Thursday, July 7, 2016

Package from Ashley

   I love penpalling and hearing from my friends through snail mail. It will be no surprise to you that I also love receiving packages, especially "no reason" packages. I got one of those packages today from my penpal Ashley in Wisconsin. Here are the goodies she sent me:
    Ashley always sends awesome stamps. The post office didn't even stamp these with the postmark. Good thing I'm not one of those people who reuse the stamps. Lately I have realized that I have lots of half-used journals (paper hoarding anyone?) so I thought about putting together a journal of the stamps I get on all of my letters. I usually put the envelope with my letters and then just store them, at least the stamps will all be together. David seems interested in stamps too so maybe we can do this together. I am not going to remove them from any postcards, just the letters.

 This is a really cool, music themed letter sets. For all of my European friends, I never see any letter sets like this in stores in the US. (Anyone reading from the US know any stores that sell them?) The red stamp that looks like a postmark says this was made in Italy. On the left side there are envelopes and on the right there are pieces of stationery. I love it! I especially like how the gold pops on this paper. I will write a letter using this tonight!
Images belong to Bravado Merchandising
 Then there are these Justin Beiber- trading cards? I laughed when I saw them. I'm not sure if these were because I'm a music teacher, because I must have confessed having his music stuck in my head, or because I accidentally seemed like I called her Boo in an e-mail the other day.
      I'm planning on starting this devotional as soon as I finish this blog post. I have needed to spend some serious alone time with God lately and I have been pretty neglectful on my side. Thankfully God is always faithful to me, even when I'm selfish with my time. Thanks for this, Ash.
   Lastly, she sent some cool Massachusetts postcards since I'm really involved with Postcrossing. Plymouth, MA (Plimoth in the old spelling) is pretty close to where I grew up.

      Also, today I have spent a lot of time listening, noticing and watching people. Just today I have seen/heard about
- my parents struggling with moving out of the house they raised us in
- a friend feeling isolated and lonely as a stay at home mom. At the same time, she is struggling with the fact that many of the people she really considered friends don't seem to notice and her church keeps asking more of her.
- A mom losing her child to cancer
- Another friend whose cancer has returned
- A few of my students competing in a national fencing competition
- An acquaintance who got injured right at the beginning of the summer and has to really restrict herself all summer
- The reminder that many people do not feel safe living based on their color, religion, sexuality, etc.
- Medical issues that run the gamut
- Loneliness/feeling like you don't belong

     For my Christian friends, this has reminded me of 2 passages today:
 " Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.- Ephesians 29-32
" Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.- 1 Thessalonians 5: 11-18

    Even my friends who are not Christians, there are so many people in this world who are hurting. Wouldn't the world look very differently if we all took a minute to reach out to someone in whatever way we can? A letter, a package, flowers, a phone call, a hug, a smile... anything. If you are a person who is reading this blog and you are going through a hard time, please feel free to message me and I will add you to my prayer list.  I hope the rest of your day is filled with many small moments of happiness.

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