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It is my birthday tomorrow, and I’m taking advantage of it by posting this idea today, in hopes that my upcoming birthday will put you in a generous spirit and you’ll be willing to grant me my birthday wish, which you will discover if you bear with me and read all the way to the end. Please and thank you! XOXO, V

I don’t know about you, but I get excited each time I check the mailbox.  I get excited when I hear Jessie barking when I’m home mid-afternoon because I know it means the mail carrier has arrived with unknown treasure.  I expect the catalogs, advertisements, and letters from charitable organizations, but what gets me excited is what I hope to see: an envelope with a handwritten address on it.  Or a million dollar check from some sweepstakes I entered and forgot about. :)  It’s these things that give me that tingle of excitement every time I reach into the mailbox.

Perhaps you don’t go to your own mailbox with the same hope each day, but I think we all know the feeling of receiving a card, letter, or package in the mail.  It is enough to sweeten the dreariest of days.  We all know how nice it feels to read something written in the hand of someone we love, and how we cherish those words, whether few or many.  And yet, despite that warm feeling it gives us to receive personal mail, we rarely participate in this dying art.

As you may know, I work for the US Postal Service.  I guess it runs in the family!  My Dad became a mailman when I was a little girl and served as one through twenty-three cold winters and scorching summers, two serious dog bites, and one death threat.  He walked on broken toes (actually it was just one toe that he had the misfortune to keep breaking), walked against fifty mile-per-hour winds with a negative wind chill, fell down icy steps, fought through foot-high snow, and sweated through long 100+ degree temperature days with a heavy mail bag that caused a permanent slope to his shoulder that he still has, three years after retiring.  And he delivered the mail each day with a genuine smile.

Four years before Dad retired, my sister, Danielle, and I took up the reigns and signed on as data conversion operators (data entry) for the Postal Service.  Danielle went on to become an industrial engineer and also opened up her own gift boutique, but I’m now into my seventh year with the Postal Service, and just recently became a permanent career employee.  It was a very long process since the position was designed to be temporary, but it was well worth the wait.  As any postal employee can tell you, we are very well paid for what we do, and the benefits are fantastic.

By now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all this.  Well, as you are probably also aware, the post office has a huge deficit and is facing default.  While I’m hopeful that the steps we are taking will prevent that, the fact remains that in an age where texts have replaced post cards and email has replaced letters, the service we offer just isn’t as highly in demand it once was.

Some people think that the post office gets its money from the government.  Not true.  The Postal Service operates on the revenue it generates from the sale of stamps and the mailing of packages.  We are entirely dependent upon the revenue we generate from our service to you.  Which is why each year the Postal Service’s prognosis looks more and more bleak.  There just aren’t as many letters and postcards being sent as there used to be.

This is why I’m introducing…

Artwork by Tara Roush of Wichita, KS

The aim of this project is twofold: 1) to spread love and good cheer through the mailing of postcards, cards, letters, and care packages, and 2) to help support the Postal Service at the same time.  A simple plan, but if enough people get involved, it could make quite an impact!

It is my birthday tomorrow and I’m taking full advantage of it by using my soon-to-be birthday girl status to ask everyone to embrace The Postcard Project and commit to sending a postcard, card, letter, and/or package to someone this week (better yet, tomorrow on my birthday!!).  Anyone.  Send it to someone you love.  Send it to someone that is lonely.  Send it to a soldier.  If you’re an animal lover like me, you can help raise money to feed them just by mailing postcards to  The Pet Postcard Project!  Sponsor a hungry child and correspond with him.  There are so many great opportunities afforded to us by using the Postal Service!

If you would like to spread the postal love and join the Postcard Project, please click here and add your name to the spreadsheet along with the number of cards, etc., you plan to send this week.  Make a mental note of your number line so that once your card(s) are mailed, you can return to the spreadsheet to check it off!  If you look at the top of my blog, you’ll see I now have a page titled “The Postcard Project” which will have the link to return to the spreadsheet so that it isn’t a hassle for you to find it again.

As each person completes their commitment, I will update the total on The Postcard Project page so we can all see how this is spreading.  Tell everyone you know and let’s see how far we can take this project!!  Are you in?


Thankful Thursdays #28: I made my 5% goal!

