Tag Archives: kindness

Day 177: Dave

One of the reasons that so many people knew about my Year of Giving project was a beautifully told CNN story by David Banks. As I write my way through the Year of Letters, I remembered that Dave has sent me a note around the holidays every year since we’ve met. I thought it was time that I returned the handwritten kindness.

Day 177

Day 177-2Hey Dave,

It’s been five years since we’ve met and I think you’ve dropped me a holiday card each year – thanks! I know exactly how many I have sent you. ZERO. Sorry, I’m trying to be better at staying in touch. I wanted to say hello and wish you Patchaya and Tanjira a wonderful summer. I’m not sure how often you are downtown in DC, but let me know, it would be nice to catch up. People still mention the CNN story you did on the Year of Giving – you did a beautiful job telling that story!

Take care brother,

P.S. I saw your quote other day on FB from Albert Camus, “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” So true!

Day 170: Kate from 1canoe2

Look at what I found in my mailbox today!

Look at what I found in my mailbox today!

I recently went to the National Stationery Show. Yes, there is a convention just about stationery and cards and accessories, etc. It was pretty awesome I have to admit. I went because I’ve decided to launch my own greeting card company (Second Story Cards) that will give men and women experiencing homelessness a revenue stream for their artistic talent. Stay tuned over the coming months to learn more about that!

Day 170-2I didn’t really know what to expect – I mean besides writing a letter every day this year, what do I know about the stationery and greeting card business? The answer is not much. My friend Jami from Day 99 told me that I had to go see one of her favorite card companies: 1canoe2. Well, I did and they were awesome. Everyone on their team was really cool and ridiculously talented. Check out their website.

They learned about my Year of Letters project and decided to send me some of their awesome cards to help me out. So it only seemed appropriate today to send them a thank you.

Day 170-3


Thank you so much for the thoughtful care package of 1canoe2 cards – you guys are awesome! I really enjoyed meeting your entire team at NSS last month. The cards will definitely come in handy for the Year of Letters project. And on that note, you just became Day 170! Welcome to the club J

Thanks again. I look forward to staying in touch,

Day 70: Leigh Anne & Sean Tuohy

TuohyBookMost people are familiar with the film The Blind Side – the movie based on Michael Lewis’ book about NFL football tackle Michael Oher and his journey to professional football. Part of that story is him being adopted by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who live in Memphis, TN.

In 2010 Leigh Anne and Sean wrote their own book In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving. One day my brother called me and said that his mother-in-law had mentioned that I was mentioned in the book. I got a copy and sure enough I’m mentioned in regards to my Year of Giving project. Pretty cool.

I’ve always meant to thank them – so here goes. By the way, I just read this week that Oher signed a $2.5 million deal with the Carolina Panthers. I hope he has a great season for them – they could sure use a good blocker on their offensive line.

Day 70

Dear Leigh Anne and Sean,

For several years I’ve meant to send you a note to thank you for your thoughtful mention of my Year of Giving project in your book In a Heartbeat. It was a pleasant surprise to come across.

Your personal story is inspiring and I’m looking forward to reading your forthcoming book. 

All the best to you and thank you for everything you do for your community and for others.


PS. I recall that you own some Taco Bells – I sure hope that you’re offering the Sriracha Quesarito down there!

Sunday Notes & Letters

Thank you to those who have been writing to me – I’ve certainly enjoyed receiving your letters. Keep’em coming.

Today, as I do on Sundays, I’m sharing a letter with you that is not mine. It’s a beautiful story that is as much to do about letters as it is about love and being in the right place at the right time.



Neil Whitaker of High Point, NC had been searching for nearly 30 years for the descendants of a couple he only knew by name, a couple that had written more than 100 love letters dating back to 1916. Whitaker bought a bundle of old letters that this couple had exchanged at an estate sale in the mid eighties for five dollars.

Then in January a chance encounter changed everything. While working at his job at the Hanes-Lineberry Funeral Home in Jamestown, NC, Whitaker was taking down names of the survivors of a woman who had recently passed away. One woman said her name was Nancy Ellen Hobbs. He routinely asked the name of her husband who replied, “Graham Kerr Hobbs III.”

Graham Kerr Hobbs. That was the man’s name in all of those love letters. Whitaker froze for a moment and then started firing questions at Hobbs to determine whether he might be a descendent of the Graham Kerr Hobbs who had penned all those endearing letters more than 100 years ago. Satisfied that he was indeed a direct descendant, Whitaker said, “Well, Mr. Hobbs, I believe I have something for you.”

Kerr (left) and Whitaker | hpenews.com

Kerr (left) and Whitaker | hpenews.com

The bundle was mostly made up of letters between Kerr’s grandparents along with some old family photographs.  He was completely unaware of their existence and not entirely sure how they ended up in an estate sale of a woman who was unknown to him.

Whitaker turned all the letters over to Kerr and his wife; something he wanted to do from the very moment he read the letters and realized that someone out there needed to know the love that this couple shared. “People don’t care about each other like that anymore. That was true love,” he told Jimmy Tomlin of hpenews.com.

Kerr was delighted to receive the letters, but equally touched by Whitaker’s effort. “That’s the part that amazes me and my family more than anything,” he tells Tomlin, “that Neil had the wherewithal, the patience, the decency and the kindness to return the letters to the family after all these years. And then there’s the karma of just being in the right place at the right time. It’s all pretty amazing.”

For Jimmy Tomlin’s full story, please click here.

Day 12: Lieu

Lieu-2Good morning! If you’re waking up in the Northeast it’s probably a bit nasty outside. We’ve got some icy conditions here in DC. Be careful.

Today’s letter is to a wonderful woman who does some work for me from time to time. Originally from Vietnam, she’s lived in the Washington area for almost 40 years. She is tiny, probably about 5 feet tall, but her heart is enormous. She’s always doing small acts of kindness – like last week she brought me the most delicious blueberry muffins and some oranges along with a handwritten note. Thank you Lieu!



Thank you so much for the delicious blueberry muffins and clementine oranges – you are so thoughtful. Please know how much I appreciate you and the kind, cheerful manner in which you always carry yourself. I’m always happier after seeing you or speaking with you on the phone.

With much gratitude,