“If I don't say this now I will surely break
As I'm leaving the one I want to take.” –The Fray
“Is there a chance something could happen?” she asked. “You know … with the surgery.”
I knew what my eight-year-old daughter was asking. Although it had just dawned on her that something could go terribly wrong, the thought had plagued me for weeks.
“Well, it's possible, but not likely. People have surgery all the time and they come out just fine—actually, they come out better than before. I think that is how it will be with me. But we can pray.”
And so we bowed our heads my child let her fears and hopes be known.
I decided to keep my greatest fear to myself—the one where surgery sabotaged my plan of doling out daily bits of love, wisdom, and guidance as my children grow.
If I could bottle up my love I would. I thought to myself.
And then I remembered—there was a way to bottle up my love. I’d shown a group of 31 fifth graders how to do just that a few months ago.
It was a writing gift for someone special in the students’ lives. I’d written several sentence starters to help the children divulge the Important Things—words that need to be said but are often difficult to mutter. The children were instructed to complete three of the sentences on pretty paper, roll it up, tie it with a ribbon, and place it in a Mason jar. The sentence starters were as follows:
- I’ll never forget when you …
- I appreciate how you …
- I’m sorry that sometimes I …
- What I love most about you is …
- I have you to thank for …
- Five words to describe you are:
- Our family wouldn’t be the same without your …
As I read the writing prompts out loud, a sea of eager hands filled the room. The students couldn’t wait to share their responses—they wanted to say them right then and there. So we set aside the writing exercise for a moment and just listened to each other.
I was surprised that all the children in the classroom wanted to participate in the sharing session. I was stunned by their heartfelt responses that touched on difficult topics such as divorce, moving, illness, scary events, and poor choices the children had made. It appeared that these particular writing prompts didn’t require deep thinking or eloquent expression; the answers came easily. It also appeared that these sentence starters were not intimidating. Anyone could complete them. In fact, there wasn’t a single child in the room who wasn’t motivated to finish one of these sentences and bottle it up with love.
The exercise was such a success in my daughter’s classroom that we did it in our home for Father’s Day. Just like the fifth graders, my children found this exercise to be much easier than writing an entire letter. My daughters actually thought of multiple responses for each sentence starter and seemed to genuinely enjoy the activity. My older daughter thought to cut her responses into strips and tape them into curled circles. My younger daughter followed suit. It was quite brilliant because it made the gift last longer. I’ll never forget watching my husband’s large hands peel back the dainty pieces of tape to reveal something tender or sweet written by his children. I loved how he read the responses out loud. Some of the humorous reflections from my younger daughter made our family fall over with laughter. The jars created a special memory for our family that day.
As I faced the first of two surgeries in early July, I knew that making the jars for my family members would give me great peace. Just imagining my husband, children, and sister sitting around the kitchen table reading the contents of their jars while I was in the hospital gave me great comfort. And in the unfortunate event that I didn’t return, my family would have these little notes of wisdom and affirmation to read over and over until they became worn from excessive handling. Because of their potential importance, I tried to make my responses a little funny … a little serious … and very truthful. I did my best to tell my loved ones things I’d never told them before.
It only took me 30 minutes to type out the responses, cut them into strips, staple them, and place them in the jar with chocolate kisses and a flower. For someone very un-crafty, I thought they turned out quite adorable.
The jars came to mind as I laid in the recovery room after surgery. I’d woken up from the anesthesia quite disoriented and scared. I remember asking for my husband. The nurse said he would not be able to join me just yet. So I blindly reached for a hand, any hand. I found the hand of the student nurse in training who I’d grown quite fond of in our short time together. As she squeezed my hand gently, I thought of my daughters’ little hands opening their notes. I could see their smiles and hear their giggles. It gave me great comfort in my time of fear.
When I came home from the hospital I asked my sister what she thought of her jar of notes. Between taking care of the children and providing health updates to my parents, neighbors, and friends, she admitted that she’d only had time to read one note. But what she said next was quite powerful: “I loved the first note so much that I’ve decided to spread them out and read one slip a week. I am going to use them to brighten my days—in case I need a lift,” she explained.
And that is when I knew this exercise should not be reserved for holidays or surgeries. It should be done right now, today, for every living being we love and adore.
Because the truth is, sometimes it’s hard to articulate the words our loved ones need to hear.
