by Annette Bridges. © 2006. All rights reserved.

“If mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I laughed about this at the time, but these words on the magnet I got for Christmas 1998 from my daughter, Jennifer, really described how she felt.

In fact, recently, she told me, “It was more of a joke than anything. But it was true that when you used to cry or become irrational about something, it affected the happiness of my day as well.”

My New Year’s resolution was to change this cycle.

Honestly, her mamma was not too happy in those days. I could have used that magnet to tack up a long list of gripes including being depressed that I was not able to have more children, and dissatisfied with the old house we were living in, and wanting to move—or burn it down. On top of that, we were living next door to my in-laws—enough said.

And yet, my New Year’s resolution that year was to change this cycle. I began to acknowledge that there is always something to appreciate, even in the worst of times. That a grateful heart begins with the present moment. That I could be grateful for goodness itself, regardless of what was happening.

I made some progress during the next few years, but I needed something more to help me maintain my improved attitude. I needed to understand more about the source of gratitude, lasting happiness and peace of mind. I believe that the source of all good is God, so I turned there in prayer to find the answers.

Good is all that was going on.

My prayers in the intervening years brought me to a book of quotes by Mary Baker Eddy called Moments of Gratitude. I read, “Hold to the presence of all good in which you live and have being.” This helped me see that no matter what the situation, I could acknowledge, expect and witness good in my life—in fact, good is all that was going on.

I decided to begin each day by recognizing the presence of good, God, in my life. Waking up with a grateful heart helped me see the good around me. This new attitude gradually transformed my days, until I no longer felt impatient, frustrated or depressed. In fact, my daughter told a friend, “The change in my mom was gradual over the years. I just think one day she decided to make a change in her life and began to grow in happiness from that point on.”

I cherish the many moments in my days.

Though my circumstances haven’t changed, what’s different now is the way I think about my life. For instance, I saw my house with fresh eyes, started a remodeling project and now can’t imagine living anywhere else. And the in-laws next door? I’m grateful for the years my daughter was able to grow up just steps from her grandparents.

And although I never had more children, I no longer feel I have been deprived. Gratitude for the very special relationship I have with my daughter, and all of my loved ones, has filled me full.

These days my life is calmer. I cherish the many moments in my days. And I find I want to bless others in whatever way I can.