I can’t even remember when the idea of keeping a gratitude journal was first introduced to me. But I know it was a long time ago. I spent many guilt-ridden years thinking that I really need to count my blessings – and not doing it. Something was blocking me. There was some psychological barrier to this activity.

And then one day it just disappeared. I wish I could take credit. I wish I could describe an epiphany. I wish I could tell you an amazing story about the confluence of events that led to this decision.

But it was just a quiet change. One day I just couldn’t bring myself to do it; the next day I could.

And then I made a plan. Each day I would write down four things I was grateful for and – here’s the rub – they had to be different every time. I couldn’t just rely on the old stalwarts.

My gratitude means something because I have to think about it. I have to remember what I’d written in the past so as not to repeat myself – but this allows me to feel grateful all over again. And I have to really reflect, really examine my days and my experiences to make sure my thoughts are fresh, that I stuck to my commitment not to repeat myself.

This has been an amazing exercise. It has really broadened and deepened my sense of gratitude to the Creator and I pray that writing about it doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm!

But today I had a new idea and I thought of another important application of this strategy. Of course, expressing appreciation to the Almighty is the most important gratitude of all. But what if I applied this approach to my husband? What if every day I tried to think of a new reason to be grateful to and for him? Wouldn’t that enhance our relationship? Wouldn’t that draw us closer? If it works with the Almighty, it can certainly work with us.

And maybe I could apply this to my children as well. Instead of finding a daily (hourly?) reason to be aggravated with them, maybe I could step back and think of reasons to be grateful for and appreciative of them, also a new one each time. They would feel more understood and loved. Our relationship would undergo a qualitative change.

I’m grateful for my gratitude journal (I couldn’t resist saying that), for the focus and closeness it has added to my relationship with the Almighty and for the perspective it has given me on all my relationships. I just hope that now that it’s finally become a habit, I don’t experience another quiet change in the wrong direction…