The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Letter to Someone Dying

Many years ago, when I was in my early 20's, I was living across the country in Whistler, BC. One of my dad's best friends, Al, was sick with cancer and after many months of fighting, it was obvious he was losing his battle. Al was a part of my whole life. I can remember him sitting at my parent's kitchen table for as long as I can remember. He was a fixture in our lives and in the early days, we would spend evenings at their home and they would come to ours to play cards with other couples. There was always lots of teasing and laughing. Al was a character to say the least and attempting to describe him in words would likely result in a less than accurate portrayal of this man. When I got the news that his wife had brought him home to die, I felt somewhat distraught as I knew I wouldn't be able to fly home for his funeral. I felt a strong need to express my thoughts and feelings to Al and so I sat down and wrote a letter and mailed it to his wife. I asked her to read it to him. I will never know if he heard or understood the words I wrote, but it was so uplifting for me to write the thoughts down and know that they would eventually be released to him whether or not he ever comprehended it. I knew on some level, though, that he heard my words.

Three years ago, my older sister received the devastating news that her very dearest friend, Rachael, had been given the news that the cancer she had recently celebrated the remission of, had returned and it had returned with a vengeance. Rachael was in her mid-30's and was a beautiful, glorious spirit of a woman. The cancer was aggressive and had invaded many areas of her body. Within days she was palliative and my sister few out to BC to be by her side. I was also a friend of Rachael's. I had met her through my sister and became friends with her when we both lived in the same city on Vancouver Island in the late 90's. We had been looking forward to a summer visit to Ontario by Rachael and her husband but we knew that this trip would never unfold as planned. I sent a letter to my sister to take with her to read to Rachael for me as I knew I would never see her again. This is the letter:

 November 2007

Dear Rachael;

I asked Lana to bring you this message from me. I know that we don’t know what the days/weeks ahead hold and so I decided to share some things with you that I’ve never gotten around to telling you. They’re the thoughts I have about you when I think of you, see a photo of you or when Lana talks about you.

“Life has a funny way of sneaking upon you when you think everything’s okay….”

It’s hard to know what to say when life throws a curve ball and you have no choice but to face it head on. Some things, I have learned, make absolutely no sense (at least not in my mind). I suppose if I were more religious, I might be less judgmental of the way things unfold sometimes.

I want you to know a few things, Rachael. When I think of my life so far, I think of the many people with whom I have crossed paths. You are one of those people who played a big role in my life when I initially moved to Victoria and felt lost and very alone. I recall meeting you for coffee and a smoke!! You lifted me up and I thought that one day I’d like to be “cool” like Rachael. I’m still working towards that!! I always felt a sense of security knowing you were in that city.

You are the best hugger. I have never met anyone who puts their whole entire body into a hug as you do. You can feel that it is genuine. I’ve never liked the ‘patters’. You know, the ones that cautiously lean in and pat your shoulder blade with their hand as though you might bite. I hate that!! You are an excellent hugger, Rachael. You could teach a class on how to hug properly!!

Let’s see………your laughter is unique and I can hear it in my head if I sit quietly. Bellowing and husky and never fake. I remember the times that I would see you at the Mocha House, you would have a big smile on your face and always be laughing about something!!

You probably don’t remember this but when I was feeling really low, you handwrote the piece “On Pain” by Kahlil Gibran and those words were so powerful that to this day. I have that page glued into one of my books of collected treasures. When I read the line: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding,” I recall a shift taking place within myself and I think that it was then that I began to understand that the suffering I was experiencing had a purpose. That time was many, many years ago and I suspect you don’t even remember doing that. I just want you to know that I have never forgotten your kindness in that time in my life.

I am thinking of you every single minute of the day and praying for miracles.
I love you! Shine On……..
Love Julie

Rachel died within three weeks.
Beautiful Rachael

In early November, my 92-year-old Grandmother, suddenly became ill and was soon hospitalized with congestive heart failure. We assumed she would perk up and return home in no time but we quickly realized that her body was tired and was shutting down. After five weeks in hospital, my parents made the decision on Christmas Day to bring her home to die. This was not uncommon in my parent's lifetime but now with hospices and chronic floors in hospitals, most people die away from home. My mother was a Registered Nurse for over 40 years and so she feels very comfortable in caring for her mother-in-law at home in these final days. There is a lot of family around to make this possible and we all feel very privileged to be a part of Grandma's end of life care.

Prior to bringing her home, I met my older sister in Ottawa and she handed me a letter to bring to Grandma to read to her just in case she didn't get a chance to see her alive again. I brought the letter to the hospital on Christmas Eve day and explained to Grandma who the letter was from and proceeded to read it. My sister wrote down her thoughts of Grandma and the impact she has had on her life. I know that Grandma understood everything I read and I know that my sister had closure knowing that should she pass away before my sister made it home again, her words were not left unspoken. She did end up seeing her again over Christmas and is now making arrangements to come and sit with Grandma as we have someone by her side 24-hours a day now. You can read a beautiful post about our Grandma at my younger sister's blog at The Knitty Gritty Homestead, if you wish.

Grandma with my niece~2010

I have lived very close to my Grandmother (within 300 metres) for the past six years and have had the opportunity to visit with her regularly. I feel as though I have had the chance to share my thoughts with her many times over and I know she knows how much I love her. I encourage those of you who cannot be close to someone you love who may be in their final stages of life, to sit down and write to them. Share all of the thoughts in your heart and have someone you trust read your words to them. You will not regret it knowing that you said everything you needed to before the chance was gone forever. And the person who is dying will feel your love and will appreciate leaving this earthly plane with the knowledge that their life had a positive impact on another's life.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Letter to Santa

I grew up in an Irish Catholic home and a part of the Christmas celebrations included Santa Claus. We had a good balance of the "real" meaning of Christmas along with the all of the other parts that make up this festive time of year. Between choir rehearsals, Sunday school classes and attending a Catholic School, we also had a Christmas tree, Christmas baking, shopping and gifts from Santa.

