The Lost Art of Letter Writing




I have a question for you: when was the last time you wrote a letter?  To clarify, signing your name to birthday or Christmas cards doesn’t count as “writing a letter”.  If you are like most of us, your pen has been replaced by a keyboard and you wouldn’t have a clue as to what a first class stamp costs these days.  You can send a series of texts blindfolded and if you are feeling particularly long-winded, you take a deep breath and pound out an email to communicate.

lake house mailboxSo, what’s the big deal?  Why even bother looking for some stationary, an envelope, a pen, and a stamp, when you can just pull your phone out of your pocket and send a tweet?

Here are just a few advantages of writing an old-fashioned letter:

  • It is more personal.  Not only are the words yours, but the style of writing and the form of the individual letters are unique to you.  I love looking at the variety of penmanship on the envelopes that come through my box.  Many times you can guess the age of the writer, just by looking at the way they write each letter.  Older adults are more likely to use cursive than younger people.  In fact, my son can barely read script because it is rarely used among his peers.  I, however, grew up in a time when proper handwriting was taught.  So, others who fall in my age group tend to have a similar form with slight variations learned when we were no longer under the threat of a ruler.
  • Not only is the handwriting more variable, but the card itself allows you to express your style.  I fondly recall people from whom I received frequent letters when I was a child and I can still bring up memories of the kind of paper they usually used.  I had a friend who easily wrote volumes – and she had tiny print!  Being economical, she started writing on onion skin paper.  This paper was durable, but very thin, allowing the writer to send more pages at the same postage rate.  My grandmother would often make her own cards.  She’d cut out pictures or press flowers to use as decorations.  Both the messages she expressed and the time she spent personalizing them made her letters very special to me.
  • Speaking of nostalgia, it is easier to save handwritten communiques.  Think of all the love letters from years past that are in trunks and attics with ribbons tied around them.  I do have special emails that I’ve saved in a folder on my phone, but I know they could be easily wiped out accidentally.
  • Not all communications are positive.  Who hasn’t written something in anger only to regret it later when they have time to cool off?  Both traditional and digital letters can get to a point of no return, but it more likely to happen when you can transmit a text or email in seconds.  A written letter usually has time to retrieve it before the mail carrier comes.stone mailbox
  • Stamps – I dare you to try to find a young child these days that has a stamp collection.  Do you remember writing a secret phrase that was hidden under the stamp on the card you sent to someone special?  Does it really mean you love your electric company if you accidentally place your stamp upside down (or that you’ve just misplaced your reading glasses)?
  • There’s something about opening your mailbox and finding a letter that you can hold in your hands.  I guess it’s like the difference between a book that has pages to turn and the new variety that has pages that need to be swiped.mail truck mailbox

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Decorating with JOY

Decorating with Joy ornament


Want to see what I’ve been up to?  I’ve been making deco mesh garlands to hang on our front porch.  You see, last year was the final straw for the pre-lit garlands we’d put out for years.  Every year it was the same hassle, most of it brought on by my less than logical mind.  I’d hang six garlands along our railing.  My obsessiveness would take over as to whether they each had the same amount of swag and if the lights were pointing in ways that could be seen from the street.  I’d adjust here and there and finally, not because they were perfect, but because my fingers were freezing, I’d decide enough was enough and it was time to plug them in.  That’s when I’d discover that I’d hung them all in the wrong direction and the plug prong was at the opposite end from the plug.  So, I’d have to take them all down and hang them up again in the opposite direction, my frozen brain caring a little less about how good they looked, as long as they lit.  Of course, there always were one or two that wouldn’t light up unless they were in a specific spot (still don’t understand the reasoning there).  So, at the end of last season, I chucked them!

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I am now going to say something that may shock some of you – I HATE decorating!  Despite the capital letters, I whispered that statement.  It seems almost “unChristian” to dislike decorating for Christmas.  From what I can tell by listening to others, there aren’t many who sympathize with my anti-decorating mindset.  I talked to a patient last year who confessed to having three Christmas trees.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I don’t even have a single one. Continue reading

Do you floss?

Floss question




Lay back, close your eyes, and imagine the following scenario with me…

You are in the dentist office. Yes, it’s that time again – your six month’s appointment to get your teeth cleaned. You try to get as comfortable as you can in a chair that is tipped back just far enough that everything in your pockets threatens to slide out. The hygienist starts scraping away at build-up that is attached like cement. Each taste of blood reminds you that you should have been better about your oral care.

Then it comes…the question that seems stuck in time, unable to evolve with advancing technology. “Do you floss?”, she asks, peering down at you with her specialty glasses that magnify everything, including your squirm. Continue reading

Take a Hike!





This Thursday, November 17th, img_1120is National Take a Hike Day.  My husband and I like to hike, although for many years regular exercise was not a part of my life.  Typically, we’d go on vacation and then my usually inert body would be shocked by the sudden increase in forward movement.  In fact, my hiking problems have become quite legendary in our family.  It all started on our honeymoon.  We set out to hike in the beautiful Muir Woods in northern California.  Although I tried to impress my new husband with my physical prowess, in truth I was dragging behind the whole way.  When I returned home, I found a doctor’s report waiting for me that said I was borderline anemic.  Aha, so there was a reason I was so slow…. Continue reading

The Love of a Neighbor





Juicy red tomato

Have you ever had a day that was so hectic that you were running around like a chicken with your head cut off?  Sometimes, when all the dust clears, you find that in the chaos you fulfilled that picture by doing something mindless.  I have found some things in pretty odd places because I absentmindedly put down what I was holding in a crazy place.  I know when I was younger I accidentally put ice cream in the refrigerator and when I later saw the pools of melted gummy ingredients, I didn’t think I could ever eat ice cream again.  Wish I could say that resolve lasted.

