Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"I have no idea who our 'angel' is"

Are you out there "Angel"? I sure hope this note finds you someday so you can know the good you've done!

(Name withheld)

We received the most amazing thoughtful gift in the entire world last night (Dec. 23). It has been a rough few months as I was recently laid off my job and my husbands company has had very little work to keep the paychecks coming in. My doorbell rang last night and when I answered there was no one there. There was however a cute Christmas stocking sitting outside my door. I was shocked at how heavy it was and was very curious as to what was inside. There was a note attached to the outside and inside was the book Christmas Jars along with a large jar of coins. I was speechless and was in tears for about 15 minutes. I have no idea who our "angel" is, but we are truly blessed to have such a special person watching over us.

"Asked God to deliver me safely"

What an angel! I know God was listening and answered your prayers. You'll be blessed!

(Name withheld)

I gave away our family Christmas Jar tonight. I picked out a family about a month ago...I heard about them through a friend of mine. She was collecting items for their kids to deliver on Christmas Eve...so I just told her she could deliver the jar with the gifts. Right at the time I was planning to drive to her house I got a phone call that the weather was terrible in that town and not to go. I cried and cried. I had so looked forward to "delivering" the jar! I just didn't want Christmas to pass without giving out our very first Christmas Jar! I was determined, so I said a prayer and asked God to deliver me safely. I told Him that I would listen to Him and if He wanted me to turn around to give me a sign. I felt tingles through my body and knew that that was what I should be looking for. I made it there and back home safe and sound. I know that our Christmas Jar will be delivered tomorrow night and I hope that the family enjoys our note and your book as much as we did!

"It really was a great closure for my Christmas Holiday"

I love random parking lot giveaways!

(Name withheld)

My friend gave me the book and a starter jar with some change, last Christmas. I don't really have change very often because I charge most everything. But my jar was about 3/4 full then I added more to fill it up. I had fun trying how to decide when and where to give it away. The Tues. before Christmas I parked in front of a strip mall with a dollar store, Good Will, and a rental store, I saw a father with a toddler on his shoulders and another child/son about 12. He looked like a loving father. He was getting in the car, I walked up to jim gave him the jar (it was in a plain bag. I turned and walked away, He said thanks then yelled THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I just felt really good and I thought if you have children you can always use some extra change. I felt so good and it really was a great closure for my Christmas Holiday.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Thank you to the ones that left this on our porch"

I hope with all my heart the good folks who left this jar stumble across the site and read this!

(Name withheld)

38 years old, single mother with three beautiful children. Having a very rough time this year after losing my job. The dark barked at the door, when we answered it no one was there. Only the jar full of money and a book. I was scared to open it in fear I would have to add money to it and pass it on. This year I just don't have the extra cash to spare. After 30 minutes or so I began to read the book. After chapter four I realized that it was for us. I began to cry.

I had recently collected money and food for the food pantry in my small town. It was the only way I could give this Christmas. I had also refused help from a church because I knew other families needed it more than mine. But it was still going to be very hard to make it through the Holidays. Until the CJ appeared. I was able to share with my children and the people I work with how positive attitudes and giving will be rewarded. It was the most amazing feeling in the world talking about this great deed someone did for us. I have been smiling for days.

Our family has already started putting coins together for our jar for next year. This has created the best tradition ever. I can't begin to explain how happy and lucky I feel about this. Thank you to the ones that left this on our porch.

PS: You would NOT believe the number of people I have shared my story with. The crazy part is their responses. I have been running around here in my office for 4 months telling these guys that we have to be positive, give what we can, and be happy for what we have. They are finally getting it now that I have proof. You can't begin to understand the life I used to have to what I have now. I was very well off for being uneducated and a single mom. Worked my way from the bottom to the top in a man's world, the wood industry. I lost it all, every dime I had saved and 12 years of my life down the drain when I lost my job the first time. I now work for a 1/4 of what I was making and still have the bills of my old salary. Not sure if we are going to make it. My house will be up for foreclosure on the 15th of January. Some way, some how I will get it stopped. I am determined to beat this and that CJ made me believe I can do it.

Thank you for writing that story, thank you for giving someone the idea
to help me. Words can not explain how happy I am and how much hope you
really have given me. God Bless You.

Add yet another Christmas Jars miracle to my list of all-time favorites!

(Name withheld)

Today is Monday - three days before Christmas. I have anticipated the giving away of our first Christmas jar for several months now. Today was the day - and it went nothing like what I had imagined!

Because we know the recipients of our jar, I thought we would deliver it under the cloak of darkness and magic of Christmas Eve - my spouse thought differently. "If we deliver it a few days before Christmas, they will have time to pay bills, buy gifts, or whatever they need to do with this money, dear," he logically explained. Why does he always have to make so much sense!?

We ended up filling two jars to the brim with the silver coins saved after deciding to keep the pennies out. There were also bills mixed in as well from other family members who wanted to be a part of this too. We found an empty popcorn tin to hold the jars, a copy of the book, and a note explaining it all. We filled it with plenty of red and green tissue paper to insure safe transport, put a bow on top, and we were on our way.

As we drew closer to the designated house, he asked, "Okay, how do you want to do this?" Driving up, dropping off the tin, ringing the bell and running suddenly didn't seem to be an option on a sunny afternoon, so I asked him to pull over at the end of the block.

I got out, retrieved the heavy tin from the back of the car, and quickly sneaked across the front lawns to the house - as much as a person can "sneak" in broad daylight carrying a cumbersome object!

I placed the goods on the front steps in front of the door and ran back across the lawns to the car with my heart pounding. Done!

I quickly got back in the car, giddy with relief, and we drove away. Then a few seconds later my husband said, "I'm afraid that someone will come out of the house and trip over it where you left it. That would really be awful after all that they've been through."

"You want me to move it?" I asked, somewhat in disbelief.

"I think you should."

Back around the block we went and slipped our vehicle once again into the clandestine parking spot. This time we had to wait for the mail carrier to finish delivering the mail. Then, for the second time, I got out and quickly ran across the lawns to the front steps of the house, again hoping to remain undetected, lifted the tin and moved it over to the side of the porch.

Back to the car I ran, heart pounding even more than on the first try, got in and we were off - for sure this time!

The man of the family who received our jars mysteriously came down with a staff infection last February that developed into sepsis and was hospitalized for several months. While he tetered on the brink of death, he suffered two strokes that left his legs partially paralyzed. He underwent two major surgeries to remove pockets of infection from his spine where it had settled, and then endured months of rehabilitation.

In the time that followed, they have been inundated with mountains of bills and have sold everything that they can possibly sell - including their wedding rings.

We know that the money in these jars can in no way begin to solve this family's financial difficulties, but our hope is that they will help them to know how very much they are loved. Our first Christmas Jars couldn't have gone to a more deserving family. God bless them and all others who receive Christmas Jars this year.

"We started our jar in March"

We should all be inspired by the number of good people in the world. Kudos to this family for picking the perfect CJ recipient.

(Name withheld)

This is our first year to give a Christmas Jar and will definitely make it our yearly Dec. tradition.

We started our jar in March after I read your book that was sitting on my daughter-in-law's coffee table. Come Nov. I knew the person my husband and I would probably share with. He works in our local grocery store. I don't know much about him, other than he's probably in his 60's, always pleasant, helpful and could benefit from our jar.

Monday, Dec. 21st, my husband, whom he didn't know, walked into the store and asked the manager if this person was working. The manager, finding he had a gift, took my husband back to the break room where the chosen person and other co workers were having a snack from a Christmas spread. He let it be known that this gift, accumulated over the year, was given because he had been so helpful, cheerful, and positive to his wife for the past year. My husband told him that we had voted on who might benefit from our gift and he was chosen. He was very surprised and thankful and his last words to my husband was "tell your wife thank you".

We thought it especially nice that his boss and coworkers could hear this from appreciative customers.

Thank you, Jason, for enriching our lives!

Monday, December 29, 2008

And they just keep on comin'

I cannot thank you all enough for continuing to send in your Christmas Jar stories. Maybe we'll have enough to run them all year long until the 2009 stories start trickling in ;-)

(Name withheld)

Recently I acquired a part-time job to supplement my day job because I wasn't making enough to pay all my bills. I was so surprised when I went to my second job to find that someone dropped off a Christmas Jar in the office to me!!! My co-workers said that a handsome man dropped it off, I told them I didn't know any handsome men that were not married, later on they told me they didn't know who sent it. I never expected something like this!!!! I was doing okay. When I got home from work, I told my son about the Christmas Jar and we were both really excited. We dumped the jar out and counted it. Over $60.00 dollars!!! The week before three dear children came and knocked on my door, with food, gifts, and money in an envelope, when I asked who they were they told me 900 year old elves! I closed the door, when to my bedroom and cried. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to whoever sent me the Christmas Jar and the 900 year old elves!!! A co-worker from my night job now is reading Christmas Jars! and she is the kind of person who would give her last bit of food away to someone who needed it. This money, and the money from the 900 year old elves will really come in handy!!! THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Grand prize winner announced!

