Saturday, 30 January 2016

Finding Joy in Incoming Mail

Ronna Vigil, in Pen it Forward, said, “I believe the world will be a better place, our homes a happier space, and our relationships better than ever when we take time to show we care in a kind note or a letter. Even more, your note or letter can be a meaningful gift and life-long treasure.” In beginning this ministry, I didn’t stop to think that I might get mail, too. So when I started finding happy mail in my mail box I was delighted.

I sure had a happy corner in my home when I settled in my chair to enjoy a letter that arrived in my mailbox yesterday. The envelope was fat and decorated with a teapot sticker. I think the Wind in the Willows sticker on the back was inherited from her mother. Tracy’s mom sent us beautiful personal Christmas letters every year. She had beautiful handwriting and a flair with words that made us feel so appreciated.

Tracy’s mother is in heaven, and thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to keep in touch with Tracy, who lives several states away. I comment on her posts; she comments on mine. We push the like button. I promise to pray for her. She promises to pray for me. I watch her children grow up. She watches my children and their families. But as important as that connection is, there is a level of intimacy in a letter that cannot be met through Facebook.

So when I opened Tracy’s seven-page letter, written on beautiful stationery with its green border and line of feathers across the top (the envelope had the same feathers, and a beautiful square butterfly stamp our local post office doesn’t have), my heart bubbled joy. It was certainly a soul-satisfying visit through the written page – a meaningful gift and life-long treasure.

Who did you think of while reading this? Get out your stationery and have a “real” visit with a friend. Write a memory, a bit of news, and some encouragement. Then come back and count your postmarks with us.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Blessing After Blessing

During a conversation with one of our team members this week, I mentioned, "I feel like God is changing my heart, one card at a time."

My friend responded, "It breaks my heart to read the requests, while it opens my heart when reaching out…”

I don't think you can be a part of this ministry without it changing you. It’s unlikely God can let you read through requests of retired ministers, ministers’ widows, young wives who lose their husbands, teenagers with depression, special needs children who will struggle physically their whole life, parents with unsaved children -- and the list goes on -- without an internal change happening.

Paul in his letter to the Galatians said, Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:4). That's the basis for this ministry -- bearing other's burdens. Mailing a smile, encouragement, and love.

We started with nine team members and four card requests. Today, three weeks later, there are nineteen team members and we have twenty-three requests going out this week. When numbers of postmarked mail start pouring in, I stand amazed. From the beginning this ministry has been in honor of my mother and it belongs to Jesus. I believe its success is His stamp of approval on her life.


I'm so thankful I didn't post my projected goal for this project. The numbers would have been so paltry compared to the goal God has for us. One thing I didn't anticipate was the response to our postmarks. Many have verbalized how God used it to encourage them. Some mentioned that God is using this to lay a card ministry on their hearts, too. My heart is filled with blessing after blessing as I read the responses. 

I don't think we can ever do anything for God without it changing us. We welcome you to join us -- by sending cards, providing requests, or praying. Let's offer shelter, postmarked.

Soul Survivor 
Monday's Musings

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Postmarking Sympathy Cards

In Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation, (Ellen Fitzpatrick) a friend wrote, “Finding the right words of comfort at a time like this is always difficult because all the words in the world won’t bring a loved one back. His laugh will never again be heard, his smile, seen or his hand, felt..."

It’s always difficult to know what to write on a sympathy card. The ones that mean the most to me are the ones in which the sender writes a memory or an encouraging Scripture verse instead of simply signing the card.

We lived in Bedford when our daughter Sarah died, so the funeral was held there; however, we buried her in Pennsylvania, very near my homestead. During the long trip back to Indiana, we stopped at a Bob Evans restaurant. Upon entering the ladies room, my eyes fell on a little tract lying on the counter. The message was about God’s presence in our heartaches. Afterwards I wished I had taken it, as I’m sure whoever had placed it there planned for it to be taken. Several days after returning to Bedford, I opened a card from our friends, Karl and Becky (incidentally, Becky is counting postmarks with us). I don’t remember what the card looked like, but I do remember the tract she included – yes, the very same tract that had brought comfort to my grieving heart in a Bob Evans restroom!

My friend, Beth, couldn’t come to Sarah’s funeral, but when she heard about Sarah’s death, she sat down at the piano and played, Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here… She tucked the lyrics in a card. The words still comfort me each time I hear them.

Daddy told me when he’d ask Mom to send a card to a family experiencing a death, she would say, “I will, but not for a couple weeks.” I understood how important that was after my mother died. My friend Susann sent me a card with this note, “By now your cards are getting few. I just want you to know I still remember and I care.”

Hallmark gives these suggestions for writing in a sympathy card:

  • Your mother blessed so many people with her faith and kindness. Praying that you’ll find comfort in your memories of her and in the knowledge that others are missing her, too.
  • What a good and generous man your father was. I thought his funeral service was a wonderful tribute to him and all he has done for our community. He will be missed.
  • I’m going to miss her, too.
  • I hope you feel surrounded by much love.
  • Sharing in your sadness as you remember Dan.
  • Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs. I am so sorry for your loss.
  • Thinking of your family with love and wanting to help out in any way I can. I’ll call to see when would be a good night to bring over a meal.
  • You’ve got so much on your mind and on your heart right now. We hope it will make one less worry to know that Kevin and I will be taking care of the yard for as long as you need.

