Handwritten Notes

First of all, THANK YOU for holding me accountable this week. I could literally feel our arms e-linked together and your e-motivation made for great note-writing inspiration!

Secondly, I had so much fun with this project y’all. I mean, we have GOT to do this more often, for real! I ended up having a few different ideas for a few different notes, and I wanted to share them here today so that anyone who visits this post might be inspired to give this kind of thing a whirl, too.

I started my ‘Simple, With A Hearty Side Of Significant‘ mission by gathering up some art supplies…


…and this sticky note set I got last year from our friends at Live-Inspired.com:


The quote inside the circle reads, “Treasure and notice today“. How totally simple, with a hearty side of significant is that? I love it! Reading it made writing out my notes feel even more fun, and when I was finished, I set my sights on the mail center in our neighborhood. Everyone who lives in our (rural) community picks up their mail there, so I thought it would make for a great location to surprise a few different people at one time.


It turned out to be quite the little adventure. Because I wanted the notes to be surprises, I didn’t want anyone to see me leaving them. I had to be quick, and quiet, and covert! I staked out the area by car first, and when I was sure that the coast was completely clear, I scurried up onto the porch and quickly scanned the area for the perfect place to hang the first of my four notes.


The top of the rocking chair closest to the door felt good- so on it went!


Next, I quickly slipped through the front door, and tied my second note onto the back door handle.


Next up, it was sticky note time. There are mailbox rooms on the left and right sides of the building, and they’re separated by a center hall. I had decided the night before that I would go with my gut, and walk into one of the rooms and stick my note onto whichever mailbox my hand led me to first.

This is where the adventure started to get a little more…adventurous.

RIGHT before I stuck the sticky note to the mailbox, a mail man came walking through the door, and your girl panicked. I instantly entered a little state-of-being I like to call the Perspiration Station, and proceeded to blurt out something about a “photo project” before he even asked why I was standing there with a camera in one hand, and a sticky note in the other.

The next 3 minutes (a.k.a “eternity”) is sort of a blur. I think I just walked around and “worked on my photo project” while he finished up whatever it was that he had swung by to do.

I don’t know why I was feeling so sweaty about the whole thing, but he didn’t stay long, and I was still acting busy with my “photo project” when he turned to me on his way out the door and asked, “What kind of photo project is it?“.

Oh boy.

Uh…it’s about the power of a handwritten note, and hopefully making folks smile”, I blurted (again).

Oh!“, he said as he made his way out the door. (smiling!) #yay!

(Insert: “whew!” and re-cue Mission Impossible music, here.)

After that, I checked to make sure there wasn’t anyone else coming, and since there wasn’t, I went back to the mailbox I had chosen and stuck my sticky note on it:



The last note I wrote out involved finding a hiding spot for a “just for fun” little gift the note would lead to. I decided the note (a piece of cloud-covered paper, folded in half) should go on the bulletin board in the center hall.

The paper itself came from Hobby Lobby, and I used a Sharpie marker to write this message on the inside of it:

After I had it wedged into the bulletin board frame, I high-tailed it over to the gazebo to hide the surprise: a notepad, inside a zip lock bag- just in case it started to rain.

I raced home and ran upstairs to share my adventure with Kevin and Josh (who were working on their next Shoot Fly Shoot e-class at the time), and it was so much fun re-enacting the whole thing for them- ha! The whole experience made me feel cheerful and childlike, and I highly recommend that kind of “pausitivity”!

Later yesterday afternoon, while I was uploading all of those photos, my BFF sent me a text message asking if I was involved in the shenanigans…

…and after we got done screaming back and forth, I asked her how she knew about it. She said one of our other neighbors had posted about it on Facebook, so I scooted over there to see what she had written. Her message was so kind, and I was so excited to see these photos she posted of her little boy finding the notepad:

I hadn’t planned to let the cat out of the bag, but I wanted to ask her permission to post her son’s photos here, so I sent her a message and confessed. I’m so glad I did too, because I wound up having the most pleasant conversation back and forth with her last night, and I made a wonderful new cottage-lovin’ friend in the process!

