Browsing Tag

Happy Day Moment

A gob(ble) of grateful

It’s not happy moments that make us grateful,

but gratefulness that makes happy moments.

A search for “grateful” in my blog posts reveals that word appears 53 times, and that doesn’t include the word “gratitude,” which appears 118 times. So, here’s my GRATEFUL recap……

My goal for this project [of posting a daily Happy Day Moment of Facebook] was to make myself focus on some “moment” during each day where I could be positive, thankful, and “happy” that I was alive. To slow down. Just for a bit. And be grateful.

I’ve learned what being grateful can do, embracing each day. Life can be hard. I know.  But every day that I choose to look for the happy, the good, the blessing, the love, the joy – shifts my heart and my head into a better place. A place of gratitude.

Look for those moments. Listen for them. Wait for them. Be grateful for them.

What started as a simple essay I was asked to write morphed into a Facebook project and is now a website. The idea of choosing to be grateful, to find a “moment” even in the worst day, that was happy, that was thankful.

Because there is always a moment, no matter how small, no matter how dark the day, that is worthy of being grateful.

Because when you’re grateful, you increase your happiness by 25%!

You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to be grateful when you make a daily effort to think about good and not bad; praises and not pain; kindness and not meanness; acceptance and not rejection.

A grateful mindset can help you navigate life’s turbulence.

Grateful people are happy.

Taking in the good and being grateful is not about always putting a happy shiny face on everything, nor is it about turning away from the hard things in life. It’s about nourishing gratitude, your inner well-being, contentment, and peace—refuges to which you can always return.

So I’m all about thankfulness and gratefulness and saluting the goodness of each day.

We can choose to be thankful and grateful, understanding the fragility of life that makes every moment so meaningful. We often waste too many moments immersing ourselves in needless distractions that steal our attention away from the things that actually matter. We should grasp the precious moments of this life and stop being distracted with the things that don’t really matter.

Grateful eyes can see grace and goodness, even in complicated and thorny packages.

Catalog the kindnesses of each day. Look at what you have. You have much to be grateful for.

As I’m intentionally learning that “Living with Gratitude” changes everything, changes the way I think.

Changes the way I see things. Changes me. It’s not that I’ve never been grateful before.  But I seemed to focus my thanks when it was easy. Now I’m learning to give thanks, to live EVERY day with a sense of gratitude. Even when my heart has those hard white cold days.

David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, wrote, “The root of joy is gratefulness … It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” And the Bible tells us to be grateful “in all circumstances.”

Be joyful. Be grateful. Always.

That’s one reason why I post “Happy Day Moments” daily on my Facebook page (and on my personal Facebook page) – to live intentionally with a grateful heart, to plant words and messages of love, hope, confidence, faith and encouragement.

Every day that you wake up healthy, be grateful.

Living with gratitude, discovering a Happy Moment takes practice, believe me. But you can learn to be happy (even for a bit a fleck a jiffy of a time) each day by simply being grateful.

We all get to decide how happy we want to be. Because everyone gets to decide how grateful they are willing to be.

One of the lessons I learned in any hard sad dark season is that it’s important to stop and breathe deeply and look around me and choose to embrace a beautiful life, a grateful life, a happy life, whatever that might look like in any season of my life.

Look out the window. Just look for 30 seconds. Look and really see. Then pause and be grateful for the looking.

Right now is the best time for loving and for being grateful.

There is always, under the mess of life, something to be grateful for.

It’s easy to be cynical; it’s brave to be grateful.

Being grateful is the shortest and surest way to being happy.

Spend intentional time being grateful and you will ground yourself in God’s love.

My first real step towards becoming a “happyologist” came as a teenager when I dove into that swimming pool on that summer day and broke my neck and became a quadriplegic. There was a choice before me: become bitter or become better. {Read more of the story here.} Will I focus on what I lost? Or will I focus on what I can gain? Focus on who I was? Or who I can become? Could I still be grateful, even in the midst of this life-altering circumstance?

I decided to live with gratefulness. I chose happy.

We decide what to look for and what we see. We decide our focus.  It’s about learning, studying the ways of contentment and appreciation.  As a happyologist, I know that by slowing down, by looking differently, I choose to focus on the light, the positive, and all the reasons I have to be eternally grateful.

Start to see the good, the happy, even in the small.  Actively search for those moments, develop a posture of looking for and of finding happy. Cultivate this vision: seeing those moments, and being grateful for the happy day moments.

