Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just Words

At our house, the
holidays aren't really
behind us until we've
acknowledged the gifts
we received with a
thank you note.

With a cup of something
comforting, I settle
in at a table or desk to
carry out this familiar
ritual, jotting them
off until I've finished.

The kids tend to pen theirs
one at a time, between
homework and activities,
until they are all done.

Yes, I'm one of 
those moms.

Like my own mom.

Her mom and my dad's
mom were, as well.

As a child, even if I
absolutely loved the
 present I'd received
from a grandparent
or aunt or uncle, it was
difficult to understand
the big deal about
sending a thank you
note, especially if I'd
already expressed my
gratitude in person
or over the telephone.

They were just words.

But as I grew older
and thoughts flowed
more easily from heart
to hand, those words 
to be a chore.  

And as I continued to 
grow, I realized how
much it meant to the
recipient of my thank
you note to be given
a gift, of sorts, along
with my words.

The gift of time.

Time I'd taken to pick out
just the right note card,
or crisp stationery ~

or even the time it took
to rip out a page of my
spiral notebook.

Time I'd sat for a moment,
my thoughts lingering
on the gift, as well as
the giver.

Time I'd taken to commit
my reflections to paper 
in pen or pencil, then 
stamped and addressed 
the envelope. 

Time I'd taken to trudge 
to the mailbox, inserting
the note and then gently
lifting the little red flag 
on the side so the mailman
would be sure to stop.

You really don't appreciate
the gift of time until you've 
acquired some mileage 
of your own : )

My dad's mom, Mie-Mie,
was an amazing correspondant
and one of my best role
models for connecting
through the mail.

She was a champion letter
writer and remembered all the
birthdays and anniversaries
of her friends and family.

All eight of her grandchildren
received cards for different
holidays, such as Halloween,
Valentine's Day and Easter.

Her mailbox was 
at Christmastime.

I didn't post a lot of cards
until I went to college. 
Then, it gave me great joy 
to send greeting cards 
 to my grandparents and
my Great Aunt Helen, 
who lived alone.

I was certain a note in
the mail would make
them smile....

Because the ones I was
lucky enough to receive
 in my own little mailbox 
made me smile.

I'm not sure if any of
them would have 
considered e-cards
or e-mail thank yous
as substitues for 
the real deal.

Somehow it doesn't
have the same 

When my kids were
in elementary school,
I always wrote a thank
you note at the end of
the school year to 
their teachers.

I wrote an especially
heartfelt one to my
daughter's third grade
teacher, Mrs. Smith,
who she spoke of 
glowingly and
who truly stoked her 
love of learning.

On the last day, 
Mrs. Smith, young and
eager and full of energy,
stopped me in the warm
June sunshine to say,

I'll treasure your letter
forever.  It's the reason
I went into teaching.  It
is the best gift I could
ever receive.

And to think there was
a time when I thought of
a thank you note as

just words.


PS:  Thank you for all the
love that you poured on my
dear little Cousin, Soup, in
my last post.  We are still
waiting to hear from Carrie,
but I truly believe it's just a
matter of when!


Low Tide High Style said...

This is on my to do list before the week is out. Like you, my family has always been full of thank you note and card writers...something passed down through the generations. I was just thinking today that I really needed to get on it and send mine daughter had hers out a week ago, and this beautiful post has inspired me to take care of it tomorrow! Lovely as always!


NanaDiana said...

I love to give and get Thank you cards and notes. I used to write long letters to my good friend when we were young Moms. A few years back she gifted me with all those letters in a special box. She had saved every one of them-they were a living history of my children when they were little- xo Diana

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Belated holiday greetings, friend! I was also raised to write thank you notes and my kids as well. My aunt Peggy has written me cards and letters for the last 35 years. She never forgets an occasion and I so look forward to her notes. She stepped up the frequency after my mom died since I was fairly young then. I will always be grateful for her. As an English major I especially love putting pen to paper. Writers, unite! Happy new year!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Susan, as I do not live near my family I treasure each and every note, card, article or whatever else they chose to mail to me. It makes me smile each time I see the familiar handwriting of my parents or siblings or treasured friends in the mailbox. Sadly it is becoming a lost art as is thank you notes. You have raised two wonderful adults that will go forth in the world with manners, and kindness something that so many are lacking.