Announcing "Ask Jason Anything"

I'm very excited to announce the debut of "Ask Jason Anything". Send in your video questions and I will pick a few to answer every week. Both the video questions and video answers will be posted online.

Simply send your video questions in any video format to askjasonanything@gmail.com.

Before asking your question, please state your first name and city/state. Also, kindly limit your questions to 30 seconds max, please.

Fire up those video cameras and web cams!

"Thank you to the angel who remembered me"

(Name withheld)

I arrived in St. Louis the end of August, 2008 from a life in Los Angeles of 25 years. I thought perhaps a new place would help me get a better foot up. I had a job waiting for me; yes I even had the confirmation via e-mail. So with my three birds (ages 16, 16 & 23) we piled into the car and started our adventure. We arrived in St. Louis 4 days later and everyone was fine. But the winds of change were just reving up.

The moving van suddenly did not arrive as scheduled. Many phone calls, excuses from the company, before a phone call arrived to tll me the delivery would be here the following morning. When the truck arrived the driver demanded I pay him $2000.00 in cash immediately or I would not get my belongings. I was panicked and frantic. I found out this is called a 'Hostage Load' and getting more common in this economic mess. It was Saturday and the banks closed in one hour. But I could not afford this cash, and the movers had already been paid.

The bank managers were very kind and we scrambled the money together with the help of credit cards and cash, and I returned to my home. The police were called but did not help me at all; in fact she sided with the mover and told me if I did not pay I would not get my belongings. This of course was a crime in progress, yet I was getting no help. I paid the money. As my furniture was being carried off the truck I saw that there was incredible damage to my items. In the end almost every item, including my bird cages was damaged. I cried and asked why was this happening.

Then the mail arrived....the moving company was using my credit cards and getting payments. I was beside myself. Even the mover said I better report them. I have yet to have my money returned and now there is a lawsuit. As the week passed I started to do some unpacking. That Saturday I woke up, refreshed and opened the door to the bedroom and saw a mouse running across the hall. I screamed and started to shake. I am terrified of mice, rats and snakes. I was in another panic. I knew this was not the only mouse living in the house. There were more.

As the days went on into the next week the mice became more bold and I saw them all the time. Then one night about three weeks after I moved in a rat crawled down the fire place walls and into the living room. I screamed and ran to the upstairs neighbors, who confessed to me that they were having the same problem. The landlord was in Hawaii and did nothing to take care of the situation. I moved immediately as my birds were also being terrified by the rats. I thought now I can get to working and really settle down. I had my meeting with my new employer and was given all the details of the job. The contract would be ready in about three weeks. I was ready to start my new life in St. Louis.

Three weeks came and went with no word from the employer. On the fourth week I started sending emails and leaving messages. Finally after a week of messages I got the email. The job was non-existant. There was no job. In fact I found out there was no job when I left California. I was lied to.

By this time I was frantic. I had been lied to and scamed by movers and landlords and I just did not know what to do. Then I answered an ad on the internet and got told I had to pay for a background check before the job interview. I did that. And I went to the location for the interview and found that there was no job; Again I had been scamed. I reported it to the police, but I was devastated. It was one week before Christmas. I had no job, and my money was nearly gone. That day I got really sick with fevers and cough. I was in bed nursing myself back to health. I did not leave my apartment for over nine days.

Christmas eve arrived and all I could think about was how am I going to survive and care for my beloved birds. Christmas day came, my fevers broke, and my cough was a bit better. My bird Rosy has a Cristmas birthday. He was now 24 years old, and I knew I had to make this life in St. Louis work. About 7pm that night, Christmas Day, I had a craving for pumpkin pie. So I dressed for cold and ventured out my door in search for an open store.

When I got to the vestibule of my apartment I saw a bag on the floor, just inside the door. As I got closer I saw my name on the bag written in black ink. Now I know only about four people here and I could not immagine who put it there. The lock on our front door is a combination and I could not immagine how it was put inside. I went to my car, where I opened the bag. Inside a book: CHRISTMAS JARS and stuck to the front, was a sticky paper and my name written on it.

I had no idea what was in the jar. I opened it and saw all these coins...and perhaps because of the ligt, or the glow from above, the coins appeared to be gold colored!! I was astounded.

I had been through so much sorrow,illness and heartache since my move that the gift was just overwhelming me. I drove all around town looking for pumpkin pie and found none. It was Christmas and stores were closed. But what I did find was a brown paper bag filled with love, compassion and hope for the future. Had God not put that bug in my ear for pie I never would have found the jar; because I was still sick and not going outside. HE does have a sence of humor sometimes. And now I know there are angels among us who watch over us and visit us when we need to see them and feel them. There was not a job inside the bag, but there was far more than a job could ever bring me; and that is HOPE.

I am 63 years old. This is the first time in my life I have ever experienced such giving. Today I start my Christmas Jar to give away next year. And I can't wait to repay the joy. Thank you to the angel who remembered me and my precious birds on Christams Day in St. Louis, 2008.

"What a remembrance of what Christmas is truly about"

(Name withheld)

I read Christmas Jars last year and immediately started our jar. It set in our bay window and was a reminder each day of the real meaning of Christmas. The coins added up and many were changed into bills as Christmas approached.

I shared the idea with others and another friend and I gave jars and the book to the members of our book club so they can start a jar for next year. My Sunday School class is also passing a jar each Sunday so we can help a family next year.

After much thought and prayer, we decided on the family to receive our jar.
The husband has had numerous health problems and is now unable to work. The wife was
laid off earlier and they are really struggling with some life issues. We felt good that we could share our jar with them and hopefully make a small difference when they
needed it.

Our Jar for 09 is already collecting coins and we are already wondering where its' journey will take us next year. What a remembrance of what Christmas is truly about.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"i don't think i will ever question God ever again"

(Name withheld)

I receive my on Decamber 23, 2008. Only to get a call from a person saying to check my front door. When I did, I discover a packege with my name on it. When i broght the packege inside I pick up the phone and they said "Marry Christmas" and hanged up.

so i open the packege and found a book in it along with a jar of money. on it had the words "The Christmas Jar" on it. when i first saw it i didn't know what to say. i just stood there looking at and thinking "is this a dream. i couldn't think of anyone i would know that would send this to me. thats kinda when i remember someting that happen on monday.

every monday i go see my great grandma in the nurcing home. we would talk for at least an hour and i would go home and do nothing. but that night i went to wal-mart just to walk around. at that time all i had was five dollars but i didn't feel like spending it. when i got bored at wal-mart i walk to get ready to go home. i was just sitting there trying to get warm before i leave. thats when i saw a lady walking up to my truck. i open the door because my window a frozen shut. and she ask for a couple of dollars because she needed money for gas.

i gave her all the money i had with me at that time. after that i left to go home. while i was driving home i prayed to God that he will take care of her. she looked like she was stress out.

i don't know what to think of this. i think it was God work in all of this. i havent been stuggling with money but more with my life with God. About a month ago i question Gods. but i didn't stop beleiving in him. i thought God had forgotten of me. i've been going to college and been having trouble with my family life because i don't feel like i'm part of the family. but ater i got my christmas jar i remember all of that and i don't think i will ever question God ever again. he's out there and it all happen with one person. who ever she is?

A Christmas Jar fights the "over stimulation of lights, carols, decorations"

"I have started 2009's Jar already!" Music to my ears! (And I bet to many of yours, as well...)

(Name withheld)

Christmas has always been a hard time for me. In the past all I could see was the commercialism, The hypocrisy, the excess, the over stimulation of lights, carols, decorations. Things and more things. I would avoid the mall from Thanksgiving through the New Year just because all I could think about is "This is too much"! Where had the meaning of Christmas truly gone? Well..I attend a "Wednesday's Letters" book event in my neighborhood and this is where I heard the story of the Christmas Jars. It was that night where I decided to begin my own. It started JUST to help me get used to the idea that Christmas would come again and I had better find a positive way to deal with it. Well.. That jar? (That I grumbled while I decorated it) because it was summer still! and put on my entrance table, so I would see it every time I walked in my home? Began to fill.. and turned into 3 Jars totaling $250.00 by this past Monday Dec 22nd.

