updated 01/22/2014 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/22/2014 AT 6:00 PM ET
Millions of viewers tuned in to see Trista Rehn fall in love with Vail, Colo., firefighter Ryan Sutter on The Bachelorette.
Ten years after the couple said “I do,” Trista, the 41-year-old wife and mother of two, had plenty of material to write her first book, Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart.
“It’s really about gratitude and it’s told through some of my own stories and other stories I’ve learned about through Ryan or my mom, friends or people I’ve read about on the internet,” explains Trista, who details her struggles with infertility and her difficult first pregnancy with son Max, now 6, that lead to a harrowing emergency Cesarean section.
Hearing her son’s cries for the first time was a life-altering experience for Trista, who, from that day on, embraced gratitude in a way she never had before. Two years later, daughter Blakesley’s arrival, too, had its own drama as Trista had an arduous trek to the hospital during a blizzard. After Blakesley’s smooth delivery, Trista decided to do daily posts about her life, a tradition her kids now take part in.
“We talk about our favorite part of the day every day,” Trista says of Max and Blakesley, 4. “Actually it’s gone into favorite parts of the day because Max says, ‘I love this and this and this.’ ”
The tradition sparked an idea with Trista, who created the Grateful Heart collection with Glory Haus.
“In writing the book I’ve always been a huge gift enthusiast,” she says. “We created the grateful heart collection. My favorite is the ‘favorite part of the day jar.’ You write down your favorite part of the day or the month [and put it in the jar]. And there’s an appreciation jar, which is a good gift for a teacher.”
When it comes to her own life, Trista says without hesitation that her heart is full of gratitude thanks to meeting Ryan.
“It’s an understatement to say that I hit the jackpot,” she says. “I want to be a better person because he is such a good person. He is the top of my list of things I’m grateful for.”