Letters & Journals Magazine 2020

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Letters & Journals ISSUE NO. 1 | FALL 2020


Letter from the Publisher

Dear Friend,

Welcome to Letters & Journals Magazine! We're so glad you found us and we hope you enjoy reading the magazine and diving into the world of mail, letters, postcards, diaries, journals, and so much more as we share news, events, and happenings. We are seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic with no end in sight and a lot of uncertainty of how things will play out. Why start a magazine in a pandemic? Why not? What better time to connect people and share with them the value and many benefits of writing and keeping in touch? Or keeping a journal? Of finding new ways to connect with friends, families, the person next door or across the world?

Letter writing and journal keeping are all about connections: connecting with others in the world, or connecting with our hearts, our inner selves, our souls on paper. During this time of change and upheaval, many of us are asking: What makes life worth living? For me the answer is family and friends; health and vibrancy; creating and writing; contemplating; helping the world progress and connect; being warmhearted and kind. Jackie Flaherty Founder and Publisher

Letters & Journals

CONTENTS Page 16 Typewriter Chronicles

Page 21 Planner Conventions for Dayplanner Enthusiasts

Page 30 The Rise of Letter Writing Socials 3 Letter from the Publisher 6 News & Notes 8 Save the Post Office 10 Office Supply Addict

Founder & Publisher Jackie Flaherty

Editing & Proofing Randy Kambic Christi Summers Jackie Flaherty

Sales & Marketing Cindy Heideman Jackie Flaherty

Contributors Constance Vickery

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14 Topics for Your Letters 19 Creating Keepsakes 24 Making a Statement with Stamps 28 From Me to You 34 A Postcard Enthusiast 36 Write: Pandemic Journals 39 Classifieds 40 Stationery Pages

NEWS Add some sunshine to someone's life by sending them a piece of mail. Here are some ideas: Find a magazine or newspaper article they would be interested in and then include a note on why you're sending it. Buy a greeting card that says something you want to say and send it (maybe add a short note to it. Who do you know from your church, family, friends, or neighbors who could use a cheerful note saying "Hello"? Connect with an old friend or family member and share a fond memory you have of them. If you like to doodle or draw, send your someone something you created just for them.

2020 Holiday Stamps Did you know that holiday stamps in the U.S. go on sale in late September or October? You can order these online or get them on your next visit to your local post office. The Holiday Delight stamp (above) was issued on September 24, 2020. The Our Lady Of Guapulo stamp went on sale October 20, 2020. Place your order at USPS.com.

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OK, we've been stuck at home for about eight to nine months now. Isn't it time to brighten up your writing area? Here are some things you can do to supercharge your writing space: A vase of flowers A new piece of art Potpourri or a diffuser with some scented oils for relaxing A new drawer organizer A new screensaver

Winter Scenes Postage Stamps If holiday stamps aren't your thing, then you might want to consider this set of Winter Scenes from the USPS. The 10 featured images all depict the "special allure of winter" in the northern part of the United States. This set of first-class stamps went on sale October 16, 2020.

Letter Writing Tips for the Season As the landscape changes with the seasons, our letters can change, too. Feel free to incorporate what your senses are experiencing as the new season brings new colors, music, temperatures, flavors, schedules, sports, clothing, traditions, and whatever else happens in your world when seasons change. Autumn is a favorite season for many with the cooler temps, back-to-school supplies (did you say 'New notebooks"?), stockings on feet, sweaters, beautiful, vibrant colors of the fall foliage, and so much more.

"Another fall, another turned page." Wallace Stegner

-sot o n The d to : g e n i orn arante AM) M 8 u le irac ecret g Before M ( The ious s life r u v ob rm yo d sfo Elro l tran a by H

Morning Rituals The power of a morning ritual can be life changing. Consider Hal Elrod's "The Miracle Morning." While Elrod's exact system may not be for everyone, he lays the groundwork for anyone to create their own morning system to jump start their day. Isn't it time to take charge of your life and create your own morning ritual?