Who it would go to though surprised me more than I would ever realize.

While at my daughter's Christmas concert in a huge auditorium, a mom that I have known since our children started kindergarten (they are now Junior's in H.S.) sat down in the row in front of me.. she came in after the concert had began, so it was dark. When the lights came up? I realized who this was and she began to tell me how she and her husband and kids were struggling. I could see it in her face. Her husband ill and out of work, She struggling with her own illnesses and loss. The pain, the depression, just the sadness. I knew immediately that she was placed in that seat by some divine force to guide my Christmas Jar to exactly where it would find it's home.
I placed the book inside a box filled with a small tree, candy and a jar of her own. Since she would recognize my car.. I had a neighbor deliver it straight to her and her family.

This has been the best gift I have ever had the pleasure of giving. I have started 2009's Jar already!

Merry Christmas- Peace On Earth.

Such a heartwarming phrase: "forever cherished"

Imagine how happy the giver of this jar will be when they read this grateful note!

It was a great Christmas-feeling kind of night, with the crisp cold and the Christmas classics on the radio- me and my family were just coming up the drive-way from Christmas light-watching. As soon as we pulled up, we noticed an adorable, yet mysterious gift bag on our green doorstep. To our surprise, we found a mason jar full of coins and a copy of "Christmas Jars" by Jason F. Wright. Needless to say it epitomizes the spirit of the holidays and will be forever cherished in this family.

Christmas Jars, Candy and Hugs

There's no wrong way to deliver a Christmas Jar!

Yesterday, a women who I do not know came to my door with a present. My children answered the door, and this lady came in and handed me a gift bag saying something about how her family does this each year. I was a very confused for I thought she had mistaken me for someone else. Before, she left she gave each of my children and me a hug. I didn't get a chance to ask her name. I was still in shock and I half expected for her to return for the gift explaining to me how she made a mistake. I was curious as to what was in the package so I peeked, to my surprise it was a jar full of money and some candy. Later in the evening my mom called and I explained the event to her which she then explained that I had been the recipient of a Christmas Jar! I have never read the novel but I think I will and very soon.

I want to tell the women and her family, thank you for the Christmas Jar, it will truly help this Christmas season. We hope to pay it forward to some else in need. Thank you for spreading the true meaning of Christmas with your act of kindness and love! Merry Christmas!!!

"It just didn't seem right to receive what we had sitting in our very own kitchen."

Beautifully written. One of the most insightful Christmas Jar stories I've ever received.

(Name withheld)

I never thought I would be on the receiving end of a Christmas Jar miracle.
I have read Christmas Jars multiple times, and we even have a large jar filled about a quarter of the way up with change perched on our kitchen counter. The money in that jar has been accumulating for three years now. It's not much, but we had still planned to give it away when we felt it had enough money in it to be helpful to someone. But that's not the point.

The point is, I didn't think our family was the in-need type. When we came home last night after a dinner with my parents, my husband and I divvied up the duty of carrying in either the 20 pound diaper bag or the car seat containing the 20 pound baby as usual. Only this time, my husband stopped before reaching to retrieve our son, because blocking the door was a large cardboard box.

He hauled the very heavy box inside, and after the baby was settled, we sat down to open it. On top of the box were the words "Merry Christmas" in alternating red and green ink, the letters starting out big on the left and slowly getting smaller until they were scrunched up at the end. A child's work I was sure. We opened the box, and much to our surprise, inside was a very large ham, a bottle of sparkling water, and a mason jar filled with change.

I didn't know what to think. My emotions were in turmoil. Gratitude for someone who cared that things were a little tight for us mingled with guilt that there were people in the world worse off than us. I checked off the things in my mind that I felt disqualified us for the Christmas Jar.

First, we were making our bills. Second, while my husband was going to school full-time, he still had gotten full financial aid for the past two semesters. Third, our son was well-cared for, most of his clothes and other necessary baby items were given to us by very loving and generous friends before he was born at the baby showers I had. Fourth, it just didn't seem right to receive what we had sitting in our very own kitchen.

I struggled for a few minutes with these thoughts. I didn't know how I should be reacting about this beautiful gesture, but I was fairly certain this wasn't the right way. I continued to go over my list, trying to find why someone would feel we were in dire enough circumstances to need a jar of change to tide us over.
Then I decided it was time to put my pride away.

Yes, we were making our bills, but only after dipping into our savings every month. My husband's hours at work were recently cut, making it even harder. Yes, my husband has barely had to contribute any money to the last two semesters of school, but a letter came a few days ago saying the financial aid was being pulled. Sure we plan on filing an appeal with the school, but who knows if it will go through? What if it doesn't?
Did I mention that while our son is adequately clothed, we haven't been able to yet find affordable health insurance for him? That I'm paying well over a hundred dollars for each doctor's appointment he goes to?

The guilt was still there, but it had changed course. I hadn't been gracious in accepting this very special gift. There was no reason why I should have protested so hard against the love and kindness someone was showing us.

It doesn't really matter if we "deserve" the jar or not. The real point is, someone cared enough to give. Giving is the point of the Christmas Jar. We have two choices when we are the recipient of such a gift. We can be grateful and let that grateful feeling fill us up and overflow into our actions, and prompt us to give again to someone else. Or we can feel embarrassed and ashamed that someone noticed our need, and let the flow of charity stop with us.

We're giving our Christmas Jar to a family that recently lost their daughter in a tragic accident. It's not a lot of money, but our intention is that they know someone cared enough to give it.

Thank you for this wonderful book that has inspired so many people to share the Christmas spirit of love and benevolence.

"The money, though, is not the greatest gift of the jar."

Another Christmas Jars recipient who truly "gets it".

(Name withheld)

Just last night I walked in the door celebrating Christmas with my friends and saw my husband sitting on the couch reading a book (very unusual), my kids putting the Christmas tree back up, and a huge glass jar filled with coins on the dining room table. Only a short time before, someone rang the doorbell and was gone by the time my husband answered the door. The dogs went nuts and knocked down the Christmas tree!

I had never heard the story of the Christmas Jars before so I was confused. I looked it up online while my husband read the book. We were so moved to know someone considered us worthy of a Christmas jar. It has been a difficult Christmas with my husband out of work and our finances in a mess, but I have maintained my faith that God will provide.

The money, though, is not the greatest gift of the jar. I was brought to tears when I realized there are so many wonderful people in my life who would do something like this that I couldn't possibly guess at who it was. How awesome is that?! To know so many kind, generous & considerate people. I can literally think of dozens of possible "suspects". We are so blessed!

Thank you to our benefactor. We will now be able to follow our family tradition and see a movie on Christmas and apply the rest for bills. We will start filling it back up the day after. My kids are already on the lookout for a recipient for next year!

God bless and Merry Christmas!

A family of Christmas Jars givers!

A family affair. So sweet!

(Name withheld)

The big day had come! It was time to finally select the recipient of our First Christmas Jar. I think I was the most excited in my family. We were going to go out as soon as my daughter got home from work. I placed a bow on the jar, added a crisp $20 to the top of the jar and wrote a quick note in the front of a new "Christmas Jars" book. I was ready!

Then I got the phone call, "Mom, the girl who was supposed to cover the second shift didn't show up. I have to stay to close." Needless to say, I was disappointed. Our quest for the perfect recipient would have to wait till tomorrow.

At around 11am this morning, my 16-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son and I set out on our journey. We drove around our town looking for the right person. We made a rule, that all of us had to agree on the person who was to get our jar. After 45 minutes and no luck, my son asked if we could go to lunch first and then find our person. I said, that was a good idea, but we would try one more place on our way to lunch.

That was when we saw her. I knew instantly that she needed to get our jar. My daughter agreed. We pulled over in the parking lot and were getting ready to get out of the car when my son said, "I thought we all had to agree." He was right, that is what we said. How do you convince a 6 year old that this was "the one"? Somehow my daughter managed to do it, although my son still didn't seem happy.

The three of us got out of the car and approached the woman. She was putting her bags into her car. We handed her a bag with our jar and the book and told her that we thought this might help brighten her holiday. She couldn't stop hugging and thanking us. She said that we were her angels. We wished her a Merry Christmas and walked back to our car.

I was crying and I swear my 16 year olds eyes were watery (though she would never admit it). It was then that this little voice from the back seat said, "Mom, that was the right person." My daughter and I looked at each other and I cried some more knowing that we did something special today.

Thank you for sharing your book and this experience with my family. I will cherish the memories from our trip today, forever. Merry Christmas!

