Tuesday, December 16, 2014

LEPets - A post from our very own Miz Boom

Dear LEP-landers near and far. A while ago we had a HUGE thread in the Facebook group where everybody showed pictures of their pets. There were about 150 pictures up there of cats, dogs, parrots, fish, snakes, spiders, sheep, pigs (!) and a surprising number of chickens. I made a neat little diagram analysing the peculiarities of the LEPet-population. Sadly, all this is lost in the depths of the internets and I own no scuba gear and therefore can’t retrieve it.

Because I was the person to have uttered the little sentence "Show me your pets!" in the first place, our fearless trailblazers Julie and Denise asked me to compile a blog post, reenacting that special moment in time. As is the way of such things, what once was lost can ne’er be built exactly the same again. You had to be there. The pigs and chickens are gone. But still: there were quite a few contributions to the cause and without further ado I give you our:

Gorgeous, aren’t they?

While I was busy framing the pictures, one final email reached my mailbox. It came from Zara in Canada. I was touched by her pet’s very special story. I leave it here for you to enjoy firsthand. Zara writes:

"This is three-month-old Gus. 
He likes to suntan due to his desert heritage. He doesn't like the rain, nor does he like that people often assume he's Mexican because he's not. He's actually Japanese.
He guards my snail mail from being stolen and he loves warm hugs and often wonders why no one wants to hug him! 
He sings opera and aspires to be a world-class mime. So far his training for this has been unsuccessful. He's better suited to be a guard at Buckingham's Palace, but I love him too much to send him to England. 
His best friend is a hedgehog and a porcupine as he feels they understand his emotional issues. 
And no matter what anyone says, he hates scorpions and his favourite animal is the butterfly. And like his human, he also loves mermaids and unicorns---and has an ongoing grudge against Santa Claus. 
He has one penpal, a snake named Henrietta Hissington, who he met through the LEP Pet Swap, but would gladly welcome more. She hasn’t written back yet and perhaps it’s because she has no hands. Nevertheless, he waits patiently for her reply. 
Please do not mention anything about him being a “succulent plant.” As far as Gus is concerned, he is a highly evolved species with telepathic powers and a deep love for electronic music and covert missions. If his plans to become a world-class mime fails, he plans on joining the Canadian RCMP. 
Gus’ human, Zara, AKA Tokyo Smash"

And this, LEPeeps, is Gus:

As you can see, the LEPets continue to be special.

I will now go and get myself a carrier pigeon. Or maybe a bunny rabbit. Because…



Miz Boom

Friday, December 12, 2014

Birthday Wishes for Julie

Today happens to be the birthday of our fearless leader.
She is dynamic and creative. She is beautiful and caring. She is smart and driven.

One of the things that drives Julie's passion is her desire to make a difference in the world. The League of Extraordinary Penpals is a community of people whose lives are changed because of the energy and love that Julie has put into it.

I want to share with my wife (and all of you blog readers) some of the ways the LEP has made a difference in this world...

LEP has made me feel like I am a part of something that matters. This group has helped me find friends when I felt alone. I am grateful for this.

Have a happy, joyous birthday!

- Jennifer R.

I joined LEP because a friend told me about it. I must say at first I was thinking that I am too old to be a pen pal I am 63. But I have enjoyed all the letters I received and the ones I wrote. I love the planners, journals group. I have started my TN journal and I find that the writing is good therapy for me. I have connected with some really wonderful people.

Happy Birthday enjoy your day knowing that by starting LEP you have touched many lives in a positive way. After all, isn't that why we are here. Happy Birthday.

- Janice

Since I was old enough to hold a fat crayon in my small hand, I have been a letter writer. But seldom did anyone write back. (Perhaps they could not decipher my childish scrawl or perhaps they did not have time or interest or perhaps they thought it merely sweet or whimsical to receive letters from a little word-loving girl...but still I wrote. I never considered an alternative.) Decades ticked by in which my mailbox remained hollow and unfulfilled. And then, almost two years ago, I hap'ly stumbled upon this caring community of quirky correspondents, and my life was forever enriched (to say nothing of my overstuffed and now satisfied mailbox).

Birthday Girl, THANK YOU for making a difference in the lives of so many of us here in LEP-Land. You have created a warm and cosy space for us to visit, Julie; a place where we can safely share secrets and dreams, laughter and tears; a place where we learn from one another, and pop in to visit online (and in real life) in ways that are respectful and humorous and compassionate and life-giving. You are loved and admired and appreciated. And today you are surrounded. May this coming year contain all the joy your generous heart can hold, and more. Shalom.


- LEP's royal EmPress in the (not so mild) west

I have met so many wonderfully supportive people & made so many friends while I've been a part of LEP :O)

Happy birthday Julie! I hope it's a wonderful day for you filled with cake & stationery! :O)

- Leah

I didn't know about LEP or that a group like this existed and was lucky enough to win a few months of free membership. And since then, I've not only found a place that has taught me a myriad of paper-crafting ideas and bliss that I didn't know before, it's not only taught me to re-think what kinds of things I can send out to people by snail mail, it's also been a place of great love, support, thoughtfulness, and generosity. I've made so many friends in so little time---a group of diverse and creative people---and it feels like LEP is so much more than a snail mail club. When I feel disappointed or discouraged by the negativity that can happen in life and in those whom I expect more, I return to LEP and am comforted and reminded that there is still good in the world---and good people.

Julie, may you continue to grow in love and happiness---and may your mailbox be always full! Happy birthday!!

- Zara

Not only do I get to be creative making envelopes and prettying up stationery, but writing a letter is so relaxing and nothing makes me smile as much as seeing a lovely letter in my mail box from a pen pal. On top of that I have made new friends, such caring and kind people who are always there to listen and help everyone. The kindness of LEPeeps never fails to amaze me and I am thankful for them every day!!

I hope you have the most amazing day Julie! I am so grateful for the group that you created and honestly could not imagine my life without them right now. Lots of love from Australia xo

- Megan

I've been able to say things to LEPeeps that I have harboured for about 25 years. I know I will not be judged and be accepted.

