list to jump start the conversation!  Let HIM create the honey-do list for the day!  Work out a list that includes things each member of the family can check off: food, family, fun, and that all important NAP!  Just like Mother’s Day, the most important thing is to PLAN AHEAD!  Don’t leave things to the last minute.  And if it is a necktie or another coffee mug — wear it or drink from it in good health!

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

Spread Happyness — PLAN AHEAD!  And share YOUR Father’s Day ideas in the comments!

[This post originally appeared on Week #91.]

6/9/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #142 – It’s Graduation Season! (What’s the best/worst advice for grads?)

“Oh, the places you’ll go…” (Photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #142 – It’s Graduation Season!  (What’s the best/worst advice for grads?)

Happy June!

It’s graduation season — and a quick stop in the greeting card aisle is going to render some pretty trite advice to graduates:

  • Follow your dreams…
  • Find your calling…
  • Pursue your passion…

My partner, James, and I often joke that there should be a “realistic” greeting card section with blunt advice, obvious statements, and realistic responses to really hard situations (“Heard your cat died…that sucks!”).

Why is it that we need to talk in hyperbole when wishing students well for the future?  Why not think about what we needed to hear — or wouldn’t listen to — when we were in that same position ourselves?

Our world is moving faster than ever.  Today’s graduates have more options than any other generation before.  Their world is much bigger and wide open than any other time.  They were born into the internet, social media, and missions to Mars.  There’s no telling what opportunities or challenges the next year — let alone ten years — will hold for them.

And yet, some things will remain the same: their secret wishes for themselves, that thing that lights them up on the inside, the values they hold most dear.  In short…their “why.”

So…rather than give vague advice and pleasantries, why not share what you really know?

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: Share what you really know!  What is the best (or worst) advice for graduates?  What was it that you needed to hear — or didn’t listen to — when you were graduating?  Can you find a way to talk about these things with a recent grad — without talking down to them?  They are more overwhelmed than you think.  Most might be relieved just to have someone truly interested in helping them build their future, rather than just telling them “how it is.”  This week, reach out and share what you really know: the good, the bad, and even the obvious!

My best advice?  Our prognosis is all the same: our days are numbered.  Big moments or little — do your best to make them count.

Spread Happyness — share your best (or worst) graduation advice in the comments!

6/2/17 by Grace Church
© Grace Church