Save the Post Office: Send More Mail BY JACKIE FLAHERTY

There is great concern regarding the future of the United States Postal Service (USPS). President Trump believes the USPS should be a for-profit entity, and towards that end he installed Louis DeJoy as the 75th Postmaster General of the U.S.

The USPS isn't perfect. I have two friends who work for them and my sister recently retired after 30+ years in their employ with most of her time spent at one of their administration services buildings in the payroll department.

But the USPS was created to be a public service, affordable to all. The goal was to make it selfsustaining, not dependent on other branches of the government. And, just like the armed services, the USPS was not created to be a moneymaking entity.

I have heard of some of their dysfunctions directly from those who either witnessed or experienced them. There is no doubt there is room for improvement, but overhauling it into being a moneymaker is not the answer.

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At this time in late autumn 2020, we don't know what will happen to the USPS in the coming months. Like many people across the country, I believe the post office is vital to our democracy and that the postal service will continue to do the job it was created to do without political fealty. Here are some actions we can each take now to help protect the function and integrity of the United States Postal Service: 1. Sign a petition 2. Call, email, or write to your representatives 3. Buys stamps or gifts from the USPS 4. Send more mail

First Postmaster General The First Postmaster General under the Continental Congress on American soil in 1775 was Benjamin Franklin. He was part of the Second Continental Congress and served on many committees, including one to establish an independent postal system. On July 26, 1775, the Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin the first Postmaster General of the organization now known as the United States Postal Service. Franklin received an annual salary of $1,000 plus $340 for a secretary and comptroller. He was responsible for all post offices - from Massachusetts to Georgia - and had the authority to hire as many postmasters as he saw fit.

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Hi! My name is Jackie and I'm an

Office Supply Addict How do you know if you're an office supply junkie?

1. You buy a new notebook even when you have more than one unused one at home. 2. You look through all of the new calendars at the store even though you've already got one or two. 3. You continually buy index cards and post it notes. 4. You carry more than one pen with you at all times. 5. You can't walk by an office supply store, stationery shop, or university bookstore without a quick peek. 6. You decide you can't follow anyone who loves stationery but spells it "stationary". 7. You know the difference between 24 lb paper and 28 lb paper. 8. You start researching next year's planner 364 days beforehand. 9. You get excited about going shopping for back-to-school items. 10. You have Pinterest boards with desks and stationery.

11. You admire a perfectly sharpened pencil (or a pencil cup filled with them). 12. You love to organize and reorganize your office drawers, cabinets, files, etc. 13. You've been to more than one PaperSource store. 14. Finding the perfect pencil case is nirvana. 15. Your favorite Etsy store sells stationery. 16. You own a collection of wax letter seals and use them (or dream of using them) to send sealed letters to your friends. 17. You are careful to whom you allow to use one of your special pens. Maybe you make no allowances. 18. You use certain pens for certain functions (homework, letters, lists, diary, etc).

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19. Looking for paper, office supplies, and office organizational items at garage sales and thrift stores. 20. Having just the right pen for different kinds of writing - letter, brainstorming, diary, note taking. 21. Your heart skips a beat when you find new office organization containers. 22. You follow people on social media who post pictures of their stationery supplies. 23. Vacations are planned around good stationery stores to visit or, once you've planned where you're going, you look up which stationery stores are nearby. 24. There is not one office supply item that you need and yet, on every trip to Target, Walmart, or Walgreens, you find yourself standing in the stationery aisle. 25. Watch this video on JetPens and see if you can relate to it: 9 Signs You're a Stationery Addict.

Topics for Your Letters You're all set up at your desk with your brand-new stationery and best letterwriting pen, but you find yourself at a loss for what to say. Never fear! Help is here. This list of eight topics can jumpstart your letter-writing engine.



Let your weather set the tone. Rainy days. Sunny days. Overcast and gloomy days. It doesn't matter. Any day is a good day for writing a letter.