PS: As we put our son to sleep last night after a hectic day of present opening and family visits, we asked him what his favorite part of Christmas was. I figured it would be one of the many football jersey he received, but I was wrong. He said it was giving away our jar. How is it that young children can see the real meaning of Christmas so clearly? That was the best Christmas gift I ever received. He made me so proud.

Merry Christmas!

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a new batch of Christmas Jar e-mails!

(Name witheld)

It is Christmas Eve and I had just gotten done watching a movie with my daughter. We heard nothing, but the dog barking and thought that maybe a package had arrived. I went to the door to check and was brought to tears. This year has been rough to say the least. I lost my job after 37 years and have been having an all around tough time. The person who found it in there heart to bring a jar of change and this wonderful book to my door step reminded me what the spirit of giving is all about. I am truly greatful for the kindness that this person showed and will do my best to make this a new family tradition. Thank you whomever you were and may God grant your hopes and wishes true.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Jars are about much more than dollars and cents

Merry Christmas Eve! This latest story reminds us it's not always about the money, is it? What a sweet e-mail from a new friend.

(Name withheld)

This is probably not a typical story.

Two nights ago I received a knock at my door, when I opened it there was a lady I didn't know standing there. She asked for me by name and then handed me a jar full of change and dollar bills. I didn't know what to say. She said this is for you.

There was a copy of your book with it so I sat down and read it, even though it was already 9:00 p.m. I love your book, it is great. The thing is I don't know why I got it. I live with my husband, my two sons, two nieces and my father-in-law. My husband and I both work and my oldest son is 22 and supports himself (pretty much). My father-in-law has his social security check to pay his way. We don't struggle financially nor have I ever said anything to anyone about needing money. In fact, we did two sub for Santa families this year. We have always tried to help people out. My nieces live with us because their parents are in prison and we have raised them for 6 years. They are teenagers now and we think of them as our children.

It was very humbling to receive such a gift. Receiving has always been tough for my husband and at first he felt bad, like someone didn't think he could take care of his family, but after reading the book, we decided to just pay in forward by starting our own Christmas jar for next year, and enjoy the gift we received this year to go to a family dinner, something we don't do much since there are 7 of us.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Can I have another all-time favorite Christmas Jars story? Please?

Wow! That about covers my reaction when I read this.

(Name withheld)

Merry Christmas! I just wanted to write and say thank you once again for the wonderful gift of the Christmas jars. This is the second year for my family to give out our own christmas jar. I have to admit that this year I haven't found much of the Christmas spirit. The bright spot in my holidays and the entire year has been the Christmas jar and sharing the story with others.

We began saving for this years christmas jar immediately after making our delivery last year. My parents, grandmother, & I all decided to go together once again and give it to a family or families who touched our hearts. Then one day this past spring an article appeared in our local paper about a 13 year old boy who had suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body,and second-degree burns covering another 25 percent when a trash fire got out of hand. The family had no medical insurance and the story went on to say that the bills were so high that this family of six had very little hope of ever paying the bills completely. But the real inspiration behind our choice came from the story of the family themselves their spirit, love and strength.

The article told of how when the young man caught fire his younger sister ran to help only to have her clothes catch on fire, and as many big brothers would do he pushed her away to safety and sacrificed himself. In the weeks that followed more stories appeared in the paper telling of how with the his family's support and his determination the teen was shattering records and cutting his rehabilitation time in half. Faced with treatments well into his 20s he continued to keep a positive attitude, saying he doesn't want pity and just wants everyone to treat him like a normal teen. But his entire family has shown what it means to persevere. Before the fire happened they had been misplaced because of hurricane Katrina and spent time trying to find a place to begin again. The paper told of their trip to our area and how they were met with obstacles and mishaps that would have left many people throwing up their hands in defeat. But they continued on and have come out a stronger and closer family as a result.

We knocked on their door the day after Thanksgiving and after wishing them a merry Christmas and went on our way. We are all hoping that the jar brings the family a little extra joy this holiday season. I only hope that if I should ever have to face anything similar I can do it with half their courage and faith. We may have been giving them a gift, but I think that we were the ones who were blessed.

Once again thank you for your book it is indeed changing lives. We love reading all the stories of the jars that are being given and received.

Poking kids, grouchy parents, yet still a Christmas Jars miracle

Here's an unusual Christmas Jars delivery story to remind us that things don't always go as planned. Still, you can bet the recipient of this amazing family's jar is grateful this morning.

(Name withheld)

We dropped off a Christmas Jar tonight. It was somewhat uneventful. In fact, kinda challenging...

First we have been thinking about it all month. It started when our oldest was looking for a small screwdriver to fix a toy. I told him it was with the coins in my room near the Christmas Jar that we've been adding to all year. An hour later, he had counted out all the coins and sorted them into neat little $10 piles. He totally forgot about the screwdriver.

We've put a lot of thought into deciding what makes it the right gift. How to properly do the hand-off. Whether we have enough coins in the jar. Whether we should include other items with the jar.

We finally decided to put together some extras to go along with the jar. But we still didn't know who to give it to. We prayed on a few different evenings to discover who to give it to. Then a random posting on facebook turned into a response from a neighbor who had the perfect family in mind.

So we finally got everything together, including a new book with a simple note inside. The note really meant a lot to us, because writing it forced us to reflect back on the past year and recognize God's hand in our life. With a simple gesture of collecting spare change all year, we have been reminded ourselves to care about someone else. We knew that God had made a change in our lives and we needed to pass it on to others.

The kids wanted to use the coins for pizza and "gifts" that we could give half to someone else and keep half for themselves. We used it as a teaching moment and explained that we have been saving them all year and they have been set aside for that purpose and no amount of reasoning or kid-logic would change that.

Anyway... tonight was the night that we went and dropped it off. We crowded into a small cramped rental car (our van is in the shop getting a new transmission). The kids kept poking each other, we made some wrong turns, and the parents were grouchy. We finally found the address after 30 minutes in the car, but nobody was home. We left everything on the door step and then went to the neighbor to ask them to keep an eye on it.

On the way home, everyone was a bit disappointed that it didn't go exactly as planned. The oldest was concerned that it might freeze in the cold. We assured the kids that the neighbor would keep an eye on it, and it wasn't cold enough to freeze anyway. More poking and crowded personal space. We finally got home and the kids have gone back to their favorite activities. Fortunately we had some nice Christmas music to get everyone calmed down and fresh popcorn at home set everyone straight.

So now we start a new jar. We already have our first quarter in it. The kids found it in the back seat of the rental car... :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Monday two-fer of Christmas Jars stories

How about you? Have you given away your jar yet? Please visit www.christmasjars.com to tell us about it!

(Name withheld)

Our Dad reads to us each night and we call that time "Dad's Story". One book he read to us this year was the Christmas Jar after our Mom got it from TOFW!

We thought it would be a fun idea to make our own Christmas Jar this year! We decorated a dill pickle jar with Christmas stickers and started filling it up with spare change and the occasional dollar bill. We started in February and have had a great time seeing our jar fill up.

When we decided it was time to deliver our jar, just for fun we counted the money and were surprised by the amount that was contained therein! Then everyone added more raising the total to an awesome amount! We also included a copy of your fabulous book "The Christmas Jar".

We chose a family in our neighborhood who we knew didn't have a lot of money this year and needed help with their Christmas.

Getting ready to and actually delivering our Christmas Jar was the best!!!! Mom and Dad planned out the route ahead of time, so we knew our escape plan before we left to deliver the goods. We were decked out in balaclavas and dark clothes. Some of us thought it felt like a criminal operation, while the rest thought we were being silly. All still agreed that it was fun. Mom was the lookout posted to tell us when the jar had been picked up. Dad was driving the getaway vehicle and we were able to escape without being seen!

We loved the feeling it gave each of us to participate in saving the money and then delivering it to someone we knew would need it. Can't wait to start next year's!!!!

A touching, inspiring Christmas Jars miracle to start your Monday

What a nice way to start Christmas week, eh? Enjoy!

(Name withheld)

I am working my usual double shift tonight, due to the cold weather I just stopped home to let my dog in for the night and on my doorstep was a giftbag with a beautiful jar with $250 worth of gift certificates inside and your book. A tag with my name but no signature had me very confused until I started to read the book.

It has been a hard year for me I am very recently divorced and fighting for child support money everyday. Besides the financial struggles I worry about my kids' emotional state through this all. I do have to admit I felt sort of embarrased when I first opened the jar, I have worked very hard lately to make enough money to buy Christmas presents for my kids and pay the bills and was very proud of myself for that. To whomever was so generous tonight, I apologize that I felt that way, I am truly grateful to you,and though I wish I knew your identity so that I may pay you back personally I promise you that I will "pay it forward". Thank you, God bless and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Double feature Sunday: Another Christmas Jars tear-jerker

Just in moments ago. I hope the giver of this family's jar comes back and reads this. You've changed their lives and I know you'll be blessed for it. This, dear readers, is what Christmas is all about.

