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Drive Yourself Happy Newsletter 10/31/06

Welcome to this week’s DRIVE YOURSELF HAPPY Road Ramblings.

If you find value in these gentle reminders and rules for the road, please invite your friends to sign up for my free newsletter by visiting Also visit my blog site,

I’d like to welcome all of our new subscribers to the DRIVE YOURSELF HAPPY Road Ramblings newsletter and acknowledge you for taking the first step toward living a better life.

Today’s rambling from the road will include:

* A Few Basic Rules for the Road of Life by Rhonda Hull, Ph.D. * Update of a Miracle In the Making – An Unfolding Lesson in Happiness * Enjoy These Videos * Drive-By Quotes To Carry With You on the Journey

**************** A Few Basic Rules for the Road of Life by Rhonda Hull, Ph.D.

Hello Friends and Traveling Companions,

We all hit a few bumps, twists and turns along the way on the road of life. Here are a few basic rules for the road to help make even the most challenging adventure a joy ride:

1. It’s what’s under the hood that counts

C = CHOICE – ability and Consciousness * You are not a victim of your circumstances. * IAMNOWHERE * The circumstances don’t matter, it’s the grace with which you deal with them * Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a method of traveling * You can be happy regardless of the circumstances * Your POWER is in your ability to choose * Dissolve resistance * Intention vs. Agenda * No more back seat driving. Put yourself back in the driver’s seat

A = ACCOUNT – ability and Authenticity * FEAR based vs. CHOICE based accountability * Find your authentic self * What do you want * Our thoughts and the feelings attached to them are off course * Welcome mistakes as opportunities to learn * Be gentle and kind * Focus on what’s working * The importance of applying the lesson to the next opportunity * The importance of having your words and actions match * Redefine commitment * Put your W on the line

R = RESPONSE – ability rather than Reacting * Responding vs. Reacting * Recognize the choice point between responding and reacting * Make friends with change * Big Stuff vs. Small Stuff * Dare to slow down — unravel the myth that faster is better or more is better * Communicating is not just words. Listening is more than waiting or your turn to talk. * Be discerning and conscious * Expand compassion * Receive

2. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

* Put first things first. * Create your own definition of happiness and getting clear on what’s important to you * Force vs. Allowing * Let the answers come to you * Have the faith that they will

3. The journey is as valuable as the destination.

* See the value in incremental steps * Celebrate miracles – big and small * Acknowledge inner listening and proactive choices * Focus on what’s working – aim for the apex of the turn. * What you see IS what you get * Believing is seeing * Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary * There is a valuable lesson and a blessing in every challenge

4. Learn to refuel at a Self-Serve station

* Being centered vs. being selfish * Balance your tires – Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual * Others will love and respect you to the degree to which you love and respect yourself * You can’t drive yourself or anyone else with an empty tank * The quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your experience * It’s your thoughts that are miserable, not your life * Never once in the history of the universe has worrying ever changed an outcome * Start by becoming aware of your negative thinking mind chatter and exercise your choice * An attitude of gratitude is the antidote for worry * Worrying vs. Caring

5. Don’t back up, severe tire damage may occur.

* The past is something you cannot change * Forgiving does not mean condoning the actions of another * Forgiving is for giving – It gives you freedom, empowers you, and conserves your energy

6. The road of life is always under construction, expect delays

* Change is the only thing you can really count on * What you resist persists * What you focus on, you create more of * Row, Row, Row Your Boat * Put hour hands up on the roller coaster, but fasten your seat belt * Find your own pace – The Tortoise and the Hare * Size doesn’t matter * The journey of a million miles begins with the first step * Perfectionists are procrastinators in disguise * Strive for excellence, not perfection * Use mistakes are opportunities to learn * Be quick to forgive * Being off course is a valuable part of being on course * Boundaries vs. Walls * It’s OK to stop and ask for directions * Let the answers come to you * Notice Signs of Happiness

7. Start your engines * NOW is the only moment you really have * The most important things in life aren’t things * STOP making the insignificant things important and the important things insignificant * Dance as if nobody’s watching * You are not alone – Ask * Give and live from the heart * Be here now. Don’t wait for the catastrophe * Life is the Precious Present

In Joy,



Update on a Miracle in the Making – An Unfolding Lesson in Happiness

Dear Travelers (on the sometimes bumpy road of life),

I am delighted to share more good news about Connor. It touches my heart most to hear Alicia talk of Connor’s ability not to resist, but to walk into the unknown willingly and with complete trust. He remains one of the most profound teachers in my lifetime. I invite you in honor of his courageous journey, to face any little resistance that pops up in your life today with greater grace. Allow your self to notice simple pleasures along the way as he down, and laugh. His sense of humor is amazing. And, oh, he loves to laugh.

