Tuesday, April 13, 2021

DoodleBugs πŸ› πŸ•· 🐞


 Spring has sprung! And while that brings a delightful warming of temperatures, budding of trees and blooming of flowers in my neck of the woods, it also means that the creepy-crawlies are waking up. πŸ˜’ 




 I understand that the ecosystem is a finely balanced organization with everything playing a vital role, but I prefer to keep my life and the bugs’ lives separate. My feelings were confirmed when I was recently joined in the shower by a ladybug!! 🐞 😳 (Excuse me, ma’am, but this shower is occupied!) 



Showering with bugs does not inspire me, but bug postage stamps? You bet!! Over the years the USPS has released some fantastic entomological postage stamps. 





When the MurphyBros were young lads I often entertained them during long waiting times (doctor’s offices, restaurants, flights, road trips, etc.) with doodles. I practiced a few boy-pleasing doodles that were sure to entertain my male offspring...trucks, superheroes, dinosaurs, race cars and BUGS!! 



The ladybug shower incident must have jogged my memory and I remembered the bug doodles I used to draw. AH HA! Inspiration!! πŸ’‘ This month for my Mrs. Murphy’s Mailbox outgoing post, I broke out the old doodling skills!! I doodled some bees on a letter for one of my postal pals. (She and her husband are beekeepers, so it seemed most appropriate.) 🐝 




A doodled spider was the focus of another letter in which I told my penpal some spider stories from my personal life, 😱 a few of my favorite spider movies and, of course, spider-themed books. (There really are quite a few of them.) πŸ€” πŸ•· πŸ“š 




Finally I sent some book post to a young penpal, James and the Giant Peach. One of my all time favorites and simply loaded with fabulous bug characters!! 




Don’t be bugged by life’s unwelcome circumstances.  Turn them into postal inspiration!! 





Go postal, people!! 

XOXO

Mrs. Murphy



Monday, March 29, 2021

Today Is Monday

 I often struggle with writer’s block, letter writer’s block, that is. I love to send letters to my pen pals but sometimes I will write a letter, read it over and think... “This is so lame.” πŸ˜’ πŸ™„  




I want my letter to be clever, funny, encouraging...in other words...a good letter. So what is a good pen pal to do? One never knows when or from where inspiration will strike! 




When the MurphyBros were little one of our favorite author/illustrators was Eric Carle. His Today is Monday book was a favorite! ☺️ It was my inspiration for a sort of diary letter. For a week I wrote a few sentences in a notebook starting with the line, “Today is...” I just wrote down whatever stuck in my mind about the day... something I noticed in nature, something that brought a smile to my face, the work I did, the Bible passage I’m meditating on, the books I read, the music I listened to and played on the piano and even what I ate for dinner! (Thanks for the idea, Eric!)  




I was also inspired by a game we used to play around the dinner table, “High/Low.” We would all go around the table and tell the others what our high point and low point of the day was. It was always interesting and got our dinner conversation going! Even the time when one of those Murphy Men, who shall remain nameless, proclaimed their low point was right then, participating in the game of High/Low. πŸ™„ Boys! πŸ˜‰ I wrote down my high and my low from the day in my notebook, too. 




At the end of the week I wrote a calendar style letter with little illustrations added in for fun! It may not have been the most exciting letter but I am always amazed that when I start writing about one thing more thoughts come. πŸ€” 





So seize the day and go postal, my postal pals! Just remember to write it all down for inspiration later! 

XOXO, 

Mrs. Murphy 




Wednesday, March 17, 2021

“Music Is Love In Search Of A Word”




Greetings, postal pals! I bring you tidings of great joy!! The Murphy family piano has been tuned and repaired!! The house is alive with the sound of music again! πŸ₯° 🎢 Ok, perhaps this news is not so amazing to you 😏 but I am extremely excited to have our piano in tip top shape!




The piano is an amazing instrument that has been proven to bring great benefits to those that play. I have read of many physical and mental improvements including the sharpening of fine motor skills and the improvement of hand-eye coordination. Other studies have shown that piano lessons for older adults have a significant impact on increased levels of human growth hormone, which slows the adverse effects of aging. Playing the piano is also proven to reduce anxiety, heart and respiratory rates, lower blood pressure and increase the immune response. Sign me up for all of these benefits! πŸ™‹πŸΌ‍♀️




Science also tells us that piano play boosts cognitive and intellectual abilities, which means it makes you smarter!! It has been purported that playing the piano improves memory...especially one’s verbal memory. πŸ€” I’m forever searching for the perfect word...perhaps I need more practice?




