A Beautiful Mother’s Day Gift: Save the Memories!

Back in 1997 when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I wanted to give her a gift for her birthday that would mean a lot to her.

Because I knew she meant a lot to many people. She made a difference in many lives.

I drafted a letter and sent it out to around 100 friends, asking if they’d share with me their memories of my Mom.

I put together a Memory Book, rather quickly (I am not a scrap-booker!), and my sisters and I gave it to her early for her birthday, but barely in time. She died one hour before her birthday.

Thirteen years later, at this dinner party, I pulled the book out again to share with my relatives.

We smiled.

We teared up.

We read inspiration.

And it just brought back a lot of memories of Mom.

Pictures, cards, poems, songs, letters … I kept the writing in original form.

I’ve shared this idea with many of my friends: Don’t wait until it’s too late to put a book like this together! It’s a wonderful gift with so much sentiment. The book can reach back from childhood memories all the way to current times.

It’s a wonderful Mother’s Day gift idea!

My only regret was that we didn’t think of this a few years earlier!

But now we have this wonderful book (we put sheet protectors on each page) that we’ll pass down to our family members.

One thing is revealed very clearly. Our mother was a wonderful person who loved God, and her beauty radiated to those around her. You can see it on every page.

Have you thought of creating a book recognizing your Mother, or perhaps the gifts of a woman who means a lot to you?

One thing my Mother did very well was that she taught us girls how to cook and to be wise with using up the leftovers, and also freezing and canning. So I’ve tried to follow in her footsteps. Would you head over to SC Johnson this week, where I’m partnering with SCJ’s Home Economics page, and leave me a comment on this post? Make, Roll and Wrap: Freeze your own Burritos! Thank you. The winner of the Hip Hostess apron is Brenda, from A Farm Girl Dabbles. Congrats, Brenda!


  1. We did this for my mom’s 70th birthday. Also did something similar years ago for my grandmother’s 75th birthday. It’s a joy to create and the recipient? Over-the-top-whelmed. Thanks for posting this suggestion. It’s a good’n.

    Cheryl’s last post: Pathetic was actually about about In the Pink? Oy.

  2. Such a beautiful idea !

    Sandy, have a great Mother’s Day with your family!!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Paint =-.

    • You too, Kim, Happy Mother’s Day to you! I know you are the best mom to your 2 girls!

  3. We put together a book for my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. I bought an album from Exposures that came with envelopes to mail the pages in- it was wonderful because it required no scrapbooking skills! We sent them out to friends and family who chose a picture and wrote a memory, note, etc. and then mailed it back to me to add to the album. It was a wonderful way for us children to learn more about our parents.

    Here is the link to the album they’re currently selling: http://www.exposuresonline.com/ExposuresOnline/Shopping/ProductDetail.aspx?CID=Albums+%26+Scrapbooks&SCID=Memory+Books&CollectionID=DC0000141&SiteNum=0&sortBy=Rank%20ASC&TabNum=0
    .-= Tara G.´s last blog ..Brutally Honest =-.

    • Those kind of albums are priceless! Thanks for sharing, Tara! Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. A very touching post.
    That is a wonderful idea.

    Becky K.
    .-= Becky K.´s last blog ..A Lady Called Sue…and an Amazing God! =-.

  5. That is such a cool idea! I love it. It made me sad to know that your Mom passed away an hour before her birthday. But what a blessing to have those memories all together to cherish forever.
    .-= Kim @ Homesteader’s Heart´s last blog ..The Shred Blog Name and Some Info! =-.

  6. That is beautiful, Sandy. I would have been bawling my eyes out! What a touching way to remember your mom!
    .-= Jessica @ This Blessed Life´s last blog ..I need some furniture advice… =-.

  7. This is a great idea, Sandy. I wish I’d done something like this for my mom–she would have loved it. Now it’s too late to do this for her–but just about any woman would love this kind of book, wouldn’t she?

    Happy Mother’s Day to you!
    .-= Richella´s last blog ..Dishing with Amanda =-.

  8. What a beautiful way to celebrate and remember your mothers life!
    Thanks for sharing!
    .-= amelia´s last blog ..Backyard Flowers =-.

