Hello all! Happy February! I’ve decided to pick back up the Question of the Week idea, only make it a Question of the Month. I’m very excited to start receiving all of your thoughtful responses again. :)
If you’re wondering what the Question of the Month is and how it works, start here.
So, I kind of love Valentine’s Day. It’s sort of cute in a sickeningly sweet way. And it’s a great excuse to make the special people in your life handmade or handwritten loveliness. With this month of love and friendship in mind, here’s this month’s question:
Do you give out Valentine’s Day cards to people? Why or why not? Who do you give them to? Do you make them or buy them? How do you make the day special for you and your special people?
Please send your lovely handwritten responses (or Valentines! Hehe…) to:
Lovely Handwritten Notes
P.O. Box 2674
Washington, DC 20013
United States of America
I look forward to all of your handwritten love. <3
I really am. In fact, I’m so sorry that in order to show you just how sorry I am…here’s a photo of a postcard snuggling up to a cup of cocoa:
Isn’t it cozy and adorable? Am I forgiven?
It’s kind of crazy how quickly this life thing can sweep you off your feet. When did it become December? My to do list, both of the things that must be done and the endless things I’d love to do, is so lengthy. I feel quite lucky, honestly, to have such a lengthy list — for there is so very much in this life to explore. But, the point is, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed, and thus, Lovely Handwritten Notes kind of vanished. (And, here I was trying to tell people that it was easy to keep up with your letter writing…oops…) Ultimately, I’m super sorry. I still really like all of you, and you’ve totally been on my mind during this entire absence.
I logged on to check the project’s email tonight, and there was a nice handful of messages and addresses from new followers. Each request for a letter came with its own unique little message of hope and kindness. Each one reminded me so vividly of why I started this project in the first place.
Not to mention, I’ve received some of the most beautiful, thoughtful postcards, letters, and packages from around the world. They’ve brightened my day and I can’t wait to share them with all of you. And I will. But, you might have to be a little patient with me. I can’t keep up with the daily posts and I have a lot of letters left to send…so, here’s the plan!
I hereby commit to at least one new post every other week (with the hopes of doing one every week). In addition, I plan to send out one lovely handwritten note per day to those of you who request them. Therefore, it may take a little time, but rest assured — joy and cheer shall find you in your mailbox!
All of you lovely letter-writing souls are so great. You really are. Thank you for the constant reminders of why I adore this form of communication so very much.
After a long stretch of an empty p.o. box, letters now are sweeter than ever.
Especially when life is in one of those stages where it is dancing so fast it’s hard to keep up. I’m moving this weekend, and for some reason sold my bed a week early. Sleeping on the floor leads to groggy moments come late afternoon. But then, you get a little something like this from Jerimi.
I love your goal of reviving the handwritten letter! There’s something inherently kind about a written note.
So here is a smile, sent with a stamp, just for you. :)
I smiled all the way home. Thanks for the kindness, Jerimi. It totally helped me defunkifize.
Back in April, I wrote a post about letters from my grandma. It is with sorrow that I share that she passed away last month. When I went to her home, however, I found a final letter she had written to me, but had forgotten to send. I wrote more about it, and the wonder that was my grandmother, on my other blog, Rough Outlines:
I will treasure our letters for a lifetime, and still highly encourage everyone to start a handwritten correspondence with a family member. It’s the type of thing that can leave behind some true wonder and love when it is all said and done.
So, I’m still a bit skeptical that my post office box is actually working. Theoretically, it should be, so if you send a letter just let me know so I can expect it and make sure things are functioning properly.
I’m also in the middle of a move (very excited!), so life is currently in haphazard piles and cardboard boxes of variable sizes. One of these boxes has all of your letters in it, along with my letter writing supplies (I got a little eager to move into the new place). So, I really appreciate everyone’s patience with the slowness of the project right now. In the interim, however, I’d still like to share some little tidbits of letter love. Here’s the first one.
