Living in the Midst, writing

Daily Notes

It was kind of a whim. I figured I’d send a few notes by snail mail while I was home. I said I’d continue doing this each day while we were asked to stay home. I didn’t expect to be here two months later still writing daily notes. I didn’t think I’d still be home as we approach Memorial Day weekend, but here I am, still at home. Still living in the midst of it all.

daily notes
Emily McDowell

The joy of daily notes

I’ve always loved sending people notes. In fact, I almost love sending thank you notes as much as I love receiving the gifts that require said notes. (I am an Enneagram Two, after all.) After my surprise birthday party last year, I ordered copies of group photos and included them in each thank you note I sent. I enjoy buying a new package of note cards, sitting down at my table and thinking about the person whose name is on the envelope. It’s a ritual for me. 

One year during Lent, I took on note writing as a spiritual practice. Each day I grabbed a note card, envelope, pen and stamp and got to work. I wrote to people who came to mind. I wrote for forgiveness. I wrote for appreciation. I wrote with lots of love.

A new routine

When I decided to take up this practice as part of my new stay-at-home routine, I wanted to keep track of who I was sending notes to. I received a small journal at Christmas and decided it was the perfect place to keep track of dates, names, and addresses. 

daily notes
journal

I shared this idea on Instagram and told them to send me a DM if they wanted a note sent to their home. A few people sent me their addresses! 

I mentioned that I was sending a note to my husband’s grandfather who is in an assisted living facility. One of my IG friends asked if she could have his address and send him a note too. She did and he sent one back to her!

I’ve sent seventy notes so far. (There were a few days I sent more than one.) 

So many connections

Childhood friends. Instagram friends. Writing group friends. Family. Co-workers, past and present. Former youth group members. 

People I’ve known my whole life. People I’ve known most of my life. People I’ve never met in person but call them friends. People with whom I share DNA and people who I call family regardless of blood. 

A cousin who works at a hospital. Friends who work in hospitals. Teachers now teaching from home. Pastors now preaching from home. 

Friends with whom I’ve traveled to Miami, Italy, Kenya, and Spain. On mission trips to Kentucky. Friends who I met in Houston, Murfreesboro, and on Zoom. 

Multiple spellings of Sara/Sarah and Jenn/Jen/Jenny.

Friends who used to live nearby and have moved. Friends who used to live far away and are now nearby. 

Graduation notes. Birthday notes. Mother’s Day notes. Grief notes. Celebration notes. A “Way To Go! You’re Finding a Cure to COVID-19” note. You know, the usual. 

Emily McDowell Pep Talk Postcards and Empathy Postcards. Black Tabby Studio Cards and random cards from Target. Lisa Congdon for Emily McDowell and Elizabeth Gilbert for Emily McDowell. 

(No this isn’t a commercial — these are just great cards to check out!)

A year of daily notes?

I just heard that it’s likely I’ll be working from home through the end of this calendar year, maybe even into spring semester. Does that mean a full year of daily notes? A full year of sitting down at my desk and pulling out a postcard? A full year of writing down the date and a name in this journal? A full year of opening the drawer and getting a stamp? A full year of going to the door, with Steve at my heels because of course he knows the routine now, and walking to the mailbox? 

Maybe. 

If this is what my new normal looks like, I’m okay with that. I’m okay with paying attention to who’s on my heart and sending them a note of encouragement. I’m okay with the ritual of handwriting a note to someone I care about. I’m okay with letting friends and family, near and far, know that I care about them. 

That’s a new normal I can get behind.

If you want a note in your mailbox, send me your address

peace.

daily notes

2 thoughts on “Daily Notes”

  1. This is such an interesting practice. I enjoy the long form version of this, which is sending pen-pal letters, but the pandemic has made it hard for me to even buy stamps at the post office, so I can’t write to people for the time being. Maybe I should look into writing notes for people. Thanks for sharing, Anne!

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