At the end of 2014, I ran across an idea that Dennis and I both wanted to try. We were in a difficult place and wanted to be intentional about looking for joy in the ordinary.
The late Barbara Johnson was known for her humor and catchy book titles. In Splashes of Joy in the Cesspools of Life, she transparently shares how she decided to embrace joy in her life’s struggles. She created a “Joy Box.”
Inside this box, she put items that brought her joy. On her blue days, she would pull out the box and look through the contents.
Her joy mementos outgrew the box. It kept growing until her husband built an addition onto their California ranch home. Barbara’s Joy Room was a reminder that they served a God of joy.
A Christian book publisher liked the joy box idea. Lovely yellow joy boxes were available for sale at Christian book stores. (Dennis received one as a gift from me when he was in a dark place.)
Little Joys All Year Long
Last year, we started a new tradition to do just one thing – remember the little joys all year-long in a memory jar. The purpose was to notice something good, touching, or meaningful by recording it on a slip of paper. Pinterest was full of ideas and free printables.
I repurposed a clean quart-size mason jar by gluing on a “Good Things in 2015” label, and placed it in a prominent spot in our dining room.
All the big memories are never forgotten, but it’s the little joys, the teensy things that tend to get forgotten. ~Jaden (Steamy Kitchen)
The idea is to fill the jar with your favorite memories throughout the year. On New Year’s Eve (for us it was New Year’s Day), empty the jar and enjoy reading all of your memories from the year.
Dennis and I alternated reading aloud the memory written on the slip of paper.
Our Good Things in 2015
- Family memories
- Funny things our grandblessings said or did
- Blessings of provision
- Protection (we traveled A LOT)
- Answers to fervent prayer
- God showing Himself strong when we faced challenges of weakness and temptation
When every slip was read, we were struck with more than the joy-filled memories the year contained.
What really rocked us was seeing how incredibly faithful God had been to us during the year.
What little joys do you remember about 2015?
Are you able to see God’s faithfulness?
This is a permanent tradition for us. Recounting all the memories from the past year spurs us on to look for and record every joyful and happy moment we can.
What did we do with the memories we pulled from the jar?
WE THREW THEM AWAY!
Bad decision. Bad. Bad.
Next year, I’m planning to keep those slips of paper and record them in a Memory Book I found to make on—where else?—Pinterest.
A Joy Box, Memory Jar, or Memory journal—whatever way you want to count it all joy in 2016– at year’s end you’ll marvel at God’s faithfulness.
You are loved,
If you’ve been blessed by this post, or found our ministry helpful to your marriage, and are interested in helping to support our cause as we continue to work towards making marriages stronger, please consider checking out our donation page.