Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

Masthead header

Happiness Jar by Pam Asberry

People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, so when I discovered this post on her Facebook page a few weeks ago, well, I couldn’t wait to join the fun. I promptly pulled one of my grandmother’s old blue canning jars from the kitchen cupboard and set it on my nightstand. That evening, as I climbed into bed, I called to mind the happiest moment from the day. I wrote about it on a slip of paper, folded it up carefully, and tossed it into the jar. I slept like a baby.

I have tried keeping gratitude journals in the past but that always seems to fall by the wayside after just a few days. Every morning I scribble three pages in a journal; after that, I try to spend an hour or two working on my fiction writing. The truth is that by the end of the day it is hard to face yet another blank page. But I am happy to say that this latest habit has stuck. Every evening, it is quite pleasant to close my eyes, mull over the day’s events, and decide which one is going into the jar. Admittedly, there has been a time or two when all I could remember was turmoil and chaos. But more often it is hard to choose just one blessed incident to add to my collection.

I have already outgrown the small jar I started with, graduating to an empty vase from a gift of fresh flowers from a faraway friend. If I had been keeping a happiness jar at that time, no doubt that surprise delivery would have gone on record as being the happiest moment of that day.

To add to the fun, several of my friends have also started the practice, and their jars are also overflowing with happiness. As we approach the holiday season. I encourage you to find a way to document all that you have to be thankful for. And if you decide to start a happiness jar of your own, I hope you will take a picture of it and send it to me!

Pam Asberry



Carol Burnside - November 15, 2012 - 1:47 am

What an awesome habit, Pam! I’m sure it will be fun to look back one of these days and revisit the happy moments that made up your days.

Laura Russell - November 15, 2012 - 3:48 am

So glad you decided to post this. I have a couple gratitude notebooks. I start, I stop. I do notice I feel better when I write in one. The jar could make it easy enough to do each day. I am going to try this.

Marilyn Baron - November 15, 2012 - 7:14 am

Great idea. Thanks for sharing it.

Debbie Kaufman - November 15, 2012 - 7:21 am

Wow, there are some days that this little process would help put right back into perspective. And, hey! Gift idea! I’m going to make a pretty one complete with pen and papers for someone I know :)

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2012 - 8:04 am

I look forward to that, Carol!

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2012 - 8:05 am

This is so much easier than keeping a gratitude notebook, Laura. And it is really satisfying to watch the jar fill up. I hope you will enjoy the experience as much as I do!

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2012 - 8:05 am

My pleasure, Marilyn! :-)

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2012 - 8:06 am

I hadn’t thought about that before, Deb, but this really is a great gift idea. Hm…

Susan Carlisle - November 15, 2012 - 9:02 am

What a great idea. My days get so wild sometimes I need to be remind of the good things that happen.

Blythe Gifford - November 15, 2012 - 9:02 am

Here’s another way to go about it. Every morning for years, the first thing I’ve done at the computer is to send an email to two dear friends with “three things” I’m grateful for from the day before. (And see theirs later in the day, of course.) At first, it was a struggle to get to three. Now, five plus is common. We’ve really encouraged each other to look for the good everyday. I highly recommend the practice!

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2012 - 9:34 am

Exactly, Susan. And it takes so little time.

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2012 - 9:35 am

That’s a great idea, Blythe. I wonder which two friends I might be able to convince to join me in this practice…

Sandra Elzie - November 15, 2012 - 10:28 am

What a great idea you have!!!! Okay, I’m ready to jump on the bandwagon.

My first entry will be having a 16 year-old granddaughter who has asked me to help her (critiquing) in writing a YA series that she wants to e-pub. OMGoodness! Yup, this made me very happy.

Pam Asberry - November 15, 2012 - 10:44 am

That makes ME happy, Sandy! I will be first in line to buy a copy of that book! Okay, maybe second–after you! ;-)

F O L L O W   U S
R E C E N T   T W E E T S