Saturday, October 2, 2010

Snail Mail Sunshine and a Blog Award

Many of you know what I mean when I say that snail mail is like afternoon sunshine spilled over a grassy hillside after a gray, dreary morning. We all get so busy with everyday life--going to classes, going to work, chauffeuring the kids, doing sports, helping at AWANA, doing homework, etc.--but having a piece of mail in your mailbox causes you to pause. Your heart warms as you see the return address of a loved one on an envelope, or a slip of paper that lets you know that you have a package.

I have been blessed with a lot of snail mail lately. Yes, a lot of packages I've received are books that need to be reviewed--but they're a treat nonetheless! It doesn't matter that you know it's coming. The sun starts to peek through the clouds, and you look for that inevitable splash of sun that will warm the earth and brighten the path.

This week I received copies of Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander and Emily's Chance by Sharon Gillenwater to review. I'm really looking forward to diving into those! I know I have a couple of books for fun coming, too, including a three-in-one hardcover copy of Tamera Alexander's "Fountain Creek Chronicles" series, which I got for a great price at Christianbook.com!

I recently received a letter from my grandparents, which is such a wonderful gift. I love corresponding with my grandparents, and I am so thankful that we can stay close even while I'm gone at school. "I'll be home for Christmas" takes on special meaning for the college student. =)

I also received a package from my sweet mother. Not only did she send me some different helps for my cold (medicine, Vitamin D, nose strips for nighttime breathing, etc.), but she also sent me some fall decorations! It feels a little more festive in my dorm room, and it makes such a difference to have those little connections with my mom, who decorates often for various holidays! And that wasn't all. There were other little things, like a copy of Country magazine and some candy for me and my roommate.

But there was also something very unique in this package. My mom sent me a copy of a book my aunt put together about my great-uncle Robert, who died in WWII and whose funeral I went to this past summer in Washington D.C. There were copies of letters, information about Robert, and pictures of him along with pictures of this past summer. Here's what the cover says:

Robert Lloyd Crane
He Gave His Life for His Country
On May 23, 1944

While Flying Needed Supplies
To Merrill's Marauders in Burma


Buried With Honors at Arlington National Cemetery

66 years later in Washington D.C.
July 15, 2010

In A Funeral Fit For Our Nation's Heroes


I simply looked through it when it came, and I couldn't help but cry . . . for the beautiful tribute to my great-uncle . . . for the beautiful family that I am a part of . . . for the beautiful sacrifice my great-uncle made for the people and the country he loved. This summer was unforgettable.

And it is with this aunt and some of the other members of my dad's side of the family that I get to spend Thanksgiving this year--in Texas! I am overwhelmed by the love of family, from welcoming arms to timely and meaningful packages in the mail.

Before I move on to the blog award I received from a dear blogging friend of mine (Casey), I want to let you know that I also received a package from this same friend a couple of days ago! Why am I telling you this? Because the package I received contained the jewelry I had ordered from Casey's blog Bug's Beads.

See the necklace pictured at left? I indulged and bought a piece of jewelry for myself, and isn't it lovely? Casey is a joy to do business with, and I can't wait to wear this necklace! Plus, her jewelry makes great gifts, so now might be a good time to do some birthday, early Christmas, or surprise gift shopping! (And she has a great earring sale going on RIGHT NOW!)

With that, I am so touched to say that Casey also passed on a blog award to me recently! Thank you so much, Casey! I'm so glad we can be friends! Take a look at this sweet award:

I could pass this on to so many people, because I have been blessed by all of you and your friendship! Here's a few of those people whose friendship brings sunshine into my life:

Ashley at After All, Tomorrow Is Another Day

Hannah at Project Journal

Bluerose at Bluerose's Heart

Cerella at The Cerella Life

Kav at Best Reads (2010)

. . . and Amanda, who as of now does not have her own blog, but whose encouraging, uplifting comments to everyone inspire me and brighten my life!

Thank you to all of you for your friendship! Be sure to check out the great blogs mentioned above.

And if any of you, my dear followers, would like some snail mail, e-mail me at stokes[dot]a[at]suddenlink[dot]net with your snail mail address and I will try my best to get a letter out to you, because I want to share a bit of the sunshine you have brought into my days! Maybe we could become pen pals!

15 comments:

Project Journal said...