And sometimes our days are so packed that we barely have time to say hello and goodbye.
And sometimes frustration, stress, and fatigue cause us to hold back loving words to each other.
But we cannot let these everyday obstacles prevent us from saying the most Important Things—those affirming words that bind us together, carry us through, and brighten our days.
Thirty minutes, my friends. Thirty minutes.
How about we forgo the tv sitcom? Let’s allow the emails to sit in the inbox. We'll save the dishes for later.
Right now we have the chance to leave a lasting imprint on a precious soul.
I cannot think of a more important use of our time.
I cannot think of anything more precious in our the hands of our beloveds.
My dear friends of The Hands Free Revolution, recovering from two surgeries has brought me some unexpected gifts – the gift of reading, resting, and card sending. I have so much goodness to share with you—I think there is a little something here for everyone:
- The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow: Simplify, Embrace the Chaos & Discover an Abundance of Time at Home by Shawn Fink – If you are continually lacking time, constantly too tired to do what you want to do, or frequently feeling overwhelmed and maxed out, you will benefit greatly from owning this easy-to-read & implement book. Shawn Fink does not tell us to stop our busy lives—she inspires us to savor the life we have by guiding us in a new direction. Using real-life examples, clever savoring slow “invitations”, powerful mantras, and perspective changing insights, Savoring Slow helps us find more hours in the day—specifically, the hours that make life worth living.
- Nobody: A Book About Bullying in Schools Author Erin Frankel uses this beautifully illustrated picture book to tackle the subject of bullying in a very unique way. Not only are child readers offered the perspective of the boy being bullied, but they are also able to see the needs of all involved (the bully, the witnesses, and family members). This hopeful book is a powerful tool for talking about bullying, enabling children to see their unique quirks as strengths, and for helping children navigate their own feelings and relationships.
- Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected – Kayla Aimee has written an unforgettable book about being thrust into the premie mom world, yet this book is about so much more. Touching on difficult topics such as infertility, marriage strain, and financial turmoil, Kayla leaves nothing out of her story. With a knack for story-telling, the gift of humor, and a voice of gratitude, Kayla describes loss and hope in a way we all can understand and apply to our own personal situation.
- Totlosophy – Dianne does not just create personalized stationary, she “saves memories” in the most beautiful way. I was introduced to Dianne’s unforgettable work when she saw me present at a speaking event in Indianapolis. She gifted me with a set of cards that contained a quote from my small nephew. It was something he pronounces correctly now so I cried when I saw the beautiful memory: “Can you put these wocks in yuw pocket?” I urge you to go look at all the beautiful quotes Dianne puts on watercolor art. My favorite card says, “Be a silver-lining spotter”. I have my own set and have a hard time parting with them. But when I do, the recipient always comments on the exquisiteness of the card. (See picture below.)
- This summer I have worn my ‘i choose love’ aqua bracelet every single day. For some reason, it has been important to keep that baby on me at all times. Last week, in those hundreds of beautiful & encouraging comments you left on the “Loss of Life” blog post, one reader reminded me why. She said she keeps these words visible and thought I could use them:
“Today I will choose love. Tomorrow I will choose love. And the day after that, I will choose love. If I mistakenly choose distraction, perfection, or negativity over love, I will not wallow in regret. I will choose love until it becomes who I am.”
–Rachel Macy Stafford
If you are like me and need a wearable reminder to choose love, there are now two colors! Check out the aqua green and the new gorgeous pink. ‘Only Love Today' is still our most popular wristband and both the lavender & classic brown are currently in stock!
Thank you for being part of this incredibly supportive community. My recovery is strengthened each day by your presence and encouragement. Please let me know if you are going to fill glass jars to say The Important Things. It would totally make my day.
First, I’m glad to hear you’re doing well. Hope your healing continues on a quick path.
I have been reading your blog for quite some time but never comment. It’s beyond amazing that every day I read something that I desperately needed to hear. You are blessing more people than you can ever imagine. This post was absolutely beautiful!! I will definitely be doing this!! Words are powerful, but written words are even more powerful. To always have that to go back and read … you’re truly “writing on the chalkboard of their hearts”. Heard that from Dr. Phil one time when he was talking about our words and how they affect our children. I think I’ll even use this project as an anniversary gift to my husband so he can truly feel appreciated, loved and treasured.
