Charity that returned

Do you like holiday cards? If so, I'll send you one!

Do you like holiday cards? If so, I’ll send you one!

“All my life I have written letters – to our mother, our relatives, a wide circle of friends and acquaintance, to my husband, to you. Correspondence has always been as necessary to my happiness as a well-cooked dinner, and I’ve found it more sustaining for its generosity: an act of charity that returned to me a hundredfold…”Delia Sherman

I’ve always loved sending and receiving personal cards and letters.  I knew things had really changed when I started to dread the mail.  Initially I wrote it off as a sign of advanced adulthood; no more childlike delight at the surprise and connection that came with a letter or card.  I came to realize, though, that my increasing distaste for the mail is really because it has been largely hijacked by the junk, advertising and bills that so outnumber the pleasant things we like to receive.

Since I love sending mail, and because this is the time of year when we have a good excuse to send holiday wishes, I am offering to do my part to increase the amount of wanted versus unwanted mail.  Do you like to get holiday cards?  If so, I’ll be glad to send you one.

Between now and December 18, anyone who leaves me a card request with an address to which I should send it, I will send a holiday card to you.  If you’d rather send your address via email, you can send it to defeatdespair@verizon.net and I’ll get it.  If you know someone who is deployed military, shut in due to illness or aging, incarcerated, or simply lonely and in need of encouragement, I will send them a card too, and say that you told me they might like one (unless you’d rather be anonymous).

Please send an address ONLY for someone you feel certain would not mind having their name and addresses shared.  As always, I will guard the privacy of these addresses as I guard my own.  I will redact your personal info from any comments, and will pledge NOT to use any address for any purpose other than sending a requested card.

And for those of you who prefer the less expensive, earth-friendly, paper-and-privacy saving, anonymous digital variety of greeting, this one is just for you!

40 Comments

  1. raynard

    Julia resend my your address I think it got lost. bty we buy our cards in September but the main post office well I just put them in the box for the mail lady to take. Oh let me know when you are ready to try the free Google mail called gmail. It will even come through your smartphone. And the google voice I told you about can come through there also and you save minutes texting and make free phone calls.be blessed

    • Raynard, I’ll send you my address on the snail-mail card I send and I’ll try to remember to email it to you too. I am really enjoying Google voice. I love getting the emails in text and audiofile format. Google is light years ahead of Verizon in the voicemail category. I can always tell basically what the message says by the text transcription, although as you know it’s not exact and sometimes the errors are quite humorous.

  2. Ann

    Julia,
    Thank you for the e-card. I love it🎄🎄

    Ann

    • You’re welcome, Ann! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I just love Jacquie’s dogs.

  3. I would love a Christmas card. I have your address also and will be sending joyful wishes your way. I was always the letter writer too. People just quit writing back so I don’t write long letters anymore. But they always said they loved to get mine in the mail. I don’t have that many people in my life anymore. I’m glad to hear you love getting snail mail some too. Not the junk and bills of course!!! Have a beautiful day, Julia, and know that you are loved!!!

    • Thank you, Cherie! I think it’s sad that people are less connected than they once were, in the sense of a deep connection. The internet has made wonderful things possible in that regard, but the sheer volume and magnitude of it dissipates our time and dilutes our individual relationships, in far too many cases. As in so many other facets of life, balance seems to be the key. I think many of us who were good at writing letters have found a new “home” of sorts online, but it’s good to maintain the old fashioned ways of connecting, too. I’m so glad we “met” here!

  4. I agree completely with you, Julia. Hand written correspondence has a unique value.
    When I was coaching high school girls volleyball, I received a letter at school a short time after we won a Ct. state championship. To my surprise, it was from my polio doctor whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time. He received word of my success, down in Florida, where he had retired. He wanted me to know that he knew I would accomplish anything that I set my mind to. For I proved that to him in overcoming the set back of polio.
    It meant a great deal to me to hear from a man who played such a great role in my recovery; even more so, that it was written and addressed by the same hand that healed me through a number of surgeries.
    -Alan

    • Wow Alan, that is such a beautiful story! What a rare and fortunate thing, to have such a relationship with one’s physician. I know he must have felt so happy to learn of your success and well-being. Doctors pay a great price by giving years and years of their lives to learn the healing arts, yet as with so many professionals, it seems they are increasingly under-appreciated by most of us. While I worked at the UT Medical School I saw firsthand how little time doctors have for their families, hobbies and other blessings most of us take for granted. Your polio doctor, having been through the grueling experience of med school and residency, surely could recognize in you the persistence and stamina that characterizes those who will be able to “go the distance.” Thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.

