Happiness at Home, Life Reflections
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Thankful Thursday #2 of 8


I remember when I was really young… I had to walk to school miles uphill both ways barefoot…in the snow.  I used a heavy mustard yellow phone that plugged into the wall, I rolled our car windows up with a crank, and if I wanted to communicate with someone in writing–there was only one way—the mail, and I don’t mean e-mail.

That’s shocking, I know.

Thankful Thursday this week is using the good old United States Postal Service.

I wrote a post on Veterans Day, 11-11, if you forgot:) and promised addresses for our Troops.  The best thing they get when far away from home are letters and cards.  I know this for a fact.  I believe the word I’ve heard is “cherish”.

But first did you know that by showing gratitude, according to Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude (check him out at www.greatergood.berkeley.edu) that all sorts of amazing things happen?

A study was done of more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

All you have to do is pick up a pen, some paper and a stamp:

Here are 3 Resources to direct your efforts:


Operation Gratitude–www.operationgratitude.com gives you options as to who you can write to–deployed service members, wounded warriors, or veterans of previous conflicts.  In addition, this site has some responses from veterans who have received these letters–which is very gratifying.

From Operation Gratitude:

Our troops tell us the most cherished items in the packages are the personal letters of appreciation from Americans. We welcome as many letters as you can provide. We accept letters year-round.
It will only take 5 minutes out of your day to write a letter, but it will bring joy to our troops that will last a lifetime.

Keep your message upbeat and positive– share a little bit of yourself. Ask questions; however, do not discuss death or killing. Avoid politics completely and religious in excess. It is all about appreciation and respect. Ask yourself: Will this letter bring a smile to someones face?

-Sample salutations: Dear Hero, Dear Brave One
-Include your own mail or email so recipients can choose to reply
STUDENTS: Use first name only plus teacher’s name/classroom and school address
TEACHERS: Use your name and contact information on students letters
-No stamps or envelopes are needed
-Hand Written letters or cards are most appreciated
-No glitter please
-All letters will be screened – please do not seal envelopes.
-Send multiple letters together in one large mailing envelope or box.
-If you do not receive a reply from a Service Member, do not be discouraged. Remember: Our troops are busy!

America owes our Military Veterans an eternal debt of gratitude. Now is your chance to thank those courageous Veterans who served our nation in past military conflicts. Here is what you can do:

A. Send us the name and Address of a Veteran
If you know a Veteran who would like to receive a Letter of Gratitude, please provide the name of the Veteran, regular mailing address (we want them to receive the letter in their physical mailbox at home), and specify in which war(s) they served to. Email the information to Penny Alfonso at: OpGratVolunteer1@yahoo.com

B. Write a Letter of Gratitude to a Veteran
It is long overdue, but never too late. Write a Letter of Gratitude to a Veteran thanking them for all they did for our country.

1. Please make sure your letters will fit in a standard size envelope; please avoid using greeting cards as they will not fit.
2. Include your own name and address in the body of the letter.
3. Do not write about politics, religion, death or killing.
4. Please do not use glitter.
5. This is strictly a letter-writing effort to thank Veterans; please do not send any care package items for Veterans.
6. All letters will be screened.
7. Send multiple letters together in one large mailing envelope or box.

Please send as many letters (or copies with original signature) as you would like by regular mail only to:
Thank a Veteran
c/o Penny Alfonso
1970 Rangeview Drive
Glendale, CA 91201

Thank you for your kind support of all our men and women of the U.S. Military –past and present!


We send special packages to Wounded service members who are recovering in Military hospitals and/or Wounded Warrior Transition Units.  If you would like to send letters specifically for our wounded heroes, please send them in a separate envelope marked: Wounded Warriors.

Operation Gratitude
17330 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91406

(Please send Wounded Warrior letters separately and mark as such)


If you want to know what is going on with military families check out Blue Star Families–www.bluestarfam.org.  They do an AMAZING job of supporting, connecting and empowering military families.  Blue Star Families has a letter writing program called:   Blue Star Families Operation Appreciation.  You can click on this link to learn more about it or cut and paste the following link into your browser:



Military.com  Support Our Troops

Looking for ways to support and honor U.S. military servicemembers and veterans who protect our security and freedom? In years past, you could wrap up a care package and mail it to “Any Service Member” for the holidays, but with increased mail restrictions, the Pentagon is asking people to help through financial contributions, letter-writing and e-mail, purchasing authorized pre-made care packages, or volunteering time through non-profits.

Military.com links to programs that offer aid to our military — everything from care packages to emergency services to military family support.  They have a wonderful list full of ideas and links.

Three great ways to show support to our military.  And by sharing a little gratitude you’ll get a little boost of happiness with it.  Share this post with others and spread thanks.



1 Comment

  1. Phyllis says

    This was inspiring along with a lot of exact things people can do, and even the addresses. What more can someone ask for, in order to be pushed into action. This post really needs to be sent to others.

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