Wow, when my mom told me that the years go by faster as you get older she wasn’t kidding! I feel like 2013 flew by (well, parts of it anyway!). We had a year of ups and downs. Health scares, financial setbacks, birthdays, vacations, and unexpected blessings. One of the things I decided to do this year was a “Good Things” jar. I found the idea on Pinterest, and thought it would be a good way for us to keep our minds on the good stuff that happened during the year.
Basically, you set up a jar somewhere in the house where every family member can access it. Keep a pen and paper near by. Anytime something “good” happens in the eyes of a family member, they write it down and put it in the jar. These things could include goals reached, funny moments, surprises, beautiful weather, nature, and daily blessings. What I liked about this is that the focus was so broad. In the past, when we have tried a Blessings jar, it seemed my family felt like something “big” had to happen in order for them to write it in the jar. So I thought this might be a way for all of us to see that there are so many every day small blessings that happen to us!
Once we got past Thanksgiving, my kids started to get excited about opening the Good Things jar. They started talking about it and their excitement only grew as the end of the year drew to a close. The first thing they asked me the morning of the 31st was “can we open the jar?”.
These are just a few of the excerpts of the great memories from our jar:
1. I got my learners permit! (a big step for my child that has been wanting to drive since he was seven!)
2. I got new sneakers! (from my youngest who had worn holes in his other ones).
3. Daddy is healthy. (from me)
4. Vacation. (We all put this one in. It was our yearly trip to North Carolina that we weren’t sure we were going to take this year. It came at just the right time).
5. We got schoolbooks. (also from me….we had some unexpected things come up that took up the money I had been saving for school…but between the crew and good friends, I got what I needed.)
6. Daddy made fried doughnuts. (from my youngest 🙂 )
7. Visiting grandma. (from my oldest).
Here is the thing I got most from this little snapshot of 2013. First, one thing you can count in life is that it is almost ALWAYS unpredictable. Sometimes it can be unpredictable in a good way, but other times not so much. This year my husband had two major health issues that we had to deal with, one of which was very scary. Looking back now, I am thankful for the small things (like fried doughnuts) that made us smile during those times.
Second, I can make as many plans as I want, but ultimately God has control, and sometimes I have to just let go (which is the hardest thing for me). I worked so hard this year to get money saved up for school stuff, and I spent hours planning EXACTLY what we were going to do. Then, between broken down cars, a broken AC and a HUGE electric bill, and my hubby’s doctor and hospital bills, poof! All those plans went up in smoke. I have to admit, I just about panicked. But here’s the thing, I had friends from my homeschool group step up and offer to let me borrow stuff that turned out even better than what I was planning. And I got some great stuff from the crew that I would not necessarily have chosen, but ended up being great.
Third, 2013 was certainly a struggle, but you know what? We ended up okay. Yes, our plans changed, and we did not end up where I thought we would at the beginning of the year, but that’s okay. Because we have had some beautiful moments, and the tough moments have brought us closer together. I, personally, have learned more patience, more flexibility, and an even deeper dependence on the Lord. I think that seeing us go through the struggles and working through them with a strong trust in God to get us through is setting a good example for our boys.
Finally, the attitude you choose has so much to do with your perspective on things. If you choose to focus on the negative, then it is going to make it harder for you to see the little good things that happen. If you choose to focus on the positive things going on, even when it seems like there is so much bad happening, it makes it easier to find the small blessings in each day.
What does 2014 have in store? I’m not sure, but I am ready to find out. Of course I hope for a little more sunshine and less rain, but whatever comes I know that we will get through it together. Happy New Year to all of you!