Be patience when you have little; be grateful when you have more than enough.

I want to understand that every day love makes a difference. That life is a gift. That love is a gift. That each day I awake and breathe is a gift.

It’s the only gift that I have right now. And my only appropriate response is gratefulness.

When we view our situation through the lens of gratefulness, instead of a self-centered mind-set, we have the potential to be happy in spite of circumstances.

You’ll have a hard time ever being happy if you aren’t grateful for what you already have.

Focusing on finding a “happy/grateful” moment in each day has made me powerful and positive and able to conquer disappointment and pain and innumerable hard places.

Some days we wake up with body aches and heart aches and life is bleak and the truth is we’re tired and we know we just may carry sadness all day long. And then. We shift our focus, we look above, we refocus and we become grateful for love and for a God who can take our aches and replace them with joy, who can be light in darkness, a compass for direction ….even in the midst of storms and difficult places.

That season of minimal color, stark branches, when the world feels forsaken, will become a season of blossoms.

And I will be grateful.

For every season holds something of value. The buried seed blooms.

Essential to living a life with joy, confidence, faith, and hope is remembering to be grateful.

By understanding that every moment of every day in every life does not have to be happy.

Only ONE moment does. ONE glimpse. ONE second. ONE breath.

And choosing to find it. Choosing to hold onto it. Choosing to claim it to redeem any hard messy heartbreaking sorrowful day. It’s our choice. Being grateful. For life.

God’s love has no “boundaries”

God’s love has no “boundaries.” No conditions. No limits. No restrictions. No margins.

Here’s something:  That Happy Day Moment Facebook Page post received 1400% more attention that any post to date.

Seriously. One thousand four hundred percent. Because of one word: boundaries.

A thought: Include “boundaries” in your post and see what happens.

I get it. Really, I do.

Boundaries of safety are crucial. Boundaries against danger. Boundaries of morality. Boundaries against co-dependency. Boundaries to protect.

But perhaps we pitch that word too carelessly over everything.

You hear “boundary” everywhere these days. And often we make it mean something it doesn’t. We throw it around when what we really mean is “I don’t care” or “I don’t have time” or “You hurt my feelings. Or “You don’t agree with me. You don’t respect me. You’re a little weird.”

So much “me”; so much “I.”

But sometimes our selfishness and self-absorption make it easy to twist the concept of boundaries into a practice God didn’t intend.

Setting boundaries can feed on the inherent self-focus of the human heart and we end up renaming our selfishness as “boundaries.” The rigid boundaries become walls.

As we think about all this boundaries stuff, let love cover us.

Let’s err on the side of mercy. Let’s open gates …

Of grace. Of unmerited favor.

We all have difficult people in our lives, yet God calls us to love them well.  To do this, maybe we ought to make all a majority of decisions based on what will best promote the other person’s spiritual and eternal good. And not so much on establishing boundaries.

Maybe walk in their shoes for awhile.

Maybe treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to us – not because they are nice, but because we are.

Maybe treat everyone with the same level of respect we would give to our grandfather and the same level of patience we would have with our baby brother.  People will notice our kindness.

God’s love has no “boundaries.”

Maybe make decisions by asking: What would Jesus do?

I’m reminded of one of my favorite novels, In His Steps by Charles Monroe Sheldon. When I was in the hospital after a diving accident which left me a quadriplegic, my Mom often read to me since I was unable to hold a book in my hands. A friend suggested In His Steps. It touched a chord with me then, and still does today. First published in 1896, it’s the story of the Rev. Henry Maxwell, pastor of the First Church of Raymond, who challenges his congregation to not do anything for a whole year without first asking: “What Would Jesus Do?”

One Sunday morning he said: “Do not do anything without first asking, ‘What would Jesus do?’” This challenge is the theme of the novel and the driving force of the plot, which then follows individual characters as their lives are transformed by the challenge. [And ask any church youth group teen of the 1990s about their WWJD bracelet!]

So maybe in determining boundaries, why not use What Would Jesus Do as the benchmark?

God’s love has no “boundaries.”

God asks us to love others without limits or borders.

photo by: 'Ajnagraphy'

Happy milestone #2,000

Look! A milestone! #2,000

I’m on a mission. A mission to see. A mission to share. A mission to write.

Happy Day Moments.

I write Facebook posts about “living with gratitude.” Finding a happy day moment. Every day. And now I’ve hit a milestone: writing a “Happy Day Moment” for 2,000 consecutive days.

