by Cindy Moody
There is something supremely gratifying about planting a seed and watching it grow. It is even more spectacular when it bears fruit that can be consumed and enjoyed. Having a green thumb that allows for such miraculous things seems to be a skill that is bestowed on a select group of individuals – not everyone achieves the same level of success as they set out to garden and grow. There is, however, another type of seed-planting that is not so selective. In fact, every single person has the capacity and gift to plant these seeds and experience fruitful growth. These are the seeds of intentional living and the fruit of legacy.
As we wake up each morning we can acknowledge that we have a heart that is beating and air in our lungs. Each new day offers us an opportunity to plant more seeds. Communicating with those around us, spending/giving our money and using our time and talent…each of these are little packets of unfulfilled opportunities to plant something substantial. We can choose to cultivate these seeds through intentional living and thereby ensure quality fruit will grow. THIS IS LEGACY!
I recently learned about Inheritance of Hope, an organization that walks alongside families facing the loss of a parent due to terminal illness. Their tagline “Every Family Deserves a Legacy” really resonated with me. The families they serve have a parent who has been told by a doctor that they might die soon and this organization helps these families plant some “seeds.” When these parents use what time they have to build their legacy they are ensuring that they will continue to bear fruit in the lives of their family members even if they die. This seems like something we can all get behind since we don’t know what tomorrow might bring. Let’s all be gardeners and intentionally plant some seeds that will bear fruit now and in the future.
SOME TIPS TO CULTIVATING YOUR LEGACY TODAY
Turn on Your Voice Recorder
Use your voice memo phone app to record everyday conversations with your loved ones. Push the record button while your kids are eating their after-school snack, while driving to sports practice, or during your bedtime routine. (The conversation flows better and is more genuine if they don’t realize you are recording. Be a ninja!) Or interview your aging parents. If your phone is regularly backed up those recordings will be safely secured on your computer or hard drive for years to come! Record yourself from time to time too – this is part of your legacy that everyone will appreciate.
Utilize Your Phone Camera
Have you thought about using your phone camera for more than capturing pretty smiles? Take a photo of your child’s daily classroom schedule, your favorite spot in your home, your best recipe or your favorite book cover and make a digital scrapbook with your own words describing the photos and what those things mean to you.
Dinner Time Highs and Lows
Sometimes dinner is the only time every family member is in one place. An intentional question posed to the entire family can create a meaningful conversation. Avoid questions with one word answers. Instead ask, “What was the best part of your day (high)?” and “What was the worst part of your day (low)?” In our family it is called “highs and lows.” (Don’t forget to hit ‘record’ on your voice memo app from time to time.)
Make Gifts Matter
Create a gift closet and stock up on some gifts that can be used for birthday parties, teacher appreciation, or a sick neighbor. This allows you to be more thoughtful about the gift and not left scrambling at the last minute. It is especially meaningful to purchase gifts that will really make a difference. Websites like Sevenly and Adopt Shoppe are just two of many sites where your shopping supports greater causes.
Don’t Forget Yourself
During the fast pace of life, it is easy to quickly roll from one day to the next. Be intentional with your time today. Carve out some space for quiet time and rest. Put it on your schedule and stick to it, like you would a doctor’s appointment or meeting. Set a reminder on your phone or computer so the time doesn’t slip away.
Look Up and Out
Once you are refueled, consider how you might help others around you. There are many people who are struggling and hurting, and sometimes we don’t see them because we are so caught up in activity. Do you know a struggling parent? Encourage them with a note, a meal, a visit, or some help. Do you have a widow in your neighborhood who might feel lonely? Make her some cookies, send her a card, or invite her to go for a walk. Invite a family to your home for dinner. Let your kids help choose who will be invited next. This intentional hospitality will bless all involved.
About Inheritance of Hope
Inheritance of Hope is a national nonprofit organization that serves families impacted by a parent’s terminal diagnosis. They shared these legacy-building activities with us. All of their programs are provided at no cost to the families they serve because of generous donations. Please check out their website to refer a family, volunteer or give.
About the Author
Cindy Moody, a Realtor since 2011, joined The Volen Group in 2022. Cindy is a Cornell graduate who enjoyed a 9 year career with Marriott and moved with them from NYC to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1990. Cindy holds herself to the highest level of integrity, while having fun along the way.