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Red-Letter Saturday #3: “The United States Post Office”

RED-LETTER SATURDAY #3:

postal-service

 

On this day, July 26, 1775, the office that would become the United States Post Office Department was established by the Second Continental Congress, appointing Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. It was a day which helped to improve communications in the birth of new nation, a vital component in the formation of the young United States of America.

 


 

The United States Postal Service delivers more mail to more addresses in a larger geographical area than any other post in the world. Last year, they processed 158.4 billion pieces of mail and handled 873.3 million inquiries. But I would venture to say that these numbers would be even higher were it not for the technological age that we live in today.

After all, when was the last time that you received a handwritten letter? Let me guess. If I’m right, it was probably at Christmastime, folded up neatly and tucked away inside a Christmas card. Many of us have those few relatives or friends who never fail to recount us with all that has happened during the past year in a nicely written Christmastime letter. You know the kind of letter I’m talking about. It’s the one that gives you a detailed account of what jobs the husband and wife are currently holding, what promotions they’ve received, if any, what home improvements they’ve made, what vacations they’ve taken during the year, how their various hobbies or activities are coming along, how their children are doing, how old the children are now, what grades the children are in, what sports and activities the children are involved in, what achievements they’ve made, what awards they’ve won, and the list goes on and on. Right? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying those letters are bad. Not at all. In fact, sometimes they’re just wonderful. But they are predictable.

And isn’t it sad that we don’t receive these letters at another time of the year besides just Christmastime? After all, wouldn’t it be nice, just for once, to receive a letter in the middle of February or at the end of April or at the beginning of October? Wouldn’t it be nice if these letters were sent to you when you didn’t expect them? Or better still, what if you received these kinds of letters from people all the time? What if you weren’t surprised to receive these kinds of letters on a regular basis?

Yes, I know that there’s email. I know that it’s quick, easy, and it saves paper. But there’s just something quite lovely about retrieving that envelope addressed to you from your mailbox, physically holding it in your own two hands, touching it, even smelling it, that gives you that wonderful feeling of knowing that someone cared enough to take the time to sit down, write you a letter, put it into an envelope, place a stamp on it, and then post it, just for you. Now really, tell the truth – don’t you wish that now and then, you’d get a nice letter in the mail from a friend or family member?

The other day I received a letter in the mail from my oldest daughter. When I first opened it, I was worried because I was afraid of what I might read, although I’m really not sure why. I guess I’m just so conditioned to not receiving a handwritten letter, that I was certain it could only mean bad news. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was no bad news. All she wanted to do was to surprise me by giving me a lift to my day, and indeed she succeeded.

And so, if you have some free time this week, why don’t you think about writing a letter of your own and sending it to someone you care about? I guarantee that they’ll probably be surprised, but I can also guarantee that you will make them happy.

Besides, I think we should start using our post office before we lose it. Wouldn’t that be a shame?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “It’s funny; in this era of e-mail and voice mail and all those things that even I did not grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy.”   ~ Elizabeth Kostova

 

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This post is presented as part of my special weekly feature, Red-Letter Saturday. If you’d like to to know more information about Red-Letter Saturday, simply click here:

Red-Letter Saturday 

All Grown Up

growing up 1When I was growing up. I did have dreams, just like any other kid. I went through the normal stages of imagining all the different things I could be –  a movie star, a singer, a ballerina, a doctor, a teacher, even a nun. I dreamed about all the places I could go, and all the things that I could do once I grew up. But at the same time, I was always pretty realistic about my dreams. I knew even then that there were bound to be limitations, because you don’t always get what you want and that you must be learn to be happy with what you receive. Perhaps this stemmed from the fact that I grew up in a family of seven children and believe me, when you grow up in the middle of that many kids, this is a lesson that is well-learned!

But I must say that life as an adult truly is pretty much as I imagined it would be when I was growing up. I’m happy, and as far as I’m concerned, I think I have a lot to be proud of.

I have the best husband in the entire world. Mike means everything to me, We’ve been together since 1974 and have been happily married since 1976. I’m proud of our marriage and of the love we have for each other. It is everlasting, and our bond can never be broken.

Our children are beautiful. Each one is unique in his/her own way, and I love each one of them. Joe is our oldest and our only son. He’s a college graduate and has made an excellent life for himself in the business world. He is kind, compassionate, and caring. He’ll make one woman a wonderful husband and he’ll be an excellent father. Sarah is our oldest daughter, and the middle child. She is outgoing, loving, and sings like an angel. She’s married to a wonderful man and was born to be a mother. Stephanie is our baby. She’s an introvert and is passionate, loving, and kind. She’s a very talented cellist and will be starting on her master’s degree in music performance in the fall. I’m proud of every single one of my children. As a matter of fact, I would say that my children are my greatest accomplishment in life. I would lay down my life for any one of them.

What else am I proud of? I’m proud that I went back to college after ten years and received my nursing degree. I’m proud of the fact that I worked in the operating room for over twenty-five years, and was the charge nurse of the entire department for six of those years.

I’m proud of the fact that I learned how to play the flute in my twenties and the organ in my thirties and now in my late fifties I’m learning how to play the piano and loving every minute of it. I’m proud that I used to be a soloist in our church choir, until one of my recurrent laryngeal nerves was damaged during surgery and I couldn’t solo any longer. But I didn’t give up and now I’m back as a member of our church choir and I’m glad that I can give praise to my God in this beautiful way.