I’ve formed the habit of praying before I write, asking God to give me words that will comfort. His words are healing oil, words that will bless each time the card is re-read.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Melanie's Stationary Travel Pack

My daughter Melanie finds time to work on her postmark sending while the kids have music class 5:00-8:00 each Tuesday night. You can see her take on a travel pack -- blue polka dots and zippered compartments. You can also see her journal for tracking her postmarks -- A Sheltering Tree!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

We Have a Winner!

Brenda Cronmiller is the winner of our first giveaway: A choice of books, variety of note cards, a book of stamps and a few surprises! Brenda, message me your address and choice of books!

Train Up Princesses (and a Prince)

God's Word reminds us to, "Train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6). I know God's heart is warmed to see our little princesses (and princes) at work encouraging others. Thus far we have 12 princesses who send mail every week.  I receive great joy seeing the pictures of them hard at work, learning early how to shelter other children through the written word. They are counting postmarks and we're already getting responses from those who are receiving their happy mail. 

If you would like your child to be involved, send me a private message through facebook (Shelter: Postmarked or Pamela Cessna Kuhn). I send 2 or 3 names/addresses of children who need encouragement each Sunday evening and your child will send a letter or card to one (or all!) of them. 

Great Nieces, Carli and Olivia

Granddaughter Sarah
Morgan and Grandson Landon

Linked to
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Intentional at Home

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Postmarks for Teenagers

(Scroll down for giveaway.)

In 1872 Louisa May Alcott wrote a letter of congratulations to the Luken Sisters. The five sisters, convinced their father to print their own journal. Little Things.

To the Luken Sisters:

My Dear Little Women –

I will certainly answer your pleasant letter & very gladly subscribe to your paper, although it has not yet arrived.

My two little men at once demanded it and were very much impressed by the idea of girls having a printing press & getting out a “truly paper.”

I admire your pluck & perseverance…Work is such a beautiful & helpful thing & independence so delightful that I wonder there are any lazy people in the world.

I hope you preach that doctrine in your paper, not the rampant Woman’s Rights fashion, but by showing how much women can do even in attending skillfully & cheerfully to the little things that have such an influence on home-life & through it upon the world outside.

L. M. Alcott

Concord, Mass.

I thought about how her letter must have encouraged those five young women in their new endeavor. It made me wonder how I could encourage a young person. Young people face experiences quite different from those we faced when we were their age. Often they try hard, only to be pushed down by the very people who should be encouraging them to be what God wants them to be. Let them know you value their uniqueness. Acknowledge and encourage their spiritual gifts.

Whose name did God put in your heart? Let’s encourage them with real postmarked mail this week!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Postmarked Give Away

I'm so excited about those of you who wish to be in on postmarking shelter and continuing the legacy of my mother.  I'm hosting a giveaway that will include everything you need to begin a mailbox ministry. It will include:

The Heart of the Handwritten Note
by Margaret Shepherd
Snail Mail
by Michelle Macintoh

Assorted note cards

Some fun tuck-ins

A book of stamps

                                                       A few surprises

Sign up for the mailing list (on side bar) and I'll announce the winner next Wednesday, January 20th.

Princess Sarah Morgan is having a giveaway, too. If you have a daughter age 4-12, comment with her name. The Princess will announce her winner next Wednesday, too. The giveaway will include:

Write Back Soon! 
Adventures in Letter Writing
by Karen Benke

Assorted note cards

Stickers for envelope decorating

A few surprises

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Join Me in Counting Postmarks

Enter giveaway here: Shelter: Postmarked Giveaway
Continuing my mother's legacy...

2016 – How can it be? Choosing my “one word” has occupied my mind. I’ve thought intently, discarding so many words, waiting for the one God would drop into my heart to grow all year long. 

I thought fun would be my word. It seemed the opposite of 2015 with its health issues and grieving my mother’s death. But I’m not a “fun” sort of person. But hold on -- maybe my idea of fun doesn’t fit the typical definition of fun, but it’s my fun.

My fun is sheltering. My fun is being creative. It’s playing with papers and tapes, adding to my stationary collection and actually using these items. The kind of fun my mother had in 2010 when she sent out 163 cards and letters (and yes, recorded each one). The kind of fun when my mother sent 185 letters and cards in 2011 (not counting Christmas Cards). 

As I read through the record of her correspondence, I was convinced this is what God is leading me to do. So I give you my 2016 word – Fun. Fun that I'm putting a postmark on.  

All year long we will be counting our postmarks. You’ll have the chance to send 52 cards and letters (or more if you wish!) this year – envelopes full of love, cheer and encouragement. We’ll have quotes, DIY projects, Book Reviews, giveaways – all on the subject of filling mailboxes of those who need a smile. For more inspiration look at my Pinterest board:

Your children can join “Postmarks with our Princess” (we welcome Princes, too) to begin their own mailbox ministry. Princess Sarah Morgan will be highlighting fun crafts, giveaways and letter writing etiquette. 

Nine friends (and eight princesses) have committed to begin this journey with me. I’m hoping many of you and your children will join us as we postmark our fun. I’ve spent a lot of time in planning, but I know that though humans plan, it is the Lord that determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9). So I know this year will be far more than the plans I’ve made. I can hardly wait to start the journey.

Leave a comment below if you wish to have the weekly addresses sent to you. And feel free to send me addresses of those you know who need encouragement. 

Please take a moment to sign up for my mailing list (form on sidebar). I'll say thank you in advance and gift you a packet of postmark forms and crafts when you verify your subscription.

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