Kicking Deployment and Taking Names: Jar of Gratefulness

“You’re in here,” I said to my husband. I held up the clear jar and shook it, rattling the pieces of paper inside around so that they plinked softly against the glass. He looked at me blankly, blinking his eyes, head cocked to the side, looking every bit the skeptic. So I explained.

I started my first jar of gratefulness approximately three years ago. It took another six months for me to become semi-serious about what was to essentially become an exercise in faith. It could be that I came across the idea in one of the many books I read that summer or it could have been the product of a quick, but very valid bout of loneliness (or it very well could have come from Oprah *insert Kanye shrug*.

Either way, it came to me and the results (real or imagined) were phenomenal. I often take the jar out and re-read the strips of paper, marveling at which things have come to pass – much I like I do with my vision boards.

Now, I’ll confess right now – I am a vision board junkie. I am. I’ve hosted vision board parties in connection with my (former) business (a dance studio). Personally, I try to create a new vision board each year and there’s nothing like the satisfaction that comes from reviewing the board at year’s end and seeing how many of the items on my board came to fruition.

The jar of gratefulness takes that up a notch, passes the idea that putting things out into the vast universe causes them to manifest, and crosses the bridge into absolute faith.

Here’s how it works (for me, at least):

I wrote my wishes/goals on strips of paper in pen (to signify permanency) as though they had already come to pass. In fact, I went so far as to thank God in advance for blessings (which is apt because as a chaplain, my husband must sometimes remind me (in my weaker moments) about just how much we have to be grateful for).

I was also as specific as possible. Let’s go back to my words to my husband. About four months before our (that is, my husband and I) paths crossed again (again, because we’d met once before, years ago – although he claims not to recall that meeting), I added a strip of paper to my jar of gratefulness that essentially thanked God for brining my (then non-existent) husband into my life.

On that slip of paper, I wrote…actually, here’s a photo of what I wrote that I recently posted to my personal Instagram feed (@fire_esquire):

What you’ll need to create your own jar of gratefulness:

  1. A mason jar or similar vessel. If you’re fancy, you can spend your money at Hobby Lobby or Michaels…orrrrr you can be “from scratch crafty” (i.e. cheap/frugal) like me and use an old, CLEAN😁 spaghetti jar. Feel free to make your jar super snazzy. I’m crafty, but lazy, so I didn’t. But don’t let me be a bad influence.
  2. Slips of paper, sticky notes, note cards.
  3. A pen or sharpie (or colored gel pens if you’re feeling nostalgic.
  4. Decorations for dayyyssss. Also known as glitter, glue, ribbon, etc. Blow up Michael’s.

You can also repurpose (aka cut corners, you cheater!) something like this Wish Jar from Amazon.

(It’s cute, or whatever and they have different ones to choose from).

Either way (I.e. regardless of whether you go the crafty route or the easy route) the Jar If Gratefulness is a great activity for military spouses wading their way through a deployment, or anyone really.

Also, I would like to say “Helllloooooo Life,” and peek out at you from behind my cup of tea (aka “shame”) because this post has been a month coming. I don’t look presentable right now, so here’s a cute puppy dog instead:

close up photography of fawn pug covered with brown cloth
Photo by Burst on

I’ll do better. Scout’s honor.

Anyway…do you do vision boards? What methods do you use to manifest YOUR dreams and live in gratitude?

Share Your Thoughts Here, Milspouses!

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