How to Mark the Moment {Series Intro #1}

“In life, we can work so hard to get the kinks out, we forget to put the peaks in.”
– Chip and Dan Heath


Things Change

When have you had a defining moment? A moment where everything changed? Either literally or mentally?

  • Often defining moments occur around peak milestones: graduations, weddings, baptisms.
  • They also occur around transitions: a new job, a cross-country move, an overseas mission trip.
  • And sometimes they involve a pit: a death, an injury, a divorce.

We are always in a season of change.

Whether we are young or old or in-between, life is never constant. Relationships change. Job and family responsibilities shift. Even our bodies never stay the same.

Sometimes we’re forewarned that a new season is approaching. Other times it whirls in like a tornado at our front door, unexpected and unannounced.

Underline the Moments

Regardless of how or why changes come, they sometimes require a mark.

Moments matter. And what an opportunity we miss when we leave them to chance!”

The Hebrew people in the Old Testament often stopped to build an altar to remember a moment (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 28:18; Exodus 17:15; Joshua 4:5-7; Joshua 8:30; and more).

Sometimes we need to do the same, erecting our own stones of remembrance, underlining an experience, in whatever form that takes.

[See “Where’s My Ebenezer?” And read this beautiful post by Barbara at Stray Thoughts, “Here I Raise My Ebenezer.” It’s full of defining moments.]

The Power of Moments

For the next four Wednesdays, I’ll be sharing unique ways to mark a moment.

The four ideas will come from a fantastic new book by Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact.


The authors explain in the book how to capture your own peak moments through these four elements.

  1. Moments of Elevation
    are experiences that rise above the routine
  2. Moments of Pride
    commemorate people’s achievements
  3. Moments of Insight
    deliver realizations and transformations
  4. Moments of Connection
    bond us together

[For various reasons, the authors thought it too cheesy to use EPIC as an acronym for the four elements—they order it EIPC in the book—but EPIC is easier for me to remember.]

I highly recommend you get a copy of this book for yourself. You won’t regret it.

“Teachers can inspire, caregivers can comfort, service workers can delight, politicians can unite, and managers can motivate. All it takes is a bit of insight and forethought.

Download Chapter 1 here.


Marking My Transition

Personally, my life is about to change. After 25 years of being married to Jeff, caring for our two daughters, opening the family to two son-in-laws, we’re about to add a new layer. Morgan will add a baby girl to our family in January.

I don’t know how to be a grandmother. But I know I want to be a good one.

So Jeff and I recently marked the moment of upcoming transition, asking for God’s help as we shift gears.

On our 25th anniversary trip to Maine, we brought with us a group of rocks, marked with “Thanks,” “Help,” and “Wow.”

I’ll share what we did with the rocks in the upcoming posts, how we made a moment.


But for now, I’ll share some quotes from The Power of Moments to inspire you to create your own moments.

As you read them, think of your own transitions. Are you in a season of change within your job, your family, school, church, health?

Why create a defining moment around your change? Chip and Dan Heath suggest these reasons:

  • To enrich your experience.
  • To connect with others.
  • To make memories.
  • To launch your life or your career or your team in a new direction.

All quotes below by Chip and Dan Heath.

~ * ~

“Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen. We can be the author of them.”

~ * ~

Shouldn’t couples acknowledge and celebrate what they’ve accomplished together? One couple we know kept an anniversary journal for the first decade of their marriage. Every year they would record the things they accomplished: Redecorating the back bedroom, hosting extended family for Thanksgiving dinner, and so on.”

~ * ~

“Moments when we display courage make us proud. We never know when courage will be demanded, but we can practice to ensure we’re ready. The protesters involved in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins didn’t just show courage, they rehearsed it.”

~ * ~

“Courage is contagious; our moments of action can be a defining moment for others.”

~ * ~

“Remote contact is perfectly suitable for day-to-day communication and collaboration. But a big moment needs to be shared in person. (No one dials in to a wedding or graduation, after all.) The presence of others turns abstract ideas into social reality.”

~ * ~

Creating more memorable and meaningful experiences is a worthy goal—for your work, for the people you care about, and for you personally—independent of any secondary impacts.”


* * *

Join me next Wednesday, October 18, for how to create a defining moment with #1, Moments of Elevation.

Moments of elevation are experiences that rise above the routine. They make us feel engaged, joyful, surprised, motivated. Research suggests that organizations dramatically under-invest in building peaks, choosing instead to fill potholes.”