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Thursday: Is there anything better than getting baked goods, like homemade banana bread, in the mail?  I bought two loaves, one with chocolate chips and one without, in an online bake sale and had forgotten about it so it was an even sweeter surprise when it arrived!  The chocolate chip (not pictured because I totally ate it all before I even thought to take one) makes a yummy breakfast, especially spread with peanut butter!

Friday:  Life has been chewing me up this week.  First I find out that in order to keep my job, I’m going to have to pass a test I already (barely) passed in order to get it seven years ago.  Tests really stress me out, so needless to say, I’m not thrilled about this.  Then on Friday, a situation arose with someone close to me that put me over the edge.  I was a bit of a wreck on Friday, so I was hugely thankful for the human kindness that helped me through.  While crying at work and after asking for prayers on Facebook, I received a lot of it firsthand.   As the kind words and prayers poured in from these dear souls, God comforted me and gave me the strength I needed to drive to this person’s house and have a heart-to-heart.  While I wouldn’t consider the situation completely resolved, it is much improved and I’m no longer constantly worrying about this person.  So I’m also thankful for that!

Saturday: 11 years of wedded bliss with my soul mate, and cheap fun!  We celebrated our anniversary by doing all the free stuff that comes with a $5 River Festival button and did paddle boats, kayaking (Dennis went overboard twice and gave everyone a good laugh–see pictures of that here), and saw the Marshall Tucker Band live!  Not bad for $5!

Sunday: Aldi!  It’s our first stop for groceries because it’s got the best deals.  I remember back when we both worked for the Church of Scientology and were dirt poor, we could live off of $15 a week in groceries from Aldi!  We make ten times more than we did back then, but Aldi is still a lifesaver when it comes to our tight grocery budget.

Monday:  Books, magazine articles, and Weight Watchers often warns people to watch out for salads at restaurants because although they seem diet-friendly, too often they are fat bombs in disguise.  Well, I’m hugely thankful for this means of eating a large portion of fat without going (too far) over my daily Points Plus allowance, thank you very much!  Using lettuce and other vegetables as the base of a meal makes for a huge, satisfying plateful of food that is very little calories, so I’m totally cool with drowning it in cheese, beans, eggs, full-fat dressing, nuts, whatever strikes my fancy.  If it weren’t for salads, my fat intake would come mainly from the butter in my weekly dessert indulgences, so I’m thankful for these beautiful plates of healthful, satisfying, fatty goodness!

Buffalo Chicken (made with real butter) Salad with (full fat) Blue Cheese Dressing (that I thinned with heavy whipping cream-bwahahahahaha!)

Romaine Salad with Chicken, Cheddar, Apples, Spiced Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette (made with no small amount of extra virgin olive oil)

Tuesday: checking off most of my to-do list!  I have a small planner that I carry in my purse, and I leave it open at my desk at work so that I can add things to each day’s to-do list as I think of them.  By the time I come home, the day is crammed with things to do and usually I just put them off until the next day, and then the next, etc.  Today I started my day with a prayer of thanks for the day itself, and asked God for help in using it to its full potential.  By the time I went to bed, I’d made more checkmarks than I have in a long time.  I really love seeing those checkmarks!

Wednesday: Finally!  I finally did a good job teaching the toddler Bible class.  Not that I was bad before, but I just wasn’t comfortable and knew I could do better.  I did tonight!  God gets the glory here as well, because both Dennis and I prayed about it and I know He was there with me because it was so different.  The children really listened, they didn’t get bored or frustrated, they were adorably polite (plenty of please and thank yous!), they participated with relish, and I think that I got through to them.  Here are the cutie patooties I had in class tonight, working on building arks (the focus of the lesson tonight was Noah and the ark, although since the blocks were out, we also went into the tower of Babel a bit):

You can see how cramped we are and why I was so thankful a couple weeks ago that we’re moving to a new and bigger building at the end of the month!

Oh wait! Can I be thankful for two things on Wednesday?  Because I’m also thankful that I met my 5% goal at Weight Watchers today!  I’m hoping to be up to ten pounds lost by next week.  (I started going eight weeks ago so I’m averaging about a pound a week.)  I love Weight Watchers!

OK, your turn!  Anything you’re particularly thankful for right now?

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