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.
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)
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!!
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
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
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 :-)
I have made new, hopefully lifelong friends through the LEP, and rekindled old friendships too!
Have a truly special, memorably happy birthday, Julie!
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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! :)
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!
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.
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!
- 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!!
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 :)
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
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!
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.
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.