Stacks of letters.

Usually a stop at the mailbox means bills, junk mail and maybe some kind of advertisement. Honestly, most everything that is delivered to me on a weekly basis goes right into the trash. In this day of technology we forget the simple art of writing a letter. It is too easy to pick up our phones and send a text, email or message on any number of social media platforms. We are too quick to go to our keyboards before picking up a pen. For this reason the next generations will never be given a stack of letters written by their parents or grandparents, and that is a shame.

I never remember having a pen pal as a kid, but not long ago I was reminded of the joy of sending things through the mail, and now I am hooked. The inspiration actually came from a few sources almost simultaneously. The first, ironically, is a Rebecca, friend I met on social media who is a big lover of letter writing. She would post pictures of the amazing things she received and I was envious. The second influence was a selection of letters my grandparents wrote while they were dating. Reading those letters you can see their relationship grow as they fall deeper in love with each other.


My friend, Rebecca is the creator behind Grace & Salt ink, a small business in England specializing in leather travelers journals. One of her promotions is a challenge called “I sent love in an envelope”. This challenge was a huge inspiration to create and find some pen pals. I have written letters to friends and family, and sent out packages near and far. Each envelope I send out  is adorn with the hashtag #ISentLoveInAnEnvelope. Sometimes I get something mailed back, but most of the time I get a text message or social media response. Either way I truly hope getting something in the mail makes the recipient smile and feel loved.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1

img_5029Since I started my crusade of letter writing I have gained pen pals from South Africa, Germany, England and across the country. Some of them are old friendships expanded to letters, others are people I only know from the pictures they post on Instagram. I always look forward to checking the mailbox each day to see if there are any goodies from near or far. Not only do these letters serve as a way to communicate, but also to be creative while still working within the confines of an envelope. Every letter I look forward to see what I will find inside. I have received pictures, washi tape, creative little pieces and so much more. Each letter challenges me to come up with new ideas to put a smile on their face, and I do my best to send letters that inspire.

img_5200img_5203As my list of pen pals has grown I was having a difficult time keeping up with the coming and going of letters. In my search to find a solution I came across people creating journals to track their pen pals. To me this was the perfect solution, and so a new journal was added to my inkDori and the tracking began. I decided to keep my tracking simple, I list the pen pal, if I sent or received, the date and notes. It is fun to watch the page fill up with each letter.

My upcoming letter writing adventure will be starting in April. I have decided to take up the challenge of writing to one person a day for National Letter Writing Month. That means a minimum of 30 letters in 30 days. If you are thinking this seems like an intimidating task, I agree with you, but I am hoping with some pre-planning and organization it will be achieved.

img_5221My first step was to create a plan. I knew on the average day I would not have time to write a letter, so I decided to send out postcards. In the words of Lord Byron, Jane Austen, Lewis Carrol and Phyllis Theroux I found inspiration. Each quote embraces the best parts of letter writing and I am excited to send them out to friends and family each day. Second, I started a tentative spreadsheet with names and address of those to send letters to. I am sure before April gets here I will end up adding a few extra names to the list, but I am happy to have a starting point. My hope is that if there is a plan in place that I will be able to follow through on the 30 day challenge.

I know I will never have stack and stacks of letters like my grandparents, but hopefully I will have something tangible to share with future generations to show that letter writing is not dead.


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An infusion of excitement

I got a call tonight from some of my favorite kids, they got a package I sent them full of some goodies for easter. It was a quick conversation and kind of difficult to understand, but that is what do you expect from five kids all talking at the same time. No matter what there excitement was intoxicating. There are few things better than the happiness of a grateful child. At the end of a long tiring week it was nice to have an infusion of excitement to carry me through. Now I need to start planning my next package to them, I wonder what goodies I can find.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

Happy mail Monday.

Monday’s are the best day to receive happy mail. Today, I was double lucky and had two letters waiting for me in the mail box. One from my little cousin, arguably my favorite pen pal, and the other from a new west coast friend. Writing letters is such a fun way to get to know someone. It is like having a long drawn out conversation with no end in sight. Each envelope holds a new chapter in the relationship.

Both of these lovely pen pals are amazing, and I love seeing their return address on unopened envelopes. Until we started writing my little cousin and I knew each other mostly from holiday get togethers, now she has become a huge part of my life and I hope that connection continues to grow. Her creativity and ability to push boundaries is inspiring to me. My new friend is someone I would have never known if she hadn’t asked to be my pen pal. I am so honored and glad she did, because she is an amazing person who I can not wait to get to know more with each passing letter.

