I had an idea. Sew a table runner with pockets on it and place little cards in the pockets so my family could write down the things that brought them joy each day when we gathered for a meal. We'd keep the little notes of joy in a jar at the center of our kitchen table. I found a jar. My mom made a label and my family started giving it a try.
We learned quickly that finding joy in each day took practice.
I sewed another table runner as a gift for someone that never showed up to claim it. So my mom started talking up the "Joy Jars" at work to her friends. She asked me to send a few pictures her way and then she sold one. And another. Then two more. Then she came home with a special request for a table runner that had blue in it and sold that one too.
I was having fun and my mom seemed to be enjoying herself as our top sales person as well. I decided to make mention of the fun we were having on my Instagram and Facebook page. Sold, sold and sold. Which is really great and exciting as a side effect of our joy. Selling these jars is not the intention of why I make them.
I noticed that most times the conversation around our dinner table was a review of our day, you know, "How was your day? Tell me about it," etc. Those questions are fine but they left a lot of room for what went wrong during our day (mostly from the adults) and a lot of one word answers (mostly from the kids) and before too long it was getting harder and harder to hear what went right in our day so I stopped asking, "How was your day," and started asking, "What was the favorite part of your day?" Slowly but surely the expressions of favorites became the seasoning that was sprinkled into the stuff that wasn't so great.
So this year I resolved to do my best and bring joy to any table I found myself at, starting with my own. (You can see our first jar here).
Then inauguration eve rolled around and I, like many, was left wondering how our country could be so divided? I couldn't sleep so I sewed and I wrote. I've kept sewing and writing since that day because I don't believe we need more things to divide us, I think we need bigger tables to bring us together. We need to have conversations that matter with people that may not look like we look and think like we think. We don't have to solve the world's problem at our dinner tables but it seems like a good place to get to know our neighbors, after all, we all belong to each other. Breaking bread and giving thanks can go a long way.
These jars and this little website - they are part of my protest. They are part of my purpose.
My kiddos and I recently spent a full day meeting with folks, (We got a special order from Javaman Coffee - Woo hoo!) buying fabric, investigating shipping options and counting it all joy.
We also received and shipped our first online order, introduced placemats to the shop and I've had several opportunities to gather around tables without my jars, cards and runners and guess what - there was still joy to capture at each one.
If you'd like to join the movement to find and capture joy in each day consider this an invitation to do so. Joy to the Table is now on Facebook and Instagram so tag the pages and hashtag your moments with #joytothetable and #countthehappies so we can share in the joy with you. There's no purchase required for discovering, recording and sharing joy.
Whatever table you find yourself at today I hope it is joy-filled!
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." Psalm 94:19
May your days be filled with compassion, your faith remain strong, may growth be your compass and joy fill your tables.