Letter writing al fresco

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Perfection…

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Slow Down

I just watched a TED talk by Carl Honore about slowing down.

I recently read Brigid Schulte’s Overwhelmed: work, love and play when no one has the time.

I’ve participated in the National Day of Unplugging.

I reaffirmed the virtues and power of being an introvert while reading Quiet by Susan Cain.

I’ve read about research that shows we are actually more productive when we have reasonable work days and weeks.

And I very much enjoyed Vi Hart‘s most recent Crazy Snail video about wondering whether we should just keep climbing things. (If you are into snails singing songs, see this one which is a bit less depressing!)

Which of course reminded me of one of my favorite books, Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus about how pushing against societal expectations to “just keep climbing” and instead slowing down and looking internally can help you become the being you want to be.

As you can see, I have worked hard at figuring out how and why I should slow down–and how to feel like I’m allowed to do so.

But I’m writing this as other pressing work deadlines push me to distraction.  In fact, I think it’s this feeling that led me to write this.  Slowing down, taking time, daydreaming and making space for creativity and wonder are necessary.  But at times pushing against expectations from family, work, and culture can make this difficult.  Slowing down, for me, remains a work in progress, a practice I must return to over and over as I fail time and again to allow myself these necessary pleasures.

But there have been successes!  This summer I have found that my most treasured moments are those when I let myself completely *be* in the present–sitting on my deck and listening to the breeze, savoring a meal by candlelight with my partner, writing letters to share tiny details, watching a nesting bird, seeking ever-smaller seashells and then nestling them neatly together, digging potatos with my dad, or chatting with a curious dragonfly.

These are the thoughts that swirl through my mind as I realize that my local stationery shop has closed (well, it moved to Durham, which essentially leaves Chapel Hill without a shop!) and leaves me wondering what else we will lose as a culture if we don’t collectively take time to slow down and reconnect with one another and our selves in ways that do not require a screen to serve as the intermediary.

So I am reaching through a screen to you.

I am writing these thoughts–though they are nothing new in a world that has been encouraging meditation for thousands of years–as a bit of encouragement for anyone seeking a “reason” to step back, draw inward or sit still.

You’re grown. You’re allowed.  And you’ll be better off for it.

To help your mind wander, here are a few photos I captured this summer while I was letting my mind wander. Looking closely helps me filter the rest of the world out.  How do you slow down?

grass shells Moth weed bouquet and canned tomatoes spiky bug

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Stamps Commemorating UK Children’s Shows

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When I was in London earlier this year, I visited the post office (of course!). There I learned that the UK does not release many commemorative stamps. The only ones they had were these stamps featuring characters from children’s television.

My favorite? Postman Pat (of course!).

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Postal Wine

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This seemed an appropriate wine for a postal enthusiast to enjoy. Delish!

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Happy Fourth of July!!!

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Stationery Week AND the start of Card & Letter Writing Month

How time flies!  Here we are again, with national stationery week (in Britain) and April being National Card and Letter Writing Month in the U.S.  Both wonderful reasons to celebrate!

I hope you send cards and handwritten letters year round, but if the beautiful spring weather has you feeling hopeful and energetic, maybe it can boost your letter-writing rate this month.  Go outside and write (one of my favorite ways to enjoy the sunshine) and don’t forget to share the joys of letter writing with your friends and family who may not remember how wonderful it is!

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Post – flu Writing Spree

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Got out of my flu-funk by responding to my letter back log. Feels so good to send this postal yumminess out into the world!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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In honor of this day commemorating love, I wanted to share the images on these cards I have from the 70s.  They have that fun plastic covering on them that makes them shiny!

I hope you all spend this day and every day feeling loved!

 

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Snail Mail Birthday Presents

I met a friend during my recent trip to London and after a delicious meal of tapas at Navarro’s (highly recommended if you find yourself in London), she gave me the most perfect birthday gift.  Well, perfect for me, a lover of snail mail, because she gave me a letter opener!

Of course, this isn’t just any letter opener.  First, it is brassy, simple and elegant, with ruler markings to help with mail- and paper-art measurements.  Second  it came in a cool package that said “Long Live Snail Mail”!

wpid-20140201_125854.jpgThe best part is that on one side it says (as you see above) “Follow The Rules,” but on the other side it says:

wpid-20140201_125908.jpgSo now I can decide if I feel prim or saucy before I open my correspondence. Thank you so much Eileen!

P.S. For those of you who’d like one for yourself, she bought it at Anthropologie.  It looks like it is no longer available. But they have other divine letter openers if you have a hankering for one.

P.P.S.  As I have done with other travel-related posts, I’m going to share a touristy photo at the end of my posts.  Here is one of the London Eye from the Westminster Bridge.

wpid-20140121_153832.jpgIt was a beautiful day and my sister and I took a ride up inside the Eye.  Wow! What a way to see the city!

 

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InCoWriMo

It’s International Correspondence Writing Month (according to these folks who call letter writing “vintage social media”), so participate if you’d like!  InCoWriMo simply encourages people to post at least one letter or postcard a day for each day in February.

You can do that, right?

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