(Name withheld)

I am still left speechless. I came home from church and was fussing around the house. Got a hard knock at my door but no one was there. When we opened up the door saw a man running from my house to his car that was parked outside in front of my neighbor. I quickly came to the door to see a small bag at the front door. Truly baffeled I brought the bag inside to find a large jar painted with christmas colors and a book. The jar was painted as to not see inside. With no note or anything other than the book I was even more baffeled. When I opened up the jar there was $10 bill on top and was full of silver change. Later came find out was more money inside mixed inside the change. I had to laugh though a little cause the paint on the jar was still wet (LOL). This truly came to my family as a blessing with all we have dealt with this over the last year. My thoughts and prayers go to the anonymous person(s). The truly have blessed me in being able to provide my children a holiday.

PS: This has truly blessed my family in more ways then I could ever begin to describe. As the holidays quickly approach I felt more and more uncertain that would be able to allow my kids a holiday. This blessing has done just what I thought I would not be able to. We have struggled for most of this year with me being able to only work part time due to my one child special needs. I am left hours later still speechless of the gift someone shared with my family. It is more then the aspect of the money but the genorisity and thought shown to my family.

Sunday: A perfect day for a new Christmas Jars miracle

What a lovely problem to have, more Christmas Jar stories than days left to post them! Keep them coming, and enjoy this one from the sweetest woman in Willow Spring, NC:

(Name withheld)

Today was the day to deliver our Christmas Jars. My parents and my kids (ages 6 and 4) and I all went riding around a town about 10 minutes from where we live. This is the first jar we have ever done and given away.

We rode around looking for someone to give this to as we felt when we all saw that special family we would all immediately know that that is who the CJ receiver would be this year. We didn't find anybody and had decided to run to the local Food Lion there and get a few groceries. When we pulled up to the front we saw a group of "carolers" out front...they were wonderful at their singing and my mom and I looked at each other and we just knew that this is who needed to have the jar(mind you that they were not wanting or asking for donations). I went to our van and got the bag that had the jar and the book and brought it back...I handed the bag to my 4 year old and he gave it to the lady there. She was so happy and they all started giving us hugs and blessing us all with thanks. My kids had just given our first jar to a Christian Life center. I was so proud of my kids!

The jar though didn't contain much money this year as we only just started it in October but my family and I have said, it is not the amount that matters, it is the lesson behind the story. The ladies and gentlemen there today all had a blessing because of two wonderful thoughtful loving little boys. They are going to pass the CJ book around and I am hoping and praying that CJ tradition continues in our area!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Jars poem by another miracle worker

This just came in from someone taking the Christmas Jars tradition to a whole new level!

This is the note I left inside the Christmas Jar I am leaving at someone's doorstep in a few days.

Christmas Jar

It isn’t much,
Spare change really;
Coins tossed in a drawer
Or in a jar for later use;
The kind I used to hear
Jingle in my Daddy’s pocket
As he reached in
To buy me a soda pop
On a Saturday afternoon.

These are the things that linger;
Like the smells of
A Thanksgiving dinner,
Long after a prayer;
Through every corner
Of the house,
After the dishes have been put away
And the family settles in for a long night’s slumber;
When you can finally rest your head
From a long day of labor.

Now, as the holidays are upon us,
Let the jingle bring a momentary smile;
Like the sound of tiny reindeer
To a child immersed in a Christmas dream;
Warmth to the heart of a mother,
Knowing another day is spent together,
As it seems the hardships go on forever,
But there is always love no matter
The consequence that life deals out;
Hope when there seems only despair.

And so, from our family to yours;
We wish you a blessed Merry Christmas; a Happy New Year!

I already know the family who will be getting this jar. I know that the mother has several young children at home and a mother she is caring for who has cancer. The one son has had bouts of health problems and is facing surgery. I know it's not much, but I have been blessed with a beautiful family with healthy boys. Letting someone know you care and offering a little hope is worth so much more. Thank you Jason for bringing home this fact through your writing. God Bless!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Christmas Jars miracle so wonderful I literally couldn't wait to post it

This latest Christmas Jars story was so lovely and well written I simply could not wait until tomorrow to post it. I've read it three times and gotten teary each time. I know, I'm such a softie. (Be sure to read today's other CJ story below this post.)

(Name withheld)

I've often wondered how a person repays kindness. I know now...with a Christmas Jar.

As a young mother with 4 small children I struggled for years to make it from day to day. There were many times when I had to depend on the generous good will of the Salvation Army and other food banks in my area to provide nourishment for my children.

My children are grown now and my life has been blessed in ways I never thought were possible.

A little over a year ago I started my Christmas jar. Everyday I deposited my spare change into the jar. Those deposits became an opportunity for me to concentrate on how thankful I was for all that had been given to me each day.

Tonight as I prepared to hand my jar full of blessings off to someone else I reflected on my year of blessings. Even on the not so good days there was something to be thankful for.

Before leaving home this evening I said a quite prayer asking God to lead me to the person He intended to receive the Christmas Jar.

I drove 6 miles from my home to Harrisburg, PA without a plan or a specific destination in mind. All that was certain to me is that I would know who it was when I saw them.

In the parking lot of Toys R Us I found her. My heart started beating harder than Thumpers foot the second I realized who was getting the jar. The thought of approaching a complete stranger in a parking was both exciting and scary.

With one deep breath and a pull of the door handle and made my move.

"Hi, I would like to give this jar to you for Christmas."

"Are you kidding me," the woman said.

"No, Merry Christmas."

"Wow," she said, "Merry Christmas to you too."

As fast as that it was over.

I returned to my car where my daughter was waiting, and as soon as the door was closed we both began to cry.

As if a year full of blessings wasn't already enough, God blessed me again tonight. And tomorrow? A new jar begins.

One of the most unusual and touching Christmas Jar stories ever

(Name withheld)

I have enjoyed reading your books, your stories always seem to be so personable and have a wonderful message. I'm writing you today to let you know of my Christmas Jar experiences for 2007 and 2008. My family read both Christmas Jars and The Wednesday Letters last year and we decided to start a jar of our own. In 2007 we collected change throughout the year and involved our children. Our children were excited to deposit their extra change and they did understand what the money would go towards. We went through the process of chosing someone to receive the jar and we decided on a friend who was facing tough times as most of us do. We did a drive by late at night, rang the doorbell and got back into the car as fast as we could and drove away. After the drop off, we felt very good about what we were able to accomplish and starting another jar the next day.

Fast forward to 2008 and the month is September. We have had trials arrive into our lives this year but our jar at this point had almost one hundred dollars that consisted of bills and coins. We needed to pay a few bills so we used the Christmas jar and left an IOU inside with the amount. The next day we started filling the jar back up and within a month we had almost fifty dollars collected, we had another bill pop up and we once again "borrowed" the money from the jar and put in another IOU.

We are now on our third jar and fast forward now to the beginning of November. I was talking to my wife on the weekend and we were talking about our financial trials and I expressed to my wife that using the money from the jar to pay the bills was hard because it felt like stealing.

Mr. Wright I quickly realized something, I WAS helping a family, I was helping my OWN family through our tough times. Our family was struggling this year and your wonderful idea, our new tradition helped so much and we as a family learned so much from this experience.

I know that this is not the usual Christmas Jar story that you receive but my wife and I wanted you to know that we again enjoy your stories and the true message of giving and thank you for a new tradition that we have and an opportunity to serve others. We were very humbled this year and our Christmas Jar was able to provide a way for us to make our bills. We hope to have enough money in our new jar so we can deliver to someone in need during the holidays because we know that we have been blessed because we have served others in the past. Merry Christmas and we look forward to any new books or traditions that you may have in the future.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Big thanks to some wonderful ladies in Missouri!

I just stumbled across this video this morning. How amazing are these ladies? I'll make a point to stop in next time I'm in Missouri. Hope the rest of you will too!

Click here to watch this incredible news clip.

A Christmas Jars angel strikes again!

This seriously never gets old, does it? Tick-tock, get those stories in!

(Name withheld)

I read your book last year at Christmas and it became one of my top ten favorites, I read it in one sitting. I passed it around to many women in my Bible study class, as well as at work and to my family. It has been a tough year in many ways this year. My husband hasn't worked much this year and I took a new job that cut my pay slightly, enough to feel a difference. In addition I went back to school, which added to our money strife. We live in a seriously tiny apartment and are newly married, so there are many ingredients to our meager means at times. The end of this year has gotten tighter and tighter and we have found various ways to be more frugal. For instance making the few Christmas gifts we are giving away this year, totaling about $.50 per gift.