I know it’s rather grandiose of me to think that my small little space, my Facebook presence can make a big change in how others think about gratitude, but if I’ve learned anything in the last 2,000 days, it’s that when it comes to talking about living with gratitude, and about how we use our words – we can’t do it enough.

Let me tell you a story.

On April 1, 2010, I started with Happy Day Moment #1 on my Facebook page.  Reading so many Facebook posts that were negative, complaining, even whining, I was determined to use my posts as a more positive platform.

My goal for this project was to make myself focus on some “moment” during each day where I could be positive, thankful, and “happy” that I was alive. To slow down. Just for a bit. And to use my words to express gratitude.

Throughout these 2,000 postings, I’ve experienced days with moments of love, joy, celebration, laughter, happiness – unexpected moments. But I’ve also had some days that were kinda crummy and achy and some that were soaked in confusion, sadness, sickness, grief and disappointments.

For in writing good words, for finding “happy” moments and sharing them, I’ve discovered that I’m more thoughtful, more encouraging, more inspired, more aware – of the goodness of life all around me.

Words. Matter. Even on Facebook.

Words we write. Words we say.

And I hope the same for others who read any posts #1 through #2000.

On my desk are five books, each one comprised of Facebook posts from the five years that I’ve written a daily Happy Day Moment. The routine, the exercise, the commitment to seek and find a “happy moment” every day, has shaped me, renewed my faith, my thankfulness, my vision.

20150819_123004-2After years of leaning into gratitude, I know I’ve only scratched the surface of this powerful principle. I realize my pursuit of gratitude isn’t an accident, as much as preparation for what has come my way during these last few years. Preparing to see me through – because when it comes to the struggles of life, we need gratitude to be our companion.

Because this is what happens:

Words of gratitude lift us above circumstance.

Sometimes the wall of difficulties we face appears too tall to scale. But the presence of gratitude lifts and carries us. We become stronger, more agile, infused with what we need, not just to face the barrier, but to search for a way around or over that we hadn’t considered before.

Words of gratitude refocus our attention.

They change our perspective.  We’re never off on the wrong foot when we step out in gratitude. We can’t think negatively when we focus on the positive. We’re less judgmental, resentful, or divisive when we’re thankful for our relationships (especially the complicated ones). Sometimes it’s easy to focus on our hurts or sorrows and miss all of the other places that good things are happening.  It’s possible for good things and hard things to co-exist in our lives. We show wisdom when we can focus on being thankful and noticing the good, instead of concentrating on the bad.

Words of gratitude bring us joy.

Those who live in gratitude have the most joyful lives. It’s impossible to miss the joy when we’re on the lookout for blessings. We won’t miss out on the moments when we’re present and rooted in each one as it comes.

Words are powerful. Even words written in a Facebook post.

Let’s make our words a powerful happy mission.

Let’s unleash the power of gratitude.


Happy Day Moment Echoes: 5.15

There will be blossoms.

More than likely, you’re experienced deep, hard moments. Maybe you’re like me and are in the middle of them right now. Moments of emptiness loneliness bleakness.

And yet. (Those two words are a promise.)

And yet, for all the struggles, questions, hard times, there is gratitude.

Gratitude that shines a light in every dark, desolate place. Gratitude that remembers a summer, a fruitful place.

That season of minimal color, stark branches, when the world feels forsaken, will become a season of blossoms.

And I will be grateful.

For every season holds something of value. The buried seed blooms.

As Echoes of the May posts on my Happy Day Moment Facebook page,

As one who strives and yearns and (sometimes) blooms to live with gratitude, I make these statements as blossoms to you:

Pink blossom (Explore 2014-05-09)

It’s not happy moments that make us grateful, but gratefulness that makes happy moments.

Be profoundly, crazily, completely, utterly you.

Life is too short to live even one day without celebrating and expressing love for others.

Let the next chapter of your story be a story of love and rescue.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Don’t be defeated by hatefulness, but defeat hatefulness with love.

We all make mistakes, but let’s forgive one another, covering offenses with love when we’re wronged or hurt.

When you see others in a hard season, love them well.


It’s good to believe that anything is possible.

God’s grace can never fail

People will always judge or misjudge you; live with kindness and forgiveness anyway.

Love covers over all wrongs.

Essential to living a life with joy, confidence, faith, and hope is remembering to be grateful.


