Resources for Showing Heartfelt Appreciation Through Letters and More
InkExpress.co.uk – textured fine-art paper (A4, no envelopes) for handwritten letters.
Minted – a site where independent artists display their talent through beautifully designed stationery.
ThePaperSeller.com – specialty scrapbooking papers and materials.
WilliamArthur.com – the signature of fine stationery.
Folders, Binders, & Bindery Services
Baudville.com – a plethora of beautiful certificate/letter folders, themed, embossed, or unembossed--you name it! A lovely tri-fold holder for presenting your single-page letter of appreciation. Sold in multiples of 25 of the same design, so group order is suggested.
OnePagePress.com – a unique way to bind your one- to four-page letter in a way that frames the pages but looks like a book; it can be propped open for display or stored on a bookshelf.
Temi.com – an automated transcription service that many letter writers use as a dictation tool to speed up the writing process and give themselves a quick rough draft. That’s a big time saver when the average person speaks somewhere between 125 and 150 words per minute but types at only about half that speed, at best. Temi also has a mobile app for Android and iOS you can use to record unlimited amounts of audio for free and pay only $0.10 per minute to convert recorded audio into an interactive text transcript.
iStockphoto.com – affordable photos, illustrations, flash, video, and audio.
GettyImages.com – provider of digital media worldwide, creating and distributing a range of assets that help communicators around the globe tell their stories.
CanStockPhoto.com – affordable professional stock images; photos, EPS vector illustrations, clip art, and more.
Fotosearch Stock Photography – search through millions of royalty-free clip-art pictures, illustrations, stock video clips, and more, from over 120 stock images vendors worldwide.
Go Graph Stock Images – millions of affordable royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, vector clip art, and royalty-free footage clips. Can be viewed free or purchased for any project.
Audio-Recording Services & Software
Audacity.sourceforge.net – free, cross-platform sound-editing software.
Dragon Speech Recognition Software – use your voice to create and edit documents or emails, and more. Naturally Speaking is a voice-recognition software that will translate your spoken words into written text. Visit http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm.
FreeConferenceCalling.com – free conference calling between at least two parties using the telephone (land line for better sound quality) or computer. Idea: Speak your letter or story to the other party (who remains silent) and get a free digital recording of it afterwards.
Temi.com – affordable automated transcription of uploaded sound or video files in 5 minutes. Billed by the audio minute and editable online before downloading the transcribed MS Word document.
Scrapbooking Software & Supplies
SmileBox.com – personalized scrapbooking, e-cards, slideshows, and more; free digital scrapbooking solutions.
Shutterfly.com – create something amazing with your pictures and share them on cards and stationery. Free personalized digital picture storage and websites.
ThePaperSeller.com – specialty scrapbooking papers and materials.
More Ways to Share Love, Appreciation, and Legacy
AdoptaPlatoon Soldier Support Effort – a volunteer-based nonprofit organization “dedicated to serving deployed United States Service Men and Women ensuring that they are not forgotten by a grateful nation.” Site also includes helpful advice on sending care packages.
Girls Love Mail – a handwritten letter has the special power to heal. Girls Love Mail collects your hand-written letters of encouragement, bundles them, and sends them, via the caring staff at cancer centers, to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Every letter is a gift from you to a woman going through a difficult time.
Heifer International – donate to give farm animals to needy individuals in the U.S. and third world countries so they can become self-sustaining, prosper, and improve their communities.
Legacy Arts is a free digital magazine that encourages readers each issue with feature articles about how to create a legacy of lasting impact, archive and document family heritage and personal historical milestones, and pass on assets of merit, including values and beliefs, traditions, wisdom, talents and skills, and financial intelligence. Brought to you by Laura A. Roser, founder and CEO of Paragon Road (paragonroad.com).
Let Love Surprise You – change the world by spreading love: Write letters of love and support to strangers, and leave them in sealed envelopes where they will be found and can make a positive difference.
Military Funerals and Full Honors – details regarding eligibility requirements and components. Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_funeral#Eligibility
MyLoveSign.com – purchase LoVE buttons, signs, plaques, posters, and wearables and accessories to wear and share, while supporting worthy causes.
