fingerpaint hand (4)Among photos of grandchildren, mission trips, and other accomplishments that my Dad has hung in his office is the paper wall hanging I gave him when I was 9 years old. It reads:

Dear Dad,

Thank you for my food, thank you for my clothes, thank you for my horse. I love you very much. Happy Fathers Day.

On my husband’s first Father’s Day I wanted to create a memory keepsake that would grow as our kids grew. I wanted it to be filled with memories for him to look at thru the years (and realize what a great wife he has).  Back then I thought there was a Mommy of the Year award.

Since scrapbooking with babies sent shivers down my spine, I bought a normal journal (with a cool Christian cover and Bible verses on each page). Color-coordinated patterned paper and fancy edged photos are thankfully not his style.

My plan was to fill the journal with my kids’ sweet notes, stick figures, and glued-in photos. Each year we would make a new entry and give it to him for Father’s Day.

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The first year, I put my daughter’s little hand in finger paint and stuck it to the page, added a favorite photo of the two of them, just after she had come home from being adopted from Ethiopia. I wrote about what a great dad he was becoming.

The second year, Caleigh, baby #2 had been born, and so I added a photo of the 3 of them together and wrote a special memory from that year.

Entries quickly turned into the kids dictating and me writing. Here are two of them.


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Then they started writing their own notes.


You may have been able to tell from the photos that we were really big on quality. Ahem. There were years when the girls and I were getting our entry done the night before Father’s Day. That meant that paper printouts of the photos would have to do. In fact, this is what 2012’s entry looks like.



I gave up on the Mommy of the Year Award that year.

The journal is abou2012 oopst having a space to speak what is on our heart and not caring about whether every word is spelled right or if it even looks coordinated on the page.  Because you know what? Perfection is a myth. Throw that tired standard out the window and get ‘er done.

I speak to my husband from my heart in the journal each year too. It feels like I say the same thing every year, but I can’t help myself. When I try to think of something new, I fail. So every year I say, I love doing life with you. I mean it from the depths of my heart, and he knows that. I also tell him what I often forget to say the rest of the year: Thanks for working hard.

My girls are 11 and 9 this year. I about lose my breath thinking that there are only 7 years left until college to fill the pages of this book with sweet notes, fun photos, and lifelong memories.

These amazing years are going so quickly. My girls’ daddy treasures his journal full of memories, just as my dad has treasured the humble message I gave him when I was little.

What is your favorite Father’s Day memory? Have you found a way to tell your dad or husband how special he is? Tell us about it.


Stacy is passionate about God’s Word, good coffee, and living every day with purpose, which meant teaching her 11 and 9 year old to clean bathrooms this week. NOT pretty. She is a business owner,  award winning author, and wannabe cowgirl.