I've experienced the joy of beautiful mail and the pleasure of writing responses.

I've been able to share my love of reading.

I can indulge my passion for stationery.

Dear Julie, Wishing you a wonderful day full of fun, love, cake and sushi!

- Diana AKA secondhandrose

Dear Julie,

The LEP is an amazing place, Julie! I'm quite new, but from minute one I've felt at home, welcomed, part of. And it has already won over my heart in ways I didn't imagine beforehand. It is so easy to make friends here. And not casual ones, either. People open up to each other. Everybody, from all these diverse cultural backgrounds, from literally different places, comes together, puts animosities aside, tries to understand the other. And that is truly exceptional. It makes me glad to have found such a wonderful bunch of people that came together because you created the atmosphere for it. You created and continue to nourish the place for that to be possible. Thank you, Sushi!

Julie, Julie, take good heed -
This year ahead will bring all that you need:
Fun, food, and letters and wonderful friends,
Wine, dance, and song and all of the pens.
But most important of all the above:
From people most dearest you will be loved.
So jump and rejoice in the knowledge of this:
You love and are loved, now go forth and kiss!

- Miz Boom

I have made so many friends through the LEP, shared thoughts and worries, good things and not so good things and taken part in fun swaps with friends in different countries.

Happy Birthday Julie! I hope you have a wonderful special day with loved ones, piles of mail and stationery goodies!! <3 :-)

- Karen

I have made new, hopefully lifelong friends through the LEP, and rekindled old friendships too!

Have a truly special, memorably happy birthday, Julie!

- Meredith

I found out about the LEP sort of by accident and I'm so glad I did because it was exactly what I needed at the time. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel saying "there's more out there than this little bit of world you can see around you". It's allowed me to connect with so many people from so many places and expand my horizons beyond the simple confines of my home town.

Every time I get a letter in the mail, it's like a little paper present and no matter what mood I was in before, it always makes me smile. I can't tell you how many times I've ohh-ed and aww-ed over a colorful envelope or laughed aloud at a funny letter. It's like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one, every time I open my mailbox.

Wishing you a super excellent birthday for the super and excellent you. Happy Birthday!

- Julia

Thank you for bringing together a group of analog misfits in these digital times, and founding a small place where love and compassion are not just the exception, but the rule.

Along with all of LEP Nation, I fondly, warmly, and completely wish you another year full of love and happiness.

- Michael

LEP has really made a difference to me. I now eagerly anticipate the mail again! I have an only-just-under-control obsession with stationery and spend far too much time on eBay tracking down bulk lots of stamps. I have also made new friends all over the world and most importantly, feel that I am part of a truly caring and supportive community of people who are all trying hard to make the world a little less scary and a little more washi-ful!

Wishing you all the best for a very happy birthday Julie! Hope it is full of laughter and fun and all the sushi you can fit in your face! Thanks for LEP! Big hugs! x

- Sophie

I've met some really great penpals, won a cool giveaway and had some super fun swaps through the LEP. I'm always excited to see what will pop up in the mail from the LEPers and have really enjoyed being a member!

Happy Birthday! Thanks for all the work you do to keep the LEP running!

- Rachel N.

I have only been a member of LEP for a short time but I have already been connected with many new friends. I have been repeatedly surprised at what an amazing, kind and supportive group of people have been brought together here. From the moment I joined I have seen people be tolerant, caring and go out of their way to help and support each other. I'm not sure how it was possible to bring all of these wonderful people together to one group, but Julie it clearly all came from you. I started out looking for penpals to keep me "busy" when my daughter went away to school. I have gained so much more and my life has truly been bettered by the people I have connected with here. Thank you!

Julie, I wish you the happiest of birthdays and many more to come.

- Tina

Thank you Julie for creating the LEP. It is such a wonderful community of caring, open minded, silly people. I enjoy the love & support that we all have for each other.

Have a great birthday fearless leader! <3

- Shelia

It's just so nice to know there are so many other people who like penpalling! And the LEP is a good way to find new pals. I love it

Have a great birthday xxxx

- Rebecca

It has given Pen Paling a new lease of life!

Have a wonderful day!

- Captain Gooner

Joining the LEP has changed my life in a massive way. I went from someone who didn't really have friends or talk to anyone much to finding a whole bunch of the most accepting and supportive people in the world, who I talk to every day. I've found people who love the same things I do that I can share the ups and downs of life with. It means so much to me to be part of the LEP.

I wish Julie's birthday to be filled with much fun, merriment and sushi!

- Tasha

I've made so many friends through the LEP! This group is such a HUUUUUUUUGE source of support, creativity, and laughter. I've never felt so close to a crazy group of people that I've never met!

Have a wonderful sushi-filled, hug-plentiful, warm, snuggly day! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

- Millie

I'm so very thankful to have found the LEP. The connections I've made with amazing people are priceless. I've learned so much from my pen pals and it's awesome to see there are still truly good people out there in this crazy world!

Happy Birthday Julie! I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating!

- Jenn V.

La LEP est comme un message d'espoir qui s'échange de toutes les manières possibles au quotidien, qui montre que des gens ont envie d'échanger avec les autres, de partager, de s'intéresser réellement aux autres.

- Melanie

I joined LEP on a whim after reading about it in a newspaper article. It has opened up a whole world to me that I never knew existed. I always have something to look forward to in the post when I get home from work and lately, when my job's been stressful, reading the letters have been a great way to wind down. The facebook group has been a revelation, I've never encountered a more accepting, positive bunch of people. I've met so many interesting and talented people in the last few months of membership. I really believe that the culture and tone of the group and the members it attracts are largely down to you as our esteemed leader! I genuinely think LEP has improved my life in so many ways! Thank you.

Wishing you a wonderful birthday and hoping you are thoroughly spoilt and treated, as you deserve!

- Debbie M.

