Thursday, September 5, 2013

Filling the Joy Jar

One of the many resolutions I made for 2013 - and one of the few I'm actually keeping - was to find a way to better appreciate and remember some of the everyday miracles that fill my life. I decided to create a Joy Jar.

This wasn't an original idea, but one that stuck with me for ages until I got around to implementing it. Not that it was a difficult process: all it took was an oversized jar, a few minutes online browsing to find a graphic that appealed, and a few more minutes to assemble them. Put them all together and voila: the Joy Jar.


Because I am known to be just the teensiest bit lazy, I knew that I needed to make this as easy to use as possible. Thus, tucked beside the jar are a pen (printed with the cover of my first Superromance!) and a pretty heart-shaped glass bowl filled with bits of blank paper. The papers are small, just scrap paper I've torn into quarters or eights. This is key. A very wise woman once told me that people feel a need to fill the entire space they have to write upon, so a full sheet of paper is often too intimidating. Scraps are far less scary. There's no pressure to make the thought so involved or important it justifies the use of a whole sheet of paper. A few words, hastily jotted, will suffice.

And indeed, that's all that's written on most of the papers I've tossed in the jar thus far - a few words to remind me of something big or small that brought me joy. It could be something that happened, something I saw, something someone said - any moment that I want to remember. Things like:
  • making my deadline
  • the sight of freshly washed clothes hanging on the line
  • taking the final dose of a medicine  that upset my stomach
  • sitting on the glider on our deck with a latte by my side and a notebook in my lap
  • the night my daughter was actually excited to do her homework

Nothing that would make the news, nothing that would have meaning to most folks - but rereading those slips of paper takes me back to those moments and leaves me with a smile in my heart.

At some point around the end of this year - maybe on Christmas night - I'll dump out all the bits of paper and read them, reliving the year one joy at a time. And then, the good Lord willing, I'll start collecting a new set of joys.

What are some of the things that would be in your joy jar?

16 comments:

Mary Preston said...

My great joy right now is the fact that the wattle has finished for the year. Yay - no more hay-fever.

kris said...

Oh, Mary, that sounds like something that is DEFINITELY worth celebrating!

Kaelee said...

Kris ~ what a wonderful idea. I think I'll make one for me and for my sister next year.

My most recent joy was a trip to Banff yesterday. Just being in the mountains gives me joy!

kris said...

Kaelee, do it! And hey - the Jewish new year starts today (L'shanah tovah, everyone!), so this is also a great time to start.

My memories of my one brief visit to Banff bring me great joy, so I can well imagine how wonderful it must be to live the real thing!

Jennifer Lohmann said...

What a lovely idea!

kris said...

Jennifer, it's one of those things that was so quick & easy to do and has reaped such rewards that I'm kicking myself for not starting years - nay, DECADES ago!

Anna Sugden said...

What a fabulous idea, Kris! My lovely hubby is a great believer in taking something good out of each day and he's getting me into that mindset too! :)

This year the jar would be filled to overflowing - debut book out this month :), 50th birthday trip to Antigua, signing a contract for 3 more books, first grandbaby imminent, a whole week of fun with my pals at RWA ... and so it goes on!

Rogenna Brewer said...

I'm going to start calling you crafty, Kris :) What a neat idea.

Some days, like this morning, I take a few minutes to sit out on the back stoop and watch my garden grow.

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

Kris, what a wonderful idea. I love it. Hearing my daughter laugh fills my heart with joy.

mary sullivan said...

Kris, what a wonderful idea! I love it. If you don't mind, I'm going to borrow it.

This summer, the thing that has brought me the most joy is taking swing dance lessons with my grown daughter. We're learning the Lindy Hop, and it's an absolute blast.

After our class this Tuesday evening, we went for a walk through the University of Toronto's campus and found a spot where we could practice. Dusk was falling and the night was clear and warm, and we enjoyed each other's company and the dancing. The neatest thing was that no one passing by thought it odd that we were dancing in the park without music! They just smiled and walked on...

Jo's Daughter said...

I'm sooo going to copy that & make my own jar of joy! What a great idea, I think I would put many moments in there spend with special people. Love is all that matters and always brings me joy :)

kris said...

Anna, you are absolutely having a year that runneth over!

Rogenna, trust me, it was definitely not an original idea. But I'm glad it stuck with me! A few minutes in a garden sounds like a truly joyful way to start your day.

Tammy, I don't think there's ANYTHING that's a joy-inspiring as a child's laughter.

Mary, absolutely use this idea! And oh, how utterly delightful that you seized the moment and danced in the park with your daughter. You probably incited some joy in other hearts as well.

Jo's Daughter, you hit it square on the head. Love is the greatest joy of all.


Emma said...

notes from family and friends.pictures.

kris said...

Emma, absolutely perfect.

linda s said...

I may try this. Life is full of small pleasures. This morning my 3yr old grandson opened the door as we were coming in from the yard. When I went to catch it from him he smiled and said After you gramma. Too sweet.

kris said...

Linda, oh, what a perfect moment! Your grandson sounds like a total doll. Reminds me of the little guy I saw leaving the hairdresser who paused at the door, looked back, waved, and called out, "Toodle-oo!"

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