Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year and Annual Holiday Beards

Let's be honest, I'm sick as a dog on a cruise ship, so it could be a much happier holiday. But I'm heavily medicated and crossing my fingers I make it to midnight for the big smooch from my wife, if she'll give it to me that is...

Which leads me to the picture. Many of you have seen The Today Show video and asked about the new beard. There's a story here... (isn't there always?)

About 10 years ago Kodi and I had a summit. A meeting of the minds. A fierce negotiation. We agreed that I would remain clean shaven throughout the year. Not that I have to shave every day, but as a general rule from Jan-Nov I keep myself presentable.

But sometime around Thanksgiving, depending on my public commitments, I begin to grow what we affectionately refer to as the Annual Holiday Beard. This year I wasn't able to turn the facial follicles loose until the 10th or 11th of December. So it's not as
Grizzly Adams-ish as it could be.

There you have it. Sometime in the next day or two we'll bid farewell again for another year. But we'll always have pictures :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bring on your Jar Stories

Some fantastic stories are coming in from folks blessed by the Christmas Jars tradition. Did you give away a jar? Did you receive one? Please drop me a note so we can share your inspirational story. Here are a few of my favorites so far:

After a run of bad luck (water heater exploding, muffler puncturing a hole, and a loss of a job) it seemed like anything that financially could go wrong in the last month did. We knew we would be okay, but it would be tight to make it to the end of the month.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, my dad who was sick, was sleeping on the couch, our son was asleep and my mom, husband and I were sitting talking about future dreams for our home. When my dad woke up, we all went into the living room. He let the dog out and commented about a bag sitting by the door. He picked it up and gave it to my husband saying it felt like rocks.

My husband and I opened the bag and inside was the book Christmas Jars and a jar full of money. We were in disbelief. Who would set money outside of our door and why? Yes, things are tight right now, but we knew we could make it.

We counted the money and there was 83 dollars and some change. What a surprise. We immediately put a sign outside our door saying THANK YOU! The gift will go on!

We plan on putting some money aside each month after we get things settled, so next Christmas we can pass on the gift. It reassured us that people really do care and do not necessarily want recognition for their good deeds. Thank you to our Christmas Angel!!!

-Heidi in SD


This year I pulled into my driveway and my manager pulled up behind me and she said that somebody left us this gift at the office and that she was to see that we recieve it. She told me she peeked in the bag and there was a book in there. She said she has read the book before that it was a wonderful story and I should read it.

So I took the bag and went inside. I opened it and the book christmas jars was in there with a starbucks frappicino jar full of money, and an envelope. Inside the envelope was a $50 certificate for our local grocery store. In the jar was just under $20.

We are so touched that somebody did this for us. It was such a thoughtful gift from a secret santa. Although it remains annoymous who did this for our family, it is greatly appreciated and was very much needed. We have had such a tough year. Besides the things that our kids made for us in school this is our only gift, and by far one of the greatest I have ever recieved. So just in case you get a chance to read this....

Thank you with all of our heart!

Next year we will find a family in need and pass on the tradition!

-Steve and Teresa in CA

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

What a terrific Christmas! We awoke early (of course!) and celebrated our first Christmas in Woodstock. The kids were giddy (of course!) and enjoyed opening presents and eating an unhealthy amount of sugar. Mom and Dad ate our share too (of course!). One sad note: Jadi developed a fever mid-morning and spent much of the day on the couch under the blanket, but fortunately she's been a trooper and her mood is as cheery as ever.

Today was enjoyable, but the real fun happened yesterday afternoon when we gave away our second Christmas Jar of the year. We split ours into two this year and had a friend deliver the first a few days ago. We decided to give away our second jar to a stranger in person. We know others that have done it this way (including Hope Jensen in the book) but we'd never tried it ourselves. It was a wonderful experience!

We drove to a nearby truck stop and slowly drove around the parking lot looking for a solo trucker. We spotted a middle-aged man fueling his rig and all six of us unloaded from our car and walked toward him. The kids were so nervous! Oakli carried the jar and Jadi carried a gift bag containing Christmas Jars on CD.

The exchange was simple: We told him we had something to share with him, explained we'd been filling it all year, and wished him a very Merry Christmas. He took the jar and bag without hesitation, but there was definitely a stunned looked on his face. He smiled and we all fought tears. We knew immediately we'd been led to the right recipient.

We shook his hand and walked away. He called out a grateful "Merry Christmas!" and off we went, back home and feeling so incredibly grateful for the miracle of the Christmas jar tradition.

Another year, another unforgettable experience. We'll probably never see that man again, but neither Kodi nor I, nor the kids, will ever forget his face and the look of gratitude. That's the magical power of the jar.

Merry Christmas from the Wrights!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We have our first jar sighting of the year!

I just stumbled across this post on someone's blog:

There is nothing I love more than real life stories of folks giving and receiving jars. Congrats to this family for receiving a jar, and special thanks to whatever family saw a need and acted. I'm sure all will be blessed for this early Christmas miracle.


So the Lord does work in mysterious ways. We were sitting here this morning and we got a knock on the door. There ways a lady their that Laura didn't know holding a jar and a book. The book is Christmas Jars, and in the jar a houndred dollar bill and a bunch of change, in all it adds up to about 180.00. Now Damians parents will have a christmas too, and Damians will be even nicer. And will have gas money to drive to logan and springvill for the holidays. This whole exprience this week has been very humbling.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

We have a winner in the Wednesday Letters drawing (at last!)

After some technical glitches we finally have conducted the Wednesday Letters drawing. We had thousands of entries and one grand prize winner will have dinner with a guest and yours truly in their hometown. (I really hope they live in Hawaii!)

Watch the drawing as it happened in this fun clip:

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lesson Learned

I received this email and, after feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach, decided I'd share it. So many of you have had wonderful things to say about Christmas Jars that I thought it might be fun to see that there's always another opinion. And no matter how hard I try, I'll never be able to please everyone. I think there's a valuable lesson to be learned here.

I've offered Karen her money back. No word on whether she'll accept, but I hope she does. I hate the thought that she feels cheated.

So for all you aspiring writers out there, thicken that skin! You'll need it.

Name: 'Karen Kimball'
E-mail: 'XXXXX'
WhoContact: 'author'
Comments: 'The neighborhood book club, started four years ago, read this for our November book, to be discussed in December - the unspoken rule is that a short book be chosen during the holidays as every one is so busy. The book will do well, as demonstrated by the NYTimes list - particularly in these times when there is a desperate desire to fuel the capitalist fire - if Mr. Wright really believed in the premise of the story, he would not be concerned with his placement on the NYTimes list. He would not be contributing to the Hollywood money factory by turning it into a movie. He would not be blogging, have multiple websites, etc. He would be giving away the book for free.

Finally - Mr. Wright would do well to find a different editor. The book is riddled with editing mistakes - simple misuse of the plural possessive, references in the book which contradict previously described situations, improper use of subordinate clauses, etc.

I did appreciate that the book was short - the sooner to be free of the trite message.

Does Mr. Wright believe in Chrismas Jars? He should live a more simple lifestyle and really change the world with his actions - above and beyond books that read like made-for-television movies.'