Wishing you a wonderful birthday and hoping LEP has brought (and continues to bring) so much joy into my life. I'm a veteran letter writer, but LEP has really intensified and renewed my love of letter writing with the wonderful monthly swaps, the fun newsletters and this really special group of wonderful correspondents. By now, I really could not imagine doing without LEP. The 1st day of each month is now always a special day that never fails to bring fun and smiles and happiness.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Julie!! Here comes a big birthday hug for you! I hope your special day will be wonderful in every way.

With lots of love from

- Kathrin

I have made a few great friends through LEP and it's great to have a place to share a common love with people. <3 <3 <3

Happy Birthday to a beautiful and talented person that I am glad to know! *HUGS*

- Sarah E.

Thank you for putting together the most awesome list in the world. There are a lot of famous lists: best novel ever; Franz Liszt, best film, best performance by a Leading Actor, the Booker Short List: but your list is incredible!

May you have a wonderful year with wonderful events; a New Year; a first anniversary, and much that is astonishingly wonderful in between. May you be flooded with letters and lusciousness; sushi and sweetness, pens and passion.

- Natalie

Thanks to the LEP I have found many lovely pen friends from all over the world, people who have offered support when I'm feeling down, people who appreciate a kind word or a silly joke. I've connected with people I would otherwise never know who share interests and encourage me to follow my dreams. I've rekindled my desire to write. And discovered the joy of washi and envelope-making. And where else would one ever enjoy talking about "pizza" quite so much? ;)

I wish you happiness now and for many, many years. A beautiful life full of love, with more smiles than tears.

- Cheryl

I have only been a member for a short time, but I absolutely love the LEP. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to the monthly newsletters. When I see a newsletter in my inbox, I pounce on it right away, and eagerly devour its contents. There is always so much joy in the newsletter that I can feel it, and, like ripples on water, my day is brighter and I end up sharing that happiness to others as I go about my day as well. So thank you for that. :)

LEPers are so friendly and hilarious, it's really a great group. I also love Julie's stationery. Raising my glass to you, Julie, in gratitude for all that you do and create and wishing you all the best on your birthday!

Wishing you an amazing 2015 - may all of your dreams and wishes come true, and may you know good health, happiness and wealth! :)

- Lala

Most recently, they helped cheer me up during a miserable day. When none of my friends were around, the FB group picked me up and made me smile. Julie made that happen and so I am forever grateful.

Woot! Woot! Enjoy this day and each one afterwards! You deserve it! Happy Julie Day!

- Rose

I have a sense of belonging to something amazing with other incredible individuals.

I wish that you always have the feeling of happiness that you have right now.

- Lisa S.

Since the moment I'd joined the LEP I felt so welcome. It’s great to meet other people who also get excited about letters, washi tape and pretty stationary. And besides the shared interest it really is the most amazing community I ever came across. Being in the LEP is sharing your passion, support each other through hardship and celebrate the good stuff together…… all across the world! So a BIG thank you for Julie and Denise for making this possible. There is however one downside… I just need my daily dose of LEP facebook time, sooo addictive.

Hip Hip Hooray! Happy Birthday Julie!

Hope you 'll have an amazing day accompanied with delicious sushi.

- Tanja

It's been wonderful to witness how the LEP grew. The Facebook community soon became a place where gentle and caring souls are able to connect. The monthly newsletters are fun and always a nice read. I like the inspirational aspects about them. No matter if it's about finding a new website or an interesting swap there's always something new to explore. But what I consider best is how the LEP helped to connect with many people who are alike when it comes to the love of writing. There's a big mutual sense of how words and mail can be so much more than written lines. It's the personality which is hidden behind them and the way people become closer in times of rush and disconnection.

Dear Julie, I haven't been very present this year and most events of your life I only witnessed with short glances from the sidewalk. Yet I have noticed that this year has been both, a challening and also a rewarding one for you. I hope that you fell happy with the changes you've made and the the new path which you have decided to walk on. Thanks for watching over all your little LEPlers! Without you this project couldn't have turned into what it has become. May your path always be filled with light to help you pass every single piece of darkness which will may cross your way. I'm sending you lots of love and hugs as well as the best wishes for your special day. May you be able to celebrate with your beloved ones! A very happy birthday to you, Julie! Keep your light shining! :-)

- Jennifer E.

It has taken me to many different places. Made the world seem smaller and a lot friendlier. It's brought me into contact with a bunch of like-minded crazy people. (A good kind of crazy!)


I'm so happy that I got to meet you! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and wish you many more!


- Andronic AKA Le Sauvage Grognon

When I found LEP I had no idea I would be finding such a vast network of amazing and creative individuals. I have made the best friends of my lifetime in this group. LEP has allowed me to live more and let more love in.

Happy New Year, Julie. I treat my birthday as the mark of a new year. I hope it is your best and is only surpassed by your next!


- Mimi Love

LEP is *WONDERFUL*. It's a great way to connect with people, some nearby and others from far flung places; it helps me tap into my creative side, plus of course... the unbeatable pleasure of sending and receiving post. Thank you!

Dear Julie, bright wishes for a fun-filled and inspired birthday. Hopefully there will be a ridiculous amount of cake and post!

Love from

- Emma Pea x

LEP has been a key part in increasing my passion for writing letters and all things mail related, and connecting with people who share the same passion through mail.

Happy Birthday to one of the most wonderful and amazing people I know!!

- Envelopress

I'm still new to the LEP but it has already exceeded my expectations. Everyone has been so welcoming and genuinely nice. It's great just to be a small part of such a lovely group.

Have a happy birthday! If you have any birthday wishes then I hope that they come true. Enjoy your day :)

- Kendra

I joined the LEP hoping to find a couple people I could exchange snailmail with, but what I actually found was the most wonderful place in the t'interweb! To discover that there was a group filled with people all so different (men, women, young, old, religious, not) but all so similar (kind, loving, supportive, encouraging) was like someone answered all my wishes. A group of ready made friends - AMAZING! From day one I realised the LEP was a safe place to share lifes highs & lows. When I have been struggling I have received wonderful notes to lift me, by mail & on Facebook. I can't thank Julie enough for realizing all of us were 'out there' & creating the LEP, how else would we have all found each other?!