HOBBIES What interests or hobbies fill your time? What would you like to learn more about? What subjects do you find fascinating? Now ask the recipient of your letter about theirs.



Cute stories or everyday rituals can highlight our animal friends in new ways. Possibly your entire letter can be written from the perspective of your pet as they go about their day, or, better yet, as they observe you.

Share recent favorites or old classics. Share a list or deep dive into only one. Do you binge-watch? Why or why not? Do you tend to watch one channel or type of program? What songs evoke happy memories?



DAILY ROUTINE What does a typical day look like for you? What routines or traditions do you have that the reader may connect with and maybe lead them to think about their own routines?

TRAVEL Share some highlights of a favorite trip in a way that makes your writing inclusive (keep your reader in mind) and also interesting and reflective. Steer clear of the holiday letter filled with braggadocio.

Your best friend. Your oldest or newest friend. A friend from your childhood. What do you do? Where do you go? What interests do you share? Maybe include a picture or drawing.




A PHOTOGRAPH Look through albums or boxes of photographs, or print one from your phone. Now share about it in your letter. Maybe it's a beautiful sunset, or a house where you vacationed once years ago. Write about it. Your mood, thoughts, surroundings, concerns, hopes.

What is it about typewriters with their siren call to tap out a message, a letter, or a poem? Maybe an entire novel. To be fair, not everyone can hear the siren call, but those of us who can, must respond. Growing up in the 1960s, my grandfather owned an implement dealership in a small town in North Dakota. My dad and uncle both worked there and later bought the business. In that old shop was a heavy duty floor safe, a large wooden desk with a leather swivel chair, and a big black typewriter with round keys. I can see everything clearly in my mind but without a picture, I am not sure what I'm missing.

At some point they updated their office equipment and the old typewriter found its way to our home where I regularly pecked away on it, writing nothing worth noting (or keeping), but it passed the time in rural North Dakota. When I went off to college, I was given a brand-new electric typewriter. I have no idea what happened to the old typewriter, but wish I had it now. Did you realize they no longer make typewriters? It's not surprising as technology has moved on, but they make keyboards that look and sound like typewriters,

The typewriter is indeed my passport into a world otherwise barred to me and my kind. Suzanne Rindell The Other Typist

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Links, Blogs, and Articles The Typewriter Revolution Typewriter Blogs California Typewriter Typewrite Something Simulator The Typewriter: A Graphic History The Philly Typer This image is courtesy of Typosphere Blogspot in their Fab 12, 2020 blog post.

Type-ins Type-ins are a thing now, or at least they were before the pandemic changed the way we gather. What is a type-in, you ask? Good question! My research shows that type-ins consist of a host (usually the one supplying the typewriters,) reserving a space and setting up typewriters, paper, and any other supplies that might be needed to host a successful event. Type-in.org describes the type-in as "... the practice of gathering together with our typewriters and celebrating our machines and what we create with them." Philly Typer expounds on location options for type-ins and says they are usually held in a pub, cafe or bookstore with a good amount of flat space and very good-natured management. I've found that stationery stores have also been reliable hosts as the nature of their business lends itself to typewriters. What will type-ins look like in a post COVID-19 world? Will they meet virtually or in a large wareshouse-like space where people and tables can be properly distanced? How about at a park with picnic tables organized in a circle spacing tables 6' apart? 18 | LettersAndJournals.com

California Typewriter (Documentary) The Typewriter (In the 21st Century) Austin Typewriter, Ink (Podcast)


Imagine you found a box of letters that were sent to you as a child. The envelopes are addressed to you at the places you lived. They have stamps from 10, 20, 30 years ago. The contents of the letters contain news about you and what’s going on in your life. A treasure trove of memories and meaning just for you. The handwriting on the letters looks familiar. Maybe they were written by your parents, grandparents, an uncle or aunt. Possibly some of them even contain samples of your own handwriting written when you were a child. What a unique and precious gift. While it may be too late for you to capture your childhood in letters, it's not too late to capture it for the young ones in your life.

