The Best Free Gift for Parents

If your parents are anything like my parents, they don't NEED anything, and never give you any gift ideas either. Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Birthday's become such a challenge!

For the month of April  I decided to post one no cost or low cost, yet meaningful or fun Mothers Day  gift idea for your mother, or even your daughter every Monday. This is my first Monday for Mom's idea:

What if I told you that this one free gift, will have them in tears and cherishing your gift as one of the best (if not THE best) they have ever received? 


Let me take you back just a moment and tell you how I came across this little idea. 

One day while cleaning off the computer desk, I noticed my teenage daughter had left some school papers out.  I started to pick them up to organize them and then I noticed that one of them was a poem. It was in her handwriting so I knew she'd written it. I read it and started to cry. How did THAT amazing thing come from that girl? It blew me away.

Then I saw her template from the teacher on how to construct the poem, and my journey began. Originally written by Georgia Ellen Lyon  the Where I'm From Poem came from her writing down in a descriptive way where she came from.  She then made it into an easy to use writing template that ANYONE can use to make a beautiful poem about where they came from.

Writing? Me? I know your thinking, I can't write! I am telling you, if you follow this template, think about your own life, add in some memories, of smells, colors, cooking, people, activities, etc. you will bring your parent to tears.

Ok, On with my story.  I decided to write my own Where I'm From Poem, and give it to my dad for father's day.  I wrote it, and before I could change it, I mailed it to him.  On Fathers Day I called him and he told me he started reading it and my step mom came into the room , and asked him why he was crying. Know what got him? One line: "I am from homemade fiberglass sleds". Yep, didn't reduce you to tears did it?  But that is EXACTLY  the magic of the Where I'm From Poem. It isn't meant to be special to the world, only to you and the family/people who came before you!

I have since taught this as a class both to  girls youth group  and as a class for the women's organization at church. Every time,  someone tells me a story of how the poem they wrote touched their parents (and themselves) in a profound way.

After my dad received my poem, my stepmom wrote one, not based on her life, but on the life of her beloved aunt who was dying. All the women of her family got together with Aunt Virginia to share stories one last time, and my step mom shared Virginias Where I'm From poem. after she passed away shortly there after, when my step mom went to the funeral, the family had loved the poem so much they had used it in the program for the service.

 That means you can not only write one about yourself, but with a little thought and digging for information you could write one on behalf of someone else. One youth, (the one that complained the most during the class I taught) wrote one for her dad about HIS life. Yep.. He cried.  You could write one for your mother about her mother, get the idea?

I am telling you, it won't take you long (ok I agonized, pondered and took time with mine).  With my daughters permission I am sharing a portion of  hers with you. as well as portion of mine. to give you a feel for them.
Here's the beginning:
I am From
by J. T.
I am from the passed down china set,
From the big family that loves and picks on me and the constant love.
I am from the cozy, safe household.
 I am from the heart of the artichoke, the part that holds a family together.
I am from the autumn days of apple picking
and the curly hair from Aunt Mimi, and my mom.
(and skipping to the last line)
I am from a scrapbook filled with memories.
and here is mine:
I am from oranges in my Christmas stocking, from "wheat gum"
and homemade fiberglass sleds.
I am from backyard ice skating rinks and back flips on the trampoline.
I am from the delicate columbine wildflower and the giant bright sunflowers.
I am from traipsing up a mountain side to cut down our Christmas tree, and from tunnel campground. I am from parents who "chose" me and a mom who "stepped" into my life, just when I needed her.
(and skipping to the last line)
I am from a cedar chest filled with black & white photographs of a blessed life.
Ok, lets' get you started!
 When I teach this as a class, I encourage the attendees to start their memories and creativity flowing by  writing a few lists then start the template. Here are the writing prompts to begin.

Printable Copy:
Writing Prompts:
First: Make a list of where you are from:
Where you were born,
parents were born
grandparents where born.
Second: Go beyond places:
Describe the colors of these places, the people, the objects, the smells, the surrounding nature
Third: Remember the sayings from others
What did your father say all the time?
Your mother, your grandparents?
Fourth: Brainstorm:
Items from your childhood home
Items from the yard or neighborhood
Names of relatives: Aunts, Uncles, Cousins.
Family traditions, holidays, vacations
Fifth: Food brings people together:
Write down the foods and dishes that remind you of family gatherings, or traditions (like Saturday or Sunday mornings)
Sixth: Last but not least;
Name the places where you or your mom stores or kept your childhood memories.
The key is to make sure to use descriptive words, adjectives, maybe say,  I come from the sounds of a mountain stream echoing in my ears...(I grew up in Colorado just doesn't have the same ring to it, huh?)
I woke up to the smells of fresh baked cinnamon rolls waiting  in a sun filled kitchen every Sunday morning. (Much better than: I grew up with cinnamon rolls every weekend.) Remember you are touching hearts here!  Remember that in your writing.

I am from ___________________ (specific ordinary item), from ____________________(product name) and _________________________(something from the holidays).

 I am from the _________________, ( description of home, add an adjective and or a sensory detail.) _________________, (adjective about home) and ______________________ (adjective or description about home).
I am from the _______________ (plant, flower, natural item),  and the ________________ (plant, flower, natural detail)
I am from ________________ (family tradition) and _______________ (family trait or tradition), from __________________ (name of family member who is special to you, why?) and _____________ (a family member who has passed away and a characteristic of theirs.)

From _______________________ (something you were told as a child) and ____________________________ (another thing you were told as a child).
I am from ____________________(representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
(Optional – you do not have to include a religious line if you do not want to.)
I'm from _____________________ (place of birth and family ancestry), _____________, and ______________ (two food items representing your family).
I am from ________________________ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives)
Did you write one? How was your experience?
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