Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Love Letter That Wasn't Burned

Who says people don't save love letters forever?

An empty envelope postmarked in 1847 with a unique Alexandria Blue Boy stamp sold for $1 million dollars at auction in 1981. It was exhibited in the Court of Honor at the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition in Philadelphia (held only about once every 10 years).

May Day Taylor, a philatelist, was helping with the preparations and became thoroughly intrigued by the mystery of what that empty envelope contained. She began an extensive search through genealogy and old town records that consumed her interest and time for more than 20 years.

Believe it or not, from two names, Ms. Taylor tracked down the love letter that that was saved in a scrapbook.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why You Should Handwrite a Love Letter

We all love emailing and text messaging: it's easy and fast.

But there's a downside to sending a romantic love letter by email, especially when your relationship is new, or in this case, doesn't even exist yet.

John Dobbie met Kate Winsall at a party but had a bit too much to drink and well, he behaved in less than a gentlemanly manner. To make it up, he decided to send her an email apology. While writing it, he became inspired and wrote a passionate letter of admiration.

She was taken aback. Hey, she just met this guy a few days ago and forwarded the letter to her sister, who then sent it to her friends...and from there, it spread rapidly through the Internet. John began receiving so many phone calls he had to change his home and cell phone numbers.

Read about his touching love letter that circled the world.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Gifts that Keep on Giving

One of my favorite TV shows is the hilarious "My Wife and Kids" with Damon Wayons and Tisha Campbell-Martin. In a 2004 episode, Jay gives Michael an anniversary present he considers very unromantic: she buys a llama for a poor farmer in South America. In retaliation, he buys the dress she wanted and sends it to the wife of the farmer.

Neither are happy about this and resolve to give each other more personal gifts for their anniversary.

But Michael and Jay are in their earlier years of marriage, and when a couple reaches their 50th, many don't want any more "stuff," from each other or anyone else. Janice and Charles Krahenbuhl of Gilroy, CA decided to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in exactly this way. They asked for donations to the Heifer Project and hope that friends and family donate to the Heifer Project and hope to raise $500 so they can provide an entire heifer.

To make this event noteworthy, Dr. Bill Beck, the director and founder of this project, came to their town and spoke to the townspeople. Read about his talk, Love Made Real and the Heifer Project.

There are many local and international organizations that could use a helping hand. Is this a way you and your spouse can share your love with the world?

Friday, July 21, 2006

An Anniversary Gift of Life

This September, Gary and Jackie Greening will celebrate their 20th anniversary and Jackie gave her husband an early anniversary present: one of her kidneys.

In 1987, Gary accidentally discovered that he had only one kidney that was operational and he was closely monitored. Recently, when his remaining kidney was functioning at 12%, he was told by his doctor that he either had to go on dialysis or get a transplant.

Jackie decided to contribute one of hers, so this past June, they underwent surgery together.

Gary said, “When someone tells you they love you, it’s meaningful, but it’s just a word... when someone is going to risk their life for you, that is truly the ultimate gift.”

Read their inspiring story here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Literal Leap of Love

Wanna spice up your marriage? There's a lot of advice about how to do this, but a Malaysian couple, Cheah Sum Beng (64) and his wife Choo Kit Har (61) chose to take their 37th anniversary celebration literally to new heights: they chose to skydive, for the first time in their lives!

Choo Said, "Our children thought we have lost our minds when we told them that we wanted to take part in the event. Only later did they calm down and wished us luck and told us to enjoy ourselves."

Cheah's expressed his attitude towards life: "...one should jump at every opportunity given rather than keep on dreaming about it."

I applaud this couple's faith in life and love. And although most of us wouldn't go to this extreme, doesn't this make you want to go out and do those things that you've never done before as a couple?

Give yourself some space to live your dreams: you only come around once!

Anyone out there with an adventurous anniversary celebration story?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

China's Love Letter Crisis

Where in the world is the lost art of romance?

