Don’t squander sacred moments: 5 daily practices to sweeten your family’s life

Written by Diana LeGere
Published on October 23, 2020

Years ago, I commemorated each new year with a planner. I carefully blocked out days and events, like birthdays and holidays, and couldn’t wait to celebrate the year ahead. I lived for those handpicked days.

Time whizzed by between New Year’s Day and Christmas. While I sleepwalked, life went ahead without me. I dissected months into days that made the cut where I allowed myself to “live.”

Now that my children are grown, I realize landmark events in my life weren’t the most notable. Sure, it was fun to plan the big things. They occupy a special drawer in my memory bank. But it’s the small, meaningful moments that appeared perfectly orchestrated—even without a planner. These extraordinary memories are glimpses of joy written on my heart with indelible ink.

Every day is a celebration! Gratitude makes for a cherished life. We realize that genuine blessings flow from our Creator. Not the boxed gifts in glitzy packaging, but the gift of time shared with those we love. These flashes of laughter and joy swell our hearts, preserve a sliver of history, and paint a smile on our faces years later.

It takes purposeful living to appreciate sacred moments and the people God gifts us with each day. I don’t want to squander that opportunity. I’ve discovered that integrating these five practices daily makes life so much sweeter. Apply them to yourself or as a family.

1. Start each day as a celebration

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

The Lord shows us how to proclaim the start of the day. Notice that morning never rushes in. God releases the day unhurriedly with a magnificent sunrise. We should do the same. Create a morning ritual that will remind you how thankful you are to be alive.

This is your day for twenty-four hours. How will you spend it? Lean on the Lord (Psalm 32:8).

One of my favorite daybreak habits is to sit on my deck to read my Bible. The soothing sounds of nature and the birds’ activity remind me how precious I am in God’s eyes. I take time to absorb what I’m reading as well as the surrounding sights. I breathe and smell the air. Life is a gift.

  • Create a morning ritual and start the day peacefully.
  • Enjoy sipping a cup of matcha or a favorite beverage.
  • Rise early to watch a sunrise.
  • Tune into the harmonies of nature.
  • Let yourself wander and receive everything.

2. Make room for gratitude

Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

How many of us think about gratitude beyond the next prompt in our journals? Gratefulness can leap from the paper and cling to us like a dryer sheet when we deliberately seek things for which we are thankful. Every good thing we have is a gift from God (James 1:17).

Do you drive a “Jetson’s bubble” that zips to the destination with no recollection of the trip? What if we traveled with opened eyes? 

Appreciate the goodness of God. Tree-lined streets, striking colors, a gentle breeze, the kind parking attendant, a whiff of wisteria, a child’s smile, the aroma of a sumptuous meal.

Fixate on delight. Sometimes we concentrate on the lack in our life. But just as a magnifying glass, whatever we focus on gets bigger. Look for the good. The grass isn’t greener over there. We don’t notice that until we get a closeup view.

  • Enjoy each activity without speculating about the next.
  • Remind yourself that you “get to” when tempted to complain.
  • Capture meaningful moments and heartfelt thanks in a journal.
  • Tell everybody you appreciate them for what they do.
  • Offer a prayer of thanks to God.

3. Celebrate the people around you

Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Don’t live life on an island. We get busy and hurry through life, telling ourselves we don’t have time to connect. We need each other (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12).

Celebrating with people is possibly one of my favorite ways to rejoice in life. Surprising folks is fun, and there are so many ways to honor friends and family. Simple gestures score big points.

Send cards to let others know you are thinking about them. Celebrate national holidays to spread cheer to neighbors and coworkers. Children will enjoy having a non-birthday all about them. Enjoy regular outings with family and friends.

Be thankful for every person God has put in your path. They are there for a reason. Your mission is to discover why.

  • Recognize and praise the achievements of others.
  • Record the needs of those around you and be their miracle.
  • Encourage children to praise and celebrate their friends.
  • Send handwritten notes of admiration to those you appreciate.
  • Make surprise visits to neighbors and friends to drop off a small gift.

4. Remember that small things are the big things

Matthew 13:32 says, “It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Just as the tiniest mustard seed yields a giant tree, the little things in relationships add to the most potent love language. Little moments can leave a permanent mark on our hearts. Yet only focusing on the significant events appears shallow.

Celebrate wins, big and small. Maybe you want to celebrate your garden by sharing vegetables with your neighbors. Decorate pretty baskets and hand out your bounty. Rejoice in your new blooms by giving a lovely bouquet to your neighbor.

You can celebrate anything. Give gratitude and thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Live each moment, acknowledging that every sight is precious. Each step leads you further toward a milestone. Joy is in the journey.

  • Be kind.
  • Let laughter flow.
  • Be driven by generosity.
  • Give grace.

5. Celebrate mealtimes

Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.”

I’ve wasted many meals eating over the kitchen sink. Sometimes I ate my food so quickly that I didn’t enjoy the meal. I love when I can cook for family and friends. When I do, it’s a big celebration, whether an official holiday or because I said so. I track the little details from handmade place cards, a carefully chosen menu, table setting, arrangements, and other elements setting the mood. 

What if we planned every meal with the same intent?

To appreciate how spectacular mealtime can be, sometimes we need to revel in a meal alone. Prepare delicious food for yourself. Make the time to decorate your space, whether inside or outdoors, and enjoy your meal. Use this time to refuel your body, relax, and appreciate.

  • Create an ambiance that allows you to linger.
  • Block out distractions and set aside ample time to take pleasure in the meal.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Taste and savor every bite. 

Moments in life are gifts. Don’t wish you were somewhere else. Enjoy the now. There are no guarantees. 

Live on purpose and living itself will be worth celebrating.

Live perfectly imperfect

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Diana LeGere

Diana LéGere is the author of Ripples: A Memoir of Reflection and Celebrations of Praise: 365 Ways To Fill Each Day With Meaningful Moments. Her other books include Feeding Families Authentic Southern: History, Traditions & Stories and the upcoming book He Spoke: A Memoir of Grace. Diana lives in Richmond, VA.

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