Julie, I wish you the happiest of happy birthdays. A day to set you up for a year filled with happy days. Love, hugs & positive energy from me to you! X

- Teri-Ann

I've had a really stressful last few months, that I haven't really shared with too many--if any. But writing letters to others and talking about their lives has helped me get away from the awful, if that makes sense.

Julie, I hope you have an awesome birthday and that your magical, blessed life continues to flourish!

- Nicole R.

We have really enjoyed the opportunity to meet like-minded people all over the world! We have a number of friends now that we wouldn't have had otherwise, and we've learned so much about them, their regions of the world and their ways of life.

We hope you have a very special birthday Julie! Sushi for everyone!

- Bart & Marie

I've made the best friends in this group of amazing people! I can't imagine my life without being a part of this group anymore and wonder how I managed before I found LEP.

Dearest Julie, I hope you have an amazing day to reflect what an amazing person you are! Thank you for creating this group and sharing with us your love of all things snail mail. Enjoy this special day celebrating you and know that I am sending you millions of happy birthday wishes today!

- Kari

Dear Julie, LEP has been a huge source of inspiration for me. You have brought together a whole bunch of amazing, interesting, quirky and complex people, and this group brings much joy to my life. It is a forum for creative writing, crafting and art. These are things I need in my life, and felt a loss of at the time before LEP started. This group has taught me to channel my creativity into letter writing and mailart, and I can thank you and LEP for being a (at least semi-)functional human being. Without creativity and inspiration I would wither to nothing. I also want to thank you for bringing some awesome friends into my life by making LEP happen. I consider some special one we both know to be one of my very best friends. Without LEP I would never have met her, and my everyday life would have looked very different. I have also made many other dear friends in this group, and being a bit socially awkward like me, good penpals make a huge difference.

I knew you personally already before the League of Extraordinary Penpals, but LEP has also let me get to know you much better as a person, which I am thankful for. You are creative, strong and brave, and I feel lucky to be your friend.

Thank you for what you have done for me by starting this extraordinary league!

I hope you'll have the happiest, brightest and most fun birthday ever, with lots of cake, sushi, dinosaurs, and hugs! (Send the dinosaurs my way if they're too much for you.)

- Roaming Romanticist AKA Sofie

The LEP is a collection of wonderful human beings. I hope I've become a more wonderful human being by being part of it. And all of these wonderful human beings make me realize that no, the world is not actually filled with selfish assholes.

Plus! Now I get to use all of the fun stationery I've been collecting over the past decade, and I have a valid reason to acquire, or create, more. Mail spreads happiness like like a _________ spreads ________. (I thought it would be fun to have a "choose your own simile," since mine was kind of off-colour.) ;)

Julie. I wish you the very happiest of birthdays with lots of hugs, and warm memories. Thank you for creating the LEP. You have a right to be very proud. My life is better because I'm a member of this supportive tribe. You are the matriarch of some kind of utopia. Thank you for keeping the trains running on time.

- Bonnie

My love, I echo the sentiments of all my letter writing friends who have shared here. I love you with everything in me and I couldn't be more proud of you. You make a difference in my life every single day. Your passion is one of the very things I love most about you. May your passion continue to take you to new world changing experiences. Happy birthday.

Forever Yours,

- Denise

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ugly Mail Swap

We hosted the Ugly Mail Swap in the month of November. I participated in this swap and thought it was a lot of fun.

I think we all agree that art is in the eye of the beholder. What I might find ugly might not ring true for you. And vice versa. Here are some photos from some of the participants. When I look at these pictures I feel inspired by all the creativity.

To Marie (USA) from Millie (USA)

To Millie (USA) from Marie (USA)

To Jameelah (USA) from Zara (Canada)

To Ghislaine (Canada) from Emma (UK)

To Emma (UK) from Ghislaine (Canada)

To Charlotte (UK) from Denise (Canada)

To Heleen (Netherlands) from Heather (USA)

To Heather (USA) from Heleen (Netherlands)

To Cecilia (Germany) from Tina (USA)

You be the judge, can mail really be ugly?

-Denise AKA Washipocalypse

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Made up facts about LEP members

In the month of November, we hosted a postcard swap. For this swap, we asked participants to choose a random postcard and make up a story about the place on the card. When members signed up to participate in the swap, we asked them to make up a few random facts about themselves, just for the fun of it.

After I read through these crazy and creative facts, I wanted to be able to read all the fictitious stories on the postcards. Since I don't have a magical superpower to allow me to do this, I thought it would be fun to publish the list of impromptu, made-up facts from our members.

I'm 97, but look 30.
I provide counseling and therapy to the local Were community.
My home is underground, built into the side of a hill, yes, it has a round door.
I have 13 children ages ranging from 0-23, they each have a dire wolf.
It's possible I read too much.

I built a house out of nothing but washi tape and cardboard.

I just became an Aunty for the very first time!! Which basically means my pre-existing condition of being super clucky has progressed to a state of being hyper-maternal-needtomakeallthebabiesrightnow-tivitis!!!

My father was offered 20 cows for me by an African King.
I have ridden an elephant to school.
My childhood fur baby was a lion.

I hate ice cream.
I have never left my native village.
I can open a tin can with my teeth.

I am an ostrich.

Intrepid world traveler, inimitable interviewer of the famous and infamous, politically incorrect poet extraordinaire, and incorrigible singer of sentimental songs!

I worked for NASA and helped paint the letters on the rockets we sent into space until the space shuttle was invented. I quit then because I believed it to be too ugly to be bothered with.

I am the only person in Bristol to have ridden a unicorn.
I was born with a vestigial tail.
My favourite city is Ank Morpork.
I have a fear of Teletubbies.

I'm 34 years old and work as a Home Economics teacher.

Make up? Never go without it - the more the better.

I am so randomly awesome that I cannot think of any random facts about myself. Oh wait... I guess that was a random fact about myself.
Second random fact: It's not easy being me. (Unless one has a sense of humor. :) )
Third random fact: I love to laugh.