Back in late June, I received a request for a lovely note from Sharmaine in Virginia, and her request came with a rather lovely little story. I asked her if I could share it with all of you, and she happily agreed. Here is what she wrote:
My Dearest, Lovely Handwritten Notes,Already God is ushering blessings my way because I found so many wonderful “letter writing” companions tonight as a result of a google alert I set up on Friday!I found your blog by way of 365Letters (or days of letters), along with many others. I set up the alert to do more research on letter writers, letter writing because I’m three years late on embarking upon my own project ~ 300 Letters.In 2009, my life seemed to be turning upside down because of the economy and because I was finding the courage to leave my comfort zone and follow my heart to write and do women’s ministry. Money all but dried up and it seemed for a while that my prayers for help went unanswered. I prayed for a miracle and what I found was 100 stamps! Somehow I felt that was a part of the answer to my prayer. Like you, I love to write and to write letters. (I used to send an inspirational letter to my real estate clients every month for the past 10 years).So I came upon the idea that I would write 100 letters to see if I could change my life. But along the way, I got an email asking me to send a Christmas card to Veterans in the VA Hospital. That idea mushroomed from one card, to a box of cards, to finding out how many veterans were at the VA Hospital in DC. I ended up getting 250 cards and wrote a personal message in each one of them. I used the 100 stamps for them and counted it as a good deed.However, what I received was one of those “informational emails” where the information is incorrect. I later found out that any cards sent directly to the VA Hospital would be returned. They were to have been sent to a volunteer agency for dissemination instead. All of them came back in my mailbox and I was so disheartened. I’d poured my whole heart into it, but somehow felt that the good intention would not go unrewarded.Soon after that (a couple of months later), I found yet another 100 stamps. These were stamps that were randomly stored in boxes from my real estate office that I moved home. Once again I got the idea that I would write 100 letters as an experiment to see if I could change my life. I ended up using them to send out a round of inspirational letters to my clients. So, the project never got underway.Unbelieveably, I found yet another 100 stamps and knew it was a clear sign that I should write the letters, do the experiment, and see what happens. So three years have passed and finally in 2012, I am undertaking the project called 300 letters because I found 300 stamps. I’ve written 48 letters so far. There are another 15 or so that I wrote while my life was transitioning so I’ll count them in as well. But I’m excited about “sending” my heart, my thoughts, my words, my thanks, my requests, and my questions out into the world to see what comes back.Just wanted to share that we are letter writing companions and I’m so happy that you crossed my path. Last year, a woman who makes handmade cards also crossed my path and sends me beautiful cards throughout the year. It’s love in the mailbox! I’m joining the letter writer’s alliance also. And for over a year, I’ve been sending inspirational letters to the troops in Afghanistan. It’s a way to use my words to lift, encourage, and give thanks ~ a way to put them into the world where they are needed and will be appreciated.
I don’t know about you, but reading Sharmaine’s story was a lot of fun for me. I’m always moved by the simple act of seeing someone being passionate about something. It really doesn’t matter what you are passionate about; it is just about being passionate about something. It is truly beautiful to see someone with the interest, courage, and hope that it takes to make your passions into something malleable.
Sharmaine, thank you for the reminder to persevere and to send more love out into the world. Your dreams do not go without appreciation, for they make the world a better place to be.
Sharmaine also asked me if I could share her address with all of you, as she would love to receive letters from more tender-hearted, letter-writing enthusiasts like herself. Here it is:
Sharmaine L. Hobbs (or Writing Angel)P. O. Box 4566Midlothian, VA 23112United States of America
This project, I’m convinced, is an important gateway to greater joy. Two to four times per week after work, I take a twenty minute stroll under the open air to my post office. I turn the key of my little p.o. box that has seen many before me, and I receive your letters. Then I walk to the metro for my commute home. Some days, your letters find me already high on the sun and the beauty of the earth. On these days, they prolong the dancing of my feet in my floating paradise. On other days, your letters reach me after the weight of the Universe has rested upon my own shoulders. On these days, I’m so very grateful to all of you. On my dreary metro ride home, I treasure each detail of your handmade envelopes, your traveling stamps, your carefully chosen stationery, and your soulful penmanship. I slowly open each letter, and within seconds, I’m smiling again and life is tender. I can hear your voices in the way you write. I soak in the wisdom of your words. I’m having a really great time with this, and I hope you are too. Thank you.
