Thursday, April 29, 2010

Following Mom's Advice

My mom always liked to give books as gifts.  She often gave inspirational books and she had one rule about her gift books.

They always contained a handwritten message to the recipient.  When I turned 42, this book was wrapped up and placed in a box with 41 additional little packages.  I remember the fun I had opening each gift.  I couldn't tell you what was in any of the packages, but I remember the book "42 Gifts I'd Like To Give You." 

It would be unheard of for anybody in our household to give a book without that personal message included.  This is a book that my dad gave to me on my 12th birthday.

Complete with loving words from a father to his daughter. 

As a kid I sometimes thought this rule was silly.  After all, my friends didn't have to do it and I wasn't so sure that I wanted to either.

But, I went along with it because that was the way it was done at our house.

Just before my dad turned 70, he had to have quadruple bypass surgery.  He lived in Tennessee and I was in Michigan at the time.  One day I received this book in the mail.

His surgery was a very sudden thing and gave us all a bit of a scare.  His words to me in the front of this book were very precious to me and I began to realize that my mom's rule for writing in the front of books might not be such a bad idea after all.

She also liked to write little notes on the back of bookmarks and include them in cards and letters.

I'm so glad she did.  When I took this one out of a book I was reading the other day, I flipped it over to find this.  I miss you too, Mom.

This bookmark was in another book I was reading recently.  As you can see my sister learned well too.

Last week I received this book as a birthday gift from my sister.  I was very touched to think that she was even able to send a gift.  If you are new to my blog I will mention that my sister had a massive stroke last June.  It left her paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak.  She is working very hard to recover, but it is a slow process.  Any kind of communication that we are able to have is a gift in itself.

Knowing how hard it is for her to write, these are words that I will always cherish.  And the message on this page speaks volumes for the person that Norma is.  She is the type of person that can do just about anything she makes up her mind to do.  She always preferred to do the type of work that would help others.  She is not only a good mother to her 2 sons, but she has been a teacher to hearing impaired children, an assistant principal in a private school, Sunday school director at her church, college professor and most recently she had gone back to college to earn her master's degree in psychology and had opened a practice as a therapist for children. 

All those years ago when my mom was teaching us her little rule, I never would have thought that a few words from the heart could mean so much.  My how times have changed.



  1. What a lovely and moving blog post. Thanks so much for sharing. xo,

  2. Oh Kim, how my heart just welled up and tears sprang to my eyes reading this post.

    My mother has given me a collection of books from Francis Gay for the beginning of each New Year and like your family, written inside the book.

    I thought the book from your dad was what really got me started being teary eyed. I never received a book from my dad (he's a blessing, but not with books)..I adore books so much.

    Those cards that you have pictured here, are my absolute favorite to receive and give. My eldest has one that I have used each and very year (yes the same card) and I write little notes inside with the date for each passing year of his life.

    Thank you for sharing. I will be praying for your sister's complete recover. What an amazing woman she is also. Thanks for sharing about her also.

  3. I love this post! Your mum was a wise woman and I've felt deeply touched by your sister's words.
    I often try to create family traditions and I really like this one.

  4. Oh Kim, you should have said to grab the kleenex before reading. You were so blessed to have such a sweet and loving mother to start this sweet tradition. You have so many precious treasures.

    42 gifts...... what a great and thoughtful must have been so excited.

  5. What a sweet, sweet post. I'm so glad that your sister is able to write. You haven't said much about her recovery. I hope she is continuing to improve.

    I've never given that much thought to writing in books but we've always done it in our family too. You really opened my eyes to the importance.

  6. It is moments like this, when I sit down after a long and quite busy day, and find a post like yours, that I am reminded again of why I appreciate blogging like I do. What a extra special post this is! The lessons you learned, the notes that you shared, and the love behind them has blessed my heart today. What a meaningful rule that your parents instilled in you. You are one very fortunate lady, and I am so fortunate to call you my friend.

  7. What a blessing you've shared and what a blessing you are to do so. (Yes, I could've used a hanky warning.) Your sister seems such an indomitable spirit. Ah but then your parents taught you well.