I was born in New York City. I lived in Barcelona for 2 years. I will buy a cottage in Cornwall.

I want to be a tree.

I have one blue eye and one red eye (the result of an accident involving Jose Cuervo).
Contrary to popular public belief (and televisual "evidence") Dame Kiri te Kanawa did not sing "Let the Bright Seraphim" at Charles and Diana's wedding. She mimed while I sang from behind a large flower display next to her.
When I become a long-distance lorry driver, my CB handle is going to be "The Porky Yorkie".
I am J-Lo's "booty double".

I'm a 28 year old housewife, with eight children. When my husband and I aren't growing our own organic produce and homeschooling our children, we enjoy traveling - as we are obviously independently wealthy, having won Lotto 649 several years ago.
I am an avid seamstress, and have thought of starting my own clothing line, but have difficulty finding the time to commit.
My children are all perfect, with no behaviour issues, and are kind to each other.
The next holiday my husband and I are planning on taking is to Spain.

I grew up in Teldrassil.
I am the youngest of 8 children (the only girl).
I moved to the capitol city of Darnassus in my twenties to find myself, I ended up shlepping drinks in a local pub, but was fired for not having long enough ears.
I am currently a leather worker moving around worldwide honing my trade.
I am a nomad of sorts and travel everywhere with my pet owl.

I once ate 50 hotdogs in one sitting!
I can bench press 300 pounds while needing to pee!
I can levitate myself if I fart hard enough!
I have an invisible daughter named Peanuthead and an invisible son named Poophead.

I am an astronaut, I speak 7 languages, and make macramé in my free time.

I used to sell stage clothes to rock stars in a little boutique in Haight Ashbury back in the late 60's. Not many people could afford the clothes so the business went under. Grace Slick got me a job working for Playboy as a hairstylist. There I met a guy who raced sailboats. He wanted to take a trip around the world so I joined him. He got drunk and ran off with someone else in Walvis Bay, Nambia. Abandoned, I joined a Pagan missionary group who were reclaiming the native spiritual practices by building stone circles. Life is good in my grass hut. I've gotten used to outhouses and bug spray.

My book club was the inspiration for the A Team.
I once danced with the devil in the pale moonlight.

I was just appointed 2015 Poet Laureate of that space between dreaming and awake.
I'm the proud new owner of The Raven Haven Cirque De Burlesque.
I Recently adopted Poe, distinguished cat of darkness and master of iambic pentameter.
It is a highly publicized fact that I am the most favorite lover of the man in the moon.

I'm a highly energetic person, training to run marathons. I eat mostly Kale, though I will allow myself half an apple on holidays and birthdays.

I live on a pumpkin farm where I spend my days training circus alligators and knitting scarves using the fur from my llama herd. I have the largest North American collection of hotel keys.

I fly a lot (mostly when dreaming). Landing is hopefully supported by the mattress.

I won American idol.
I love Brussels sprouts!

I can communicate telepathically with squirrels.
I have a secret squirrel army poised to take over the East Coast.

Bird phobia.
Love books.
I drink too much coke.
I dye my hair with red henna.
I'm very very tall.

I'm an elf. I have wings and only eat veggies. I love spinach and carrots the most! My favorite animal is cat. I'm small so when I'm too lazy to fly, I'll ride on the back of my best friend, a blonde kitty called Legolas.

I share my personality and my birthday with Joan of Arc as I tend to take up a sword quite easily in the name of freedom.
According to a visit to a psychic, I was brutally killed by a pack of wolves in my previous life.
My totem animal is supposedly the crow of which I often stop to consider my options whenever I hear one caw.
People who cackle scare me. A lot.
I am attracted to redheads---but who isn't?
In high school, I was part of the Boys' Wrestling Team. I fought the principal to allow girls to join the team. Because of my membership, the Boys' Wrestling Team soon changed its name to reflect girls' membership. And I won the gold medal in our first tournament---competing against boys.
All the above are true, random facts about me.

Ah, I love this list! LEP members are so creative and fun. Our swaps are one of the most enjoyable parts of our community, won't you join us?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Phantom Image!

Beth is our super talented illustrator here at the LEP. She has quickly become famous for making our superhero alter ego come alive! Today is her birthday and we want to share some special greetings from her adoring fans.

Happy Birthday Beth, have a wonderful day!
Best Wishes,
Joe (AKA Captain Gooner)

My cats Goonda (pictured), Pinky, Sparky, Steve, Eddie and I send birthday greetings to you!

Here’s wishing you a Birthday that is as extraordinary as you are! It’s been such a delight meeting and corresponding with you through this group. Your artistic talents far exceed anything I could ever hope to do, you are truly an inspiration to me and my own artistic endeavors. Have a lovely Birthday Beth!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy birthday!

Beth - you are so incredibly talented and your art speaks to me on many levels. You captured me so well when you did my portrait as well. I wish you many happy returns and the brightest of blessings for your new year. 
-Melanie S.

Happy Birthday Beth. I love your illustrations and I hope you like mine too.
-Melanie D.

Happy Birthday, Beth Sobel!!! ^_^
-Lisa P.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a Beth Sobel picture is at least worth ten million, because that is a conservative estimate of the number of compliments I have received on my Superhero Portrait, to the point where my wife is beginning to prefer Cartoon Me to Actual Me. Thank you, Beth, for your copious gifts, and the happiest of birthdays to you.

Happy Birthday to you,
Thank you for sharing your beautiful creations with all of us! Have a great day!
-Lisa S.

Happy Birthday Beth!!! I was going to send you a picture but you are such a talented artist I knew my amateur scribblings couldn't match you! Hope you have a wonderful day. 
-Debbie M. x


Beth, I want to just wish you a very Happy Birthday! Many happy returns as well. 
-Andronic (AKA Le Sauvage Grognon)

For someone who blows me away with her artistic talents: You are amazing! I hope you have a wonderful birthday filled with whatever you desire, minus one. That way, you still have something to look forward to! Have a great day!

