Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Birthday Cards in the Mail!

The internet has changed how we share love with our family and friends.   Click a button and send a card via the magic of the computer.   Foooosh!   Very convenient, that's for sure, but somehow a card on the computer screen doesn't do it for me.   

Sure, I appreciate that my friend or family member was thinking of me, but I'd much rather have a "real" card--in the mailbox!   I LOVE looking at and holding a card in my hands, reading the hand-written salutation and signature of my loved ones.   

Saved and treasured cards mark the passage of the seasons, as our families change and grow.   The charming block printed signature of a kindergartener, the sweet bubble-hearts dotting the i's of pre-teen girls--sweet beyond words!   The hurried slash of the son with an adventure calling him!   Those signatures are like footprints across wet concrete.  

To Make Life Easier

Buy greeting cards in bulk.   I get mine from Oshkosh Church Supply in Wisconsin; themed cards are in boxes of 12 or 16 and much less than I'd spend at a card-shop or even at a dollar store.   OCS sends a catalog so I stock up once or twice a year.    (Check out their website--  It's not as user friendly as other "professional" sites but you can request a catalog there.   They also have holiday cards, napkins, and two-year calendars for  your purse.)

Stash cards in a desk drawer, organized to quickly access them.   Once a month (usually near the end of the month) I pull out my handy-dandy perpetual calendar where I have recorded all the special dates for family and friends (birthday, anniversary, confirmation, graduation, deaths).   Try one of these:   Referring to my "date book,"  I pull cards for each person.   For relatives who have died, I usually send the surviving spouse a "thinking of you" card so s/he receives a cheerful note at an otherwise sad time, when most people over-look them.    

Address all the envelopes, add a greeting at the bottom of the card for the whole family, then add your own signature.     My personal John Hancock -- on the inside of the front flap -- is something like t his:  "Hugs & Kisses from Aunt Deb" and sometimes when I'm feeling especially silly I put on some red lipstick and "kiss" the card where I've signed it.   This is usually for my nieces and nephews!  "A smooch from Aunt Deb!"

Insert the back half of the card into the envelope, so the cards are ready and easy to sign.  This also keeps them from getting separated from their envelope.     

Stack the cards in chronological order and get the rest of your family to sign them.   Ours go on our dining room table, and over the next day or two before or after dinner, my family members sign the cards.

Get the cards ready to mail.  I jazz up the envelopes with my rubber stamps or with a wax seal/imprint on the back flap.   Postage stamps and return address labels on the front, ready to be stacked near the front door--and mailed a few days to a week before the loved one's birthday.   

OR . . . leave the postage stamp off and jot a "mail by" date in that corner (it'll be covered by the stamp).

Special Treatment Options:   Send your envelopes to one of the Post Offices below, where they'll get a special post-mark, too.   Put three or four of your cards at one time (already addressed and stamped) inside another, larger envelope addressed to Postmaster, General Delivery, with the city, state and zip code listed below.    To ensure that your envelope gets the right post-mark be sure to write on the back of the Postmaster envelope "hand cancel, please"--otherwise it might go to the large distribution center for that particular area.

Inside the card, near your signature, you maybe want to add a tiny  note that asks, "What did you think when you saw this card with THAT postmark?"   This will ensure that your efforts will not go unnoticed!  And will touch the heart of the recipient even more!

My list is only started.   I have a paperback Zip Code Directory and some evenings when we're mindlessly watching TV, I go through it (state by state!) and look for interesting locations:   family names, hobbies, vacation spots.    Our country has some very cool city names!   Did you know there is a post office in Dairy Farm, California?   Or that there is a Tomato, Arizona?   Embarrass, Wisconsin.   Chicken, Alaska!   Wouldn't it be fun to get an envelope with one of those postmarks!?  

Post Office Names for Holidays

Blessing TX  77419
Challenge CA  95925
Cool CA  95614
Freedom CA  95019
Friendship AR  71942
Happy Camp  CA  96039
Hope AK  99605
Hope AR  71801
Independence CA  93526
Inspiration AZ 85537
Okay AR 71854
Shamrock OK  74068
Smartville CA  95977
Sunflower AL  36581
Success AR  72470
Sweet Home AR 72164

Loveland CO   80537
Loveland OH  45140
Loveland OK  73553
Loving NM  88256
Loving TX  78062
Romance AR  72136
Romance WV  25175
Valentine AZ 86437
Valentine NE  69201
Valentine VA  23887

"Be filled with the Spirit.  
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, 
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."   
Ephesians 5:18-20  NIV

God's love and richest blessings 
as you celebrate another day of His grace!  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Favorite Real Estate Agent!

Greetings, Friends!

Sorry for the lapse in posts.   My son was home from the Army during Christmas and into January.   We traveled to Wisconsin over the holidays to spend time with my mom in northern Wisconsin (north of Green Bay--go Packers!).   When the boys flew back home to WV after their side-trip to our old stomping grounds, they brought one of their guy-friends back with them.   Lots of guy power for a week or so!!!  Wow!!

So things were a bit b-u-s-y around here.  No time and no quiet for writing.

Then we got avidly involved with house-hunting.  We've looked at quite a few homes, mostly all of them are foreclosures--which makes me incredibly sad for the families who have lost their homes.

This is a good time to remember how much God loves us.   One of the first houses we looked at seemed like the right one for us.   We put an offer in, but were out-bid by another buyer.   That house just seemed perfect for us.   Friends were sad for us, and yeah we were disappointed, but also confident because we've lived long enough to know that God has something better planned for us.

We bounced back and half-heartedly looked at other houses.   Then I found one that --oh my-- was perfect!   Gorgeous neighborhood and from the outside, the house looked totally US!   The realtor took us through it.  No.  Too basement.  We NEED a basement if you know what I mean:   we have stuff that needs a basement.

Friends again felt bad that this one didn't work out.    But not me.  I was getting more and more excited!  Okay, yes, I was disappointed because it truly was a neat place.   But I kept thinking, "God loves us!  He knows just what we need.  And if this one which was so cool isn't The One, I can NOT wait to see what He does have for us."

Nothing on the radar screen really tripped my trigger though.   Hmmm.   Our lease on this rental isn't up until the end of May.  Maybe we need to just wait patiently.  

Then I re-configured the real estate search engine I'd been using.   And boom!  There it was.  A house that had been on the market since last April (much higher priced!), with price reductions that brought it down into our budget-range!   Where were WE last April?  Still living in Wisconsin--unhappily faced with moving from our beloved little five-acres of God's green earth!  

And, friends, God is SO good.  Because the house we just bid on (and have contracted for now) is so much better than either of the other two that "seemed" perfect!!   We are so ready for this, and God knows just what we need, when we need it.

I hope you remember these words from our Lord Jesus in the gospel of Matthew:   

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine 
and puts them into practice 
is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  
The rain came down, 
the streams rose, 
and the winds blew 
and beat against that house, 
yet it did not fall, 
because it had its foundation 
on the rock."