On Christmas Eve, after opening one gift (usually new pajamas), mom and dad would bundle us up and usher us out to the car for midnight mass. My sisters and I often had songs to sing that we had learned for this occasion. I can still sing them and can hear my sister's descant and alto voices combining with mine. I was usually soprano although I know that there was a descant singer busting to get out (this is where my sisters will crack up while reading this!). After mass, we would go home to the table set and a meat pie coming out of the oven. Then, we would set up some cookies, a glass of milk and our letters to Santa expressing our heart's desire and explaining the moments in the year when we were not-so-nice and justifying why we really did deserve the things we were asking for. My dad would also throw in some carrots for the reindeer and a bottle of beer for Old Saint Nick. This is an ancient Irish tradition, apparently.

I was wondering if children still write letters to Santa or does Santa get emails or texts now? I know that Canada Post offers an awesome service where children can send their letters to: Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO, Canada. Each letter gets a reply from Santa himself.  I want that job next year.......writing letters back to the children on behalf of Santa Claus. I may look into that. Check out this blog for a wonderful post on being a Santa Letter Responder (Thanks to PamelaArtsinSF for letting me know about this post!).

A few years ago after my husband and I blended our lives, I came across a letter he wrote to Santa when he was probably around 8 or 9 years old. His mom had tucked it away with various papers and it managed to survive the years. This is what it says:

Dear Santa;

I don't want to much but it costs $18.96. 
It is Road Atlanta (page 449) 
and 3 position laser rifle (page 440). 

Love Timmy Graham

P.S I think it will be quite a bit of money so 
you don't have to give me them.

The page references would have been for the Sears Christmas Wish Book. Every kid growing up in the 70's in Canada anticipated the arrival of this special catalogue. The "P.S" bit cracks me up and breaks my heart at the same time. My husband is a gentle and caring soul who would give the shirt off his back if it were needed. He will do without before he will have someone be in need. Even as a young boy he was thinking of Santa and how much it might cost for Santa to actually give him the things he wanted.
Tim with Santa (circa 1976)

I know a lot of parents today who don't believe in buying into the whole "Santa Claus" thing for fear of "lying" to their children about an imaginary elf who flies through the air and manages to deliver presents all over the world in one night to "good" children only. I say we have gotten way to politically correct and serious. I think I knew early on that this whole Santa thing was a bit of a stretch but continued to pretend to believe in Santa much longer than I actually did for my parent's sake. My parents did a good job of teaching us the true meaning of Christmas while also creating glorious memories of the magic of it all. And contrary to popular belief, I don't remember a lot of the things I got but what I remember is the "feeling" of Christmas: warm pajamas, special treats, my dad reading "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" every Christmas Eve, candles burning and Elvis's Christmas album playing in the background. I remember knowing that this was a very unique time of year and learning the importance of tradition and family and being grateful. To this day, I can close my eyes and can access that "feeling" of anticipation when we would leave out our letters for Santa and go to bed knowing that when morning came, Santa would have left behind cookie crumbs, an empty milk glass, an empty bottle of beer (he was very thirsty!) and we would miraculously receive the very special gifts we had asked for.

"Wishing all of you, TLWR followers and readers, a very joyful & magical holiday season however and whatever you celebrate. I will be back again in the new year."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Hard-to-Receive Letter

I have written before about the Hard-to-Write Letter and the letters that allow one to get things off their chest and move on. Letters that you might write to an ex-husband, a deceased friend or relative or a letter you might write to someone who you feel has wronged you.

Although this blog focuses on writing letters and the joy you can bring to another by sending a letter, I hadn't really put much thought into the experience of someone who receives the Hard-to-Write Letter until I received a letter this week that contained a few paragraphs that were Hard-to-Read.

The good thing is that while this letter was in transit, the writer had called me and we had discussed many of the things written in this letter. But once I received the letter and saw the words on paper, I was hit with all kinds of emotions. Perhaps these letters are therapeutic to the writer but not so much to the recipient. I want to be clear that the letter was not a sharing of feelings between the writer and I directly but more of a letter of concern regarding myself and another person. It was the assumptions and the miscommunications that preceded this letter that made my blood boil.  And what does one do with that? I suppose writing a letter back expressing my perspective and clarifying the misconceptions of the situation might have helped. But, honestly, I needed instant resolution and even email wasn't going to cut it.

I picked up the phone and talked with the writer for quite a while and thanked them for the phone call prior to my receiving the letter as I am not sure how I would have reacted had I had no warning of the contents of the letter.  I suppose if one is writing to really "give it to someone" who has wronged them then they're not going to care so much about the recipient's feelings. This was a different scenario but had me considering the importance of how and what I write to someone I care about. The writer of this letter is a dear friend and she meant no harm whatsoever. Her intention was to inform me of a situation that I was supposedly involved in. Had I been made aware of this solely through the letter, it would have been very difficult.

Letters are awesome in most situations but some situations warrant a phone call or a face-to-face conversation, indeed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Year Project

I mentioned a while back that I was seriously considering a 365 project. Basically, there is a whole movement out there celebrating and promoting creativity 365 days of the year. There is even a very inspirational blog and book about the subject. Check it out here. You can purchase the book or visit the blog for ideas on starting your own 365 Project.

I thought that writing a letter every day of the year would not only be very challenging but perhaps therapeutic and cleansing. I suppose I would have to get very creative as far as who I would write to each day as it wouldn't take long to run through my address book. I would begin to receive letters in reply and then answering those letters would count towards the project. The thing is when I put my mind to something or make a decision, I stick to it come hell or high water. That's what scares me about launching something like this. I have a lot on my plate with being the mother of a child with special needs, running a home business, attempting to turn myself into a Pin Up Girl by April 2011 and the myriad of other things that make up one's life. Do I want to add yet another challenge to the mix?

I do write a lot of letters and could easily make a list at the start of each month and then write one letter per day as opposed to five on one day like I would normally do. I would have to spread it out and set aside 20 minutes each day for the letter writing experience. I almost said "letter writing task" but that sounded like it was a chore as opposed to something fulfilling for the soul (both mine and the recipient).

