Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mailbox Sheltering - Part 1

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.                                                              ~Phyllis Theroux

The beautiful flowing handwriting of my mother, the almost-too-tiny-to-read script of my sister, the artistic scrawl of RB or the careful printing of a young friend...  What is there about opening that mailbox and seeing a hand addressed envelope?  I'm aware that many of you may grab that envelope and tear it open, eagerly reading the news but I'm not one of them.  When I find a personal envelope in my mailbox I like to put it aside on the table beside my favorite chair.  I tend to my duties, anticipating the opening of the the envelope.  Then when I have a few minutes to relax, I enjoy my visit with the friend who sent it.

With the advent of e-mail and social media, handwritten letters are becoming fewer and fewer.  We use the excuse that we don't like our handwriting, we're too busy, or we don't know what to say.  Jotting a note is easy, you say -- a couple sentences with your signature.  We'll be talking about notes and their importance this week, but for now I'm writing about letters.  The kind that rambles with funny stories, gossipy (the good kind) news and remembrances from the past.  A letter for a parent, grandparent, sibling or favorite aunt.

Add to that formula a few shared dreams, ideas for projects we are starting (writing or sewing) and it's the kind letter I would write to Shannon who knows my life inside and out.  I could create a letter after not speaking to her for a month and it would be like I had talked to her just the day before.

I recently found a pile of letters from Shannon and had to sit down and read each one.  She worked [long ago] in a Day Care and used the kids' nap time to write letters.  No fancy stationery -- just a page torn out of a notebook, a page of printer paper or whatever was within reach.  One was even written with a pencil.   A few had written before our fire -- I treasure the ordinary comments about Sarah like, "What size tights does Sarah wear?  I picked some up hoping they would fit her."  These particular letters were easy to distinguish -- with soot forever embossed on the envelopes.

I have another collection of letters -- written long before our fire.  Without them I wouldn't be writing this post.  They became my anchor even before I learned how to read them for myself, as I listened to my mother and Sunday School teachers read them.  Fast forwarding, the memorized ones seeped in between the pain and gave me hope.  Now on ordinary days I read at my bookmarked place, in a soft, rambling way.  On days I'm struggling with pain I find myself reading at a somewhat frantic pace.  In joy, the words bubble, floating into my heart.  In sorrow, they are glued to the page, requiring me to carefully scrape them off and re-glue them to my heart.

Dr. Larry Crabb wrote, From God to You: 66 Love Letters -- A conversation with God that invites you into His Story.  I'm still in the first few pages of the book, but I'm loving it. Shannon wrote letters from the Day Care Center; God's letters originated in the sheep pasture, the palace -- even prison.

Why did we allow life and the proliferation of social sites to take the place of letters?  Why did we allow the abundance of Christian writings to take the place of the words of our 66 love letters from God?  Just as Facebook can't take the place of a letter from my mother, sister or my dear friend, neither can the myriad of devotional books, inspirational stories or self-help volumes take the place of my letters from God.

I've connected with so many people from my past and present through Facebook, and of course I love that.  I've also met many authors through the pages of their books -- I love that, too.  But Facebook just can't fill the place in my heart that stands at attention, waiting for more than the pleasantries of a few lines of status. More than that, the books about God's letters don't satisfy the deep longing for God.  Only the reading of His letters can sufficiently occupy the empty space in my soul.

Find some time to write a long newsy letter to someone you love.  More importantly, find some time today to read a letter from God.  Shelter -- and be sheltered!

* * * * *

When I went looking for stationery, to my surprise, I had zero supply.  Cards galore. but not stationery. So I grabbed computer paper and cut it in half lengthwise.  Then I used a border punch on the bottom, added a few marker designs in the corner and viola -- I had stationary.  When I'm ready to send it, I'll decorate the envelope to match.

If you have more time, you can stamp and emboss the decorations, but I have four of the cutest kids coming to spend some time with Pawpaw and Mawmaw so this was what I did.  I knew if I didn't write the letter now it must might not get written.  

For Christmas one year my sister-in-law made me stationery that was beautiful. She stamped and embossed blue flowers adding a gold K to complete it.  If you look in the stores you will see that stationary is hard to find. You may want to design and create your own.  

Here are a few places to purchase stationary:

Amazon: Is there anything they don't carry?

And how could we leave out Papyrus?

Free Printable Stationary

I love this from Pam at This Side of Heaven Graphics.  She has Bible verse stationery for you to print at no cost. check out her other printables, too.  And while you are there read about (and purchase!) her daughter's books.  This Side of Heaven

Helena from Norway has free printables, too,  One thing I like about hers is that I can print them with or without lines.  Graphic Garden
This post is linked to
Finding Heaven: Soli Deo Gloria


Esther Asbury said...

I too love to find a hand addressed envelope in my mailbox -- so special.
The comments on social networks not taking the place of letters and Christian writings not taking the place of God's love letter to us are so true!
Thanks for the links at the end too! Blessings, Shoregirl

Rebecca said...

