Friday, July 3, 2015

LEP Secrets

"A secret is something you tell another person," Bono once advised, and while that would seem to defeat the purpose of secrecy, if you think about it, he had a point. A secret untold is just mental dead weight, a fact or event or suspicion that the mind chews on endlessly, sometimes to the point of madness. As humans, we are constantly evaluating ourselves- in fact, self awareness is one of the things that makes us human, one might say. When we communicate and interact, we are, in effect, asking for validation, subconsciously demanding that the world confirm the things that we think we know. A secret that a person has not shared gets no feedback, no confirmation from the rest of humankind, and that can be frightening.

Some time ago, a call for LEP secrets was put out, and the results poured in. All secrets were scrubbed of identifying information, and then scanned into a computer, and they are reproduced here. They are the collective unconscious of us all- heartbreaking and personal and very real. There is obviously no feedback for these secrets, unless the provider chooses to step forward on his or her own. They are here, in part as an exercise in unburdening, and in part to remind us all that there is not a single one of us that does not have a hidden side, and thus we should view each other, and everyone else as well, with even more compassion than we already do.

~ Michael AKA Slayer of Popcorn





































Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bucket List Swap

We've been so busy welcoming many new members that we almost forgot about our blog space! In case you were thinking that this penpal club was inactive, I wanted to let you know that it's definitely not! As I'm typing this very sentence, we have 510 current, active members!

Back in April, we hosted a Bucket List Swap. Participants were encouraged to write their bucket list in the form of a letter and exchange it with their partner. As members signed up for the swap they were asked this question:

"What is the most important item on your bucket list?"

Do you want to hear the responses?!? Good, because I want to share them with you...


----------------

It was seeing Fleetwood Mac in Concert... Now it's going to be self publishing three books by the end of the year.

----------------

Travel!!!

----------------

Publish (or just print) a collection of original poems and photos.

----------------

Writing a book.

----------------

Travel... and a lot of it!

----------------

Writing a complete book.

----------------

Fall in love!

----------------

Visit the Egypt pyramids!

----------------

Travel! I want to travel almost everywhere!

----------------

Getting my Bachelors!

----------------

Do photography for the Special Olympics!

----------------

Have another baby.

----------------

It's not important, but the most pressing I'd say is to pass the driving test.

----------------

The most important item on my bucket list, hmmmm, it's so hard to choose but one of the most important things is seeing the Northern Lights.

----------------

To live my life to the fullest.

----------------

Travelling.

----------------

Love and be loved in return.

----------------

Not actually on my list but my motto for it is: There are no excuses.

----------------

Staying curious!

----------------

Happiness.

----------------

Going to Canada.

----------------

Go back to Quebec and eat REAL poutine! 

----------------

Seeing the world! I've traveled extensively in North America and the Caribbean, but it's time for me to visit other continents.

----------------

Writing a dystopian novel.

----------------

Travel!

----------------

Traveling.

----------------

A trip to Paris.

----------------

Spend a month in Paris.

----------------

Become a teacher.

----------------

To go tour the UK.

----------------

Visit my German penpal.

----------------

Get a dog.

----------------

I think be a mom. But there are so many things on there!

----------------

Travel.

----------------

Climb a 5.14 level rock climb.

----------------

Knit up my entire yarn collection. However, that means I would have to stop buying yarn. Challenges, oh man! ha.

----------------

Taking a culinary tour/trip of Italy to learn about the various regions of Italian cuisine!

----------------

Write a book and have it published.

----------------

Road Trip with my family.

----------------

Trek to Everest Base Camp.

----------------

Visiting every continent in the world (not sure about Antarctica, though).

----------------

Travel around the World: specifically Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Egypt, India, Japan, Ecuador.

----------------

Mmmhh, I have not even started my bucket list. Therefore I really love this swap as it introduces me to something new and exciting. I have some vague ideas, so for now I think the most important item is spending one year concentrating on creativity (writing a novel, photographing for a whole year, learning how to paint). 

----------------

Move back to Minnesota: completed August 2014. ;-)

----------------

I would like to live in another country, preferably non-English speaking.

----------------


And there you have it... the official unofficial bucket list compilation from members of the League of Extraordinary Penpals!

Our members do a fabulous job of hosting new and exciting swaps that come out in our newsletter each month. Aren't you excited to see what comes out in the July edition?

Peace,
Denise

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sweet little village

One of our members created this visionary masterpiece that we felt compelled to share! This sounds just lovely! 

Sometimes I wish LEP was an actual place. 

