Simple, With A Hearty Side Of Significant

This year there will be more attention to the fabrics against my skin, to the companion that is tea, and the miracle of the mug’s solidity in my hand. There will be surrender to everything that curves. -Tara Sophia Mohr

I’ve been thinking a lot of the fresh start that comes along with each new year new second a lot lately, and I’ve had that last line “surrendering to everything that curves” on my mind since I first read it. I don’t know about you…wait- yes I dobut I’d sure love be intentional about loving in new directions. (Notice I used the word “new”, not “different”.) It’s really just about blazing a few new (to me), positive paths- and I sure would like to lock e-arms with you on it. I like to think that blogs are for brainstorming and sharing all kinds of ideas, and like Oliver Herford said, there’s no time like the pleasant!

We could start super simple, with a hearty side of significant. Heck, we could keep it super simple, with a hearty side of significant. That’s the whole point, right? I’ll start by throwing out an idea that was inspired by these photos I found online a while back:



Oh, how much those kinds of gestures matter, don’t you think? Seeing thoughtful notes like those inspires me so much, and based on the comments you’ve left for me (and others) to find here over the past 5 years, I’m sure you feel the same way, too. (That reminds me, one of my favorite parts of blogging is the sense of adventure and discovery that comes along with it. You never know how I’m going to start a conversation, and I never know how you’re going to add to it! The comment section is such an encouraging place to visit, and I have so much fun creating posts in the space above it to share with you, too!)

Will you join me in/hold me accountable for writing a handwritten note to someone this week? Like I said, we can keep it super simple. The note can be for anyone- a family member, a friend, a co-worker, someone you don’t know- anyone. Let’s just decide on that in the moment.

Let me know what you think, and in the meantime: here’s to simple significance, memories that beat like hearts, and living out our questions- so that we can live out our answers, too!

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  1. danica says

    Great idea! I would love to get back to popping a note in the mail for someone instead of always using email.

  2. Cate R says

    I love reading your posts! This one is a good timing kinda thing because just last night I was up writing my two girls a letter each for each night that we’ll be away. My husband and I have decided to take a vacation without the kids for the first time EVER (the kids are 6 and 9 years old – and YES, I’m already experiencing separation anxiety!), we’ll be away for 4 nights starting on January 8th. I wrote out 4 letters to each of them and will have my parents give them one letter each night before they go to bed. It doesn’t completely make up for a good night hug and kiss, but it will be a nice surprise for them nonetheless!

    • Layla says

      Cate- I know you’re on vacation right now, but I just wanted to leave you a note to find when you got back. I hope you had an amazing trip and that you’re hugging your girls again right now! :-D

  3. says

    You are such a thoughtful person- thank you for encouraging and inspiring us to be that way too! I think this is a beautiful idea, and I am going to see if I can do it this next week. Love your heart, faith, and kind nature girlfriend ;-)

  4. says

    Awesome! I once “paid it forward” when someone in the grocery line in front of me found out they had no money left on their pre-paid credit card. The woman started crying, her husband embarrassed, and they were going to go home empty handed! God SCREAMED in my ear to help them…long story short, they went home with their groceries. And I did all this because I once was in their shoes and some stanger had helped me!!! I’ve never told anyone this story….except my husband (who I mistakenly thought would be mad at me)…. I love the thought of doing things and not getting anything out of it but PURE JOY!

  5. Carol says

    It feels like the movie “Pay it Forward”. I think it is a great idea. I would love to participate. I drive a school bus, and one of the lessons in training, was to make sure that we greet our children every day. Because we may be the only person to tell them Good Morning, or Have a Good Day, I love the little faces when I greet them, or tell to have a fabulous day. Even my disgruntled teens have a smile when they get off my bus. Love, Love, Love doing stuff like this. I am all in!!

    • Julie says

      Bless your heart for looking at “our” children like that!! Both my mom & my aunt work in the elementary school where my 3 children attend. I love to hear the stories of how comassionate those kids can be toward one another!!And, we just never know what burdens those little hearts are carrying :(

  6. Vel Smith says

    I shared this on my facebook page because it really touched my heart and motivates me to try harder. Texts and email are quick, but even the loving thought is just a fleeting thing. Something about hand writing seems more contemplative and valuable. I need to do for others what I appreciate. I’m 67 and retired. I have time.

  7. says

    I love the idea Layla and will definitely join in. Thanks for always digging a little deeper and going past the surface to get your readers to self-reflect. It’s always an encouragement.