It might be best to start by letting the parent or guardian know your plan. Supply the child with a keepsake box to store the letters. We all know how easy it is to discard once-read mail.

waste too much time getting things set up. You can always add and adjust things as the project progresses. The important thing is to start now.

Consider adding postcards, stationery, and first-class stamps to the box in case the child wants to write a letter to you or someone else. Try to make it easy for them.

What to write about? This part should be easy. Write about everyday things the child is doing, dreaming, planning, going through at this time. Write about what's in the news if that's age appropriate. Write about what they did with you the last time they visited. Write about their pets, their hobbies, or friends. Consider sending them a list of questions asking for their favorite foods, books, what they want to be when they grow up, etc.

Now is the time to begin. Don't let yourself

Don't write for posterity. Write for now.

Depending on the age of the child, you will have to decide whose responsibility it is to safeguard the letters. Can the child do this or does an adult need to take ownership?


There are many options for storing the child's letters: a plastic bin, a special letter box, an old suitcase. Try looking at garage sales and thrift stores if you can't find one at other places. The Container Store works, too.


Using fun, colorful stamps can be part of the timeless charm of going through decades-old mail. Consider purchasing new stamps as they are released throughout the year. You may want to find a place to buy unused vintage stamps. These can be found at stamp shows or online through dealers, Etsy or Ebay.


While some enclosures will remain with the letters, others may be used and discarded. Consider stickers, stamps, age-appropriate newspaper clippings, photographs, doodles, and things the child has written or drawn.

Planner Conventions for Dayplanner Enthusiasts BY JACKIE FLAHERTY

Planners. Diaries. Journals. Stickers. Workshops. Speakers. Vendors. Swag. And much more!

Near the end of 2017 was when I first heard about this thing called PlannerCon, which was a gathering of people passionate about planners, planner supplies, ideas, stickers, makers and creators, new products, fun workshops, and connecting with others just as passionate. How did I not know about this before? If the upcoming 2018 conference was going to be the second annual, then somehow I missed the announcement of the first. I follow all kinds of people in the planner and sticker communities, yet I had totally missed all references to this second-year event.

How could that be? In an effort to rectify that situation I set about finding out all I could about PlannerCon and discovered a second planner event that had recently been held. This one was called Go Wild Conference and it was also held the same year. In 2021 both events will celebrate their fifth annual conference. But that's not the entire lineup of planner-themed conferences and events going on in the world. The Planner Wire website lists a plethora of events scheduled for 2021. Most of 2020 was a bust for any in-person event for that reason-that-shall-not-be-named, but 2021 is expecting to see a deluge of events being scheduled in the hopes that the pandemic has either run its course, or, at the least, will have been kept in check. 21 | LettersAndJournals.com


What can you expect when you attend a planning convention? From the two I attended as well as the information on the websites, here are some highlights of what you can expect: Speakers Workshops Swag (lots of free stuff) Giveaways Vendors/shopping Sponsor events and/or tables De-stash tables (excess supplies of what you no longer need or want, for people to take) Themed party night Making connections Make & bring your own calling cards (see below) Photo Ops Make & Takes

Personalized Calling Cards Many attendees hand out some type of calling cards to share and swap with others. Examples include: Washi samples Postcards Paper clips with fabric ties Sticker sheets Bags of candy Oversize stickers

MAKING A STATEMENT WITH STAMPS By Jackie Flaherty I grew up in a small town in North Dakota and I discovered letter writing at a young age, most likely through a school program of being assigned a pen pal. Later, I sought out pen pals by perusing through the backs of magazines where people listed such things. I remember having one pen pal, Cheryl from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, for many years, but am not sure how we lost contact. In my small North Dakota town there was a post office in a beautiful brick building, probably built in the 1930s. It had lovely post office boxes where most people picked up their mail. The boxes looked much like the image on the right. In all the years I went there, mailing my letters, purchasing my stamps, picking up our mail, I never once thought to ask them this question: Do you have any new stamps that aren't flags? 24 | LettersAndJournals.com

