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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Letters...

I have a friend named Ruth.
Ruth writes me letters. Lovely, long, funny, newsy, personal letters.
Amongst other things she watches over a large busy household, opens her home to regular overnight guests, home-schools her younger sons, is hands-on at her local church, crochets for her grandchildren, reads prolifically...and she writes me letters.
And when those letters arrive in my mailbox a few times every year without fail, I feel awash with love and the deepest sense of being cared for. 

When I was growing up I had a penfriend in Japan, a boy my age. His name was Takao and I can still quote his full name and address because it was engraved by my pen on scores of envelopes over three or four years.
In our early teens we lost contact, and I don't remember why, but our few years of correspondence gave me such joy, and a good supply of Japanese chewing gum, coins and stamps!

Hand written letters aren't as common anymore. Remember "Little House on the Prairie" when Ma would wait months, sometimes a year, for a letter from her own mama to arrive? That kind of thing is foreign to us these days with our 'instant' electronic mail and popular social media sites for second by second peeks into each others lives (and moods).

For better or worse modern communication is here to stay, but I do lament that quite often. 
Especially when I open a letter from Ruth.
My breathing slows as my heart beats at a restful unhurried pace, because I'm not being pulled toward a reply just now...I'm accepting an invitation to sit awhile with a dear friend and enter into her day to day life as though I were there.
But before I delight in unfolding the creased pages of familiar script, I brew the kettle, drop two big spoonfuls of tea leaves in the pot, and take down from the high shelf above my head a cup and saucer once held by fingers much older than mine. 

And then, I journey to a friend's home and heart through the melody of her pen.
Bliss.


I think it was a year ago that I first designed and shared the pattern for "Sparrow". I made it in pretty pastels, and framed it in pink wood. Sparrow resides permanently in our home as a reminder that the Lord is caring for us.

A couple of months back I stitched a second version, this time in country colours...

When I'd sewn the last stitch of the verse I stored it away because although I planned to give it to a friend I still wasn't sure which friend that would be. Do you ever do that?

As January rolled over on the calendar the name of the recipient became clear in my heart, so yesterday I added borders...

..and after quilting and sewing down the binding, I wrapped it in paper and tied it with a bow.
Mr Postman has it now and when it arrives at my friend's door I hope it brings a smile to her heart...
 (the free pattern for Sparrow is here)


So, I guess what's weighing on my mind today is a desire to stay connected.
Whether it be to someone close or far, it still requires effort to reach out and say "Hi, I'm still here, and I want you to know that our friendship/relationship matters - and that I am so very thankful  to have you in my life."

Emails are nice most of the time, but they bring with them a sense of urgency to respond that kind of overwhelms me some days.
But cards? Letters?
They don't require an urgent response. They come with gentle care and a freedom to simply enjoy.


 I've gathered all the sweet cards that have been purchased over the years into one place, and today I'll buy a big pack of postage stamps.
This year I will write to one friend or loved one each week on a card. There will most likely not be a long newsy letter included very often, but it will be a message to say they mean a lot to me, and I cherish them.

Ten or fifteen minutes a week, one card, one stamp, a heart made full at the other end...

Hugs

31 comments:

Anorina (Samelias Mum) said...

What a lovely idea. I may follow suit. I have a penfriend from Sweden. We began writing when we were 12 and still remain in touch through Facebook. One day, we may even meet.
Have a lovely day x

Julie said...

Hi Jenny, I loved this post & it brings to mind my friend Carolyn. Although we can both text or email, we always write letters to each other. And just like you - when hers arrives, I dont quickly tear it open & read, but I put the kettle on & make an "occasion" out of it. I enjoy it so much. When she was a bit "blue" onetime, I wrote her a card & letter & then I filled the card with a small handfull of sparkly sequin stars & hearts so that they would fall out when she opened it & she could have some sparkles in her day. Also I often toss a lavender sprig or some dried rose petals into the card. Like you, I hope in this day of modern technology the letter doesnt get lost along the way. Sending hugs Jenny, Julie x0x0

Christine M said...

Hi Jenny. I really enjoyed your lovely post. What a lovely idea to send a card to friends. I love your sparrow hanging. The colours are gorgeous. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Christine xx

Michelle said...

I've wanted to do this same thing for a year or two now, that is send someone a short hand-written note, and I haven't done it yet. I'd love to make the cards and make it extra special, but I haven't had time for that. And maybe that's held me back from doing it at all. Thank you for this inspiring post. What a wonderful friend Ruth is to take the time to write.

Frankie Ann said...