If I hadn’t ever found out who found the notepad, that would’ve been okay too- ’cause like I said to the mailman: this whole thing was really just about the power of a handwritten note and (hopefully) making folks smile. And before I sign off, I also wanted to mention that throughout this process I started to feel a little bit uncomfortable about blogging about it because I didn’t want it to come across as a “look what I did” kind of a thing. But here’s why I’ve decided I’m not going to allow myself to enter the Perspiration Station after I hit the publish button on this post.

My blog is my playground, and passion pushes my swing posts. Sharing (and discovering) fun ideas and photos is probably my favorite thing about the internet, so I feel like this kind of inspiration is okay to put out there today…and any day!

And speaking of discovering: have you had fun with the handwritten note project this week? Instead of a Flickr group, I think it makes more sense for me to re-direct visitors to your blog so that you can share your experience and photos with folks there, too. How does that sound? Feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your blog post if you’re interested in doing that. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to link to the web page where your photos are stored, and again, thanks for encouraging me to have fun with handwritten happiness this week!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


  1. says

    So glad your shared your adventure with us! I have a note card and stickers all ready to go – just waiting for the right moment and person to share it with this week. I definitely agree we should do things like this more often.

  2. says

    I really enjoyed your post. it sounds like such a fun thing to do and the little boy who found the note pad – so cute! Oh my, be still my heart! Your mail center is to die for. I wouldn’t mind going to the post office if mine looked like that.

  3. Kelly says

    OMG you are too cute for words!! How fun is that! When you were telling the story of being all sneaky like, I was reading and I found myself all hunched over trying to be sneaky as well I guess (without even realizing I was doing it :) Such a cute idea! I truly want you guys for my neighbours!

  4. says

    I love this idea! I always write little notes, and love paper! I really should do this for fun! Thanks for the inspiration :-) Angie

  5. says

    Haven’t done this yet, but when you posted your idea several days ago I had just watched “The Letter Writer” on Netflix. Great movie!
    Clean, and with a Christian message. YOU WOULD LOVE IT. It is basically this same idea!

    I want to start doing this! What a wonderful way to spread some cheer!

    • says

      I watched this movie recently on Netflix too! It was a great inspirational movie. With all our (wonderful) technology, we have lost the art of handwritten notes and the power that they have. I love staying in touch with friends through FB and email, but oh, when I receive a handwritten note in the mail it makes my heart sing and those are the keepers. I used to be better at sending notes to others. A few years ago I was facing surgery and as a way to take the focus off me and not worry, I sent notes of encouragement to friends and family or people in my church. It was very rewarding and I need to get back into that. Thanks, Layla, for the motivation!

  6. Rebecca Miller says

    I did a personel thank you note. Nothing fancy but I made sure to explain how grateful we were for them. It feels sooooooo good to express thoughts for others in writting!

  7. says

    This is awesome. I love the whole idea of it. And I love that that little boy was the one to go on a just for fun hunt. I mean, look at his face! Sweet. I’m totally down to get in on this. I’ll holla back when I do.


  8. says

    I love what you did…How you almost got “busted”…And found out who had fun recieving your gift!

    You handled Mr.Mailman way better than I would have. I’m still not comfortable taking my camera out and taking pictures of random things in very public places. I’m hoping to get there….:)

    I read the comments above mine, the letter writer movie is cheesy, but pretty inspiring. Noone has to stay a stranger and letters are such a great way to connect!

  9. Annie says

    What an honest and pure intentioned act of TLC for someone. Happy little accidental pun, there! Not letting one hand know what the other is doing- hard struggle when wanting to share your joy of an experience but not wanting to share so that the focus remains on the One and not yourself! Very cool and I cannot imagine how much fun it was!! :)

  10. Denise Cosgrove says

    Write it on your heart, Layla. God loves a precious soul such as yours and will soon place one of His special angels in your care. Thanks for inspiring us all to look for those moments to bring cheer to others and to go about doing good. XoXo Denise

  11. Terry says

    Layla, thank you for inspiring your readers, including me, to random acts of kindness!
    And like others have posted, I absolutely LOVE your neighborhood mail station! You are blessed to live in such a beautiful community.