  8. Anna Laura says

    Interestingly enough, I hand wrote Christmas thank you notes this year and wrote a letter to my parents once a month this past year. I also “paid it forward” several years ago for some sweet older person, who had left her wallet at home.
    This past year I stopped using e-cards and bought birthday and occasion cards to send my loved ones.
    As much as I love technology, I so want to continue putting pen/pencil to paper and sending words to people I love.

  9. says

    I had an “aha” moment probably 25 years ago that drives me still today. As I left church , a deacon handed me the weekly flyer we received every Sunday morning. As I read through it later, I read a suggestion that I continue to live by. The gist was, we have the ability to make someone else’s day by just saying (or writing a note) something kind. It questioned us asking, “how hard is that”? Ever since that day, I make it a point to say something kind to anyone I can. As I walk past a student I don’t know at school I might say, “nice shoes” or “I love the pattern on your backpack”. To a colleague, I might mention something kind a student has told me about the teacher. I have had students write in my yearbook at the end of the year that they appreciated my recognizing them.

    When my daughter was struggling with a particular friendship, I told her what I do. She has adopted the practice and she said she couldn’t believe the change in the friendship when she made the effort each day to make one upbeat comment.

    My philosophy is that the recipient probably “passes it on” to the next person they see.

    • Layla says

      I LOVE this, Carol! And I think you may have just created Simple, With A Hearty Side Of Significant project #2! :-D

  10. rosalie says

    I love the flicker idea and the hand written note. Seeing someone’s handwriting means a lot in reality. I bought a compendium product called gratitude, and its 52 thank you cards to send in a year, so ill be participating in your e-arm linking.

    • Layla says

      Ooh- yay! I’m expecting my Gratitude kit to arrive any day now too, and I’m so excited to get started on it! :-D Thanks for e-linking arms with me!

  11. says

    Layla…you really hit home for me with this post. I make a point to always write a handwritten thank you whenever we stay at a friend’s home or just spend time with someone we haven’t seen in a while. Email is great too, but I don’t think there is any substitute for getting a personal letter in the mail. I am always stunned at how many young people don’t write thank you notes for gifts anymore! It’s the epitome of good upbringing and establishes the routine of making personal connections for the rest of our lives. I’m in love with the idea of paying the check for a random someone. What a sweet gesture! I plan to try that one myself. Keep up the good work and God Bless. Joanne

  12. says

    I LOVE snail mail and intentional notes.

    In the love languages, I’m a “words” girl so it makes sense. It just means so much that someone takes the time to write what they are thinking.

  13. Sophie says

    I adore hand-written notes. I have one from one of my friends from school pinned to the side of my mirror, she wrote it in Spanish, her native language. Makes me smile every time I see it :)

  14. Sharon H says

    Love the idea – I’m a fan of handwritten notes and think it’s a lost art. Am happy to be part of this.

  15. says

    I can always count on you, Layla, to give me food for thought and inspire me in ways I never expect. :) A handwritten note is such a personal powerful gesture… love this idea.
    xo Heidi

  16. Karen Robinson says

    I’m in…. I don’t know how to use Flickr (can u believe that???) but will give it the old college try.

  17. says

    This post is sticking with me no matter how many times I try to click away from it. Yes! Let’s write a note this week. Hold me accountable too! ~Sally

  18. says

    so timely… just wrote a thank you via email and apologized for not using snail mail! i think i will make amends! thanks for reminding us to take the time for others, in the little simple stuff!

    met a friend of yours yesterday… (Restore Interiors) it was just an amazing time with amazing woman~ talked for over four hours! left refreshed and encouraged about sharing my life and faith through blogging!! realizing the importance of this blogging world/community! thankful!
    ~ Natalie

  19. Caroline says

    An awesome idea Layla! I probably spend far too much time online but it is my connection to the outside world when I live in a relatively isolated place. I try to ‘pay it forward’ when I can, and I believe it comes back to you. Maybe not in the same way or from the same person, but it does come back. I will write a note for someone else today – a real letter. Thanks for sharing and being inspiring. <3

  20. Sharon Herbitter says

    I have a blog, too. Not as significant as yours, mostly just for me and a couple of friends. I posted my New Year’s resolutions last week and — no fooling — one of them was to write a handwritten note once a week. So naturally I’ll participate!

  21. says

    Wonderful inspiration! I would definitely like to participate. Now to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to what comes next : )

  22. mary says

    Hey Layla, I want you to know that I have prayed for you often in the last few years. It made my day the other day when you posted the photo of you getting baptized.I called my daughter to make sure she knew it. I never commented before , but felt you would like to know that someone you knew

    had prayed for you ! Love, Til’ He Comes, Mary

  23. Cheryl says

    I love, love, love this idea. My hubby and I are constantly “paying it forward” to friends, family, complete strangers. We just let our intuition guide us when the time is right–and it always brings us so much joy–not to mention delicious goosebumps! ;-) After I read your blog, I sat down and wrote a note to my newly adopted daughter (she lost her biological Mom when she was 2 years old) to tuck in her Christmas gift. Yes, I’m a little late but here in our home, we say “Every day is Christmas, and every night is New Year’s Eve! So, count me in on this absolutely amazing idea! Much love and gratitude going out to you, Layla!