The Shanghai Popular Book Mall launched a love letter contest in June which ended yesterday. You would think the Chinese, with a population of well over 1 billion, would contribute a tremendous response.

However, the organizers said they had received only about 30 letters one day before the deadline, and that nearly all of them were from women.

Professor Chen Lifei from Shanghai Normal University offered that "Several decades ago, Chinese people seldom spoke out loud about their love due to the society's atmosphere. Their oppressed feelings could only be relieved by means of passionate love letters."

An organizer of the event lamented that you could find love letter forms all over the Internet, where all you had to do was input some basic information, and presto, you could send an "instant" love letter.

Yes, a love letter from the heart takes some time, but it's a lot easier than you think. Because you shouldn't think when you're writing one! Here are some easy love letter writing tips.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What does it take to stay married?

MarriageAdvice.com recently took a poll about what keeps marriages together, that is, the 50% or so of couples that do remain married.

700 people (not couples) responded and here is why they stayed with their spouse:
30% - due to love
30% - because of children
20% - commitment
9% - out of fear
8% - finances
4% - tradition

(That does add up to 101%, but I don't think you should lose any sleep about that.)

Beth Young, Senior Editor, offers advice on going the distance. Much of it has been said over and over again: show your appreciation and love, make date nights, get out without the children. Do you follow this advice?

Marriage and family counselor, Deborah Carver, LMSW, observed that, "people who stay married out of love are working hard at their marriage. A popular catch phrase these days is, 'I’ve fallen out of love.” She advised that this attitude is a cop out because everyone knows that a good marriage takes work; we love the things we take time and energy with."

Why are you staying married? If not for love or commitment, what can you do to improve your relationship?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Uniquely Romantic Anniversary Gift

Do you stress out trying to figure out what anniversary gift to give your spouse? Diamonds, flowers, chocolate and gold: been there, done that.

A mystery buyer at an auction in England gave his wife a lake for their 40th anniversary. He paid £86,000 (nearly $152,000) for an idyllic lake set in the midst of 8 acres of woodland that is surrounded by farms.

Well, you may not have this much credit or available cash, but this could spark some unique ideas for making sure you have your own little spot somewhere to snuggle forever after!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Give a Meaningful Anniversary Gift

As you reach those benchmark wedding anniversary years, especially the 10th, 20th, 25th and beyond, you may not want all those anniversary gifts, no matter how well-meaning. It may also be your second marriage, and quite frankly, you don't need any more "stuff" crammed into your home.

Why not celebrate your love of life together and ask for donations instead to your favorite charity or cause? Gift-givers (family and close friends) will not only be relieved that they don't have to figure out what to give you, but will be happy that their gift helps others as well as celebrating your marriage and love.

Silvia Murray battled breast cancer and was successful, however, she and her husband have lost other family members to this disease. Read how they decided to celebrate their 10th anniversary and help others suffering from cancer.

Kay and Tony Fahey are going to celebrate their 25th anniversary by cycling together for a 750 mile ride through France and Spain to raise money for cerebral palsy, which their 22-year-old son has.

Another idea may be to create a family time capsule, which I got from this incredible story about a grandfather who suffered from cancer and knew he wouldn't live to see his 6-year-old grandson grow up, decided to create one and soon his family was making contributions. Read this extraordinarily touching story of love and memories.

Please post any wonderful anniversary celebration stories (yours or others) about couples who share their love and joy with others!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Happily Celebrate Their 60th Anniversary

It's really no surprise that the former President and his wife are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and are still happily married. But it is a surprise to find out that Carter admits to being "embarrassingly dominant" in the earlier days of his marriage.

However, at one point, Rosalynn put down her foot. During his 1970 governor's race, he asked her to pack his bag for him again. And she told him he could do it himself!

In love after all these years, Carter often gives her flowers and places a rose in a vase at her desk. What's a more simple and romantic dedication to their love than that?

Read about their earlier years of marriage and find out what makes them tick as a couple.

They're a couple who agrees to disagree: and in this case, make it work for them.