  5. This is such a lovely thing your doing. I know every person who gets letters and cards from you absolutely love it! I myself enjoy sending pretty cards out to everyone I know for the holidays. There is nothing like it in the world. And my list grows each year. Every person I send cards and notes tell me it makes them feel special inside. Yes I agree with you about the negative side of getting mail like all the bills, junk mail ect. It does make you not look forward to mail. But when there is a cute note or pretty card tucked in amongst all the junk it is such a nice and pleasurable moment. I like to save every letter and card I get from others too. It’s always such a nice surprise for me when I get a letter or card from someone. its always the first thing I like to open too. Have a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing these observations from a kindred spirit! The other day, I sat down to write a couple of notes to thank friends for acts of kindness. I couldn’t help but realize how much happier I was after spending a few minutes writing a handwritten note on pretty cards. It’s a great mood-booster for me, and I’d recommend that everyone try it to see how it works for them. I too save all my cards. With all my cleaning out, my years of correspondence will be the last things to be pitched, I’m sure. Thanks for being here!

  6. Also I would love to reblog this, of course with your permission. Thanks.

  7. Amy

    How lovely. I too love to get mail and while I was laid up I tried to send cards and notes to folks I haven’t for awhile. I think it is such a great and lost way of communicating. Hope things are going well. Let me know if you need me this week. I love you.

    • Amy, I think that is what has kept us close through the years. You have been the most consistent correspondent I can think of. Whether it was phone calls, emails, notes in the postal mail, visits or some combination of all, I can’t remember being out of touch with you for very long. BTW I thought of you when I hurt my foot last night – at first, I was afraid it was broken, and I kept thinking “There is NO WAY I can do this right now!!!” I know you must have felt the same when you broke your hand and I had a whole new sympathy for you! We are doing OK and have everything covered for this week’s surgery (I think). Love to you too. I’ll call if I need you, even if only to vent! 😀

  8. There was a story on Oregon Public Broadcast about a lady who hand crafts custom cards and envelopes and sends them to all requestors. Some recipients consider them collectable pieces of valuable art. Thank you for your offer. I prefer to save a tree and just enjoy your delightful electronic version.

    • Thanks Bob, I love those electronic cards, and it’s nice to have a variety of ways to send greetings. I will have to look up that story from Oregon PBS, so I can request a card from her. I have seen some of the most exquisite handmade cards imaginable, and I truly admire people who create these ephemeral works of art. I have always enjoyed paper-crafting more than any other handicraft, but for a long time I felt as if I was “wasting” time to create something that would likely be thrown away soon after it was created. I got a whole new take on things when my lead professor at the University of Hawaii used to give her students lovely origami cards created by her husband. I always felt so special when I got what amounted to the gift of time from the two of them. I began to see that there was wisdom in taking the time and patience to put beauty into the temporary. After all, ultimately, it’s all temporary! Plus crafting is quite therapeutic, which is a reason unto itself. Writing, or photography, or artwork of any kind is a blessing to the one who creates it. If it can also be a joy to others, so much the better. I digress! 😀 Thanks for being here.

  9. Please send a card to someone who really needs one:

    • Eric, thanks for giving me the chance to send this person a card. It was mailed today! ❤

  10. Reblogged this on lovelyseasonscomeandgo.

  11. What a delightful idea, Julia. You’re so sweet. I love receiving cards. It never gets old.

    I signed up for a service that allowed me to remove myself from unwanted catalogs and solicitations. It took about four months and a bit of effort with data entry, but it’s been amazing. I took myself off of over 125 catalog mailings. It’s liberating.

    • Alys, I have never been one to get catalogs, but each time we moved to a new address, I was always amazed at the deluge of them being sent to former residents “or current resident.” I was fairly ruthless at discontinuing them immediately but as you say, it did take time. It is quite liberating to get rid of even the mail that one pitches without reading. It all adds up to more time than we imagine, I think — same for email which I BADLY need to clean out! I had fun sending your card today. 🙂 ❤

  12. Jack

    My wife’s mother, now progressively and quickly moving into the clouds of dementia, was a faithful and very southern letter writer. We have drawers, boxes, various hidey holes where we find her beautiful tomes written to her daughter, her grandchildren telling us what the dog ate, where they walked, what the weather was like, how Charlie played (golf) that afternoon. What I once considered wasted paper is now a treasure, a loving few minutes spent by a mother and a grandmother loving her kids and grandkids by giving them a few minutes of her day and her life.