Thank you for the reminder that a gesture such as this really does mean the world to someone.

I do so hope that your cousin Soup is doing well and that she will be able to meet Carrie. What a treasure she is and her attitude and wisdom are that of someone so much older. I have thought about her many times since that post and keep her in my prayers. Thank her again for the reminder that we need a little sparkle!

Take care and have a wonderful weekend, Elizabeth

Hindustanka said...

hi, Susan! The post is very actual. Sometimes we tend to forget that words also matter, what we say and how can make a person sad or happy. Saying "thank you" is just so easy, so why not to say?
Sorry, i didn't see your previous post, but i read it now and left a comment.
Take care!

Susan T said...

I hope it never becomes a forgotton art to send gracious notes of thanks to those who have been kind to us. You have a wonderful selection of beautiful stationary, how lovely to cherry pick the designs you know will give pleasure to the recipient.

Joanna said...

You are so right! Note to self: finish writing those thank you cards TODAY!

ps BEAUTIFUL selection of cards!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I too am that mom. I wrote about thank you notes on Wednesday. I said that it sows a seed that grows into gratitude.

Glad there are other moms like me. :)

The enchanted home said...

Beautiful, as always Suzanne. I am such a thank you card kinda gal. I love the old fashioned art of sending a proper thank you card, it really comes from the heart to know someone took the time to sit down and write down their gratitude. I love receiving them as well and glad they are still around. I HATE a thank you via text or email...sorry that does not cut it!!
Amazing how a few kind words of thanks can make us feel! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and hugs to Soup.

PS I was thinking did they ever call up their local news station? That happens a lot and is often a great resource to "get the word out".

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Ahhh you are such a kindred spirit. I too am a mean mom and make my kids write thank you notes; I think the handwritten note is becoming a lost art (it's actually one of my goals for this year to write more notes!) I am glad I'm not the only "old fashioned" mom that does that!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is such a wonderful post, Suzanne, because to me there are never "just words"...they always convey feelings and can have great power. The story you tell of your daughter's teacher was such a poignant reminder of how deep that power can be. You've inspired me to write a few notes today!
PS Your photos are beautiful!

Tiffini said...

so do I...just a matter of time!:)
how are you feeling? much better I pray:)
and I agree..receiving a handwritten letter does make one smile. Maybe because it takes real time to sit and write? I don't know but there IS a difference.
enjoy your weekend a glad you back on IG:)

Jemsmom said...

Your post truly inspired me to be better at writing! We are so bad to call and say thank you, but you are right. A heartfelt little note means so much. Time to get out the pen and paper! I hope you are well my friend and we will have to get together!

Tattered Tiques said...

Thank you for reminding me of the impact of a simple thank you note. It is always the little things that mean so much.

Mary Timmers said...


I'm up and down about thank you notes, especially when you've thanked the person "in peerson". But, having said that, gratitude, and the demonstration of it, is essential! As I read through your post, I was reminded that the person getting the thank you note really is blessed. Writing that note does make you think about the giver and the thought and care that went into it.

Hope you are feeling all better, and are looking forward to things of the new year.


michele said...

i wish everyone felt compelled as you do. such an honorable habit to keep!


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning my dear.

Words to me, are life. They are the gift God has given us to tell us HIS PLANS for us, and the gift we find within ourselves to share our hopes and gratitude for one another. What a gift indeed. See you at the end of the month! Anita

Leslie said...

Such a wonderful mother you are Suzanne. I feel that personalizing the contact we have with others is a thing of the past. Our children are growing up in a very different world. Even dating these days seems to be less personal. I have kept letters that my husband wrote me while he was away finishing college. Nowadays, it would be something less tangible.. what do you do? Save a text message? When it comes to invitations, it's now an evite. A thank you .. is a quick text or an e-card. I try to go with "the times" but sometimes I worry that we have lost a little along the way.

Enjoy your weekend!

Teacup Mosaics said...