THANK YOU for who you are, what you do and what you write. God bless you and that beautiful family. Rest up and let others take care of you!!
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, Diane. I am so glad you commented today — your words are a gift to me. You presence is a blessing.
Laura langford says
Mary Eberly says
thank you for being a gentle, lovely reminder of what reality should be, not the spin cycles we allow ourselves to be caught in. and, yes, glass jar is in my future.
Jeannie Thyroff says
Hi Rachel— I love reading your blogs. They are always so uplifting. I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time right now. I know with your family around you, lots of rest and caring, you’ll be feeling better real soon.
I am definitely going to do the love jar. I have five grandchildren, ages 3-12. I tell them I love them all of the time. This will be a nice way for them to read individually how much they really mean to me. I’ll add a few chocolate kisses to the jar, which I know they will love. Thanks for the great idea. Continue to rest and heal.
Lisa C. says
I’m so glad to hear you are recovering well and giving yourself what you need to heal. It is not an easy thing for all of us “do – it- ourselves” personalities to do.
Thank you for the suggestion of the glass jars, I love the idea!!!! To often I figure they already know how much I love them or I’ll do it later. Little do we know how that could come back to bite us. We never know when our later will end and the people in our lives are too precious to miss out on the opportunity to hear how we love them. I am planning on working on this immediately for my entire family.
I truly appreciate reading the posts you put out there for us. I’ve yet to read one that doesn’t resonate deeply within me and remind me of what is truly important. Like many of us, it isn’t that I don’t know this but more that I’ve become “too busy” and forgotten. Your reminders are so lovingly given to us so that we can waken from the sleep we are in and step back into actively living our lives. For that I thank God for giving you the inspiration.
I pray you continue to heal and enjoy the time with your family. I look forward to continue this Hands Free journey with you.
Mary Erlain says
Glad to hear that you are recovering your strength with each passing day. I loved your post and will definitely do this for those I love. What a great idea!!
Have a great day!
Thank you for sharing this post. I am leaving next week to go on a mission trip my high school students. My two children are so sad that I’m leaving, even though it’s only for 5 days. I will leave them with jars full of love for them to enjoy while I am gone. Thank you for this wonderful idea. Blessings to you.
Nina Deibler says
So glad to hear you made it through the surgery well and are on the road to recovery. I remember having similar thoughts to this when I went in for my C-section with my son. I remember thinking, what if something happens? What will my 5yo daughter do? Why am I doing this? I was so scared. It never occurred to me to leave something like these jars for her. I’m starting work on this TONIGHT! Thank you for always sharing your inspiration (and making me tear up every time I read a post!)
What a lovely post. You had such a thoughtful way of taking care of your family at a time when you needed to be taken care of, too.
Julie Mann says
I’m making jars this weekend for my daughter and parents who’ve kept me going through widowhood.
Thank you for all you do, for the continued reminder that love is always there and always our North Star.
May your recovery be swift and full of love!
Thank you…simply, thank you.
I so very much love this idea. I am going to start with making one for my husband and daughter. We are not a perfect family but I do feel that if something happened to one of us tomorrow we would know that we were loved by that person. However, I love the idea of being able to read those words and see yourself through someone else’s eyes when you need an encouraging word. So I am going to start with my husband and daughter and then start working on the rest of my family, starting with my brother who is recovering from an addiction. I think it will really help him. And I am going to encourage the rest of my family to make one for him as well. Glad you are recovering and prayers for continued healing! Jean
I am definitely filling jars today. Fantastic idea!
Thank you, Rachel. Sometimes it seems you can see into my head and know just what to say when I need it the most. This is a perfect idea and just reading it picked me up out of a horrible slump of negativity and resentment.
This is a beautiful idea and one I will start in our home today! I think my boys will absolutely love it. Thank you for sharing your life, love and wonderful ideas. You encourage me to be a better mom and person, and you help me feel like its ok to embrace my faults because after all, I’m still a work in progress. Thank you for your gentle reminder to be kind to myself so I can be more to my family. I hope you are finding continued strength as you recover and we are keeping you and your family in our prayers. 🙂
I am absolutely going to fill a jar today for each member of my family. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely story! God bless <3
your beautiful words always touch me….they speak to me as if you knew right where I was at….I feel often as I am going through all the similar things that you and other mamas go through, that I am not alone! Thank you for being you! Can’t wait to do the jar!!!