During this strange time of the pandemic my mental health truly has been aided when I play the piano. According to the research I read, people who make music experience less anxiety, loneliness and depression. Playing the piano has also been shown to be a great way to relieve stress. That has definitely been my experience. 




For over 300 years the piano has been a staple of the home, bringing together families and friends with the power of music. One of my favorite Murphy Family memories is when we all gathered around the piano and sang my favorite hymn. πŸ₯° Aww...I really love those people...and the piano 🎹 




I thought I would write a thank you note to the piano tuner for making the music in my house beautiful once again! I also might send copies of some of my favorite hymns to some special hymn-appreciating penpals. πŸŽΆπŸ“¬


Won’t you join me in sending some musical mail this March?!


XOXO,

Mrs. Murphy  

Monday, March 8, 2021

Snailmail...The Next Best Thing To Being There

 



February may have been letter month but March is full of all kinds of days and reasons to send some snailmail!! It may be a little ironic, but I thought I would send some snailmail in honor of Alexander Graham Bell, the father of the telephone.





Alexander was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847. He, of course, is best known as the inventor of the telephone but he first became interested in the science of sound because he wanted to help deaf people. Both his mother and his wife were deaf. His experiments in sound eventually led to the ability to send the sound of a voice through a wire! 






It was a competitive time in the invention world and loads of other people were all working on the idea of the telephone. Alexander had to race to the patent office to be the first. On March 7, 1876 Alexander applied for and received the patent for the telephone. Three days later, March 10, 1876, Bell transmitted the first recognizable words over a telephone line. What the exact phrase was is hotly debated by historians. According to one popular story, while his assistant was working in another room, Mr. Bell spilled battery acid on his clothes and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I need you.” Much to their surprise, the words carried over the telephone wire into the next room! 




Another important March day for Alexander was March 27, 1884, on that day the final coil of copper wire was stretched into place and the first phone call was made between New York and Boston.  The success of that first phone call opened the eyes of many to the idea that the telephone was more than a form of local communication – it could connect people across the country. I doubt even Alexander could have imagined what his telephone would be like in the year 2021!! 🀯 






Mr. Bell invented many other things but I was fascinated by an interesting bit of history that Mr. Murphy learned from Candice Millard’s biography of President James Garfield’s life and assassination, Destiny of the Republic. President Garfield was shot by crazed gunman, Charles Guiteau on July 2, 1881, but he did not die until September 19, 1881. The president’s doctors could not locate the bullet so Mr. Bell went on a frantic dash to invent something to help them. He ended up developing an early version of the metal detector! 






Alexander has been honored on a US postage stamp, as has his amazing invention. 






Phones definitely have connected us in amazing ways (thanks, Alec!), but I still really love a good letter. πŸ₯°πŸ“¬πŸŒ πŸ’Œ






So make a call and write a letter!!


XOXO,

Mrs. Murphy



 “A letter is always better than a phone call. People write things in letters they would never say in person. They permit themselves to write down feelings and observations using emotional syntax far more intimate and powerful than speech will allow.” Alice Steinbach





Friday, February 26, 2021

A Rose By Any Other Name

 

Portrait of Rembrandt’s brother Rubens Peale


As I was looking through my postage stamps and pondering ideas for February post, I came across an interesting stamp featuring the art of Rembrandt Peale. I was quite interested in his unique name. How did an American artist born February 22, 1778 come by such an appropriate name? I wondered did he change his name himself after he became an artist or did he decide to live up to his artistic name and pursue art?


Rembrandt Peale’s Washington


My research revealed that Rembrandt’s father, famed Revolutionary War painter Charles Wilson Peale, named many of his children after famous artists. Rembrandt’s siblings included Raphaelle Peale, Rubens Peale, Titian Peale, Angelica Kauffman Peale and Sophonisaba Angusciola Peale to name a few of the Peale clan named after artists!! Charles taught all of the children how to draw and paint from an early age. How interesting to me that these Peale offspring went on to become artists in their own right. Rembrandt in particular became a famous portrait artist and painted over 600 paintings. Some of his subjects included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, James Monroe and John Marshall. 



