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Power of The Written Word

By Stacie Chadwick

Reading between the Pines

In life, I’m a minimalist. Any time my husband brings something into the house, I’m on my way through a different door hauling something else out. I’m all about clean lines, order, and lists – lots and lots of lists.

Giving away things I categorically label “unnecessary” makes me feel good, and a lack of clutter equals a lack of complication in some kind of metaphysical, big scale way that I haven’t quite figured out.

Ironically though, the only thing I won’t let go of is memories. Not the painful ones that wake you up in the middle of the night with a big, fat “why?” staring down from the ceiling. Those conveniently go out with the trash as soon as I can gather them up. I’m talking about the good ones. The real, sometimes raw, but more often relevant things from the past that have made a big contribution to my present. I have every high school note, my letters from college, sappy mix tapes, cards given back and forth to and from my family over the years – all of it. It’s a treasure trove of boyfriends, break-ups, and besties that I can’t live without.

But thanks to the worldwide web and the ghost of Steve Jobs, collecting memories is harder today than it used to be. We email instead of using paper and pen, and thank you notes are quasi-relics because it’s so much easier to text a quick line or two instead. Just like that, some of the things that matter the most are deleted instead of being filed away for a rainy day.

Recently, on a day that felt harder than most, I opened the mailbox expecting nothing more than bills and instead found a letter from one of my best friends. Gracefully stated, it simply said – “You are strong. You are beautiful. You are loved.” Reading those nine words instantly changed the course of my day, and the storm clouds that were hovering on my horizon evaporated. Just. Like. That.

Life is beyond busy, and even though every kind of connection counts, there’s nothing quite like getting a letter from someone you love. You can touch it. You can feel it. And you can tuck it away. Even though putting pen to paper takes more time, energy and thought than an email or a text, the reward is well worth the investment.

To read more from Stacie, check out her blog at




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