When we were in Utah for Spring Break last year I found a treasure. Like, a serious treasure. It was our “Ancestor Book.” It is a vintage-y looking large book that my Dad bought when we were all young and that he gradually filled with stories of our ancestors. And the best thing about that big, cool book? Us kids got to illustrate that thing. …and man oh man you can bet your boots that we were pretty darn excited about illustrating a big, cool book like that. I actually don’t think that story has been proven to be true in any shape or form, but it is a pretty cool story…with some awesome illustrations by yours truly at age seven: I had been meaning to find that big book of ours for a while…I wanted to check out some of the ancestor stories we helped write and illustrate as a model for doing something similar in our own family. But wow, I found so much more than ancestor stories. All that time I thought that book was just filled with stories of those who went before us. Little did I know it was also filled with stories of US. What made our family run. In that beautiful ancestor book I hit the goldmine: the whole “framework” for our family. The scaffolding. I found where we spent Christmases for years on end: Our family mission statement: Where we all opened our mission calls: The principles my Dad came up with for us to memorize when we lived in Oregon for a summer:(more on that trip HERE) There were also some “Hawaii Principles,” but apparently this luxury Hawaii thing happened when I was already grown and gone because I don’t know these ones. I just love that my Dad was always trying to teach us something or another. These were our “awards” we had growing up:Click HERE to see the ones we did in our family. This next one is written by me as a young teenager, not sure in conjunction with what, but sure good things to live by that my Dad must have gone over with me and pasted into the big book:I sure need to remember that #2 these days. Growing up we memorized a quote or scripture every week. There’s a master list of some of them in that big book:(We have adopted this in our family and I LOVE it…I’ll write more about that later.) We also had a family “Major” and a “Minor” each year…things we worked on together. Here’s the big plan for family traditions. That first one is funny…they even had traditions as to which cake we would get each year on our birthdays. Back to the ancestors, this one is probably my favorite. It’s about my Grandpa I never met. My Dad’s Dad who died when he was only fifteen, leaving him to be the “man of the house” with four younger siblings and a widow mother. Yes, that book is a treasure. I could hardly help myself from taking a picture of every single page (as you can see 🙂 but it went on and on and on. So many plans and goals and dreams in that beautiful thing. As I looked through that book memories washed over me like velvet. How incredibly grateful I am for my parents who masterminded their family to the very best of their abilities. How grateful I am for their true example of deliberate parenting. And for the evidence of that in my Dad’s careful hand…all the scribbles and pasted in notes along with perfect, thoughtful handwriting…things he wanted to do, to work his heart out, to build a family God would be proud of. I may be biased but I think he did a pretty good job. Since I found that gem, I’ve been inspired to fill the book I have for our own family a little more flowery and deliberately. I will share it soon. Thanks Dad. I love you.