Dearest Beth, On this day we celebrate your birthday! I know you are probably blushing right now from the attention but you deserve it. You are truly a wonderful human being. I am touched and amazed by your generous and kind spirit. I have a hard time remembering what life was like before we were friends. Thank you for your gift of friendship. I wish you a very happy birthday and that the coming year is filled with love, joy and interesting illustrating projects.
-Your friend, Beth H.

Beth, we've never met, but I love seeing your artwork on the LEP page. You are a fantastic lady, and I hope you have a great birthday!
-Jenn R.

We love you, Beth. Thank you for your artistic contributions that help to make the LEP a very special place!
-Denise & Julie xox

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wedding Day!

Today is a very special day: we're getting married! The ceremony is at 11am, and if you want to celebrate with us, feel free to listen to our 3 wedding songs today!

1- Lucky - Jason Mraz (featuring Colbie Caillat)
2- All of Me - John Legend
3- Feels Like Home - Chantal Kreviazuk

After the ceremony that's supposed to last less than 15 minutes, we'll take a few photos and then go for sushi with our very small guest list: 3 people!

After the meal, we'll drive to Old Québec City to spend a few days honeymooning together. We'll be bringing our big stack of wedding mail with us. Thank you for sending in all your special messages of congratulations and support! We can't wait to read them. It looks like one of you even sent us chocolate - at least that's what's written on the customs form!

Yolanda is a very special LEP member from Indonesia - as a wedding gift for us, she created this image. Isn't she talented? And aren't we cute?!

Don't be sad if you don't hear from us for a few days. We'll be back to work on Friday, November 21. It's probable we may even have a photo or two to share with you.

The LEP is such a huge part of our story and we love you all!

Denise AKA Washipocalypse,
Julie AKA Super Sushi

Friday, October 24, 2014


In the October newsletter, we announced a Home Postcard Swap and partners have just been sent out. Participants will send a postcard detailing all the great things about where they live. Favorite restaurants, attractions to visit, great people, memories. What makes this place special and feel like home?

As people signed up for this swap, I asked them to finish the sentence "Home is..." and I wanted to share the mix of funny and meaningful responses.

Home is...

…becoming an increasingly complicated question. Is it where I grew up, where I am living now, or where I enjoyed living the most?

…where you can fart all you'd like.

…wherever my husband and pets are!

…peaceful inside but kinda messy outside

…where my heart is.

…where you can walk around with no pants on!

…where your heart is.

...where being with people is as good as being alone.

…where my son is.

…a house filled with love, fun and a mountain of stationery!

…where love explodes.

…where my water colour paint, painting brush, pens and paper (and wifi, agenda and family & friends) are. And a cup of coffee, with milk, no sugar.

…where my dog is

…where ever my sweetheart and I are at the time!

…where my farm is.

…where the neighbours say hello when I get home from my travels, and where their cat is waiting by my door for attention!

…where you most feel loved

…where I can put my feet up and have a cup of tea.

…where the cat is.

…where I feel most at peace.

…where all my stationary is.

…my happy place where my family is.

…where ever my love is.

…a place where you will always belong.

…definitely where the heart is!

...where my cat lives.

…where the heart is :)

…right now mine's in two places.

…one of those Dakotas!

…where my cat is.

...where the heart is. ...where I lay my head at night. ...where the good food is. ...where there's always a bottle of wine to share. ...where I feel at peace. ...me.

…where ever I'm with you! A good song :)

…ever changing.

…where I can wear pajamas all day!

…where it's ok to wear cowboy boots!!

…a mess made by the cutest little boys!

...where I feel comfortable.

…where pants aren't required!

…where I feel grounded and safe.

…where the cooking tastes best!

…in the best place on earth (Southern California), surrounded by the books and words I love. Along with a Tall Scottsman and his cats!

…my favorite place to be.

…where I can look and feel ugly and enjoy it.

…anywhere my husband Jay is!

…a warm puppy.

…where you are!

…where the heart is... and in my case that's Chicago.

…a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.

…the place where you feel contented and complete, and can wander around in your underpants with impunity!

...where you feel safe & loved.

…where you feel at home and are treated well. (Dalai Lama)

…messy but happy for my cat Primrose and I.

…where I can make tea in my favourite mug & snuggle up with Dinky, Winston & Mike.

…where the books are.

…where no one judges, but accepts you.

…the water.

…where I LOVE to be!

...where life resides.

…where one can find happiness in the eyes of your child.

…where my cats (and husband) are.

…where my family is.

…where you are always loved.

…in your heart? #sappy

…my favourite place on earth.

…where the tastiest cakes are baked.

…where I live.

…contentment. happiness. beautiful.

…my old Kentucky home!

…where you are comfortable, yourself, lighthearted.

…where the neighbors dogs crap.

…snuggling with my husband. Also, St Louis.

…the place (not necessarily a building) where you have everything you need mixed with love, encouragement, and strength.

…where I feel most at peace and safe and comfortable. Home is where I make it.

…where I'm most comfortable.

...everywhere I'm with the people I love.

...cozy and comfy.

...where I have immigrated to!

...a small-knit community.

When I think about what home means to me, I am reminded of one of my favorite songs by Chantal Kreviazuk. I'll close by sharing some of the lyrics to "Feels Like Home."

Somethin' in your eyes makes me wanna lose myself
Makes me wanna lose myself in your arms
There's somethin' in your voice makes my heart beat fast
Hope this feelin' lasts the rest of my life
If you knew how lonely my life has been
And how long I've been so alone
And if you knew how I wanted someone to come along
And change my life the way you've done
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me.


Denise AKA Washipocalypse 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Birthday Slayer of Popcorn!

Michael AKA The Slayer of Popcorn is LEP's resident newsletter columnist and observer of things correspondish. Today is his birthday and the members of the LEP wanted to express their love and gratitude for Michael's support and witty contributions.

Ah, Michael, I still remember the first letter you wrote to me. You asked great questions and urged me to dig deeper for things to share. I enjoy your letters so much. You are a true friend and I shudder to think I might have missed you on this great journey of life. I hope your birthday is exactly what you want it to be. Enjoy every moment celebrating YOU. And many happy returns of the day.   
-Sherri M.