Anyway, a few months ago I was having one of those mornings of insanity.  I was leading a staff meeting that day which was likely to be taken as confrontational.  I decided that a home cooked luncheon might “tame the savage beast”.  As part of a meal, I threw together a simple lettuce and tomato salad.  Food in hand, I rushed off to work. Continue reading

Changing Your Batteries Could Change Your Life

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Okay, I know that getting a second blog post in one week’s span is totally out of the character of how I run my website.  Normally I wouldn’t do this, with the fear that I’d be flooding your inbox.  However, I thought this subject is just too important to address to wait for almost a whole week.

As you hopefully know, this weekend we are supposed to move our clocks back one hour.  Extra sleep – hooray!  You may also have heard that it is a good time to change your smoke detectorbatteries batteries.  Of course, there is no magic reason why this has to be done when you change your clocks.  It is just a good way to remember.  It is so easy to know it should be done, but you just don’t have the time, don’t have the batteries, and maybe don’t think it is all that important.  So, it gets put off until “next week”, which gets put off until “next month”, which gets put off indefinitely.  So, while there are a few days before our catch-up-on-sleep day,  count up how many smoke detectors you have in your house and then go out to the store (if you need to) and buy some batteries.  We had to pick up eight batteries for our house and I am thankful that my husband is faithful about replacing them right on schedule. 

You see, back in 2004 we had a fire that scared us to the core.  It was an awful week.  My husband’s father died that Monday.  The next day was my husband’s 51st birthday.  We lamely tried to do the birthday traditions, but our hearts were not in it.  The visitation was on Wednesday and being a one day deal, it was long and exhausting.  On top of that I had a cold and felt miserable.  By the time we came home, I could barely move.  I was just plain worn out.  I remember it was all I could do to crawl into my pajamas.  I decided I didn’t even have energy to brush my teeth (did I tell you that I am a dental hygienist?). Continue reading

An Attitude of Thanksgiving and a FREE GIFT




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Hello Everyone,

November is here and in just over three weeks Thanksgiving will be upon us (for those in the USA). Thanksgiving is, in my opinion, one of the few remaining holidays with a Biblical focus.  While it’s true that we could choose to get caught up in the feast mentality or even the early shopping deals, I am really going to make a conscientious effort to notice the good things that God has provided.

I will begin by telling you that I haven’t always found this to be an easy thing to do.  About five years ago, I received news that rocked my once stable world.  Do you recall falling off your bike as a child and hitting the ground so hard that your breath was knocked out of you?  Remember how one moment you were riding along free as the breeze and then suddenly you were on the ground, gasping for air, and wondering what happened?  That’s exactly how I felt.  It happened so unexpectedly that I was caught completely off guard.  The only difference was that after falling in childhood, I was able to breathe again normally after a minute or so.  This time, I waited for that suffocating feeling to subside.  Any moment now…but I continued to struggle to get back to normal.  Each night I would go to bed in tears, sometimes stifling the sobs so that no one would hear.  I would pray that when I awoke the next morning everything would be back to normal again.  However, the next day would come and the pain would still be there.  One time I even woke up on my knees in my living room.  Apparently I had walked in my sleep and had gone into my prayer position automatically because of all the times I had spent pleading with God to restore the beautiful times I barely remembered. Continue reading

Checking it Off




Happy Tuesday, Friends!

This next Sunday, October 30, is National Checklist Day.  to-do-listSo, my questions for you are: 

  • Do you use a checklist? 
  • Where do you use it (home, office, recreation)? 
  • Do you find it helpful?

I am a big list maker.  I love organization, but am forgetful enough and lazy enough that it just doesn’t seem to happen very naturally for me.  Getting older doesn’t help.  I have found (short of a checklist) if you want to remember something, tell a child.  Of course, this action plan doesn’t work very well if they are supposed to remind you to have them clean their room.  Oh, they remember all right – they remember NOT to tell you! Continue reading

Cleaning Helps my Family AND my Neighbors




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Hello friends and co-cleaners,

Our cleaning challenge is officially over (Woo-Hoo!) and I think we should each give ourselves a pat on the back.  I admit that I don’t like to clean any more than the average person does.  Believe me, leaving the traditional work force hasn’t caused me to become so bored that I look forward to socializing with my duster and iron.  Send for the men in the white coats when that starts to happen because it’s a pretty good sign that I’ve gone right over the edge!  However, I am so proud of myself (and you too!) for tackling this big task and not just laying down until the motivation passes.  As a reminder as to why it was good that we generated some elbow grease, here were some benefits that I saw as I went along these last 5 weeks:

  • My allergies have less to sneeze about
  • I have found things that I thought I lost for good
  • My appliances are in better working order and are safer now
  • I don’t have to run and hide when someone rings the doorbell
  • I have discovered many things that may help others

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Are you having an identity crisis too?




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Do you remember the struggles of your teen years?  I do.  Leaving the carefree times of childhood and advancing toward adult life left me in this in-between state of uncertainty.  Probably one of the most dreaded questions I could be asked was “What are you going to do when you grow up?”  My answer changed by the day, sometimes by the hour.  The truth is that I didn’t have the foggiest idea and that was scary!

The good news is that I ended up in an occupation I love.  How?  I can only say that it must have been whispered into my subconscious by God because I certainly wasn’t heading toward the dental field – even when I walked onto campus my first year of college.  However, once I started down this path, I never looked back.  More often than not, when talking to people about what they do, I think to myself, ‘Wow, I’m sure glad I’m doing what I’m doing!’  There is a serenity about knowing you are in the right place at the right time.  All is well in the world. Continue reading