Like a sweet little village of the cutest homes surrounding the town green with a great big stationery store and post office and darling little cafés to pen the days away. Throwing confetti would be a commonplace greeting instead of shaking hands. Blanket forts and teepees would dot the parklands and the weather would be perfectly suited, with cool rain sprinkling the windows of an evening.

Mail would be delivered each day. Reply piles wouldn't get unruly and no letters would be lost. 

Kindness and compassion and loveliness would be the normality and no tears would come from the harshness of others.

LEP would truly be our utopia.

Like a great big hug when you need it most.

Thanks for being that in the virtual world, beautiful people.



Thanks to Bel in Australia for writing this. Won't you come and join us?

Peace,
Denise

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Movie Mail Art Swallenge

In January, we had a really fun mail art swap. Tina in Germany hosted this swallenge (swap/challenge) for us and she has put together a post to display photos of some of the movie themed mail art pieces.



Hello hello you lovelies! All in all it was a fun & creative mail art swallenge. It seems as everyone had fun & did enjoy being crafty & creative. That's what I love about the LEP & the members: we are one big community with the same love & passion for mail where everyone invests some of their own heart & soul.


Kathleen H. created a "Greta Garbo" envelope: A dramatic 20,000 Leagues
Under The Sea address side! Her little intro card is made by a designer
who created that typeface for a silent movie restoration! The ramblings of a possibly
mad woman, accompanied by bits of her favorite films of all time!


Tanja K. used a scene from one of her favourite movies "The Notebook" & added
a beautiful quote from "Gone With The Wind", her swap partner's favorite movie:
"You should be kissed often by someone who knows how". Since her swap partner also
likes poems, Tanja added a piece of a poem that was used in "Interstellar". To close
the letter she just had to use the famous words "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn".


Natasha P. made a gorgeous booklet of film recommendations to go with her envelope,
and the envelope is meant to resemble the outside of a cinema with her
swap partner's favourite film being displayed.


Bonnie M. came up with awesome "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" envelope and stationery.
She typed out bits of Hunter S. Thompson's original article, on which the movie is based.
She used her bat stamp because, "We can't stop here. This is bat country!" is probably her favourite line in the movie. Bonnie also drew the cacti and the skulls, and sponged distress ink along the bottoms of the pages to create sand. Everyone who's interested in the article can click here.


Mara E. used "Amélie" as a theme for her movie swallenge mail art.



Heleen created a lovely envelope plus a booklet she made of her favourite movie.
She does not have time often for watching complete movies, but if so, then she usually watches animation movies. Ratatouille and Up, they're great! As are many others,
that definitely haven't been created for children only. And one of the 'real people movies'
which touched Heleen most is the "Shawshank Redemption". 


Tina (me) received the beautiful & creative mail art from Marie H. She chose the theme "Jack Skellington meets The Corbes Bride", which is also one of my favorite movies. She added beautiful quotes plus some interesting background information about the movie / story.


I sent an "Alfred Hitchcock" themed mail art & chose "The Birds" for Lara P. I wanted to keep it black & white, printed some of my favorite scenes from the movie & used some birds & film role washi tape. As an envelope I used an original popcorn bag I got at the movie theater a while ago.



Thanks so much for hosting this fun swap, Tina! I loved all the movie inspired mail images! 

Peace,

Denise

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How do you want to feel?


One of the swaps we hosted in January was a New Year Notecard. Members were asked to fill up a notecard with thoughts about the 2015 year. Each participant was encouraged to answer questions like...

Do you make resolutions?
Do you set goals?
What are you most looking forward to in 2015?
Is there something you would like to add to your life in this new year?
Is there something you'd like to drop?
How do you want to feel in 2015?





As LEP members signed up to participate in the swap, we asked them to fill in this sentence...

In 2015, I want to feel __________.

Here is how the participants would like to feel:


~ more at peace with myself.

~ the weight of my worries disappear!

~ accomplished.

~ like I can take better care of my inner child.

~ happy.

~ happy with who I am, what I do, and where I'm going with my life - and I'm ready to
make the changes to get there.

~ creative.

~ fulfilled.

~ more like myself.

~ alive and fit!!

~ more peaceful, more relaxed (less stressed by all things I (think I) have to do.

~ content and settled!

~ healthier.

~ integrated.

~ contented.

~ productive and content.

~ GREAT! (and positive, and healthier, and so much more).

~ engaged.

~ Way better than the last year & a half!

~ accomplished, happier, healthier and that I did everything I could to make it a good year.

~ like I am worshipping at the altar of my own intuition.

~ content.

~ really happy!

~ happy, loved and sexy.