  8. This is a precious post Kim...I love it. What wonderful precious memories you have in those books.

  9. Kim, I'm so glad to hear your news about Norma. I've wondered about her progress. You each have a pretty special sister:)
    We all would have loved to have gotten messages like that from our dads. My dad lived 90 years and I never knew how he felt about me. I loved him anyway, but it would have been wonderful to feel valued. Your family knew the importance of putting 'value' on the important things. What a gift!
    I'm so happy that you've chosen to share these wonderful gifts with us. Yall's example can teach me to be a better parent and to leave a little something behind that will continue to encourage and uplift even after I'm gone.
    Bless you, friend!

  10. Yes, I do remember about your sister, bless her. Isn't it funny how we look back and things appear so different? I'm very glad you had a mother who loved you so very much.

  11. Those are all so precious - especially the note from your sister. My grandma tucked a letter inside a book she gave me for Christmas one year, and it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't take that letter out and read it.

  12. Kim, what a lovely post! You moved me to tears! Treasure those gifts you have received for sure!!

  13. Oh Kim I have goosebumps. What a wonderful post and a fabulous gift your mom and dad gave you. I have friends with whom lovely books of sentiment are normally exchanged, including words and writing in the front of each. Such treasures. A friend and I used to read books and then write in the front what we thought, and when we read it, so that when we passed it on to the next person, they would have a little surprise review. Fun tradition. I am so glad to hear that your sister is on the road to recovery. She is strong and obviously has a great support system. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and many blessings, Tammy

  14. This is the most wonderful post! What a gift your parents gave you and your sister.

    I find myself really curious about you now. . . I saw in your profile that you live in North Carolina, but I see mentions of Tennessee and Michigan in this post. I'm from Tennessee, I now live in Durham, NC, and my husband and I lived in Hillsdale, MI for seven years. I'm wondering if you and I might have a lot in common!

    Have a great day!

  15. This post had me in tears. What a wonderful thing to have all those precious words in all the books and how special the words from Norma are!
    I gave my dad that exact book years ago too. :-)

  16. Oh Kim, this is such a beautiful post! Each and every one of those books must be so precious to you. I wish our family had a tradition like that. But I've saved anything that my Dad had ever written to me, because he rarely ever did that. The next time I give a book as a gift, I am going to follow your example!

  17. It was so funny reading this. I had just finished writing in the cover of a book I had just bought my son-in-law for his birthday.
    Your Mom was right. It is a means to read and meditate on the words a loved one wrote. That is special.
    I love your little boot planters. I could use a pair to work in the flower beds. lol

  18. This post really touched my heart. My grandmother always wrote sweet messagaes in books before she gave them away. When I pull one of these books from the shelf and see her handwriting I am transported to another time and place. She has been gone fifty five years, but my memories of her are so sweet. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Hi there..thanks for the visit to my blog, I love this post, my daughter always says, Mom why do you need to write in this book you gave day she too will know. I just love yours and i am adding you to my blog list and would love to follow your blog. I think we have lots in common. Come say hi any time. Julie :D

  20. Kim, I love to give books as gifts and have always jotted something inside... But I will even give more thought to what I write in the future.Thank you.

  21. My what a moving post! I started to read it yesterday but started to tear up but had to go to lunch with friends but didn't want red eyes so I had to stop! Now I'm back to finish. I was prepared with tissues this time.

    Thanks so much for sharing your precious gifts and story.


  22. Oh Kim ~ this is so heartwarming! You have shared so much family love! Such special memories each of these will bring to you throughout the years to come. I am so thankful that day by day your sister is making progress...even if it is very slow. You are such an inspiration and I thank you for that. Sweet blessings to you! Hugs ~ Teri

  23. What a beautifully inspiring post Kim. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Thank you for entering my blue giveaway and your blog friendship. It means so much to me. I do appreciate you.

    *Blessings & Smiles* ~Melissa :)

  24. I'm crying reading this. You are so good and kind. You have a wonderful family.

  25. Kim, this post touched my heart. What a sweet tradition. These affectionate words will live on forever. Twyla


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