Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Life in a Jar

Happy Halloween!

I thought long and hard about writing this post.  I was afraid it would come across as too preachy or too righteous (I'm not either of those things. . . I think) and I didn't want to turn anyone off.   My normal "who gives a crap" attitude won and here's the post.

My Life in a Jar

Here's the jar:

It's not fancy. . . just rocks, pebbles and sand.  This used to sit on my kitchen counter as a visual reminder but, since I've started a job outside the home, it now has a place on my desk at work.

It starts and an empty jar that I filled with rocks.

It's very full!  The rocks are the "rocks" of my life.  These include my kids, my family, my happiness, my memories, my health, my God and all the things that are most important to me.  Even though the jar is full, I can put pebbles in it.

The pebbles are the things that I need in my life but aren't near and dear to me.  Those are things like my job,  money, appointments, and other necessities.  I can still add sand.

The sand is all the little, unimportant things.  These are the stressors in life - unwashed laundry, carpets that need vacuuming, overtime at work, etc.

This jar is to remind me that, if I dumped it all out and tried to put it back, I wouldn't have room for all of the rocks of my life.  I have to put those in first in order to get as many into my life as I can!  The rest will always find a place.

A long time ago I started the "two no rule" with myself.  Shhh. . . don't tell the kids. . . . they'll take full advantage of it!  I allow myself two "nos" a day when the kids ask me to do something with them.  Someday, they might quit asking.  For now, I use those "nos" wisely and only when necessary.  If my daughter wants to paint with me, I say "yes".  If my son wants to play four square with me, I grab the ball.  On weeknights, I try to say no only once or not at all since I see them so little.  It's my way of making sure that I never put a clean house over the kids.  I can always scrub out the toilets later.  I won't always be able to read stories with my daughter.

Today is an appropriate date for me to post this because I HATE Trick-or-Treating.  I always have, even as a kid.  My kids love it.  They will ask me to go with them.  I will say "yes."

Enjoy your night!  Enjoy your life!


  1. Halloween night: g-r-r-r-r-r.
    I have three adult children. Now I'm retired and have a house in a different neighborhood and LOVE to have these children stop by the house (with their parents). I know only about three children of the 60 or maybe 70 that come by on Halloween so it's becoming so ODD to me to open the door and hand out candy to strange little tikes, and pretend that I'm enjoying it. They get nothing but a piece of candy and sadly, I get very little from this odd and very strange practice.

    I haven't been home on Halloween night for the past four years since I bought this house. Tonight is the first Halloween I'll be home, and I wanted to be prepared. So out I went CANDY shopping (my husband and I don't EAT candy or any other sweets, either!) and I was shocked to see little or no bargains on bags of candy anywhere. It looked like I was in for a $15 investment to cover the kids who would probably come, and this was having looked at all the bargain stores (Big Lots, 99 cents, WalMart) and on a retirement budget, it was looking more to me like money just being thrown away.

    I don't really like the idea of giving children candy anyway. They usually get all the sugar they need on a daily basis, so what is the value for parents to freely give these little 'uns even MORE sugary treats for dressing up on one night of every year? Not sure where this ritual came from...I'd like to know how the idea of parents giving children candy got attached to this practice, anyway.

    After scouring the stores and looking for all kinds of ideas OTHER than handing out candy, I found packs of stickers that will be the perfect substitute. There are a variety of stickers on strips that are packed 12 in a pack. Each pack of 12 strips of stickers was only $.97 (WalMart). I got $10. worth of stickers (5 packs are for girls and 5 for boys), and I'll return any unopened packs for a refund.

    If you are interested in opening your door this one night of the year to greet the little 'uns on the block, this may provide you with an alternative to the dilemma of spending a lot of your valuable money handing candy to kids. I'd prefer to see community practice discourage house-to-house visits, and also move toward NO candy for trick-or-treat.

    Just an idea...

    1. We, too, avoid the candy. In years past we could get a box of individual microwave popcorns at Sams Club very cheap. I let our membership lapse and so this year we did pretzels. We aren't the most popular house in the neighborhood, I'm sure. Stickers would be a great alternative. The older kids wouldn't be so thrilled over those but they shouldn't be trick-or-treating anyway!

      My son surprised me this year and refused to dress up and go trick or treating. I was secretly thrilled. My daughter still goes but the day she wants to stop is the Halloween we turn off the lights and pretend we aren't home!

      I'm glad there are others who are as appalled as I am over the cost of candy and who refuse to give it out, too! I happen to really love candy but it's not good for me nor is it good for the kids so we try to keep it out of the house. We end up eating on our candy for a few days then bag the rest up and give it to one of the teachers that works at a homeless shelter. She doles it out there.

      Great tip! I will look for stickers next year!

    2. Thanks, Jennifer.
      The popcorn is an idea too. I saw both individually wrapped popped and unpopped bags and calculated them to cost between 20 - 35 cents each. I had to move on...

      As it turned out, the kids OOOOO'd and AAHHH'd the stickers. One little tike said "Stickers is even better than candy". I couldn't believe it.
      And, as it turned out, my supply of 120 strips of stickers didn't get me past 40 minutes of kids. 120 kids in 40 minutes and they were still coming strong!! I had to turn off the house light (it immediately sent a signal, and we didn't have a single doorbell ring the rest of the night) and we could still hear the other trick-or-treater's passing the house for another hour and a quarter. If I'd bought enough stickers, it probably would have cost ~$50. When you think of making that $50 at a job in the office or selling clothes or whatever job you have, it gets difficult to keep up the ritual.

      You began this week's tip by saying you didn't want to sound preachy or self-righteous, but it is I who stands on a soapbox with this subject, and I apologize for using your wonderful blog as its forum. [I see myself sounding more curmudgeon-ly as the years go by, and I don't even stop myself. Guess that's a true curmudgeon at heart, huh?]

      In any case, I hope your (kids') Halloween was fun and safe and memorable. And that's what the ritual is all about, isn't it: parents with their kids, making memories while they are little.

    3. Please, stand on your soapbox all you want! I firmly believe in the freedom of speech, even when I don't agree with it. It is just a bonus that I happen to agree with you!

      When we go out to buy things that are "wants", not "needs" we tend to calculate how many hours we have to work to pay for it. It puts things into perspective.

      I will have to try the stickers next year! We, too, turned off our lights early but it was mostly because I'm a party pooper and it was mainly the big kids still out. Parents should encourage a cut off age for trick-or-treating.

      I think the best part of my night was the conversation I had with my fifth grader. He decided he was to old to trick-or-treat so we sat out on the front porch wrapped in blankets and gave away the pretzels. Between kids we had a nice conversation. Those are the things I will remember and cherish.