  24. says

    this is great. i have been meaning to write a note to my kids teachers for a while now and this is the push i need!

  25. Michelle says

    What a great idea. I’m going to write my oldest son who is a freshman at PSU a letter this week. He left today to start his second semester and I already miss him. He has a kind soul and makes us so proud to be his parents. I’ll also put a note in my youngest lunch box this week. He has been having a hard time due to being sick and will need a little pick me up.

    Thanks for a great idea. I may just try to write someone weekly.

  26. Ashley says

    Our family has committed to being more intentional in our writing, too! This is the year of the hand-written note!

    Our kids got packs of thank you notes in their stockings, and we spent two mornings filling them out and mailing them. I will not be too cheap to buy a couple of books of stamps to say thank-you! (I have to repeat this to myself often when my thriftiness veers toward stinginess.)

  27. Lisa W. says

    LOVE this…we write little notes to each other in my family ALL the time. As a matter of fact I have kept several of my daughters. I am a scrapbooker and several of them I do in fact scrap. Her notes are priceless…simple things like where she is going, that she did feed the puppies, that they did go potty, and sometimes if I could pack her a lunch for work; They are nothing more than PRICELESS!!! Its so wonderful to hear/see others that they mean allot to also:) Thanks as always for this wonderful awesome blog!


    Lisa W. :)

  28. Heather Patterson says

    I’m in! I love random inspiring notes, little acts of kindness, seeds of love….whatever you want to call it. It really is simple but HUGELY significant, love God, love others.
    Wakarusa, IN

  29. SoCalLynn says

    Instead of buying a mass-produced birthday card, I just wrote a note to my mom for her birthday, telling her how special she is and how much I love her. It’s her first birthday after my dad’s death (he was killed in a hit and run accident in September and we are reeling from the shock, still) and I just wanted her to know how very much she is loved. I had an old photo of my parents at a formal event in the late 60’s restored and sent that to her as well. I still keep a few handwritten notes I’ve received over the years as special treasures.

    • Amanda says

      Hi Lynn,
      I’m so sorry for your enormous loss. Of course you are still reeling. Sudden, unexpected loss is very hard. Our son died very suddenly and unexpectedly 6 years ago, and there are still days that I look at his picture and think “How is it that you are not here?” I can say (only for myself…it’s different for everyone), it does get more manageable with time. Hang in there.

      • SoCalLynn says

        Thank you, Amanda. And I am sorry for your loss, too. After I commented the other day, I was blessed in a big way by a lovely friend who brought me a bouquet of flowers and a sweet, handwritten note. Isn’t God good? He knows our needs and sends us angels.

      • Layla says

        Amanda, you are so kind to respond to Lynn like that. Thank you for sharing your heart here, too. I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your family, and hope that you’re doing okay today. Kevin and I will include you both in our prayers tonight. *hug*

    • Layla says

      Oh, Lynn- I am so sorry to hear about what happened. :-( Giving your mom that handwritten note and restored photo was so thoughtful, and I know she cherishes them very much. I feel blessed to be able to connect with you here, and I’m so glad you shared your heart. Thank you- truly. Sending you a very big virtual bear hug today, my friend!

  30. says

    I think this is a fantastic idea! It reminds me of my Mother. From time to time throughout my teen years & as an early adult she would mail me a card just to drop a special note. Mind you, we lived in the same home. It was her way of taking a extra step to make something more special & meaningful. I will never forget those cards. Heck, I probably still have some of them! A few kind words are worth so much!

  31. Heather whaley says

    I love love love this! As I was reading your post I thought of a handful of people I would love to write a note to. So I’ m in.

  32. mary says

    I hope someone will send notes. I’m not very good at expressing my emotions or thoughts. This a great motivator and acts as a guide . It makes me smile also.

  33. says

    I handwrote two notes just today. In one I enclosed a tiny paper sack into which I stuffed four pretty dyed skeleton leaves. For an eight year old. When I sealed the envelope I felt like a winner.

    Get out your note cards or pretty paper now. A green gel pen, too. *My favorite.*

  34. Becky Wood says

    Layla, I love reading your blog. Not sure how I actually found it, but it has been a tremendous blessing to me. I feel like I actually know you….thanks for being so transparent and real!

