Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Christmas Jars miracle you can actually watch

I had never seen this until yesterday. Thanks to my brother, Jeff, for posting it on YouTube. Talk about a jar coming to the right family at the right time!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A long-awaited update on Christmas Jars, The Movie

It's the most common question at signings, speeches, and even by e-mail. "When's the movie coming out?"

I've been dragging my feet on providing an update in hopes for better news. But alas, I've decided that sometimes even a little bad news is better than no news at all...

Many of you have astutely noticed, and remembered, that the 2006 paperback edition of Christmas Jars had the words "Coming as a major motion picture in 2008" splashed across the top of the back cover. At the time we thought that was true. The rights had been optioned, the option exercised, and an independent filmmaker was set to guide the movie to the silver screen.

A beautiful script was even written by the very talented storyteller, Academy Award-winning director Kieth Merrill. Of course Kieth was also set to direct. The Executive Producer was Barry McLerran, an outstanding executive and project manager.

We were on our way! But a funny thing happened on the way to your local multiplex.... Hollywood.

Turns out making a movie is a time-consuming and often frustrating process with more bumpy starts and stops than a 30-year old Fiat. But I've learned this is common in Hollywood. Very few movies get a script, funding, stars, locations and rolling cameras without investing years of sweat equity first.

So during a slowdown in the fundraising phase, the company originally set-up to make the movie optioned the rights to a brand new studio, Audience Alliance, which was co-founded by Kieth. After a brief hiccup, we were once again ready to get Christmas Jars into production!

And then another not-so-funny thing happened.... The economy pulled a Titanic and left investors reevaluating their interest in the fairly risky world of movie making. So after bringing a casting director on board and scouting for locations in gorgeous places like Nashville, Tennessee, the film was once again put on hold.

And that's where we stand today. We'd hoped that Christmas Jars would begin filming in January and February of this year. First the winter scenes, then the spring scenes, then post-production and a fall release. Given the reality of the calendar, and no stars being attached the project yet, that's a nearly impossible schedule now. Our best hope is probably for a 2010 release.

But let's end with some good news. I have read the script and it's wonderful. In some ways it's even better than the book! I have no doubt that Kieth and his new studio will make a powerful film that will stand the test of time and inspire millions to start Christmas Jars of their own.

Is it disappointing that the film has been delayed? Absolutely. But the important thing is to make the film right, to have the best people involved, and to stay true to the spirit of the jar.

Thanks so much for your patience. I know how much we were all hoping to see the film sooner than later, but I promise you that you will not -- will not! -- be disappointed with the finished product.

Also, as a side-note, we have serious interest from someone to bring Recovering Charles to the big screen. I'll give you details as they develop.

Friday, January 16, 2009

We interrupt this blog for a political post

I don't often (ever) cross post to my political work, but I thought this post might be amusing to some of you.

From PoliticalDerby.com:

Bush Haters, W’s farewell address, and a prediction
Posted on January 16th, 2009 at 3:04 pm by Jason Wright, Editor

I’m curious to know how many watched last night’s farewell address by President Bush. Certainly W can be called many things: Stubborn, dangerously loyal, the Word-Mangler-in-Chief. But he cannot be called phony. He is as authentic a president as we’ve had since Reagan, and you can argue he was even less polished and layered than the Gipper.

It’s indisputable that we live in an unprecedented era of manufactured politics. Both parties are guilty of packaging and messaging their themes to the point that they resemble fast food. Nice commercials, free toys, most of their ideas look good on the menu, but they all give you terrible gas.

And their leaders? They’re as authentic and honest as Barney Frank at a strip club. Bill Clinton? Phony. Mitt Romney? Too much glitz. Hillary Clinton? Poll-driven and spineless.

And what about the likes of Trent Lott, Ted Stevens, John McCain? The right arm promises one thing, but the left is picking his nose and your pocket. Sure, these intellectual midgets would like you to think they’re the real deal, agents of the people, standing at times for the best interests of their constituents. Right. And Nancy Pelosi is religiously opposed to face lifts.


Click here to read the rest.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ask Jason Anything - Episode 1

OK, let's be honest, I really thought my first question for Ask Jason Anything would be about writing. But since cute Jeanette from Utah wants to know about Teflon, we'll tell her about Teflon!

video

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Short, sweet, miraculous

(Name withheld)

On Christmas Eve 2008 me and my family recieved a jar with money in it. A book was on the top of it. Me and my family was in need of the money and it was just enough to pay an over due electric bill. I feel that this was a miracle because if we hadnt recieved the jar our electric could have been shut off. Thank you for the gift and I have more respect for mankind now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"It was one of the best, most unforgettable moments of my life"

Truly one of the rare emails that has brought a tear to my eye every time I've read it. This woman represents goodness (and Godliness) in every sense.

