Have you heard the phrase…”Count your blessings”? It always seems to be the catch phrase when someone starts to travel down a negative path. Maybe your mother always reminded you to “Count your blessings” when you began complaining to her about your job or your spouse.  You may even be complaining about your kids and all that you do for them!

A Fresh Start

With the beginning of a new year, it seems to inspire the desire to make a fresh start. The need to focus on something new and fresh. Maybe it could be freshen up the house or get a jump start on the Spring cleaning.  Well, since the idea of spring cleaning does not always inspire me, we decided to try a different idea!

Each January, in our house, we do a fresh start but with an empty Blessings Jar.

One thing my husband and I have tried to instill in our two girls from the time they were very little was to “count their blessings” and to realize how blessed we are in comparison to so many others across the world.  The blessing of just where we live.

It can be so easy to fall into the trap of complaining. Or focusing on everything we don’t have…like not having the newest PlayStation, or the latest Peloton bike, or maybe the new car in my driveway like my neighbor.

Does this sound familiar? Is it any wonder that our kids want all the latest and greatest things too?

What if we started this new year differently?

What if instead of focusing on everything we don’t have or wished we had…we took a moment to “count our blessings”. To appreciate all the experiences we enjoyed or all the things we did have throughout the year?

Our Blessing Jar

We have a mason jar on our kitchen counter in our home that starts out empty each January. Throughout the year, our family takes post-it notes or scraps of paper and writes down what they are thankful for. They may write down experiences they want to remember that are important or special to them and place it in the jar as it happens.

This doesn’t have to be big things either, sometimes the smaller the better. We have had notes in the past indicating that they were thankful for learning how to ride a bike, or maybe just a Sunday afternoon bike ride with Dad. Maybe your children are older like mine and you are thankful that the entire family sat down for family dinner together or that impromptu picnic in the park last week.

Each family member writes down their “blessing” and places it in the jar to be read at a later time. Throughout the year, we fill our jar with scraps of paper with all that we treasure or are thankful for until December 31.

On December 31, we pull all the papers out of our Blessings Jar, one at a time, and read them out loud and reveal who wrote it.   We then take a moment to smile a little more, laugh together, and remember all the things that we enjoyed over the past year, BIG or SMALL, and be thankful for each and every moment.

Recognize Our Blessings

Since we began recognizing our blessings, we realized that we were a little more positive and more appreciative of what we have around us. When we have a sense of gratitude, we find we also have an attitude of thanksgiving.

Now, I can’t promise it will fix all the desires and complaints in your household, or even fix those fights that seem to break out between siblings. Let’s face it, even as adults, we still have “fights” and disagreements with our siblings.  Maybe it just might make those long, cold January days a little warmer and brighter, as we look with fresh eyes of gratitude at the circumstances and people around us each and every day.

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Laura Miller
Laura was born in California and hasn’t moved far since, a true California girl at heart. She and her husband John have been happily married for 25 years. They are blessed with two amazing daughters, Allison (20) is attending college locally and is studying to become a Nurse and Kristina (16) is finishing her Junior year of High School and already dreaming big dreams. Their last member of the family is a 10-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Stewie. He is the attempt to help balance out the female hormones and not sure that worked out for her husband. Each day, Laura and John strive to support each other and hopefully not mess up too badly as they raise their girls in this crazy world.


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