On Living Our Best Life

Today we both wore collared shirts to work. Anthony has been wearing one everyday for two months now. I wore my first one ever today. AND it has the name of the company on it! (It’s the little things, people.) It’s my second-ever company shirt. I received my first company t-shirt literally two days ago. (McDonald’s doesn’t count.)

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Dear Grandma, Love Tracy

This woman’s fingerprints are all over my childhood–camping trips, summers, riding on the center console to the hair dresser’s house. She was at every school play, graduation, hoe down, and choir performance. Less so as I grew up, got married, and moved 45ish minutes away, but it was an honor to write a small overview of her life. My only regret is that I didn’t learn about her life and write about it sooner. I know Christmas in heaven this year is going to be beautiful. And I can’t wait to see the garden you’re working on.

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July 9, 2013. Photo credit: Studio Twenty Photography

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An Open Letter to My First Guest Post

Dear Top 6 Writing Tools,

You are my first ever guest post. You gave me my first public writing experience. It was magic to see you all lit up with hearts and likes, comments and a couple shares. I sat at my desk all morning watching you work your magic.

I videoed myself in my Insta-story almost crying as soon as it went live on Ink & Grace. (Fun fact, First Guest Post, I hate crying in front of people.) I tagged all my people on Facebook. I Marco Polod (Poloed? Polo-ed? Polo-d?) my cousins, sister, and one of my best friends showing them that it was up and they could read it if they wanted.

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It’s 9 O’clock at Night and I Am Home

Tuesday, 12/26/17, 9:30pm

I am home. At 8 o’clock I was still sitting at our dining room table working my way through Day 33 of Annie F. Downs’s devotional 100 Days to Brave, listening to my Red Sea Road, Age to Age, “Even If” (by MercyMe) and “Oh My Soul” (by Casting Crowns) playlist on my iPod.

This matters because just last week I was finishing off three weeks of overnights at my favorite care home.

And every night since then we’ve been crazy busy.

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Writing Love Letters, The Christmas Edition

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For six years, Hannah Brencher and The World Needs More Love Letters (TWNMLL) have been sending out love letters during the holiday season. Over 12 days, 12 different people will receive a bundle of letters from people all around the world.

This year’s letter-writing campaign began last Monday, December 4th and the last request was sent out this morning, December 15th.

This is my first year participating and it’s happening smack-dab in the middle of a very busy time. Besides all the Christmas Things, I agreed to pick up three weeks worth of evening (sleeping) shifts at a privately owned care home. On top of my 40-hour a week day job. (I’m a little crazy, but I love that care home.) So depending on the day, I’m home for about 3 1/2 hours in the evening. And then, last Saturday I was sick and laid on my couch pretty much all afternoon.

It wasn’t until Tuesday after work that I had a few minutes to catch up on the Love Letter Requests, and it was such a breath of fresh air to sit and write to people.

I was finally able to write to Chris. He was Day 1’s Letter Request but as the letters don’t need to be postmarked until December 20th, I still wanted to write to him.

Here is a piece of Chris’s story that his aunt shared with TWNMLL:

“Chris was born with a severe medical condition that has resulted in many surgeries and repeated hospitalizations over his lifetime. Despite the suffering he experienced, he was a bright and active child. His upbeat and happy demeanor brought joy to many. While in the hospital, he would entertain nurses by singing songs from his favorite cartoon movies. Then Chris would walk down the hall to visit friends and encourage them in their own recoveries.

But as he’s grown and become more aware of the differences between himself and others, Chris has struggled to stay positive. The medical regimen required to keep him alive and relatively healthy is very tiresome. He doesn’t know anyone else with the same conditions and has always felt tremendously isolated.

Now in his mid-twenties, he is feeling desolate because he is still living at home and isn’t able to have a “normal” life like others. He longs for a romantic relationship but doesn’t believe anyone could want him or love him because of his conditions and the resulting physical limitations. Recently, he confided to my mother–his grandmother–that he is so lonely that life doesn’t feel worth living.”

Please join us in spreading cheer + hope to Chris as he struggles with believing he is valuable.

PLEASE MAIL ALL LOVE LETTERS BY DECEMBER 20 TO:

Chris’s bundle

℅ Angie A.

9617 Great Hills Trail

Apt #1235

Austin, TX 78759

USA

 

Chris’s letter request resonated with me because we’re in the same age group: our mid-20s. Those beautiful, wonderful, mysterious years we all long for as we edge closer and closer to the end of high school.

Our 20s are all about striving to figure out who we are. we do this by dating, going to college, moving out on our own, creating things, not creating things, working right away, working and going to school, getting married, figuring out how to handle money, traveling… And we spend a decade or so of our life figuring out who we are so that when we reach the next magical, mysterious age of 30 we don’t have to figure anything else out.

I wrote to Chris and told him his beautiful, strong mid-20s soul was so needed and necessary to this world. I told him I was sorry for his daignosis and that he hadn’t found The One yet, but to pull in close his aunt and his gramma and the ones who have been there from the beginning.

This is what the holiday season is all about, reaching out and loving people who need it. So, if you have a spare moment this weekend, take a break from wrapping and shopping, put on some Christmas music, and write to at least one of these beautiful humans who are all in need of love this Christmas.

Even though no new Love Letter Requests will be sent tomorrow,  there are still five days left before they all have to be postmarked. Here is where you can find everyone who we are writing to this year: http://www.moreloveletters.com/12days

AND if you loved this—writing letters to our fellow humans–but didn’t have the time or missed the postmarked date, sign up for the monthly Letter Requests here: http://www.moreloveletters.com/

Happy letter writing!

P.S. It is of course my hope that the words I wrote to Chris and the others will make an impact on their life, but the important thing is to just write to them. If you have any questions about writing letters to strangers (because yes, it is a little weird at first) start here: http://www.moreloveletters.com/diary/2017/11/29/frequently-asked-questions

And if you want an example, the letter I wrote to Chris is below:

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On This Is Us, Hoarding, and Story

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**I feel like I should warn you. If you are not caught up on This Is Us, please don’t read this. I didn’t talk about what happens, but I allude to the something and please for the love of Story and Characters and because you care about yourself, just skip it. Or, skip to the third paragraph and you’ll be good. Thank you and you’re welcome.**

*****

I just finished watching Episode 9 of This Is Us (season 2). And it was brilliant. Gut-wrenching. But brilliant. It had me crying within the first five minutes and full-on sobbing during Rebecca’s little speech (pep talk?) to 17 year old Kate. Because it paralleled so perfectly what Teenage Kate would need to hear 20ish years later. Which of course the writers did on purpose because they’re brilliant. (which I’ve now used three times in 152 words. but it’s true so… *shrug emojii*.)

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