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I am a pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. -Mother Teresa

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thoughts by the Sea

This journal hasn't been completely filled yet.
I bought it on a trip with Singers
when a friend pointed it out to me.
It was perfect because it combined two things
I love: the beach & journaling. :)
 People often ask me what I write in my journal. As you can see from this entry, I write whatever I think. I write about things that have happened that made me laugh, things I want to remember. Although most of this is probably only significant to me, hopefully something here will bring a smile to your face or an encouraging thought to your mind. Sorry I write so small & sloppy...& sporadically. :)

By the way, I was totally joking about the reason we invite Mrs. Christine. She's an awesome friend of my mom's & is always so much fun. She really adds a lot to our trips to the beach...even when she doesn't bring bathingsuits for me. :D (And the bathingsuits look just as cute on her; she just doesn't think so.)

Don't forget to comment on or email me about the "Enjoy the Moment" Giveaway Challenge for July.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


This is a letter to my friend Reina & her family from a child they sponsor. I was there when they got it, & it was so exciting! :)
(Click to Enlarge)

Picture the girl drew for them. :)

 Mozambique Fun Facts:
Portuguese is the official language in the country of Mozambique. However, Swahili, Sena and Makhuwa are spoken commonly across the length and breadth of the country.

In 2008, thousands of Mozambicans were forced to leave their homes for the sake of higher ground when the mighty Zambezi River overflowed its banks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Love Bugs

A few years ago, my grandma and I were talking to Megan and our Aunt Nancy about whether we liked writing or not. I said, "not really" and Grandma laughed and said, "Oh yes she does! I got a letter from her a few weeks ago about her trip to the beach. It was a long one. She must enjoy writing." Her comment made me realize that I do love to write...as long as it's on a subject of my choosing and as long as I don't feel rushed to finish. :) I recently found this letter at her house after she passed away. I loved how it said "SAVE" on the envelope. It was so much fun reading about the details of our trip which I'd long since forgotten--especially the shower scene! I am so glad she saved it, and it makes me want to write more to preserve these precious (although hectic) years with my children.

-Kristi Kritter

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Love My Nieces to Pieces!

Grace is my first of 6  nieces. This will give you a taste of why I love them so much! When I gave her the journal, one of the first things she said was, "Now I can be on your blog." :) Adorable.

We both loved the "Another Journal Entry"
cd by BarlowGirl. Grace even went to the
concert with us.
I realized that I have far too many journals
that I won't use anytime soon. People are
always giving them to me because they
know I love them. :D So I've accumulated a few
& thought that I could part with this one
especially since it would be to Grace.
A friend gave me a different BarlowGirl journal,
so now we sort of match. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Christmas in July Giveaway Challenge

First up...
Ok, who can come up with the best way to "enjoy the moment" with this hot pink monkey? Don't leave it hanging! 

Monkeys used to be my favorite animal, so I've accumulated quite a few stuffed ones over the years.This one's arms even velcro together. :)  Maybe you could take it to a children's hospital & have each kid take a picture with it & write down what they think it should be named. You could give everyone their picture with it & give the monkey to the one withthe best name. Or you could write a note with it & give it to someone going on a trip to take with them & give it to someone wherever they go. Don't forget to tell them about the blog so that they can tell me what sort of adventures they had with the hot pink monkey. You know I'll share it with everyone on here.

Leave a comment below of who you'd give it to & where they're going, etc., & you might be this months winner! Or maybe you have a better idea for this hot pink monkey...maybe you've just always wanted one. Just let me know how it will help you or someone else to "enjoy the moment" & go bananas!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Enjoy the Moment

When my sister & I were little (Ok, I was little...she's 8 years older), we adopted the phrase "Enjoy the moment." We decided to encourage each other to do just that because too many people spend their lives saying they don't have time to watch the sunset. I know I do that a lot, too. We just get so tired & caught up in other things that we forget how important it is to "enjoy the moment." That sunset won't ever look the same, we'll never get to live this day again, the people that are in our lives today may not be there tomorrow.

So that's why I'm starting this section of the blog. I want to encourage you to enjoy the moment. And when you do, it will encourage others (including me) to do the same. Some of my busiest friends have taken the time to celebrate life, & I think that's what keeps them going & what keeps them healthy. As a way to pass that on to you, I am having a monthly givevaway challenge for a year (at least).

The items I'm giving away are actually some things I've had for a while & realized I'm never gonna use. So, yes, I'm getting you to help clean my life, but I don't want these gifts to end up in a pile of your own junk. That's why you'll have to leave a comment of how you'll use the item if I give it to you. Whoever has the best idea will win...& you have to keep me updated on how your "enjoying the moment" with it goes. And I'll even give a few ideas/assignments of my own. If you have a similar item in your own pile of junk (please don't tell me I'm the only one who has one of those), you can always use that to "enjoy the moment" even if you don't win the contest. And I'd still love to hear all about it. :)

And in case you're wondering how this has anything to do with letters, well, I'll be giving one to the winners along with their prize. Plus, some of the prizes are notecards or journals. Also, doing these activities will hopefully give you something to write about. I imagine they'll create a lot of good "true stories," too.

