Happy New Year! Really? In the face of all that’s happening in our world, our country, our community and our own personal lives, how can we even think that 2013 can be a happy new year? You can start bringing happiness into your life today by doing one very simple thing. You can practice being grateful for what you have right now. Focusing on the abundance of the good and positive in life rather than what is lacking helps us to experience fulfillment which is gratitude at work. The natural outcome of this sense of fulfillment is the desire to share what we have with others by reaching out in love and thanksgiving. By focusing our energy on what is lacking – money, time, and resources – we will never have enough. So just what is this attitude of gratitude? How do I get it? What does it cost? Mr. Webster defines gratitude as thankful appreciation for favors received. Synonyms are: thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness, thanks. The Bible tells us in1 Thessalonians 5:18, “ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God … concerning you.” Melody Beattie, St. Paul, MN self help author, says it this way; “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” In January of 1999, a group of women from my church and myself began to study together Simple Abundance A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The author suggested creating a Gratitude Journal by writing down daily five things that we found to be grateful for. The only rule was that we could not use the same five things over and over. Each entry needed to be totally new. There is power in the words. It could be as simple as “raindrops on the window” or a “smile from a toddler in his mother’s grocery cart”. We began to look each day for good things happening to write in our journal. Focusing on the positive, what we do have rather than what we don’t have, made our lives brighter and more fulfilling. As we continued our study, we began to realize that we were very rich women. Rich in the sense that we began to “open the eyes of our eyes” and see that our basic needs were being met. Focusing on abundance rather than the lack in our lives helped us experience gratitude and over time changed our way of thinking about our lives bringing even more happiness. I continued my daily gratitude journal for several years and then for some reason stopped making entries. For 2013, I bought myself a fresh new journal and have started once again to focus on the good things happening daily to find five things to list in my journal. Why don’t you join me and together we can practice bringing happiness into 2013 and change our lives in the process. Happy New Year!