The Rest is Just Sand

When I woke up this morning and knew that I would be spending a day cooped up inside with the kids, I was less than thrilled.  I had a list a mile long that I wanted to get accomplished today and frustration set in once I realized that I would be mopping up melted snow puddles all day long and drying load after load of wet snow gear.  That is when I got an email forward from a friend and decided that the only thing that was making this a “bad” day was my attitude!   As I searched the internet for pictures to add to my post today I found blog posts and websites that retold this story in various forms.  Some used coffee, some used beer, some used tea but the meaning and the message was always the same.  Here is my version for today – Enjoy!

A Mayonnaise Jar and Two Beers

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A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

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He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

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The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

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The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

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The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents.  Take your spouse out to dinner. There will always be time for the other things. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.

Set your priorities….. The rest is just sand.

Farm photo by Jeff Davis


One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Whether it be beers, coffee, tea or wine…..or ice cream cones – for me, this year, I need to hit the “reset” button and set my priorities RIGHT NOW – to head outside to build the best snow fort because the Davis kids are going down!

Cousins and best friends sharing time (and ice cream) at their grandparents' house





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