Memory Journal Prompts

Dear Fellow Journalers,

In preparing a memory journal at first glance it seems like an impossible task but my advice is to take it in pieces. You could start with your childhood and answer the following questions (prompts):

  •      What was your favorite toy?
  •      Did you ever get lost? Who found you?
  •      As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  •      What was your favorite subject in school?
  •      Did you have a favorite teacher?
  •      Do you remember any instances that made you extremely happy or scared?
  •      What was you favorite tv show?
  •      What books did you read over and over again?

If you want to delve into your parents’ lives, begin by finding old photos and documents such as birth certificates, old report cards, letters, pictures. Often letters can be the door to your understanding of how and why your parents acted and thought. Some possible questions to ponder: did you have family traditions? What did you do on Sundays? Write down 3 of your father’s favorite movies, songs, sports, time of year, meals. Was there anything noteworthy of your mother’s upbringing – for instance, she grew up in the Depression, or worked in a factory during WWII.

You could create lists of: places you have traveled to, the people you admire, your favorite movies, your favorite books (and why) your goals.

There are many, many prompts available for you to choose from so as I’ve stated before, take the journey of remembrance slowly, savoring each moment and tell it to your family and friends so they can share your legacy.

‘Til then,


P.S. Books I have read about discovering family through letters include “Against Wind and Tide” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“The Diary” by Eileen Goudge

“One Lavender Ribbon” by Heather Burch

Making and writing a Family Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Mary Beth continues her narrative on how to create a cover that engages the entire family.



One of the things that we insisted on was that every one would be involved in the making and writing of the Maroney Happiness Journal. Here are some ideas we used that might help you:

  •      We decided to use a 3-ring binder because we would have more flexibility. You could decide to use a sketch book or composition book.
  •       Gather a collection of family photos or magazine pictures that make you happy.
  •       Glue sticks are a necessity.
  •       Different colored ink pens for every family member. We bought 2 of each and kept one for safe-keeping. Our youngest had a habit of not replacing the cover.
  •      Permanent marker
  •      Decide when you will write in the journal. We chose dinner time, once a week.
  •      Give the journal a name. Take a permanent marker and print in large letters at the top of the journal. We used a stencil.
  •      Create a collage of the photos.
  •      Let every family member write their own name on the first page along with birth date. We chose to trace our hand prints and write the info on the palm.
  •      Choose a family member to record the information each time you write. We each chose to write a page ourselves.
‘Til next time,
Mary Beth

Family Quotes

Dear Fellow Jounalers,

Mary Beth is a reader and likes to underline and mark up her books (sounds like me!) Anyway, here are a few quotes from her favorite books about family:



“Happiness is only real when shared.”

  • J. Krakauer – “Into the Wind”


“I may not always be with you

But when we’re far apart

Remember you will be with me

Right inside my heart.”

  • Marc Wambolt “Poems from the heart”


“I sustain myself with the love of family.”

  • Maya Angelou


“This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It’s knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.”

  • Mitch Albom “Tuesdays with Morrie”

Family Journal Prompts

Dear Fellow Journalers,

MaryBeth has a few Prompt suggestions for your Family Journal.



These prompt ideas came from my family when we wrote our journal:

  1. What is your favorite after-school activity? If you are a sports player, write about that, a band member, a chess player etc. How does the activity make you feel and why is it important to you?

  2. Write about a family reunion or holiday with your entire family.

  3. It’s been 10 years since you’ve been home and you show up at your parents’ doorstep. What happens next?

  4. Describe how you felt when you learned about the Eater Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

  5. You are spending the day with a family cousin you haven’t seen in a while. What do you do?

‘Til next time,

Mary Beth


The Family Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

The posts in January were so widely read and successful – Thanks so much for your comments! February continues our series with Family Journals. When I first broached the idea of content journaling to my team,  MaryBeth jumped at the idea of a Family Journal. “We started one,” she wrote me, “when the kids gave us the “The Perfect Gift.” So, being a gracious blog writer, I have left February’s posts on Family Journaling to her.



The kids had such a great time designing and assembling the family scrapbook, that when I brought up the idea of a family journal, they embraced it wholeheartedly. We gave a lot of thought as to what type of journal to write.

The first type that came to mind was the history of our family – “boring!” was T.J.’s response. My husband explained that our family history journal (if we decided to start one), would be personal. We could write it with the intention of using the contents to further the Maroney history writing or as a legacy for our descendants to have a better understanding of our attitudes and actions. The kids wrinkled their noses! The second type of journal, I actually thought of, was a souvenir family journal – almost like a travel journal but filled with trinkets of all the trips we go on. No one liked that idea either, so we sent the kids to the play room to come up with more ideas. The following are some of them:

  •      inspirations from books
  •      school events
  •      what makes us happy

story-pass-along (Each family member contributes to a story. Each writes one sentence in turn then passes it on)

  •      favorite family movies
  •      favorite books
     After a family discussion, we decided on a Happiness Journal. Each of us would take a section, date and sign it, then write a page on what made us happy, what we were doing (attending school, working) and about ourselves.
     Our family journal may not have been conventional, but for a first attempt it was pretty awesome and became a family treasure.
‘Til next time,


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