Hours before the countdown to the NewYear, my three girls
and I were hurriedly checking our list – thirteen round fruits, check! Bubbly, check! Ham, check! Who is bringing the fish? Grapes? Check! And fireworks? Check! Looking good.
The table, laden with goodies that made it to the list, not only
because of taste, but more important, because of the good luck it's supposed to bring into the New Year, was ready and looking good. Bring it on, 2013!
Preparedness is key. And it's all about lists – menu list, gift
list, fireworks list, and of course, the New Year's Resolutions list. The latter though, did not make it to our list this year.
I noticed, as the years went by, that my New Year's resolutions kept getting shorter and shorter. This is not to mean that I continued to achieve my resolutions of the year before. Rather, it only means that my list of achievable goals realistically got less and less. Or put simply, I just did not have the motivation to keep on making a list which kept getting broken year after year. This did not do a lot for my self-esteem either.
It just occurred to me, that making a New Year's resolutions
list is counting what you don't have. I decided I would rather count what I have. It's all about having a more positive attitude to goal setting.
So this New Year, I added something new to our tradition. On our Media Noche table, mixed in with the arrangement of 13 fruits, there were 3 jars, simple glass jars, festooned with holiday ribbons, one for each of my daughters' family. I labeled each “Family Blessing Jar.” Inside, to make it simple, I put the instructions on what to do with it.
Here is a sample of the note I placed inside each jar:
FAMILY BLESSINGS JAR
Please feel free to embellish this jar any way you want to make it truly YOUR FAMILY's very own.
- Every time you receive a blessing or a wish or a prayer comes true – write it down, put the date, and drop it in the jar! It doesn't even have to be a note – it can be anything: a note, a symbol, or something that will make you remember.
- At the end of the year, the next New Year, you get everything out – and your family COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS! And then, if you feel like it, say a prayer of THANKS.
- And start the New Year again with the EMPTY JAR, and a prayer for more blessings to fill the jar, and your lives, for the whole year!
HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR FILLED WITH BLESSINGS!!!
My oldest grandson, Xavi, asked me to explain. He is a linebacker in his Football team. So I asked him, “What is your greatest wish when you go into a game?” And he answered, “To win!” So I told him, and when you do, that is a blessing. And you can mark each and every win, put a date on it, and drop these in the jar. Blessings are not labeled big or small. They are not judged important or not. Because they are personal and subjective, each one is big; each one is important. They are obstacles overcome, finish lines crossed, stars reached, and dreams coming true.
I was happy to see my family on board with the idea. Who wants to make a list of resolutions, which at the end of the year, you have to pull out and see how many, if any, you even started. Will that make for a happy new year?
Wouldn't you rather, open that jar, and see the blessings spilling out and filling you with joy and gratitude?
So at the end of 2013, as the family once again gather to welcome the coming New Year, we will open our jars, and count our blessings, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving, and start the new year with our empty jars!
New Year 2013
New Year 2014
Gathering again for our Media Noche, at midnight of December 31, 2013, our families brought our Blessings Jars to the table. I was happy to see that they were all filled with pieces of folded paper inside.
“I dropped a lot of thank you notes inside our jar, Mehmeh,” my 10 year old granddaughter, Gianina, whispered to me. I was overjoyed to learn that even the children were counting their blessings too throughout the year.
We decided though, that what we wrote and dropped in the jar, might be private, so we just included our thanksgiving for blessings we have received throughout the year in our prayers asking to bless the bountiful feast laid out on the table.
It was one happy, noisy gaggle of children and slightly buzzed adults, wearing polka dots in some form or another, gulping down 13 grapes each, toasting the bubbly, and sparkling apple cider for the kids, and loudly counting down the seconds while watching the ball drop in New York City on the TV, ending in one collective crescendo of “Happy New Year!” After some sparklers and safe kinds of fireworks, the cold outside, started to move this party indoors, and to the serious business of eating.
The children didn't want the evening to end, but some of the adults had to work the next day, so goodbyes had to be said, and just one more hug and greeting. We promised each other, we would open our blessings jar when we got home, and pray and say “Thanks” for the blessings received.
Before I went to sleep that night, I sat on my bed, opened my Blessings Jar, and watched the folded pieces of paper spilling out. The feeling of joy that came over me was undeniable. And as I read each date, each blessing written on each paper, the feeling of gratitude was overwhelming, so real! The date was a time line of what was happening in my life on that date, and the blessing I needed and prayed for. I could not but say a fervent prayer of heartfelt gratitude for each and every blessing in that jar. It truly is a great thing to do, this Blessing Jar. For how easy it is to forget and take for granted the good things that happen in our lives.
It was a joy to receive messages from my daughters before falling asleep that cold New Year dawn, to say they felt exactly the same way I did.
Here is my Facebook post that 1st day of 2014:
Opened my Blessings Jar last night! Literally counting and reading my 2013 Blessings - overwhelming warm feeling of gratitude washes over me. Thank you dear God, for prayers answered, wishes granted, and sprinkles of little miracles along the way! My jar is empty now, waiting to be filled with 2014 Blessings...
New Year 2014