It was so fun to read through my year last night! My Blessings Jar is like a manageable journal. I've never been good at keeping a journal, but reading through my blessings cards was like looking at snippets of my year. Often if I did something (dinner, movie, games) with friends or family, I would put who was there and what we did.
This post may get a little long, but here is the layout (so you can skip what you don't want to read!). Themes from the year, a few of my favorite cards from each month, and a few song snippets that were on my heart this morning that relate to blessings.
Themes from the Blessings Jar of things that bless me:
1. Holding babies and playing with kids.
2. Hugs and good conversations.
3. Nature--sunshine, snow, rain, rainbows, cool weather, fireflies, and a fox.
4. Quiet evenings at home.
5. Watching TV shows and movies with friends.
6. Good sermons.
7. Conviction of sin and conquering sin patterns.
8. I love my small group and Sunday School class.
9. Headache free days.
10. Productivity--cleaning, errands, paperwork.
11. Good sessions with clients.
12. Getting off work early and vacation days (I'm a little ashamed at how often this made the blessings jar!)
13. Lunch and dinner with friends/family.
15. Nail polish (Hey, it made the jar twice!)
17. Hymns and other favorite songs at church and BSF.
It was funny to me how complete opposites would bless me. Although sunshine made the list more often than rain, they were both there. And quiet evenings at home were just as much of a blessing as game nights, movies, and dinner with friends.
Specific blessings from each month:
January 8--Dinner at the Burke's. Taylor Quote: "How do I get away from the vegetables?" Joe: "You don't. You eat them."
January 28--Laughing so hard that you cry!
January 30--Pastor Kevin went out in the cold and wind to start my car and pull it up to the door! I LOVE the family of God!
Feb 1--A letter in the mail from Joyce--I love snail mail!
Feb 7--My client told me she had to give a speech about someone she admired and she was going to pick me but she didn't know enough background info.
Feb 25--Started planning a surprise visit to Arizona in April; "And Can it Be" at BSF
Feb 27--Spoke at AWANA--was unsettled until I started speaking; booked my Arizona flight to surprise Dad for his birthday
March 2--The Chris Forsberg family arrived in Illinois! [I don't know why I worded it this way, but I thought it was funny!]
March 10--Lazy day with the window open so I could listen to the rain.
March 26--Thankful that when I'm having a really bad day, I have friends I can text/call/stop by their house to pray for me and listen.
April 10--2nd to last night of regular AWANA--the girls are so faithful to want to memorize Scripture--what an encouragement!
April 21--Happy Birthday Dad!; Great sermon at church--we have confidence in God, not in the present circumstances surrounding us. The faithful, covenant keeping God will finish His work.; Sunshine!
April 26--SURPRISE!! A successful surprise visit to see Dad, Amy, Daynah, Josh, and the boys.
May 2--The look on a mom's face at work when she heard that her kids were getting returned home to her
May 16--Coney's with Emily. The first soft serve ice cream of the summer!
May 22--Quiet evening at home; Ben & Jerry's cookie dough ice cream!
May 25--Meg and Dan's wedding and the whole family being together and the cutest nephews in the world!
May 30--Forgiveness. God will not give up on me...
May 31--Kari's birthday dinner and ice cream and a cheesy Christmas movie with Kinsey and Kari. [This one made me laugh because I completely forgot that we watched a Christmas movie that night]
June 1--The most amazing full double rainbow I have ever seen! Games at Kelli and Peter's with Kari, Josh, Emily, Ash, and Ben
June 25--A "thinking of you text" and an encouraging email.
June 27--Traever and Andrea's going away party; Fireflies in a field.
July 2--Lunch with Katie, Ginger, Abigail, Hannah, Tabitha, Taylor, and Hudson; Stayed up until 2:30am reading a book :)
July 24--Jeans in the summer because it's cool enough to do so!
July 25--A success story from a former client; Because of cancellations, I got to spend the afternoon with Dad at some of the Metrokids sights with Mission Peoria.
Aug 9--Half day at work and then a drive to mom's; ice cream with Aunt Teresa and Jake
Aug 13--A client no-show when I had a migraine and couldn't decide whether to cancel
Aug 25--A really good sermon on Philippians 2 and how it relates to unity within the church.
Sept 15--After yesterday's sermon about not grumbling or arguing, I thought I had a better handle on my attitude at work than I usually do.
Sept 20--A good session to end the week; Burke's for dinner and to watch the season premiere of Bones.
Oct 3--Thunderstorms, a rainbow, and a gorgeous sunset!
Oct 6--Waking up bundled under the covers because my room was 63 degrees! A high temperature in the 50s.
Oct 22--A rainy day; 5 appointments back to back--feeling productive [I mostly put this one to show myself that although I like getting off work early, I am also blessed when I work hard!]
Nov 11--My first peppermint hot chocolate of the season; the first snowfall of the season; a good message at BSF
Nov 27--Games with John; fuzzy blankets; naps when you are sick
Nov 28--Happy Thanksgiving--one long table and 16 people to enjoy the day with.
Dec 1--Christmas decorating day, ending with a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.
Dec 17--4th Annual Cheesy Christmas Movie Night with Amanda, Becky, Emily, Sarah, Holly, and Naomi watching Moonlight and Mistletoe
Dec 26--After Christmas shopping with Mom
Songs about blessings:
Count Your Blessings:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Darrell Evans, Trading My Sorrows:
I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength
Laura Story, Blessings:
'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
These songs all speak about hard times leading us to count our blessings. I think they stick in my head because of one of the reasons I started a Blessings Jar at the beginning of 2013. I am a pessimist by nature. I try hard not to be, but it doesn't always work. So the Blessing Jar project was a way to help me focus on the positive things, even when things don't seem to be going how I want them to. Look back at Mar 26--that was a really rough day for me. It was the day of my uncle's funeral. I had gotten a text from my sister that made me break down about 5 minutes before a work appointment. So I sent a couple of texts asking for prayer and made it through the appointment. But I was still feeling pretty low, so I stopped by a friend's house without calling first and just sat with her and her family for a few minutes. It is those kind of days that I have to search for the blessings and I found them in my friends that day. That is why I want to continue this project in 2014.
I hope that my journey with my Blessing Jar was an encouragement to others this year as well! Remember to count your blessings, name them one by one...
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