  9. What a beautiful tribute to your Mom, and what a beautiful way for you to remember her.

  10. I made a book like this for my parents for their 38th wedding anniversary. My mom was terminally ill with cancer at the time and I knew it would be their last anniversary. My parents both loved it. I had a great time putting the book together and heard a few new stories about my parents.

  11. What a beautiful way to honor your mom and show what a treasure she was to all of you. Even though I lost my own mom 7 yrs ago, I think I will still try to put together a book for her grandkids. Moms are a special blessing aren’t they?
    .-= High Heels and a Hammer´s last blog ..Art, Flowers, and Flowers As Art =-.

  12. I have done something similar for my mom. I have also done this for my brother – he is a soldier who has been sent off 6 different times since the First Gulf War. I also do this for my baby’s first birthday. I ask not for presents for the baby but a scrapbook page instead of their family and what they wish for my child. It is a great keepsake and the kids get to see who has been important in their life since the beginning :)
    .-= AnneMarieZ´s last blog ..breathe.love.pray. =-.

  13. I love this! I know it is compiled of incredible memories and love. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Pat´s last blog ..~ Wednesday Gratitude ~ =-.

  14. What a brilliant and beautiful idea. I love this post and its sentiment. It looks like you put so much love into this project.
    .-= Bridgett´s last blog ..The Naughty Senator Cake =-.

  15. Love this blog Sandy. I so enjoy reading your memories of my aunt Millie. Happy Mothers Day to you, my wonderful cousin who is such a good mom!
    ps great pic of you three Friesen girls.

  16. What a treasure! Thanks for sharing. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Sandy.

  17. Oh wow! What an awesome tribute and how wonderful that you did get to share this with your mother – just in time. I’m tearing up. . .
    You’ve definitely given me something to think about to do for my parents – and my in-laws. Bless you!
    .-= Shelle´s last blog ..Framing Builder’s Mirror Tutorial =-.

  18. Wow what a wonderful idea. I too lost my mother to the big C 16 years ago, the pain of losing your mother is like no other, she is and was always my champion, cheer leader, ever pushing us to do better go farther. This post brings back memories of Annie my mother, a gracious, funny, wonderful, woman, wife, and mother of three sons. Thank you for sharing………… Curtis

  19. Oh, Sandy, I LOVE this!

    My dad died last November. And as you can imagine, it’s been tough for my mom. She’s in her early 60s and hopefully still has a lot of life ahead of her but it’s hard to go on as a single when you’re used to being part of a pair.

    She and my dad were an amazing team, but I want to do this for her to remind her of how much worth she has an amazing individual. My dad had brain cancer for just less than a year and during that time many people had the chance to tell him what he meant to them. I want my mom to know how very loved she is, too.

    Thanks so much for this idea!!

    • Your mom will love it! I’m sorry about your Dad – and you’re right, 60 is way too young! Thanks for sharing your story. Happy Mother’s Day!

  20. Thought I would be your only male response but thanks to ‘Curtis’ there are other guys out there with memories of their mother as well. And that includes your mother as well. So many of our mothers went thru the terrible C disease at same time- your mother, your aunt Bernetta, my mother Pat, and others that I just remember that we all were struggling and coping with loss but that we were not alone! My mother was also a true champion of both me and my brother and sisters! She lived her life for young people; every entertainment was for her children first and all of our friends! Then – she struggled for over 18 years and lost the fight one hour before I arrived to tell her goodby. But- oh the wonderful memories of not only her but the other mothers we grew up around as well. Happy mothers day Sandy! I am pressed with what you and Paul are doing for your children! From ‘another’ guy!

    • Hi Dan! As I shared with you a while back, your mom was SUCH a Balcony Girl in my life. She cheered me on through my teen years – I just always had a connection with her. She showed me true unconditional love.

      Thanks for sharing and YES, men can comment at RE! :) Happy Mother’s Day to your better half!

  21. Absolutely beautiful. What a thoughtful and loving gift. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

    • Karol, I know that this was probably hard for you, too … I thought of you when I did this post. xo

  22. First off, I just have to say how much I love this idea. This is a wonderful tribute to someone so dear to your heart. I will keep this in mind for special birthdays and anniversaries in the future.

    And secondly, I’m so happy to have won a beautiful Hip Hostess apron! Thank you SO MUCH! :-)
    .-= afarmgirlsdabbles´s last blog ..Traditional Margaritas =-.