Amber,
That book about your great-uncle is so, so touching. It IS unique and something that is so special to have! One of my absolute best friends of all time's great-aunt died yesterday morning, so we're all very sad. This really touched me this morning : ) Also, my sister's old hockey coach who was like family to all the girls on the team died two nights ago. He was one of the most special and courageous men you would ever meet. Amber, I think you would have loved Steve actually!! LOl....everyone who knew him did. However, he's been dealing for years with cancer and it was amazing that he lasted this long. So it's a little bit of a tough time. I'm so glad that you have that book to cherish his memories by!

On another note, thank you SO much for the blog award!! It actually made me shed a tear or two (or maybe more...ya know!)! LOL! If I had gotten this award and had to pass it on, you have to know that you would've been on my list too. So thank you, thank you!!

*lots of hugs and love, wink*
Hannah

Casey said...

Amber you are so sweet, thank you for that shameless plug! That means so much to me. And it thrills me to pieces that you liked the necklace. I thought it quite lovely myself. :) I am so very glad you connected!! God is so good and I am thrilled to be able to pass on this award to you. Have a great day and hope your cold is over soon!!

Kav said...

Wow Amber -- isn't snail mail great??????? It's so exciting to get something other then bills in the mail! LOL. You are certainly blessed with a rich family heritage!

And thanks for mentioning my blog. I love reading and reviewing and it's nice to share that with so many other great readers and reviewers like yourself!

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

I absolutely love getting "snail mail", but to me I love having to wait a long time to receive something in the mail, because more the time I wait for it, it seems when I do get mail it's a precious and rare commodity. Which makes it that much more special.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the award! Your friendship brings me so much joy, I'm so glad we got to "meet" here! And be on the look out for some mail from me, cause I just might take you up on your offer. ;)
Love Ya,
Ashley

Amber S. said...

Hannah,

I'm so sorry about your friend's great-aunt and your sister's old hockey coach. It's hard to see people we care about leave this world. :( May the Lord comfort you and your family and friends.

I'm really thankful for that book, as well. When I heard about it, I was so glad my mom was going to send it up to me! It's such a precious gift to learn about this young man I never got to meet. He died so young in WWII...

Anyway, it is my pleasure to pass this award on to you! Your friendship has meant so much to me, and your comments are always so fun and meaningful. Thank you for being my friend and making blogging such a joy for me! :D

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Casey,

Thank YOU for being you! I'm more than happy to share about all of your blogs, including Bug's Beads. That necklace is lovely, and I'm hoping to wear it tomorrow to church. :D

Also, thank you once again for the sweet award, and for the kind sentiments! I'm sure I'm on the upward swing...I hope the last remnants of this congestion go away soon! ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Yes, yes, YES!!! I LOVE snail mail, and when I'm at school I generally check my box several times a day. ;) I am indeed blessed with a rich family heritage. I just had a wonderful talk with my dad over the phone about one of his experiences in the military, and I am in awe of all that he has done and all that he has been through. What a hero! :D

(By the way, if you haven't read A Memory Between Us, I highly recommend it! From what I can tell, it's very well-researched and fits with what I've learned from my dad and from my experience this past summer. Plus, it's a great romance story!)

As for the award, you're more than welcome! You do such a great job of documenting and reviewing the books you've been reading. :) It's always so fun to see us all reading some of the same books around the same time! ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Ashley,

That's a wonderful attitude to have! I think I've been flooded with so much snail mail that I might not appreciate it as much as I ought to. Don't get me wrong--I LOVE having a lot of mail! But I admire your attitude, and I want to learn to be more patient and cherish the snail mail I get more. :)

I'm so happy I can pass the award on to you! :D Your friendship has brought ME so much joy, and I'm so thankful for you! I would love to be pen pals with you, by the way! :D

~Amber

Julia M. Reffner said...

I agree with you about Casey's beads. I ordered some for my daughter a little while ago and she loves them. (Casey, she still carries them in the pouch and kept the little note that comes with it).

Hope you're feeling better, Amber. Congrats to all the winners. I read most of them regularly, I will definitely have to check out Hannah's blog.

I got the 3-book set of Tamera Alexander, too, after Amanda's fantastic reviews. I remember how much I loved getting mail at college...and as a stay-at-home mom I get excited too because many days are quite quiet.

Amanda said...

