Goals One Month Later

It’s almost one month in my new apartment. Hard to believe, but time does fly. (Whether you’re having fun or not.) And I’m achieving my goals.

The most important goal is that I’m still thankful. I never really thought about it before, but maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” takes effort. Which also explains why I never particularly had that attitude, now doesn’t it?

On the bright side, the effort is fairly small so achieving


Confidence Failing Into Success Works

Nobody ever bothers to teach you confidence that failure is a good thing. In fact, teachers and parents go out of their way to make us believe failure is horrible. Too bad they’re wrong.

John Maxwell wrote a book called: Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success. If it happens that you haven’t read it, I’d say give it a look-see. Here’s why…

Failure – making mistakes – is the number one way we have of learning how to get something right. Can you imagine giving your kid her first bicycle without training wheels? Or even better, skip the whole


Catching Up With Getting Happy

Getting Happy…when you wish you were dead is alive in social media. The Facebook page is live (, there’s a LinkedIn Group, and I’m working on the video and text for the Kickstarter Campaign. When it comes to Twitter, I’m using my existing account for TheConradHall.

In addition to social media, I’m using radio interviews to get the word out. Those start next week.

All that said, there’s a bit of a gap between


Recognition and Praise

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 – Recognition and praise are coming my way because people are noticing the back room at We Care.

Last Friday and Saturday, I put in the time and effort to clean up the back room at We Care. The difference is dramatic. When I started, half of the room was completely blocked. Now you can walk all the way through the room to the back.

The cool part is that everything in the room when I started is


We Care With Molly And Bob

Monday, 8 April 2013 – Molly’s the bus driver but Bob drives the van.

It’s a small thing, but volunteering at We Care makes me feel useful. There’s a Jewel Run every day. Monday is my day to do it with Bob, and Molly looks after the pantry. So Bob and I “run” to Jewel in the We Care van to get the produce, meat, dairy and other items Jewel is donating to We Care.

Like I said, it’s a small thing. But it’s also a way to be involved with the community. A big part of getting happy is being involved. It’s kind of hard to be


Clearing The Air With Friends

Sunday, 7 April 2013 – It’s Sunday and that makes it a rest day.

It’s good to have one day in the week when you can just rest. I know Dan Kennedy talks about having his schedule set up so he gets periods of rest throughout the week, but it’s not the same. I wonder if missing that one day of rest each week is part of why Dan is always just a little bit grumpy.

I go over to Mike’s every morning to visit. It’s nice to start the day with


Thinking About the Getting Happy Book

Saturday, 6 April 2013 – The “shock” of being in an apartment is wearing off. At least, I hope it is. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being grateful, but I am feeling better oriented to the situation.

I’m going to keep mail going to General Delivery. I can just send address updates as mail comes in, then the mail going to General Delivery will stop on its own. And I’m getting over the giddiness of being able to leave my stuff in one place every day. That’s a bigger, more thrilling change, than I thought it would be.

I’ve been homeless before, but not like this. The last time was after my parents


Not Everyone Is Happy For Me

Friday, 5 April 2013 – It turns out not everyone is happy about me having an apartment.

PADS is at Immaculate Conception tonight so I went there to say thank you to the volunteers, and ask them to pass that message on to everyone at that congregation. Cathy and Gordon were there, too. That’s partly because PADS ends next week – one week from today – and they’re trying to make sure everyone has some kind of support through the summer.

They had several people to speak with, so they spoke to each one privately outside. I let them know I wanted to speak with them, and waited my turn.

When they called me outside, one of the other PADS guests was standing outside the door. As I passed him, I said hi. His response was to say “F**k off. You can leave right now.”

That really took me by surprise. Especially since it was one of the two guys I had told they’d always have a place to stay with me. To have this thrown in my face really hurt.

And when I spoke with Cathy and Gordon, they seemed upset with me, too. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. It’s just that the only thing that’s changed is my getting an apartment. But Cathy seemed happy for me yesterday.

This is one of those times when it’s super easy to get mad because you feel badly treated. I admit, I was upset walking home. Then I started thinking about what any of it really means to me.

The fellow who swore at me, he just burned a bridge. It isn’t like we’re family (which wouldn’t be saying much with me anyway), or long time friends. I don’t know why he decided to be rude and abusive, and it really doesn’t matter. It hurts, but the answer is simple – he wants nothing to do with me. Having just lost Yvette and the kids makes losing an acquaintance easy to handle in comparison.

