Thank-yous and thankfulness

Organizer and sign


We hung our new mail organizer!

I’m really excited about it. Like, too much. More than any human should be.

Aside from my general obsession with the post, hanging this wedding gift — as well as a sign we purchased on our honeymoon — was our first home improvement as a married couple.

There was the red wall we painted in the living room, and the various photos from Yosemite that adorn the hall. We bought and refinished a set of Ethan Allen nightstands that now house all our nighttime reading material and phone chargers — everything that makes up a life, of course — and the coffee table we grabbed on clearance when a local furniture store closed.

But this? This sign in our entryway? It somehow feels big — much bigger than those things. Perhaps because it’s the first decor choice we’ve made as husband and wife? Maybe because you see these decorations the second your little feet enter our home?

Regardless, this makes my heart so happy. I love it. I’m enamored with it.

Also, I wrote about 60 of our 80-ish wedding thank-you notes between Friday night and Sunday morning. That’s what you see piled up in said organizer, waiting patiently to be taken to the post office by yours truly.

My fingers feel permanently cramped. But on a related note, we are truly thankful — for the overwhelming generosity of our family and friends; for the kindnesses of strangers; for the love and support y’all have shown me in the past few weeks. Sixteen days into our marriage, we feel fortunate beyond measure.

If I could send everyone a thank-you note, I totally would.

(How many Forever Stamps would that take?)


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Words on offer

Holiday Mail 2


As we draw ever closer to our Sunday wedding, I find myself reading and re-reading the many notes and cards we’ve received over the last few months. Some came during my bridal showers; others were dropped in mailboxes across the country to wish us well (like Melissa’s, which so touched my heart).

When I talk to others about my love of mail, I often get a wide-eyed look and knowing grin. Their little smile says something plain as day: Well, aren’t you just adorable?

I mean, I get it: mail is considered old-fashioned. Stodgy. Outdated. Letters are a thing of the past, really; one step up from antiques or — gasp! — printed books.

It’s not cool to send mail. Or collect stamps.

But I wish I could change that.

I love to write letters — real, serious, tangible letters. Cards. Mail. I write to my grandma, I write to service members, I write to folks who simply need some love and light in a complicated world.

I spend at least part of my day almost every day with a Sharpie and stack of note cards, sending some words out into the world . . . for no other reason than I feel compelled to do so. It’s my small way of sending joy.

I’m not rich. I don’t have piles of money for worthy causes, though I wish I did. But words? Encouragement? I can do that. I will offer that. Which is why I send letters every year through Holiday Mail for Heroes, a program sponsored by the Red Cross. It may sound a little early to be writing out Christmas cards, y’all, but life is going to get super busy very quickly. It’s not too soon to start thinking.

It’s a simple thing, really: a humble piece of mail. Just words scrawled in honest-to-God handwriting in blue or black or red ink. But it means something to someone, I promise you — just like it means something to me.

Don’t give up Facebook or Twitter or email . . . but remembering how much you value your real-life connections, too. Instead of dropping a “how’s it going?” text to a friend, grab a card. A silly one, a funny one, a random one — whatever speaks to you.

Then let it speak to them.


Holiday Mail 1


Mail love from Arizona

If there’s something I love more than mail, I’m not quite sure what it is.

(Well, maybe Coke Slurpees. And pumpkin spice lattes. And books . . . but you get what I mean.)

When I first heard about The Snail Mail Collective, a postcard-and-small-present swap pairing bloggers in different locales, I jumped at the opportunity. Melyssa at The Nectar Collective helped organize a July theme in which we were encouraged to celebrate what makes our hometown — or home state — special. (And by the way, Melyssa’s site is awesome.)

To my delight, I was paired with the lovely Cassie of Sage, a California-turned-Arizona girl who is also engaged and planning her wedding as we speak! She’s a kick-butt student preparing to get her PhD in Missouri and someone who loves the great outdoors, and her healthy living and positive attitude are contagious.

Her package arrived at the perfect time and was incredibly sweet: fantastic (and delicious!) prickly pear cactus honey; silver and turquoise earrings indicative of the Southwest (so pretty); and a pine cone celebrating Flagstaff’s diverse natural elements (so different from the desert!). Cassie’s gifts were incredibly thoughtful, and I’m stoked to slather that honey on  . . . well, everything.


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If you’re interested in playing along in August, sign-ups are open now through August 7. And if you want to check out what I sent Cassie from the good ol’ Old Line State (hint: it’s tasty), check it out over at Sage!


Postal connections

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Remember the More Love Letters project? I’m still writing strong for those who need a boost, and I wanted to mention the team’s new system: more people! More love letter requests! More good sent out into the world!

I know I harp on the power of the written word (perhaps too often?), but I really believe “real” mail — a letter, care package, little trinket . . . or just a “hi!” card — has the power to restore the spirit. When’s the last time you received something other than a sales flyer, bill or charity request? How did it make you feel?

More than a decade after the digital explosion, I see many people now taking a step back from media like Facebook. Maybe we’ve over-shared. Maybe we’re fatigued from the whole experience. It might seem strange to scrawl this on a blog, of all places, but I also find myself turning a little more inward and sharing less online these days. When I see my friends in person, I don’t want all my stories to be something they already saw on Instagram.

I like having moments — real moments — just for us. And for my fiance. And for my family. It’s not all about shouting into the void, waiting to see if anyone will bite. Life is fragile and way, way too short. We all crave real connection.

Mail can do that.

If the idea of penning words of encouragement to a stranger feels a little weird to you, I challenge you to embrace the weirdness. Get out that box of note cards you got for your birthday but have never had an occasion to use. Pick up a funny card for 99 cents at the grocery store. Heck, steal a page of your kid’s notebook paper and just sit down to write. Whatever you say will be more than enough. There are people who need you. And when you learn about them, the words will come to you. They always do.