Friday, January 25

iNSPiRE | Handwritten Notes + Live-Inspired Giveaway

You should know by now handwritten notes/letters are one of my very favorite things...
not only to receive...but especially to give.

A handwritten sentiment...
in any form...is powerful and touching.
It shows thoughtfulness...
it carries a sense of warmth...
and it even conveys a bit of nostalgia since a handwritten ANYTHiNG is quite rare these days.

I shared the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Kit (and challenge) from Live-Inspired the other day.
The year-long challenge to write a handwritten Thank You Note every week is something I absolutely adore.
I've been enjoying the last few weeks...
using the little journal that came with the Gratitude Kit...
to jot down the names of people I want to send notes to over the course of this year.
I've been able to check off a few of those names, record the dates the notes were sent...
and write down a little bit about why I sent the notes.

So today...
I wanted to share the story behind one of those notes...


There's an older gentleman named Herb who lives just down the street with his wife and dog.
He is retired and spends a good portion of his day working in his yard - with his obedient dog right there beside him.

His day starts off with a walk every morning.
I'll see him walk by my house WITH the dog...
and then awhile later, he'll be cruising by again WITHOUT the dog.
It's the same routine every morning.
I mean EVERY morning.
It's something I count on seeing now.

Although I don't know Herb all that well...
I've developed a real soft-spot for him.
I think because he reminds me of my grandfather in a lot of ways.
He's happy. He's friendly. He's regimented. He's a hard worker.
And he's from an era I truly respect and admire -  The Greatest Generation. 

Herb's daily routine...
his every day walk...
it's now become part of MY day...my routine.
I didn't realize this until over the holidays.
Just after Thanksgiving, I noticed I hadn't seen Herb for a few days.
I assumed he was on vacation with his wife - who loves to travel.
It then turned into a couple of weeks and I remember thinking,
"Wow! I bet Herb can't wait to get back to his normal routine when he returns from this long vacation."
After a few weeks went by...concern set in:
"There's no way Herb would've agreed to be gone this long. He doesn't like to travel. His wife is the one who likes to go
on trips and Herb is content with staying at home. Something isn't right."
Of course I'm thinking all of these things as if I actually KNOW Herb personally but I don't.
It's only information I've obtained in passing and from a few conversations with he and his wife.



As I'm returning home one day...driving by Herb's house... I see his wife outside with the dog!
Uh oh. Now I know something isn't right.
I stop to inquire.
Turns out, Herb had been in the hospital recovering from triple bypass surgery. *gasp*
He'd had a heart attack one morning after he'd come in from a little yard work.
I was so happy to hear Herb was home now and recovering quite well. *phew*

In this same conversation with his wife, I found out a little more about Herb.
This "older gentleman" who I guessed might be around 65 years old is actually 80!!
This super-young 80 year old is very much routine-oriented.
Wakes up at the same time every day.
Eats breakfast at the same time every day.
Exercises at the same time every day.
When he was a younger man, he ran 6 miles a day.
For the past 20 years, he has faithfully walked 3 miles every day.
And guess what?
Herb has never been sick a day in his life!
Wow!!

I'm happy to say that within 2 weeks of Herb returning home...
he was back at it...working up to his 3 mile routine.
Can you believe that?!
It took him a few weeks...
probably much longer than he wanted...
but my mornings are whole again.
I see Herb out there, with his dog, walking his 3 miles.
I even saw him on a bike the other day!!

According to his wife, the doctors said they expected to see a lot of damage when they went to do surgery on Herb.
They were quite surprised to see how healthy he was and attributed it to his daily exercise routine for the past 45+ years.

My fondness for Herb has been doubled!
He's totally my hero. (and I've only given that title...that honor...to one other person in my life - my grandfather).
I decided Herb needs to know how much I appreciate the quiet example he sets for me!
For Herb - it's just how he rolls.
For me...he's a beacon of strength!

So I wrote Herb a Thank You Note...

I wasn't about to squander the opportunity to tell him how very much I appreciate him...
how grateful I am for his example.



I'm not sure what he'll think when he reads it.
Regardless...
he needed to know.
Or perhaps it was really that I needed the opportunity to tell him!!