POSTMODERN PAINTING. Stella alternately paints in oil and watercolor

I wish I had paid more attention to the stamps I used or received. If I ever noticed a fun, colorful, or oddly shaped stamp, I have no recollection. I look at stamps now that came out in the late 1960s or any time in the 1970s and think, Why did I not see this stamp back then? Or Why didn't I purchase sheets and booklets of these and use them on every single letter? Maybe I did and just don't remember. It was over 50 years ago. Even while in college in the 1980s when I wrote to my parents and grandparents, I was still buying the generic stamps. It wasn't that I didn't care (or maybe it was), but I think it was rather that I just didn't know all of my options. Looking back I wish I would have had, just once, a postmaster who cared enough to say We just got in a new batch of stamps! How about these Snoopy stamps?! Did you know it only costs 9 cents to send a postcard? (1976) Oh, well ... despite my ignorance in postage options, I knew the cost of mailing a first-class letter and how to purchase stamps to last me for a month or two. So there's some solace.

Definitive Stamps in the Definitive stamp category are the most common type of stamp. The same designs are issued every year and the number produced is not limited which causes them to be the most ubiquitously used stamps.

Examples of this stamp include the Liberty Bell and the Flag stamps.

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Commemorative Commemorative stamps recognize an important event, famous person or character, or organization. These stamps tend to be larger stamps and have a limited print run. Once they sell out, they are gone. Examples include Harry Potter series, Scooby Doo, and Bugs Bunny,

Special The Special stamp is not considered a definitive or commemorative stamp. Like commemorative stamps, they're often larger than a definitive stamp. They also have a limited print run, like the Commemorative stamps. Examples include the Holiday stamps (Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving) or Greetings stamps.

From Me to You This charity organization in the UK encourages people all over the world to send letters of encouragement to patients in the hospital dealing with cancer. You write + They send = Smiles on patients' faces.

It began in 2010 when one friend was diagnosed with cancer and another friend started sending him mail to help bring some cheer and light into a dark time. This went on for a few years and over time the sick friend became well and the two friends started a charity. But rather than collect and donate money, they opted to collect and donate letters. The letters are written by people all over the world and collected by their organization in England to be donated to cancer patients at local hospitals and through the mail. Meet Alison Hitchcock, the letter writer, and Brian Greenley, cancer survivor. Together they formed a charity called From Me to You which promotes and showcases the importance of sending letters to help protect against the social isolation that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis.

Each of us can use some cheering up at some point and most of us agree that receiving a pleasant, upbeat letter can be the encouragement we need to see us through a dark or uncertain time. How it works: The process is pretty simple. Write a note or card to help cheer someone up while they are in the hospital dealing with cancer. Since you don’t know them and this is a one-way conversation, the organization offers tips and guidelines to help you construct your letter. Visit From Me to You for more information, tips, guidelines, examples, and testimonials from people who benefited from receiving notes of cheer in their gift package. Visit FromMeToYouLetters.co.uk

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The Rise of Letter Writing Socials JACKIE FLAHERTY

It seems ironic that a solitary pastime such as letter writing would have found renewed life through a recent trend called Letter Writing Socials, also known as Letter Writing Clubs. What you say? Never heard of such a thing? Join the club.

The Arizona Correspondence Society Letter Writing Social pre-COVID-19

What exactly is a Letter Writing Social (LWS)? As you might expect, it is a gathering of people who like to write (or type) letters. They are often hosted by local stationery shops or some person highly motivated to organize an event where like-minded people (or the curious) can gather, socialize, write, share tools and supplies, as well as ideas creating an epistolary writing haven. Who are these hardy souls who seek such unique comradeship? Surprisingly they come from all age groups, both genders, and many locations around the world. Renee Palting is the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization Arizona Correspondence Society (ACS), and has been running Letter Writing Socials since 2018. The meetings have been hosted in libraries and other social spaces.

