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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

With Love......

Dear Friends,

I love snail mail!  I have a folder that I keep special notes and cards in and I try to sit down once a month just to write letters to loved ones.  If I see a greeting card that makes me think of someone, I refuse to let it remain just a thought. I buy it and send it.  I like to write letters because I like to receive letters.  With e-mail, text messages and social networks, it is not so common to receive hand written communication these days.  Our rural and some smaller city post offices are closing up shop because of technology and the speed of it all.  I am determined to keep someone in business, even if it is only once a month.  I love to get my special folder out periodically to reminisce and to think about those who have taken time to write letters with pen in hand and with love in their hearts.  I had that folder out tonight and I smiled inside as I read letters from friends and family.  I laughed as I read a card from a friend with whom I have exchanged dry humor for more than 20 years.   My heart sank, just a little bit, as I read a letter from a friend who passed away this past October.  I also felt a sense of gratitude as I looked at her handwriting and imagined the hand that wrote each word.  I came across a letter from my Aunt Lois Bernhardt thanking me for a gift of music that I had presented to the ladies of her church.  Aunt Lois has been gone for a few years now and seeing her words somehow made her feel close once more. Then I laughed out loud as I read a post card that I received from Mike while we were dating and lived nearly 300 miles apart.  His penmanship would rival that of a medical doctor, but I know his letters, every one of them, was written with love.  As I held in my hands these letters, I became thankful that there are those who have not yet kicked pen and paper to the curb replacing them with the computer.  Just as I began to get self-righteous about it all, I pulled from this box a letter from a dear friend in South Africa.  I met Stevie G. via this same technology that I was beginning to criticize.  Stevie took time to send a handwritten note and....some chocolate. Clearly the chocolate would not have translated nearly as well via e-mail.  

I send a lot of e-mail every day for work and for personal purposes but there is nothing I enjoy more than getting a piece of mail hand-written with love.  So my challenge to you this week is to get out your paper, pens and envelopes and write someone a letter.

With Love,


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Where Never is Heard...

...a discouraging word.

Think about your week and the people with whom you have interacted.  Whether they were family, friends, clients, colleagues or the person who cut you off in traffic, they all made some type of impact on you. 

There was a day this week in which I was insulted, ignored and encouraged within an eight hour time frame.  I was insulted by the customer who felt it necessary to inform me that he was prepared for my ignorance.  I was ignored by the person who felt it necessary to cut in line at the check-out.  If you had asked me how my day was going at that moment, I may have had a negative reaction and colorful response.  I did however, make it through the day without permanent damage to my self-esteem. 

When I was driving home that day, I began to sing. “Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play…”  Well, I don’t have deer or antelope, but I do have a dog, a very enthusiastic dog.  I have a dog who doesn’t know how to be anything but…a dog.  When she is out in public, she doesn’t care what people think of her coat.  She could care less if the shoes I’m wearing were made in Italy, so long as I’m willing to walk and play with her.  She is even forgiving when I forget to feed her because she lives with faith believing that Mike will soon be home and he never forgets to feed her.  In spite of limitations of space and time to run freely outside, she is always happy.  In her mind the world was created for her.  Sometimes she looks a little depressed but is easily brought back to happiness by the simple toss of a ball or heavy praise.  In fact the words don't even matter really so long as they are spoken in the right tone of voice.  For Chloe the Corgi, the skies truly are not cloudy all day.  She is fed, and praised and that’s all she needs.

People are not quite as simple as this though.  We need more than a little food and a little praise.  We need a heavy dose of encouragement.  Frankly sometimes those words of encouragement seem few and far between.  Last night before I left for the day, I saw that one of my coworkers was still on line.  I sent her an instant message simply to encourage her and wish her well before her weekend.  This simple act of encouragement was what she needed at that moment, I would later learn.  This morning I had a conversation with a kind co-worker who offered me the words of encouragement that I needed to get through what would normally be a day spent at home. 

The gift of an encouraging word will cost us nothing but the breath to speak or the keystrokes to type. Encouragement is a gift; to the giver as much as to the receiver.  In this world of so many discouraging words, I want to be more keenly aware of those around who simply need to hear a kind word.

Do you need to be encouraged?  I challenge you in this; reach out to someone with words of encouragement and I think you will quickly feel those same words coming back to encourage you just the same. And soon you will notice that your “skies are not so cloudy all day”

Thanks for stopping by.

Amy Lynn Michael

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