This 52 Weeks of Gratitude challenge is something I feel SO incredibly blessed to be part of.
I realize not every Thank You Note will have a heart-felt story behind it.
And that's the beauty behind this challenge.
It will continue to PUSH me (my action word for 2013)...
to reach out...
to take the time...
and to recognize my gratitude for others...
acknowledge it...
and most importantly, express it...
through the gift of a handwritten note.

If you want to be a part of Live-Inspired's challenge of collectively sending ONE MiLLiON handwritten Thank You Notes this year...
I have WONDERFUL news!!
I'm giving away THREE of the Gratitude Kits...thanks to the generosity of Live-Inspired!

ENTER BELOW!!

If you don't want to wait to get started...
you can purchase a kit on the Live-Inspired website.
This really is a well-crafted, beautiful gift for yourself...
and perhaps for someone else you know who loves the expression of a handwritten note.

Contest starts: Friday, January 25th
Contest ends: Thursday, February 1st
Winners announced: Friday, February 2nd

Good Luck Everyone!
Have a beautiful weekend!!

I'll be strawberry picking on Saturday with my three girls. *wink*

UPDATE
I wanted to say thank you to all of you who've left comments, sent emails and responded via social media to this post. I didn't realize how many of you would be touched by it and I'm so grateful you found it inspiring.

I wanted to share a photo of Herb I took the other day - prior to me giving him the note.
I took this photo when I unexpectedly found myself walking behind him one morning. I felt like SUCH a creeper taking his photo without him knowing but he's just SO darn adorable - and so is his dog.
I knew there would be so many of you who would be appreciative of having a visual of this darling man.
This photo is a treasure!


So what happened after I gave Herb the note?
Here's the whole story...

I put on my walking clothes one morning, grabbed Herb's note 
which I had misplaced for 3 days and was about to just write another one out of frustration, when I finally found it
and made my way to his house.

The whole way there I was battling back and forth about whether or not to just stick it in his mailbox. 
This option would be easy and less awkward! *wink*
However, I didn't want to do "easy". 
I felt Herb deserved more than that!
So I PUSHED myself (there's my 2013 Action Word again)
and I walked right up to his front door and rang the doorbell.
His dog was barking like crazy and after a minute or two he came to the door.
He didn't open the door - he just peered through the glass trying to figure out who the heck was ringing his bell at 7:50 in the morning.
I waved through the glass and he told me he was still getting dressed for the day.
I said, "No big deal. I've got a note for you and I'll just leave it right outside your door."
He said "Thank You" and then I went on my way.
I felt happy to have finally left the note behind that I'd been wanting to give.

About 20 minutes later, after I'd made one lap around the neighborhood...
I look up and see that Herb is out on his walk with his dog and our paths are about to cross.
I got a little nervous.
My mind kicked into high gear.
I'm wondering what in the world I'll say...
wondering if he now thinks I'm a complete weirdo...
If he knew about the photo I took of him he would.
I started playing out awkward scenarios/conversations in my mind...
and then...

There he is...coming right to me.
As we approach one another,
he's got a smile on his face and says, 
"That was the best way to start my day today! Thank you. Come here and give me a hug!"
I was so relieved and surprised in the same moment.
I was also hoping I wasn't perspiring too much when I hugged him. 
I just reconfirmed to him how grateful I am for his example, told him he's my hero, thanked him again and then we both continued on our walks and went about our business.

The story doesn't end there though.
Later that day...
his wife rang MY doorbell and proceeded to thank me for the note! 
She said it was perfect timing...
and that Herb was so happy to know that at 80 years old, he was actually inspiring someone. 
I immediately blushed knowing I had originally told you all that Herb was 90! Oops!
I apologize everyone, he's actually ONLY 80. 
Still...
EIGHTY YEARS OLD...
and Herb looks AMAZiNG!!
Eighty years old...
and Herb is quietly inspiring those around him...especially me.

