Once upon a time I thought if I could make enough spreadsheets, post enough lists, or structure my planner enough, then I could build the scaffolding for smooth, meaningful days. I imagined days where love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control could just spill right out of my heart.

Turns out “fruit” doesn’t grow on spreadsheets. Nothing against lists, mind you. But through God’s gentle teaching over the past several years, I’ve embraced the natural rhythm of days and grace in the midst of busyness.

It’s a beautifully confounding idea that the miraculous is often present in the mundane. A moment setting aside a scrambling schedule in order to kneel down, look a little one in the eye, and just listen to what is on their heart, is worth all the crossed-off lists in the world.

In short, I’m learning that the “small” can be momentous. That the moments make the days. And that it’s the humblest things that make life the richest.

How a jar can unify your family

Take for example the idea of a simple jar and a few pebbles. What if these everyday things could help unify your family throughout the day? What if it weaved hearts together? Here’s what I propose:

1) Find a jar, bowl or vase.

2) Obtain a group of pebbles, glass gems (as you might use in a fish tank or for the game Mancala), or other memento—one style or color for each person in the family. Even just a slip of paper with each person’s name written on it would do the trick.grow deep family connections
3) Each morning every person takes a pebble of another person’s chosen color. Slip it into a pocket, lunch box, brief case, purse, pencil box or backpack. Gather before parting ways for the day to talk about prayer requests for the day.

4) Throughout the day, whenever that person comes across the pebble, it’s a prompt to say a quick prayer for the person it represents, and whatever they might be facing in their day.

5) At the end of the day, take a moment to go around and debrief about the day. Each person asks the person whose pebble they drew how their day was. Then let them know how or when they were prayed for.

6) Finally, deposit each of those traveling gems into your chosen jar. Over time, the intermingled pebbles (or other items) serve as a visual reminder of how cherished each person has been in thought and prayer.

grow deep family connections 

A message in a bottle

In my research for the newly-released Message in a Bottle Romance Collection, I’ve come across some incredible stories of objects and messages in simple vessels. This is just one way to make a living message of your own and create a beautiful tradition.

grow deep family connections

For a chance to win one of five copies of that book, tell us in the comments: What is one simple but important message you would love your family to carry in their hearts each day?


grow deep family connectionsAmanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of Truth, and spinner of hope-filled tales. She spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family, who love a good blanket fort and a stack of read-alouds. Give her a rainy day, a candle to read by, an obscure corner of history to dig in, and she’ll be happy for hours. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Bespoke: a Tiny Christmas Tale, a contributing author to the newly-released Message in a Bottle Romance Collection, and enjoys connecting with her readers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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