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Appreciation, Brain Skills, Immanuel, Jen Coursey, Joy, Pause, Peace, Proclaim, Quiet, Reflect, relational skills, Return to Joy

It sounds nearly sacrilegious to say this, but there are times appreciation doesn’t work. There are moments it takes longer to jumpstart a cold relational engine.

This last season has been insane. Since the beginning of June, we have been on a roller coaster. We moved out of a rental in Michigan, moved back to our home in Illinois, and packed up the house. Then we returned to a rental in Michigan temporarily while we ran our week-long THRIVE Training. Next, we moved into our new home.

To add to the insanity, my husband Chris was out of commission for a month and a half with traveling and pneumonia, so I had to pack the house pretty much on my own while holding down the fort with kids and sick hubby.


In the midst of the craziness, a friend asked me what I was appreciating. While a list of things came easily enough when she asked how the appreciation felt, I had to pause. I realized I was listing items that were enjoyable in my environment, but I felt no warm fuzzy feelings of peace or joy.

“This isn’t how appreciation is supposed to feel!” I thought to myself. I shared with my friend that I was not experiencing the usual feelings associated with appreciation, even though I could list enjoyable things.

While pondering this, I came to a realization. In the season of chaos, packing, moving and sickness, I had been running at such a pace that my ability to quiet declined. While resting has been a weakness in times past, when I first started staying intentional with quiet I noticed numerous To-Do lists swirling through my head along with increasing restlessness. To change this, I needed practice continually that was intentional, brief and joined by fellow friends who were better at quieting than I was. The skill of quieting myself has been difficult, but of all the 19 skills, this skill has transformed my life.


So, at this moment where my friend asked me what I appreciated, I could create an itemized list, but my nervous system was operating at such a fast pace that I was unable to slow down enough to feel appreciation.

I decided to stop and close my eyes, then I took a few deep breaths and asked Immanuel to help me feel His peace and enjoy His creation. At that point, I chose one thing on my list to focus on. After a few moments of practice, I felt the warm, peaceful feeling of enjoyment return. I was able to drink in and feel appreciation for several minutes before the restlessness returned.

My difficulty feeling as well as sustaining appreciation was a clear indicator I needed to be more deliberate about taking time throughout my day to quiet. While this season has been incredibly busy, I still need to find windows in my day to quiet. 
These short spurts do not have to last long, but taking a few moments here and there will help my nervous system find a pace that is more sustainable so I can feel more peaceful and stay present with my people.

As a child, I was taught to stop, drop and roll if my clothing ever catches fire. I suggest you try a new sequence when your brain is on fire, and you are feeling offline – PRP, which means, Pause, Reflect and Proclaim. You should take a moment to pause and breathe, then reflect on what makes you smile, then share your appreciation with others which spreads and amplifies the good stuff.

How well do you utilize appreciation in your life and relationships? Are you able to feel enjoyment? Do you have the ability to sustain the feeling for a few minutes or does your To-Do list dominate your thinking when you try to rest? 

Perhaps you need more quieting in your day to slow down and drink in your appreciation moments. Set a timer and take five minutes to focus on the gifts that make you smile. Notice what happens when you embrace this simple skill.
Posted in Marriage, Parenting

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    • Elizabeth Cagle

      Barbara, i am currently reading your book Joy Filled Relationships and enjoying it so much. Thank you for the work you do and for disciplining yourself to write and publish so the rest of us could appreciate without having access to workshops that we cannot get to easily. Thank you!

  1. kathi winter

    this was very helpful and so accurate= taking the time to experience the appreciation. thank you for the 5 minute timer suggestion. very helpful.

  2. mike and deana

    Thank you very much for this Excellent blog, Dear Jen; as it’s good to be reminded of the importance of quieting in our lives in general; along with it also being helpful to be reminded of it being especially important to intentionally quiet with Immanuel in the exceptionally busy/crazy “seasons” in our lives, which happens for all of us at one time or another!~Shalom & Blessings All Around~ With Much Gratitude & Love, Mike & Deana

  3. Misa Garavaglia

    I have noticed the to do list running unfettered in my brain sometimes as of late, as well. Right now, some good news from my daughter makes me smile. I feel joyful, hopeful, and expectant. And now I have shared it with you! Stopping to soak in appreciation makes SOOO much difference. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Julie P.

    Love the reminder to be intentional! Read a daily devotional today that spoke of taking action and that we can consciously choose to commit our life and will to Christ. Quieting is a choice we make… intentionally choosing to go a different way. We will never end up quiet and restful and able to offer that to others if we don’t choose to quiet ourselves and do it!

  5. Elizabeth Cagle

    Jen, I love your blog and the way you take everyday happenings and relate them to the skills. It is always helpful. Thank you for taking time out of your very busy day and life to share regularly with us. God’s blessings on you and yours!

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