Friday, April 24, 2015

Write a Meaningful Letter

In the news this week have been several stories from Australia and New Zealand about the Gallipoli Campaign, a campaign of World War I that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (in modern Turkey) in the Ottoman Empire between April 25, 1915, and January 9, 1916. Several of those stories include tales of letters, lost, rediscovered and remembered.


April 25 is Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in  wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Originally, Anzac Day honored the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli.

A story in The West Australian tells of the family of Donald Shapley McLean. He was killed at Gallipoli, and the family was told that he had left behind a small packet of items, including a letter. But, the family never received the letter. Apparently, it had been inadvertently sent to the family of another fallen soldier with a similar name.

In New Zealand's Timaru Herald, an article shares John Parsloe's story of rediscovering a bundle of World War I letters from his great uncle, Hedley Ferrier, and the interesting information the family discovered within.

Business Insider Australia has pictures of the letters from Eric Whitehead, who was also killed 100 years ago. His letters give his family — and the world —great insight into what life was like in the trenches of Gallipoli.

As we head into the final few days of National (U.S.) Card and Letter Writing Month, take a few minutes to think about the letters you write. Are they of such substance as to provide fascinating details to those who come across the letters 100 years from now? Let's spend the weekend writing letters full of depth and meaning!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015

In honor of Earth Day 2015, I've decided to breathe some life back into my CAT Productions blog, which is about recycling, repurposing, reusing, eco-living, etc.

In my first post in quite some time, I've blogged about a topic that connects that blog to this one...the practice of reusing paper and cardboard that we often think of as trash, repurposing it into stationery to use in our letter writing.

Of course, I love a brand-new box of fine writing paper as much as the next stationery addict, and I would never suggest that you submit a resumé cover letter written on the back of your electric bill, but I think the concept is something we can have fun with. Take a look at the post by clicking on the link above.

http://catproductions.blogspot.com/2015/04/earth-day-2015.html

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Book About a Couple of Letter Writers


I've been reading about an upcoming book, "Mary and Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink." It sounds like a good one.

Authors Mary Potter Kenyon and Mary Jedlicka Humston have been writing letters to each other for 30 years, and their book, which is scheduled to be released in September, is about that and more, according to what I've read on their Facebook pages and on Amazon.com.

We'll have to keep an eye out for this one!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Letter Writing With Kids

From the Melissa & Doug website.
Of course letter writers can discover their thrill with mail at any age, but I think many teens and adults enjoy correspondence because of fun they had getting and receiving mail as kids. I don't know of many people who don't get excited about getting a letter (not bills) in the mail. That envelope with your name written on it, just waiting to be opened...how exciting!

Several blogs and websites have posted ideas for mail-related projects for kids, including TinkerLab, Sew Liberated, Lasso the Moon and more.

Some items for working on such products can be found in crafts stores and online at places such as, Melissa and Doug and JoAnn.

From JoAnn's website.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Benefits of Saying 'Thanks'

Lately, on the 365 Letters Facebook page, I've posted several items about writing thank-you notes. The topic seems to have been in the news a lot lately, from golfer Jordan Spieth's thank-you letter to the family that started the fund that helped pay for his education, to an article about how thank-you notes can be great business networking tools. Even The American Greetings card company has launched a thank-you campaign.

I recently spotted another mention of the benefits of gratitude, a news release by the American Psychological Association. Although the item doesn't specifically mention writing thank-you notes, it did include journaling. It stands to reason that people who show their gratitude by writing letters of thanks would experience some of the benefits discovered in the research.

According to the report, the study involved 186 men and women who had been diagnosed with asymptomatic heart failure for at least three months. Using standard psychological tests, the researchers obtained scores for gratitude and spiritual well-being. They then compared those scores with the patients’ scores for depressive symptom severity, sleep quality, fatigue, self-efficacy (belief in one’s ability to deal with a situation) and inflammatory markers. They found higher gratitude scores were associated with better mood, higher quality sleep, more self-efficacy and less inflammation. (Inflammation can often worsen heart failure.)

To further test their findings, the researchers asked some of the patients to write down three things for which they were thankful most days of the week for eight weeks. Both groups continued to receive regular clinical care during that time.

“We found that those patients who kept gratitude journals for those eight weeks showed reductions in circulating levels of several important inflammatory biomarkers, as well as an increase in heart rate variability while they wrote. Improved heart rate variability is considered a measure of reduced cardiac risk,” Mills said. “It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart, and that gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Stamps Continue to Captivate Collectors

Through the years that I've been blogging about letter writing, I've found that there are several other topics that complement the subject, such as stationery, pens, ink and stamps.

When writing about stamps, I've often wondered if anyone still collects stamps. I collected stamps when I was a kid, but I never really got serious about it. I had a bright yellow stamp collecting book that I attached stamps to with the little paper hinges.

Nowadays, I pay more attention to the stamps that I put on letters and to those on the letters that I receive. I rarely save the canceled stamps unless I'm saving the entire envelope.

But, it seems that stamp collecting is, indeed, alive and thriving. I recently ran across a story by Sharon Schlegel on NJ.com. She quotes experts on the matter.

Several auction houses handle high-end collectible stamps, and the rarest stamps can sell for thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars. A recent find is an inverted 1875 Russian stamp (pictured at right) that is expected to be auctioned this spring by Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions of Danbury, Conn.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Google Celebrates the Pony Express

Have you seen Google's Doodle today? It's great! The image honors the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express, which started in April 1860. If you go to google.com and click on the Pony Express image, you can play a little game of picking up letters to deliver.

For more information about the Pony Express, visit the Pony Express National Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, or its website, www.ponyexpress.org. For more information about Google's Pony Express image and game, visit the Google Doodle page.
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