It was the best day!
When my nephew was one, we created a time capsule. On his 18th birthday, he opened it.
As each letter was read, there was laughter. . . and tears. Some of the newspaper clippings made us ooh and ah at how much had changed. The Matchbox car was a hit! Letters from loved ones that have passed took our breath away.
I smiled at the words I wrote: Dear Jason, I hope by the time that you read this that my first book will have been published.
It was published, plus several more.
Time will never, ever, stand still.
We can count on that. Things change and the moment does count. That loved one I got irritated with yesterday? One day I’ll wish I had a second chance to be a little more patient. That one who seems to take up so much of my time? One day I’d give everything I had to have one more day with them.
Today, I want to share 50 ways you and I can show appreciation to those we love.
It’s my prayer that we’ll begin to deposit words and actions that will one day be a time capsule in the hearts of those we care about most.
50 ways to appreciate a loved one
1. Think of a time that your loved one did something nice for you. Tell them how it made a difference.
2. Leave a favorite treat in a surprising place with a note that simply says, “I love you.”
3. Do something that clearly says “I know your love language”. (Mine would be touch, so an unhurried hug. Another’s might be affirmation, so words that lift and encourage.)
4. Listen. All the way to the end, without advice or pat answers.
5. Write a name on a post-it note and place it where you’ll notice it several times a day. Each time, pause and pray over them.
6. Give that person something of yours that you think they would enjoy, and let them know specifically why you want them to have it.
7. Plan something that they’ve always wanted to do, but that you’ve not been crazy about (like watching a play, going to a museum, hiking, or [fill in the blank with something they love]) and make it a fun day together.
8. Encourage them to try something you know they want to do, but haven’t yet because they’re scared. (My son did this for me and we zip lined together! It was an incredible day.)
9. Take one chore that they normally do and do it for them without asking, or expecting anything in return.
10. Really look at that person and find something beautiful about them and let him or her know you noticed.
11. Forgive a hurt that you’ve held onto and make a fresh start.
12. Choose to make peace in an argument, rather than be right.
13. Put yourself in that person’s shoes for a day, and thank them for the things you might have missed otherwise.
14. Commit to a day without complaint.
15. Resist the urge to tell your loved one that they are wrong.
16. Write a poem, even if it is silly, and leave it on their pillow.
17. Give that person an extra hour of sleep while you take care of things.
18. Choose to be spontaneous for 24 hours and see where it takes you both.
19. Listen to yourself as you speak. Are you patient? Are you kind? Do your words accurately describe who they are and what they mean to you?
20. Give a “tip” to someone who is always serving others. It may be a gift card to their favorite restaurant, fun money to use any way they wish, or simply a card that says you noticed.
21. Remember to laugh, rather than be so serious.
22. Hold your loved one close (if they aren’t comfortable with that, simply hold their hand) and offer to pray with them if they ever need it.
23. Smile, often.
24. Give a small gift every day for a week — could be something as simple as a favorite candy bar.
25. Choose to be unhurried for one day.
26. Compliment them in front of someone. Be sincere.
27. Make a favorite meal. Or have that meal in a way that they might enjoy — like breakfast for dinner.
28. Declare one day a special night — like a move night or a night playing games, and honor that night as you would any other event on the schedule.
29. Shut your cell phone off when you are at dinner or when you are talking.
30. Be calm in a stressful situation.
31. Treat that person to a massage or pedicure.
32. Honor them with an act of compassion in their name– such as donating to Compassion International or to a literacy program like Mission India.
33. Give them space on their own if they are having a difficult day, with a promise that you are there when they have worked it through.
34. Make a list of things that impress you about them and mention one each day.
35. If they compliment you, accept it gracefully.
36. If phone calls are their love language, call them and truly hold a conversation without hurrying.
37. Write a note on the mirror saying how beautiful they are inside and out.
38.Tackle that task you’ve been saying you’d get to.
39. Schedule a date for an afternoon or evening that’s all about them.
40. Let your loved one know what they bring of value to the relationship.
41. Share a sweet memory from the past.
42. Foot rub or back rub.
43. Choose to be playful.
44. Create an oversized card and leave it in their room. It can be funny, or sweet, or a prayer of gratitude for their presence in your life.
45. Apologize when you are wrong.
46. If you don’t have all the answers, say so, but be open to find the answers, or work through the problem, together.
47. Trade inflexibility with being open to new things, new traditions, and new opportunities with those you love.
48. Turn off the TV when they sit close to you, and give them your attention instead.
49. Give up your need to be “right” to exchange it for their need to be heard.
50. Create your own time capsule and have fun adding items that represent this current calendar year, and letters that you’ll read to each other (and to those you love, and who love you) years from now.
What ideas do you have for showing appreciation to those you love?
Sometimes the greatest gift you can give to a loved one is forgiveness. If you have struggled to forgive, or long to forgive yourself, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgivenesswill gently help you do that.
Suzie will invite you into a place of hope and healing to experience the sacred transformation that forgiveness brings. ~ Renee Swope, Award-winning Author of A Confident Heart