    Your writing is all the card I need. Merry Christmas and peace on earth!

    • Jack, I loved reading this comment. I am happy your wife’s mother wrote so often, and even happier that her family has the wisdom to cherish this gift of love frozen in time. My friend Amy (who has shown up on this blog several times, most recently in the drawing video) would sometimes ask me “what’s for dinner at your house tonight?” when we talked briefly on the phone as young stay-at-home mothers with kids underfoot. I was always touched that someone wanted to know such mundane details of life. “My other Amy” (a different friend of the same name who has been close since our earliest days of marriage, when our husbands were in school together) and my British pen pal Sue also share these daily details with me, and it means a great deal to me. As Wendell Berry wrote, “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” Thanks for reading what I write – I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas season.

  13. Sheila

    Julia, I’ll try again as my earlier comments seemed to go to “La La Heaven” and never appeared here. I loved the e-card and also the comments gave so much insight into the lives of various friends here. I have loved all the notes that I have received from you in the last few years, right down to the stamps! ☺️ I would so appreciate a card from you. I hope you’re well and also that Jeff and Matt are doing well! I send love and prayers from Winston Salem…. 🎅 Sheila 🎄

    • Sheila, I am so sorry your comments were lost!! I slogged through the spam filter, which I had not cleaned out in some time, determined to find them. But alas! I found only spam ads for porn, drugs, and hucksters selling bootleg products such as Ugg Boots (no pun intended). I don’t know what happened, but I hope it doesn’t keep happening! I missed hearing from you, but figured your life was as chaotic as mine has been lately. I’m glad you like my notes and eccentric stamp use. I’m a stamp hoarder, not a collector per se, but one who loves using them to decorate envelopes. How many such forms of everyday art cost nothing more than what is necessary to mail a letter? But I digress…Love and prayers coming back at ya!

      • Sheila

        I am back at “428”making Bill (and Jack and Walter) very happy. Bill said that he didn’t like being a bachelor. 😟 I’m sorry that you worried about my lost comments! It was certainly just a glitch with using my iPhone and a friends Internet service. I came home with many hometown goodies! 👏☺️

        • Sheila, those hometown goodies sound great to me. I’m sure that “the guys” were all so happy to have you return! The other day at my friend Darla’s home, I was photographing her lovely Christmas decorations, and her parrot Lola (who seldom talks to me) said very clearly “what about me?” I thought I had imagined it but then I heard it again! I asked Darla if that was what Lola was saying and she laughed and said “Yes, she is very spoiled!” So when you told me about being gone and leaving the guys without you, I could just imagine Walter saying “what about me?” 😀 😀 😀

          • Sheila

            Julia, speaking of Walter…. He loves to “Ring his bell” and will certainly do just that on que. But this morning he was so carried away doing that without encouragement, Bill finally asked him if he needed to be in front of Walmart with a bucket! ☺️ I had to laugh! 😊

            • Sheila, this is hysterical. Today at Safeway I thought of Walter when I passed the spot where the bell-ringers usually are. I bet Walter would really rake in the donations if he tried it. Just imagine the funny things you could teach him to say to people.

  14. This is a beautiful and giving idea Julia, you are always so thoughtful. I’m just getting up from a 5 hour nap and 9 hour sleep, LOL I must have been super duper tired. I’m dedicating my time to catching up here with you and your email.

    You know, I was so enjoying my Lawson cards. But they’ve changed something on their website. It wanted me to update Adobe Flash, but then says I have the latest version already. So I sent a request for help and a nice fellow said I had to update to Google Chrome. I didn’t have time before but I might read some info on it. Do you use Google Chrome?

    Such a nice collection of cards you’ve saved too. Hardly anyone does real mail now. I haven’t got mine organized yet but have a back up plan. 😀 xoK

    • K, I don’t ever use Google Chrome, but I do use Mozilla Firefox and have really liked it. I support the idea of open source software and I’m glad Firefox has been so successful. I’ve never had any problems with Jacquie Lawson’s site, but I don’t know whether everyone else is able to access it as easily as I do.