But the greatest gift of all was the Christmas jar we were given. We don't know how much is in it yet, but the amount will be very helpful towards groceries and gas none the less. We are so thankful for our jar, and will be starting our own jar no matter what this year. Thank you for your amazing inspirational book and for showing there is love in the hearts of Americans.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My new all-time favorite Christmas Jars story?

This one brought a tear (or seven) to my eye.

(Name withheld)

We had just came home from Ward Christmas Party. I was getting the baby ready for bed and I saw someone run by the window and then I hear the doorbell ring. I saw the same person run by the window again. I wasn't sure I recognized him. After getting the baby settled I went to the door and there was a gallon jar. I wasn't sure what was in it, but it was heavy because it slipped out of my fingers as I lifted it up. Once I got it off the ground, I saw that it was change. I brought it in and attached in a bag with a ribbon to the jar was this book. My wife, oldest son, and I counted out just over 300 dollars in change!

My wife had been involved in a serious car accident where the occupant of the other vehicle died. She was unhurt, but suffers emotional trauma. This compounded with trying to get a business off the ground and 5 kids was making me wonder if I would be able to provide any sort of Christmas to my children.

As we were counting out the change we slowly came to the realization how the family that did this for us must have felt as they were slowly adding money to this jar throughout the year. This was a humbling experience, especially for my son as he shared his feelings with us about this experience. Thank you for such a wonderful idea. I will be sure to read the book.

Epilogue: The next Sunday, I went to church. I was speaking with our Bishop in a meeting before church and I mentioned this to him. As I was telling him about this, I saw a smile come across his face. He said he knew who did it. He also mentioned that they have been doing this for 3 years and had done it with 3 different families. This was the first time in 3 years he has heard anything back on it. I asked him to tell that family that we were grateful for their generosity and thoughts. He also said that gratitiude is something he rarely sees as he helps the needy with assistance the church can give. He told me he would definitely pass my families feelings on to the family that has been doing this for the last 3 years.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just in! Another Christmas Jar miracle

Wow, so many stories coming in early this year! Have you given away a jar yet?

(Name withheld)

I am a mother of three sons. My faith was given a jolt tonight with a "Christmas Jar". As a single mom, life seems to test my faith more than I sometimes hope for. I was given a gift of hope tonight, which I will never ever forget.

My Angel also gave me the book "Christmas Jars". Inside was this: "It doesn't matter where things come from, what matters is that someone CARES.... Happy Holidays To You and Your Family. -From, People who care."

Thank you for sending this blessing out to me and others. For your writing has made us think of our faith and share with others. I plan to send a blessing to another needy family.

I would like to share this with everyone. I cry every time I read or talk about my unknown Christmas Angel. That moment has changed my family and me in such away, that words are hard to find. Thank you again for writing such a beautiful book.

Sincerely, A mother of three

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another good soul gives a Christmas Jar

With stories like these, it's easy to see how this has become my favorite time of year. Fiction is wonderful, but real life is inspirational!

(Name withheld)

A woman who I worked with for 2 years got diagnosed with Leukemia not too long ago and she past in August of this year. It was very upsetting for me and the people around her. She left behind her 4 daughters (2 are in college, the other two in highschool). She also left behind her very loving husband. Her life insurance covered some, but her husband had to cut back the hours at his job drasticlly due to her sickness. The bills reached at least 1 million dollars or less. This will be the first Christmas without the girls' mother and without his wife. I can't imagine what it will be like this Christmas for them. So this Christmas I will be giving them the "Christmas Jar". This will be the very first time I have ever done this. I know when I give them the jar, there faces will light up and hopefully they will have some spirit left. I know I will feel so glad when I give them that jar. I know it won't be 1 million dollars, but it's some money they can use and they can use it however they wish.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keep 'em coming! Yet another Christmas Jars story

(Name withheld)

Last year we as an office decided we would collect change and start our own Christmas jar. We are a pediatric office and come across many deserving recipients. This year we chose a little girl who needed a "new" heart.

She was a normal health baby girl at birth, when she was around 10 months old they discovered she had a sever heart condition and needed a heart transplant. She underwent several surgeries and spend many many months in the hospital. The little girl also had 2 big brothers at home. Her sweet devoted parents tried to cover all their bases by caring for the boys at home and this sweet baby at the hospital.

Over the course of several months, we collected a great Christmas jar. All the employees contributed, and we were even able to share this experiance with our own family and children. All who thought of this little girl as their "special baby". We got together as an office and in the third week of December we delivered the jar on the doorsteps and watched the mom pick up the jar with tears in her eyes.

Then the best Christmas gift ever was given... On December 23rd the parents got the call that they had a heart for this sweet baby!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fresh Christmas Jar Sighting

Another wonderful real-life Christmas Jars miracle. This came in moments ago:

(Name withheld)

Last night my son and I were sitting at home watching t.v. when the doorbell rang. I couldn't imagine who would be outside in the middle of a snowy, windy, very cold night. I opened the door and there was a gift bag on our doorstep with a jar full of coins and the book.

I don't know who did this, but it was a blessing nonetheless.

Most people would look at my life right now and think I should be depressed...my husband and I are getting a divorce and work is stressful to say the least right now, especially given the economy. And just this morning my grandfather passed away.

The funny thing is, I feel so blessed most days! God has given me so much and I just can't imagine why He allowed me to be blessed even more with this Christmas Jar. I am very humbled.

I cannot wait to start this tradition with my teenage son...it's such a fabulous way to teach him to be selfless and giving.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jason's Cheesy Web Videos - Episode #8

This episode takes you to the annual Woodstock Christmas Parade. It was cold but memorable!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two Christmas stories to brighten your day

Ready for two stories that will make you smile, but for vastly different reasons?

First, please take a moment to visit my friend Kevin Milne's blog. Read his post about their family Christmas Jar and his darling Emma's incredible gesture. Then come right back. Promise?

http://kevinamilne.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-jars-frozen-oreos-and.html

And now mine:

Today Kason, Koleson and I ran a guys-only errand to Walmart so I could buy some shaving cream. As we approached the door Kason (age 5) asked for change to put in the Salvation Army bucket. How can you resist the magical ding-ding of the bell and the hanging red bucket?

I emptied my pockets and came up with 85 cents. I placed it in his hand and off he went to drop it in the bucket.

He quickly caught up to us just inside the automatic doors and asked if he could play the toy crane game.

"Bud, I don't have any quarters, you just dropped them all in the bucket outside."

His eyes twinkled. "Not ALL of them," he smiled and opened his hand to reveal a single quarter.

"KASON WRIGHT!"

"But you gave me a lot, Dad."

Now a good father would have marched his son back out there and watched closely as he dropped the quarter where it belonged.

I am not a good father.

I laughed, called him sneaky, and bought my shaving cream.

On the way out Kason once again asked if he could play the toy crane game. "I want to win that stuffed monkey dressed like an elf!"

"With your DIRTY quarter?" I asked.

Important aside: Kason has never won anything in the toy crane machine on his own. He always has me or one of his sisters help line up the metals claw and give him the best shot at success.

"So can I?"

"Fine. It will be a good lesson. I'm not helping."

So he put in his stolen quarter, eyeballed the target, moved the claw carefully over it, and pressed the button.

Hours later I'm telling this story and Kason is upstairs fast asleep, snuggling with a monkey dressed like an elf.

And there goes my Father of the Year Award!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yet another amazing Christmas Jars miracle

This email just came in. I bet there are many more of these to come between now and Christmas!

(Name withheld)

I have just received a Christmas jar and the book at my door step. I have no clue who could have sent it. Hearing the story of what it means bought tears to my eyes and gave me goose bumps. I was touch to know someone put a lot of thought in this and who they chose. I'm looking forward to trying to find out who it is but at the same time I don't want to know because it's such beautiful secret.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another wonderful true-life Christmas Jars miracle

I've heard many of these stories since Christmas Jars first hit stores in 2005, but they never get old. The latest story, just sent to me today, is one of my all-time favorites. It's a timely reminder that the world is full of good people, no matter what you hear on the news.

(Name withheld)

I'm excited today! I'm giving my Christmas jar and book to a young man at Starbucks. Divorced with 2 little boys, living with his parents and dividing custody. He's attending Tech school working on computers to help his future. I saved all year and am so blessed to be able to do this. The book touched me when I read it. It brought back many memories of hard times when I was younger not gifts of cash but how neighbors helped my mom with 4 kids and Dad passing away when I was 10. I just hought "what a great way to pay it forward". I pray that he will see that he is loved and will do the same when he has his life together. Will I do it again? Without a doubt!! Thank you so much for allowing me to reopen my heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Christmas Sweater is #1!

