Coffeegirl63's Blog

Writing Letters the Old-Fashioned Way October 23, 2011

Filed under: Friends,Introspection,Writing — coffeegirl63 @ 9:02 pm

I’m just curious about something and hope to hear some feedback from you. (But if I don’t get any feedback… well, you’ll see.)

Do people write personal letters any more? I do, but it seems since Facebook status and texting has taken over so many forms of communication, few people write what I think of as “real” letters any more. Before texting, people who missed each other, or just enjoyed each other’s company on a personal level, used to email each other or talk to each other on the phone. Before we had cell phones with free long distance, phone calls were usually purposeful and fairly short. In the days of expensive long-distance calls, and before that, we wrote letters using a pen and paper.

When my sister’s fiancé at the time (now husband) was in Air Force Basic Training, she wrote to him every day. She always sprayed the letter with perfume and mailed it in a purple envelope with a lipstick kiss where she sealed it closed. Every day at mail call, when the other airmen saw that purple envelope, they’d smell it as it was passed back to my brother-in-law. I think those are important memories. People always saved love letters.

Sometimes, I still write letters the old-fashioned way: with pen and paper. I just think there is something about seeing a letter mixed in with all the bills and the junk that elicits a smile. I don’t write nearly as many pen-and-paper letters as I wish I did. Most of my letter writing is in the form of personal emails.

What’s difficult is that most of the letters I write (whether pen-and-paper or email) go unanswered. Sometimes that means I just don’t get a letter back, sometimes (with email) there is a response, but not to anything I’ve said or asked. Now, I understand that I tend to be a bit “particular” (some would say peculiar) in the way I live my life. When I get an email (I can’t remember the last time I got a letter), I tend to reply item by item. It seems to me that if someone asked questions or took the time to tell me specific details about his or her life, that person would like a response on those questions/details. Am I wrong or over analyzing?

My challenge: Many times in my letter writing, I struggle with things to say. I mean, there is always something to talk about, but what do I say without asking questions, without having anything to say in response to someone else? Do you ever struggle with this? How do you handle it? Sometimes I write away ignoring that fact that there will be no reply. I ask questions. I talk about what I’ve done that day or that week. Unfortunately, that can make me feel like I’m talking to myself, and that just makes me question my sanity. Sometimes, usually just in the emails, I ask question I genuinely want, or even need, the answer to. Do I send another email with just the one question, hoping the recipient will respond?

Another question: When sending a letter or email to a loved one, what do you use for a closing? Very few people even use a closing any more. When I write to my kids, I usually sign, “I love you, Mommy” or “I love you soooooooo much, Mommy” or “I love you, Mama” or “I love you, Mama Bear.” (I know, but they’ll always be my babies, so can’t I always be their mommy, at least in writing? Anyway, they’ve never told me to knock it off.) Some emails (when writing to my boyfriend, who doesn’t live in CO), I sign, “Your… Joni” or “Missing you… Joni” or “Anticipating seeing you in however many days… Joni” or something like that. When I write notes to my parents, I usually just sign it, “Your favorite” because I know it’s true. 😉

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Do you have, or have you had, any experience with writing letters or personal emails? Do you think this post will have any influence on your future correspondence?

Please let me hear from you.

Affectionately yours,


What Stirs Your Heart? October 17, 2011

Filed under: Busyness,Introspection,My kids,Relationships,Times with My Family — coffeegirl63 @ 9:40 pm

I apologize for the long absence. Shortly after I wrote last, I went on 4 trips over the course of a few weeks. And then I got busy at work–partly catching up from being away, and partly because this is about when work gets busy for me anyway.

This evening, I had an experience that stirred my heart so deeply that it started me thinking about the phenomenon of how a heart is stirred. My first thought, when I have introspective moments, is to process through writing.

Recently, I have been trying some new things. I was in Keystone, CO, for a Human Resources conference the last few days of September. Before I went, I had decided that I wanted to go on a hike when I was there. This may seem rather commonplace for many of you, and I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been hiking before. However… I had never hiked by myself before! Weird, right? Here I am, 48 years old, and I’d never gone on a hike by myself. There have been very few things that I have done alone. But I’ve been changing that. Granted, I didn’t want to just head out on my own and find myself so deeply in the mountains that I’d be wandering there still. I got suggestions from the conference center in Keystone, and I texted someone from the trailhead to let him know where I would be. The beauty of nature stirs my heart. There are times, when I’m getting ready for work in the morning and I see the sunrise out my East-facing windows, that I’ll say something like, “Oh, that’s good one! Thank you!!” The first time I said that, I wondered if it was disrespectful… too familiar, or something. But I wasn’t being disrespectful or flippant. To see something as amazing as the sunrise with all its colors and textures elicited an instant response of awe in the only One Who could create something so beautiful, and then graciously give me the privilege of getting to see it. Here are a couple examples:   and here are a couple pictures from my hike:         I know there are a lot of pictures there, but I couldn’t decide. I have heard people say they don’t believe in God because they can’t prove God exists. When I see things like this, I can’t doubt His existence. The beauty of nature stirs my heart.

Some music stirs my heart. Les Miserable (but only the Royal Albert Music Hall, 10th Anniversary version–here’s a sample) never fails to move me. I’m not sure what my neighbors think when I’m cleaning house and belting out the songs along with the soundtrack on my stereo (I am kind enough to make sure that the stereo drowns out any belting I might be doing!), but I just can’t help it. The story of grace, choices, and redemption moves me deeply every time I hear it… and I’ve been listening to it regularly for almost 20 years (and, yes, my children pretty much have it memorized). The power of music stirs my heart.

Time with friends thrills me. I have friendships on a variety of levels, and they are each precious to me. I wrote about some of my relationships recently–you can read it here: Relationships–so I won’t repeat the stories, but suffice it to say the joys of friendship stir my heart.

A few minutes ago, I heard a song that I haven’t heard for years. It’s called Letters From War, and it’s by Mark Schultz. You can hear it here–Letters From War–but be warned… it had me crying like a little girl. Most of you reading this know me, and you know that my son, Johnny, is in the army. Here we are at his graduation from Basic Training:  and here he is on his way from Ft. Lee (Phase 1 of AIT–Advanced Individual Training) to Eglin AFB (Phase 2):  Now, I’m pretty sure that a logical person would not listen to a song called “Letters from War” when her son is in school for EOD training–Explosive Ordnance Disposal–but who ever said that mothering was a profession for the highly logical? Besides, it’s not like I sought the song out… It just popped up on my playlist. I love my kids, and I would protect them with my life if I needed to, but I never want them to compromise their passion so they can live a life of safety. Seeing my kids live their lives purposefully and with passion stirs my heart! Sometimes my emotions overwhelm me–joy, fear of not being strong enough when they need me, love, pride, astonishment that I got to have the four best kids in the history of the world, and the absolute hilarity that we experience when we’re all together. The prevailing emotion over all, however, is absolute love. The depth of my feelings for my four children stirs my heart.

So there you have my thoughts… all elicited by one song that surprised me with emotions I didn’t know were so close to the surface. Thank you for letting me share with you. And now, before my day ends, I must go finish making the dinner I was working on when I was so struck with the need to process…


By the way, in case you’re interested, I’ve started a couple professional blogs, as well. I would love for you to check them out. Visit for my thoughts on the payroll world and for my thoughts on the world of human resources.