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If you have read any of my previous articles, you know the main purpose of my writing is to share my experiences as they relate to leadership and life. Trust me, I am conscious of the imperfections of my efforts, but my motivation is clear: to provide others a glimpse of the lessons I have learned with the hope they can in turn build better families, marriages, and friendships. This post is one of those specific moments.

Today is the first day of 2017. A beginning of a New Year that started off the same as many others. We went to church, went to lunch, came home and due to some great weather – spent the next 5 hours outside (basketball with friends is always fun)!  During dinner (which occurred after showers for some stinky boys), we paused to reflect on the past year.

You see, at this time last year, Liz placed this jar on our kitchen counter.

She put a pad of paper and a pen next to it and explained to us that when something happy, exciting, or funny happened, all we were to do was write it down and place it in the jar.

Well, tonight at dinner, we took turns pulling out a note and reading each memory. I was amazed and impressed with the moments that impacted my family.  Of course, we had the big events: first NFL game, white-water rafting and zip-lining in New Mexico, and first buck killed.  But the majority of the memories mentioned were simple but special: snow cones with friends, block party with neighbors, events at church.

This was a great reminder for me that it’s the simple but intentional moments that matter most to my family.  And more importantly, this gave us a great opportunity to reflect on God’s blessings this past year.

After walking down our 2016 memory lane we focused on 2017. We then talked about goals. We each listed a physical, spiritual, and academic (or work related) goal. We discussed how as a family we can work towards each of them.  I was amazed at the depth of some of the goals of my young men. They inspire me to set bigger goals!!

So, what’s the point of all this? You see, at the church where I am blessed to serve, we continually encourage our parents to be the primary faith trainers in their home. At first glance, this can seem overwhelming.  Like most things in life, specifically in parenting and marriage, we overcomplicate what was meant to be natural.  We add pressure to live up to a standard presented on a blog or Pinterest page.  We grab our Bible, our spouse, our kids, and our best intentions and off we go!

And then life happens. So, in our own strength we try harder. And we fail (according to the unrealistic standards). Then, we become overwhelmed or feel defeated, and we give up. Then, unfortunately we don’t do anything.

Well, guess what? It is a New Year ,and you have a clean slate! Take this opportunity to connect your faith and family. Remember, it doesn’t have to be amazing and extravagant, it simply has to be intentional.

Oh yeah, and put a memory jar on the counter. Trust me, in 365 days you will be glad you did!

Brad Flurry
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