One of the greatest privileges of my writing career was working on Glenn Beck's new novel, The Christmas Sweater. As you've probably heard, it's based closely on an experience he had as a child and it's a deeply personal book.

The New York Times has just released their list for last week and we're #1! So big time congrats to Glenn and to my other co-writer, Kevin Balfe. Way to go!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jason's Cheesy Web Videos - Episode #7

I had the true pleasure today of meeting two of the coolest ladies on earth. Ann and her chum Joyce are on a trip from PA to NC. They took a detour through Woodstock today to see some of the sights mentioned in The Wednesday Letters. I arranged to meet them at Ben Franklin for hot chocolate and a few good laughs. And we had plenty!

Check out this very special episode of Jason's Cheesy Web Videos.

And to Ann and Joyce, in case you're reading this from some hotel somewhere, thanks for the most fun I've had in ages. You're fantastic! (FYI Ann, I still have your lips marks on my cheek!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We have winners in the "Free Books for Life" drawing!

Congrats to our three winners! Our next contest will be announced soon and you will not be disappointed. It's easily our best prize ever--by a long shot!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home

Doesn't that one word say it all?

It's so nice after an incredibly hectic two months to finally sleep in my own bed and tuck my kids in. I returned home early yesterday morning (2:30) and I'm still walking around in a state of disbelief. Where are the wake up calls? The chocolate on pillows? The beds making themselves magically? The little soaps in boxes?

I'll have much more to say very soon, but for now I wanted to draw your attention to a contest I'm running over at PoliticalDerby.com to celebrate a friend's new book.

Click here to win a copy of The Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Milne.

Also thought you might enjoy this clip my publisher produced a few weeks ago for the Barnes & Noble web site.



More soon!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kudos to Wil for a brilliant episode of Jason's Cheesy Web Videos

The good news is I'm home for a couple days. The bad news is I'm home because I'm sick. I picked up a nasty flu bug on tour last week and had to head home from Nashville before my Portland events. Sorry Portland! We're already working hard to get another event scheduled before Christmas. And I assure you that you did not, repeat did not want to see me Friday and Saturday. It wasn't purty.

Hopefully by tomorrow (Monday) I'll be back in tip top shape, because I'm off on a road trip to Boise, ID. Can't wait!

So... I often get asked what signings are like. Thanks to my nephew Wil (aka Wilma, the Wilster, the Wilmanator) we have footage from a recent event in my old stomping grounds of Charlottesville, Virginia. It's not exactly a typical signing because I knew quite a few of the folks already, but it sure was fun.

Since Wil did such a fabulous job producing, directing and editing this, we decided it was worthy to be called Episode 5 of Jason's Cheesy Web Videos. Way to go, Wil!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Catch a fun podcast with PsychJourney

I did a podcast with Jamie Mason for PsychJourney.com. Jamie was a real pro, better than most of the radio interviews I've ever done!

Click here to hear our discussion
about Recovering Charles.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The incredible world of your local bookstore

I'll have more to say about life and the state of the tour soon, but for now I thought I'd pass along this incredible note I got from a dear friend in the bookstore business. I'll let it speak for itself.

If you ever are without a story I highly recommend you sit in a large book store for a couple of months to observe....

Perhaps you will notice the lady running into the store as fast as she can to the women's restroom and locking herself in a stall. The Best Buy managers are not far behind chasing her through the store. Police follow however they are all men so they can't retrieve her and it's possibly too dangerous for us to go in and get her. A female police officer is called and she goes in and brings her out in handcuffs for credit card fraud.

One week later at 2:30 in the afternoon you would notice the lady entering the store absolutely falling down drunk screaming through the store for her children who we have paged but who are not in the store because they are in school! After falling down several times she purchases The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, leaves the store and attempts to enter 5 or 6 cars because she can't remember where hers is. She sits down to smoke a cigarette and we wonder what has happened in her life to cause her to be in this shape. We call 911. She finds her car and rolls down the window screaming for her kids as she drives by the store. Police arrive, and she voluntarily lays across the police car opening her mouth to allow the breathalizer to take place, and then is placed in handcuffs and taken away.

You might notice the nicely dressed gentleman who sits at the front of the store reading and sleeping all day long. Sometimes he arrives at 9 am and sometimes he arrives later in the day and we have to wake him up at closing. He has become homeless in the last 3 to 4 months. He is friendly but guarded. Nice gentleman, doesn't bother anyone or anything....just needs a place to rest his body....the recipient of my Christmas Jar this year.

Another gentleman is so excited to find the CD's his wife has wanted for a long time.....he is in the store waiting for his son to finish his Lasik surgery across the parking lot. He purchases his CD's, walks to the history department and drops dead of a massive heart attack despite attempts to revive him.

There is a younger gentleman who is walking around the store with his cell phone...as he approaches women wearing skirts he slips his camera under their skirt (without them knowing) and takes a picture. One woman reports him, we chase him out of the store and call police. One employee is able to bring him back but he gets in his car to drive away. The woman's husband stands in front of his car to keep him from leaving but he leaves anyway attempting to run over the husband.

As I walk past the restrooms one evening a genlteman comes out of the woman's restroom!! I'm a little stunned but don't think much more about it. A week later I'm at customer service looking down at something and when I look up there is the gentleman who walked out of the woman's restroom but he is now dressed as a woman! Reddish hair, large hands but manicured nails, knit top and a skirt....He/She asks for an application and applies as Angel!

Yes these events have all taken place at my store....in a nice, very well to do area, one of the fastest growing counties in the US!! I could go on and on and on!! Until I worked there I always assumed the book store was a nice quiet place to sit and read a book while drinking a hot coffee and enjoying a warm cookie!! My eyes have been opened!! So....if you are ever without a topic just sit yourself down in the book store....there are many stories and a ton of characters and they are not on the shelf!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

KUTV appearance and episode 4 of Jason's Cheesy Web Videos

I'm home! After another week on the road I'm home for a few days. Then it's off to events in Fairfax and Charlottesville.

Last week we had a great interview in Salt Lake on Channel 2. (see below) And I'm tickled peach to present Episode 4 of Jason's Cheesy Web Videos starring Cherie Call.



Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Orleans and a "Second Verse"

Well that was fast... I only had about 15 hours in New Orleans and I'm posting this from my next stop, Phoenix. I was in the Big Easy just long enough to check-in to my hotel, change, take a cab to my event at the wonderful Octavia Books, take the same cab back, eat dinner nearby, sleep, and take a tour on the way to the airport in the morning.

But it was the cab ride I'll most remember. I was so fortunate to meet Walter the night before and keep him for all my rides. He's a NOLA native and he gave me an hour long tour of the Lower Ninth Ward. He was so gracious and accommodating.

I couldn't include everything we saw, and I apologize that the quality in places isn't the greatest, but I hope it reminds us all how much work is left to be done. If anyone or anything has ever deserved a "Second Verse" - it's New Orleans.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Greetings from New Orleans

I know, where the heck have you been, Jason? So much has happened in the last two weeks and I promise on a stack of empty Snicker Bar wrappers that I'll give a full update shortly.

Tomorrow I'm planning our best edition ever of Jason's Cheesy Web Videos, filmed right here in NOLA. Then it's off to Arizona, Utah, and home!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another fun interview with Glenn Beck

Our fourth interview with Glenn was such fun. We were in the makeup room together beforehand and had an fascinating discussion about Hurricane Katrina and how it was used against him in the media. Glenn is as personable and kind off-screen as he is on-screen. So did you miss it? Watch below!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Free Books for Life Contest Update

My agent will probably accuse me of not getting enough sleep on tour, but I've come up with a fun idea for a new contest. I've decided to give away signed copies of my first four books plus a free copy of every book I write for the rest of my career!

Three winners will be chosen at random on November 1st and all three will receive a signed and personalized copy of The James Miracle, Christmas Jars, The Wednesday Letters and Recovering Charles.

But wait! As Billy Mays says, "That's not all!" All three winners will also receive a free copy of every book I ever write in both hardcover and paperback.

How do you enter?

STEP 1: Send your friends and family an email referring them to RecoveringCharles.com.

STEP 2: In that email, invite your friends and family to join our list on the front page so they can learn more about the novels, win prizes, and hear Cherie Call's new song "Love Me If You Can". All for free!