~ dauntless.

~ confident, happy, balanced, loved.

~ more connected to friends.

~ as if I have earned my stripes as an eccentric old lady who was created by
Charles Dickens or Oscar Wilde.

~ passion.

~ happy.

~ on top of my game.

~ at peace with myself, in control and confident.

~ excited.

~ thankful.

~ accomplished and in control!

~ like a mother to be.

~ like I accomplished something.

~ more confident about the choices I make, more pro active, more energetic,
stronger within myself.

~ the joy that comes from a happy life; good health, great friends, loving family.


This is a great list!

My feeling words to focus on in 2015 are efficient, generous, enough and healthy (physical, emotional spiritual). I've made a few adjustments, but I still need to spend some more time focusing on the way I want to feel.

I hope your 2015 is getting off to a great start! How are you feeling?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 year old LEP members

In the 10 Surprises Letter Swap we hosted this month, we asked participants to send a letter to their swap partner based on their 10 year old self. Participants shared 10 things about their current life that their 10 year old self would be surprised about. This swap was inspired by Julie's blog post over at Penpal of the Week.

As members signed up to participate in the swap, we asked them to describe their 10 year old self in 3 words. Some of the responses are funny, some are insightful... take a look!


~ Musical, nerdy, giggly

~ Imagining my future

~ Sensitive, animal loving, awkward

~ Friendly, creative, solitude-seeking

~ Studious, uptight, shy

~ Timid, judgmental, depressed

~ Nerdy, awkward, skater

~ Tomboy, dreamer, fearful

~ Awkward, precocious, desperateforacceptance

~ Shy, tall, awkward

~ Only three words?

~ Precocious, nerdy, bookworm

~ Just plain weird

~ Tomboy, Matilda

~ Insecure, shy, imaginative

~ Dreamer, romantic, curious

~ Bookish, happy, tomboy

~ Conscientious, tidy, uncool

~ Shy, uncoordinated, creep

~ Shy, creative, smiling

~ Sensitive, imaginative, shy

~ Dirty, running, heedless

~ Bookish, thoughtful, quiet

~ Scared, self-sufficient, taller

~ Bookish, tomboy, shy

~ Introverted, musical, brainiac

~ Whiny, dependent, scattered

~ Sensitive, singular, silly!

~ Nerdy fat girl

~ Waiting for spotlight

~ Horse lover, adventurous, swimmer

~ Painfully weird, awesome

~ Spunky, bookish, thoughtful

~ Shy, eccentric, curious

~ Shy, imaginative, girly

~ Adventurous, boisterous, clumsy

~ Bookish, quiet, animal-loving

~ Naive, sporty, free-spirited

~ Innocent, carefree, happy

~ Optimistic, forward thinking, people pleaser

~ High-achiever, perfectionist, extremely insecure about looks and social status

~ Loner, geek, short


We have quite a few members who saw themselves as awkward and a tomboy at age 10. I have a hard time remembering my 10 year old self, but I bet tomboy and awkward were involved.

Many thanks to Sophie AKA Rambling Reader for hosting this swap for us!

Peace,

Denise

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Joke Swap

At the end of December, we hosted a postcard swap amongst our members. On the postcards, participants were to write a joke and mail it off to their partners. Lots of humorous mail traveled around the globe!

To get the ball of humor rolling we asked each participant to answer the familiar philosophical wisecrack.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"

And here are the witty responses from the participants...

... To reach the popcorn! Duh!
... Potato.
... 'Cause that's where all the fun was at! Woop woop!!
... To meet the other chicken. He liked her so much he put a wing on it. :-p
... Because Chuck Norris told him to.
... To get to the other side.
... To get to her mailbox?
... To join the Chic-fil-A picketers. Moo!
... She was afraid someone would caeser.
... The chicken found a similar chicken on this side of the road to be repellent.
... Why *wouldn't* the chicken cross the road?
... To get her breasts examined at the local clinic?
... To beat the egg and settle the score on the issue once and for all?
... Robert Frost: To cross the road less traveled by.
... The chicken did not cross the road. The road passed beneath the chicken.
... To prove to the squirrels that it can be done.
... He wanted to stretch his legs.
... To get away from the fryer.
... To prove that he wasn't [a chicken].
... To avert an existential crisis among joke-tellers.
... To lay an egg--oh, wait--maybe the egg crossed the road first, and then the chicken---?!?!?
... For absolutely no reason. Chickens are not smart creatures.
... Because he felt like it. :)
... Because she was looking for a stationery shop. She went paper-chasing.

And now you get to vote. Which response is the funniest?