Connect Powerfully with a Co-Journal

Ready for a fun idea that will deepen the relationships in your family?

The concept came from our longtime friends, Tony and Anita Cupo. Fifteen years ago, when Matt and I were first together, I saw a cute journal on Anita’s coffee table and asked if it was hers. She explained that it was journal she and Tony kept together. In it, they would write each other love notes, share ideas, dreams, pictures, and so on.

I went out right away and got Matt and I our own co-journal, and wrote the first entry explaining how it would work. We added a fun twist by hiding it for each other to find. It was thrilling to be right in the middle of my day and suddenly stumble upon the little book.

In our co-journal, we’d talk about our dreams for the future or the things that scared us most. We’d leave each other sweet love notes, and tape in movie tickets from our date nights.

Over time, it became a kind of record of the early days of our relationship. When kids came along, our journaling habits gave way to dirty diapers and weekly menus and the other to-do list items of young parents.

One day I told Jody about our co-journal, and she thought it would be a great exercise for her to do with her girls.  She bought each of them a journal, wrote a note in the front of each one explaining how it would work, and placed them someplace for the girls to find. Then, it was their turn to write back and hide the journals for Jody to discover.

Recently, I started co-journals with two of my kids, and they LOVE it! On the pages of the journals, they’ve shared their summer goals, told me about dreams, asked questions, and taped in little gifts. It’s opened a new door to their hearts, allowing me to see fresh perspectives and sides of their personalities I haven’t noticed before.

The hiding part is fun…and sometimes comical. Our son Seth’s book is smaller than the average journal and can be tricky to find. One night, I had gotten out of bed to use the bathroom. On my way back in, I thought a nice breeze might cool off the room a bit, so I turned on the ceiling fan. Imagine my surprise when something came flying off! Seth thought it was hilarious.

Watching the kids have so much fun with the co-journal even inspired my Mother’s Day gift. After following a little scavenger hunt, I found a beautiful journal in the mailbox. In it was a note from my sweet husband, inspiring us to begin a new journal together.

Try it in your family, or give a beautiful journal as a gift to a young couple.

Let us know it goes…

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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