Hey Michael, just wanted to wish you an a very happy birthday! I hope the year brings you an abundance of wonderful things and blessings. I'm pretty new to the LEP, but I always eagerly await the monthly newsletter and pounce on anything Slayer of Popcorn has to say LOL. Seriously, I'm sure you know you're awesome, but if you don't - here you go: You are awesome, and entertaining as all get out. Thanks for bringing joy to my inbox each month. I raise my glass to you, sir! Happy Birthday and many happy returns! 
-Lala (aka Gaseous Maximus) 

Michael, you have always been there for people in the LEP, providing a listening ear, reaching out, making us feel loved and worthy and welcome. As someone that struggles with depression and anxiety and bounces back and forth feeling welcome or a shut-in, you have reached out to me when needed, and it is very much appreciated.
I love that you are always there for people, you SEE them.
Have a wonderful birthday, and keep on letting your true gorgeous self shine!
With great love,

West Coast Princess

Where would we be without the Slayer of Popcorn?! Lost for sure! Happy birthday!!!! 
-Reg E.

Hope you have a wonderful birthday!! I love your contributions to the newsletter and your positivity in the FB group! Have a fun day, you deserve it! Xxx 
-Debbie M.

Happy Birthday! Sending you wishes of joy, health, wonder and fun! 

Wishing you a happy birthday! Have a great day Slayer of Popcorn! 
-Joe P.

Michael! Wishing you a spectacular birthday, and a wonderful year ahead. It’s always a delight to open the newsletter, and your articles contribute significantly to that. Thank you for your words. 
-Beth S.

Happy Birthday! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! I love your quirky contributions in the newsletter that are so much fun to read and I am so glad you introduced me to the awesome world of travelling notebooks. Lots of hugs and love on your birthday!!!! 

Happy Birthday, Michael. I hope you have a great day and enjoy whatever it is you choose to do to celebrate. Of course, letters should be involved somewhere!
All the best to you and yours.


Slayer of Popcorn, happy birthday! I hope your day is awesome.
When I read the newsletter I always look forward to your contribution. I always make sure I'm not drinking anything as it might come out my nose.
I love your pieces on the newsletter!
Many happy returns! 
-Le Sauvage Grognon aka Andronic

Wishing you a super LEPtastic birthday! May your mail box and your day be a happy one :-) 
-Emma Pea P. 

Have a wonderful birthday and many more! 
-Chaya C.

Have a wonderful birthday!
Thanks for all you do to make the LEP Newsletter so great. <3 
-Shelia C.

Happy Birthday Slayer of Popcorn! Thank you for all your interesting columns in the LEP newsletter. They keep me sane for at least one day a month at work.
Eat, drink and be merry! And watch out because I think I could slay more popcorn than you.
-Melanie D. x 

Hi Michael! Penblwydd hapus, as we say in Wales! (It literally means "happy head day"!). I love the things you write for the newsletter. Thank you so much! (And I can't wait to see what you'll write for the next one!)
Lots of love on your special day,

The Postmistress (a.k.a. Eunice)

Hi Michael, Happy Birthday! Thanks for the great articles in the LEP newsletter - I always enjoy reading them and love your sense of humour! I hope you enjoy this LEP surprise and wish you an awesome day! 
-Rachel M-J x

For the person who has the most awesome and amazing superhero name - you rock. I love your posts in the newsletter and on the FB page. Why are we not writing each other?! hehe Have a wonderful day! 

Happy Birthday Michael! Have an extraordinary day!!!  
-Megan F.

I was struggling a few months back, and got a random post card from Michael just saying he hoped I was doing well. We've not spoken much in the LEP, so the gesture was so appreciated. 

Hi Michael, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you but I'm sure you are one cool dude. I mean you must be since you're a member of LEP. I'm dropping in to say I hope you have a very special birthday full of fun, laughter and good times. All the best to you now and always. 

I am new to the LEP but it didn't take long for me to discover your awesome handiwork for the League. I am looking forward to getting to know you better from this and wish you a most fabulous birthday! 
-Diana aka secondhandrose 

Dearest Darling Michael,
Thanks for being born. Not like you had a choice. Thanks for sticking around. I appreciate the universe throwing us together into its zany blender.
You are one of the few penpals I don't care about writing out of turn to. At first your list of questions format confused me, but now I love the everloving fuck out of it. You are a loyal penpal, a talented writer, a gracious flirt, and an amazing person. Happiest of birthdays to you, sir.


For reading my short story and ALWAYS offering a really cool perspective on every topic that challenges the way I think (despite my super-huge ego)... Have a very Happy Birthday!
-Lisa "Kha-Lisa" P.

Happiest birthday, Micheal - Wittiest LEP columnist and exemplary pen pal. Watch out popcorn!

-Laurel G.

Hi Slayer! Happy Birthday Mate. We don't know each other but the first piece of your writing that I've read is the article in LEP October Monthly. Put simply, it made me think (and I mean really think) about compassion and that, in the end, the need to give & receive compassion is what drew me to this group. So, for all the love & effort you put into this group - thanks! I trust your birthday will be a special day & I'd like to wish you the very best for the year ahead too. Best Regards,
-Ravi K. a.k.a. MechDude

Hi Michael!
All the best wishes to you on your birthday! I always love reading your contributions to the LEP newsletter. It would not be the same without them.
I hope you will have a super day filled with lots of fun and happiness!
Love and hugs, 

Roses are red, Violets are blue, How to come up with something clever to write for your birthday, I sure wish I knew! Happy Birthday, Michael!
Hope you have a wonderful day!!!!!


Dear Michael, 
I hope you have a spectacularly fantastic birthday! Thank you for making me laugh and ponder thoughtful thoughts every month with your LEP newsletter contributions!

I hope you have a wonderful birthday! Your letters always inspire, make me giggle, think, turn my frowns upside down, and I end up wishing we were neighbors, or at least lived on the same coast :) I'm truly grateful to call you my friend and wish you all the best! *hugs* 

Happy birthday Michael! I hope that you have an awesome day :D Thanks for all your fun and interesting letters. Not to forget the nicknames too :D You're an awesome penpal! 