For Cathy and Gordon the answer is a little different. I like them, and we’ve started to form a friendship. For them, I plan to ask what was wrong. I’ll see them Sunday at Peace Lutheran and can ask them then.

Part of getting happy is deciding where to invest your energy. No matte what happens with my career, Cathy and Gordon are people I want to stay in contact with so I’m going to make sure the air is clean between us. The other fellow is not someone I expect to have a long term friendship with, so I’m far less willing to invest in that relationship.

Of course, it’s not always that clear cut. If it were, I’d turn my back on Yvette easily. But I love her, and the kids. The only thing I can do for them right now is pray. So the investment I make in that relationship is to pray each day, keep writing this book, and hope that some day we’ll have a chance to talk.

Something else I’m doing is working on me. It’s easy to lay a lot of the accountability on Yvette’s side of the equation. She undermined me with the kids, excluded me all the time, and she has told a lot of lies throughout our marriage. But that’s where working on myself begins.

Those are all the things Yvette did. Working on me means looking at how I responded to the things Yvette and the kids did. Where could I have done better? Did I draw the line for tolerance in the right spot? In what ways did I allow myself to be controlled by my past instead of using it to help me grow?

I may not be able to make things better with Yvette at this point. But I can make good decisions about dealing with people now. That’s why I choose to end one relationship that’s turning sour for no good reason, and invest in another that looks like it has been damaged. Getting happy means taking responsibility and choosing.


Saying Thank You Gets A Boost

Thursday, 4 April 2013 – Thursday is one of the days I volunteer at We Care. It’s nothing official – Monday is my official day for volunteering. But the ladies who do Thursday are older and I like to be there in case they need helping lifting or moving.

Dan Peterson stopped by We Care while I was there. Naturally I said thank you to him for all his help while I was in PADS. I also asked if he’d bring a duffle bag he has been holding onto for me.

Well, he went to run a couple of errands, picked up the duffel, and came back to We Care. So he gave me a quick lift over to the apartment to drop it off. I appreciate that because the duffel bag is quite heavy. Now everything I have is in the apartment. And I’ll have to make arrangements with Yvette to get the rest of my clothes and shoes.

St. Vincent’s Table is Thursday evenings at First Presbyterian. I went over to have supper as usual and was hoping to see Millie there. She’s president of the PADS Board, and of all the people I’ve met at PADS it’s Millie who sticks out the most. She’s incredibly encouraging, definitely no nonsense, and likes to laugh a lot.

She didn’t show up for dinner, though. She usually does because she helps to coordinate the St. Vincent’s Table program.

Cathy was there, though. I told her about the apartment. Right away, she told me to put together a list of the things I need to furnish it. She and Gordon run the Clothes Closet in Coal City, plus they volunteer with PADS. So I’ve gotten to know them over the past few months. They’re good people, and we’ve had a lot of good conversations.

So it turns out the first two people I said “thank you” to, turned right around and helped me even more. You just have to see how cool that is.


First Day in My New Apartment

Good news. The fellow who cleans the carpets was able to get it done today, so I’m staying in my new apartment tonight.

That makes me doubly happy because it’s Wednesday. Tonight PADS is at First Christian Church and that means getting a ride out there form the Sheriff’s office. Riding in the Sheriff’s van isn’t torturous or anything, but being locked in isn’t exactly fun either.

I just realised I didn’t say where the apartment is yesterday. It’s over a funeral home – very quiet at night! And it’s only a block away from We Care. That’s going to make it very easy to keep volunteering there.

A friend who lives in the same building told me the apartment was available Monday. The lady who was living there moved out on the weekend, and I went straight down to see Tom about the apartment Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, he had given me the keys and the lease was signed.

I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am that friends have stepped up to help me get this apartment. It makes a world of difference at every level. I feel secure on a personal level, there are no bags to carry every day, and it makes working on the book a hundred times easier.

Which makes me think. I need to visit the PADS congregations during the coming week to say thank you for all the help they’ve given. Yes, it’s a homeless shelter so there’s very little stability. But it’s also hot meals and a safe place to sleep each night – that’s far more stable than sleeping outside and scavenging for food.