By Mark Hopper

My wife loved to make attractive trees for friends and family members. She purchased cone-shaped Styrofoam trees and decorated them with costume jewelry. She used a hot-glue gun to apply adhesive to the tree and arrange the jewelry in a variety of patterns.

She got this idea when she saw some trees at Roger’s Garden in Newport Beach. The decorated foam trees were priced at several hundred dollars. She decided to make one for herself with some of the jewelry she had at home. It turned out very nice. When people learned she had made the tree herself, they asked if she would make them one also. Women gathered costume jewelry in their home and gave it to my wife and she crafted a beautifully decorated piece for them. She made more than one hundred jewelry trees for friends and family.

Many women shared how much they enjoyed their tree. Jewelry that was just sitting in a drawer was now on display for everyone to enjoy. Some have additional sentimental value when the jewelry is from a parent or grandparent. One woman had several watches that belonged to her father and grandfather. Another woman had commemorative pins with emblems from places she had visited with her husband.

Every tree was unique. While she was making each tree she prayed for the family or individual she was making it for. She enjoyed working with her hands and using her time to craft these attractive display pieces. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Use the gifts and abilities that God has given you to serve others (First Peter 4:10).  I believe everyone has skills and abilities they can use to help other people. Older adults have experience in woodworking, pottery, sewing and painting. Younger adults have skills in technology, music and sports. The list is endless.

Let me encourage you to use the gifts and abilities that God has given you to help other people. A wonderful way to do this is by volunteering at a local school, hospital or nursing home. One of the greatest things you can share is your time. When you share your time, skills and abilities with other people you will encourage them and you will feel encouraged too.

Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at