Posts filed under ‘Letter Writing’

Uncovering History with an Address Book: The A’s

I am just beginning my address book adventure.

  • I have relived some fun times ( for instance, a niece’s political win).
  • And I’ve relived some rejection.
  • I have lots of memories about some folks.
  • And I have scant memories about others.

In all, I have eight observations to share. Be sure to share your observations as you also go through your own address book adventure.

In my first post, I introduced a project I am doing: going through an old hard backed address book. Each Wednesday I will post what I unearth from each alphabet letter. Today is the Letter A.

Writing to the A’s

ONE. Six of the names had no addresses. So even though this is an address book, I was lazy and only captured the phone number or email address. But when I use a digital format, I tend to fill in ALL the fields.

TWO. I have crossed out 13 names. They are completely covered in graffiti. So I have no idea who is beneath this layer of ink or why they are buried.

THREE. There are incomplete names. Two people are listed by their first name only or by a title; like “Aunty Beryl. See Beryl Sidney.” I never hear Aunty B (not my real aunt) called anything else and so wasn’t sure I’d remember her full name when it came time to look her up. Thus she is in the A’s.

The only legible name on this whole page is Aunty Beryl’s. I wonder what history lurks beneath the layer of ink?

FOUR. Some of the names are friends of my children. I have phone numbers of some of my children’s friends from when they were in high school. That way if/when I needed to get a hold of my kiddos and didn’t know where they were, I could at least call their friends. I WANT to do this now. ACTION ITEM: Get phone numbers of my (adult) kiddos current friends.

FIVE. I have no memory of some folks. One entry simply says, “Andy (Church) 796-3160.” No last name, no area code, and no church are listed. I have lived in two states and one foreign country and attended four churches in this address book’s life time. In the future, I want to be better about adding additional, identifying information.

SIX. I am estranged from one person. It still hurts after all these years. I am still praying for reconciliation especially because I don’t know what happened. Yes, I did write a letter to this dear (to me) person.

SEVEN. I found a photograph. There is a photo postcard of my niece, Samantha, for when she ran for school historian. Yes, she won that election! I have a bunch of papers in this address book. I look forward to seeing what the other treasures are.

EIGHT. Multiple phone numbers for most folks. Phone numbers have changed for each of the folks at least once even if they haven’t moved houses. It would have been helpful if I wrote the numbers in pencil. BUT I prefer to write with a pen and the inkier the better! However changing the numbers in my digital book will be easy and never leave a mess.

I wrote 8 “A” letters.

I prayed for 11 people, even for Andy. God knows her/him and a prayer of blessing is never wasted.

Your Turn . . . Do you have a physical address book?  Why or why not?  … Do you relate to any of my findings? If yes, how?

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Uncovering History with an Address Book

This is the textbook I’ll use as I go back in time to unearth personal history.

Where do you keep contact information for folks and businesses? I use a GMail Contacts list. I update this digital address book frequently. But recently I came across an old-fashioned way of keeping track of such things:my hard-backed address book that is 23 years old

And this hard-backed address book is a very different creation than my digital address book.

Reading through it is like going on a personal archeological dig. A dig is about uncovering history. As I go through the lettered tabs in my address book, I am uncovering history, too – my personal history. And like a physical dig,  I”ll observe, reflect and research to make sense of the discoveries.

As I go through each letter of the alphabet, I will record my findings. I will note if the address is current. I will indicate surprises, observations, disappointments, and action items. And I will write a letter for each address.

Besides saying “Hello, I was thinking about you,” I want to do the following.

  • I will write the letter even if I know they’ve moved. Maybe it will be forwarded.
  • If I have a personal memory of us together, I will share that.
  • If not, I will thank them for their presence in my past life and wish them well.
  • I will pray a blessing on each person or their family if the person is deceased.
  • If they are still in my life, I will make sure I have their current info.

I will post on a new (alphabet) letter on Wednesdays. And if I get any replies to the letters I’ve sent, I will be sure to note that as well.

As the alphabet letter goes live, I will hot link it (complete list after the jump).

Your Turn . . . 

  • Do you have a physical address book?  Why or why not?  
  • Post a photo of your address book.
  • How about joining me in your own address book adventure? 

I like writing letters. I say this even though I am never as faithful as I want to be. I actually started this project in 2011 and somehow I didn’t get very far.

Related Posts . . . Writing a Letter to Each Person in my Address Book – This is one of the posts I wrote way back in 2011.

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Sending Thanks to a Friend – Gratitude Project

Sometimes life is hard and you need a helmet

Sometimes life is hard and you need a helmet. Sometimes what you need is a friend who is tenacious about over-coming obstacles. That’s why I am smiling today. I have such a friend with an awesome example.

I know some amazing people. These folks are giving, growing, and fun. One such person is doing well at overcoming her past choices. I wrote her the following note . . .

I keep thinking about your recent achievement, 11 years clean – WOW! Thanks so much for your courageous and tenacious example.

The way you’ve held onto God and worked your program gives me great hope.

  • It gives me hope that I can be an over-comer in the area of my eating.
  • It gives me great hope that my family and friends with addiction issues can be over-comers too.

I also appreciate how giving you are of your wisdom and how vulnerable you are regarding your story.

