For the Love of a Letter…

Letters are like visits… when friends are apart!           {via Tumblr}

Hi Friends!

I’ve been thinking about one of my very favorite pastimes today!  As far back as I can remember {and that’s a long time}, I have always loved writing letters. It just fills my heart with happiness to pick out pretty stationery, find a lovely postage stamp, a nice pen, and let the words just flow… straight from my heart! Often I will tuck in a photo or two that hold special memories. Letter writing is one of the joys that has made such a difference in my life!

It has always been my style…

On our family vacations throughout my childhood, I would bravely strike up a conversation with someone my age at the campground or by the swimming pool. Before parting ways, I would often ask them to be pen pals so that we could continue our friendship all summer long. Throughout grade school and high school, I loved writing letters to my French pen pal. Oh, the excitement to find her letters in our mailbox!

It has expanded my world in wonderful ways…

Some of the friendships that I treasure most in life began by writing letters. After a brief meeting in person, my German friends and I watched our friendship blossom through letter writing. We learned patience, as we waited weeks for our letters to cross the ocean and back, with a long-awaited reply.  The anticipation made it ever so exciting!

It keeps hearts close across the miles…

Writing to friends and family in other states always makes the distance between us seem shorter. It is always so heartwarming to discover a Kindred Spirit who also loves to write letters! Oftentimes, our friendships have grown even deeper, through letter writing, after a friend has moved away, Sharing our hearts in handwritten letters, even when friends live nearby, has helped our friendships grow in the most wonderful ways.  Making time to write a real letter, in this age of electronic communication, is a true expression of affection, friendship, and love! The gift of rereading a letter several times multiplies the joy of receiving it.

It is filled with sentimental creativity…

Pretty paper always makes my heart soar! Just choosing the perfect piece of  stationery is part of the charm of the handwritten letter. Once the paper is filled with carefully worded thoughts, it becomes a heartwarming, little gift for a special someone. I also adore sending notes in handmade cards.  Spending time thinking about the recipient while I create their card always feels like a little visit. Letters are like visits… when friends are apart!

There is love in the tiniest details…

At the post office, I always ask to see all of the stamps, just to find the perfect one for the recipient… one they might enjoy. In my Calligraphy days, I would dip my nib into handmade ink colors as I addressed each envelope, to complement the postage stamps. It’s the little things that make my heart happy!

Writing a letter feels so good…

There is even a scientific reason why making time to write a letter or note, even on the busiest of days, makes me feel so happy. This simple act of connecting and bonding with a friend, without any expectation in return, stimulates Oxytocin (the ‘feel good’ hormone) levels in the bloodstream. When our Oxytocin levels rise, it becomes easier to deal with stress. Writing letters is such a healthy, happy pastime!

Letters become real treasures…

Letters document the small moments of our everyday lives in a real, lasting way.  My mom still treasures the weekly letters that my dad sent her while serving in Korea. They are tied with a ribbon, joining two young hearts so long ago. The stories these letters hold are so important to our family. They are a cherished part of our history.

Letter Writing journals held the daily letters that my young students and I exchanged long ago. They each enjoyed writing me a letter in class, while I enjoyed answering their letters at home, while sitting on the porch swing. They shared the important things ~ their families, their pets, their dreams, and their questions. We grew so close, through our daily letters. Over the years, so many students have let me know that they saved their teddy bear Letter Writing journals because they hold the stories of an entire year of their lives! Their letters document an important part of their childhood.

During a recent summer, a young neighbor and I also shared a Letter Writing journal. I would deliver my letter to his mailbox early each morning and he would carefully tuck the journal holding his reply behind the checkerboard on our front porch. (He wasn’t quite tall enough to reach our mailbox!) We both looked forward to our daily letters! Over the summer, this struggling writer discovered that writing is communicating and can be really exciting! We will always be important friends because of the letters we wrote that summer.

Over the years, as my young students have grown up, many still keep in touch. I will always cherish their letters, filled with their everyday stories, important questions, hopes, and dreams. They often write from college, sharing their lives as they grow up. Oh, how these letters touch my heart!

It’s so nice to brighten someone’s day…

During these uncertain times, it is so lovely to send words that someone special can hold onto for years to come. Although weeks or months (or even years) have passed, perhaps there is someone special who would love hearing from you! When they find your letter in the mail, everything just picks up right where you left off. You could write a long, newsy letter to catch up on one another’s lives, send a handmade card with a little note, or write a special thank you letter for a kindness. It’s never too late. Whenever one person writes a letter ~ it makes two hearts happy!

It’s easy to spread sunshine to friends you’ve never met…

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."  ~ Winnie the Pooh

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
~ Winnie the Pooh

There are many wonderful organizations who welcome your handwritten notes. It’s such a small act of kindness that makes a big difference in the world. Postcrossing is a fascinating way to connect with people from all parts of the world by sending postcards. Writing ‘Any Hero’ letters is an important part of the amazing organization, Operation Write Home.  Letters from American citizens are delivered to American military personnel deployed across the globe. It’s our opportunity to thank them for their service and sacrifice. What a small act of kindness for those who give so much for all of us! Just writing letters, notes, or postcards can make a real difference in the life of someone you might never meet!

It’s the perfect time to write…

‘National Send a Handwritten Letter Day’ will be celebrated on the 17th day of every month in 2015. If everyone writes just one letter, it will support the goals of preserving and honoring the art of the handwritten letter, pumping millions of letters into our struggling postal system, and bringing millions of smiles into the hearts of people from coast-to-coast.

The ‘Happy Mail’ movement encourages everyone to send a card, note, or letter, too. Their goals are to make someone’s day, connect people (and hearts) together, and to save a mail carrier’s job! Just the simple act of writing a letter makes a big difference to everyone who touches the letter ~ you, the person sorting the mail, the person delivering the mail, and the recipient. So much happiness flows from one little letter!

It has been such fun to write Valentine notes and letters this week. ♡

It has been such fun to write Valentine notes and letters this week. ♡

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, once said “Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.” Handwritten letters hold our stories and document our lives in the loveliest of ways. They are best savored with a cup of tea!

“Or don’t you like to write letters?  I do because it’s such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you’ve done something,” wrote Ernest Hemingway.  That’s so true for me! Writing a letter always feels like playing, rather than working!

Just LOVE to write letters! I'm off to brew a cup of tea...

I will always be a letter writer at heart!

I’m looking forward to writing a long letter to a faraway friend this weekend. Emails are great… but a letter to hold, reread, and save is an extra-special gift of love and friendship! Writing letters is just what I do, and have always done. Sometimes the good, old-fashioned traditions are the best ways!

Hope you will make someone’s mailbox happy… and put a smile in their heart today! ♡

Happy writing!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Are you a letter writer?  Please share your stories, too!  Who would just LOVE to receive a letter from you this week?

{All stamp images ~ USPS}

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16 thoughts on “For the Love of a Letter…

  1. Dawn, I am an inveterate letter writer and I have passed that on to my daughter. So much so that she has a small stationery business, Small Field papers. She not only loves everything about letter writing and stationery for herself, she prides herself and ADORES helping others find the right paper for them, the perfect wedding announcements, invitations, birth announcements,,, so YES I share your love for letter writing!

  2. Dawn,
    I still write thank you notes and notes on birthday cards as well as any holiday card I might send, but writing a letter to stay in touch has dropped from my list. I am saddened by this but time has become such a special thing now that I’m working full time again, I satisfy my communication with loved ones via email. That said, I loved the process of receiving a letter, especially from someone living far away, and like you, I would cherish the letter and the process of setting down with a cup of tea and the letter. I have a dear friend that lives in another state and we exchange emails nearly daily, for this I am thankful for the modern method of keeping in touch.
    I loved all of the stamps you showed us. I used to go to a dentist who sent his billings using commemorative stamps. It was always fun to receive his bill and to see what he had put on the envelope.
    Very fun post.
    Karen

  3. We are definitely Kindred Spirits, Jayne! Writing letters is such a lovely, simple way to share affection. I think it is even more cherished now, because it is a rarity! A few friends send letters and notes about my posts, rather than writing comments on the blog. Always a lovely surprise to discover them in our mailbox! I love that your daughter has inherited your love of writing letters! Her stationery business sounds lovely. You must adore sending Valentines, too! ♡

  4. I know exactly how you feel, Karen! It’s wonderful to have both paper and electronic options for letter writing. I also send LOTS of email letters! It’s especially nice to email my friends in Germany and the UK a letter in the evening. They will wake up to the letter in the morning. It’s so much faster than waiting weeks for a reply! Writing letters of any kind has always been one of my favorite ways to spend a few quiet moments! Isn’t it fun to see all of the LOVE stamps? I can remember using all of them over the years! Thanks so much for always being here, Karen! Happy Valentine’s Day! ♡

  5. Writing letters is definitely a lost art. I remember going to the mailbox with the anticipation of receiving a letter. Oh, those were the days. The reality of 2015 seems to be that the ability to use our thumbs has replaced cursive handwriting skills.

  6. So true, Judy! I am sad that many children aren’t learning to write (or read) cursive handwriting now. Most of our blue mailboxes have disappeared in our town the over past few years. I really miss the fun of writing a letter and walking to the mailbox to to send it off! It’s one of the things I miss the most. Hope you are staying safe and warm in all the snow!! Thinking of you…♡

  7. Dawn, I love getting a real letter in the mailbox! How wonderful you have been able to instill your love of letter writing in your students! What a wonderful gift! I’m afraid I have given in to current technology—an email is sent quickly across the miles, but a hand written letter means so much more. I’ve found as I’ve gotten older my handwriting is not as good as in years past. That can sometimes discourage me from writing by hand. That’s a shame because I cherish those letters from relatives as they aged and their writings showed it. My Valentines are in the mailbox to the grandchildren–they don’t mind a bit about the handwriting of their grandmother! ♥

  8. Oh, Martha Ellen! It’s really lovely that your grandchildren will have Valentines with your handwriting! Such treasures! We are all getting a bit more shaky in our handwriting, yet it’s such a lovely way to send letters. I would never want to give up the speed and convenience of emailing… but it would make me especially sad to give up handwritten letters. They are a joy to send and receive! Warm wishes for a very Happy Valentine’s Day! ♡

  9. Few things brighten my day more than to find a handwritten letter on my mat ~~~ Once upon a time I had beautiful handwriting and wrote many letters each week. I had pen friends across the globe. I don’t write many letters these days, arthritis makes holding a pen painful, but I have noticed how much harder it is to find quality writing paper and pretty note cards, which I guess is a sign of the times.
    I was watching a teenager texting the other day, and I was amazed at how fast her thumbs moved. Now I have this vision of evolution in accelerated mode and teenagers unable to hold a pen and developing adapted texting thumbs in only a generation or two. Everything has become so immediate and urgent, no time taken to smell the roses or appreciate the slower things in life ~~~
    ~~~Deb in Wales

  10. I am such a letter and card writer, not as often as I would like, that I recently “fought” the Post Office’s removal of our neighborhood mailbox. I am so pleased to say that a new one has been reinstated. You can fight city hall!
    Love and thanks for all the special notes, letters and cards sent in your distinctive manner. They always bring joy!
    Anne

  11. Oh, Deb! I have a feeling that something special will be landing on your doormat very, very soon! Do keep checking! Your handwriting is lovely. So sorry that it has become painful of late. We will probably find the nicest papers at smaller, specialty shops these days. I have a nice supply… so I must keep writing! Enjoy your time in the garden this week! ♡

  12. Anne, you are a letter and card writer extraordinaire! Each of your lovely cards is a treasure and the stories of your adventures never cease to amaze me! I love to read your letters again and again! You should be so proud of your victory, Anne! The new mailbox in your neighborhood is a gift for all. I have a feeling that there will be a surprise in your mail very soon! Warm hugs! ♡

  13. I have written so many letters during my life and I know exactly what you mean ! I started writing to penpals when I was 14 years old and I often was just waiting for the postman hoping he had a letter for me from one of my penpals who lived all over the world, I still have penpals but we all changed to emailing for several reasons but we do write real letters to eachother from time to time as we all feel that a handwritten letter is special and when you find one in your letterbox you are excited and happy….

  14. We are Kindred Spirits, Gwennie! We share our love of gardening, cacti, and letter writing, too. Emails and handwritten letters are both wonderful in their own ways. Today pen pals are fortunate to be able to send fast emails and personal, handwritten letters on beautiful stationery. Are there any signs of Spring in your garden in Belgium? Our Midwest garden is still buried under deep snow! Sending warm wishes! ♡

  15. I, too, keep in touch with a faraway friend. In fact, we only met in person once, at a conference down in New Orleans, 17 years ago this March. We worked together that one weekend, and then I returned to my New England life while she returned to her English one. Come to find out, we both gave birth to our first children at the end of that year, and ever since we’ve sent holiday cards to each other; I’m hoping to see her in person once again on an upcoming trip we hope to take to England.
    A few years back one of my resolutions was to write thank-you letters to people, letting them know how much I appreciated their small contributions to my overall happiness. We so often verbalize our complaints in life but don’t often let people know how much we appreciate them, unless it’s some major occasion, so I wrote handwritten letters to family and friends letting them know what I admired abou them. I’m sure they loved receiving the letters, and it made me feel wonderful to write them.
    Up in my bedroom in our hope chest are bundled the multitude of notes my husband and I wrote to each other throughout our years in college. We started dating early in our freshman year and have been together since; sometimes I unravel the bows that hold them together and reread the sentiments – they are such a precious thing to have. I’ve found that writing to my children has also been a wonderful way to express my thanks, my disappointments, my advice…sometimes it is awkward for teens to be very expressive in person, but they take what I write to heart and have expressed to me more in writing than they could out loud. (And I always write to them in cursive, lest they forget how to read it!!) Thanks for the lovely post. Glad to see the art is not yet lost!

  16. Oh, Ericka! This is just so lovely that it brings tears to my eyes! It’s so wonderful to have all of your love notes tied with ribbons ~ just like your hearts! What cherished gifts you have given your children, family, and friends in your letters! Just think how they will be inspired to write letters, too. It will be so amazing to be reunited with your English friend in person. Until that day ~ “Letters are visits, when friends are apart.” I know exactly how you feel! Letters can truly keep faraway friends close to our hearts! So happy that we connected through Susan! Girlfriends and Kindred Spirits, for sure. Let’s stay in touch. Warm hugs! ♡

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