The Key Jar

I hope that you had a Happy Mother’s Day weekend, as I did.  There was lots of family time in the sunshine for us, and that suits me just perfectly.  I’m not at all about gifts and commercialism, in case you missed my ‘Gifts, and gifts, and gifts, oh my‘ post from awhile back.  I’m about thoughtfulness, and experiences, and time together; but I’d like to share the knock-your-socks-off present that made my day, and perhaps my year… cue the melodrama.

My children, who are now six and three, came home from Kindergarten and Preschool with handmade loveliness in the form of decorated flower pots, butterfly canvases, and Mother’s Day cards.  My husband added a sleep-in (I made it to 8:45am!), some fresh cut flowers (my fave!), and a homemade Whole30-approved brunch (today is Day 12 of my first Whole30, if you happen to be following along).  Brilliant.  I was a happy girl.  And then they gave me this:


This is a key jar.  The premise is simple: the jar is filled with questions- thoughtful, exploratory, insightful questions.  At family meals, we pull a ‘key’ from the jar and it unlocks beautiful conversation from our children’s hearts and minds.

But as wonderful as my husband is, and he really is wonderful, he did not come up with the key jar idea.  In fact, it is a brainchild from the Momastery website, written by Glennon Doyle Melton.   She writes:

“Getting to know ourselves and others is the greatest adventure.  We are explorers of ourselves and the people we love.  Love is the ongoing process of unlocking each other and keeping safe whatever we find.  Thoughtful questions are the keys we use to do the unlocking and safekeeping.”

Here’s my (unsolicited) advice:

  • If you have a child, you need a key jar.
  • If you know a child, you need to give them a key jar.
  • If you have a key jar, you need to treasure what it unlocks.

To make your very own, please find instructions by clicking here.

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

A Jar Full of Rocks. Oh, and Garth Brooks.

Remember the story of the philosophy professor who filled a jar with rocks and asked his students if it was full?  Then he added pebbles, and the students again agreed it was full.  Then he added sand, and the sand filled the empty spaces, and the jar truly became full (you can read the extended story here if you don’t know what I’m talking about).  The professor was using the jar and its contents as a symbol of life and priorities- the rocks signify the ‘big stuff’ like health and family, the pebbles signify the ‘medium stuff’ like work and school, and the sand signifies the ‘small stuff’ like material possessions.  If you put the sand into the jar first you will have no room for anything else.

Let’s use that to segue into how I view my children: they’re like little beautiful jars just waiting to be filled up. And it’s my job to fill them up.

I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, probably barely a decade ago, I wondered if I’d ever have children, if I would ever want to have children.  I thought the maternal instinct had bypassed me, and I was all-consumed in myself and building my future.  Then I became a mother and the sand dumped out of the jar to make room for the rocks.  

So I’ve very carefully set up my life geared towards this goal.  My kids are little scrapbooks that I’m filling up with memories.  They’re the empty canvas and I’m the artist painting the brushstrokes of the masterpieces they will become.  I’m get-out-there-and-DO-it instead of get-out-there-and-BUY-it, presence more than presents, quality above quantity.


Why the mush and gush today?  Well, it’s all Garth Brooks’ fault.

You see, I’ve got tickets to his March 7th show, and the country girl in me has been out in full force.  Even if you’re not a country music fan or a Garth Brooks fan (gasp!), have a listen to this song (click here to hear ‘Mom’) and I think you’ll feel the emotion too.

“Cause there’s someone down there waiting whose only goal in life is making sure you’re always gonna be alright”.