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Staying Connected Through the Art of the Handwritten Note

Not too long ago, I was having a bit of a rough day. You know the kind. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed, staying grumpy like a teenager, getting cut off in traffic. 


Nothing huge, but I was in a funk.


Those rain clouds followed me all day. By late afternoon, I was counting the hours until bedtime. I was just looking forward to getting into my pajamas and getting to sleep.

I heard the familiar hum of the mail truck, and I popped out to get whatever junk mail had accumulated, especially since I’d forgotten to check the box the day before.

Much to my surprise, I found a brightly colored envelope embellished with a shiny sticker on the flap.

Like a small child, I excitedly tore it open to find a lovely handwritten note with a gift card tucked inside. Instantly, my spirits lifted.

The gift card was indeed appreciated, but what struck me was that someone had taken the time to think of me and write a note.


That small act of kindness turned my entire day around. 


My teenage daughter was recently gifted some incredible hand-me-downs and she wrote a Thank You note.

I was surprised to get a text from the generous gifter commenting that they had received her note, and it, too, had made their day. (And I was a proud mama, too.)


Think back to the last time you got mail.


Real mail — not a bill or bank statement, but real mail. Think about it made you feel.

Did it lift your spirits?

Make you smile? 

Military life can feel so isolating. It can be so isolating!


We uproot our lives every few years, drifting around the globe, moving away from friends.

It can be tough to build connections every few years, but even more so, it can be difficult to maintain connections. 

A simple handwritten note feels like a little gift to receive.

It can feel like a warm hug from afar, brightening a gloomy day. It can be the outstretched hand that someone needs during a hardship — a deployment, the loss of a pet, or a death in the family.

It can be a heartfelt note of encouragement in a challenging time. It can be a note of gratitude for a job well done or just general appreciation. But, it can also be silly and fun.

Maybe an inside joke or a quick line or two scribbled on the back of an old photo. 


It can be cathartic for the letter writer, too.


Taking a few minutes out of your busy day to sit down and jot down a note to someone that means something to you is like hitting the pause button.

The act of writing a note has helped me reflect on something good — a good friend that has made an impact, a colleague I appreciate, or a memory made.

It can even be like a sort of journaling by sharing about your day or giving an update. 


There doesn’t need to be a reason behind the note. Simply saying “I’m thinking of you” is reason enough. 


Notecards can be custom designed through beautiful stationery companies or beautifully handmade, but it’s not necessary!

Dollar stores offer packs of inexpensive notecards, even a sheet of note paper will work!

It’s the thought behind the note.

Emails and texts are great, but there is nothing like the feel of a piece of paper or notecard in your hand as you read someone’s words in their own handwriting. 


For just a few minutes of your time and little more than the cost of a stamp, you can brighten up someone’s mailbox by staying connected and letting them know that you’re thinking of them.


It makes the world feel a little smaller and a little brighter.

It might seem like a simple gesture, but I can personally attest that receiving a handwritten note brings a smile to my face, and occasionally tears.

We could all use a little pick-me-up and a little more kindness, right? Pick up a pen, grab some paper, and drop someone a line. 

Which reminds me, I need to get more stamps.



*For more from Sheila, check out her Mission:Milspouse Author Page.



  • Sheila Rupp

    Sheila Rupp is originally from Michigan and is married to her high school sweetheart. She is a copy editor and writer with 20 years of experience. Like many military spouses, Sheila’s career has varied greatly over the years while staying within the communications field. Sheila has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, and a minor in professional writing from the University of New Mexico.  Sheila is a military spouse of 20 years. Having spent the first 17 years as an Air Force spouse, she is now a proud Space Force spouse after her spouse transitioned to the newest branch. In her free time, you’ll find Sheila on hiking trails, curled up with a good book, watching her daughter dance, or traveling the globe. Sheila is currently based in Los Angeles, California, where she lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and dog.


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The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

If you’ve read any of my blog submissions on Mission Milspouse lately, you’ll likely see a pattern where I have been mostly writing about what I’ve learned being a military spouse for the past twenty years but in presented in slightly different ways. In addition to...

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