Stimulating and helpful - as usual - and you DO make it all sound so easy.

Great ideas & good reminders here, Pamela. Thanks. Write on :)

Unknown said...

Oh, Pamela, how your words bless me every time I read them! And, I am with you -- I "settle in" to read my handwritten letters...

Savannah Granny said...

Pamela, I just read your post about letter writing.You are a magnificent wordsmith. I loved and lingered over every word. Your observations on writing are right on. I am going to sit down tomorrow and write a letter to my grandson. Something he can hold on to when I am gone. Thank you so much for the inspiration. Ginger

Charlotte said...

Pamela, I feel the same way you do about receiving a letter in the mail. I always save it for a special time when I can sit and give it my full attention. I also like to write letters but don't do it as often as I should. It is such a simple way to brighten up someones day.

Sr Crystal Mary said...

I used to love beautiful stationary but its soon becoming a thing of the past...I don't have a florishing hand...mine is a chooks scrawl from all the fast reports I have had to write in my professional career.. now I am happy to type out an email with a spell check. Give the world another ten years or so and we will probably have no mail deliveries. Letters will soon become obsolete. That will be a sad day. I once cherished receiving mail from my sisters and mother and watched for the mailman.. Keeping the letters to re-read over and over..
Hugs Crystal

Cheri said...

I have always been an official "real letter" writer, long before the internet...and it has saddened me that exactly NO ONE has written me back more than a short note.....it is a dying art, I guess, but most claim they have no time. As a child, my mother allowed me to use the wax monograms, pretty stationary...I've always loved expressing myself and found beautiful letters a great way to leave a memory. Thanks for the inspiration!

Niqui said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post!

I have always collected writing paper, and now I am inspired to sit down, take a moment, and write a letter.

Thank you


Judy Whatilivefor said...

Checking the mail is one of my favorite times of the day! I love finding a surprise letter in there and grin from ear to ear when I get to read it :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog and following. I am following you back!

Janine Claire Robinson said...

Precious Pamela, your writing ALWAYS touches my heart. What you posted today is so relevant to something God has been whispering to my heart to do ... to write my sweet 10 year old letters and post them to her even though she is right here at home with me. Lately she opens the post box and sighs to herself "I wish I could get a letter too". Her little 10 year old heart expresses just what you wrote today. The importance of really expressing our love for one another by taking the time to build into our meaningful relationships. Thank you for this beautiful post. MUCH love to you as always xxx

Ruth said...

I share your feelings about hand written letters. I too, believe we are missing something because of all the ways we have to communicate now which replaces the personal flavor of a letter sent snail mail. I used an old cookbook the other day and tender thoughts of my grandmother were stirred up as I came across her handwritten notes on the recipes or stuck in the pages. Let's keep the tradition alive as long as we can!

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon, I want to thank you for stopping by my lil corner in the blogging world and leaving a comment. I can only give my LORD credit for one smile on my face today, or one skip in my step, or the laughter that may ring out from my soul...only the LORD can bring such restoration!
I'm at work right now so I cannot visit long, but I will be back after hours and take a look at your blog and your writings and your daughter's. Once again thank you for stopping in. I love meeting new sisters in the LORD.

Rhonda - owner of The Joy of Denim and Lace Blog

Anonymous said...

Lovely reminder of an important staple of communication that seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur. Much to the loss of humanity, I might add. I love beautiful stationary. I collect Victorian notecards, and beautiful journals. Some just to have around for their beauty - others I use. Thanks for the letter writing tip at the end of the post - I'll be checking that out! Also - thanks for visiting my whimsey tea today - I'd love to see that whimsey little cup you mentioned!
Miss Kathy

no spring chicken said...

This post reminded me that I had a letter to my grandmother (that I had penned on Monday while waiting for my daughter to finish ballet) in my knitting bag. It was all ready to go, just needed a stamp and a mailbox! Thanks...

As always your heartfelt post is full of wisdom and practicality. I appreciate the stationary links!

Blessings, Debbie

Tabitha said...

Love this post. You are right and I am guilty! I find it easier to shoot an email or post to Facebook instead of writing the usual handwritten letter. I know I caught the bug when I was a young girl maybe 10 or 12 and my favorite aunt gave me the most lovely stationary I had ever seen. My favorite flowers are roses and these had red ones all over. I still have some of it as I didn't want to use it all. I have tons of stationary but never thought to make any and give as gifts. Thanks so much for the encouragement to hand write a letter today. Have a wonderful and blessed day. ;0)

Annesphamily said...

You are such a darling! I love all the info you gave us here. I need to get into the habit of sending more hand written letters and cards. I am going to get busy! Thank you for all the great info. Anne


I think I have written and received "a zillion" letters in my lifetime. I miss this kind of mail. And I am a read a letter the second it arrives person . . . I can't even wait to make a cup of tea.

Beautiful post.