My family is embarking on a new challenge this year - to take note of the joy we have in each day, and to record our joyful moments all year long.  

I have seen a few versions of this idea floating around the web, so it was easy to pick and choose a way to make it work best for my family.  The premise here is simple.  I took a glass jar out of the recycling bin, jazzed it up a bit with recycled wrapping paper from the holidays, and placed a stack of scrap paper and a pen next to it.  In our house, the jar will be called the "Jar of Joy," although I've also seen it referred to as a Memory Jar or a Good Deed get the idea.  I placed the jar on the kitchen table and for the next year, anytime someone in our house has a particularly good day - or even a good moment - they want to remember, they can make note of the memory on the scrap paper and place it in the jar.  At the end of the year we will (hopefully) have a jar full of joyful memories to revisit and enjoy.

I'm really looking forward to this little experiment for two reasons.  First of all, this past year was a real stinker for me.  I can't complain too loudly, because I know that so many folks have it far worse than I, but let's just say that I was really eager to kick 2012 to the curb and start this year anew.  I have high hopes for better days in 2013 and hope that by placing my optimism right out there on the table, I will encourage those better days to come my way.  Another reason that I want to do this is because I know from this past year how easy it is to get stuck in focusing on the gloom and doom when that seems to be all that surrounds you.  I know that my family and I shared some good times in 2012, but we were all hard pressed to come up with anything at the year's end.  So I'm hoping that this jar will not only be filled with good memories, but that it will serve as an end-of-the-year reminder of all of those great days.

Here's to jars overflowing with joy for 2013!

Have you started any new family traditions this year?

Family Traditions: Making joyful memories
Start a new tradition with your family this year by taking note of your good times all year long.