Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Inspiration

This morning, I found these beautiful beacons of Spring in my yard.

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The morning temperature was 60 degrees… the kind of weather that makes me want to open all of the windows and wash all of the bedding so that it can be line dried and soak up the sun and freshness.

I declared today a Phys. Ed. sort of homeschooling day and excused my girls from any sort of sit-down learning.  I just love the freedom to be able to do that.

I was also inspired to break out the printer paper that is bordered with suns and butterflies and flowers and get to work on another round of letters for our Compassion International kids. Even though I mailed letters out last week, I like to get going on the next round as soon as I can.  That way, if I get distracted or busy, the unfinished letters on my household management binder serve as a reminder to get them done.

So, I copied the personalized stationary that Compassion sends with our children’s letters onto some pretty paper and sat down to write.  Generally speaking, my handwritten letters to all of our kids end up covering the same topics.  I may simplify the wording for the younger children or add more complicated details to those for our older kids, but the letters all focus on the same points. (I use Compassion’s email feature to send personalized notes or letter responses to our CI kids.)

Today’s Spring letter started with a basic greeting.  Then, I told our children how the weather is turning warmer and the snow on the ground has melted.  I mentioned the joy in finding the first blooming flowers of the season.  I explained how the flowers die when the cold of Winter comes, but are reborn when Spring returns. After searching my Bible, I decided on sharing 1 Peter 1:24 with the children. (I try to include at least one Bible verse in every letter.)

“All men are like grass and their glory is like flowers of the field. The grass withers and flowers fall but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”  1 Peter 1:24

This verse led into encouraging the children to spend time reading and learning from the Bible. My closing told the children how much we love them, as I have told them so many times before. I reminded than that God has a plan for them and their lives and that we would write again very soon.

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Of course, no letter is complete without some stickers and some enclosures.  I used some flower and cross stickers on the letters and I will look for some Spring coloring sheets or mazes to print off. I have photo collages to send to our two newest children, Madina and Mkapa and I also made a copy of the photo we received of Bertille and her birthday presents to send back to her. For our English speaking kids, I’ll choose something from my ever growing stockpile of books to send along as well.

Here’s just a few of the ones I have stored.

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The books on the left are from the Dollar General and are just $1 each and the ones on the right were picked up at a nearby thrift.  I also have a bunch of non-Christian themed story books that have been checked for content and are stored in a tote for future mailings.

So far, I managed to finish five out of the nine letters in between loads of laundry, walks with my girls, sweeping and mopping and all of my other daily duties.

Have you written any letters recently?  If so, what did you write about?

~Michelle

22 comments:

Amy D said...

I just sent a round of letters last week. I talked about how it's raining a lot and then I asked for prayer from each one of my kids. (4 different prayers. LOL)

Jessica said...

I thought about including some pictures of the flowers in bloom when I talked about spring to our Compassion kids this week, but I never did get that fancy! :)

ronda said...

I just picked up some really pretty calendars for 10¢ at Wally's I'm taking them apart to send. Just mailed spring letters Tues telling about the weather, new baby calves and chicks here. Got a new picture of 1 boy so made a copy, put it in a card frame and sent it too. Just love your ideas.

Jill Foley said...

My last batch of letters was about Easter. I just got a package of "design your own butterfly" from Oriental Trading for my next batch of letters.

CookieMonster said...

Oh, my goodness. You are wonderful. Your letter writing is amazing. You have totally encouraged me.

I've always wanted to send thin books, but wondered if I really could.

I get stuck when I write letters to my kids. When I try to include a Bible verse I feel like I'm being preachy. I see, in my head, the kid on the other end saying, "duh, we already know that." Which is probably ludicrous of me, but I'm just being honest.

When I try to talk about what we've been doing, I can't figure out how to do that without violating the rule about mentioning all the many things I have that these children don't. I really, really get stuck on this.

I've bookmarked your blog and I'll be coming back for ideas. Thank you.

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Hi there, I am glad you found my blog! :D

As far as violating rules, I think the main thing is to avoid talking about extravagant vacations, how many cars you have, all of the food you eat, etc. The children *do* want to know about your trips and your life, though. Just like we would want to know about theirs.

A lot of times, I mention what we've been learning in church or what we're doing with our homeschooling friends. I talk about field trips and the types of things my children like to play. What I always come back to if I am stumped for ideas is to share scripture, devotions, etc. I also am sure to tell them how happy we are that God matched us up, how much we love them and things like that.

Feel free to stop back any time and I also have lots of links to letter writing ideas on my sidebar.

Oh, and thin paperback books are ok. They have to be flexible and just a few pages, though.

Familiar Little Frog said...

