The Art of Memory Making

One of the most significant things we can do for our families (and ourselves) is to create positive and happy memories. I’m not talking about Disneyland experiences—I’m talking about the simple every day joys that form lasting impressions in our minds. Through our homes, we have an opportunity to design an environment that connects us to the blessings of life and provides positive reminders of special moments. We are building memories, not just homes. Home design takes on new meaning when we realize the potential of the process!

Colors, furnishings and lighting are significant to creating beauty, but designing a home that will enhance who we are is about creating connections between what we see or do in our home and what we want our brain to remember. Stick with me here, it is not as complicated as it sounds! Meaningless decorations are simply pretty to look at. Decorations or objects that have significance or are connected to an experience become portals to happy memories, create a sense of contentment in life and even shape our character.

So, how do we create a lifetime of memories? Here are just a few of the ways:

If you aren’t living the life you want to remember someday, it will be difficult to have positive memories. Decide what kinds of memories are important to you and create the opportunity to experience them. It is as simple as that. Even in times of trouble we can find joy in purposeful living. To start, choose just a couple of memory-making goals that you can begin incorporating right away.

Concentrate on the attainable in life rather than only the big dreams. Most of life is made up of small moments, so find ways to make the ordinary more memorable. Constant multi-tasking doesn’t allow us to savor simple pleasures. At certain times we need to give our undivided attention to creating lasting memories. Turn your phone and computer off to focus on a few special moments each day. Make up stories with your kids in bed at night and sing songs for ten minutes before you say goodnight. Turn off the TV and memorize Bible verses together, while baking cookies after school.

Often times it is the rituals in life—activities that we repeat over and over—that can mean the most to us. Pick just a few simple traditions and stick with them. Personal and family rituals create a sense of peace, belonging and security in life. If you’re looking for one, here are a few suggestions that might be a good fit for your family:

  • Make your own pizzas on Friday nights
  • Plant a garden and care for it daily
  • Use special dishes at dinnertime to celebrate achievements
  • Sing a silly song to wake everyone up in the morning
  • Play board games on Saturday nights
  • Take walks after dinner
  • Do family devotions together
  • Hold family meetings once a month
  • Share spiritual goals for the day while eating breakfast
  • Pray with your kids before sending them off to school

We are far more likely to remember experiences that engage our senses. Connect traditions and ordinary moments in life to different senses. Give each member of the family their special color and use it to distinguish drinking cups, towels or laundry baskets. Have different colored napkins at the dinner table to make mealtimes visually memorable. Arrange vegetables in the shape of a smiling face on a child’s plate. Keep seasonal flowers or decorations in your entryway to welcome your family home. Find pretty mugs to savor everyday beverages. Drape soft blankets on chairs for snuggling. Play music while doing family chores.

Scents are powerful reminders of special times and places. Plant lilacs in your backyard where your kids play, or burn a favorite candle to establish your home’s scent.

The home is where our positive life experiences should spill over into visible form. Utilize your decorations as opportunities to enhance life, rather than to just fill an empty space. Frame special Bible verses and quotes, and hang them for inspiration. Use chalkboards to announce holidays, upcoming birthdays, half-birthdays and just to say, “I love you.” Hang children’s artwork in significant places around your home. Create memory boards for each family member to showcase their favorite things. Bring back beautiful mementos from family vacations. Buy hardback versions of books your family has read and keep them on the coffee table. When you move, have a sketch made of your old house to hang in your new house.

Creating a memorable life doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. The art of memory making is the process of living in the moment, finding joy in the ordinary, and savoring precious blessings.

©2008, Melissa Michaels

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