"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

The Gilland Family of 6!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Remember When...

This past week a sweet friend and I cleaned out my closet in my bedroom.  It was a HUGE job and took several hours to complete!  It felt so good to purge!  I love the feeling of accomplishment when a project is completed!  I was so excited to be able to donate so many shoes and clothing items to Must Ministries! 

In addition to cleaning out, I uncovered many things I had not seen in a while.  They had been hidden for some time.  Among those items was a large floral shoe box.  Inside the special shoe box was something so valuable to me.  It contained every card and letter I had received from my freshman year of college until I had married my husband.  I could hardly wait to sit down and go through everything in the box. 

Well last night was the perfect time.  I settled myself comfortably in my bed and I began to read through and study every piece of paper in the box.   I am a very emotional person, so I was prepared to shed a few tears as I walked down memory lane.   Just as I’d thought, for four hours I cried tears of remembrance over the words I was reading; I laughed a lot too!  It is so wonderful to go back and remember the past, the good and the bad!

There were cherished love letters from my precious husband from before we were married.  He was so tender and sweet.  It was a great reminder of our love to read his adoring words.  Also, I found notes of encouragement and congratulations from dear friends like, Courtney, Lisa, Lucy, Betty, Paula, Dee and Lissa.  I had saved all Birthday and Valentine’s Day cards from my parents, siblings, friends and grandparents.  Both of my grandfathers died in 2008, so to see their handwriting in cards was so dear to me. 

I had the most encouraging “love” letters from my momma and daddy.  They were so intentional with their words.   I’m so thankful for the love and support they have always given me.   They taught me so many lessons along the way, about life, love and our faithful God.   

One of my very favorite things ever is getting the mail!!!  Sounds silly I know!  I’ve even been known to even get upset if someone else gets the mail.  Usually the mailbox is full of bills and magazines, but I am always hoping that maybe there is a note from someone.  Do you do that too? There is something so special and even exciting about seeing a hand addressed envelope with my name on it!  It seems like we don’t really write letters anymore, now we type emails.  Its faster, easier and more convenient, but so impersonal and boring!  There is such beauty in holding the stationary and reading the penned words and seeing their signature.  It is truly an art form that I think should be brought back.  

Since discovering this “treasure” I have decided to become more intentional with my words and writing.  The next time I sit down at my computer to email someone, I’m going to think twice and consider getting out my lovely stationary and black ballpoint pen and blessing someone with a handwritten letter. 

Altogether I think I read about 250 cards, letters and notes last night.   Each one I read encouraged and touched me so deeply.  I am so thankful that I saved them all.  I am going to start visiting them and remembering more often.  I am also incredibly grateful for the prayers, encouragement and support from so many people represented by these letters during such a crucial time in my life.  I’m already thinking about who I can bless by sending an encouraging note to and make their trip to the mailbox a fun one!  How about you, who can you bless this week?

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Hebrews 10:23-24

Joyfully Remembering,


  1. So precious! "Words" can bless and encourage us so much! Also, memories are a special treasure that no one can take away from us! Remembering with you my sweet girl! I love you so much! Momma

  2. So true, Ashley, to remember these dear people and times in your lives through their words. You are wise to revisit the fine art of handwritten correspondence. I'm with you!