Something I absolutely love is snail mail. I have had penpals most of my life and have always loved to put together boxes full of treats and surprises for loved ones.
Many years ago (think: 2012) I was a health-blogger called Mama's Got a Big Belly. LOL. I wish I was joking. But, it's a thing and despite it being a little cringe, it was something I did and was relavtively passionate about during a season in my life. I was sponsored by Earth Balance, Bob's Red Mill, Chobani, Mama Chia, and a bunch of other really neat companies. I had just given birth to my second child, and chronicled my weight-loss journey and shared recipes and other health-related tips and also gave away a lot of free food. It was awesome. It was also before the market was super saturated with that stuff and when Instagram was only a picture platform. I remember it fondly, but, my oldest daughter refers to 7 years ago already as "the olden times". So, yes, I was a food-blogger in the olden times.
I ran a penapl exchange program called Fit Friends that married my love of snail mail with my passion for getting in shape. It was a lot of work organizing it all but GOSH! It was fun! People would send such thoughtful things back and forth and really motivate one another. We made a little community. But, I coiuldn't keep up with it for too long because our family rapidly went through a slew of changes and then we moved to Iowa. I got pregnant again. And after my third child was born, I just couldn't keep up with the blogging and had focused a lot more on church and small group ministry in my new city in Iowa.
There was another health blogger, The Lean Green Been, who also ran an amazing program called Foodie Penpals. Every month, a bunch of us would get assigned a penpal, we'd send them a box full of awesome food-related things and then we would post about it on our blogs. I was exposed to new foods and teas, recipes, etc. I remember I recieved my first ever Quest Bar via a foodie penpal. They were so hard to find back then, as they were brand new. Now you can get them at any gas station or grocery store! On top of that, there are people I met via "penpals" that I'm still in touch with to this day. Her program ran for much longer. The Lean Green Bean eventually discontinued the program (it was a lot of work, kind of a headache when a penpal would flake, and she, too, became a mother and found her direction had changed.)
Wow. I feel like I"m giving too details that are slightly important contextually speaking but honestly aren't really that important. I seem to do that a lot. Ha. OKAY SO WHAT DOES ALL OF THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE TITLE OF THIS POST?!
I've been inspired to create Mystic Penpals: a penpal exchange group for US Residents that want to send beautiful things to divine lovers around the country! You can totally send food and teas, but also jewelry or pressed flowers, photographs, paintings, poems etc etc etc.
And the first boxes will be going out in February, just in time for Valentine's Day! How romantic!
This first round of Mystic Penpals will be a bit of a test round. I'm not sure how many people will sign-up and what the time dedication to sorting penpals and checking social media profiles, etc will look like. I did not vet participants back in my "Fit Friend" days but I feel like the times have changed a bit now that the online community is so much bigger than it was in 2012. Blogger felt safer. Anyone who used that platform knows what I mean. (RIP Blogger. I miss you)
Okay, getting distracted again! SO----I'm excited. And I hope you are, too!
I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't a little nervous. I've been wanting to do this for sometime, but had worried about the logisitcs, the privacy component and what happens if someone flakes out on their penpal? But, with all potential Mystic Penpals being 18 years or older, I recognize we are adults consenting to the exchange and I'm going to keep putting up loving vibes that it will all work out!
I'm hoping that on February 26th, people will share the contents of their boxes and we can see all the neat stuff we sent each other. And then on March 1st, if all goes well, I'll open up the second round and so on and so forth!
So, sign up! Tell your friends! And let's send eachother beautiful treasures!
You can learn more about Mystic Penpals Here.