Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Blessings Bowl

by Anita Mae Draper

Have you heard of a Blessings Jar? It's only been this past year or so that this idea is making the rounds. Sure, I've heard of keeping a journal or list of your blessings as they happen, but the idea of a Blessings Jar is a visual representation. It works well for those of us who like seeing God's hand in our daily lives.

But I hadn't thought of starting a Blessings jar until I was on Facebook one day and saw this image posted by my friend and frequent Inkwell commenter, Elaine K:

My Blessing Jar, March 2014. Courtesy of Elaine K

In Elaine's status update, she said she was given this jar to keep her blessings in and that on January 1st she emptied out the packed-full container and that the blessings "...ranged from the simple (girl guide cookies and a good night's sleep), to family and friends, many by name, to answers to prayer, good experiences, and scripture verses of note. Some of the things I had forgotten and so it was good to be reminded again."

What a lovely idea!

The image of Elaine's Blessings Jar stayed with me. Of course, I see God's blessings every day, but usually, the memory of them fade away as new blessings take their place.

Then, while researching the website of Jill Eileen Smith for an upcoming ACFW Featured Author interview, I found her blogpost, The Blessings Jar, where she showed this image:

Jill Eileen Smith's Blessings Jar. Courtesy of Jill Eileen Smith

Jill wrote in her post, "I found a large jar, bigger than I’d seen in canning jars, bought a small stack of post-it-type notes and set it in the middle of our kitchen table. To add a bit of appeal to the jar, I topped it with my Yankee Candle candle topper."

Now, it may be just the angle of the photo, but what struck me about Jill's Blessings Jar is that its shape reminds me of ancient pottery, and that is in keeping with what she writes which is biblical fiction. Actually, the reason for the interview is because of her new release, The Crimson Cord, Rahab's Story.

So that got me thinking that a Blessings Jar could be as simple or elaborate as I want - should I choose to start one. Did I?

If I did, I knew what I'd put in it, for on Ukrainian Christmas, I received a phone call from my brother who is recuperating from a major motorcycle accident. During our conversation we got to talking about the past and he asked if I remembered reading to him while he walked his paper route. I said I remembered helping him because he was only 7 or so to my 15 yrs, and thirty-three thick Winnipeg Free Press newspapers are very heavy to carry when you're small and have to walk the route. I didn't tell him that mom probably told me to help him. But I didn't remember reading to him. He said I had. That he remembered me reading Dickens, or whatever book I was studying in school and that helped make his job easier. My brother blessed me with that memory.

A few days later, I received an email from my literary agent, Mary Keeley. While it wasn't news about selling a book, her compliment on my writing warmed my heart. My agent blessed me with her email.

Then my pastor surprised me at church one Sunday by saying I'd had a great idea for the Live Nativity Premiere and Pizza Party. You see, I'd planned a 'wrap party' for the Live Nativity we'd put on for the community a few days before Christmas and it was going to be a chance for the cast and crew to see the video I'd made of the production. I'd also planned to set up a photo booth so the actors could have a souvenir photo of themselves in costume, as well as a copy of the video if they provided a memory card or flash drive. Yet, a weather alert for extreme freezing temperatures had thwarted our plans and we had to cancel. But Pastor Lorne said we were going to try again this Friday night because it was a great idea. My pastor blessed me with his words.

I wanted to remember those blessings.

While Elaine and Jill have shown me that it's the blessings I put in a Blessings Jar that counts and not the jar itself, they've also shown that such a jar can have an inviting personality of its own. Here's the one I've chosen:

Anita's Blessings Bowl

Yes, it's a Blessings Bowl. You see, I have this large rose bowl containing dried rose and flower petals, leaves, etc, from flowers we've received over the past few years. The bouquet I received for selling my first story. The petals from Nick's graduation boutonniere.

It seemed natural that more blessings, like the ones I've mentioned above, should join the ones already in the bowl.

So I discarded the bit of plastic wrap I'd placed across the opening to keep out dust and dampness, and I have to admit that I like the rustling sound I hear when I drop in a blessing and then trail my fingers through nature's beauty.

Oh... I've just remembered another

Thank you for visiting me here. Leave a comment if you'd like to share your thoughts on Blessings, but it's okay if you don't have time. Whatever you do, I pray God blesses you richly in this coming year.

Thank you going out to Elaine and Jill for allowing me to share their Blessing Jars.


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. She writes cowboy stories set in the West, and Edwardian stories set in the East.  Anita is blessed to be included in Guideposts Books A Cup of Christmas Cheer collection. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. You can find Anita Mae at


  1. I might have to swap out my quart jar for a larger jar like Jill Eileen Smith; then it will hold more blessings! I like your blessing bowl too mixed with the blessings of the flowers and the special memories they represent. Time to record more blessings and drop them into my blessing jar!
    Waving from north of you! :)

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I'm glad you posted your pic on Facebook to get this started for me.

      It seems that everywhere I look I see or remember blessings I've received... but now I have to get in the habit of actually writing them down. Writing all of them down, and not just the special ones because what seems like a little thing one day can turn into a life changer farther down the line.

    2. I keep my jar right beside my computer along with paper and pen. Seeing the jar there challenges me to write things down!

  2. This is really wonderful, Anita. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Going through all those blessings would be such a great thing to do on New Year's Eve!

  4. Wonderful family comments :) Wonderful article :) Love you sis and am so proud of the literary gift you are harvesting :)

  5. Interesting idea, and the book looks cool too.


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