My visit with his wife was short and sweet...
and it's during her visit that I felt the power and significance of my Thank You Note to Herb.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
The note has been written.
Now I have to go down there and give it to him. *wink*

23 comments:

Great Gatherings January 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM  

Been there, done that... I actually delivered a friendly note to the Head of School for Mason's school this morning and DELIVERED it. That's the big part for me too!

pinksarahh January 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM  

I follow you on Pinterest!

pinksarahh January 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM  

I am following Live Inspired on Pinterest

Sarah January 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM  

Love this idea. We need to return to habits of the past. A hand written note is so precious.

So let's see. I subscribed to your blog, I'm a follower on Pinterest, A FB fan, I twitted about it. No Instagram account though :(

Love your blog and you inspired me to try the smash books - didn't know what those where until you. Thanks, I may be hooked.

Alison January 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM  

I am instagramed challenged... I can't find you on instagram. :-)

Alison January 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica Kirkland January 25, 2013 at 2:06 PM  

Hey Alison!! Does the link in the Rafflecopter/Giveaway work? It should direct you to webstagram and should give you an option to follow.

Or, try clicking on the Instagram link in my sidebar - at the top of the page.

If either of those options don't work - let me know right away.

If you are having issues - other people are too!
Thanks for letting me know!

Jessica Kirkland January 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM  

Nikki - yay!! Good for you! That's awesome!
I'm not really sure what Herb will think. I've thought about just sticking it in their mailbox. But then again - why am I such a chicken? I'm saying Thank You for crying out loud! *wink*

Jessica Kirkland January 25, 2013 at 2:12 PM  

Sarah- Oh I'm thrilled to hear you agree with the sweetness of a handwritten note. I'm also happy to hear you may be hooked on SMASH books now! It's such a fun way to "squish" some inspiration and memories together! Ha! Thanks for being here and for the follows on FB, Pinterest and Twitter.

Jessica Kirkland January 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM  

Thanks for your follows and for participating PinkSarahh!! Good luck to you - and everyone else!!

Bianca Andrea January 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM  

I follow live inspired on Pintrest

Bianca Andrea January 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM  

I follow Live Inspired on pintrest

Bianca Andrea January 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM  

I follow live inspired on Pintrest

Alison January 26, 2013 at 1:51 AM  

Yea!!! I used the instagram link on your sidebar!

Nedra January 31, 2013 at 3:44 PM  

I am following you on Pinterest.

Nedra January 31, 2013 at 3:44 PM  

I am following Live Inspired on Pinterest.

Gina C,  January 31, 2013 at 6:12 PM  

I'm following you on Pinterest

Great Gatherings January 31, 2013 at 6:33 PM  

Good for you! Spreading happiness!

Andrea February 1, 2013 at 12:27 AM  

Hi Jessica,
Think your blog is great - very inspiring! I enjoy sending hand written notes (and wish I received more too!) My little girls really love getting something in the mail and I always encourage family to write to them (even if they only live 4 miles away!)
We have been focusing a lot on thank you notes this month after the holidays and what a great idea to thank people for random things all the time. Have had "thank you" on my mind a lot lately after reading your posts and saw this article in the paper last weekend - reminded me of you and thought I would share with you: http://www.parade.com/news/views/guest/130127-brad-meltzer-power-of-thanks.html.
Thank you for the opportunity to win this special note set!
Andrea

Andrea February 1, 2013 at 12:27 AM  

Hi Jessica,
Think your blog is great - very inspiring! I enjoy sending hand written notes (and wish I received more too!) My little girls really love getting something in the mail and I always encourage family to write to them (even if they only live 4 miles away!)
We have been focusing a lot on thank you notes this month after the holidays and what a great idea to thank people for random things all the time. Have had "thank you" on my mind a lot lately after reading your posts and saw this article in the paper last weekend - reminded me of you and thought I would share with you: http://www.parade.com/news/views/guest/130127-brad-meltzer-power-of-thanks.html.
Thank you for the opportunity to win this special note set!
Andrea

Jessica Kirkland February 1, 2013 at 7:07 PM  

Andrea...Thank you SO much for sharing the link to that article. I LOVED it. It was absolutely the perfect demonstration of how powerful a simple Thank You can be. I hope others will see your comment and read it too. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to reach out and share that touching story. Wow!!

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