Simple Ways of Treasuring Family Memories

One of my greatest struggles in life is my terrible memory. I am sure I am lacking some sort of brain cells because my memory serves me so poorly. I hardly recall incidents from my past that my siblings could describe in detail for you. The reality of it is that we all have a tendency to forget. We forget how God has demonstrated His persevering grace over our lives. This being said, I want to be very deliberate to record our family history so I can have reminders of God’s faithfulness to us throughout the years. Recording your family history is such a beautiful treasure. It is a gift that can be passed on to the next generation. It is a reminder of the goodness of God in our lives. Here are a few ideas we have started over the years to begin treasuring these memories more deliberately.

Birthday Letter Journal

As a child, my parents would write a special birthday letter to me every year. These letters have been treasured and re-read numerous times over the years. They have been a source of encouragement as well as treasured memories. I was the determined mother to record all the fun growth chart and progress reports of my little ones from their birth, but as more children have been added it has been very difficult to maintain. Over this last year I decided I needed to adapt this plan in order to make it more maintainable. So I now keep a simple journal for each of my children in which I record a special letter to them on the occasion of their birthday each year. Each birthday I write a letter highlighting all the progress from the previous year and how the Lord is growing and shaping them. I want it to be a letter that can encourage and bless them as the years go by. I want to be able to give each journal to my child to take with them when they leave our home.

Daily Family Journal

Recording fun sayings and daily developments has been a desire of mine for some time. I loved keeping a daily journal as a child but that is not so practical now with three little ones. I came across the idea of a One Line a Day Memory Journal. I love this concept of recording a simple one line highlight from each day of our lives and being able to track what takes places on that same day in years to come. Now that is doable. ;) Another variety along these lines is the Postcard Calendar Journal.

Annual Memory Ornament

I stumbled across this idea on Pinterest of recording highlights from the year on an annual white/clear ornament. I love it! A simple way to look back over the years and remember special highlights of different events, vacations, progress report, etc. I used a permanent marker to record the events. You could do a family oriented version or a different ornament for each child highlighting the child’s accomplishments, milestones, silly things they said, and personal favorite’s from the year (book, food, movie).

Annual Photo Books

Scrapbooking has never been my thing. I’m just not that creative gal. But I do want to store our family photos in a easy viewable format. So I began making an annual photobook (pictured above). I’m a bit behind and have 2010 and 2011 to finish this year, but it is a fun way to treasure the photos in a book style attractive format without having to print individual pictures at all. I have used Blurb, Costco, or Shutterfly for these photobooks and have had great success with all of them. At the end of each photo book, we write a family report from the year answering the end of a year questionare.

I am so thankful for all the simple ways that we have for treasuring our family memories. I do not want to forget His unending love and faithfulness to us. I want to pass it on to the next generation so that God might be glorified through our testimony.

For further inspiration, check out Trina’s post on 24 Ways to Keep A Family Journal.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion’s never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”. Lamentations 3:21-23

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

16 Responses to Simple Ways of Treasuring Family Memories

  1. Amy Kaminski January 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    I found you from a link on pinterest and LOVE the ideas you are sharing. Just wanted to add a comment…even though this is an older post. :) The photo books are great and simple but I find myself not wanting the kids to touch them for fear of mucking up the pages, tearing, etc. I found an expandable book thru Close to My Heart (and became a consultant because I love them so much) The online software is free to use and you only pay for what you have printed. If you have a Close To My Heart consultant nearby you should get ahold of them and see these books in person! I can’t wait to incorporate the questionaire in my book too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jessica J. January 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    These are great ideas! I also have a terrible memory. People tell me I have a “mind like a sieve”. It is really awful sometimes. And now that I have children, I am so worried that important moments in their childhood, like everything else in my life, will slip through the cracks of my mind. I already do an annual photo book, but will try to add some journaling each day. Perhaps writing things down will imprint them on my mind. And if not, I can go back and read about them later!

  3. Alaina December 20, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    These are all great ideas. The only thing I have done really is to keep one journal, where I record all sorts of things about my life and the life of my kids. I write about my own struggles, life as a mom, things that are happening in our family, and record the kid’s milestones, weights and heights, funny things they say/do etc. I also write a special birthday note to them each birthday in that journal.

    So, I have all the info there, but I have been thinking about transferring their own personal info it so that they can each have their own copy of their own things somehow. At least the info is there for now. I do wish I had started it differently though.

    I’m terrible with photos though. We’re about to have our third child and haven’t printed much, we’ve been working on it. Basically we’ve printed almost nothing in 7 years of marriage! Yikes.

  4. Karyl December 19, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I like the idea of the yearly book. I usually do occasions or trips but I like this idea too. Thanks!