      Is your backup plan to help with the cards you want to send out, or the ones you get? I have challenges with both. I love sending and getting them, and then I can hardly bear to throw them away. I save the ones that are really close to my heart, but all are so pretty I usually want to do something with them. I’ve made tiny gift boxes from some and used others to punch out shapes for stickers and crafting. But my intentions, as always, are way ahead of my finished projects. I get a lot of joy from holiday cards, though, whether I send or receive them.

      • Ah, Firefox! good to know. I’m going to check that out too. Thanks for sharing that Julia. I really just want things to work like they did yesterday, ha. When it comes to changes and updates, I get nervous. I also used to enjoy an online photo editor called Fotor. They make some updates and now hardly anyone can use it. The help page chat is full of people who are saying they should go back to the older version. So well see what they do.

        I can’t tell you my back up plan ‘A’, incase I have to go to back up plan ‘B’, LOL. What’s going on this Christmas is a whole lot of half hatched backup palooza’s xoxoxo

        • That sounds like my kind of Christmas! Don’t you hate the way they keep “fixing” what isn’t broken? Sometimes I grudgingly come to like whatever it is after I use it for awhile, but mostly it’s just more stress. I’m reading a very good book now that discusses the good and bad sides of all this explosion of technology and other innovations. It’s helpful for someone to spell out just how demanding life has become, even if it’s only an emotional catharsis and not a real solution. I haven’t gotten to the point in the book where he explains how to deal with it all yet, though. 😀 So far I’ve not had any problems with my Jacquie Lawson, thank goodness. I am really enjoying this year’s advent calendar, though I’m behind on that too, as with everything else.

          • The Organized Mind, sounds like a fiction novel…LOL. I can be organized when it comes to brass tac’s, but generally speaking, I’m struggling to keep the balls in the air. Since arriving here though, at least I’ve had time to read a few posts. I love catching up xoxo

            • I laughed when I read that. A work of fiction indeed! I can get my outer world organized pretty well (temporarily anyway) but my mind is another matter. Too many distractions, mostly good things. I’ll let you know if this book works miracles for me. Or even helps.

  15. Michael

    Without my wife’s hand there would be no Christmas correspondence. I shudder to think what might happen if I was at some point abandoned, in regards to Xmas and other family matters. I can’t always recall the kid’s birthdays.
    We came across an Xmas card written by my grandfather Carter in 1987. This was in his own hand -he in his late 80’s widowed and living in a assisted living facility. He had beautiful handwriting and would often chide me for my scribbling.
    I came across a book which may be of interest recommended by ex-Seattle lead librarian Nancy Pearl- heard of her? The book is about WWi flyers and is titled “Unsubstantial Air” by Samuel Heights.

    • Michael, you sound like Jeff. Even with his high school friends and college roommate, I’m the one who keeps in touch with them. I think that’s fairly typical, for one spouse to be the correspondent. Yet Jeff really enjoys reading the cards and letters we get, and would be disappointed if I did not keep in touch. How wonderful that your grandfather was able to write beautifully even in old age. It’s great that you have the old card as a memento. I looked up the book you mentioned and it does look interesting. I never thought of the WWI pilots as being Ivy League types but I suppose that is because I think first of “Captain Eddie,” the Ace of Aces, who was anything but privileged. It seems that more attention is being focused on WWI lately which is good I think. I really know very little about it. Amy and I saw Flanders Fields when we went to Ypres (Ieper) in Belgium. It was quite moving.

  16. Michael

    Yes. We have some friends in Australia we send a calendar to every year since we spent a year there in 94.” Again I like the letters we get back and this is only due to my wife’s diligence.
    Thanks for the video card. Very cool. There is also the movie-” Blue Max” from the seventies I think with George Peppard about WW1 aces.
    I was looking at a senior housing website yesterday in Atlanta. Lots of places in the Buckhead area.

    • I remember my parents going to see that movie many years ago. Wow, how wonderful to have spent a whole year in Australia. I hope to see it someday. You are fortunate that your wife maintains correspondence with these dear friends. As you have probably found, it means more as we get older. Buckhead is lovely, no question about it. But Atlanta has many gracious and beautiful neighborhoods. One could spend an entire week just touring various residential areas in the Atlanta metro area. That’s probably true of most cities, I would imagine, but few can beat Atlanta in the spring, with the dogwoods and azaleas!

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