For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Six Reasons to Pick Up a Pen and Paper

I wrote a letter yesterday.

I found my favorite pen with a nice fine point
and a piece of paper. 

I spent an hour formulating my thoughts
and putting them on paper.

I put it in an envelope with a stamp.

I mailed it today.

I know it will take 2 or 3 days to be delivered, 
but I found myself wondering all day
if she read it yet.

I've become so accustomed to corresponding online
that it's hard to change gears.  While there's no question that emails are faster, are they better?

There are so many reasons to forego technology.  Here are six:

1.  "Sending a handwritten letter is the next best thing to showing up at someone's door.

Ink from your pen touches the paper, your fingers touch the paper, and you seal the envelope. Something tangible from your world travels through the real world until it reaches the recipient's mailbox. They touch the paper that you handled and they see your familiar handwriting, reflecting your unique style and personality. 

Pretty cool when you think about it!

2.  Receiving handwritten letters feels like a gift.

     Who doesn't like getting a package in the mail?  Receiving a 
     handwritten letter from someone special is even better!  

3.  Handwritten letters don't demand an immediate response.
     When an email or test message is sent,  the sender usually expects
     you to answer right away.  Letting it sit for even a day frustrates the
     sender and can even cause bad feelings.  Since handwritten letters
     take time to write and mail,  waiting for a response is expected.  
     There is plenty of time to digest what you read before writing back.

4.  Handwritten letters are more thought-full.

     When writing with a pen and paper,  you really need to plan what
     you want to say and organize your thoughts ahead of time.  There 
     is no "delete" button or "cut and paste" option.  To avoid rewriting
     a page,  you tend to slow down and put more thought into your 
     words and ideas.

5.  There is no spell-check.

      While this may seem like a drawback,  I'd like to show you a letter
      written by my father to my mother before they were married.

   I know my mom must have recognized the misspelled word, but most
   likely found it endearing (or funny) and didn't have the heart to let him

6.  Handwritten letters are usually saved.

I have a big bundle of letters that my father wrote to my mother in the early years of their relationship when he lived an hour or two away from her.  This one from 1951 was written 3 months before their wedding to his "sweatheart".  I can't help but notice how beautiful my father's handwriting was back then.  I wouldn't have recognized it! 

The cost of a first-class postage stamp in 1951 was 3 cents.  He paid
and extra 15 cents for special delivery.  How much faster was that?
Notice, too, that the letter lacks a zip code.  Zip codes were not
introduced until 1963 and not mandatory for another 4 years after that.

Vance and I have bundles of letters that we wrote to each other in the 
years before our wedding in the early 1980s.  We would either mail
them to each other or leave them on each other's desks at work. Someday, our children will read them and learn more about us, 
just as I did of my parents.  These discolored pages were in the hands
of my mom and dad and proved their love for each other.

How many couples today will leave the same gift to their children?


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sidewalk Flowers

I came across a book last week.  A picture book.  The little girl in the red jacket is walking with her father in the city.  With the eyes of a child, she looks for the beauty in the world around her.  She has a strong sense of wonder.

Her father is very distracted. He talks on the phone.  His mind is elsewhere.

I was profoundly struck by the power of these simple illustrations.

As a young mother with little children,  it was easy to see the world through their eyes.  They were always finding little treasures - things of beauty - wherever we went. 
They pointed out things I didn't notice.

I don't have young children anymore.  

 I have my camera.

This past week I've done something I've never done before.
I set my alarm to wake up 1/2 hour before sunrise 
and went out with my camera to photograph
the beauty in my world.

As I drove aimlessly in search of beauty,  I felt like the little girl in the red jacket.
Full of awe and wonder, I saw my world as I've never seen it before.

All I had to do was drive around and notice.  See.  

Fuzzy cows, checking me out, made me smile.

A graceful horse wondered what I was doing.

Another made me laugh.

These birds were kind enough to  fly overhead just at the right moment to help make my favorite photo of all.

"Photographs have given us visual proof that the world is grander that we imagined - that there is beauty, often overlooked, in nearly everything."
~ Annie Griffiths, National Geographic photographer

I've never really been interested in landscape photography in the past - until now.  I don't think I understood what it was all about. 

Seeing beauty in the mundane.
Getting pleasure from the unexpected.
Appreciating God's creation.

Becoming a little girl once again.

I would like to credit this book, Sidewalk Flowers.  It was published March 17th of this year.
I have a copy on order for my grandkids (and me).