All of this interesting discovery got me interested in the power of a name. Names are deeply important to us. As a labor and delivery nurse I often bear witness to the careful deliberations of parents as they choose a  name for their fresh offspring. As a witness to birth over the past 30 years I have noticed there are definitely trends and fashion in names. 




Names have a way of rooting us to our history and establishing our identity. But does it really matter? Do we become what we’re called or are we called what we already are? I am always fascinated by the symbolic importance of the names in the Bible. It is full of names and name changes that are wrought with meaning. 





The poem, Each Man Has A Name by the Jewish poet Zelda, is beautiful and thought provoking...


Each of us has a name given by God 

And given by our parents. 

Each of us has a name given by our stature 

And our smile and given by what we wear. 

Each of us has a name given by the stars 

And given by our neighbors. 

Each of us has a name given by our sins 

And given by our longing.

Each of us has a name given by our enemies

And given by our love.

Each of us has a name given by our celebrations

And given by our work. 

Each of us has a name given by the seasons

And given by our blindness.

Each of us has a name given by the sea

And given by our death. 


I thought of sending some snailmail in celebration of names. We all have interesting stories about why we were given our names or why we chose our children’s names. Do you have any interesting names in your family tree? Why not share the story with your pen pal? I’m sure it would make quite an interesting letter!!




Did you know I have a relative called Napoleon Bonaparte Whitley in my family tree? I wonder how tall he was? πŸ€”


Go postal, people! 

XOXO,

Mrs. Murphy

Friday, February 19, 2021

And I Quote...Snailmail Rocks!

 



Our letters, unless you write radically different from me, contain, by definition, pretty much all our own words. But I’ve discovered that most of my fellow snailmail enthusiasts are often logophiles (word lovers), philologos (lovers of words) or logomaniacs (obsessively interested in words)! πŸ™‹πŸΌ‍♀️ πŸ˜‰ 


“Well done is better than well said.” Benjamin Franklin

I decided that an interesting idea for a letter might be to write a letter using other people’s words as much as possible!πŸ€”πŸ’‘ These can be quotes that are famous and inspiring and something you read in a book...or it can be something your first grade teacher said to you that changed your life! Or devastated it. πŸ˜•


“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong

A few things I’ve shared with and asked of some of my pen friends include:

What is your favorite line in your favorite book?


“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” Flannery O’Connor


What are your ten favorite quotes about love?

“I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.” E.E. Cummings



What are your five favorite poems? 


“Only by acceptance of the past will you alter its meaning.” T.S. Eliot



What is the most important thing anyone ever told you?


“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein



What word always makes you think of someone who has passed away? 





Take these bits of other people's words and turn them into a interesting letter for a fellow logophile penpal! Words are powerful! Those that have shaped our lives are an interesting part of our individual life stories. Words can encourage and strengthen others, heal wounded hearts and bring delight! So share some today! 


Go postal, people! It’s a beautiful thing!

XOXO,
Mrs. Murphy 


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Going Parcel Post




Mrs. Murphy’s Mailbox is a snailmail blog that celebrates sending things through the post, obviously, but I simply cannot condone what Mr. and Mrs. Pierstorff sent through the mail on February 19, 1914!! 🀨

The Pierstorff’s took advantage of the affordable, recently initiated Parcel Post service and sent their daughter, Charlotte May, through the mail to her grandmother’s house!! 😳



Five-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff was sent by her parents from Grangeville, Idaho, to her grandparents 73 miles away.  They placed 53¢ in stamps on her coat and handed her over to the postal worker on the railway mail train, who also happened to be her relative.  Despite her safe delivery to her grandmother’s doorstep, once Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson heard her story, he officially prohibited postal workers from accepting humans to be mailed. Even after this, some people still attempted to mail children, but postmasters rejected their applications claiming they couldn’t be classified as “harmless live animals.” πŸ˜‚ 




You can read about Charlotte May’s adventure via the postal service in the book, Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnel and Ted Rand. 




February is Letter Month and I am all in favor of sending fun and interesting mail! In this time of difficult travel it would be fun if we could simply mail ourselves to visit our far away friends and penpals. Perhaps we can... πŸ€” See the adventures of The Mailable Mrs. Murphy here: Be A (Paper) Doll Send Fun Mail


Go postal, people! (But don’t be the post!)

XOXO

Mrs. Murphy