  35. says

    Oh how this makes my heart happy. I’ve been journaling for years and there is something so magical about writing by hand in this digital world. It truly is a release of feelings and your heart really does flow right down your arm through the ink and to the paper. Add a person on the other end of that writing and your heart goes out into the world. Love it!!

  36. Dawn says

    Amen, Sista! I know I feel so loved when I get a note or card in the snail mail. I also feel the same way when I send one out.

  37. Ter'e Crow Lindsay says

    I am a big writer of notes! I always use darling notecards, pretty stationary and a fountain pen. I love that personal touch, just knowing that the intended person will handle what I have handled.

    nice post Layla……I love these fuzzy posts!

  38. Cheryl says

    Wonderful and thoughtful post Layla as always. I plan on doing this this week for both my husband sync my daughter. In this day of technology, I really don’t tell them what really needs yo be said.

  39. says

    I love this. I don’t think people realize the impact their words and gestures can have on strangers.

    Once during a particularly rough time with my son acting out at soccer I was feeling somewhat defeated. When I had removed him from the field, (overhearing words around me like terrible) I tried to acknowledge his frustration while also getting him to apologize to those affected by his behaviour, his teammates and his coach. And then I returned to my sit wondering if I had any impact on him. Worrying. He did apologize but I still was unsure of me.

    And then out of the corner of my eye I saw legs appear and slow down. I looked up into the warm eyes of another child’s grandfather as he left. He touched my shoulder and told me “you are a good mother”.

    He has no idea what a gift he gave me that day.

    And I am trying to become more present in my life so that I can reach out and do the same for others.

    Love this post.

  40. says

    This is an awesome idea…like everyone has said, a few words at the right time can change your entire outlook on life.

    Great post, thanks for sharing :)

  41. says

    Beautiful Idea….
    I mailed 6 thank you notes yesterday, as I know how thrilled I am to find something in my street mailbox written by a friend. Actually, before Christmas, I shopped at a Waterford outlet store in Destin, Fl. I was totally taken aback, when a couple of weeks later I received a lovely hand written note from the person who waited on me. Never, in my life, had that happened and I am 65 years old…..great marketing, I would say. Guess I am just saying hand written notes are empowering in more ways than one.
    I love to leave my husband little love notes in surprise places every now and then. I have not done this in awhile. Thank you for the reminder!

  42. Marianne in Mo. says

    Great post today! My DH and I were commenting this year about how our Christmas cards received this year were way down, and no one seems to feel the need to drop a simple card or note. Stamps are not THAT costly, so I’m sure it’s more a can’ t be bothered! We send cards and notes all year long. One of our faves we receive each year is my DH’ s cousin’ s Christmas note- so humorously written, it brings a laugh to us each year! And we write to our grandson often, just because he gets a kick from getting mail. It’ s more impractical than some people realize, even to the youngest receiver!

  43. SuzyMcQ says

    During these challenging economic times when we may not be able to afford presents for those we love and care about, a simple note of kindness can often be free or simply the cost of a stamp. I am taking your suggestion as a challenge, Layla, and will do my best to let those who are important to me, as well as strangers who I may never see again, know that they are appreciated, and that their kindnesses and concern are noticed and noted.

  44. gina says

    Love this! One year I wrote “jesus is the reason for the season” on my car. After I did some grocery shopping, I saw a handwritten note on my car saying nice comments and signed “Your Brother in Christ.” Chills!

  45. Claudia says

    Lovely! My parents are both gone now, I send notes to aunties and uncles who are aging and missing their loved ones…they are loved, they matter.. <3

  46. says

    Funny, I’m reading this now. I LOVE getting mail. Real mail. In the mailbox. A handwriten note. And since I love mail so much I try and send a note to a friend every so often. I just sent one yesterday. Along with all the thank yous I (the kids) just sent from Christmas and birthday! Think I will try to do this once a month. Thanks for the inspiration!

  47. Cyndi Woodruff says

    Funny….I just mailed out 5 cards to friends across the country. Some funny, some sentimental, but all with notes from me. In a heartfelt and grateful way, I felt the need to let these lovies know that they were in my thoughts and always in my heart.
    I have another card ready to be mailed tomorrow morning for some newly-met friends. We all went through the death of my dear friend’s 7 1/2 year old daughter; after her 4 year battle with cancer. This couple are childhood/lifelong friends of my friend….through our sad, beautiful and heartbreaking experience of caring for our friend and her daughter—-we all formed a bond that will never be broken.
    After 3 months of living away from my own home (and state) and helping to care & love my beautiful friends, I am home & know in my heart that my little angel wants me to always tell loved ones just how I feel about them~~~~~over & over & over again.
    It’s a beautiful idea that you have…..<3

  48. says

    If you haven’t seen the movie The Letter Writer – you must watch. I most definitely would like to join in -as I just watched the movie today and then read your post this evening. So surely I cannot ignore the message. Thank you.