Here's a peek at what I'll be offering throughout the year.

I know it's not too exciting...you'll really have to be creative, but I think you can do it. And since I don't have that many readers, there's the possibility that one person will win it all. But I'm ok with that. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

South Africa

(Click to Enlarge. Sorry for the blur.)

I was really excited and surprised to receive this from my roomate when she left me for a semester abroad. :)
South African Fun Facts:
Table Mountain alone has over 1,500 species of plants, more than the entire United Kingdom.

South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are tearing down fences between the countries' game parks to create a 13,500 square mile game park, which will become the largest conservation area in the world. It will be bigger than Switzerland, Belgium or Taiwan.

South Africa has a penguin colony, which thrives thanks to the cold Antarctic currents on the west coast near the Cape.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Army Fiance

I'm very thankful for today's guest for so quickly joining me & getting me a letter. It's one that I really enjoyed. I found her through a program called Soldiers' Angels, which she signed up for so that she could write to soldiers who don't get much mail. She's already agreed to send me more of her letters. Here's what she had to say about this one, though:

This letter is written to my fiance Andrew James Rutherford, who is apart of the United States Army. He is currently in Iraq. I write him letters every day. To me, it's one of the best ways for me to keep busy, and time to go by quickly. Soldiers say letters are their only connection with sanity, but same goes for their loved ones back home. I would literally be going insane if there was no way I could tell my soldier how proud I am of him, and how much I love him, and simply just what goes on day-to-day. I do my best in every letter to let him know  I am his for now and forever, no matter the distance, no matter what. I am a Proud Fiance, just waiting for him to come home so I can be Mrs. Andrew Rutherford, Proud Army Wife. Standing behind my hero every step of the way.

Don't forget to participate in the one month anniversary contest. :) I've had 4 people so far. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Squiggly Pens :)

Ps. 57
(the chapter printed inside that notecard)

This letter is from a lady at a nursing home I visited for a couple of years in high school. I love her shaky handwriting; it reminds me of those squiggly pens. :) I wanted to post this today as a reminder that there are people in the world who could be waiting for someone to visit them. You could be that visitor. Or yours could be the letter that they enjoy. Find someone to bless this week. 
They just might bless you back. 

This letter has made me want to start visiting a nursing home again. I've also wanted to visit an orphanage for a while. I so enjoyed playing with the children at the ones I went to in Africa, but I also want to go to one while I'm here in the States. I'd love to hear any of your ideas of how you can bless people this week. Oh, & don't forget to enter the One Month Anniversary Contest.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One Month Anniversary Give-Away

It's hard to believe that I've had this blog for a whole month! As a thanks for reading it, sending your own letters & journal entries, & leaving comments, I want to give someone a teensy-tinsy gift. You have made this so much fun for me, so I hope today's gift gives a little fun back. :)

I created these Stamps (yes, you can really mail letters with them :D) for the blog and thought that today would be a good time to share them with everyone. There will be at least two winners, but you have to earn the prize. :)

First, think of three people you could write a letter to. Second, leave a comment on this post of who you would write & why/a basic idea of what you would say. Next month I'll announce the winners (but I'll let them know ahead of time because, before I actually send the stamps, they must have the letters already written, which is the third thing you have to do if you want to win. Fourth is to give me your address so I can write you & send the stamps. Fifth is to actually mail the letter using the stamp I give you. That's all. :) If the winners are willing to share their letters on the blog, that would be extra special & I'd love them forever, but they don't have to). I might even choose one person randomly to win a couple of the stamps, so be sure to comment even if you don't think your idea is as good as someone else's. :) I might also have to give one to the first brave soul to leave a comment of their ideas (hint, hint).

Be creative! (I guess this could be a sixth step for anyone who really wants to win.) The main winners will be the ones with the best ideas for who & what to write. :) I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. I'm afraid you might make it too hard for me to choose, but that's a good problem to have. Please post your comments within 2 weeks (by July 24). I'll try to put a reminder on each upcoming blogpost.

Oh, & what I have in mind for the prize is the person with the best 3 ideas wins 3 stamps (plus one that I use to send my letter to them) & then the person with 1 or 2 ideas that are my favorite will win that number of stamps. Hope that makes sense.

Also, if you can't leave a comment, send me an email ( mcstarbuck@gmail.com ). I know some people have told me they were having trouble with that. Emailed comments will still count.

Thanks again for reading!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

When I Grow Up

I think Grandma might've given me this journal.