As the host, ACS provide letter writing supplies, art supplies, some stamps, ideas, a typewriter, and snacks. They promote the event, which is free and open to all, on social media and with posters around the city. COVID-19 has changed everything, so after months of not meeting, the ACS held their first-ever virtual Letter Writing Social on September 19, 2020. Renee continues to host these virtual social one Saturday each month. She said that it took a little while to get used to writing alone at home with the computer camera capturing the moment (or 90 minutes as the event went from 2 pm to 3:30 pm). But after awhile, people adjusted to the virtual setting and found themselves talking and sharing ideas and techniques, favorite new finds, or something else worth sharing.

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When she first began hosting these events, Renee said it surprised her how many people shared that they didn't have anyone to write to. Helping people find recipients is one of the ways that LWS can be helpful. While they don't connect pen pals, they do offer a page of resources to help attendees send letters and address concerns such as how to address an envelope, the cost to mail a letter, and where/how to find people to whom to write. In 2019 the ACS became registered as a nonprofit. This allows the society easier admittance to schools and other organizations that would like to have an interactive educational experience on how to write a letter, how to mail a letter, and other aspects of letters and mail (stamps, delivery, etc.). The school talks and workshops had stopped because of COVID-19, but they are slowly beginning to reemerge in new and virtual ways. Just this fall, Renee has been contacted to help a local first-grade class incorporate mindfulness and letter writing. Renee has also conducted these informational sessions in nursing homes and business organizations explaining that it's a wonderful team-building exercise.

LWS all over the world are having to redefine themselves in the time of COVID-19. Some will find new life in a virtual setting while others will go on hiatus or cease entirely until such time as it is safe to resume social gatherings. In the meantime, the consensus is that more people are turning to letter writing as a way to stay connected in our new collective reality, and that's OK.

Renee Palting offers this Little Free Post (LFP) as a complement to her Little Free Library (LFL) that she has in her yard. Originally, Renee would put letter writing supplies (note cards, pens, envelopes, and writing prompts) in her own LFL and then decided to start her own writing supply station, also known as her LFP, to share and encourage the writing and sending of more letters. Renee, who has been doing this since 2016, says she hopes to remove barriers to writing a letter and maybe spark a lifelong interest in this beneficial hobby.

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Readers can find a visual map and a worldwide listing at LWSdirectory.com. The Directory of Letter Writing Societies was created in 2019 by Megan Hillman, founder and letter-writer-inchief of the Colorado Correspondence Coalition. (The map below was made in September 2020.) There are over 70 LWS chapters listed on the directory although many of them are no longer active, partly due to the restrictions of the pandemic. Most links go directly to the Instagram account for each society. If they don't have an Instagram account, then the link will go to the society's website. Now that LWS are being offered virtually, they overcome the obstacles of time and distance for more people to attend. I grew up in North Dakota and can tell you that rural communities miss out on a lot because they don't have the population to make meetings and activities feasible due to small crowds and having to travel longer distances.

Here are some considerations for attending a Letter Writing Social: Would you attend a Letter Writing Social in person or online? What would you hope to get from such an experience? Have you ever attended a letter writing event? What did you like about it? What did you dislike? What is your biggest barrier to writing and sending a letter? What would you like to see at a LWS? In-person? Virtual? Why do you think there's a resurgence of the hobby of letter writing? Share your answers with me at Jackie@ LettersAndJournals.com for a future followup article on Letter Writing Socials.

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A POSTCARD ENTHUSIAST by Constance Vickery

How do I love postcards? Let me count the ways! Postcards are such a great way to easily send and receive mail. They often capture the essence of a place perfectly and are primed to be written on, stamped, and sent to their lucky recipient. They are not too intimidating for people who really don't like to write. They're fun to receive and are a great way to stay connected. Much like philatelists like to collect and organize their stamp collections, many people who collect postcards like to sort and organize their postcards, often by themes and by countries. Some people collect and organize by subject: bridges, state capitols, national parks, and other themes. Here are 19 things about fascination with postcards.


