The Beauty of Letter Writing

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I am a huge proponent of letter writing.  To see script fine and scribbled across sheets of paper at an angle with words of hope, wisdom, fear, joy, loss, success, and friendship enclosed within its realm from far away is a delight to behold, to retrieve from the mailbox, to read with a cup of tea, to savor and respond.

We were able to get our old post office box back.  It was oddly comforting.  To know we have returned to our place in the world, our community, our town, and are starting over with our old address is strangely affirming.

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I first wrote about pen pals a few years back and still have a strong pen pal from that post (click here to read).  I wrote again last year about customizing Christmas cards (here) and how a few personal words can transform the card into a real gift of the season.  I invited folks to send me a card and I would reciprocate.  Again, I have received beautiful letters and correspondence from around the world and some of my favorite friends I have not met in person but behind script.

So, I again write you looking for pen pals and Christmas cards and I will be ever so happy to write back.  Here is my new/old address.

Mrs. Katie Sanders

P.O. Box 2012

Elizabeth, CO 80107

 

Farmgirl School Turns Two

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Time does scurry along, doesn’t it?  My second anniversary starting this blog came and went this week.  This blog has become a seamless beginning to my morning, an outlet to the world and new friends, and a way to share our crazy farm happenings.

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But a blog is nothing if it doesn’t have readers and I am always so humbled and grateful that I have readers.  Thank you from the bottom of my spiral scribbling, chicken hoarding, pumpkin growing heart.  It is always fun to look at the stats this time of year and see what numbers Farmgirl School has obtained.  495 followers (up 200+ from last year), 51,552 hits to my blog (up over 30,000!) and the three most popular blog posts of the year were Ten Things to Know Before Moving to a Small town, How Much is it to Have a Farm Animal, and A Visit to an Amish Home. 

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This last year was particularly eventful and you were with us every second with support and cheers of encouragement.  You learned about our journey to our first farm, dreamed with me about our invisible homestead, cried with me when my farm girl in crime and dear friend, Nancy died.  Then when our goat and other animals died too.  You were there when Maryjane turned one, when Shyanne graduated, when my son, Andy, got married, when the interns came, through the planning and skill learning of getting ready for God to grant our greatest prayer of a homestead, and the day we learned we had found one to rent, you cheered us on and sent congratulations!

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The world got smaller as I started writing to a fellow blogger and met her last week for the first time.  I have met some of my readers at farmer’s markets.  I have found a whole new set of friends and family as the spance of time and space shortened, friends around the world and the country, all from writing.

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I am so happy when I learn that I have inspired people to move to the country, pursue their dreams, become herbalists, get chickens, or that I am brightening the days of those that just want to laugh at our antics and remain where they are at!

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All these things have been a great gift to me.  I read an interview with the author of “The Alchemist” who talked about finding one’s true calling in life.  One true passion.  Not becoming a mommy, or a job necessarily, but what your one true purpose is.  It is the one thing that you do not have to fight, or think about, that comes completely naturally, that is a part of your very being.  Mine is to write.  I am a writer.  Every thought process and happening in my life floats across the screen in my mind as a blog post or poem, as a letter, in words.  A writer can write but is much more fulfilled when there are readers.

Thank you for sharing our life with us.  For following in our adventures and for letting me pursue my one true purpose.

Painted Letters

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It’s too cold still to be gardening here and most of my projects are completed for the winter.  This is the time of year that I recoup, reinspire, rediscover.  I hope you have followed along and completed your lists of things you love, things you are okay with, things you dislike, and things you want to try.  If not, click here!  We have written poetry, and broken writing rules, and today we paint.

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I finished the book “Paris Letters” by Janice Macleod, a lovely tale about a young woman that sold everything she had, and took the leap to Paris.  Where, incidentally, she meets a romantic and not bad looking fellow.  She began to carry watercolors around with her and painted scenes that became stationary for her Paris Letters.