NapkinNotesDad.com – The Napkin Notes Dad offers an inspirational blog and products from and about a devoted dad, W. Garth Callaghan, who has cancer and who's been packing his teenage daughter's lunch each day for years. Each day with Emma's lunch he includes an inspirational quote or personal words of wisdom, written on a napkin. His motto and suggestion to other parents: Pack. Write. Connect. He's written a book, too: Napkin Notes: Make Lunch Meaningful, Life Will Follow.
The Legacy Project – create your life, connect with others, change the world. The Legacy Project is a big-picture learning project that works with children, youth, adults, and elders through three banner programs: LifeDreams, Across Generations, and Our World.
The World Needs More Love Letters – a global love-letter writing organization that harnesses the power behind social media to write and mail love letters to strangers across the globe
Fun gratitude project for kids – children can decorate the outside of their own "A Whole Bag of Thanks!" and then fill it with magazine cutouts, photos, hand-drawn/colored pictures, and/or colorful captions representing who or what the child is grateful for. They can keep adding these gratitude symbols to their bag throughout their childhood and even throughout adulthood. Kids will enjoy showing and describing the contents to their friends or parents. At some point, the items could be placed in a scrapbook as a new project, if they wish, as a more lasting legacy.
Books, Videos, and Other Products Related to Gratitude and Legacy
All My Best endorses these quality items:
Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Simon & Schuster, reprint edition 2010). ISBN-10: 1439170401. ISBN-13: 9781439170403. (Originally published in hardcover in 1999.) In this inspiring novel, 12-year-old Trevor McKinney puts into action a “Think Globally, Act Locally” idea that bears unexpected fruit. The book has been made into an engaging movie available on DVD.
The Forever Letter: Writing What We Believe for Those We Love by Rabbi Elana Zaiman (ISBN 978-0738752884). Inspired by the medieval tradition of the ethical will, forever letters are heartfelt letters we write to the people who matter to us with the hope that, even if our letters aren’t kept forever, the wisdom and love that we share will be. Well researched and eminently readable, this book contains excellent advice on writing your own forever letter. Available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the publisher.
Napkin Notes: Make Lunch Meaningful, Life Will Follow by W. Garth Callaghan (ISBN 9780062363442). Callaghan is a dad with cancer who's been packing his teenage daughter's lunch each day for years. Each day with Emma's lunch he includes an inspirational quote or personal words of wisdom, written on a napkin. Inspiring thought, inspiring book, inspiring dad!
Sacred Living, Sacred Dying: A Guide to Embracing Life and Death (2nd ed) by Sharon Lund, DD (San Diego, CA: Sacred Life Publishers, http://www.SacredLife.com, 2009, ISBN 9780982233115). Two of this book’s three major sections (Legacy of Love, and Saying Goodbye) contain powerful ideas related to appreciation.
Stunned by Grief Journal by Judy Brizendine, author of Stunned by Grief: Remapping Your Life When Loss Changes Everything (Lake Forest, CA: BennettKnepp Publishing, ISBN 9780983168805). “An interactive recovery tool specially tailored in content and design to meet the unique needs and constraints of someone who is grieving.” This journal can be a wonderful gift to the griever. Grievers and others may also sign up to receive the complimentary Stunned by Grief e-newsletter at http://stunnedbygrief.com.
OrientalTrading.com offers a wide variety of children's Thanksgiving-themed projects. With a little imagination, you can adapt these project ideas to help children focus on gratitude throughout the year.
Your Meaning Legacy: How to Cultivate & Pass On Non-Financial Assets by Laura A. Roser (Golden Legacy Press, 2017 ISBN 9780999779217). Estate planning traditionally focuses on your financial assets--your stuff. But what about your other assets? Such as your wisdom, values, beliefs, and experiences. These are essential to pass on as well. In Your Meaning Legacy, non-financial estate planning expert Laura A. Roser, founder and CEO of Paragon Road (paragonroad.com), reveals a step-by-step approach to cultivating, capturing, and passing on what matters most.
Creating Family Archives: A Step-by-Step Guide to Saving Your Memories for Future Generations by Margot Note (Society of American Archivists, 2019, ISBN 9781945246241). Got an attic overflowing with boxes of family photos and irreplaceable documents? A computer overloaded with files you don’t want to lose and a phone with no more storage? The task of organizing and saving all these important things can seem overwhelming. Creating Family Archives is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to organizing and preserving your family memories and documents. Available through Amazon and archivists.org.