This year for Christmas I gave my oldest Granddaughter, Abbey, stamps, stationery and an address book so that she could write letters. It has become such a lost art with email, texting and such. I have received one letter so far from her and mailed mine off today, even though we are only 30 miles apart. I was also inspired to do this because of Little House. It is our favorite series to listen to. Funny, I had planned to blog about this same thing.
Love the free pattern. Thanks for sharing it!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Michelle, I think we hold ourselves back by thinking we need to 'make' the card, or a gift...but I'd rather receive a store bought card with love from a friend than nothing at all. This is a lesson to myself during 2015. x

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Frankie Ann, there is a wealth of wisdom in the Little House books. x

Leeanne said...

It seems a dying art letter writing, we all love getting them! I must make more of an effort to send them........random like!
I love the sparrow pattern!

Deb said...

Hello gorgeous Jenny, what a
beautiful idea. A card or letter a week, little random acts of sweetness arriving in the mail. Like you I miss letters, they tell us so much more than an email. It enables us to read between the lines as we know the sender more intimately. One of my goals for this year was some R.A.K's, I hate it when my mind gets too busy. Thank you for the gentle reminder. xx

Susan said...

I think I'm old enough to really enjoy receiving a letter...but I do think it's a dying tradition.... sad though

Larissa said...

It is a lovely pastime that I think is just so precious - and yet, I find that the few times I actually DO start to write a letter, I tend to either get distracted and not finish it, or find that I don't have a stamp or make the time to get it to the post office (and then find it several years later sitting in my drawer having not been sent at all!). It is something I would love to take up again. Maybe this year will be the year?!!! Thanks for the gentle reminder that though this gift is often overlooked, the simple gesture can mean so much to the recipient - which really, should be all the incentive we need!! Hugs to you my sweet friend xxx

Createology said...

Writing and receiving hand-written letters is quickly becoming a lost art. I like your idea of reaching out to your friends with a hand-written card. I do Random Acts of Mail every week and send handmade cards or notes to people who need some cheer. I also still hand-write all my Thank You cards and Christmas cards every year. I believe my time spent makes it more special and allows me to connect to each person I am mailing. All part of Gentle Domesticity Dear...

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny, a lovely post, thank you. I was reminded of my long time school friend way back to the first years of school so over 60 years, (wow did I say that), we grew up in the same area went to same schools and best friends throughout. She moved with family to the southern part of the state at 15 and we visited some weekends and then both of us moved interstate to opposite sides of the mainland, our letters less frequent now but still much looked forward to, as you say, quiet moment taken to enjoy and remember etc, She now has Parkinsons Disease which makes writing difficult. She does not use email or text but we have the occasional phone chat and I have added a sprig of lavender in her letters and cards (that is a thing between us as I made my first lavender bag out of piece of old sheet for her when very young, I have advanced greatly since for each birthday and Christmas, there must be so many of them in her home, she doesn't craft and appreciates everything I make. She recently surprised me with a mailed package holding beautiful embroidered doilies she had collected from charity shops in Hobart while visiting family for Christmas as I have incorporated some in my craft gifts to her, (I do not see anything of such quality here in our area of Sydney). Also our dear friend in Melbourne Nursing Home who will read and forget and is unable to respond or even remember to respond, if she was told I had written she would say 'no she didn't' though she does remember us and most of our history of over 40 years when we drive down to visit twice a year and enjoys our visits even if it causes her a little confusion at times. She has MS and had encephalitis a number of years back and after recovering was left with short term memory loss. Anyway have been thinking of writing notes to both these special people for few weeks now and your post has spurred me on. Have a wonderful week, Judithann x

Ondrea said...

Jenny, I totally agree with what you have said about letters. I love to write, to sit down with a cuppa and let the ink flow from my heart to hand. Unfortunately, this is usually around Christmas time yet no one else bothers. I must say that I detest those long generic family newsletters people post. They seem to be all about themselves directed to everyone and no one in particular. I used to love writing to an old school friend when she moved interstate but the letters ceased when we were both aged around 16. There is something more genuine and heartfelt about personal letters. Thankyou for a lovely post.

Janet Harlick said...

Hi Jenny, such a lovely post today as always. I have lived in Australia for 26 years and write to my Mum ( who lives in the UK) every month with pen and paper - and she writes back! I do email my dearest friend often but my Mum does not have a computer and so writing keeps us in contact as do the odd phone call. I have recently come off facebook so now I write to my sister too! It's so very special to receive a lovely hand written letter and I, like you, take time to sit and enjoy the moment.
Bless you x

Pinnylea Creations said...

You're so right Jenny, we all love to receive a letter and should take the time to sit and enjoy and respond xx

Chris said...

A lovely post Jenny. Thank you.

Miriam said...

Hello Jenny, what a nice post and blog! Would you like a card from me? ;-)) My name is Miriam, I write from Italy. I haven't a blog, but I like to sewing, crocheting and knitting too.
Ciao, ciao,
Miriam

Radka said...

What a beautiful post :-)
xx

Wendy Caton Reed said...

