The 2014 Joy/Happiness Jar Challenge

#JoyJar #HappinessJar 2014

Do you like challenges? I always like a good challenge that doesn’t involve alligator wrestling, bungee jumping off a bridge or sticking my hand in a bee hive. If you like those sort of challenges, good for you. I’ll fearlessly root for you at a safe, dry distance with the first aid kit. I’ll remain poised, ready to punch in the numerals, 9, 1, 1 on my cell phone, and I might even take a photo or two for posterity’s sake. But then my fingers wouldn’t be poised and ready to punch in 911, would they? Scratch that then.

In late December 2013, I accepted a friend’s Facebook invitation to begin a year-long Facebook challenge to keep a Joy/Happiness Jar for 2014. The instructions were to begin writing little notes on January 1st and continue throughout the year with our joyous life events, and dropping them in a jar or container until the following January. I loved the idea and being an optimist, I found a larger-than-normal Bell jar at Walmart and couldn’t wait to begin filling it. I went a step further—I bought beautiful papers at the craft store on which to write. I cut the 11×14 sheets of paper into one-inch squares and away I went. I’m a Virgo. We do things like that, but I didn’t decorate my jar, which many friends did. I was proud of my restraint as I remember the year I decoupaged everything in my home that didn’t move. Trust me…everything.


January 2014 was the perfect year to begin my joyously, joyful Joy Jar as many lovely things happened to me, my family, and our friends. The previous year would have been okay, but the little notes would have included more personal wishes than joyous occasions as I was still waiting, waiting for many projects to take flight and situations to unfold. There were engagements, weddings, graduations, new babies, reunions great trips and road trips, new adventures, and my publishing contract with Booktrope Books in February. After many years of quering agents, my historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, was accepted for publication! A huge blessing. It was very easy to think of joyous, surprising, and amazing occasions this year, for which I am thankful. When nothing newsworthy happened that week, I wrote that I was happy to be alive, healthy and safe as were my kids and my family.

Yes, we experienced a few disappointments, some sad moments, confusion, major delays (my book), frustration, a big fright, and a bit of anger, but that’s life. I lost my beloved Pug, Ozzy. RIP, buddy. We must take the good with the bad. Thankfully for my family, the negative moments were short-lived, and many of those moments unveiled hidden blessings for which we are extremely grateful for today.

So, I have less than ten days to finish filling my Joy Jar, which is nearly full. This afternoon, I wrote ten joys on ten little squares of paper and dropped them in the jar. On New Year’s Day 2015, I will empty the contents, unfold the notes, and read back over the year. I am thinking of having some type of ceremony–a symbolic burning of the small, folded pieces of paper as an offering of thanksgiving for all our many blessings in 2014, along with prayers. That sounds good to me and appeals to my spiritual side. After the ceremony, if I don’t catch the house on fire, I will go out and ring in the New Year with friends and family.

Christmas blessings to you and yours. x