The planning process.
devotion n. 1. the fact, quality or state of being devoted and dedicated; as in giving up one’s time, energy, etc. to some purpose or person. 2. devoutness. 3. loyalty; faithfulness; deep affection.
I’ve been itching to Mod Podge some things lately.
On to the envelope…
Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.
— Robert Browning
Things are never complete until they are coated in glitter glue.
Twenty-three years ago, you gave birth to a Leo the Lioness. That is not a simple task to take on. But just like the beautiful gardens you grow every year, you somehow managed to shape me into the woman I am today, despite my many weeds and thorns. Thank you for being such a wonderful mother. It takes a lot of work and I love you unconditionally for it.
Tucking it into the safety of the envelope’s embrace.
I wish I could fit through that slot and join my card back in that Golden State today.
Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing mother, and all of the other wonderful mothers out there working hard every day!
Seeing these notes arrive in my P.O. Box never gets old. Because each one is unique, each one is a new smile.
This lovely note came from Anne in Pennsylvania answering the past Question of the Week: Why are you interested in this project? What is it that you like (or don’t like) about letter writing?
(P.S. I happen to be a huge rollerskating fan!)
Anne’s response was delightful:
I was delighted to find your blog — handwritten notes are one of my favorite things. What do I like about letter writing? Everything! Writing someone a letter is like giving them a little gift, and including a piece of yourself. I love seeing different handwriting and notecards/paper. Does the person write quickly or do they take their time? It’s up to me to imagine.
Wishing you many lovely mail days,
Anne brought up some great points. First, she compared a letter to sending a gift that includes a little piece of yourself. That’s a great way to describe it! Letters contain the personal touches out of which the greatest gifts are made. Second, Anne talked about penmanship. I join Anne in her delight of finding the story of the author in the shapes of their written words.
Anne also keeps a blog about her love of letters, aptly entitled — Letter Love! I encourage everyone to check it out: http://annes-mail.blogspot.com/
Thanks a bunch for writing in, Anne!
That title is no joke. What is this picture below, you ask? Why, that is the first letter to find its home in the P.O. Box of Lovely Handwritten Notes!
I can’t even begin to describe to you how much this letter made my entire day. I was smiling and jumping and giggling with glee. It was so lovely. It made me realize that this project is really happening now. Its sender is also serendipitously from my beloved home state of California. It could not have been a more perfect first letter.
Oh, and it is beautiful. It drips with the sweetness of handwritten care. It is honest and warm and straight from the heart.
Its sender wrote an answer to last week’s Question of the Week: Why are you interested in this project? What is it that you like (or don’t like) about letter writing?
Her answer was truly perfect, and was written in happy blue marker with smiling penmanship:
April 25, 2012
Dear Lovely Handwritten Notes,
Hooray for your project! I <3 letter writing. Growing up, I used to pore over my grandparents’ letters to each other from the 1920s, and stationery became a great love of mine after receiving a bag of Hello Kitty stationery for a birthday around age six. Midway through college, email became standard and my best friend and I quit snail mailing each other regularly. I’ve been mourning the loss ever since! Just recently, I made a personal goal to send handwritten correspondence at least 2-3 times per week, which was spurred by the unexpected death of my mom. Handwritten correspondence is so much more personal. Thank you for taking it public!
This response gave me goosebumps. It covers the history, love, healing, and connection that handwritten correspondence creates.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Heather. Keep your eye on your mailbox!
These days are the greatest. The ones with moments that are nothing, but simple.
Now, that’s what I call an envelope. That beautiful roughened edge, now forever holding the history of the letter’s final destination.
And it’s a good one, that postal love.
Thanks, Alena. It was lovely.