I hope every once in a while my letters make it to their destination on a Monday to brighten up someones day, because everyone deserves a happy Monday.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

A new month.

For the first time in quite a few weeks I am not dreading Monday. That is not to say I am looking forward to going back to work, I am simply not feeling overwhelmed with what I am walking into tomorrow. Maybe it is because by the end of the week we will be in a new month and the anticipation of that fact makes me very happy. I spent a year dreading February and most of that was unfounded, but that does not stop me from being excited to see March come my way.

With March comes the hope of spring and nice weather adventures. The flowers will start to come up and it will be one step closer to open windows and spring breezes. There will be another month of happy mail and hopefully a few surprises. New months are so wonderful and so full of possibility!

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

New Year’s resolutions.

Last year when it was time to make New Year’s resolutions and set goals I was busy planning a wedding. There was less than a month and a half left to finish everything and be ready for the big day. RSVP’s were coming in, questions had to be answered and final decisions made. I thought my resolution would be to have a happy first year of marriage, but that would never be.

Although 2017 was nothing like I thought it would be, it ended in pure perfection. It was not a happy first year of marriage, but it was a happy year. There was a balance to things that I will never understand. Every down had a counter balance with a silver lining, and the year ended with me surrounded by friends, laughter and happiness.

My goal for 2018 is to enjoy the simple things. To unplug and take advantage of a broader spectrum of life around me. I have no clue what the year will hold, but I know it will be amazing because that is what I will make it. There will be lots of time with friends and family, beautiful hikes, fun in the sun, books to be read, letters to be written and plenty of time in a hammock. I will make this the best 2018 ever.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

A letter to me.

I wanted to start a new tradition for the new year. My friends and I wrote letters to ourselves to open on New Year’s Eve 2018. I made envelopes, brought paper, paper clips, wax seals, pens and my Fuji Instax camera. Each of us sat down and wrote our letters filling the pages with words to our future selves. To be honest, it was a little more difficult than I thought it would be.


In each letter is an Instax picture of the group I welcomed the New Year in with. No matter where we are on New Year’s Eve 2018 we will have a piece of the evening we had ushering in the year. My prayer is that these letters can encourage each of us when we read them. Maybe they will serve as a reminder of forgotten goals and unfulfilled dreams.

A year is a long time, yet somehow always seems to go by quickly, so my letter is full of encouragement to seize the day. I want it to serve as a reminder of how much changes over a year. I asked my end of 2018 self some questions about the goals I set for myself. I hope knowing the letter is there will help keep me accountable, so when I read it in 365 days I can answer each question with pride at all I have accomplished.

I think it would be wonderful if these letters become a tradition for each of us. Whether we are together next year or not, I hope each person takes the time to sit down read what they wrote to themselves and they write a new one for the year to come.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

Steadfast & thankful week 9

I am glad I took the time to do this “Steadfast & thankful” challenge over the past two months. There were many days that were difficult, but thinking of something to be thankful for helped set me in a good direction. I am sure I will still post about being “Steadfast & thankful” every once and a while, after all, it is important to recognize when something good happens, or to take the time to see a light in the darkness. Even when the only light is from a firefly, it brings hope, and that is a very powerful thing.

img_3911-1Day 55:
I am thankful for
happy mail going out…
because it gives hope
of some coming back again.

img_3935Day 56:
I am thankful for days that
I come home to a letter in
my mailbox. Sometimes it
is the happiest part of the day.

img_3940Day 57:
Some days I wake up and can’t get back to sleep, thankful there is always a good book to read. Also, sleeping cats make great book stands.

img_3985Day 58:
Attempting to write a pen pal letter
on my lunch and ended up with an
adorable helper. I’m thankful for
friends to send letters, and cats
who like to cuddle.

Day 59:
No picture for today…
It was a crazy day at work, but I was overwhelmingly thankful for coworkers who stepped up to get things done to make my next week a little bit easier.

img_4085Day 60:
Days spent with friends is the best. I am thankful for people in my life that I can make a suggestion to months ago, and today finally have it become a reality! Trust me, it was well worth the wait.

Day 61:
Today was a good day. I was thankful to spend it with both family and friends. It was truly the best way to end the year.

Happy New Year!