Folks like this woman impact a wide circle of people. Her impact is more than temporal. I believe that she is impacting eternity as well. And I pray and hope that as I grow and give, that my impact is wide and brings others closer to God, too.

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . . Are any of your friends great examples too? Share how their courageous, tenacity impacts you?

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Sending Thanks to a “Behind the Scenes Person” – Gratitude Project

Without the help of others, I could not do my job well. Today I am saying "Thanks" to a behind-the-scenes person who gets a lot done without others noticing.

Without the help of others, I could not do my job well. Today I am saying “Thanks” to a behind-the-scenes person who gets a lot done without others noticing.

Think about the last BIG project you pulled off. You most likely had a timeline and a to-do list to keep you on time and on task. But you had something else, too.

You had people helping you. And most likely there were LOTS of behind-the-scenes type of people helping you with this project.

I think that behind-the-scenes people are the unsung heroes of our corporations, non-profits, schools, and even families. When was the last time you thanked one of these unsung heroes?

I am doing that today. I am sending a pretty card with words of appreciation.

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . .

  • When was the last time to sent a thank you card to a behind-the-scenes type of person? How about sending one today?
  • Have you ever received such a card? How did it make you feel?

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Sending Thanks to a Ministry Leader – Gratitude Project

For 4 weeks homeless folks in our area had a safe and warm place to sleep and a dinner meal.

For 4 weeks homeless folks in our area had a safe and warm place to sleep and a dinner meal.                                                               Photo by H Dominique Abed.

A lot of life comes with little recognition. Maybe we get too busy or just assume that that person who did a “good job” knows how we feel. However, they usually don’t and lots of times, burnout and bitterness can result especially in non-profit organizations.

So today I took the opportunity to say “Thanks” to a fellow ministry leader. This gal organized a revolving homeless shelter in our area. 4 churches were involved.

I didn’t have much to do with it, but I heard snippets of what occurred.

  • The gospel was presented to 3 people (in a natural flow of conversation).
  • It is possible that 4 homeless folks will get permanent housing.
  • We had huge volunteer involvement from our church. They felt like they did something worthwhile (which they did) and are looking forward (already) to next year’s shelter.

These are only snippets of the GOOD that occurred.

I am grateful for my friend’s leadership and the fact that this program happened.

  • Because of it lives were impacted (volunteers and homeless people).
  • Because of it many people felt used by God (in a good way) and loved by Him as well.

I sent my friend and co-ministry leader a card with the above thanks.

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . . Is there someone in leadership that you can send a thank you note to? . . . Be specific in your words of praise. 

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Sending Thanks to a (former) Roommate – Gratitude Project

Here I am with friends from seminary.. Left to Right: Hardeep, Janet, Susan (me), Janelle

Here I am with friends from seminary at a redwoods park. Left to Right: Hardeep, Janet, Susan (me), Janelle

While attending seminary I met a scholarly, tenacious, fun-loving redhead, Janelle. We had a few classes together and since there were few women in them, we tended to become partners. Soon a friendship grew and she was even my roommate for too short of a time.

After seminary we both moved on to our next step. I went on full-time staff at a church. My friend went on to care for her grandparents. She has put her “career” goals on hold for now.

Below is part of my gratitude note to her.

Janelle, you could have gone in a different (scholarly) direction after seminary. But you didn’t. You listened to God and moved to be near your grandparents in order to care for them. And as they age there have been more and more responsibilities and stresses.

Thanks, for faithfully handling all these with grace and humour. Your example shows a watching world of what love in action looks like and of course, this love points back to God.

I just wanted to let you know that you motivate me to be a better version of myself.

I’ll continue praying for you.

With Gratitude, Susan, who is looking forward to being your roomie again – either in this life or the next

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . . Do you have a roommate (former or current) that you could write a note of gratitude to? Why not do so and send it today?

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Sending Thanks to a Cancer Survivor’s Mom – Gratitude Project

Letter 12. Sending thanks and encouragement to a mom with a seriously ill teen. Graphic by Cécile Graat.

Letter 12. Sending thanks and encouragement to a mom with a seriously ill teen. Graphic by Cécile Graat.

Moms have a busy, stressful, tiring life under the best of circumstances. Add a seriously ill child to that mix and life becomes even busier, more stressful and tiring.

The thanks I am sending out today is to the mom of a teen who just dealt with her 2nd bout of cancer. The treatment is over and so far all looks GREAT. 

I sent a card to tell my friend “Thanks for letting me part of your support team.” And I told her the reasons I am proud of her.

  • You fought well for your girl.
  • You did what was needed.
  • You didn’t give up.
  • You took breaks when it was necessary.
  • You communicated with us.
  • You were real.
  • You trusted God.
  • You cried.
  • You were grateful.
  • You were and are awesome.

Of course there are stories behind each of the bullet points. And these are things we have talked about the last 6 months. I am hoping this short note will remind my friend of the miracles she’s seen. I hope it reminds her of how much her day-by-day faithfulness made a difference in this traumatic situation.

SHE DID IT! And so did her daughter.

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . . 

  1. Do you know someone who is caring for a person with cancer? Have you sent them a note telling them why you are proud of them?
  2. Have you ever received such a note? If yes, what was its impact, if any?

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