Kristi R. says
Love this idea. I just started reading your 1st book after following your blog for quite some time. I recently refused to allow my 2 young kids to take their Kindles to an away tournament and instead we chatted the whole time. At first they were upset, but it was so nice to engage with no interruptions for 90 minutes STRAIGHT in the car. 🙂 So glad to hear you are recovering well and still able to spoil us with your life-changing insights, ideas and encouragement. Thank you!!
You are so vulnerable (in a very good sense), authentic and loving! Thank you so much for sharing. I love the jar with the notes. And now I know what I will be making for my brother and his bride to be!
While reading your words, I also thought it would be really nice to make something like this for myself. Yesterday, I was talking to my husband about how I (and a lot of people) tend to talk to myself in not so much positive, loving words as I deserve. People are so critical to themselves! How wonderfull would it be if our self-talk was mostly loving. Making a jar for yourself could be are beautiful beginning and reminder!
Beautiful post. I had given all my nieces and nephews a business card with their name spelled vertically and used the letters to start adjectives describing them last Christmas. (example below)
I had been wondering what to do for my natural and foster kids, and now I know. It might take me more than 30 minutes but I think it just might be the best thing ever (especially for the fosters).
I have been reading your blog and book for awhile now and this post is just what I needed to hear today (as most of your writings do, they come at the perfect time for me 🙂 This is something I am going to do with my kids THIS WEEK. Thank you for your heart and for putting your ideas and thoughts out there to help moms like me!!
Lauren Dack says
Once again, your words echo the cry of my heart and the lessons I’m learning, too. It’s so healing to read your words, and to be invited into the story of your life. Thank you for sharing! Thank you for this beautiful idea! I’m not crafty either, but I like to pretend sometimes. 😉 This post is particularly meaningful to me because my mother died when I was 1 year old. I started writing my kids letters because I think about that. I think our own mortality is a little more present in our minds when we lose a parent or when we undergo surgery. She was 29. I am grateful to be 31, and with an awareness of the love and messages I want to leave my children. It’s easier for me to write it down than to live it, though. I’m learning and growing in that. My last blog was about those humble lessons. I’m sharing it because I think you will relate and hopefully you’ll like the relational needs. They’ve been a game changer for me. http://laurendack.com/2015/07/16/needs-based-parenting/
I pray you heal and rest well.
Sending love to you and yours,
This is an awesome idea and a beautiful post! When I stopped crying, I knew I’d do this soon! I did this on a deck of cards (52) for my husband one year for Xmas. And I know he opens it up and remembers the things I love about him when he needs it most. But I love doing it for my child too. Awesome, awesome idea! Many continued prayers for you and yours! You are loved and appreciated!
Jean Thompson says
Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are such an inspiration. I always read, then share your post with my friends on Facebook, and almost always get lots of “likes” and/or comments. This jar idea is just what I need . . . you see, my precious granddaughter is off to college in three weeks. She and I have always been so close – she is so special to me. This will be excellent for her to take with her!!! Just to share with you . . . when she was in middle school and little older, she and I mailed handwritten letters to each other throughout the year. I had been telling her how that seemed to be a lost art, so she was all for the opportunity to share thoughts just between the two of us. We only live ten miles apart and see other often, but these were precious and priceless. Thank you again for being here for all of us. So glad you are on the road to recovery. I will remember you in my prayers!!!!
Thanks for today’s post. On Friday of this week, my first (biological) granddaughter will turn 17. I constantly am saying to myself, “Now where did that time go?” I’ve decided that part of her birthday gift will be a jar with memories in it (some of which she will not even remember, I’m sure). Thank you for helping me to do something special for my (almost) grown-up granddaughter.
Laurie Stone says
What a great idea and something I want to start in my own family. Sometimes (okay, many times) the words aren’t said. The feelings may be there, but the opportunity doesn’t come. This is a way to get many heartfelt discussions going. Thank you.
I love this idea! I am going to implement it this week! Thank you for sharing.
Beautiful idea. I’m going to do this for a friend who is moving away. Also think I will start this,with some modifications, for my first grand baby who is 5days past due :-).
Diane Wade says
I’m beyond humbled that you would mention me, I really appreciate it and I’m so glad you enjoyed those cards! I am definitely a card hoarder, too! In fact, sometimes I give myself card-giving challenges to encourage myself to share the love!