Then I thought I could make it a 260 Day Project and take weekends off but it didn't have the same ring to it. I may do some research on the topic by visiting the blog of someone who actually did the same project this year and is presently on Letter #344. It is a guide blog of sorts and could provide much needed inspiration if I (or you!) decided to embark on such a project.

What do YOU think? Anyone else remotely interested in doing something like this?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Letter Writing and the Environment

I have been wanting to address this topic for some time. After visiting the Letter Writer's Alliance blog, I was motivated to write about it. Thanks, Donovan!

I consider myself to be an environmentalist recycling everything I possibly can, walking instead of driving, washing our clothes on the cold cycle, bringing my own dishes to functions rather than using paper products, etc. One day, while admiring the pile of letters on my kitchen table about to be mailed, it dawned on me that I am buying and using paper for letter writing when perhaps, I could send the same messages via email or phone and save a tree per year. I thought of my dear friends, Val and Stephan of  iD2 Communications who "specialize in the ethical management and production of communications with a focus on sustainability." You will never meet two people more knowledgeable about the impact of our actions, purchases and choices on the environment as Val and Stephan. I wonder what they think of my Letter Writing Revolution. I wonder if they shudder at the thought of more and more paper being used for something so wasteful as letter writing.

If you are concerned about the environment and want to continue letter writing, here are some ideas to continue this hobby while reducing your impact on Mother Earth:
1) Recycle old cards by cutting in half and using as postcards.
2) Take letters/cards that you planned to recycle and instead re-use by making homemade paper to write more letters!
3) Cut up cardboard packaging and create unique, one-of-a-kind mail art.
4) Make sure that what you write is worth saving for years to come :-) Check out the Gardening Nude blog where Shawna writes about staying green while sending out greeting cards."If you think what you are sending is going to be looked at and tossed immediately in the recycling bin, then it is not worth sending."

How do you make letter writing more environmental?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mail For Me

It turned out to be a fluke! I have had mail today and yesterday. I hope to never see that box empty again. Such a disappointment especially now that I am spoiled with regular fun mail.

It is a cold and snowy Friday here in rural Canada. My family is preparing to spend a weekend in a cabin together to celebrate an early family Christmas. My brother and his fiance are travelling from Toronto today, my older sister and her family are coming from south of Ottawa and my younger sister and her family live in close proximity to this cabin. My husband and I cannot spend the entire weekend there due to Meredith's needs but we will join the clan early Saturday morning until late Saturday afternoon.We decided to keep things simple this year and just give some gifts to the children and then give each family a Christmas tree ornament. We had even thought of writing letters to one another in lieu of gifts but when we saw the panic-stricken faces of my husband and brother-in-laws, we decided to go with the ornament idea.

I wish to draw your attention to a couple of blogs I have been introduced to this week. The first one can be found at Sending Petals and is a blog about writing letters although not necessarily handwritten letters. This boy and girl blogging team are in Toronto but travel around to schools in Toronto and Ottawa teaching children about the art of letter writing. The second one is Writing and Scribbling which is a blog dedicated to pens, paper, ink and anything that makes writing enjoyable.The majority of his focus is on writing in journals but his December 9th post deals specifically with letter writing. Both blogs are worth checking out. This Blogger even gave me some tips (no pun intended) on purchasing a good fountain pen to add to my letter writing experience. Thanks, Halden!

I find that Friday posts are always made up of various news and I am looking for a theme for Friday's posts. Something that is catchy and that illustrates the mish-mash of topics/ideas/revelations that tend to be written on Friday. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Post them in the comments below!

I wish all of you a wonderful weekend wherever you may be.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Empty Box

I have apparently grown rather accustomed to receiving mail on a daily basis since starting TLWR. I went to the post office yesterday (one of my favourite parts to a standard day) and was shocked to discover the box was empty. Surely they were behind on the mail sorting being the holidays and all. I went inside to the main office and asked the Post Master if all of the mail had been sorted to which she replied, "Yep." What??????

Since June and even before TLWR, I don't remember ever having an empty mailbox. But there it was. Not a letter. Not a postcard. Not a bill. Not even a flier. I trudged home in the freezing cold Canadian winter wind feeling remarkably let down. The good thing is that I know when I check my mail today, there will certainly be some. Right?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Letters to Meredith

Seven years ago yesterday (December 5th) our daughter, Meredith Ocea, was born to us at 7:23pm. Sadly, at the time of birth, Meredith suffered an abrupt lack of oxygen. She was air lifted to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) soon after her birth and remained there for the first ten weeks of her life. Initially, we thought she would be home within a few days but when she was five days old, she underwent an MRI and we learned that our perfect daughter aquired a severe brain insult from lack of oxygen and would likely have severe cerebral palsy. The following excerpt is from a letter written in those very early days to Meredith by my father before we knew what the future would hold.

Sunday, December 7th 2003
Dear Meredith;

When you arrived on Friday night, you sure made a big impression on me, your Papa. I think you knew that Papa likes to tease so you thought you would start by teasing him first. As I stood there waiting for the ambulance, my heart was racing. Your dad got in the ambulance with you and I followed in my car. As I waited out in the hall I prayed for you and hoped so much that God would hear me............
When your dad brought me in to see you, it was love at first sight. You were so beautiful with your long, black, silky hair, your rosy cheeks and your perfect body. You opened your eyes but when you saw me you squeezed them shut again. I think you wondered, "Who is that funny looking old guy???" 
Papa was 60 years old when he had his first ride in a helicopter but because you were a princess, you got to ride to Ottawa in a helicopter when you were only 5 hours old. When we got to Ottawa, we rushed in to see you again. I swear, even with all the tubes you had in you, you were the prettiest astronaut I had ever seen....................
...........I already have so many plans for you: walking up street for treats, going to the playground, biking in the woods, reading books to you, cuddling you and kissing you good-night.
Sleep tight, my little princess. See you tomorrow.

All my love, hugs and kisses,

Papa with Meredith: December 2003

And this excerpt is from a letter my sister, Stephanie, wrote to her newest niece, a week following her birth.