My daughter is from the generation of constant digital communication and yet she always takes the time to write a thank you card or sweet note to pop in the mail. For that I am thankful. Thank you for your post.

Natureluvr57 said...

I think so many of your readers relate to all that you said today. God Bless our friends who seem to know the right time to send a little note to brighten someone's day. I had a friend (may she r.i.p.) battling cancer. I sent her many greeting cards to brighten her day and encourage her. when I went to see her, she had all my cards and several from others all lined up on her window sill, the nightstand, etc. She said she would take them and re-read them over and over. She could feel the love and reminisce about good times spent with all her friends. I'm glad she appreciated them so much.

Evie H said...

Your post touches my heart! A very good friend moved away and we have promised each other that we will keep in touch by snail mail, not just electronically and by telephone. I have a stack of notecards waiting to be used and have always had a packet of postage stamps on hand. I love sending and receiving handwritten notes and letters. I'm usually the sender, but I don't mind since I also love to write. Thanks for this great post. (I love your blog!)

Robin in New Jersey said...

This is a lovely post, Jenny. I have a dear friend, who I met 25 years ago. We lived near each other for about 3 years. Ever since I moved away, we have written letters and notes to each other at least 2 times a year. It is a such a highlight when I open the mailbox and see her handwriting. I do as you do, and make a cup of tea and sit and savor every. single. word. We also try to talk on the phone a couple times a year. I love sending notes of encouragement to people. As a matter-of-fact, I have all the supplies on the table to make new cards this afternoon!

You know, years ago, when I was about 11-12, my great-grandmother used to write letters to me and one of my cousins. I wish I had those letters now. When my husband and I moved away from out families, my husband's grandmother used to write to us every week. I loved her letters and I always enjoyed writing back to her. Oh how I miss those days.

I have taught my children to write thank you notes for gifts received. To this day, their grandparents love those hand written notes.

Thank you Jenny for jogging my memory! I am going to go look for some of the letters I have saved from my grandmother and my husband's grandmother and show them to my girls.

Have a beautiful day!

Baa. xxx said...

Miss H has a lovely friend who she writes too. When letters come back we often read them out loud - especially the funny bits. A letter is so nice to receive. Baa.

maggie said...

Dear Jenny,
I just loved reading your post today. How funny that just last week, my good friend and I had this same conversation about missing getting a hand written letter in the mail box. We both agreed that we will revive the art of getting a letter or a long note in the mail to our friends and family. I treasure those old letters and card from many years ago when I was young and still love to pull them out of the box in the attic and re=read them and remember a time that life was slower.
Thank you my friend. Bless you .
maggie

paperdollmom said...

I was thinking this same thing a few months ago and contacted a friend of mine that lives quite far from me, one whom I have lost touch with, and asked her if she wanted to write letters back and forth! I was elated to hear yes from her, so I too, will be writing more letters this year!

Marina said...

Dearest Jenny

Your daily blog postings are, to me, like receiving one of those precious letters you describe - a few moments when time is 'suspended' are I can enter into your world of peace and calm, happiness and productivity, and closeness with the Lord and with your beautiful family and the beauty of God's world.

My days would be so much poorer without the refreshing breeze of your words and the perfumed scent of your lovely thoughts.

Kisshug ~ Marina

StitchinByTheLake said...

As I have gotten older I find I cherish my time at home more and I socialize less often. But I still want people to know that I love and care for them. Last year I made it my goal to send cards - lots of cards. I keep a journal because I find myself wondering, "did I send her one?" Last year I sent over 250 cards. I'm aiming for 365 this year! Yes, the postage costs a bit but really, less than driving the miles and miles when so often they're too far away to go there anyway. I love doing it and they love receiving. blessings, marlene

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Elaine said...

What a lovely experience you had with your pen pal, Jenny.
Several years ago, I participated in a secret friend exchange that brought me two new and dear friends. Time and work has moved some friends from my area but I want to stay in touch with these life blessings. I enjoy making cards from my photographs and sharing a bit of my everyday life.
As the result of your post I'm keeping a ledger of sorts to remind myself not to let too much time slip by.

Donna King said...

Hi Jenny

In today's hurry-up world of instant everything, writing (or reading) a hand-written letter from a friend causes us to pause, and for a short while, allow the rush of the world to pass us by. And you know what? The world goes on just fine while we take that little break :)

I think we should all follow your lead and set aside some time at regular intervals; whether it be weekly or bi-weekly ... whatever works best.

I am blessed with five grandchildren (and counting), and if I only write one letter every week, by the end of the year, each of my grandchildren will have received 10 letters from me with thoughts of love, encouragement and guidance. What a wonderful thought.

Thanks for continuing to share your works of creativity and your inspirational ideas. You will never know what a difference you make in the lives of your readers.

Love and hugs Donna xox