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It seems like all too often in our society we choose to nit-pick the ones we love.
We look forward to a good “roast” where a family member or friend is ripped apart, in jest of course, as their foibles and flaws are pointed out for all the world to see. While it provides a good laugh for those roasting, does it uplift the one the attention is on?
A while back we did an activity with my young women where I had the girls take turns standing with their back to a large chalkboard. I gave various colors of chalk to the rest of the girls and asked them to, without saying a word, fill the board with things that they admire and love about their friend. Once the girls were done writing, we took the girl’s photo in front of the word filled board and then let the girl turn around and read what the other girls had written.
It was beyond powerful.
Several of my sweet young women (and all of us leaders!) were brought to tears.
They had no idea that their peers saw those qualities in them. They didn’t realize that they were considered kind, talented, loving, beautiful, compassionate, and a whole host of other fantastic things by their peers.
They did not see their own worth.
We called it a “Boost” because our goal was to lift each other with love.
To give a gentle little nudge in the right direction.
For Christmas last year, we printed off each girl’s photo so they could have a constant reminder of what we thought of them and how much they were loved. Then on the bad days, there was a visual of just how worthy they really are.
I have to tell you, this was my very favorite activity in all my years of working with the youth.
I walked away with a huge impression in my mind and heart about how important it is to express the good we see in those around us. My dad calls it “the gifts I see in you” and it is so true. We have each been given incredible gifts from a loving Father in Heaven, gifts we often take for granted or don’t realize the potential or power in. When we acknowledge those gifts, when we truly see them, we are strengthened and uplifted. The funny thing is, it’s easy to find those immense gifts in others but is often quite difficult to see them in ourselves.
Ever since that night I have felt a push in my soul to share with my friends and family the gifts I see in them.
In a world so bent on tearing us down, we desperately need a reminder of how wonderful we really are.
When I was thinking of a good gift for my Auntie K, a little idea came into my mind and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
I think it’s fair to say my aunt has had a rough decade. Divorce is heartbreaking and building a new life on your own could test even the toughest and strongest of women. I wanted this incredible lady to know just how amazing she really is and how very much her family loves her.
I didn’t have a chalkboard and our family is spread out all over the United States, so I had to get a little more creative.
Here’s what I did…
- I called/texted/emailed and
badgeredmessaged my extended family and told them what I was working on. I asked each of them to send me a word that described our loved one to them.
- I asked my cousin (Aunt K’s daughter) to send me her very favorite picture of her mother then I edited it a little bit. I wanted the colors of the words to pop and not compete with the colors in the photo so I chose to make the snapshot she sent black and white. I printed the picture in a matte finish at my local print shop and it came out even cuter than I had hoped! How darling are these two? CUTE!
- Next, I gathered supplies:
Large frame– It took a while to find a green frame perfect enough for my auntie. She loves green and I wanted this gift to be all sorts of bright and happy. I ended up finding my frame on sale at Hobby Lobby but you can also find fun ones HERE. I chose an 11×14 frame.
Mat– I bought a simple white 8×10 photo mat.
Markers– I gathered as many colors of Sharpie markers that I could find. The brighter the better! (But you could also do this with a black mat and white chalk marker to create a fun chalkboard look. The possibilities are endless and can be completely customized to the recipient!)
- I set to work writing on the photo mat the words my family had sent me.
- Once the markers were dry, I cleaned the glass and stuck it all together then packaged it up in a big gift bag with lots of tissue paper.
Once a month, the girls on my mama’s side get together for a little girls night. We each bring projects and just enjoy being together.
On our girls night, I presented Auntie K her gift.
A believer, devoted, steadfast, smart, immovable, compassionate, understanding, invested, tenacious, outstanding…
I hope that every time my aunt looks at that happy green frame, that she feels a warmth in her soul and hears a little voice in her head that says, “Yes honey, you are all those things and so much more.”
You are amazing, Auntie K.
This Christmas, give someone a boost by sharing the gifts you see in them.
Don’t just think in your head how wonderful that person is, open your mouth and tell them.
It’s simple and contagious.
Who is someone you love and what do you admire about them?
I triple dog dare you to let them know.
You wouldn’t chicken out of a dare now, would ya?
- I called/texted/emailed and