December 12th 2003

Dear Little Meredith;
One week has passed since the day of your birth! I have learned so much about love, faith, hope, prayer, strength and miracles in these last seven days.....makes me wonder what else you will teach me in the years to come.

We all fell in love with you immediately. Any one of us would have traded places with you in a second, to free you from all the tubes and monitors you needed in those first few days. I spent a lot of time in the CHEO chapel praying and crying, when I wasn't gazing at you through the incubator.

You impressed us daily by performing miracles mini and mighty! Day after day, different tubes were removed, your temperature stabilized, medication doses were decreased, and yawned!! You opened your eyes!! Your dad can hardly take his eyes off of you for a moment.

You are such a fortunate little person, Meredith. Your parents love each other deeply and couldn't be more proud or thrilled to add YOU to their love! You have humbled me. I know now that so many things I used to worry about were not worth the trouble. You have taught me that love and miracles have no limits and that angels can appear in the shape of midwives, paramedics, nurses, doctors and of people we have known our whole lives who are hoping and praying and sending love to us all.  You are celebrated, welcomed and so loved!! We are blessed to have you as the newest branch on our family tree. Some day we will sing silly songs together!

Love Your Aunt Stephanie

Aunt Stephanie and Meredith in the NICU: December 2003

When Meredith was 2 years old, we were told that she likely wouldn't live past the age of 7 or 8. Meredith joyfully celebrated her 7th birthday yesterday with her cousins and friends dancing around her making her laugh, singing, a Nemo birthday cake and most of all the people who were with her on the day she was born. Although, she will never comprehend the words so eloquently and lovingly put to paper by her Aunt Stephanie and her Papa at the time of her birth, we know that she has always felt the love that surrounds her and has always known on some level how much she was wanted, how grateful we are that she was born into our family just as she was and that we never take the moments, days, weeks, months and years we have with her for granted as we know our time together is limited.
 Happy 7th Birthday, Moodie, my love! You've come a long way, baby!

Our little family: Spring 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mission Accomplished

I have managed to write my Christmas cards for the first time in many years. I wrote a card to 99% of those who are listed in my address book. If I know you well and you don't get a Christmas card from me, do not take it personally. I simply didn't have your snail mail address. I am looking forward to dropping them all into the mailbox the day following our daughter's birthday.

I enjoyed the task of writing personalized notes and inserting a family photo into each one (unless I see you regularly or thought it weird to send you a family photo). I created a morning ritual of lighting candles on the kitchen table, pouring myself a large mug of coffee and then gradually working my way through my address book.There is something so satisfying about making personal contact with those whom you may have been out-of-touch with for some time. This time of year is a perfect opportunity to rekindle those lost relationships. Write a card. Write a letter. Pick up the phone.

I have already received my first Christmas greeting. My Aunt Marilyn sends her cards out before she leaves for her winter getaway in Florida. I am sure that we will all be getting more mail than usual in the coming weeks.

As an aside......

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, you may also enjoy my brand new (launched last night!) blog which is totally unrelated to letter writing. You can find it at

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome Home Cpl Ashwood

I received an unexpected letter today from "my" soldier with the patch he promised me. I had been wondering how he was and if he had made it home yet. Although the letter was mailed at the end of October, I just received it today and from what he tells me, he should be back on Canadian soil within the week! I wanted to share a portion of his letter with all of you as it was very touching and made me smile:

"I am glad that people from your revolution have written soldiers and hope they (the soldiers) have written back but it was my pleasure to answer the two that came my way. It brightens the heart and soul when we know we are not only remembered when the hearse is being driven down the highway of heroes but all of the time. I thank you and everyone else for their support and wishes."

Here is a photo of the patch Cpl Ashwood sent:

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Letter to a Soldier challenge. You can still write to a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan if you want to. Write to:

A Canadian Soldier
Kandahar, Afghanistan
PO Box 5058 Stn Forces
Belleville ON
K8N 5W6

I know your letter will be appreciated.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

'Tis the Season

As we near the end of November, it is apparent that in no time at all, Christmas will be upon us. Since I was raised in an Irish Catholic home, we celebrate Christmas although I am aware that this season brings with it  various holidays and holy days. With all due respect to all of the upcoming religious celebrations around the world, I will focus on the one that I am familiar with personally which is Christmas.

I have been known to sporadically send out Christmas cards depending on what is going in my life at this time of year. In 2003, I gave birth to our only child and since she was very sick, we spent that first Christmas at The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). I did not send out cards that year for obvious reasons.
A visit from Santa in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit
at CHEO December 2003

The Christmas' that followed were affected by what was going on with our daughter. I did my best to get some cards out and would also throw in the token Christmas update of all that had gone in within our lives in the previous year. I also enjoyed receiving Christmas cards as it was the only time of the year that fun mail arrived. I have to be honest, though, I never cared for Christmas cards that simply had the person's name signed on it. This seemed to be a waste, to some degree, of paper and stamps. If a card had one personal line written to us, it was appreciated. With that said, the mass mail out Christmas letters were enjoyed as well even though I knew it wasn't written specifically for me or our family. At least it had  personal news and updates and not just a Hallmark greeting.

Since I created The Letter Writing Revolution and so far we are having a relatively uneventful few months (shouldn't have said that outloud!), I plan to get writing some Christmas cards now in preparation of mailing in the next couple of weeks. I also intend on writing a personal letter/note in every single one. Our daughter's birthday lands on December 5th so we do not do anything about Christmas until her birthday is over. After that celebration, I usually take a few days before I can even think about Christmas trees and decorations. This usually leaves me scrambling around December 15th and wondering if I should even bother at that point.

What do you do as far as Christmas greetings are concerned (assuming you celebrate Christmas)? Do you write up a Christmas letter to enclose in your cards? Do you even bother with mailing out cards? Are they store bought or homemade?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Letter To God

I share the following as it made me laugh but also as a gentle reminder to never assume anything. For a realistic account of the job of the postal worker, go here and here. Enjoy~

There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses. One day, a letter came addressed in a shaky handwriting to God with no actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about. The letter read:

Dear God,
I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension payment. Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no family to turn to and you are my only hope.. Can you please help me?