I forgot that I wanted to be a writer then. I've gone through a list of things I wanted to be:
photographer, counselor, missionary, etc.
I LOVED Mrs. Leverette! I really liked all of my teachers. I have good memories of each one. :) I remember Mrs. Leverette telling me to get my book made into a movie because we had watched a movie of a book we read in her class. This is making me miss elementary school. :) It also makes me want to encourage teachers to have one-on-one conversations to encourage their students. I don't remember everything all of my teachers said or did but I remember SOMETHING about each one of them. You never know which moment each child will remember. Ok, now this is making me wanna write memories of each teacher/grade. I started it, but realized it would take a long time. So, I'll save that for a later blog post. :) To give you a sneak peak, I'll go ahead and let you see what I had to say about preschool. :)

Preschool: I remember not wanting to take naps, so one day they didn't make me. I got bored & took a nap anyway. Mrs. Reesy (sp?) did flashcards of the alphabet while sitting in one of our short chairs...I guess to be at my eye-level. I don't know why I have such a clear picture of that. I also remember fried bologna & the whole class saying loudly, "Awooooooooooooooooooo" anytime someone did something bad. What if life was like that? That'd be awesome & terrifying. :D Oh, I also remember dressing up as a clown...everyone wanted me to tell them how I did my trick. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mother/Daughter Journaling

I've never met today's guest, which makes it even more special that she has been so quick to support my blog. I found her through her blog posts about journaling & am glad to have her on my blog to share her love of journaling in a way that will encourage you in your own journaling endeavors.


Hello everyone! First let me start by saying THANK YOU to Megan for inviting me over today to talk about journaling on her wonderful blog. Megan is one of our new friends at Carolina HeartStrings and we come and visit with her often. She is doing such a fantastic job with her blog. We love it!

My name is Tammie (that’s me on the left) and I am one of the bloggers over at Carolina HeartStrings. My partner Alessa and I are Southern girls (transplants) that love where we live, North Carolina and South Carolina and have been friends for over 20 years. We love to cook, eat, travel and have varied individual interests and passions that we love to blog about. Today, I am going to share
with you one of mine. Journaling.

I love that word.  Journaling. It makes me think of a colorfully bound book with page after page of space just waiting to be filled with words.  Sounds so easy doesn’t it?  I think journaling can be the most satisfying or frustrating experience. When I was a little girl we used to call them diaries.  I always had one.  I was always off to a good start, but never kept it up.  As an adult I would see a really pretty journal and I would buy it with all the right intentions.  This time I was going to do it, start a journal and do it on a regular basis.  Once again I did not achieve this until. . . . . . I figured out that for me journaling was not necessarily about keeping a diary of my thoughts, but rather about my life experiences.  I was
thumbing through a woman's magazine and came across this little blurb about a mother and daughter who had begun a journal when the daughter was a little girl.  This journal was strictly subjective. It became a book about whatever each one of them wanted write down about a shared experience or an individual one that they wanted to share with each other.

They would pass it back and forth over the years, sometimes weekly, sometimes once a month or even several months between entries. Each of them recording their memory for the other to read and experience. They had filled a journal up with the life experiences they shared and when the mother died and the daughter was grown up, this journal took on a very special meaning. It became their life
journey together. Saved with words in a journal. Something the daughter could hold, touch, read, and remember. It kept her mother always close. After I read  that blurb I knew that I wanted to do this with my daughter. She had no idea I had planned to start this when I found the "right" journal. Mother's day of that year, 2009 she presented me with the perfect journal as one of my gifts. If that isn't a sign I don't know what is, right? That gift became “our” journal. Now she and I do this together, back and forth as we each find that special event that we have experienced and want to document. Sometimes it is a poem that one of us composed or a letter we have written to the other or a shared event such as a Broadway play or a trip.

My daughter is now 16 and I hope we fill many journals in our life journey together. Filling up page after page with whatever we each chose to put in this journal that holds meaning for each of us in some special way. So someday, some far away day, when I am no longer "here" she has our life together to read, remember, cherish.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taco Bell, a Werewolf, & the President

I've been cleaning & packing this week & have found a few journals I didn't even know I had. They've only been partially written in, but here's one of my favorite entries. I wrote it to a friend (I think she's the one that bought me the journal, so it was a record of funny moments we've shared).
Journal Cover

I don't even remember what we did to make him so mad. He's really a nice guy. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Fun Facts
Origin of Name: from a Hasinai Indian word, "Tejas," which means friends or allies.
Texas was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845 and is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.
Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.
In Texas, it's illegal to put graffiti on someone else's cow.

This letter is from a college friend who is coming to visit me today. :D

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mr. Knightley

I guess this technically isn't a letter yet since nothing's been written in it. But I was too excited not to post it today. I cross-stitched my favorite quote from my favorite Jane Austen novel into this notecard.

If I start a store someday, I believe I'll sell stuff like this. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Proud to be an American :)

She gave this journal to me & is in Guatemala right now (for a year). I miss her so much!

There's nothing like a trip to another country to make you appreciate your own. I remember that 4th of July having new & stronger meaning for me. I was so thankful to be back in America even though I loved Africa so much & want to go back! One thing I didn't expect was to be so excited about the smell of the U. S. :) I kept inhaling deeply to drink it in. :) I hadn't even realized how different Africa (& even England for several hours) smelled compared to the U. S. So I hope you enjoy this day & its smells wherever you are. :) Happy 4th!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This Day 4 Years Ago

Today's entry is from this journal given to me by my grandmother.

Friday, July 1, 2011

August 5, 2007

A friend in high school wrote this poem & gave it, along with a diary, to everyone in the class.