STEP 3: Instruct your friends to enter YOUR name as their "referrer" in the field at the very bottom. (picture of sign-up form as shown above)

For every person who joins our list and enters YOUR name, you'll receive one entry in the drawing. Simple enough?

Refer 5 people to the list who join; receive 5 entries in the drawing. Refer 100 people who join and you'll be entered 100 times in the drawing. It's as simple as that. The more people who accept your invitation to join our community, the more chances you have to win.

Remember, the deadline is November 1st to refer those friends. And of course once your friends are on the list, they can enter too!

Did you miss our last drawing of this kind? Click here to watch it here.

WANT TO SEE A SAMPLE EMAIL TO SEND YOUR FRIENDS?

Hi friends! I'm participating in a contest to win free books for life. An author named Jason Wright has a new book in stores with a beautiful theme song by songwriter Cherie Call. It's about second verses in your life and I know you'll love it!

You can hear it for free right now at http://www.recoveringcharles.com


I hope you'll visit the site and join his email list. He won't SPAM you (I promise!) and you'll be the first to hear about events, contests, and even get sneak peeks at his manuscripts.

And be sure to check out his latest contest and enter MY name as your referrer when you sign up! That's how I hope to win his books for life :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greetings from New York and a Glenn Beck update


What a crazy 24 hours! I'm so tired I actually fell asleep this afternoon in the back of the car that drove me from Manhattan to my hotel in Long Island. I haven't done since I rode in a car seat! Wow, I am getting way too old for this...

Last night's signing was great fun. There was a moment I looked around the bookstore (Borders in the Time Warner Building) and couldn't believe I was actually there. I remember once going into that store during a visit to CNN. It was long before my books were available nationally and I wondered if I'd ever be able to buy my book there. Then last night I was reading from my books and signing them. Surreal.



You might have watched Glenn Beck last night and noticed I wasn't on. Sorry! I meant to post a note that we only taped yesterday, the actual interview will air Thursday at 7PM and 9PM EST. With all the financial news dominating the landscape they thought it was best to hold the segment a day or two. So tune in tomorrow!

Finally, I am pleased to present Episode 2 of Jason's Cheesy Web Diary. Live from New York, it's Jason on Times Square!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is it really September 16th already?

Seems like just last week I was locked up in a Holiday Inn Express cranking through Recovering Charles as my deadline barreled down on me. Now here we are just 5 short months later on release day.

Can you say, stressed?

I often get asked what it feels like on the day a new book hits store shelves. I usually say it feels like giving birth. Then my wife, if she's standing nearby, elbows me sharply in the ribs and says "You have no clue what you're talking about..." And, as usual, she's probably right.

Maybe it's like dating a woman for a long time and facing the moment of truth: The proposal. There you are on one knee in Central Park, or on the beach, or in a hot air balloon, or in a department store (that was me, true story). You've waited for this big moment. It's a huge commitment. You know she likes you, but will she love you? You're about to put it all on the line, to open yourself up more than you ever have to acceptance or rejection. Will she say yes? If she does it's bliss. If she doesn't, well, it stinks.

Or maybe it's nothing like that at all.

Maybe it's more like opening a restaurant. On opening night you know you'll have a big crowd. But will they like your entrees? Will the chocolate lava cake be lava-ey enough? You've worked so hard for this big day. If they like it, you know they'll tell their friends and come back. If not, well, you'll never cook in this town again.

Or maybe it's nothing like that at all.

Maybe it's like giving birth...

In any case, pick your analogy and then pick up a copy of Recovering Charles online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your local bookstore. And most importantly, come back and tell me what you think. Good, bad or indifferent.

Now excuse me while I get my gown on. Contractions are just two minutes apart...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday is definitely my favorite day

We just learned that The Wednesday Letters has landed at #16 on the NYT Paperback Bestseller list. Wow! I'm so thankful to all of you that bought an extra case :)

Thank you thank you thank you! (Did I mention how thankful I am?)

The NYT list for the coming week is always released on Wednesday afternoons. How appropriate, eh?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Overstock.com promotion

As you know, I'm normally shamelessly promoting my own stuff here at everyone's favorite blog. But today I'm shamelessly promoting someone else promoting my own stuff!

Overstock.com is doing a special Wednesday Letters promotion and giving away 25 signed copies of the new paperback. It's free and easy! Click here to enter.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Just about the most fun I've ever had on stage

I have always wanted to thank my wife for being such a trooper about my ridiculous travel schedule. I finally had a chance in Sacramento yesterday at a Time Out for Women event. Everyone was such a good sport about it! Watch the short clip below:



Thanks to everyone for making that such a fantastic day!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Watch Episode #1 of Jason's Cheesy Web Diary

My publisher, publicist and agent have been encouraging me to do short web videos for quite a while. I wonder if they'll still feel that way after watching Episode #1?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Wednesday Letters is out in paperback!

Whew! Finally! After many months of working with the fantabulous peeps at Penguin, specifically their Berkley imprint, TWL is available nationwide in a gorgeous paperback edition. I just couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.

Equally exciting is today's ad in USAToday! It's a first for me to have an ad in a national publication and I owe the folks at Penguin a big thanks (and some free pizza) for rolling the dice and running this. (It will run again next week. And a different version featuring Recovering Charles more prominently will run in mid-September.)

So if you don't yet have your copy of TWL in paperback, might I suggest your local Wal-Mart, Target or online at Amazon :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New and improved fall schedule is live!

We just updated the fall schedule with all sorts of craziness. Check it out here:

http://www.jasonfwright.com/events.php

Please let me know if you're near an event and plan to say hello!

Monday, August 11, 2008

What will your second verse sound like?

I've been thinking a lot about my dad lately. Specifically, I've been wondering what he'd think of my life and career if he were still alive.

When I was young my dream was to be an author who wrote books that both my parents would enjoy and be proud of. Of course my mom is my number one fan, and I love her for it, but I also wonder what dad would say about the craziness that's become my life.

As I was writing Recovering Charles I began to realize that too often life's tragedies sing a tune we choose not to hear. It is the sweet, comforting sound of a second verse.

Many of you may know that when I was 16-years-old my father was taken by cancer. In the weeks and months after I heard only sorrow, grief, self-pity and loneliness. But in time I learned to hear something more.

My life had a second verse.

Not only do I now think of my life's greatest tragedy with a set of more mature emotions, I have learned to value it. I have been blessed in the years since with a deeper understanding of who I am and what my dad's legacy was.

So far my life's second verse is trying to be less selfish, more charitable, and more kind each and every day.

I have a long, long way to go, but at least I can hear my second verse playing faintly in the background.

I believe we all can have a second verse, if we choose. And it's not just individuals, it's couples, angry neighbors, families and yes, even an entire community.

A few years ago I was gripped by Hurricane Katrina. The coverage was numbing and the suffering so intense and real I found myself aching for complete strangers.

It was something I hadn't felt since 9/11 and it was, perhaps, even stronger.

It was during those days following this national tragedy in the Crescent City that I began to believe that even a city deserves a second verse, not just the people on planes and buses aimed for new lives. It deserves to be rebuilt stronger and smarter and safer.

Yes, New Orleans deserves a second verse. So too does the entire Gulf.

And the drunk driver, the widow, the widower, the neighbor, the wayward child, and you.

But only you can write it.

So what will yours sound like?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Latest greatest schedule for fall tour

OK, this is hot off the presses. I'd love to know who lives near any of these cities so I can be on the lookout for you!

Sept. 6 - Sacramento, CA – Speaking engagement
Sept. 13 - Springfield, MO
Sept. 16 - New York – Borders, Columbus Circle
Sept. 17 – New York – B&N, Long Island
Sept. 19 – Springfield, MA
Sept. 20 – Springfield, MA – Speaking engagement
Sept. 23 – Harrisburg, PA
Sept. 24 – Pittsburg, PA
Sept. 25 – Akron, OH
Sept. 26 – Woodstock, VA
Sept. 27 – Winchester, VA
Sept. 30 – New Orleans, LA
Oct. 2 – Phoenix, AZ
Oct. 3 – Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 4 – Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 14 – Indianapolis, IN
Oct. 15 – Lexington, KY
Oct. 16 – Nashville, TN
Oct. 18 – Portland, OR – Speaking Engagement
Oct. 20-24 Dallas & Tulsa
Oct. 25 – San Antonio, TX – Speaking Engagement

No dates yet: Richmond, VA; Charlottesville, VA; Fairfax, VA

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nice mention for Recovering Charles in Publishers Weekly

It's starting to get exciting! Seeing this article in PW today really opened my eyes to just how close we are to the street date. Not to mention it reminded me how crazy my schedule is about to become.

I've had lots of interesting experiences lately and I promise I'll share them asap!