The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few dollars. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman.For the rest of the day, all of the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends. Christmas came and went. A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady to God. All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened. It read:

Dear God,

How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. By the way, there was $4 missing. I think it might have been those bastards at the post office.


Monday, November 15, 2010

NYC Photos Relating to TLWR

I suppose it is time for me to move on from NYC. I will spend many moments daydreaming about this trip that I had been imagining for many, many years. As I walked around this great city, I took the following shots for my blog readers.

US Postal boxes in the downtown area

The following three shots are of the main post office in NYC. It is an incredible building about to become the new Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station) and will no longer be used as a post office.

And finally, a NYC cab and another US Postal box on Park Avenue.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Remembrance

In 1990, I travelled to Europe with my older sister for a back packing excursion. A highlight of this trip was our visit to Belgium and taking a small bus tour of the various war memorials, gravesites as well as the hospital (a makeshift shelter built into the side of a hill) where Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918), wrote the now famous poem "In Flander's Fields." Today is November 11th and the day that we remember all of the men and women who have served (and are serving) our country and who have made sacrifices including their emotional and physical health and even their lives. Please read the post A Letter to a Soldier and offer a moment of silence today in remembrance.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Poppies growing in Ypres cemetery.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Letters in a Time of Tragedy

In 2001, my husband and I had recently moved back to Ontario from British Columbia. We were renting a basement apartment in the country near the city of Ottawa while we decided where we wanted to buy our first home and settle down.

On the morning of September 11th 2001, he went to work as usual and I watched a bit of the news while eating my breakfast before going to work in my studio which was essentially the second bedroom of the apartment. I left the television on although muted it. I recall going into the livingroom and kitchen periodically and noticing the television but didn't give it much thought. I assumed it was a movie or something that was playing. It didn't register that it was live news. The phone rang around 9am and my sister asked me if I had the television on. She was home and not working as her second child was due within a month or so. We both watched in horror, moments later, as the second plane flew into the second WTC tower. Soon, my husband, who worked at a news station, called me to say he wasn't sure when he would get home. At that point, no one was sure what was happening. Would other major cities be targeted? At the time, my husband worked in the capital city of Canada. 9/11 is one of those events that each one of us remembers exactly what we were doing and where we were on that morning.

A part of my journey to NYC was to visit Ground Zero. After going into the American Express building and standing in front of a glass wall which overlooks the former WTC tower site, my dad and I ditched the tour and made our way across to St. Paul's Chapel. This small chapel built in 1766 stands in the middle of giant skyscrapers in downtown New York City. The chapel's backyard, which is also a small cemetary, backs onto Church Street. Across Church Street is Ground Zero. When the various explosions occurred and eventually when the towers came down on 9/11, the windows of the surrounding buildings, within a mile and a half radius, shattered. The windows of this church remained intact and the church was spared from destruction. It is believed that the ancient windows contain so much lead in the original glass that they withstood the powerful fall of the WTC towers.

Ground Zero where building has begun again. In the upper left corner you can see a clump of trees and the
steeple of St. Paul's Chapel emerging from the trees.

Ground Zero and St. Paul's Chapel in the background.
 Immediately following the attacks until May 2002, St. Paul's Chapel was home to an extraordinary round-the-clock volunteer relief ministry for recovery workers at Ground Zero. Approximately 14, 000 volunteers offered their assistance to those who were involved in the recovery effort. There were meals, cots, prayer services, counsel and even professionals like Registered Massage Therapists, Chiropractors and Podiatrists volunteered their time and skill to look after all of the needs of the recovery crews. It was a place of refuge.....a sacred space where hundreds of recovery workers could rest, obtain medical attention and support.

When you arrive at St. Paul's Chapel, you can follow a display that is on the front steps that briefly describes the volunteer ministry and the events of 9/11 from the time the first tower was hit until the relief ministry drew to a close in May 2002. The exhibit is called Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero. The majority of the exhibit is displayed inside the Chapel. Most of the pews have been removed to make space for the mementos and the exhibit. A dusty fire fighter's uniform and boots are casually draped over George Washington's pew. Each day at 12:30 pm there is a Prayers for Peace service in the centre of the chapel. Holy Eucharist is offered every Sunday at 8am and 10am.

What struck me was the incredible amount of hand written cards and letters which were sent in the days, weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks. Each letter and card is there displayed......hundreds of them. I was not allowed to take photographs within the chapel but took the following photo from the display outside the chapel.
It was very moving and very emotional to stand where such tragedy took place on September 11th 2001.
The following poem was written by J. Chester Johnson and I want to share it here with you:

St. Paul's Chapel

It stood. Not a window broken. Not a stone dislodged.
It stood when nothing else did.
It stood when terrorists brought September down.
It stood among myths. It stood among ruins.

To stand was its purpose, long lines prove that.
It stands, and around it now, a shrine of letters, poems, acrostics, litter of the heart.
It is the standing people want:
To grieve, serve and tend
celebrate the lasting stone of St. Paul's Chapel.

And deep into its thick breath, the largest banner
fittingly from Oklahoma climbs heavenward
with hands as stars, and stripes, hands as a flag;
and a rescuer reaches for a stuffed toy
to collect a touch;
and George Washington's pew doesn't go unused.

Charity fills a hole or two.

It stood in place of other sorts.
It stood when nothing else could.
The great had fallen, as the brute hardware came down.

It stood.

~ J. Chester Johnson

That afternoon, dad and I walked to Central Park and visited Strawberry Fields. I pulled the following excerpt from the Central Park website:
"Located near Central Park West between 71st and 74th Streets, Strawberry Fields is a 2.5 acre area of Central Park that pays tribute to the late Beatle, John Lennon, singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist. John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono lived in the Dakota Apartments adjacently located to this area of the park. It was here, walking into his home, on December 8, 1980, that John Lennon was murdered and shot dead. To commemorate his life, talents and memory, on March 26, 1981, City Council Member Henry J. Stern designated this area, the couple's favorite in Central Park, as Strawberry Fields. Named after the title of the Beatles' song "Strawberry Fields Forever," the teardrop shaped region was re-landscaped by the Central Park Conservancy with the help of landscape architect Bruce Kelley and a generous $1 million donation from Yoko Ono.
The iconic black and white Imagine mosaic, designed by a team of artists from the Italian city of Naples, lies in the center of Strawberry Fields. Named after another famous song by John Lennon, "Imagine" evokes a vision and hope for a world without strife, war and conflict."

"Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace..."

~ John Lennon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Desperately Seeking Kate

I have recently returned from New York City. It is difficult to describe this magnificent city in only a few words. If you have had the opportunity to experience NYC, then you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven't, I would suggest you grab a pen and add this destination to your "bucket list." I have thought about it over and over since my return on Sunday evening and I am not sure what it was exactly that mesmerized me but I think it is simply the energy, vibe and pulse of this place. I have wanted to visit New York since I was a child and dreamed of growing up to be an actress. My dad always said he would take me one day. After some glitches with my dad's health in the past year and my 40th birthday approaching, we decided to just do it......seize the day!
Dad and I in Central Park

On the Brooklyn Bridge
One of the many things I wished to accomplish in my short stay was to visit Kate's Paperie. It was recommended to me by Gary at Paper/Papier in Ottawa. I did a quick search online before I left and by Saturday morning, my dad and I were heading up West Broadway from Canal Street in search of 561 W. Broadway. When we reached the end of the street, we back tracked but we could not find Kate's Paperie. Finally, I went into a coffee shop and asked if anyone knew where this shop might be. One of the young men working behind the counter took out his Blackberry and discovered that this location no longer existed. The nearest one was in West Greenwich Village at 8 West 13th Street. So,we were off again and in less than 15 minutes, we found the tell tale logo for Kate's Paperie.

I was so excited to shop here and find some unique stationery. It was really the only shopping I was interested in doing in NYC. I panic in a clothing store but throw me into a stationery or shoe store, and I can be occupied for hours. After looking through cards, box sets, ribbons and NYC themed stationery, I came upon some very beautiful Christmas tree ornaments (which I cannot describe here as they will be gifts for my family members).

A couple of shots of the inside of Kate's Paperie.
I approached one of the young women who was working and asked if she could package the ornaments so that I could safely bring them home to Ottawa. She looked at me and said, "Are you from Ottawa? I'm from Ottawa!!!" To which I replied, "Yes, we are...sort of." Then she explained that she was actually from a small town outside of Ottawa which I probably hadn't heard of. It turns out she grew up in Fitzroy Harbour, a small community which is a mere 40-minute drive from our hometown of Cobden. What are the chances? I can only imagine how excited she was to see people from her home especially when her new home is shared with about 8 million people. She has been in NYC for the past year and a half studying acting......a common career choice for those living in NYC. I call that little encounter serendipity. I shared TLWR blog with Kaylah (the woman from Fitzroy Harbour) and her co-worker, whose name has escaped me, and asked them to pass it along to all of the letter writers in NYC.
Posing with Kate's Paperie staff . The woman to my right is from New Jersey and
the woman to my left is Kaylah, the Ottawa valley girl..........."Just a small town girl in the city lights.........."
If you happen to be in NYC and you want to check out Kate's Paperie, you can find them at four locations in Manhattan. And for those of you living outside of NYC or if a trip is not in your plans anytime soon, Kate's will ship internationally so feel free to browse the site and do some online shopping.

Next time I will do more research as I learned too late that there are many fine stationery shops in New York. This will not be my one and only trip to the "Big Apple" so I will have more chances to explore next time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Letter To A Soldier Part 2

I have returned from the city that never sleeps!!!! What an incredible journey I have had. In the days to come, I will share letter-writing related posts about my trip to glorious NYC.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a message from our soldier, Kris, who distributed all of the letters that were sent to Afghanistan by followers/readers of TLWR. Kris sent this message to our mutual friend and she passed it over to me. Thanks, Cathy! Here it is:

"I have been getting quite a few letters from the people from the blog. We have been really busy since I got back and short staffed because a lot of the troops went on holidays at the same time. I have a letter to write back to and I intend on getting that out as soon as possible. The boys (and girls) here do try their best to write back to them all but sometimes it isn't that easy. They all mean well though.

I spoke to a postal guy today and he says that if you send the letters to 'A Canadian Soldier' as the person they will reach someone. The posties throw those letters in with various unit mail and they get distributed. The Sergeant's Majors try to make sure that they all get answered. The address would be:
A Canadian Soldier
Kandahar, Afghanistan
PO Box 5058 Stn Forces
Belleville ON
K8N 5W6
You can let her (Julie) know that of all the letters were very appreciated. Some were really short and some were REALLY long and all were worth reading. Each person who took the time to write had the same sentiments about us and the war. They all told a little (and some a lot) about themselves. Everyone of them made mention of the 'Letter Writing Campaign' from the blog."

If you haven't written to a Canadian soldier and wish to, write to the above address. If you didn't hear back from YOUR soldier that you originally wrote to, please know that your letter was appreciated and consider writing to another soldier. Remember the goal is to brighten a soldier's day. Let them know we are thinking of them here and that their efforts have not gone unrecognized.

That's it for today....more about NYC momentarily.........

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Start Spreading the News.....

Back in June when I started The Letter Writing Revolution, I was receiving about two letters per year in the mail (not including the onslaught of Christmas greetings in late November/early December). I remember the moment that the idea of TLWR came to me. I was with my friend, Em, and we stopped at the post office to pick up my mail. A letter had arrived from my one friend who still sent the odd letter/postcard via snail mail. I knew then that my blog would be about letter writing.

Fast forward four months and now each day when I open my mail box, there is at least one piece of fun mail.........tossed in with the bills and junk are colourful envelopes and unique postcards coming from all over the world and many from people whom I do not know. This past Thursday, I set aside an hour and a half to get caught up on my replies and after mailing seven letters, I opened my mailbox to discover two more! How wonderful and satisfying to think that the revolution is slowly growing even if it is within my world only :-)

A sampling of mail I have received since the beginning of TLWR!

