Back in 2008, a couple of my girlfriends and I were having a hard time – relationships were ending, jobs were difficult, old friends were fading away – and though we’re almost a decade apart in age and live states away from each other, we decided to do something about it together.


One of our largest problems was time, so we didn’t want to commit ourselves to yet another thing that we felt guilty for not having enough time/effort/knowledge to finish. One of us, who we called “The Optimist,” had decided that her New Year's resolution for 2009 should be to pursue "The Big Happy." By this she meant finding something every day that made her happy as a way to get back to being less down on a daily basis.


When she shared this with me, “The Magnolia,” we decided to grab “The Expat” and set up a blog to document our progress.


The first post went live on Jan. 25, 2009; my only post was on Jan. 28, 2009. There are only five posts total on the site, and I had to look up the login information to even get to it.


Though it might seem sad that we didn’t keep up with a project we started as a means to grab hold of the happiness in our lives, I like to see the lack of posts as a good thing. As we began to look closer each day to find the good things in our lives, it became less necessary for us to document it. (We’re not the only ones who had this idea. has been in existence since June of 2008, and has even launched two books, international and New York Times bestsellers.)


As more and more things happen that are shocking and saddening, beyond my scope of comprehension, I find myself coming back to this idea: One good thing, every day. My mother has always told me to focus on the positive aspects of things and to let go of my worries when there’s nothing I can do to change things that have happened. Like the old adage that if you fake a smile long enough, it will become real.


So for the first time in about four years, I’m going to post something to our blog. I encourage you all to do the same thing; post something positive online, write it in a diary or just send it as an email to yourself as a reminder that no matter how bleak the world can seem, we can each become a shining light.