  49. Erica says

    I love the handwritten note and still use them often. I don’t know something about taking pictures and sharing them seems to taint the note. I can’t wrap myself around how I feel about it as a whole. I think it is OK if the receiver shares the note but when the writer shares it, doesnt it take some of the genuineness of the note away?

    • Layla says

      OMGoodness- that’s exactly why I asked, Erica! :-D I was sort of feeling like that too- but then I loved the idea of having more positive pics floating around the web, so I was torn. <: -\ I think it depends on the note.
      I think I’ll post mine with the hope that more folks feel like writing someone a note when they see it, but we’ll see what happens though. I’m keeping this thing loose…no rules…just lettin’ fun take the reigns! :-)

  50. Lindsay says

    I do love handwritten notes! For Christmas this year I purchased beautiful stationary for my sister and enclosed a handwritten letter to her on it. The letter outlined an idea I had to write each other letters to share moments/thoughts/whatever (!) with each other that we don’t always get the time to share in person or over the phone. Almost a journal of sorts, but thougt it would be a great way to re-connect with one another. All I could do was think of the future when I’m old and grey and could see myself looking back at these notes to each other with great fondness! Your post is a reminder to write her a letter today :)

  51. Shannon says

    Love this. I just read this after I sent you an email. Please check and read your email I sent you just a little bit ago. I would like to pay it forward to you two….it is all explained in the email.

  52. Cheryl says

    Last year I joined and began a wonderful journey of discovery, just like they said I would in the commercial. I love it when there is truth in advertising. I found a cousin in a neighbouring province. A dear sweet 90 year old lady who now owns a piece of my heart. Finding Vera opened my eyes to the importance of lots of things, photography and letter writing included. Vera has the treasure trove of artifacts from our ancestors. She has sent me scans of letters from relatives as far back as 1904. To see their handwriting makes the notes so much more personal. Vera and I have been emailing but I am working on writing her a letter, and she one for me, that we can add to our memory boxes so future generations can hold those papers and know their ancestors touched them too. One of my resolutions this year is to send a hand written letter to at least one person each month. Who doesn’t love getting mail that isn’t bills?
    Thanks for another wonderful post. You give us eye candy and something for our soul. Warmest regards to you and Kevin.

  53. says

    this validates what i’ve been inspired to do. January 14th will be one year since my sweet mom moved to heaven. I’ve been thinking for quite awhile just how i would feel, might respond to this day. Not wanting to be sad, I”ve pondered on other ways to recognize and honor my mom and the good things in her life. Saturday as i made my bed with a quilt given to mom when she was so sick, i thought of the quilt maker. She’s a friend of moms who blessed our family in multitude of ways during mom’s illness, meals, kind words, phone calls. She alone was able to make the hats to cover mom’s balding head. No matter what we found, nothing was JUST what she wanted but what Linda made. : ) So I”m writing her a note this week, thanking her, once again, for her compassionate way of living and the difference it made for my mom. She was such a beautiful gift for my sweet momma, and the rest of us too.

  54. Rachael says

    When I was in management I held a weekly staff meeting for my team. At each meeting we would decide who to send a “thank you’ note to from our department. It only took five minutes to discuss who we would send it to that week. Maybe someone went out of their way to help one of us or a vendor was especially responsive , or someone was just a simple bright spot at work. I would write the teams sentiment in the card and we’d all sign the card and mail it to them. I know it was so meaningful to so many of our recipients because we almost always heard back from them and in turn it was a great way to start our week. It helped us all keep in mind how being our best–simple acts of kindness, doing our job well, helping others, going above and beyond–does make a difference and how making a difference in just a small way, impacts us all.

    I don’t work right now (for the first time since I was 12!) but I can still send out a handwritten note. Thanks for the reminder.

    Also, I really work hard to find something true and genuine to compliment people on when I see them. Do they have pretty eyes? Do I love their shirt, shoes or purse? Does their smile light up a room or is their laugh contagious? Are they great at math (like the one friend who always splits the checks up for the group because everyone else who hates math!)? Are they kind or funny or giving or peaceful or wise or positive or helpful? I can almost always find something that I can genuinely compliment and then I do. Because, who of us doesn’t need a kind word or encouragement?

    So, yes, I love this challenge! Great idea, Layla!

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