I was reading on another blog  about the fact that some post offices in the world no longer sell just stamps but have become convenience stores as well as post offices. As well, some of the comments described the fact that some shops that used to sell postage stamps no longer do so as the demand has decreased significantly for them. Perhaps we should all try the 365 letters in 365 days project or maybe even 52 letters in 52 weeks if that feels more do-able. Maybe if everyone who writes letters took on a project of this magnitude, a revolution would truly happen.

I am heading for a wee vacation this week to New York City. It has been a childhood dream to travel to NYC and experience life in downtown Manhatten. My father always told me that one day he would take me there. As I approach 40 years of age, I decided that the time was now. I will travel with my dad and return on Sunday, October 31st. I will post again in the first week of November after my holiday.

This timely article was in the paper this weekend.
Not sure why my photo won't rotate.

I have been off of Facebook for almost three weeks. I checked in at the one week mark and then again about three days after that. As I have decreased my FB time, the mail I am receiving has increased. I do feel more connected to people and less overwhelmed by the goings-on of Facebook. At this point, I have decided to keep my profile as well as my two business pages. I do believe that Facebook is an excellent venue for advertising upcoming events/workshops, etc. especially with my businesses. I also like to post photos and links occasionally. I am slowly going through my 326 Friends list and deleting some of those who are really not close friends. In fact, many of them aren't even aquaintances. Finally, I have given up the 15+ times of checking in FB daily and reading other's status updates/newsfeed. I suppose this is a happy medium and one that is comfortable for me. Stepping away and freeing up that time has been liberating. Having it  available to post things that need to reach a lot of people in a short amount of time is beneficial to my work. I plan to check in once per week to change my status update, check my business pages and look at photos of my friends that may have been posted. Other than that, I have given it up.

Keep writing and sending those letters and who knows, you may be getting one from me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TLWR Day Excursion~ You Are Invited!

Many of you commented on my post about my 2nd field trip which was a visit to Paper/Papier in the Byward Market. I am getting the urge to make another visit to see what new things have come in since my last journey there. I hope to make a trip in the next few weeks and I thought that you (and you and you!) might want to join me on this excursion~ a shopping trip made up of followers and friends of TLWR!

Perhaps, you do not get to the Byward Market very often or maybe you just hate the thought of driving to the heart of downtown Ottawa. Well, this is your chance to visit an amazing stationery shop, stock up on letter writing supplies, buy a new fountain pen or some funky cards and maybe share a cup of coffee or tea in a hip coffee house nearby after our shopping spree. Now, I am not expecting The Gingerbread Lady, Kaz, Jenni in Edmonton, Missive Maven (to name a few) or any of TLWR followers who live in far more exotic places than rural Ontario, Canada to join us but we really wish you could..........

Does this interest anyone? I am thinking of a Tuesday or a Thursday. I am sure we can carpool from the west end of Ottawa and travel together downtown. All you have to do is let me know if this is of interest to you and we will make a plan. Send me an email to and let me know if you want to join me on this excursion. I hope you can ..........I know that two of my followers live in the Kars region so maybe you two can travel in together.

I am thinking Thursday, November 4th as a possibility.

Let's make it happen.

And The Winner Is...........

After visiting and entering the numbers 1 to 32 and then pressing the "generate" button, I was given the number 25. The WINNER of the personalized letter writing kit is:

Ange: Please email me at with your favourite colour schemes, interests and your full name and address. Your gift will be sent to you via snail mail momentarily.

Thank you to everyone who left comments and became followers. Keep up the letter writing and watch for more giveaways in the coming weeks!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Field Trip #3: Blessed Be The Letter Carrier Part 1

"We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride. And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever."
~ US Postal Service Creed (provided by TLWR follower, Celine)

Did You Know That Canada Post:
  • is the employer of more than 72,000 Canadians (Full and Part-time employees)?
  • delivers more than 11 billion letters and packages to 31 million Canadians and over one million business and public institutions?
  • has 6,600 post offices (of which 3,000 are managed by the private sector) and more than 17,000 stamp shops?
  • has more than 900,000 points of entry?
  • has in excess of 6,000 vehicles, which makes it one of the largest fleets in Canada. In addition, Canada Post has two DC-10s which fly across Canada everyday?
  • has one of the largest transportation networks in the country with letters and parcels travelling on more than 36,000 intercity trucks every year?
  • contributes more than $2 billion annually to the Canadian economy?
Something else you probably didn't know is that I have always thought that an awesome job would be that of Letter Carrier or what used to me known as The Postman. Since women deliver mail along with men, the term "Letter Carrier" is more politically correct and accurate, I suppose. In Ottawa, it is estimated that 30% of Letter Carriers are women and the rest are men.

After my tour of the Ottawa Mail Processing Plant (OMPP), I decided that I would like an even closer look at the journey of the letter and so I asked if I could job shadow a Canada Post Letter Carrier for a day. Lisa Dupuis, a Canada Post employee for the past 8.5 years, approached her Superiors with the idea. After some time, permission was granted and we picked the day (Thursday, October 7th). As I mentioned in my OMPP Tour report, Canada Post is a high security corporation. Although Lisa wanted me to join her at 7am at the OMPP to physically sort the mail and prepare the mail bags, the powers-that-be would not let me back into the plant for security reasons and so we made arrangements to meet at the start of her route in an area of the city known as The Glebe......a hip/trendy/somewhat wealthier neighbourhood of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Lisa has been working this route for the past year and a half. Routes are measured on distance and mail volume. It is quite a process and there are many factors involved. A mathematical equation determines the amount of time it should take to complete a route. This equation looks at your pace in which you sort and walk. Every little thing is counted......every stair, every door, every piece of mail. The routes change every 3-5 years to accommodate for growth or shrinkage.

