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}

A Passion for ‘Postcrossing’

 

Hi Friends!

Is your mailbox happy today?

There is a wonderful way to add happy surprises to your mailbox that will

brighten your day, warm your heart, help you to discover new places

and meet fascinating, friendly people from all over the world!

It’s true!

I discovered this lovely pastime three  years ago,

on Pinterest.

When I first read about this project ~ instantly my heart swelled and my eyes filled with happy tears.

I knew that it was just my ‘cup of tea.’

"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 ~

So, I’d love to introduce you to…

www.Postcrossing.com

Postcrossing helps people all over the world connect in so many surprising ways!

When you join Postcrossing, you send and receive postcards from other Postcrossers

throughout the world. (Read the details here!)

Postcrossing is run by a wonderful group of volunteers,

with heartwarming goals…

“The Postcrossing goals are clear and simple:

to connect the world into a smaller place

and to bring smiles to as many different people and countries as possible.

Happy Postcrossing!”  

~ from www.Postcrossing.com

 

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As I write, there are currently 482,671 Postcrossing members

from 212 countries

writing 709 postcards per hour.

At this moment, there are 465,760 postcards traveling

on their way to make LOTS of mailboxes very happy!

(Click here, to see up-to-the-minute statistics about who is sending and receiving postcards!)

You will be amazed to see “What is happening now?”

When I joined Postcrossing, I wrote this short profile…

Greetings!
I enjoy meeting friendly people from interesting places throughout the world. Postcrossing combines both my love of travel and writing letters. Writing to friends across the miles always fills me with joy. I think about how they will smile when they open their mailbox and find a letter or postcard from a faraway friend!

I am happily married and live in the Midwest, in the United States. I am now retired, after thirty-five happy years of teaching. I am excited to have more time now for gardening (growing flowers and herbs), paper crafting, volunteering, collecting antiques, international travel, reading, writing, and taking long walks.

I hope to learn more about you, the place you live, your work, or your daily life. Perhaps you could share a favorite quotation with me.I love collecting quotations from many cultures!

“Letters are like visits, when friends are apart.”

“Those who bring sunshine to others cannot keep it from themselves.”

Happy Postcrossing!
Dawn

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That’s how my passion for Postcrossing began.

I requested five addresses of Postcrossers, from anywhere in the world.

Then I visited their online profiles, to learn a little about them.

As I wrote my postcards, I told them about

my little house with the big garden,

how much I loved teaching young children,

about our daily activities,

and our holiday celebrations during that season of the year.

I also shared one of my favorite quotations with them.

It was so exciting to drop my Postcrossing cards into the mailbox!

(Each postcard has an ID number, to register on the Postcrossing website.

So, I knew when my postcards arrived at their destinations!)

Then five random Postcrossers (from anywhere in the world)

received my address and sent me a postcard.

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People join Postcrossing for so many different reasons…

some are travelers (like me),

some are arm-chair travelers and this is their chance to ‘see’ the world,

some are stamp collectors,

and some are postcard collectors.

Teachers often share Postcrossing in their classrooms.

My students were so excited each time a new postcard arrived. We checked on Google Earth and Wikipedia

to learn interesting things about each country.

The children could actually hold the postcard from so far away in their hands.

My students discovered so many important things about

writing to communicate ideas,

different traditions and celebrations around the world,

and the homes, foods, animals, and geography of faraway places.

The MOST important thing my young students learned

from the Postcrossing postcards

is that inspite of the interesting cultural differences…

People everywhere are so much alike!

Postcrossing is also a wonderful project to share at home with children and grandchildren.

What an amazing gift you will give our children,

as they grow into curious, compassionate citizens of the world!

 Francis, in Indonesia, told us about bamboo rafting, their  traditional river transportation.

Francis, in Indonesia, told us about bamboo rafting, their traditional river transportation.

All Postcrossers write in English, no matter where they live.

It’s so interesting to see the different styles of handwriting, too.

Postcrossing is a very flexible pastime.

During busy times, you can just set your profile to ‘inactive.’

When you have free time, Postcrossing is always there for you,

with lots of adventures waiting to begin!

Vivien, from Taiwan, told us about the beautiful wild birds in Formosa.

Vivien, from Taiwan, told us about the beautiful wild birds in Formosa.

It’s always free to join Postcrossing.

All you will need is international postage stamps,

postcards (It’s fun to pick up new postcards wherever you go!),

and the desire to connect with people that you would never have the chance to meet, in any other way!

Some Postcrossers might continue to keep in touch via email.

Some Postcrossers might even turn into Pen Pals, or lifelong friends.

But most Postcrossers just come into your life for a brief moment…

and touch your heart.

Liucija, a student from Lithuania, told us about studying at school there.

Liucija, a student from Lithuania, told us about studying at school there.

 

I love being part of the Postcrossing community,

sharing the everyday experiences that make our lives so special!

We are not just the stories that we see on the news every day.

We are truly connected

in big ways,

and small ways.

Liucija (from Lithuania) and I both practice Yoga.

Julia (from St.Petersburg, Russia) and I both love to visit museums.

Susan (from Australia) and I both love nature photography.

Susann (from Leipzig, Germany) and I are both learning to paint.

Virpi (a librarian from Finland) and I both love children’s books!

Claire (from Quebec, Canada) and I both love to travel!

Kitija (from Latvia) and I love old buildings!

Yulia (from Belarus) and I both love to grow flowers!

I truly feel a personal connection with each postcard that I receive.

Many Postcrossers have sent me their favorite quotations, too!

Gabiya (from Lithuania) ~ “All possible outcomes are perfectly designed for our full blossoming into oneness.”

Nicole (from Belgium) ~ “No pain, no gain!”

Keight (from Kielce, Poland) ~ “Don’t resign from your goal just because you need time to reach it. Time will elapse.”

Claire (from Quebec, Canada) ~ “Happiness seems made to be shared!”

and

Nastja (from the city of Arkhangels, in Russia) shared this Victor Frankl quotation ~

“Happiness is like the butterfly.

The more you try to catch it, the more it escapes.

But if you transfer your attention to other things,

it will come quietly and sit down on your shoulder.”

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I’m passionate about Postcrossing!

It’s a special way that I can scatter a little joy and happiness

around the world.

It always reminds me of how much good there is

in the world!

Winnie-the-Pooh was right…

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

Happy Postcrossing!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Have you heard of Postcrossing before?   Is there anyone you know that might enjoy Postcrossing?  Be sure to tell them all about it!