The start of school is a couple weeks away, and my school aged girls are already nervously talking about class assignments and if their lunch tables will be the same… It’s such a stressful time of year for me to, so I’m going to make jars for them so they can grab a little extra love whenever they need it.
Thanks so much for taking time to share these ideas with us, even in the midst of your own healing!
What a wonderful way to show the love for your family.Thank you for such an inspiring story,many prayers for your speedy recovery.
What beautiful, inspiring words you have. Thank you for sharing always. Get well soon. You always seem to express in words how we all feel about our children. They are precious miracles. Thank you.
Chris Carter says
Oh how I just LOVE this idea!! It reminds me of “Blessings Jars” I had my kids make for all our family members for Christmas. I had the kids write on cut paper like yours, several blessings in each person’s life to put in the jar that I spray painted with glitter paint, and tied a bow on the top. I instructed the kids to think of that specific person and come up with things they can be grateful for in their lives…
It was such a time consuming exercise for them! It took months!! They worked on one jar at a time and the practice of ‘others’ thinking was good for them. They revealed beautiful insights! We made about a dozen jars.. and they packed them with beautiful blessings that each person could read as they wished, much like your sister- to uplift them, inspire them, and remind them about all those things in their life that are worthy of praise.
I can only imagine how comforted you were going into surgery, knowing your beloveds had those beautiful notes from you to unwrap and read.
I’m so grateful you are okay… praying for healing, for peace in your recovery road- because I know all too well, that recovery and healing take TIME. And that process can be incredibly painful. I’m so glad to know you are filling your heart with such good things, to get you through. <3
And so, tonight, I wrote a letter to my nearly five year old, who will be celebrating his birthday at 5:42am. Thank you! He is my tumultuous sensory-filled musical loud deep and intense boy who loves to hug and snuggle, who cannot stand when I yell because it hurts him so much (and who tells me!!). He asks the world such deep and detailed questions. He connects with and jokes with everyone he meets. He pummels people when they hurt him, and gets hurt right back when he hurts them.
I am so glad to be able to wake in the morning and share my letter with him. And then to write to my husband and my older son, my mom, my sister overseas. Thank you for the prompts!!
Ralitsa Peeva says
Thank you! Your words – full of love and so much wisdom- change the lives of so many families every day. Each of us, the rushed, tired, exhausted, worried and frustrated moms who read your blog, discovers meaning and peace in your words every single day.
I read your blog to my clients when they need beaitifully written and heart felt words to calm them down, to bring them peace. I read them to my children. I read them to myself.
I wish you a gentle fast recovery. You have friends all over the world.
Rachel Stafford says
“I read your blog to my clients when they need beaitifully written and heart felt words to calm them down, to bring them peace. I read them to my children. I read them to myself.”
Wow. What a gift you have given me to tell me this, Ralitsa. I am so touched. I won’t forget these words.
Hi there, I’ve responded to your blog before and now follow your blog since the first time I became aware of it. I’m praying for you and your family and pray you will be back to your normal self soon. It’s hard being sick when you’re the mommy.
I appreciate this post so much, I just lost my father a month ago – he was only 61 years old and I’m not even 40 – I keep thinking I’m too young to be without him and there is so much of my life and my children’s lives that he is going to miss….but mostly, I think about all of the things that I had said in anger, frustration or stress and so many of things that I didn’t say or share even when it was at the end. I believe he knew how I felt because I showed it in my actions by caring for him at my parent’s home for weeks before he passed, but I plan to do this for each of my remaining family members so there won’t be any doubts or regrets – they will always know what I think of them and how I feel about each one of them. Thanks so much for this wonderful idea…
Rachel Stafford says
Ary – I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I have no doubt he knew how much you loved him — it comes through so clearly in this comment you left. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your story. It is a powerful reminder and I am confident it is just what someone needed to hear today.
Elizabeth Anne says
I made jars like this for my parents last year for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, for just this reason…our relationships have been strained for years and I was looking for a way to express love to them. I concentrated on happy memories from my childhood that I could thank them for because I have always had a tendency to remember unpleasant things more readily. I came up with 40 slips for each, which was way more than I thought I could, and the most amazing thing happened while I was writing those slips…I began to feel more loving towards them. Making these jars turned out to be a gift to myself every bit as much as it was to them.