(Name withheld)

A friend gave me the book for Christmas. I loved every sentence and couldn't put it down. I realized I already had a jar of change that I had been collecting and was overflowing. So I packed it up and set out yesterday to give it to someone. I asked God to guide me to the person.

My first stop was breakfast. I am addicted to the cheese eggs at Waffle House. I have seen a homeless man that sleeps under the bridge right next door. I had planned to give it to him. He was not there that day.

I went about my day's errands and took my dog for a long walk at the Chatahoochee River trail. I ran into a man who found a set of keys someone had dropped. I thought, "Oh, that poor person and asked St. Anthony (He's the patron saint of lost objects) to help reconnect this person with their keys. When the man got to the end of the trail, he hung the keys on a hook on a post by the parking lot.

I went to my car and said hello to the lady standing beside her car that was parked right next to mine. She was looking for something and told me she had lost her keys. I told her that someone found a set and walked her over to where the keys hung on the post. Sure enough, they were her keys. She was so relieved.

We chatted for awhile and during our conversation she mentioned that she had hit hard financial times. That's when I remembered my Christmas Jar in the back seat.

I said I have something for you, a little jar to help ease your burden. As she took the jar from my hands, we both wiped away a few tears and said goodbye. It was one of the best, most unforgettable moments of my life. It was all preordained - orchestrated by God and I reaped the reward of a heart full of joy. Thank you for writing an amazing book, Jason.

I already passed the book along to my sister-in-law and she has started a Christmas jar. I am committed to keeping the Christmas Jar going for as long as I live.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another cancer-related Christmas Jars miracle

Haven't there been far too many of these over the years? Christmas Jar miracles are wonderful, but the number of our loved-ones who struggle with cancer is breathtakingly high.

God bless whomever gave this sweet woman a jar.

(Name withheld)

On Christmas Eve 2007, my daughter found a Christmas jar full of change, and the "Christmas Jars" book on her front porch in a decorated holiday bag. Her 31 year old husband of ten years had recently passed away after a valiant battle with Lymphoma, and some wonderful person left that jar at her door.

Our family was so impressed by that lovely jesture, that we all read the book, and some of us started our own Christmas jars. I delivered my jar this year to the hospital that my son-in-law went to monthly for in-patient chemo. I asked that they give it anonimously to a cancer patient of their choice in memory of my beloved son-in-law. They called me after Christmas this year to say that they gave the jar and the book to a young woman with three children who had been recently diagosed with Lymphoma. I was so happy to hear that, and I have started to pray for her successful battle. The nurse told me that the woman was very touched, and said she was going to start a Christmas jar of her own, and the nurse said that the cancer unit had started one as well. A simple jesture at Christmas 2007, has started a movement.

These jars represent acts of love and support, and represents what Christmas should be all about. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away".

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"As she turned to walk towards us the tears were no longer held within"

The goodness of this man and his family just might take your breath away.

(Name withheld)

I am going to do my best to share my story of giving this December 24, 2008. I am a first time parent with a beautiful daughter and loving wife. As a child I remember our large family gathering around Christmas time that has left a lasting impression on my life. We for years would draw names and everyone would purchase gifts for the name of the relative or loved one that they received that year. We would all gather at my Aunts house and open gifts watch football and lose to my Dad and his Sister in Trivial Pursuit. Moments that you overlook in your youth, but then learn to cherish when you become a parent.

My wife and I built a house 3 years back, and held a Christmas party for our family and friends. Our second year we took that time off as we were expecting our first child and did not want to overwhelm ourselves by all the planning. This year we brought back the Christmas party but wanted to do something different. My idea at first was to start a family scholarship fund, giving to kids in need to expand their future. Talking with a fellow co-worker he asked if I head read the book called Christmas Jars. I had not, so he went on to share the story, gave me a copy to read and this is what came about.

I became overwhelmed with the story of giving. Feeling lucky to have a great job and loving family there was a story at a school in which I work that was evolving into a sad but inspiring story of courage, inspiration and love. A family with four children the oldest in college and the youngest in 8th grade. Their mother was battling cancer for the second time. Their father unable to work so he could stay home and care for his wife had inspired me beyond words. They were like no other family, great children who succeed in athletics and the classroom, a pleasure and joy to be around and work with. As I explained to my family and some of my co-workers that this years Christmas party would be our FIRST Christmas Jar it was an overwhelming and joy to see how many were in favor of the idea. Unlike the story it was a family effort, and many co-workers gave to this Jar and made what was a great start to a new family tradition.

During our party we had to add more jars as Children, parents, friends and many others dropping their change and cash into the jar. Many of them sharing with me their thoughts on the idea and most of all their warm hugs and true meaning of Christmas. I was a father now, and family has always been important to me and I can see that this family believes that same thing and carries the morals that I feel we share.