    • Thank you, ‘new’ friend. So glad you’re won the Hip Hostess apron. High quality, let me tell you! xo

  23. I did this for my dad for his 60th – it was so fun to read the emails and letters from guys he sailed with in the Navy, college friends and long-lost cronies! I never thought about what it will mean to MY kids someday, to ready all those. Now, I’m doubly glad we did it!

    • Oh yes, your kids will LOVE it. My kids love their memory books that I’ve made for them. I can only imagine when they get older and want to know who Grandma really was …

      Happy Mother’s Day!

  24. What a wonderful idea Sandy! I wish I would have thought of this for my mom.

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  26. Sandy…this is such a great idea! I know your Mom will be in your thoughts this weekend. Hope you have a great Mother’s Day with your family!

  27. Sandy, that was a nice tribute to your Mom and was very thoughtful of you. Last year was the halfway mark of me no longer having my Mom. She died 32 years ago (at that time last year) on June 19, 1977, when I was 32 yrs. old. Last year I was 64, so that was “half my life without my Mom.”

    EVERYONE who still has their Mom for 2010 had better take advantage of the opportunity to love and cherish her while you still can.
    God Bless You! Betty G. in Oklahoma

  28. I love this. I definitely want to do this for my mom. Thanks for sharing such a sweet memory.
    .-= paula´s last blog ..Moving On =-.

  29. What a WONDERFUL idea Sandy!!….I added this to my Mother’s Day post http://www.tidymom.net/2010/05/mothers-day-ideas.html

    I hope you have a beautiful Mother’s Day!
    .-= TidyMom´s last blog ..I’m Lovin’ It – My Mom =-.

  30. This IS a wonderful gift…and it doesn’t just have to be for Mother’s Day. I know firsthand, because my daughter made a memory scrapbook for me for my 50th birthday a few years ago, and I cherished all the letters, photos, and kind thoughts [and my daughter’s time and work] placed in that book.

  31. How precious, even for the family that’s left behind. We did something like that for my mother’s 90th birthday, took pictures of everyone who was at her surprise party. Treasures sometimes come in small packages, don’t they?

  32. I got teared up reading this. I only wish I had thought to do something like this for my mom before she died. My tribute to my mom is to try to be as loving, giving, and ecouraging to my own daughters as she was with my sisters and me.

  33. Dear Sandy…what a wonderful thing to do, and I’m so glad you got her your book just in time.

    My grandmother died just this past Easter, so Mother’s Day this year is more about my mom than it has been for a while (since I was the one with the small kids…who aren’t so small any more.)

    If you want to read a bit of my grandmother’s story in a spare moment, go here:
    And I only share because she was an amazing woman, tremendously ahead of her time, and telling her story – I hope – empowers women everywhere.

    And…she gave me my first scrap-book. Filling it was my job. But she told me how important those pages would be to me when I was older, and she was right.

    Thank you for such a lovely post.
    .-= Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points´s last blog ..This Week in Martha Points =-.

  34. Love this….What a great post….Happy Mother’s Day

  35. Sandy,
    Thank you for sharing this memory, your gift and reminding us all to appreciate our moms. Your mom was an amazing woman and she is so proud of you- I am sure of that!
    Happy Mother’s Day.
    Your Peonies are beautiful!

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  37. Sandy, I loved your Mother’s Day Blog. I am sure that the Memory Book you made for her, really made her happy. She was truly a wonderful friend and a really special mother to you girls. When I think back of the good times we had together when we were in the Air Force, we had so much fun. That’s when they used to tease me and say that I could even make “Wienny Gravy”. We were so poor, and when they would come over sometimes, all we could afford were wieners and mashed potatoes, and veggies, so I had to make gravy for the potatoes. I just fried a few slices of bacon, cut up, with some onions, and made a white sauce out of it, and that’s what they said was wienny gravy. They were so full of life and so in love. It was great being around them.

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  39. I love how much this idea blesses those angels in our lives and reminds us how lucky WE are to have them. My mom passed away in 2006, after a courageous 4 year battle with Ovarian Cancer. She had a reprieve after her 1st surgury and that December sat for a photographer. We still tear up at the gift of our mom without a sign of the illness that would take her.
    thank you from another guy reader

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