I am so happy that you are keeping the written word alive. I think it is so important to write thank-you notes. I like you, now enjoy writing thank-yous. I am one that will never subsitute an email for a heartfelt note, be it a thank-you or a card saying "just thinking about you". I have a box of letters from my grandmother when I was in college, I am sure if she had sent emails I would never be able to "revisit" the love and caring she sent my way in her letters.
Happy New Year and Thank you!

Palomasea said...

Hello dear friend....I thank you so much for the kind wishes...
I, too, wish you a most beautiful year!
This post is so dear to my heart...and your photos are gorgeous...
I am a letter writer/card writer...I collect fountain pens and beautiful stationary, and hope so much that hand-written correspondence may see a renaissance yet!
Sending you much love,
and prayers to your precious cousin..
Hugs form your friend and not so far away neighbor,
- Irina

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning beautiful!

I think that a year ago, what anyone of us has ventured out to do, has become reality. There is so much to talk about! And my dress looks rather fabulous in the window on France Ave.! See you then my friend! Anita

June said...

Your posts are always such a joy for me to read. For someone so young---you are a remarkable teacher my sweet friend. I really have learned so much from you this past year and this post has also taught me. I am so bad at sending thank yous, but I receive enough to know how much they mean.
I think I have just added another thing to my goal's list for this year.
and I look forward to another year of your beautiful posts.
sending hugs...

Mona Thompson said...

You are soooo right. I have always loved to write notes of encouragement, and have let my busy life crowd some of that out. You have inspired and reminded me that there really isn't anything that I do that is more important. Happy New Year, Suzanne. XO, Mona

michelle said...

Suzanne, first of all thank you for your words on kindness, they have meant so much to me. You are truly and blessing to so many and your friendship and true concern is felt through the miles. Second, the words you write down are never just words, they touch the heart and lives of so many.
Prayers and blessings for you and your family and especially your cousin Soup, I hope that she gets all the sparkle that she can hold.
Love and hugs to you!

Ruthie Miller said...

Dear Suzanne,
I am so happy to see this post and the response you received. I BELIEVE in thank you notes too. I think they are so important conveying how you were so moved or appreciative to be on the receiving end of someone's thoughtfulness.
Bravo for teaching your children. I taught mine as well and am proud when one arrives and now even from little grandchildren.
Wonderful post, wonderful pictures and wonderful thoughts. Right On, as they used to say.
Come and visit our blog at:

vignette design said...

Such a beautiful post Suzanne! I love the written word and think it is so important to teach our children to write a proper thank you note. No emails! ~Delores

Bonnie said...

Suzanne, You have struck a cord again in me. My mother taught me to write thank you notes too! I receive notes from my daughter and daughter-in-law that are hand written that are so special I have a drawer full I can't throw away.

I had already written my Christmas notes except for one. Your post prompted me to write a four page letter to my sweet mother-in-law. I did type it in large font to make it easier for her to read and also for me. I am afraid I have inherited a hand problem with writing so I think it is forgivable to type rather than not express thanks at all. I did address an envelope and mail it.

Thank you for your heart felt post.

patty said...

there is SUCH a difference in real mail and email... we are out of school today for RAIN (a very first for me, an old lady northerner) and this is what my kiddos will be doing. i've not been consistent with this, though i usually buy thank you's for this purpose... sigh.

also, taking my housekeeping break with a cup of coffee and your blog.. time to catch up!

hope your holidays were wonderful!

Stitchfork said...

Never underestimate the power of the pen!


The stationary and the lovely mugs makes me realize how I miss the lovely art of letter writing. I still send a note here and there ... but nothing like the hundreds of letters I used to exchange with my family and friends.

We are truly missing the joy of choosing the paper and pen and even the stamp. The writing and oh, the joy of receiving.

This is a delightful post, Suzanne.


Lili said...

I really enjoyed reading about your daughter's teacher...the power of a personal thank you is such a gift and I so enjoyed the inspiration of this post and your beautiful images. I ADORE your wax seal stamp collection tucked into that tin! xoxo

Just a little something from Judy said...

Two thoughts come to mind as I read and re-read this post.
1. You are a wise mother, in that you are training your children to do the important in life. Thank you notes are becoming a lost art.
2. I believe receiving a thank you note from you, would be a gift in itself. You certainly are a gifted writer, and what you write always inspires me. Thank you for blogging.