I was told to wear comfortable shoes and to be prepared to walk......a lot. I was pretty excited especially when the forecast called for sunshine and 15 degrees. A perfect autumn day in Ontario. Lisa completed a couple of blocks prior to meeting me but I essentially accompanied her on the entire route. We started by going to a locked, grey mailbox located on a street corner which was loaded with four canvas mailbags. Each individual mailbag was filled with the pre-sorted mail from the earlier portion of Lisa's shift. She thought that I should wear the mail bag and actually experience it firsthand and allowed me to do the first short street. The bag weighed around 15 lbs, perhaps, and had two pockets with bundles of mail in each. Lisa adjusted the straps and made sure I was comfortable. Canda Postal Workers have pretty strict guidelines on worker safety and injury prevention.

Lisa Dupuis, Canada Post Letter Carrier
Ottawa, ON

Loaded up like a pack horse with the mail

I have to say, I felt really excited about getting to do the job even if it was only for one shift. I have always thought it to be a fairly positive job for several reasons. One is that you get your exercise in while working and so scheduling time for working out is no longer necessary. Two, you are working relatively independently and so while on your route you are not having to deal with a boss or gossipy co-workers. Granted it is extra convenient if you work in a "good" neighbourhood as opposed to the trashy/rough side of town. Three, you can get the one thing I have always longed for......tanned legs. You are allowed to wear shorts in the summer and warm weather. There are down sides to every job/career and this is also the case for Letter Carriers. I will get to those in a moment.

I learned very quickly that movement is standing on a customer's porch picking through the mail to see where you are going next and what letter belongs where. Always moving, always moving. But you must watch where you are going to prevent falling down the stairs, slipping on damp leaves, tripping over a rock or walking into a tree while sorting mail. There is indeed a skill involved in making the mail delivery efficient and smooth.
That's me actually delivering mail! C-O-O-L.....
This yard was so beautiful with the leaves, I had to have a photo!

I, apparently, lacked in those attributes as upon our return to the grey box for another load of mail, Lisa happily strapped on the mail bags and suggested that I observe while she delivered the mail to the businesses that are a part of her route.

I found it interesting to be in a city and yet so many people knew her. She would say. "Hello!" and then quietly tell me that he or she was a customer on her route. While she was getting more mail from the grey box, a man approached us who looked somewhat destitute and asked so politely if the GST cheques were in this day to which Lisa replied, "Yes, they are being delivered today." He seemed very relieved. For those of you who live outside of Canada, the GST/HST (Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax) program issues payments to Canadians with low and modest incomes to help offset all or part of the GST/HST they pay on the purchase of goods and services. My point with this illustration is that the Letter Carrier is such an important, trusted and constant fixture in the neighbourhood and community.

 I was grateful that the sun was shining and the breeze was cool. I have been a bit lazy in the exercise department and I was certainly feeling it on this day walking alongside Lisa observing the mail delivery. Again, I really think that having a job that forces you to walk for three hours or more per day is ideal.

Canada Post Letter Carrier in action!
Lisa has some interaction with her customers. A few of the letters required a signature before delivery and of course, anyone who was outside raking the leaves or doing autumn renovations, stopped for a moment to say, "Hello." As the bag was emptied and we filled up one last time, I was a bit relieved that the end was in sight. My legs were tired and I felt like having a nap. I asked Lisa if she had ever calculated how far she walked in one day and she told me that on average, she hits about 500-600 points of call (addresses), delivers approximately 10,000 pieces of mail and walks about 16km!!! Unbelievable!!

Lisa receiving a signature from one of her customers (by the way,
this customer gave me permission to take and use this photo in this blog).

Some of you live in small towns or out in the country and do not have this mail delivery service. For those of you in rural places, your mail may be delivered to your mailbox at the end of your laneway via car/truck. I walk to our town post office to get my mail from a post office box. If you live in a city and have door-to-door mail delivery service, there are some things you can do to keep your Letter Carrier happy and safe. Please consider the following:

  • Keep the walkway from the sidewalk to your mailbox clear of ice and snow. Clear it before you leave for work so that the Letter Carrier can deliver your mail safely during the day while you are away.
  • Use salt to keep the stairs free of ice.
  • Make sure that the icicles are cleared overhead. They are extremely dangerous.

  • Dogs should be kept where there is no chance of them getting at the Letter Carrier.
  • If your storm door is open, make sure that your screen door is locked, so your dog cannot push it open and that the screen is closed enough that your dog cannot come through it.
  • Make sure that if you keep your dog in your backyard and that the gate cannot be opened. Make sure that the fence is in good repair.
And a couple of more tips:
  • If you have painted stairs, put a carpet down. Wet painted stairs are incredibly dangerous.

    An example of a safe staircase.
  • Make sure your mailbox accommodates the type of mail you receive (ie. if you get a lot of magazines, you should probably have a bigger mailbox). Your mailbox should also be at a good height. The Letter Carrier's bags are not designed to allow for bending downwards.

Lisa having to bend down with her mail bag to place the mail
in the wooden box set out by the customer.
The difference between delivery in the summer as opposed to the winter is significant and not for obvious reasons (snow, ice, cold vrs. dry, sun, warm). Lisa says that the volume of mail is almost doubled in winter due to holiday catalogues and fliers and of course the increase in snail mail with the annual sending of Christmas/holiday greetings. This added volume of mail can add an additional 1-2 hours onto your route. The greatest seasonal hazards of the job are simple: dogs in summer and ice/snow in the winter. If you have the privilege of having your mail personally delivered, be aware of all of these things and be kind to your Letter Carrier as well. Keep him/her safe so that they can continue to do their job.

A re-enactment of what can happen if your property is unsafe
and hazardous to your Letter Carrier!!
I asked Lisa if she had any interesting stories to share and she told me the following:

"I found a lost dog and after knocking on all the doors in the area with no luck, I put him in my mail bag and finished my route. It was pretty cute. I walked him to his Vet's office, which was identified on his dog tags and he was reunited with his family later that night."

Job shadowing Lisa was a great experience. Originally when I asked Lisa if I could come along for a day, she agreed BUT there was a catch.................I also had to promise that I would return in the dead of winter to experience mail delivery in the blowing snow/ice and minus 25 degree Celcius weather. Of course, I have given her my word. Watch for Part 2 of "Blessed Be The Letter Carrier" coming to you this February!

A final photo Lisa,  Letter Carrier: