The Joy Jar, A Reminder of Happy Times

Some events and happening we remember, no problem, others require a little prompting, and there are those that need full-on reminders. I’m quite happy not remembering every bad thing that has happened, every sad event, forgetting some of those are fine.

The good things, happy events, fun happenings, those I want to remember in detail. When I did my last post, most of those events were things I remember (my niece’s wedding, my birthday party) others needed a little jog, once jogged I remembered the event in detail.

How can we jog our memories so we remember the wonderful times we’ve had over the last year (or month, or week, it’s your life you choose.) This year I relied on pictures and my calendar, and some events were still overlooked, eating at the Melting Pot for the first time, putting on a blouse that was now too large, which was definitely a joyous moment. How can I avoid forgetting such stupendous events? I’m going to use the Joy Jar again.

I first wrote about the Joy Jar here after I learned about it from my friend and relationship expert Shel Harrington. While most of Shel’s posts are about keeping your relationship strong and intact, sometimes she has ideas that can be used if the relationship is no longer, like the Joy Jar.

The first time I did one, it was more of a Joy Bowl, but it worked.

The next time I tried an actual jar, might have worked if I’d used it. This year I’m using a small bag purchased in New England a couple of years ago with a coffee mug inserted to give it some stability and body. The pen fits in the cup, the note pad not so much, but since there are three I should be able to find something to write on when the occasion arises.

It doesn’t matter what the notes are written on or where they are kept. The important thing is to make a notation when you do something, or something marvelous happens. You can date them or not, I prefer to have dates on them, it’s my little nod to organization.

At the end of the time period, there are a couple of options. I’m sure there are more ideas, these are just the ones I thought would work well.

  1.  You could do like I did and simply write them down.
  2.  You could simply pour them out and read them on New Year’s Eve or New Years day as you drink your beverage of choice and listen to your favorite music.
  3. You could find pictures that accompany many of the events and make a photo album for your year. I’ll be doing one in print because I like holding books and looking at them, but it could easily be done digitally too.


The Joy Jar not only helps at the end of the year, it helps throughout the year too. Once I got in the habit of writing the joys or happy days I began to notice more of them. Also, my friends liked being part of the Joy Jar, once I told them about it, they’d ask if time with them would be going in the Jar.

Having the Joy Jar makes me more aware of the good things going on in my life.

While I do the jar for a year, it could also be helpful during super rough patches. If it seems like every time you talk to someone it’s more bad news, start a Joy Jar to help make you more aware of the happy moments. Once you’ve traveled that rough valley, take time to look through the jar and remind yourself that no matter how bad it was, there was some good happening too.

Have you ever done a Joy Jar?

What kind of container would you use for a Joy Jar?

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A Toast to Last Year


Let’s all lift up our beverage, tea, coffee, soda, water, alcohol, whatever is your drink of choice, and toast 2018, it was a good year. I know it’s the middle of January and New Year’s toasts and posts are in the past, but this thought has been on my mind. Overall, for most people, 2018 was not a bad year. Oh sure, there were some bumps in the road, but for most of us, most of the year was good.

Yet, I keep hearing and reading things like, “thank goodness 2018 is gone,” or “glad it’s a new year, sure hope it’s better than last year.” Of course, we all want a new year to be better than the previous year, if not we’re going backward. Except, it’s not just wanting to go bigger and better, it’s the idea that last year was horrible, bad, with no redeeming qualities.

If we go through our memory bank, and calendar, and journal, and anything else we use to note happenings, chances are we will find several good things. In no particular order, just as they came to mind, some of the pleasurable events of 2018 for me were:

I was able to attend several stock shows and watch my grandchildren carry on a family tradition and show their livestock.

Had the honor of seeing my first grandson show and make the premium sale at Tulsa which is a very big deal.


Compete in a speech contest (didn’t win, but the contest was fun.)Attended and sold books at two quilt shows

Attended several creative days.

Attended the Oklahoma Toastmaster Conference.

Spent Friday before Mother’s Day with my son.

Found someone who can, and will, fix the floor.

The floor is fixed and new linoleum

Spent the night in Dallas and enjoyed time with extended family after attending niece’s wedding.

Had a mom’s day with friends on Mother’s day, we went to the movies, lunch, and window shopped.

mothers day outing 2018

Attended another grandson’s graduation.

Was able to walk up the steps of Red Rock to watch graduation ceremony.

Found someone who would mow my one-acre lumpy yard for a reasonable fee. Did not have to mow my yard all summer.

Had an all-expense paid getaway two of them in fact. Spent time in OKC.

A shower is being added to my tiny bathroom.

Had Thanksgiving with my daughter and her family.