I’m proud that I honed the craft of making quilts.

I’m proud that I quit smoking in 1999 and have never looked back.

I’m proud of my organizational skills.

I’m proud that I’m an American.

I’m proud that I’m a woman.

I’m proud to be me, and that’s not always easy.

And last but not least, I’m proud that I was able to grow up. It wasn’t always easy, but then again, life isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be, is it?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  ~ E. E. Cummings

 

 

A Fresh Start

Today marks the first day of May, and although March 20th, the spring equinox, was the official first day of spring, here in Minnesota, the first of May feels like the first day of spring more often than not.

At least in my back yard this statement is true. The leaf buds on the trees are beginning to open. As a matter of fact, we have an apple tree that hangs over our deck, and the apple blossoms are starting to bloom. The birds are in full voice as they chatter and sing well before the break of dawn—loud enough so that my husband will wake with them, complaining, “Why can’t they be just a little bit quieter?” The tulips and daffodils are blooming, adding a dash of color to my garden; and even the lilies have pushed their way up through the earth, reaching toward the sun, waiting for their time to open later in the summer. It seems that most living things experience a new beginning around this time, and this year I can rejoice because my sister Janice has had a new beginning, too.

Jan is the youngest of the seven children in our family. Being the baby of the family, we’ve often thought that she’s had the easiest life. You know how it goes: it seems the older children in the family always “pave the way” for the younger children, and therefore the younger children don’t always have to work as hard to earn the same privileges. However true this may or may not be, I believe that Jan has more than paid her dues for this in later life.

You see, Jan has been suffering from severe and intractable chronic pain caused by both partial and total bowel obstructions for more years than I can count. She’s had innumerable hospitalizations and surgeries to correct those medical conditions and their subsequent complications, but to no avail. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to comfort her as she shed tears over the agonizing pain she was suffering. Then there were the times when she would call me, sobbing because she’d been to the emergency room to get some relief from her pain, only to have an emergency room physician accuse her of being a drug addict.

Besides the constant, never-ending, and sometimes unbearable pain that she’s had to endure, her medical conditions have caused her stress, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, loss of employment, loss of self-esteem, problems with family relationships, and depression, among other debilitating symptoms.

Chronic pain is very different from acute pain. Acute pain happens at the time of injury, and goes away when the injury heals. Chronic pain sticks around longer than it should, offering little to no relief. If you’ve never had chronic pain, it will probably be difficult for you to understand it.

I understand because I’m a chronic pain sufferer myself. Ever since I ruptured a herniated disc in my cervical spine several years ago, I’ve had one medical condition after another present itself, including that of fibromyalgia.  So I’m no stranger to what it feels like to go through this kind of disruption in your life.

But I’m glad to say that there’s hope for people like my sister Jan. A few weeks ago she had a spinal cord stimulator implant placed during surgery. This is a device that is used to exert pulsed electrical signals to the spinal cord to control chronic pain.

After going through a successful trial with the device four to six weeks ago, a permanent device was then implanted.  I am now overjoyed to say that my baby sister is happy and pain-free at long last.

No longer will I receive those tearful phone calls with her being in the depths of despair and feeling like there will never be any hope for herself. No longer will she dread waking up in the morning to face another day filled with constant and oftentimes agonizing pain. No longer will she miss family functions because she’s being hospitalized for pain control management. No longer will she need to shed those precious tears.

Thanks to modern medicine, she can actually look forward to each day instead of wondering when her next trip to the emergency room will be. Thanks to modern medicine, she can make plans for the future and not have to worry about how being in pain might impact that same future. Thanks to modern medicine she can spend more time with her family instead of trying to find ways to cope with her pain. Thanks to modern medicine, she can be the person she was always meant to be.

My sister Janice

So you see—there are so many reasons why I think that this first day in May is truly the first day of spring for my sister Jan; and as a matter of fact, it may indeed be the first true day of spring that she’s had in many years. Now that’s something that our entire family can rejoice in.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:  “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, happiness would not be so welcome.”  ~ Anne Broadstreet ~

First, But Certainly Not Last

Hello, bloggers everywhere!

This is my first official post here. It is something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now, but have always been delayed by one reason or another. But now the time is right, and I’ve finally begun what I set out to do so many months ago.

Actually, I’ve done blogging before at Writing.Com, but I’m no longer a member there and have decided to blog exclusively here at WordPress. It is my hope that my readers will find my particular brand of writing at times useful, at other times humorous, and hopefully entertaining at those times in between.

And what, may you ask, will the subject of my blog be? That’s a great question, and to tell you the truth, I’m still in the developmental stages of the answer for that question, which, as you may have figured out by now means: I’m not really sure yet. But I’m leaning towards just plain old simple LIFE.

Don’t worry—I’ll try to make it interesting so you won’t nod off into your coffee mug while reading mid-sentence. I’ve got some interesting stories to tell, and there are also some exciting events coming up in my life that I know will make compelling and captivating material for my blog followers. At least, I hope so.

So, stick around, dear readers. The best is yet to come . . .

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:  “One step must start each journey.”  ~ Author Unknown ~

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