What’s been a recent memorable moment in your life? Please share in the comments.

The Four (EPIC) Elements of Marking the Moment:

36 thoughts on “How to Mark the Moment {Series Intro #1}

  1. Melissa

    The start of my blog has been my most recent memorable moment. I have been a mental health therapist for eight years and God has been guiding me to broaden my reach. It is strange to be new at something again. Having to learn the ins and outs of blogging and technology while connecting it to information that I’ve compiled in my head over the last many years is an interesting balance. I willing to allow God use me and my blog in whatever means He sees fit! Thank you for the post and I look forward to next week’s!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a wonderful new venture for you, Melissa! I’m excited for you (and for us readers who will benefit from your knowledge). Yes, you are definitely in the middle of a defining moment. May God bless you as you bless others.

  2. Bekahcubed

    I was reminded of the importance of marking the moments – and of interpreting them appropriately – when I started reviewing my pregnancy with Louis in preparation for this next little one’s arrival. I started with my medical stuff – records of my blood pressure and weight and fluid retention. And it made me afraid, very afraid. And then the next day, posts from Tirzah Mae’s pregnancy started showing up in my Facebook “on this day” feed. I started reading through them, and the posts from Louis’s pregnancy. And I came to realize that the symptoms aren’t the story – the story is one of God’s great faithfulness. If the only thing I’m marking is the symptoms, I lose sight of the story and fear. If I’m looking at what God does amidst the symptoms, I can look back (and forward) with peace and confidence.

    And I can rejoice that I’m now at 31 weeks without bedrest of any form! Praise God for every extra week.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve made it to 31 weeks with no bedrest! That’s quite an accomplishment! You’ve so brave, Bekah. I admire that you’re carrying your third child despite problems you’ve had in the past. What a good mama you are!

      And I guess Facebook is actually good at marking the moments for us. I haven’t thought about it that way, but it must be a good tactic if they are using it. 🙂

  3. Karen Woodall

    So many people spend time lamenting over what was and worrying about what will be that we miss what IS. It’s time that we learn to embrace all that God sends (or allows) into our lives… good and bad. We can see the Lord and learn from Him not matter what happens if we will trust Him to teach us. It’s not always easy, but we can move through those transitions with His grace and mercy at our side. thanks

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, Karen! I’m re-reading “The Power of Now” (which fits in quite nicely with The Power of Moments, ha) and Tolle says the very things you’re saying here (well, he may not attribute it all to the Lord). But I’m with you; God is with us in every moment and with his presence, we will always have grace in the now.

  4. Michele Morin

    Well, I’m sure curious about the rocks, Lisa, and it does sound as if this book is worth devoting four posts to so I’m looking forward to that.
    And I definitely identify with the feeling of being a grandmother in training. We just had our second grandbaby and I’m still trying to figure out how to define what it means to be a supportive and helpful “Bam” to my family.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I was going to try to put it all in one post, but the book really is too rich for just one post. I love it that much. But it’s no surprise to me; I love all the books by Dan and Chip Heath. I was so excited when this one came out.

      I love that you are a “Bam”. 🙂 I had an experienced grandmother give me a new book just today about being a grandmother. We know about mothering, but are new to grandmothering and it is different. From what I hear; I don’t yet personally know. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I would love that, Bill. The book is written so well and gives tons of examples for each concept. These brothers are two of my favorite authors. Their content really sticks with me. And even though it’s not a spiritual book per se, there are always many spiritual applications to make within their work.

  5. Trudy

    This is so interesting and insightful, Lisa. Making memorable moments. I love that. 🙂 I think ordinary events can be made memorable when we don’t take them for granted but cherish the moments. Like my 9-year-old granddaughter still loving to sit on my lap. As I sit here at my desk, I look around at the things grandkids have given or made me. I cherish each one and the memorable moments attached to them. Recently I showed a granddaughter, who is now expecting their second child, a cross she had “spooled”with colorful yarn. She said, “I remember that!” She made it when she was around 9. 🙂 I know you will be a loving grandma and will have memorable times with your grandchild! I’m looking forward to more posts and to what you did with those rocks. 🙂 Love and hugs!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sounds like you have lots of memorable moments, Trudy! Such a blessing. I’m glad you’re able to spend sweet time with your grandkids. I am so looking forward to that! You may have to share some tips with me. 🙂

  6. Barbara H.

    Thanks for the link! 🙂 What a good emphasis. We so quickly rush to the next thing that we fail to savor the moment we’re in. I think marking these moments is also a testimonial in at least some cases: it points out to others, “THIS is worth noting.” It reminds me of the family stories that almost always resurface at a gathering, the moments that everyone remembers for various reasons.