This is just beautiful – your words and the idea of letting words be the gift we share with each other in precious jars. I hope your recovery is going well.
Jadie Jones says
Wow I love love this idea!! I am a fifth grade teacher and I can’t wait to do this with my class. What an amazing gift for family and friends too
Thankyou! I am going to visit my Nanna and Dad this weekend … mother and son, both strong, hardworking, seemingly limitless, but now recovering from huge operations. I was wondering what to take them … it’s not like they need anything, and it has to be from the heart. My heart is full but I wasn’t sure how to express it with something I can leave with them.
Now I know what to make, and can’t wait to get started!
Your are such an inspiration. I will be making the jars for my loved ones. It’s a beautiful and needed thing. I’ve been so busy, so stressed. But I will take the time to do these. Thank you for all that you share. I hope your recovery is smooth and you live a long and abundantly happy life! <3
Diane Romagnoli says
We’ll wishes for a speedy recovery. I just discovered your blog today via a shared post. The ring of truth in your loving words and actions describe my family’s present moment. Fifteen years ago I created a Memory Jar for my boys who were in college at the time–those precious years when they return to the nest and realize you are so much more knowledgeable than you were when they were adolescents! The tiny sticky multi-colored dots that held my strips together are still visible. My memories retold the tales and antics of my sons Jason & Matthew. The love of family is palpable, the humor they brought to our lives and the lessons they learned along the way. This is a gift they’ve held onto all these years. A most cherished gift as tragically Matthew was killed in an auto accident this past January. He leaves a wife and two children. The oldest will celebrate her third birthday soon and the youngest his first. My daughter in law has returned the Memory Jar to me. What a generous, gracious act! Addy loves hearing stories about her Daddy and when we have sleepovers a bedtime ritual of ‘Once upon a time . . . Daddy’ is her favorite. I recant the tales of his chiare her favorite stories. The Memory Jar has become priceless. The advice to your readers to create now and not wait is a gift you are bestowing for present and future moments of bliss. I am so happy I discovered your work and have alot if catching up to do. Thank you for sharing and giving me the opportunity to do the same.
Clare Kennedy says
I haven’t met you, but I love you and your family very much. I would have been truly saddened if anything would have happened to you. I am going to make a jar for my mom, dad, brother, husband, daughter, and best friend. i am also going to share this beautiful story on my facebook page. my daughter can’t read yet, she’ll be three next month. so i am making a time capsule for her! love to you…
Rachel, thank you for the uplifting posts you submit to your ‘thirsty for a good word’ readers, including me. This idea is one that will excite students, encourage family connection, and inspire anyone that is blessed enough to receive them. Sometimes God puts us in a place to rest and discover more of Him and His plans for your life. I pray that while He is completely restoring your body, that your eyes are opened to receive ALL He has for you….it’s all good! I will be passing this on to others. Thank you!
Thank you Rachel, another beautiful and inspiring blog post. Reading your book and these regular updates has really helped me in grasping more precious moments with the ones I love most. Thank you for sharing your story. I am making a glass jar for my sister tonight. Such a beautiful idea, thank you x
What a lovely idea. How precious and h0w special. I shall be making these glass jars. x
Dear Rachel I am so glad and relieved that you are doing well after your surgery. I just had a hip replacement,wish I had known about “The Jar” idea. I am 89 years old and in the last several years lost my husband and two of my sons. Your note on the cards brought back a memory of one of my dead sons….He couldn’t say the letter S..so it was hoes/hocks and hupper. There were tears with the memory but it was a happy one. The heart never rejects memories, or forgets. You are such an inspiration to all the young Mothers who have been fortunate to find your words. love Jere
Awesome. Had similar one last Christmas with a scripture a day to choose n read. However this idea just blew me away. Will certainly use it personally, for family n friends and for those I work with who are in need of a hug message. Thank you for sharing. Prayers for speedy and complete restoration to full health. Love n blessings Maggie xxx
Amy Murphy says
I have yet to read a post without tears of understanding streaming down my face as I lay in bed nursing my 2 month old, and my 2 year old naps. It’s a rare moment indeed of quiet, and much needed, emotional release. Thank you.