  12. says

    Love the note idea. What a fun thing to do!

    I know all too well the panicky feeling of holding a camera while standing around PO boxes. lol

    We have a small PO near us that still has the vintage metal boxes. They’re gold and ornate and really cool looking. Photo worthy.

    I went in last summer to try and get a few shots of them, but before I could, someone walked in, looked at me a little oddly, and I panicked! lol Plus, I know there are no doubt security cameras around, and I kept thinking, what is the person watching this going to think when they see me? That I’m scouting out the place? Getting ready to break into the lock boxes?

    I never did get a good shot, and would like to go back some day, if I ever get up the courage. lol

  13. says

    You are TOO cute! We’d be best friends for sure! I LOVE a handwritten note and I love surprising people. Did you see the Year of Gratitude Kits by Compendium (aka Live-Inspired)? It’s to encourage sending a handwritten note of gratitude every week – to anyone – for the entire year. Comes with a little journal too. Powerful stuff. Here’s my blog post with all of the details:

    I’m SO glad you posted about this – and even more excited that you actually found out who participated in your little scavenger hunt! How lucky was that!! Love it!

    Thanks for your ongoing inspiration. I’m always left uplifted by the things you share! Hugs!

  14. Elisabeth says

    That has got to be the cutest little-boy-smile I have ever seen – and I have two of my own with precious smiles of their own!

    About a year ago, we were splurge-dining at P.F. Chang’s with our three kids and about half way through our meal, the manager approached us w/ a gift card from an anonymous patron w/ a note that said, “Enjoy your bunch, times goes too fast. Dinner is on us, plus a little extra”! The gift card covered our meal plus our next one! The kind gesture really touched us deeply and we’ve enjoyed paying it forward any chance we get!

  15. Faerie says

    Layla, that’s awesome! Made my day just reading about your handwritten notes. I’m still smiling!

  16. Melanie says

    Layla! I LOVE handwritten ANYTHING!!! I love all aspects of writing….the handwriting itself, the paper it’s written on, the pen or instrument it is written with, the envelope (if applicable) that is used (and of course the handwriting on the envelope), the stamps used, the return address used (handwritten or label), the stack of addressed envelopes waiting to be mailed and putting the whole bunch into the mailbox!! What you’re doing reminds me of a movie I watched recently called The Letter Writer. It’s about a random note that reached a young girl EXACTLY when she needed it and the friendship that developed. You can find it on Netflix. I’ve been inspired recently to write one snail-mail piece per day and I’m happy to say that I’m a little ahead of my goal. I plan to do this for the whole year. These little projects give US as much joy as they give the recipient! Keep it up and keep sharing your projects! Hugs!

  17. Pam says

    This warms my heart and to see the excitement on that little guy’s face. My boys and I need to get back to our once a week handwritten note. It was to people we know because we had addresses but I think this calls for a new twist on things.

  18. says

    How fun! Glad you shared it! I may have to try this–I am so smiling just reading about it, I bet it would be a total hoot to do! :)

  19. KMP Modern says

    First off, that is the most beautiful post office I have ever seen. Sometimes I forget that many of the rural parts of America are just gorgeous. I absolutely love this idea. Real paper notes beat tech any day!

  20. Alex Collins says

    I think it’s wonderful that you took on this project and shared it with everyone. Your small acts of kindness and positivity are enormously inspiring, and I hope that it warms others’ hearts the way it has warmed mine. One small act of kindness and sincerity lead to another, and hopefully this is a start of a larger domino effect with your blog followers who will go on to share the love with others! What a beautiful idea!

  21. says

    this is awesome. i think we might do a valentine’s version of this. i can’t commit to anything this month because i am already going batty but this would be so sweet to leave a little v-day note ;D

  22. Ter'e Crow Lindsay says

    I love this!
    Are there any houses, “For Sale” in your neighborhood? LOL.
    Have you ever had a penpal? A real penpal? I got a letter, today, from my TX penpal!!!!!!!! e have met one time in the past 18 or so years!
    We love our letters, shopping for stationary and sharing gifts back and forth, as we can. Two 64 yr olds just having fun. And yes, we are very silly.

  23. says

    That little guys smile is PRICELESS!!! This is something worth sharing!!! Random acts of kindness are awesome….reminds me of the old guy at the end of Under the Tuscan Sun…even grumpy old men who would like to remain all private and stuff have heartstrings! Sometimes they just needs a little tug! …and a friendly hug!!! xoxoxo

  24. says

    Oh my, how many ways can I say how much I love this!!! I just LOVE it! I smiled the whole time reading it. Your notes to others, miles away from me, made ME smile! What a wonderful idea…:)
    And I totally pictured you and the mailman while you were trying to be all covert and all….lol…so funny.

  25. Bev says

    This is so sweet. I’m glad you live in a safe neighborhood that they appreciate it :) Maybe if more people did this the world would be peaceful place……..

  26. says

    haven’t been here in a while and popped in today- what FUN!!
    thanks for making me smile….and for spreading so much happy.


  27. Moe says

    Loved this! Thanks for inspiring us to think about how simple it is to be more child like ( as a kindergarten teacher, being child like is the supremo tops to me) and kind! I love the spirit with which you did this :)! Thank you for brightening my day and making me smile!

  28. Lisa W. says

    THIS is awesome, I love LOVE love it!!!! I totally “get” how it makes you feel good! It’s amazing what someone’s smile and warmth, kindness can do. !! Thanks Layla for being one of those special people that actually THINK of this kind of stuff. I wish I lived by you, we would have all kinds of kindness crafty, decorating kind of fun!!!!

  29. says

    OMG. Totally going to do this. Usually do it in the days leading to Halloween with candy left on unsuspecting homes. Please post things like this. It inspires the rest of us.

  30. Heather Patterson says

    I think you are so sweet and kind and you keep doin’ whatcha doin ‘ because you are inspiring me :) I will leave a secret note tomorrow and I can’t wait!!

  31. Mandi W says

    I want to live in your neighborhood!! It would have totally made my day to go check the mail expecting bills and to find a cheery note. What a great way to spread some smiles :)

  32. says

    I thought our post office was cute until I saw yours – as my daughter would remark! Adorbs! That little boy was adorable too! This is such a good idea and works for me. I have always written notes by hand and I always will. I still send my grown kids notes just to tell them how much I love them, what a proud momma I am and why, etc. I even include my son-in-laws. Now they all can’t wait to see who will get a note next. They really are fun aren’t they?!

  33. Kimi-b says

    I’m SO glad you shared…that you share frequently. I enjoy reading about your life, it distracts me from mine. Thank you.

  34. says

    I had no idea what you were up to but that is so much fun. I wish I had thought of it. Made me smile just reading about. Proves one thing… I ‘m gonna have to get my very own key to the mailbox so that I will see happy notes too.

  35. Lorrie says

    I no longer have a blog, but I do this all the time with post-it notes after the last sentence of my favorite books or cookbooks in the library or Barnes and Noble. Sometimes I say, “If you really enjoyed this book, I’d love to talk to you about it.” I leave my email. I have met some really neat people with the same interests. It would be a great thing for college students in the college library.

  36. Erin Dasher says

    I’m SO glad you shared this! What a wonderful gesture of kindness! And, how beautiful is the area you live in! Wow, the mail center is gorg!

  37. says

    Ah, my “happy” for the day, Layla! Now THAT’s the way to start what will be a very long day for me… thank you, sweet friend, for your adventurous spirit and sharing heart!
    xo heidi

  38. says

    What a great story, doing nice things like that really makes you feel good inside- it’s the whole giving back inspiration and how doing for others = happiness. Thanks for sharing…

  39. Leah says

    Dear Layla,
    Just wanted to reassure you that anyone who has followed your blog for any length of time knows that you are not a “look what I did” kind of person – your intentions are always thoughtful and loving..: )
    BTW #IGetSweatyNervousLikeThatToo!!

  40. says

    1. you are the ideal neighbor!
    2. i want to live in your neighborhood … and take part in these wonderful neighborly shenanigans. i make mean english toffee and always have leftovers. i’ll leave them on your doorstep and expect you to randomly stop in for a cuppa tea and a chat.
    3. i think this neighborhood was built for you and kevin. i mean, look at that house for your mail? the mail box? the rocking chair? the wood details? bulletin board? views? gazebo? built. for. the. palmers!
    4. thanks for making me smile this morning … love your heart, girl.

  41. says

    what a cool idea. I’ve often thought about writing up short notes and leaving them at peoples houses at Christmas time (to compliment them on beautiful displays) or in summer (to compliment them on beautiful gardens) but I never have. This is the impetus to actually go ahead and do it. Thanks for the idea and the fantastic story !

  42. says

    Ah Layla, I love your heart! What a wonderful thing to do and how FUN for that little boy and his mama! I know you put a smile on a few faces. We never know the hard battles people are fighting and these acts of kindness may be more meaningful than we know.

  43. Nicola says

    I love, love, love, love, you mail center. I could actually live there. I wish my house looked like that. The trees outside make it so dreamy. I love the notes. That is so special. I will have to write one to my elder neighbor next door. Thanks for all the inspiration, spiritual and otherwise!!!

  44. Mia says

    I’m glad you posted what you did! it didn’t seem like you were bragging and it was good inspiration. I want to try something like this at my work :)

  45. says

    Oh my – what a perfect idea! The pictures of the little boy just sums it up, don’t they? What a lovely way to reach out to your neighbors with a human connection. Also – your post office is amazingly gorgeous! ;)

  46. Jennifer F. says

    Oh my goodness. You have such a beautiful heart. Your posts are always so uplifting. Thank you for sharing!

  47. Dawn says

    I love that you shared this with us! It is so inspirational. That little finder of the hidden notepad is too cute! He reminds me of my friends litttle (adopted)boy! :) I have also done the RAK thing in the past. I think you posted about it then and I started following Kelly over at Talk of the House. The RAK thing is similar but different. I love handwritten note idea. I sent out 4 handwritten notes the day you posted about doing it. It feels like I get the reward of sending it as much as the person that is going to receive it does! Thanks for sharing! Keep up the great blogging!

  48. says

    This is a lovely idea – particularly the scavenger hunt. When I was in university, someone put happy messages on sticky-notes and spread them around the school. It was such a joy to find these little random happy ideas. Add in a scavenger hunt and there’s a new level of excitement! Congrats! ~Catherine

  49. Karie says

    I want to thank you for sharing your posts with us….What a wonderful idea and now I have ideas buzzing around in my head what I can do…If not for your post I might now have even given it any thought….

    I use my blog to post family stuff and share ideas once in a while…Feel free to stop by but I will say it is nothing like your wonderful space! The other fact is I am behind!

  50. says

    I smiled when I read this post. It reminded me of something I started doing when my oldest daughter lost her tooth (in her brother’s head after crashing into each other on his birthday… sigh – long story). Anyway, it was her first lost tooth – front one of course, and very traumatic. Seeing her big brown eyes all teary just tugged at my heart strings. So after explaining to her about the tooth fairy (it was a little early for losing teeth as she was only 3 1/2) and tucking her tiny tooth under the pillow, I decided I needed to add a little something to the quarters the tooth fairy left. I wrote her a note (in very stylish, swirly hand-writing) saying “Hello lovely girl. I don’t ever see teeth quite this tiny! Thank you for that special surprise! I’m sorry you had an accident :( I just want you to know that it doesn’t always hurt to lose your teeth. It is fun when they get wiggly and you can take them out yourself, so don’t be afraid. Here is a little extra treat that I hope makes you feel better. I love you, Sparkle (The Tooth Fairy)” The extra treat was a tiny little stuffed pink bunny. It worked – she was delighted. Over the years, the tooth fairy has left a couple little notes – I have 6 children (29 down to 2 @ 7 years old) and I’m sorry to say they haven’t all been as inspired… the last one? “SO sorry I forgot to stop for your tooth last night! Please forgive me, I love you, Sparkle” … ;) Anyway, thanks for sparking my memories :) O’Dina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>