I just read "A Thousand Sisters" by Lisa Shannon. She offered a great explanation about letters received by sponsored people (she was writing about women, but it would apply to children as well). Lisa says, imagine that you get a letter from Julia Roberts. You wouldn't begrudge her her glamorous lifestyle, designer clothes, or fancy parties--you would just be thrilled that she writes to YOU... and you would share her letter with all of your friends! That helped me feel a little better about mentioning things like trips, our our house.

chipsndip4ever said...

You ALWAYS give me such creative examples as to what to write to my CI child... I love that you share a visual as well.. it has helped me tremendously!! Thank you for that!! smiles - Tressia

melissacraddock said...

Hi Michelle! I found your blog this evening via the Compassion International website's blog. I'm so happy that I did. My family just selected our very first child last night and we are VERY excited about getting started with our sponsorship. I have been watching countless videos on YouTube about sponsorship and how much being a child of Compassion means to these kids. I'm already feeling so much love for my sponsored child Moses in Uganda and all I have seen is a photo of him and read a small paragraph about his life. My husband, stepson & myself are so happy to be able to welcome him into our family. I love the passion you have for your Compassion kids & I look forward to keeping inspired by reading your blog. Thank you for taking the time to post these encouraging notes. God bless you!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Oh no, I just posted a long response to all of you and it got lost in space! Ack!

FLF: That book sounds neat and I think it makes a lot of sense. I do take some differences into consideration when I write to our kids, but overall I think they have as much of a desire to get to know about our lives as we do theirs.

Tressia: Sometimes I get held back by how long it takes to get photos from my camera to computer, but I know that visuals do help. Ill try to post more pictures of our letters before I slip them in the envelopes to mail.

Melissa: Welcome to the Compassion family!! How exciting! I am glad you found my blog. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about CI, either here or on my Blogging from the Boonies Facebook page! I totally understand what you mean by falling in insta-love with these kids. Isn't it amazing?

Evelyn Chang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eveliee said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I'm very encouraged and challenged by this post to be more dilligent with writing to my sponsored children. You are amazing :) I'm definitely going to be using some of the tips you mentioned. Thanks!

SandyVB said...

I've been a "lurker" on your blog since Jan. I have been searching for things to write about to a 7year old & your blog has provided me with ideas to write my child. I am now more than an occasional writer. My question is how do you receive photos from your children? I have received 2 photos, one that came with the sign up package and just recently prior to her birthday. Any suggestions???

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Blogger ate my first reply to you, Sandy! In our experience, some projects will send a photo after you send a Child Gift or Family Gift. It depends on if the project has access to a camera etc. Out of our children, only four of the projects have send photos. We do treasure the ones we receive, though. Compassion also updates the child photos every other year and will send them to you when they have them.

Anonymous said...

When I send packs of stickers to my kids, do I need to remove the thin plastic that holds them together?

Lani said...

your blog is extremely helpful to me, a new CI sponsor! i plan to send my first gift to my child: some stencils and matching sketch sheets. according to CI's tips for mailing small gifts, stencils are in the forbidden list. however, so are books/booklets. so if you're able to send small booklets (as long as they're flexible and under 8.5 x 11 x 0.25) do you think the thin, flexible 8.5 x 5.5 stencils will reach my child? thanks in advance for your reply!

Lani said...

your blog is extremely helpful to me, a new CI sponsor! i plan to send my first gift to my child: some stencils and matching sketch sheets. according to CI's tips for mailing small gifts, stencils are in the forbidden list. however, so are books/booklets. so if you're able to send small booklets (as long as they're flexible and under 8.5 x 11 x 0.25) do you think the thin, flexible 8.5 x 5.5 stencils will reach my child? thanks in advance for your reply!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Hi Lani! The stencils should go through if they are made of cardstock or similar. They won't go through if they are plastic, though!

trish8399 said...

Thank you soooo much for all the wonderful ideas. I saw you had several books from Dollar General to send. I often hesitate to send books if they are in English and try to find mine in Spanish for my little girl in Peru. How do they read the books if they aren't in their language, I wonder? And another thing I am curious about is if the children take their gifts home, or do they have to keep them at their center? Thank you

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Hi Trish! I have a number if children who speak English or learn it as a second language, so they end up getting more books than my other children.

However, with the books that retell a certain part of the Bible, I will send those to children who don't speak English. In the letter that goes with the book, I will either tell the child where to look in the bible to find the story or give a brief synopsis of the story in my letter.

To answer your other question, children bring their letters and gifts home with them! :)

garrysa said...

Michelle, I tried to send plastic stencils to my girl in Colombia...you are right, they pulled them. Any idea where to get stencils made of cardstock?

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Dover Publications has a variety of little stencil books that are cardstock. http://store.doverpublications.com/by-subject-children-dover-little-activity-books-stencils.html

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