Mary Sue Chatfield says
When my mom turned 80 back in 1997, I wrote simply worded childhood memories on 80 strips of paper (one for each year of her life), folded them over, put them in an old blue canning jar, and gave them to her with instructions to read just one memory daily. She and Dad made it a supper time ritual ~ following the blessing, they would take out one strip, read it, and then talk about it while they ate their meal. The strip just read was placed in a second canning jar. When the first jar was empty, they just started over again. When sorting their things following their deaths, we came upon that canning jar with its strips of memories. It is now kept in my home and I occasionally take out a strip and relive that precious memory.
Not only will I use this in my home but in my child therapy practice. Thank you for this wonderful idea/gift.
What a fabulous idea for adults and children to do for those they love. I will be doing this for my husband and 3 children whom I love so much it just consumes my every moment and thought. Please know how moving and life-changing your writing has become for me. As a once-upon-a-time teacher, and now a stay at home mom, your writing is staple in my self-care routine. Your writing is thoughtful, encouraging, and honest. I so appreciate it and wish you a quick recovery. Prayers and love to you and yours~
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for letting me know. I am truly grateful for your encouragement and companionship on this journey.
What a wonderful idea that I will share with my family!
I’m so glad you are on the mend. Your words mean more to me than you will ever know! You are a beautiful soul and I am so grateful I found you. You are truly transforming me, my family and my life.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for saying such loving words to me. I really needed to hear this today. Thank you, Stacey.
Thank you so very much for this wonderful idea. My mom goes in for surgery on Monday and she is very worried about it. I made her a memory jar. She loved it!
I hope you’re doing well after your surgeries. I loved this piece. It’s so touching and so inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Merry Monday:-)
As always, your words inspire my actions, my thoughts and my hopes… In my country we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend. This time it will be a quiet lunch with my two children, my husband, and both my parents. I want to send these prompts to them (and work with my children to fill them out) and read them aloud during this special day. What a wonderful gift! I’ll keep you posted.
Take care of your body, since your heart is so strong, and keep it up. You are a terrific mother, a wonderful person, and inspire so many of us be just the same. 🙂
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you. This means so much to me!
This is a fabulous idea. We need this in our home, so I will definitely be doing this with my husband and our three girls! The littlest one can’t read yet and is only just turning four, so I wonder if I should do one for her anyway and just do them in a little more simpler terms.
Rachel Stafford says
Definitely! I think it would be delightful for the 4 y.o. to participate with either your help or by drawing her responses.
Greetings from Alice Springs, Australia!
I have been bedridden with acute lower back pain for the past week and am only able to sit up today. Somehow, I happened across your website without intention but full of gratitude. Oh my Lord I am filled with …. joy, gratitude, hope, love and all things wonderful for guiding me to you!
In the past half an hour since opening the single most soul-filling site that is perfectly and exactly what my little heart needed right at this moment. Thank you thank you thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and journey! I am blessed to have found you.
Rachel Stafford says
I am so glad you found me, Colleen so that I could be blessed by your presence and uplifting message. I hope you feel better soon!
Hmm, I think I know what I’ll be doing for this Father’s Day. This gift is easily better than anything that money could buy!
Sarah Hayward says
Dear Rachel, after a very tough few weeks for our family, I hadn’t gotten round to buying or making my husband a Valentine’s card or gift for today. Then I remembered your jars and knew this was how I could show my husband how much I love and appreciate him. Thank you for your powerful words and for always reminding me to choose love. Much love to you and your family. Xxx
Rachel Stafford says
I am so happy to hear this, Sarah. Thank you!
I wanted to thank you again for the inspiration you provided for me to make one of these jars for my Nana last year for her 96th birthday. I am so grateful that you gave me a vehicle through which to express my inner most feelings and love in a way that I could present to her as a gift. It gives me peace to know that she had those message next to her bedside still when she passed away 11 months later. Thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Oh Alex. This touches me deeply. What a gift you have just given ME! Big hugs and my condolences. Your Nana was a blessed one to have you in her life.
As I was thinking about the upcoming Celebration of Life for my uncle, this article popped into my head. I am going to put out a Memory Jar with some of the prompts and lots of pieces of paper. I hope we will have many happy memories and maybe even make them into a memory book for my aunt and cousin. Thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Oh this is perfect! I am grateful to know you remembered and it will bring solace and light to a difficult time. I am truly sorry for your loss. Love and peace.