Found someone able, and willing, to upgrade electricity

Took a spontaneous trip to Memphis and Nashville Tennessee

Attended and set up at a craft show in Vinita, no charge

Had a booth at the Pontotoc County Fair, fee waived. enjoyed the generosity of a friend who invited me

Participated in my first every art show with textile art.

Attended Launch out – a conference for dreamers and builders, I am definitely a dreamer.

Watched a vintage baseball game.


Attended Sisters-in-Hand dinner in Ada with friends

Had family Thanksgiving with my sister and her family, brother and his wife, sons and their families

Helped all six grandkids celebrate their birthdays in one way or another

Attended Sisters-in-Hand dinner in Ada alone, made new friends

Participated in Dale Carnegie class, free

Had Friendsgiving with the creative ladies

Ate at a Farm to Table Dinner


Someone else paid for my Farm to Table Dinner

Guest of a generous friend to supper and a concert

Sent Christmas Eve with my sister and her family.

Celebrated Christmas night with one son and his family.

Participated in a quilting round robin

Had a special day to celebrate Christmas and eat an Italian dinner with my sons and their families.

Washer and dryer hook up moved.

Celebrated my birthday with a party, family, all showed up along with many friends.


That’s a lot of happy events for the year, and not to mention the birthdays of my children and their spouses or those of friends. It doesn’t count days I played with a friend’s grandchild or had a fried pie from Kim’s (oh my gosh, they are wonderful). With all of that good, how can the whole year be bad?

What good, better things will happen in 2019? I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out, I just don’t want to trash 2018 because it was good in its own right. So, lift your drinks,  “here’s to you 2018, you were okay, and in the words of Bob Hope “Thanks for the memories.”

hello goodbye collage







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Ditching the Television, SoCS


Several months ago I ran across a blog participating in Stream of Consciousness Saturday, possibly this one, Linda G. Hill. The idea is to write and not edit, except for typos, using the prompt given. Now, I don’t normally edit heavily, and you can probably tell. However, I do sometimes start a post multiple times because I don’t like the way it sounds. Since I’m a little behind on the Ultimate Blog Challenge, it seemed logical that writing and posting for SoCS would help. It was worth a try anyway. The prompt this week was television.

When my husband first died the television was one of my lifelines. The noise it made helped me feel less alone. The people on the screen felt like company, it wasn’t just noise, there were people in the house. The television also made the house feel less empty when I returned after leaving for errands.

As time passed I became less dependent on the television, its noise, and the illusion of guests.

It started when I turned the set off one morning. Eating breakfast as I watched whatever program was on, it occurred to me that the show held no interest for me. Since I had a radio, I turned off the television and used the radio for noise. Worked well.

At first, I’d turn it back on in the evenings when the darkness tried to invade the house. The television kept it at bay and I could watch it while sewing, or doing something else. This worked well until summer when I seldom turned it on. I’d be outside most of the evening, and by the time darkness was creeping in the bed was calling my name. No need for my television guests.

After a couple of summers of not using the television, turning it off permanently had a lot of appeal. First of all, it would save me money, and that was my driving factor. Doing the math one day I realized I was paying five dollars to watch the two programs I enjoyed. More really, because the shows didn’t come one every week.

After a little research, I learned the programs I enjoyed were available free (I like free) online the day after airing. Of course, they are only available for three or four weeks before they are put behind a paywall, but that isn’t a problem.

There are several options for watching the programs I enjoy, all of them on the computer. I still have the radio and a CD player for noise if I feel the need, as well as a CD player if there is a movie not available online that I want or on those occasions when my internet goes down.

This post was written to be part of SoCS and I will be linking to them if I can figure it out. It didn’t help me write a post any faster, because I kept going off on tangents and deleting the posts to start again. But, it did get finished, so that’s the good thing, and now I’m one step further in the Ultimate Blog Challenge.





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A New Food to Add to a Healthy Diet

It’s Fitness Friday and part of fitness is eating healthy. Last week I bought Jicama again when I bought it before, it went bad before I got around to trying it. This time I wanted to be sure and eat it before it ruined.

To begin, what is Jicama? Leaving out all the science mumbo jumbo it is an edible tuber used in a lot of Mexican cooking. One man told me it was like a Mexican potato, I’m not sure anyone of Mexican descent would agree. The flavor is more like a juicy, apple.


It has to be peeled like a potato, and unlike the potato, the skin should not be eaten. It’s best to peel it with a knife rather than a peeler. 

jicama from internet

The Jicama can be cut into strips and eaten raw, which is my preference at the moment.

jicama from internet

I tried roasting the strips of Jicama, was not impressed. Will try cutting the next one with the mandolin for more of a chip.

Also tried them with dips, guacamole, ranch, hummus, and peanut butter. The Jicima flavor or texture was too much contrast for me.