Let’s pause before we speak and understand the weight of our words.

Don’t let the voices of guilt or inadequacy whisper negativity into your moments.

Stop judging; start accepting. Stop rejecting; start embracing. Stop withholding; start giving.

Be hopeful. Share hope. Because in the end God wins.

Nobody is better at being you than you. Say yes to being who God made you.


May these words be as a hand upon your shoulder: “Despite everything, you belong to God.”

The key to being happy is to make kindness a fundamental pursuit in your life.

We can always choose kindness — a most excellent expression of love.

Nothing much matters if we don’t have love. Love others extravagantly.


Help others in ways small and large and put aside a “payback” mentality.

We are equally important and we all have different gifts for doing things well. Be you!

Embrace new opportunities. Enter new relationships and new situations with courage.

Each and every passing day, we are the beneficiaries of a myriad of mercies

Faith helps us live with the unanswered.


Be deliberately encouraging to others and see what happens.

There is always something more important than our feelings, and that is God’s love.

Shift your focus to thankfulness and all the ways you are blessed.

Choose to make time for the sweetness of intimacy that comes from investing heart time with those we love.

P.S. – If you enjoyed this post and think it may be helpful for others, please share it by using the social media buttons! Thanks! Or post a comment and let me know what blessed  you. 🙂

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Living with gratitude: even in storms

Living with gratitude: even in storms

On April 1, 2010, I wrote Happy Day Moment #1 on my Facebook page. Now it’s five years later (no kidding!) and I recently posted #1900 (thank you, oh smartphone), and every day of every year I now think about “living with gratitude.” IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Focusing on finding a “happy/grateful” moment in each day has made me powerful and positive and able to conquer disappointment and pain and innumerable hard places.

Most days we’re sunshine beaming and flowers blooming and birds singing and chocolate and laughter and hugs from children. The posts were written when joyful euphoric smiling winning laughing.

When I began this Happy Day Moment project, I did not realize what it was preparing me for… I WAS happy—a few bumps and bruises and inconveniences from that thing, but my life was full of love and activities with family, grandchildren, friends, work …smoothness, sailing on calm, lovely water.

THEN….a storm. The … unexpected.

storm2Where once when I made mistakes and I was forgiven, where once I loved and I was loved in return. Then suddenly where I made mistakes and I was not forgiven and my love was rejected.

A storm, a tempest I did not foresee. Turbulent waters. And in that storm, God made me brave. Brave to cling to Him and strong to live in that dark place, that hurt place, and yet to write flickers of light. To be prepared to see and write about moments of gratitude even when life is UNHAPPY.

Even in the midst of overwhelming and difficult and bewildering situations.

Battered and crushed with days of rain wind storms rejections sorrows. And yet. The posts of searching seeking discovering a Happy Day Moment were still written when depressed grieving sobbing troubled losing.

When it comes to the storms of life, we need gratitude to help steer us through.

Because it lifts us above circumstance.

Because it refocuses our attention.

Some days we wake up with body aches and heart aches and life is bleak and the truth is we’re tired and we know we just may carry sadness all day long. And then. We shift our focus, we look above, we refocus and we become grateful for love and for a God who can take our aches and replace them with joy, who can be light in darkness, a compass for direction ….even in the midst of storms and difficult places.

When we face a dark, formidable storm with bravery and gratitude, we WILL be changed.

Time and time again, that’s what I discovered. I found that whenever I navigated any rough terrifying circumstances with gratitude—even through storms and difficult Joseph-experiences and hard places, I was encouraged, strengthened, braver.

So, my hope and prayer for today is that no matter what our struggles storms hurts dark places, that we’ll choose to face all with gratitude, with discovering ONE moment of thankfulness.  A moment outside ourselves, above our circumstance. A moment looking for a blessing.

When we steer our way with gratitude, we declare that the darkness does not win.

Today: I challenge us to live from a place of gratitude and joy.

This is what will help us to discover a Happy Day Moment:

Let’s have more gratitude. More understanding. More compassion. More grace. More mercy. More community. More forgiveness. More kindness. More charitableness.

Let’s not be cruel or hurtful or selfish or judgmental or isolating or thankless or intolerant or vengeful or rude.

Let’s keep our perspective. Our humor. Our appreciation.

Let’s be brave.

Let’s fill our hearts and minds and souls with gratitude. And with noticing a Happy Day Moment. Every day. To see us through any storm.

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