586. Coaxing Brooklyn into sitting reasonably still so I could take pictures of her
587. An afternoon at the zoo with Adam's parents
588. Brooklyn's bravery in facing the zoo, dinner out afterwards, and an hour stuck in traffic, all without a fuss
589. Someone's thoughtfulness in stepping outside of her culture and into mine, successfully
590. Everyone finding our apartment without any trouble
591. Going grocery-shopping and cake-fetching with Mum
592. Meeting nice new people at church
593. who remembered our names the next day!
594. Adam going to wash and fill up my car while I (and Brooklyn) took a much-needed three hour nap
595. That he had leave so we could have a 3 day weekend together
596. A 2pm doctor's appointment for Brooklyn so we didn't have to rush to get ready and drive to Fayetteville
597. A good check-up (she didn't even cry when they pricked her toe!)
598. Adam's extreme sweetness and sacrifice in taking care of me when I came home with a debilitating headache
599. Waking up, refreshed, of my own accord, and getting to lay in bed and watch the leaf-shadows dance on the blinds for 15 beautiful minutes before Brooklyn woke up
600! People who are willing to help
601. Getting to write a three-page response to a letter from a friend that began "Hello Darling"
If you know me well, or you've been reading this blog for more than a few weeks, then you know that I have what borders on a fetish for paper and pens - I may possibly mentioned Shindig Paperie, my favorite paper shop in Fayetteville, a few times as well... Practically every time I visit Fayetteville, I stop by and usually leave with something. Maybe a Tattly designer temporary tattoo (since I don't have the decision needed for a permanent one). Or a new pen (it is such a wonderful thing that pens use up! paper, too...) The occasional stationery set for writing Brooklyn's monthly update letters (since that's about all I use those for, I don't need a new set often). Thank you notes. Specific individual cards whenever there's a special occasion. I try to be sensible - I have a drawer devoted to letter-writing, but I find it sadly easy for my supply to exceed my demand.
Because, really, there's not a whole lot of demand. People are busy, we live in a digital age, we have Facebook, texting, email... but really, nothing replaces a handwritten letter snailmailed in a real paper envelope. Which is why I keep sending them - in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, someone else somewhere out there agrees with me. And this time, someone did. A friend in Fayetteville who attends the UofA got an apartment and to celebrate her having a Real Address, I sent her a note. Seriously - a note. It was short (by "short" I mean a few lines written on one side of a 4" by 4" square). I got a front-and-back small-writing absolutely delightful reply (on some adorable stationery from Shindig - which I may or may not have introduced/addicted her to... erhm)
When I went to reply, I discovered something - gratitude makes it easier to write. I usually struggle a little with what to say, but this flowed like an easy conversation (also something I struggle with, so that's a metaphor for the understanding of others, not myself). While I was at it, I also wrote a few thank-you notes for gifts to Brooklyn - filling the inside and writing on the back of both notes. People were exceptionally generous, but even in the face of generosity I've had trouble formulating written gratitude, in the past. My thank-yous tended to be formulated like a Mad Libs game: "Dear [name], thank you so much for the [noun] it was [adjective]." But writing gifts down has caused a shift in my writing perspective - creating more of a verbal outpouring and less of a fill-in-the-blanks effect.
Riding the high of getting a handwritten reply to a note sent and then getting to write back, I was delighted when Kaitlyn Bouchillon wrote a blog post about #fmfpartysnailmail. I'd seen the hashtag before, usually preceeding Instagrammed photos of cards received or ready to send. "FMFParty" I knew had something to do with Five Minute Fridays, but Kaitlyn's post explained it in a way that made me want to join in. If you also long for handwritten encouragement to vary the endless stream of bills and "Current Resident" ads, you should check it out! I'm looking forward to being able to practice written gratitude in the form of encouragement - because the best part about anything good is being able to pay it forward.
602. The sweet ladies at the bakery asking how the party went on Saturday
603. Adam kindly calling and dealing with insurance stuff after I got frustrated with it
604. Having driven to Columbus Ohio for a knitting trade show a few summers ago - it gave me a commonality with the woman who was knocking on doors selling AT&T U-Verse
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him.
Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!
Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
If you've been writing down gifts, has the gratitude/writing link carried over into other parts of your life?