One Postcard Enthusiast's List of Identifiers 1. An office bulletin board is filled with favorite postcards (both mailed and new) 2. Photo album with clear plastic sleeves to display postcards that can be seen on both front and back 3. Enjoys creating recycled postcards using free ad cards, postcard-size magazine inserts, anything made of cardboard 4. Having an assortment of postage specifically for postcards (currently $.35 USA) 5. The knowledge that postcards must have a minimum height of 3.5” and minimum length of 5”. The maximum height is 4.25” and length is 6” for the postcard rate. Anything larger qualifies for regular first-class postage (currently $.55) 6. Listening to the podcast The Postcardist 7. Searching Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for #postcards 8. I belong to Postcrossing.com, Swap-bot.com, and SendSomething.net to send postcards. 9. I have a special stamp source where I purchase outdated, unused stamps at face-value. 10. I have travel postcard albums filled with my favorite postcards from recent trips. Next to the postcards I write some highlights of the trip. 11. I send myself postcards when traveling the world so I can capture memories of the trip after I get home. Triple win! I receive mail. I have a picture of somewhere I traveled plus my handwritten memories. Bonus: In a foreign country, I get the unique postage stamp. 12. When my friends travel outside of the country, I ask them to send me postcards. 13. I have a few of my grandmother's postcards sent in the 1970s and 1980s that she received from her family as they traveled the U.S. 14. I recently was gifted a box of used and unused vintage postcards. Many had stamps (both U,S. and foreign) and most are in excellent condition considering their age. 15. First order of business while traveling is to purchase postage stamps to mail postcards, purchase postcards to mail, and to find the closest mailbox. 16. Buying postcards from wherever they are sold (general stores, museums, gift shops, etc.) 17. Current massive quantity of postcards on hand offers no deterrence to purchasing more. 18. Shoebox full of blank postcards sorted by state and country with a few miscellaneous themes waiting to be sent out into the world. 19. Shoebox of received postcards sorted into two categories: U.S. and World



COVID-19 The year was 2020. The place was Wuhan, China. The curse was the novel virus COVID-19. The result was a worldwide pandemic. One day we'll look back at this time and think of what a game-changer this disease was to our daily lives and to humanity. We'll consider all of the lives that were lost. The changes to our daily routines. Staying at home. No more trips to the mall or parks for months on end. And then the summer of the protests fighting for racial equality. The civil unrest. The fear and loss. The politization of every conversation, thought, and belief (seemingly, anyway). What did we learn? What gives life meaning? What good came from all of this chaos and change? What now? Maybe it's too soon to tell. After all, it is still 2020 and in some parts of the world they (we) are waiting for the virus to return for its inevitable second or third wave.

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One thing we can agree on is that the pandemic has forced us to go inward, to entertain ourselves, to reflect on what's important to us, to cancel plans and then to make new plans that fit in with the times. What makes life worth living? What am I really missing? Why is it so hard to adjust my "sails" and find a new normal? As an introvert, you would think I'd be in introvert heaven staying at home all the time. Initially, I thought I was. But it's hard to keep doing it for so long. I spent some time reflecting on why that is and I came to a realization: we were suffering from the loss of options. We were so used to doing what we wanted, when we wanted including visiting friends and relatives, going to places like bars, museums, and bookstores where we didn't have to consider "Will this kill me?" Here we are eight months later and we don't know when this will end or where this will leave us. Who will make it out alive? What will our lives look like post-COVID-19? What lessons did we learn? How did we grow and change? What was lost? What was found? What now? What do you miss most? Why? And now the questions that are coming up for me: Can I be happy? What do I need to be happy? What makes life worth living? How can I adjust my intentions, plans, and goals for this new reality? What questions are you asking your self these days? Are you finding answers?

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Encouraging old-style correspondence through handwritten letters

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