Your wise and witty messages on the monthly newsletter are always full of such positivity that I find myself going back and re-reading your words - thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I also really appreciate how kind your comments are to those who are suffering, and we have many among us who are dealing with really difficult situations - you find a positive comment to make to help lift their spirits. Your sense of humor appeals to many, Slayer of Popcorn, because it never is at the expense of others. All these things are just part of what makes you awesome. Enjoy your special day knowing that your fellow LEPeeps love you lots. 
-Cheryl D.

Happy Birthday to you, wishing you happiness and love every day! 
-Lisa S.

Happy Natal Anniversary, Michael! I hope you have a wonderful day and get spoilt rotten. Thank you for all you do for the group and for your always-entertaining contributions to the thread. I'm really glad I found this group and that is in no small part because of you!
-Paula xo 

There's not enough words in the world to describe how amazing you really are. You've pulled me out of the pits of despair more than one person ever should have to and you continue to do it all the time. There's no doubt that I wouldn't be here today if you weren't my friend. You always give the best advice on boys and life AND you're always very funny on top of all that. Um, so yeah. Happy Birthday! 

We are truly grateful, Michael! May you be reminded of how loved you are! Happy Birthday! 
-Denise & Julie xox

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Michigan Meet Up - by Othella AKA The Thellie Kitty

Imagine that you have over a week of leave time saved up from work, and not only do you get to take a mostly free roadtrip across country with your best friend to visit your close college friends for a weekend, but you also get to detour on the way back to spend most of a week back in your hometown, seeing the family and friends and locations you've not seen in at least three years. Sounds pretty great, huh? Well, do you know how to make it even better? You add in an LEP Meet Up!

That's exactly what happened on the first of September to me and fellow LEPer Amethyst. The spectacular Kate put us up for the night in her home, and the three of us drove out to Frankenmuth, MI, on Labor Day. We met up with the Easter Michigan area LEPeeps, Brittney, Andronic, Kyleigh, and Amelia, who also brought her boyfriend Kevin along.

Lunch at a Chinese buffet was our first order of business. We started off a bit quiet as we all glanced around a bit nervously at each other and tucked into our food, but soon we were all chit chatting and laughing like the friends we are and hadn't quite experienced yet. After we finished our food, we wrote letters to our fearless leaders, Julie and Denise, which Kate sent off to Canada for us.

Next stop was The River Place where we wandered around in the fun shops of the outdoor mall. While it took everything within me to stay out of Bead Haven (much to the thrill of my wallet), I did splurge on a Claddagh car magnet at an Irish themed shop called the Funky Skunk, and a whole bunch of postcards in The Michigan Shoppe. Some of our number went to check out the Sugar High Bakery, while others went to Grand Traverse Distillery. One shop I'd love to visit again was Charlin's Book Nook which had quite the lovely variety of used books to browse through.

After we were all shopped out, we headed to Tim Hortons for treats and some penpal activities. I quite enjoyed the frozen hot chocolate that Kate had talked up to me back in March, when we'd begun writing in my March of Postcards experiment. While we sugared up, we passed around some postcards to “wreck” together and sign to send out to other LEPers. When we'd finished, we passed around yearbook sheets that Kate, Amethyst and I had made out for everyone that morning. Each of us wrote a short note to each of the others on their sheets. (Unfortunately mine never got unpacked, so it's still in Amethyst's care... oops!) We'd been together from around 11am and now it was 5pm and time to go on our various ways. Of course that would be the time for a torrential rain shower. While everyone else had left, Amethyst, Kate, her hubby Gabe and I were stuck in the Tim Hortons for most of another hour, enjoying each other's company a wee bit longer until the rain passed and it was our turns to go.

I do believe we all had a grand time and really enjoyed each other's company. I know for sure that I did. It was a delight to meet everyone, and I have added a few people to my penpal list. I hope that the others continue to meet up from time to time, even if Amethyst and I won't get to be there for them. Meeting my penpals and my fellow LEPeeps is always an honor and a joy. I can't wait to meet more in the future!

Friday, September 5, 2014

What? You're not a LEP member?

Wait. We need to talk.

So you're reading this, but you're not a LEP member.

(If you are, please give yourself a pat on the back, a gold star and a piece of chocolate. You can go back to the Facebook group to talk about boobs with Michael, or start working on your coded letter.)

Alright, we're alone now. The LEP members are gone, so no one will attack you with washi tape. (Some LEPeeps can be rather enthusiastic with the washi. I promise they're not trying to hurt you, they just want to share.)

So let me ask you... *whispering* Why aren't you a member yet? (Oh, why am I whispering? Well, I don't want to embarrass you. Someone might be listening. I don't want people to judge you for your lack of LEPness or LEPtitude, that's all.)

You know all the cool kids are LEP members, right?

You know we're all having fun in our private Facebook group?

You know we'll be celebrating 400 members this month?

Would you like to be one of them? One of us?

Well you can! It's not too late! You can still turn to the light! We have cookies... and free stationery!

Yes, you read that right. We have FREE STATIONERY!

The next 34 (my age!) people who subscribe for a 12 month LEP membership will receive a free pack of stationery (we have lined and unlined sheets), as well as a personalized membership card. You pay $30, you get to be a LEP member for a full year, and you receive 25 sheets of writing paper. It doesn't get better than that!

And if you're not quite ready to take the plunge yet, and you'd prefer to test the waters first, good news! The next 38 (Denise's age!) people who subscribe for a 1 month LEP membership will receive a free pack of postcards as well as a personalized membership card. You pay $5, you get 5 postcards, and you get to see if the LEP is for you. You can cancel at any time, so there's no risk at all!

So you too can be a LEP member now. Bravo!

AKA Super Sushi

We're Alive & Well

We don't blog anymore, but that doesn't mean we aren't active! We've got a Facebook community filled with lots of conversati...