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What to do with Empty Jars

Empty Jars

Do you ever feel empty? 

Do you long for true joy and happiness?

Do you feel like you are sitting on a shelf and not as ‘full’ as you could be?

Do you want to know how to love and appreciate others more deeply?

Then come read about my Grandma’s jars and the difference they made.


FILLING The Empty Jars

My wonderful Grandma collected little jars, small bottles, glass containers and cute bowls that sauces, jellies, condiments and the like they came in. She was very frugal and did not want to waste them, so they were washed, dried and put in the basement on a shelf – to sit, and wait.

After she and grandpa passed away, as a family we were getting the house ready to sell. I saw the rows of bottles, containers and bowls, and asked if I may have them. My mom and aunt were very generous and let me take all I wanted.

Now on my shelf they sat. However, they seemed to call out, almost shouting to be filled, to be used, to be a part of something larger than them-self, useful and beneficial.

So what could I do? It was then I decided to give away the precious and long kept pieces.

I would pray every day to receive inspiration of who needed needed a little pick-me-up, treat or gift, whether I knew them well or not. Sometimes a name came quickly, other times I had to listen very intently and the name would come later in the day, or days later, of who needed the very special present from me, and Grandma. I would then fill one of the jars, bowls or bottles with a homemade treat, or something purchased and leave it on the doorstep along a little note that I was thinking of them. It took over a  year to pass out all those containers .

Some might ask: what was the point of all that extra work and the resources to leave something for someone who might not even care, or appreciate the gesture? I cannot give hard facts, or even life-changing experiences stemming from the  filled jars to support why it was worthwhile.

Nor can I produce evidence of why it was better than throwing them away, giving them to a charity or even leaving them on the shelf ‘for someday’. Yet I can attest to what it did to me.

Every time I prayed to know who needed something; whether a treat, a call, a note, I looked beyond myself. Blessing ONE

Something extraordinary happened inside of me as I passed out the jars, bottles and dishes:  The containers were all unique, none the same, each exceptional in its own way; whether ornamental or simple in design, the beauty was undeniable in every single piece. It became quite evident and obvious, that when choosing the piece to give, as I looked to appreciate the exquisiteness the containers, I also saw in each person I was looking to serve a bit of glory. I was able to see the magnificence that is in every person, as we are a child of God – distinctive, remarkable and magnificent. I could see a sign of Him, of unparalleled greatness not even found in the most glorious beauty of nature. I could love people that I knew, and those I did not more fully just because of who they were, a part of heaven! Blessing TWO

We are all so very busy, with heavy demands and pressures from so many angles coming at us. So for me to sincerely want to know who I could reach out to and serve by giving of my time, takes the focus off of myself and my own family for a bit, and is a way for me to be more like Christ. He always looked to do what His Father wanted, and was consequently perfect. I will never be completely ‘perfect’, but I can try my very best to be better. I will certainly fall short, but can keep trying, and that’s what counts. Blessing THREE

When we put our self ‘on a shelf’, though attractive, we are empty. There is nothing of worth or value to offer out of an empty container. Conversely, when we search, ask and quickly respond to an impression, a thought, to do good to help someone else even when it is awkward or tiresome, we are filled. These acts of selfless service and generosity, combine to make us much more valuable to our family, others and God. Blessing FOUR

Serving is never, ever convenient or easy. It does not need to be something spectacular such as traveling to a foreign country to give aid – though that is very commendable, but not available to most of us. However, a note, a smile, a kindness is always doable and works miracles in our own life. 

  • Interestingly, as we serve, we become filled with goodness and true joy which cannot be bought, nor obtained in any other way.
  • As we relieve another persons burdens, our own trials and cares are eased.
  • As we reach out, our level of happiness is deepened and our souls are much more content.
  • Pain, suffering and loss we often feel, are lessened, making way for an exhilaration for living, regardless of our circumstances.

I know from personal experience, this is factual, and will be true for you also.

As we are looking to the Thanksgiving holiday, and the miracles and blessings surrounding the events that give us cause to celebrate, let us look for ways to reach out; which in actually demonstrates our gratitude to God for all we have.

  • Do you have ‘jars’ to fill? They may not be actual jars, but a note to send, a smile to share, an apology to give, anything to relieve anothers burdens
  • Could your attitude and outlook benefit from a surge of gladness and appreciation for what you have?

I challenge you to reach out and serve someone who is not expecting it. When you hear the quiet whispering of who needs you, do not ignore it. As you act on this feeling or thought, your life will be even more blessed than the person you are serving – this I know. Blessings imagined and IMMEASURABLE

Recognize a blessing and Be a Blessing today 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, revised 2015

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  • I love that you did this and admit that I have not had time with Emma sick and then a crazy weekend this past one, but definitely would like to have the chance to do something like this or similar. Thanks for the inspiration this morning Carrie and hoping you are having a great week so far 🙂

  • Carrie,

    I love how you took a little part of your grandmother to share and encourage others instead of saving everything or tossing it away. It is so true when we think about others it helps us not complain so much and dwell on our problems. God definitely wants us to focus on helping others and this is a great way to do it.

    Thanks for encouraging me with this great post.

    Diane Roark

  • I truly love this story. I will think about it today. Yesterday, I got bad news from my web site server. Last night, I had to find a new server. They are going to transfer everything over today. Hopefully, I will not mess up Wonderful Wed. Blog Hop.

    Stumbled, tweeted, and pinned today.
    Diane Roark

  • Your grandma sounds a lot like mine! She would save everything. I love this idea–what a thoughtful thing to do!

  • Jess says:

    What a neat post!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

  • Sinea Pies says:

    My mom used some bottles for candlesticks. She’d let some of the wax drip down for a nice look.
    My neighbor loves mason jars. Every Christmas she brings us a delicious mix of cranberries, chocolate chips and nuts. Put a pretty bow on it and you have a lovely gift with a jar to be used again!

  • April says:

    What a wonderful idea! What a great way to spread love as well as remember your grandma. 🙂 Love this idea! 🙂

  • Leigh says:

    What a lovely idea! Thank you for sharing. Pinned.

  • Tasha says:

    First, of all, let me just say…I love what you’ve done to the place!!! 🙂 Secondly, I appreciate your attitude concerning servitude and gratitude! Remembering to reach out and help others is very important in our spiritual and personal development and helps us to sympathize with the hardships others may be facing.

    • Thanks Tasha. I do want to say, that YOU are the epitome of serving and caring. I hope to be more like you and strive that way each day with you in mind. Thank you for your example; your family is truly blessed.

  • Heaven Smiling says:

    I love this idea! #lovethis My grandma was an epic packrat but I have no idea where her dishes went when she died. I just might have to go to the thrift store to find some. Thanks for sharing your inspiration, Carrie! Pinning this to my The world can be a Better place board. You’ve certainly made it that way. 🙂

  • Beautiful story. My grandmother was much the same. Never wasted anything and could make something out of nothing. Such great memories.

  • This is an absolutely touching story – am I the only one who’s teared up here? Thanks for sharing on Throwback Thursday!

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