Monday, June 9, 2014

Outgoing Mail

I'm getting together a box of letters and gifts to send out  next week. I thought I'd take a break from actually writing the letters to share a bit about what I'm sending!

The other day, I was thinking about the fact that I am not too much older than some of my sponsor kids- I think this train of thought started when I was making several library cards for children this weekend, and kept thinking "This kid was born a few months after I graduated high school and he is like, old." I thought about telling some of my kids what I was doing the year they were born, ,but then it made a little more sense to change that to "this is what I was like when I was your age." Maybe I'll hear back from some of my kids and find out the things we have in common! I think that this is a pretty fun letter writing idea that can easily be adapted by just about anybody- if you can't remember what you were doing at a certain age, then perhaps you could go with the original idea, and tell your child what you were doing around the time they were born.

I started my letter with greetings to my kids and their families, and asked how everyone's doing. I shared that right now, where I live it feels pretty hot- though it's probably not as hot as where they live! I also said that we have not experienced much rain recently, but we are praying for more- the clouds are there, but nothing is falling from them! Writing about the weather may seem boring to some, but our kids love learning about what's going on where we live- including whether it's hot or cold, sunny or rainy.

I then moved onto the primary topic of the letter. I framed this a little differently for each child. For example, Caleb has a birthday coming up in August- I will be sending his birthday gift with this package. So I started a new paragraph by saying "Caleb, I was thinking about your upcoming birthday. It is going to be fun turning 13- you will be a teenager! I thought it would be interesting to tell you about what I was like when I was your age." Sometimes I introduce the topic by talking about a recent birthday a child might have had. With some of the other kids, I said something like "I can't believe that you were just 8 years old when we started writing to you, and this year you turned 12!"

Now onto the most challenging part of the letter- remembering what I was doing at different ages! I just listed some random things from various aspects of my life. If you want to do a letter along this theme, you may have more to talk about in some areas than others- that's ok! The point is to just talk! Here are some ideas to get you started, along with examples:

  • Physical appearance: "When I was 17, I had long hair that I dyed black! I really liked having dark colored hair- it is something that I wanted to do since I was a little girl!" "When I was 10, I had to get glasses so I could see better. I wore them every day for several years." "When I was 7, I was the tallest kid in my class!"
  • Family: "When I was 6, my brother was 2. He was fun to play with!" "My family got a new dog when I was 9. He was very small- not much bigger than my mom's hand!"
  • School: "When I was your age, my favorite subject was English. I loved to read!" "I started a new school when  I was 13. I stayed there until I finished my schooling at the age of 18."
  • Hobbies and Interests: "I liked playing basketball with a church group when I was 7 years old. I had a lot of fun!" "At 16, I wanted to be a detective when I grew up. I was very interested in the science of solving crimes."
Never underestimate the interest your child will have in your life. When Tasya first wrote to me about "hunting the Easter egg", I told her that I used to search for Easter eggs in my grandmother's yard when I was little. Her next two or three letters contained pleas to see a picture of me when I was little, hunting for Easter eggs! Plus, I think it's good to remind my kids that I was a kid once, too- and sometimes I still feel like one! 

I finished up my letters with prayer requests and a reminder that I am praying for my kids every day. I included the standard yet very true lines- either that I'm looking forward to the next letter, or I'm hoping to receive the first letter soon. And voila! Another hand-written letter finished! 

I've also got plenty of fun things to send out with this package. Here are some of the gifts I'll be sending to the kids: 
  • Inspired by Hannah, I am putting together a birthday folder for Caleb. Making a folder for him, full of coloring sheets, pictures, stickers, and a birthday card- is a little more personal than just sending any other gift. It's also a little special- definitely not something I normally send! I think that I will make this a tradition for birthdays. I plan on stocking up when the stores put out the back to school stuff!
  • Some of the girls will be getting cardboard stencils, which I found in the party supply aisle 
  • The little bitties are getting writing tablets- the youngest kiddos speak Spanish, so we use the same alphabet. And there's a good chance that they'll recognize the characters- it's from Sesame Street!
  • I've got a few little journals to send to my oldest girls, and tons of princess stickers to send to some of the other ones
  • Carlos will be getting a World Cup sticker book. Hopefully I can find some of the matching stickers to go with it has a few in there, plus information on each country and a place to record the stats from the matches. I just wish it was in Spanish!
I'm really excited about sending this package out, because I am happy about the theme of the letter, and I'm excited for Caleb's birthday folder! Have you found anything cool to send to your sponsor kids recently? How about letters- if you haven't written in a few weeks, take the time to send an online letter today! It literally just takes a few minutes!


  1. this is "letter writing week" for me!

  2. Thank you, Jessi. I like reading about your childhood, too!

  3. I love this idea!! I'm going to put this on my running "Compassion idea" list on my phone for next year's birthday letters!!

  4. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing!


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