Friday, May 15, 2015


I love maps. I love the feel of paper maps and the intricate way they unfold. I love that I see the lay of the land once they are open. I do use Google Maps when needed for written directions. Unlike my husband Bill though, I've been reluctant to listen to the GPS voice on our car, which directs up to a specific place once we give the Voice the coordinates it needs.

I have changed my mind. A couple of weekends ago, we went to Seattle. I needed to drive to Lynwood, a suburb north of the city. I keyed in the address into the GPS and followed the vocal directions. With only one mishap (the Voice didn't know which parking lot to choose) we, the Voice and I, arrived at our destination. When I got out of the car, I realized I was relaxed and ready for my day's adventure. I didn't have the leftover anxiety that would have been there if I had ventured out on my own, dependent on either a paper map or the written directions from GoogleMaps. My serenity at my arrival was a wake-up call for me to change my mind.

I went to Seattle, Bill in tow, to attend Letters of Joy, the annual calligraphy conference put on by Write On Calligraphers of Edmonds. Of the more than 30 workshops they offered that day, I had to pick three. While Bill went on a photography expedition on a ferry ride around Seattle, I sat in classes with three encouraging, dynamic instructors: Jocelyn Curry, Dewey Henderson, and Kathy Barker. We added flourishes to our Chancery script, wrote letters embellished with calligraphy and drawings, and worked with basic design principles to make a more pleasing piece.

Envelopes sent by Letter of Joy registrants.

At Letters of Joy, I signed up for the Decorated Envelope exchange. I will practice my penmanship throughout the year as I send birthday greetings with a flourish to each person on my list. In return, I will receive a wonderful birthday present from each of them. Here are some samples from previous years:

Calligraphy keeps me connected to hand-made things. The hand-eye-brain concentration helps me focus and weeds out the worries of the day. But I also like the depth of the Internet: I never would have found Letters of Joy without a search on a computer. I like how the old and new can be a source for new adventures and enrichment. I include my acceptance of the Voice that comes with our GPS in our car as a new source for fun and growth.

We haven't taken the step of naming our Voice. Have you?

Have you had a change of mind recently?  Tell me about your experience.

Check out Write On Calligraphers

These three calligraphers do beautiful work:
Kathy Barker
Jocelyn Curry
Dewey Henderson
Her work can be seen at the Letters of Joy page of the Write On Calligraphy site.

Also check out Jean Wilson's blog for more decorated envelopes:


  1. Beautiful blog post! I love my GPS but never thought about naming her. I think I'll call her angelica! Since she has got me to so many amazing places. Great having you in class yesterday. I look forward to checking in on your next blog post!

  2. Julie, Thank you for your thoughts. I had such a great time yesterday at Juicy Soul Retreat with you, Andrea, and the women in the group. Thank you for putting such an event together. And we still haven't named our GPS Voice.


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