Thanks again for your relentless love and support.

Blessings to you all, Connor’s Aunt BoBo, Rhonda



Hello to all,

The last week has been fairly uneventful as far as hospital life goes. Connor has continued to improve and becomes stronger with each day. The only obstacle standing in the way of him returning to the Ronald McDonald House is his lack of appetite. He has not had anything to eat in a month. All of his nutrition has been given to him by I.V. in hopes that he would start to show more interest in food and they could gradually decrease his I.V. Since there are a couple of possibilities for him showing no interest in food the doctors decided that he needed to have a scope of his stomach done yesterday. We are still waiting for the results but the doctors feel pretty confident that it is graft verses host disease (GVHD). This is where the new bone marrow (graft) is starting to fight against Connor’s body (host). This is fairly common and even expected after a transplant but we want to make sure that it stays as a mild case. The doctors treat it with a 6-week therapy of ster oids which will also help increase his appetite. Connor’s white blood cell count (ANC) has also continued to recover and has now been over 1000 for enough days for the doctors to consider him to be engrafted.

Given that Connor has been feeling so good he has been able to get out of the hospital on a 4 hour pass the last few days. Each day that we have been able to leave the hospital on pass Connor is so excited to be free for a few hours, to not be restrained by tubes and being confined to a room that seems to get smaller each day that he feels better. Still as his time of freedom comes to an end each day and he know that he will be returning to tubes, tests, and procedures he accepts that this is what needs to happen and happily comes back to the hospital. As adults we protest situations, even if they are unavoidable, where we know the result will not be pleasant. Had Connor decided to protest every time we had to return to the hospital or go to a doctors appointment it would have made this adventure much more difficult.

We have been fortunate to have many wonderful people here to help over the last couple of weeks. Over the next few days my friend Melissa, Grandma Robin and Steve will all return home. On top of that big change Connor will hopefully be discharged from the hospital. This will be a big adjustment for all of us and seems a bit overwhelming for me as Connor’s care now will be primarily my responsibility. I can not believe it is already time for Steve to go home. It has been amazing having him here as we maneuvered through the highs and lows of transplant. While I wish he could stay until we were all able to go home I know it is necessary for him to go home to get the house ready for us.

Yesterday, as I watched Connor hold Steve’s hand as he left to go have his scope it made me think of how brave he is to be walking into the unknown without showing any fear. He had no idea what was in store for him but he trusted it was going to be okay because he had his daddy’s hand. Just like Connor trusted Steve, I intend to trust in God as he leads me into the next phase of our journey. I know that He knows what is ahead for us and that He will be with us every step of the way.

As I wrote in a previous update our church family had an auction to help raise money for the ongoing expenses that continue to arise. The outpouring of love and support has been remarkable. The money raised will allow us to make the necessary changes to our house so that it will be safe for Connor to come home. Thank you to everyone for your generosity. Words cannot begin explain the gratitude we have for the continued love, prayers and encouragement.

All our love, The Dunham’s Steve, Alicia, Connor and Carson

Alicia R. Dunham 5130 40th Ave NE Room B13 Seattle WA 98105


Enjoy These Videos

The most recent video of Connor’s version of Three Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed:

Connor singing Jungle Bells:


Drive-By Quotes To Carry With You on the Journey

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.”

— Agnes Repplier

Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.

— Mary Oliver, from her new book Thirst

“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get our of the way and let them have it.”

— President Dwight Eisenhower *****************

If you’re serious about learning some new rules for the road of life that will guide you in creating resilient happiness today instead of years down a very bumpy road, you may want to learn more about my book, Drive Yourself Happy: A Motor-vational Maintenance Manual for Maneuvering Through Life. In it I turn everyday road signs into signs of happiness guideposts that remind you of your wisdom literally at every turn. My book will offer you practical and powerful guidance for having joyful balance in your life regardless of your circumstances.


If you feel this newsletter would make the road of life a bit easier for another, please pass along. Invite all your family and friends to sign up for my newsletter by visiting


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