(Written by Justin Raby)

I've never been one who shares my feelings freely. I can be a pretty quiet guy. 

It’s not that I don’t have feelings. I just don’t always do a very good job of conveying them to other people. I've always figured that by being around my loved ones they would know how much they mean to me.  

One day I was reflecting on my relationship with my parents and I asked myself this question. 

Do they know specifically why I love and appreciate them? The definitive answer to that question was, no!

I acknowledged I didn't like this and pledged that I would try doing a better job at telling them. The chaos of life ensued and I was never really able to put those specifics into verbal or written words.

I found myself wanting to tell them but not really knowing how. 

Then, I heard about a company/concept one of my colleagues husbands had started.  It was called MeaningFull Books. I kept asking questions about how it worked and met with Connor over coffee to learn more about it.

He explained how the process would pull my thoughtful words out of me and help me spill them onto the page. At this point he had only released the significant other version of the book but had the rough framework of the parent/guardian book complete. 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was the perfect opportunity for me to share with my parents those specific reasons I valued them. 

So I asked Connor If I could get access to the parent/guardian framework. He agreed, and I started writing. 

As I sat down to begin, it was almost too overwhelming to even know where to start. I thought there was no way I would be able to fill the journal even though the pages are very small. 

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Then I started sifting through the MeaningFull Books writing guides and applying them to my relationship with my parents. They gave me an easy way to arrange my thoughts, ideas, and memories and also made the transition through the pages seamless.

When I felt stuck on how to share a thought or memory, the writing guides gave me excellent examples to jog my memory and point me in the right direction.

What is so great about the writing guides is that they give you the structure and framework to write the journal but the thoughts and words are still 100% mine. The words are written in my voice from my heart. It's more than just filling in a blank. 

I'm relieved that this process helped me articulate and express specific reasons I love and appreciate them. The amazing thing is that the book continues to remind them of the things I admire every time they pick up the book. 

I am very grateful that MeaningFull Books allowed me to do what I wasn’t sure I was completely capable of doing on my own. The process of reflecting and writing the book was moving. It grew my relationship with my parents before I even gave them the book.

Multiply that feeling by 100 and that was what it felt like to see their reaction to my words. I'm just grateful for MeaningFull Books. 

Justin Raby

You can watch his parents reaction to their book here.