We were unsure how to deliver the package without them knowing who it was from. I had worked with many of the children so did not want to give away that aspect of the story and felt it was important to keep the identity of those kind enough to give a secret. So on December 24, 2008 we delivered the package to the family along with a copy of the book Christmas Jars. The copy was that same copy my co-worker shared with me as I felt it was his idea and he should be just as much a part of this as my family. I watched from the car with my little girl as my wife slowly approached the home. The father came to the door and my wife trying to fight back tears explained the story. Starting by saying "I am sure you do not know who I am" ....and he replied "no I do not." A perfect start to this precious moment. She gave him the book with an envelope inside which contained the total amount of coin and cash we collected ($1,515.00) and turned in to cash to make it easier on the family. Seeing what was taking place brought tears to my eyes, but also will leave a lasting impression on my heart. Besides my wife and child this was by far one of the best things I have ever done, or been a part of. As my wife finished her short story, the father reached over gave her a hug and replied with "Merry Christmas and God Bless." As she turned to walk towards us the tears were no longer held within, but visible on her red cheeks from the cold brisk air. A moment in which we shared as a family, but one that will forever be in our minds and hearts.

This is the start of what my family will make a true tradition each year. My hopes are that each year it will grow, and that some day my 7 month old will be the one delivering a Jar to someone who made need it. With many more years to come we have started our 2009 Christmas Jar and know that next year we will once again enjoy this reward of giving.

I wish you all the best in 2009 and hope that this book and this family have done for you what it has done for me. Best Wishes and God Bless!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One of the most unique Christmas Jar stories ever

What amazing people! Thank you for your kindness to a worthy soldier.

Demonstrating the Power of the Jar, our Christmas Jar story this year is a two-parter:

First, as always, we collected our coins all year and then brought our jar to our local bank, which has a coin machine. They charge to convert coins to cash, but have always waived the fee when we shared the Christmas Jar story and handed the teller a book and a jar.

This year, when I asked if they could waive the fee, the young lady assisting us said she couldn't as only the manager (who wasn't there) could override the fee. We told her the jar story, and said we'd just go ahead and pay the fee separately so it wouldn't come out of the jar money, at which point she told us to wait a second and went into the bank's office.

In the meantime, the family behind us in line - Mom, Dad and a teenage girl - heard the whole story and were really excited about the jar, and the girl (whose eyes just lit up!) told us that they at been thinking about doing something like that. At that point we handed the family the book we were going to leave at the bank, and said "here you go, Merry Christmas!" They were thrilled and I guarantee they now have a jar in their home.

Meanwhile, the teller came back with the cash equal to the amount of coins in our jar. After she heard the story, she went to the trouble of depositing the conversion amount in her own account (as it was fee free) and then withdrawing that same amount and giving it back to us. Yet another person touched by the Magic of the Jar. We left her one, of course.

Then, we had a great plan for our jar this year, but all kinds of crazy things happened and it was Christmas Eve day. My son and I had planned a random jar drop at Toys R Us, but I couldn't even pull that off.

As I was getting ready on Christmas Eve afternoon to pick up my daughter at Dulles Airport, I was praying quite loudly inside my head "please Lord, I don't know what to do with my jar and its already Christmas Eve?!" Just then the local news came the TV and the first story was about flight delays and cancellations, with the reporter interviewing several soldiers who were stuck at - you guessed it - Dulles Airport. I looked up at God and said, "wow, that was fast!"

As soon as my daughter got off the plane I told her "come on, we need to stalk a soldier to give the jar to." We headed for the USO office at Dulles, and was just about to explain the whole jar thing to the lady at the desk, when a young, very weary looking soldier came through the door. Like the other soldiers in there, he was stuck in the USO office instead of on his way home.

Before he could even say anything, we handed him the jar and book, said "hi, this is for you, Merry Christmas," gave him a hug and ran for it -- giggling all the way through the terminal.

Our family is so grateful and proud of our men and women in uniform. We pray for them all the time and wish we could find ways to let them know how much the people back home support and care for them.

It wasn't what I had planned for the jar, but we know it made this young soldier's Christmas Eve as he tried to get home on Christmas Eve. We hope he will tell his jar story for years to come and will be the seed for many more Christmas Jar traditions.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"May God bless us everyone"

That title says it all.

(Name withheld)

After reading the book last year, well, I just had to start one. The thought all year was so much fun of who will the Lord send my way to give the jar to. It did not take long with the shortage of funds in the world today. So, I heard of a lady working at an $8.00 per hour job, 3 kids, had to move back home with her mother and father due to a divorce. I just had to give it to her, my friend Matt on his way to work dropped it off on the front porch along with baking products. now I know that I did not get to had the jar to any one, but the picture in my mind of her opening the gift is such a wonderful blessing. Sharing this book with co-workers and family has started a new tradition with many, many new jars for next year. MAY GOD BLESS US EVERYONE.

"We found a mason jar full of coins"

Music to our ears! "...it epitomizes the spirit of the holidays and will be forever cherished in this family."

(Name withheld)

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.