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After completing my list of what I love to do, what I am okay doing, what I dislike doing, what I want to try, I was surprised to see painting on my okay with, not what I can’t wait to do list.  I think by the time I find all the paints, the canvas, the easel, and drag everything where I want it, I am too tired to paint.  Presently, my paintings are being displayed at the local coffee shop.  I did expect to have all new paintings there, but alas I have not painted in a year!

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I decided to go get a two dollar pack of watercolors and watercolor paper.  It fits in my ginormous bag that I carry with me everywhere (filled with books, tinctures, salves, day timer, phone, and Maryjane’s toys).  I put water into a small canning jar and put that in my bag too.  I can easily sit and paint at the spur of the moment.  In two weeks, I have completed five paintings.  None that should win awards, but perhaps delight the recipient.

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I painted an elementary picture of Elsa, the baby goat, beneath an elm tree for my pen pal, Holly.  (Want to be my pen pal?  Click on the pen pal post!)  I painted a rosemary plant and wrote a heartfelt letter to Nancy before she died.  I painted a simple tea cup while at the coffee shop and sent it to my other pen pal, Debbie.  I painted a duck yesterday at the coffee shop and wrote a letter to my great aunt Lila.  Then last night I painted a cast iron skillet for my great aunt Donna.

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Aunt Donna called me a week and a half ago after reading the Homesteading Oven post and said, “Now I know you don’t like electronics, but you need an oven!  How can Shyanne bake without an oven?”  And so, my dear aunt graciously and generously bought us a stove.  So, the skillet will go out in the mail today to serve as a thank you note.

All of a sudden I am painting again and connecting with people.  I encourage you to pick up a two dollar watercolor kit and fool around painting in the coffee shop.  We have time.  It’s not time to garden yet.

Lost Letters (and seeking pen pals)

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I love to thumb through old postcards in antique stores.  Not only do I enjoy the vintage art work, but also finding ones with handwriting scribbled across.  A window into a past world, a seemingly simpler place.

Postcards were the equivalent of a text or email.  “Mom says that you should come over for dinner on Thanksgiving.  How is everything?  I am doing good in school.  Love, Carol.”

Letters on crinkled paper from time bundled by ribbon in a hope chest in the attic.  The years of two lovers’ correspondence during the war.  Letters from children.  Letters from friends about what is happening on the farm.

I don’t care to talk on the phone much.  Conversations tend to drag on after awhile.  Awkward silences, trying not to interrupt each other.

I like texts but texts are like a hundred postcards a day.  “Do you need a ride to school tomorrow?”  “Yes, we make a sleep medicine.”  “Who is coming to dinner?”  They carry little emotion.

Emails are alright, but reserved for business more often than not.  I sit in front of the computer to write, to check banking accounts, to check Facebook (another way to keep in touch…though superficially) once or twice a day.

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When I was a child, I had pen pals.  Remember pen pals?  I wrote to a young girl in Italy.  I wrote to a young man in Texas (and I mean young, I think we were eleven).  I enjoyed years of correspondence with a girl in Uganda.  I wrote to my best friend in Boise.  Once I grew up, these letters dissipated until the mailbox was empty.

Doug and I started sponsoring children and eagerly awaited their quarterly letters on how they were doing.  But, those were shallow as well.  After all, six year olds in Africa only have so much to say.

So, I check the mail and see the few bills I don’t pay online.  Look for magazines to inspire me.  Throw out the ads.  Does anyone else miss the anticipation of opening the mailbox?  Hoping for a letter from a friend?  To prepare a cup of tea and sit in one’s favorite chair before carefully opening the envelope to see what is happening in a different place?  Handwriting speaking its own messages as well.  To pen a response, lick the envelope, and happily adhere a stamp to it then send it on its way across the land to be read on another homestead.

I do.  Would anyone like to correspond through stationary and pen?  Send to Mrs. Katie Sanders, P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, Colorado 80107.  I will respond.  We are all much too busy in this day and age.  To sit and pen a letter or to open and read one would send us to that place in time where housewives corresponded through letters.