At the holidays, I love to unpack the beautiful Nativity set my mother hand painted for us years ago. Isn’t it fun when you build somethin yourself that you and your family can use for years to come? One of the most important DIY projects that my husband and I have ever completed is our matching “appreciation libraries.”
Identify “Appreciation Moments”
As my husband and I learned in our Connexus classes about the importance of appreciation, we decided that this project was top priority for us. Appreciation is like WD-40™ for the brain – it keeps our relational circuits on and operating efficiently, enabling us to connect well with other people. It also keeps that “Red Alert!” subconscious part of our brain from taking over in relational situations, allowing the more creative, calm, problem-solving functions to control. Most important to us, appreciation keeps our minds open to our connection with God so that we hear His guidance. A life lived in appreciation goes so much more smoothly, and what could be more welcome at the holidays?
Write down what Immanuel says
Our first step in building an Appreciation Library was to spend some time with Immanuel, asking Him to bring to mind moments when we felt connected to Him and others. As each memory came up, we carefully “polished” it by focusing on who was with us, how we felt in both our emotions and bodies, what we smelled, heard, and saw in each memory. As we pondered each memory, we wrote down a short name for it, and a brief description. We did this on an index card so it would be easy to keep close at hand during the hectic holidays (and beyond).
Not every Appreciation Moment was a huge moment in our lives. One of mine is a time when I was sitting outside with some teenage boys, talking about life and God, and enjoying a cool breeze. Another is an afternoon kayaking trip with my children and their friends. Still another is sitting in an easy chair with my grandchild. But in each Appreciation moment, I was aware that life is good, that I love my life.
Write down why it matters
Next, we added to our Appreciation Moments by asking Immanuel what He wanted us to know about each memory. Sometimes we sensed His pleasure and joy, sometimes a Bible verse came to mind, and sometimes He would bring to mind yet another Appreciation Moment.
The last step in this fun DIY project was to share our Appreciation moments with each other and with the people around us. It’s no fun to spend time building or crafting, only to sit your carefully built project in the corner! We practiced sharing moments from our Appreciation Library with Connexus class members, with friends at work, and with family members.
When things get tense, we pull our Appreciation Library off the shelf and remember the moments. As we do so, we sense our relational circuits brightening and our connection to each other growing. We casually shared Appreciation Moments throughout the day to keep relational connections working smoothly. We prayed over our Appreciation moments, thanking God for the many ways He has put good things into our lives.
My husband and I encourage you to build an Appreciation Library for your own family and friends. It’s a DIY Holiday Project you can enjoy all year round!