Awwwwww… Amber... I don’t know what to say, my dear, wonderful, incredible, friend :) It’s 2:30am here and I was just catching up on the blog happenings today as I wait for my nails to dry (painted them pink for breast cancer awareness month!), and as I’m reading through your post, I am BEYOND SURPRISED to see my name alongside those other wonderful ladies… Goodness, you made me get all teary and I can’t even grab a tissue because my nails will smudge! You are BEYOND SWEET, and I am BEYOND HONORED that you would mention me and pass a blog award on to me… and I don’t even have a blog! Is that even legal?? You have no idea how much you’ve blessed me, Amber, and I’m thanking the Lord that He sent me such a wonderful friend and sister in Christ :) THANK YOU!!!

This whole post was so very beautiful. LOVE that description at the beginning! I could smell the sun’s rays warming the damp grass and combining into that unique aroma only God could create :) You are such a writer!!! And, I’m so happy you got all those fantastic packages in the mail! I agree, snail mail is wonderful and beats an email any day ;) Can’t wait to hear what you think of those Tamera books!!

I was especially touched by the book dedicated to your dear great-uncle. What a beautiful description to honor a hero. You have an incredible family, and your love for them shines in every word you write concerning them. And, how exciting! I pray you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving visiting them in Texas :)

And, of course, CONGRATULATIONS on receiving that most deserved blog award, my friend!!! You truly do bring the sunshine wherever you go, and brighten all of our lives! Thank you for being you and allowing the Lord to work through you and shine His love through yours :) You are a BLESSING!

Praying you feel better, and just let me know if you need me to mail out some of my chicken soup ;)

THANK YOU!!!

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

Amanda said...

Oh, I just had to say it again- THANK YOU!!!

And, I pray that if and when the Lord leads me into making a blog... if it could be even half as good as your's or any of the other wonderful ladies here... well, I'll be a very happy girl :)

Blessing to you all!
Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...

Julia,

I'm glad you agree. :) Those beads are lovely! I still have my necklace in its pouch, although I'm planning on taking it out tomorrow. ;) That's so sweet that you got some for your daughter!

Thank you for caring about me. :D I'm still trying to get over the stuffy nose and all, but it really isn't that bad. I'm thinking the cold should be gone soon--staying positive. ;)

Congratulations to you on receiving the award from Casey, as well! And I agree that you should stop by Hannah's blog...she's so fun and so sweet! :D

How exciting that you got the three book series by Tamera Alexander, as well! We'll have to compare notes when we have time. ;) If Amanda recommends them, then they have to be good! Plus, I've loved her other books, so I know we won't be disappointed!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Do you realize how much your friendship blesses me?! You are such a WONDERFUL friend, and I am so thankful to have "met" you!!! I just know if you had a blog, it would be beautiful, but I really admire your desire to seek God's will in all you do. He has used you to truly encourage and inspire others in your comments, and I'm so glad you take the time to share such kind words with all of us! :D

Thank you so much for your sweet words about this post! So happy you enjoyed it! And I am most definitely looking forward to reading Tamera's "Fountain Creek Chronicles" series!!! (Just to clarify, if you read the "Sunday by the Sea" post, I am not saying that I regret buying this series--I regret my lack of self-control in general. I got a wonderful deal on this series, and I know I'll love it!) ;)

My family is indeed incredible! :D I love them so much!!! I am such a family girl, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I CANNOT wait for next weekend when my parents are coming up to visit me! Yay! And thank you for your prayers and well-wishes for my trip to Texas! I know I'll have a marvelous time, and it will be my first time there. Now if I can just find a ride to the airport... ;) I'm sure it will work out fine!

Anyway, thank you again and again for all of your encouragement and kindness! I am touched by your words, and I am humbled by how God uses us to bless each other. :) Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being the sweet, dear friend and sister in Christ that you are!

Now, if I could somehow take you up on your offer for chicken noodle soup... ;) Just kidding! I've been so lazy lately, that you would think I had more than just a little old cold. ;)

~Amber

P.S. If you ever do have your own blog, I KNOW it would be amazing! You are a GREAT author, and I love reading your writing!

Bluerose said...

I'm sorry I'm so behind!!

Thank you for the award. It really brightened my day. I'll try to get both of them posted in the next few days. I haven't seen this one around, and it's so cute!! I love it.

And now I need to catch up with all your posts I've missed. They are always such an encouragement!! :)

Amber S. said...

Bluerose,

Oh, don't worry about it at all! It's so sweet of you to stop by, and I'm thankful for your comment. :)

I'm glad I could pass on those awards to you! You're such a great friend, and your blog is great. :) Thank you for the kind words about my posts, as well!

~Amber