    If you find a good grandmom book, let me know. I’ve read two devotional-type, for grandmothers by grandmothers books so far, and am sorry to say I didn’t like them, mostly due to bad theology. I guess that’s a reminder not to be lax in that area even in older age, to hold true to God’s truth until the end. Mostly grandmothering has been a joy, in my 3 1/2 years of experience. 🙂 It is kind of nice to be a helper but not the one with the full responsibility. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, isn’t it funny how the same few stories always come up at family gatherings? Ha. Our family is that way for sure. My friend gave me a grandmother book just yesterday so I’ll have to keep you posted on whether or not it’s good. It looks cute so far. I don’t think it’s spiritually oriented at all though, so it might not be what you’re looking for. I’ll keep my eyes open for both of us. You’ve made grandmothering look fun. I can’t believe it’s already been 3 1/2 years already!

  7. Jean Wise

    just ordered this book. What a neat find. Thank you and thank you for sharing your journey in this book too. I am so excited for you becoming a grandmother. I tell you it is a wise role you’ll fit into so well.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you’ll be reading this book, too, Jean! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. And thanks–I’m so looking forward to being a grandmother. I’m still trying to find that perfect name to fit me. 🙂

  8. floyd

    Sounds pretty good. Excellent point about change. Reminds me of the quote about all the people we judge in life and that one day we’ll be all of the ones we judge.

    I just shared my Caveman bar with my oldest grandson… I think you’re gonna do just fine!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Nodding but not savoring” – I am definitely guilty of that too. I have to consciously tell myself to stay in the moment, stay in the moment. My mind always wants to flit to the future instead of staying right here.

  9. Alice Walters

    How interesting that I just read Susan’s post on numbering our days before reading this one. Wouldn’t it be sad to try and reflect on my life to only to recall events and not moments. When I’m discouraged I conjure up a moment memory and try to describe it through all the senses. The richer the moment, the sensory details I can recall. Thank you for sharing what seems to be a terrific new resource. Blessings!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a wonderful spiritual practice, Alice. I will have to intentionally try conjuring up past moments myself to relive through all the senses. You’re right that sensory details can make a difference. I smelled smoke the other day in our neighborhood and it immediately took me back to 2011 when there were fires everyday from people burning tornado debris. Just the smoke smell brought that moment to me.

  10. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Having lived a fair number of years, I’ve had many defining moments…both peaks and pits. I have raised many an Ebenezer to God’s faithfulness. Being able to look back on these defining moments of His mercy, help me to go forward with courage. Loved these quotes and looking forward to the series. I especially like this quote, because I often think defining moments are just for us, but we never know who might be positively impacted?!

    “Courage is contagious; our moments of action can be a defining moment for others.”
    Bev xx

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So beautiful, Bev: “Being able to look back on these defining moments of His mercy, help me to go forward with courage.” I understand more and more why God wanted the Israelites to remember certain things: it definitely helps us see how faithful he has been and to maintain hope for his future faithfulness. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Robin

    Thank you for the review. I look forward to checking out the book. I also enjoyed reading the selected quotes from the book! And, congratulations on your new role as a grandmother! What a beautiful blessing!

  12. June

    Fascinating, as usual, Lisa! I would have to say that my most defining moment, to date, was definitely a pit. It’s not a time in my life that I would normally want to remember except for the presence of God’s mercy and grace that brought me through and grew my faith. I have a small, heart-shaped rock that I found during that time. I hope to fashion it into a necklace one day.

    In contrast, our most recent memorable moment is one to celebrate! The birth of our latest great-granddaughter! I’m sure being a grandparent by marriage rather than blood is a different experience. But if how I feel about this little miracle is any indication, you’re in for an amazing adventure 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love that you kept a heart-shaped rock from your pit experience, June. Sometimes those pit experiences are times when we most feel God’s presence. I have a piece of a candle from a pit experience as well. I don’t like the sadness of the memory, but I do like the memory of God’s faithfulness to me through it all.

      Congratulations on your latest great-granddaughter! That’s so exciting!

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