Finally, I tried frying them, like potatoes. I know, I know, frying isn’t good for us. I disagree a little-fried food now and then doesn’t hurt. However, in this case, I won’t be frying them again, it was too much work and the taste didn’t wow me.

There are a few more ways to prepare Jicama to still try. I’ll do that this week and report back to you.

On the exercise portion, am adding walking to the exercise program either doing a walking video or using my phone to count steps. The recommended amount of steps for health is 10,000, sometimes we have to work up to that. I’m currently at 5,000 steps a day.

The bike riding continues most days. Still at 16 minutes and 45-second sprints, although the resting time has reduced to 2.5 minutes. Push-ups and stretches are also continuing.

I am almost tempted to use the exercise portion of this post as a second post since I’m behind on the Ultimate Blog Challenge. But, I won’t, and I will catch up.

What is the most exotic food you’ve eaten?

What is the most unusual food you like to introduce to your friends?




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Wednesday’s Words

Some people do Wordless Wednesday since I seem to prefer to go against the traffic I do Wednesday’s words. Here are today’s seven phrases, thoughts, ideas, to inspire, motivate, or simply entertain you. Some are mine, some are not. Enjoy

This first one reminds me of the saying, “He (or she) knows just enough to be dangerous.” Dangerous to who?

A little knowledge sunrise meme

This plaque was at a craft show. I liked it and had to have it.




find your pupose blackboard meme



changing our thoughts changes our actions

This one just made me laugh when I saw it, it reminded me of when my kids were teens, or anytime teenagers, especially teen boys, were in the vicinity.



Also found this plaque in a store and took a picture. It’s a little dark, but it says,  “Be what God made you. You are Unique.”

Be original sign

There you have it, seven phrases to make you smile this week. Hope you enjoy them.


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To Move or Not to Move, That is the Question

I always heard, and many “experts” still advise widows not to make any drastic decisions or changes the first twelve months after their husband’s death. What about after? Is it better to move or stay in the familiar home?

There have been several moves in my lifetime. Moves made with my parents, over which I had no say or control and moves with my husband which were usually job-related. There were a couple of moves that weren’t totally because of his job, but it often played a part. This time, if I choose to move it will be because I want to and for no other reason. Except maybe that my kids all want me to move too, but their vote is not a deciding factor.

Shortly after my husband’s death, I moved, there was no waiting. Of course, I moved because we had bought the house just before he died and it felt like I needed to finish what we had started.


I am currently giving some thought to moving again, this time closer to my kids. Should I move? Should I stay? As I ponder my future, here are some of the questions I consider:

Am I happy where I am? I am happy where I am, and I could be happy elsewhere, so this question doesn’t help me much.

Is my house too big or just the right size? My current house is really too small, or at least arranged weird. However, since I’m in the process of decluttering, this size is probably best.

If I move what would I want different? Water nearby. A lake or pond view is best, but a pool in the backyard will work. Like this pond at my current house

the pond

If I move what would I want the same? Space, so my neighbors aren’t in my hip pocket. I’m not a town or city person.

Would I be able to continue meeting with my friends or would I have to cultivate a new set of friends? Since I wouldn’t move that far, meetings with my current friends could continue. 


How do I feel about meeting new people and bringing them into my life? Not sure if I want to go to the trouble of finding and cultivating new friendships. 

How would I spend my day, compared to how I spend it now? Same

Is there a financial difference? A different house might cost more which would make the mortgage higher otherwise the same.

Is medical help easier, harder or the same? Same

Can I afford the move? Yes.

If I move it will be across town more or less. Others consider moving across the state or country, which would include other questions about moving the large pieces of furniture.

Have you considered moving for reasons other than a job?

What questions would you ask?



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Raising the Full-of-Life Widow


live your life


Life is for the living, which means if we are here above the dirt, awake each day we need to live life. Enjoy life. Embrace life. It’s hard. Here are a few things I try to remember, they might help you:

Being perfect isn’t what’s important, it’s making the attempt, sometimes more than once.

It’s okay to cry when emotions run high.

Create a Joy Jar or Joy Journal to track the best times.

Avoid being over critical. If it can be improved, great, improve on the project or activity next time.

Be willing to learn something new.

Write down when something new is learned, that makes it easier to remember how much has been learned in the past week, month, or year.

Try something new

lawnmower race-coming around the corner

Never too old to LawnMower Race

Google and YouTube are your friends, they can teach you how to do most anything.

Forgive yourself if you make a mistake.

Be nice to yourself.

Acknowledge one to three gratitudes each day. Write them in a journal, on the calendar, or twitter, or just say them out loud.

Eat a real meal at the table rather than grabbing a handful of something and eating over the sink.

These ideas help me live and embrace each day and to live happily.

What do you enjoy?

What makes your life happy?

What do you do to encourage happiness?

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