A Gift That Keeps on Giving

The number one comment I hear when we tell people we’ve moved downtown goes something like this:

“We could never do it – we have too much stuff.”

For us, moving downtown was a transitional process.  From our small college apartment in Canyon to two acres, a horse and a barn, then gradually pared down again all the way to a downtown apartment in the heart of the Texas capital (wow!), in many ways, we’ve come full circle.

All three of our kids are minimalists.  No wonder – many millenials grew up with packed toy boxes and overflowing closets.  Now, they fill their own lives with friendships and experiences, not keepsakes and décor.  Five years ago, I would have thought they were living in millennial la-la land.  Now, not so much.

And I’m not alone.

Overfifty-ers who find themselves at the 3000-square feet of bursting-at-the-seams-full-attic-no-cars-in-the-garage-because-of-all-the-stuff stage are re-thinking it all.  In great numbers, overfiftyers are selling the big house, buying small, volunteering and hiking the Appalachian trail. Many love taking care of a yard and a home, but many are belting out, “Let it Go” with Idina Menzel, and if they could get their wife on the same page, they would love to return to a remembered and cherished state of honeymoon simplicity.

That’s us.

But, as I said, it was a gradual process.  Just last week, we brought a few more items out of storage.  This plastic tub was among the boxes we stored.  I hadn’t had time to go through it before we moved to Austin, so first, we stored it in the garage.

Then, we moved it to the storage unit we rented, which sits in the middle of about 300 units that are filled with other  people’s stuff.

Now, here it is in the downtown apartment.  I HAVE to purge some of it, because we simply don’t have room to keep everything. The sack is filled with the envelopes the notes came in.  That’s my purging progress so far.

But, here’s the thing:image

This tub was filled to the brim with years and years of cards, announcements and letters – handwritten letters.  Some of the hands that penned the letters are no longer here.  What a gift it is to hold their thoughts in my hands.

Several years ago, I worked for an attorney who was an absolute pro at writing notes and letters.  He consistently reached his goal of 5 notes a day.  I took those notes to the mailroom and marveled all the way.  What a great way to live.  Five people a day were blessed by a word of his encouragement or appreciation.

That’s 1825 notes per year!

And how about this? He even wrote notes to parents of college students or new attorneys who worked in the office, telling them how proud they would be of their son or daughter.

When I asked my friend how in the world he started this fine upstanding habit, he told me he had read a life-changing book and gave me a copy.  Since I love national days, and since today is National Read a Book Day, I wanted to share it with my readers like my friend shared it with me.

the art of the handwritten note

This simple book with its handwritten title makes a huge impact.  It’s two parts motivation and one part how-to, firming up the technique of a well-written note.  I bet right now you can visualize a handwritten note from someone special.


There may be too much stuff in your closet or garage, but I do hope you have saved a few special thank you notes, invitations to celebrations and love letters.  Each one is a gift that keeps on giving.

And if you move to a downtown apartment from a big house, you can always tuck ’em under the couch cushions. 


Encouraging intentional adventure and heartfelt handwritten notes,


PS – Is there someone who would be blessed by your handwritten note today? Have you received a handwritten note that has a special place in your heart or home?  I’d love to hear!


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About me

Hi, there! I'm glad you're here! My name is Brenda McDearmon, and this website is filled with my own personal brand of encouragement for you, from me. Welcome!