The Good Things Jar and Gratitude


“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

Rare it is for me to revisit a topic covered on this dear blog, but revisit I will the Good Things Jar and with good purpose. Last January it was an idea. This January I speak from experience! I want to share with you what it ultimately meant to me, and thus perhaps inspire those of you who have not explored this simple practice, or maybe hear from those of you who did try and had a lovely result!

“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Good Things Jar (mine pictured above, and more offerings from readers at the original post) was intended simply as a place where we might jot down blessings as they came upon us in our daily lives, dropping said notes into and kept in our own chosen Good Things Jar, with the intention of opening it up on New Year’s Eve as a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the many ways we had experienced the graces in our lives, and to reflect with gratitude on those events and experiences. I thought it would be a fabulous way to end the year, and to set the tone for the upcoming year, and, in fact, it was.

Write the wrongs that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble. Let go of all emotions such as resentment and retaliation, which diminish you, and hold onto the emotions, such as gratitude and joy, which increase you. —Arabic proverb

Equally, if not more importantly, having my Good Things Jar sitting on my private altar all year long actually encouraged me to be thinking of things to add to it, thus directing a positive orientation, in a quiet anticipation of the miracles, large and small (if one can make such a distinction), that visited me regularly, as I’m sure they do you as well. I saw immediately the value of this, of course. The Good Things Jar set my course towards gratitude, a blessing in itself. My dearest teacher, Angeles Arrien, in her book Living in Gratitude posits, “Perhaps the key reason we do not make gratitude a part of our daily lives is that the accelerated pace and multiple distractions of modern life have simply made it all too easy to forget gratitude’s importance.” The practice of having a Good Things Jar is a shortcut to expressing gratitude that will live with you throughout the entire year. Imagine the joy of sharing all the good things that will happen to you throughout 2014 with those you love on New Year’s Eve. Imagine the joy of sharing with those you love on New Year’s Eve the ways in which they have contributed to your heart and soul throughout the year, and the loving impact that would have on your relationships!

“There are three medicines that you should put in your medicine bundle every day: the power of acknowledgement and gratitude, genuine apology, and the spirit of laughter and joy.” ~ Angeles Arrien

In opening my Good Things Jar on New Year’s Eve I found myself reading of my gratitude for a new red Jeep (!!); for continued praise, coverage and sales of my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy; for designing and putting in place my own headstone [Oh, yes, I did; eventually will be posted. I promise!]; for the love and joy of my daughter in beautiful Hawaii; for good health; for the invitation to work on my all time favorite client’s new book this year (!); and many many more wonderful things to be grateful for. I also learned something. One note expressed great joy that my beloved kitty Sweet Pea had finally gotten “the right treatment” and was well. And in that moment it appeared like that. Still, within a month she had crossed over out of that broken body, leaving that particular note as poignant and giving me perspective. I could also express gratitude, however, that within two hours of leaving that body she appeared to me distinctly on the back steps, in the exact spot she had been sunning herself that morning, in the form of an alligator lizard–never seen before or since in my many years in this home. Thank you, Sweet Pea, for that reassurance. Very kind.
And so it goes, my dearest readers, life unfolding. The graces and miracles acknowledged, remembered and appreciated. I hope you will consider finding a jar–any jar would do, really. The original idea I’d found on the Net featured a mason jar. Why not? Whatever works. I found this to be a simple enlightening practice, and I could readily see a mother or grandmother introducing this fruitful idea to the young children in their lives. What a memorable gift that would be! I can also see couples having a shared jar that they read from at the end of the year. Wouldn’t that be enlivening and romantic?

Let me know what you opt to do, will you? And how it works out.

Meanwhile, please allow me to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who visit this blog and have for years and years. It is the readers who make the blog meaningful, a blessing to the blog writer. Thank you. Happy New Year!

Love and many blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Footnote! Received following from friend Carol, whose yellow pitcher Good Things Jar was featured on original post:

Kathryn. here is my NEW 2014 Good Things Jar. Had the jar and had decoupaged it in October but not happy with it. Spent a couple of days looking at images, cutting and gluing (use Mod Podge, white glue and a little h2o) and then, the fun part, creating an embellishment to dangle ’round the top. Have it up front and center on the table this week so I am in the habit of almost daily Gratitude slips. (I cut a few strips and have them easily accessible.)

Thank you for the inspiration and do enjoy your blogs,


Love this! So creative! Thank you, Carol! 🙂

Book News: More gratitude here expressed for the continued five-star reviews that are being posted on the Amazon page for Plant Whatever Brings You Joy! My heartfelt thanks to those known and those unknown. Each is a treasured gem for which I give thanks daily. Knowing my book has touched your heart encourages me to continue spreading the word in various venues. Thank you! <3

6 Responses to “The Good Things Jar and Gratitude”

  1. Wonderful idea, and great post, mom! Your red jeep is fantastic, and should be praised. Love that pic of SweetPea, and Love you. <3


  2. Thanks, Antonia! Love you, too! Mom xoxo

  3. Oh, this post is one of my favorites, Kathryn, as .I’ve been keeping a journal of daily Gratitudes for years; listing at least 10 things that occur to me to be thankful for. It’s amazing to review those lists..surprising, too. Some things that might pass me by during the day, pops up in consciousness the next morning…(“OH, YES, THAT…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.”

    Blessings & appreciation,

    p.s. tomorrow morning’s Gratitude List will contain your book & blog “Plant Whatever Brings You Joy.”

  4. Hi, Marlene and welcome and THANK YOU! It’s marvelous that you’ve set up that practice for yourself to make a daily list of what you are grateful for! How admirable! I’ve counseled couples on occasion to set up Gratitude Journals and to make note of at least one thing every day that they are grateful for in their partner. It’s amazing what a transformative exercise this can be! Truly the seemingly simple act of feeling and cultivating gratitude is a healing force available to us all. Thank you for sharing what you do! And thank you for your kind words and ongoing support. Kathryn xoxo

  5. What a beautiful idea! We all need to be more aware of the small joys in life. It’s difficult when we let every day stressors get the best of us. I am going to get myself a Good Things Jar started today and share this idea with my daughter, she will love this! Thanks, Kathryn.

  6. Good morning, Julie Anne, and welcome! I’m delighted that you are inspired to start a Good Things Jar. I’m hearing same from folks through email and FB messages! I’m so happy others are joining in, and especially pleased you will share with your daughter! Enjoy! Kathryn xoxo

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