The new year, for me, is a time of transition. It is the time of year when I look back and reflect upon the past year while trying to look forward into the new one. To be honest, I find the new year melancholy. Amidst all of the reveling I can't help but focus on the year(s) gone by... how fast my children are growing up, those that we have loved and lost, things that have changed, and things that have not.
Over the past few years I have had some significant changes in my life and because of that I have become more mindful about being grateful. I no longer focus on the negative, but try to embrace the positive. One way I do so is by keeping a gratitude journal. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really does help me to keep things in perspective. While I don't write in it daily, I do try to write at least three things I am grateful for each week. Some weeks there are more entries, some weeks there are less. That's okay. It's not about the quantity, it's about the quality.
Once I started compiling a list of all that makes me thankful I became more aware of what I wanted to carry with me or create more of in the coming year. For me it's the simple things, but these are the things that we often take for granted.
In an attempt to involve my family in my gratefulness project I created a Grateful Jar. I introduced it to my family last year on New Year's Day. I explained what it was for and placed it in a prominent spot on our kitchen counter. Beside it, I made sure there was a constant supply of small slips of paper and a pen. The idea was simple; starting on New Year's Day, and continuing on throughout the year, we were to put gratitude notes in the jar. The slips of paper were small to make the task seem less daunting. On the jar I wrote a list of ideas to write about:
- good things that happened to you
- surprise gifts
- accomplished goals
- "LOL!" moments
- memories worth saving
- daily blessings
To my delight, the notes accumulated and on New Year's Eve we opened the jar and read all of the wonderful, silly, funny and awesome things we were grateful for throughout the past year. Here are a few of my favourites:
- we had pizza
- snow days
- playing cards with Nanny & Papa
- I scored a goal in hockey
- eating rice with chopsticks #YOLO
- good health
- dinner tasted good
- sleeping in
- Pillsbury Dough boy cookies ("Mom is clutch.")
- getting a point in The Game of Things
- I have good friends
We had fun taking turns reading the notes out loud and remembering good times. We were all surprised at how many notes there were! It is a humble reminder of how truly blessed we really are. I recommend you try it. There are all sorts of inspiring ideas on Pinterest, but really all you need is a jar, some scrap paper and a pen. If you want to get creative I have attached a link to a free printable below.
for a free printable tag thanks to
Among the many things that the Gratitude Jar has taught me is that sometimes it is merely the thought that counts. I often get so caught up in trying to find the ' perfect recipe' that will please everyone when truthfully, most are happy with the thoughtfulness of the effort. Hence, when I read the note that said "I am grateful for Pillsbury Dough boy cookies" I realized that perfecting a homemade batch of chocolate chip cookies isn't necessarily what is needed to please my kids.
I just so happened to have a leftover box of these cookies in the fridge....
and when the kids arrived home from school to a fresh baked batch of Christmas cookies on a chilly January day they were all smiles. Some days it's the thought that counts and for that I am grateful.