  5. Katie King December 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I love these ideas for keeping a family record. I can testify that having a record of personal and family goings on is a value to future generations. My great great grandparents on my mom’s side were journalers. We have my gggrandfathers journal of when he left Maine to go to Alaska for the gold rush. In 1922 they moved from Maine to California in a rickety car, camping along the way. They kept a complete written and photo journal of their move. We have many journals, letters and pictures documenting the lives of my family members who are now long gone. It is precious to look back at these things and feel a connection to my heritage. There were some very mundane things written in their diaries, things they probably thought no one would ever read because of their ordinary subject, but these serve as such an encouragement to us and lend such insight into their lives. Don’t hesistate to put in the ‘boring’ or ‘uninteresting’ things into your journals, letters, photo books, etc. Someday when you are long gone, your descendants might appreciate that look into your everyday life :)

  6. [email protected]'s Nest December 17, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    I love the idea of the photo books. This would be perfect for me. One of my daughters scrapbooks all of our family photos each year, which is great. But, I have years of old photos that I just don’t know if I will ever scrapbook. I would love to have them in a book to look at instead of in a box. Thank you for the wonderful idea.

  7. Adrienne @ Whole New Mom December 16, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Love this. Thank you so much. I am up way too late, but I am going to start a one line journal NOW! :-) . And hopefully send my photos off to Costco tomorrow. I can’t believe how behind I am in my albums.

  8. Stacy December 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    I LOVE the ornament idea! How very clever! :-)

  9. Jen @ The Artisan Home December 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    These are great ideas! I’ve been wanting to put together yearly photo books of our little family and maybe this Christmas, I’ll work on that project! I also like the idea of the Christmas ornament. I do the birthday and Christmas letter in a journal, and also have a separate “Family Journal” that I try to write in every few months to record our family life.

    I love to remember!

  10. Lorilee @ Loving Simple December 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Great ideas. I love the Christmas ornaments. We have been doing the photo books for the past few years. I love how easy they are…. I am not crafty enough for scrapbooking either :)

  11. Lyndall December 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi – I am just laughing here because we have share some of the same ideas, despite being on diferent sides of the planet! (I’m an Aussie!).

    We write birthday letters, and keep a copy for ourselves as parents so we too can look back on these little milestones (as well as back it up on computer in case anything should ever happen to the hard copy).

    I’ve been using ‘One Line a Day’ for just over a year and it is one of my favourite parts of the day – looking back to see what was happening this time last year! Only takes a minute or two. What a treasure.

    I also make annual family photobooks (now using Shutterfly)… I love the idea of the questionnaire. I’m also thinking of including some ‘fast facts’ on our favourite books, music, movies we’ve enjoyed that year, who was our Prime Minister, some key world events and the price of some everyday items eg. a lite of milk, a postage stamp, price of petrol and a newspaper. I don’t usually finish the previous year’s book until half way through the next year but its a great exercise and what an incredible blessing it is to look back through the books we’ve already made. If you wait long enough, companies like Shutterfly do 40% of 50% off sales.

    We also maintain a Word file recording the cute things our kids do/say and milestones reached – ‘one day’ I’ll turn this into a personal photobook for each of the kids.

    My current project is working on ‘family ornaments’ to hang up between Christmas and New Year (we don’t have Thanksgiving here.) Each ‘ornament’ is like a pennant from bunting made out of MDF wood, decorated in scrapbooking paper. The front features a photo of the family and the year. On the back is a typed summary of the key things that happened that year – personal achievements, holidays taken, family milestones. They’ll be strung up together for us to reflect on God’s fathfulness to our family.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely ideas, and keep up the good work. Preserving your family history is fun, but it takes time – but your family will treasure it in years to come.

    • Lyndall December 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Forgot to say that I enjoy guided journals for recording history too. My husband and I are v-e-r-y slowly filling out ‘A Mother’s Legacy: Your Life in Your Own Words’ (and ‘A Father’s Legacy’) published by Thomas Nelson. We’re looking forward to being able to give our life stories to our children as an heirloom.

      With my second baby, I’ve just completed ‘Baby of Mine: A Mother’s Memory Album for Baby’s First Year’ by Tracey Clarke. As I think this daughter is my last baby, this will be something I will treasure for a lifetime – memories of a fleeting babyhood!

  12. Alison December 16, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Those are all really fabulous ideas! We use our mac to do our photo books (through iPhoto), and I agree, it’s such a great way to keep memories. I love the birthday letter idea too!

  13. Valerie December 16, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Thanks for these ideas. I’ve really been wondering as our family grows, how or if our memory keeping might need to simplify and change. The best deals I’ve seen so far on photo books is from MixBook – they have 50% off all photo books around Christmas. I might just change to that. Another idea I has is to delegate all photo printing and distribution to the grandparents! Wouldn’t that be funny – they have the time and love the photos, and we moms could get the work done for us! :)

  14. Kristal December 16, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    What size are your blurb books? Do you feel like they are a good size for ease of use? I’ve always wanted to make a blurb book (like you I just don’t have the creative gene in me to scrapbook) but I don’t want to pick a blurb book that is too small to look through comfortably.

    • Lindsay December 16, 2011 at 11:05 am #

      They are considered standard landscape which is 8 x 10.