"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Writing to Sponsored Children: Organizational Ideas

I am fully aware that I am writing this after taking an entire week (well, technically more than a week, because I spent some time one night labeling . . . and then I worked on a birthday card . . .) compiling two large envelopes to send to children through Compassion.

So, I am not about to make any sort of claim that, because this works for me, it's going to work for you.

It doesn't even work for me.

(What would probably work better is to not be me, because I have a tendency to want to send lots of little trinkets and presents with my letters, and collect them in large piles until I get a letter mailed off . . . and write extremely long letters.)

But, it's taken me this long to get this far,

And it really does help me to get this done faster.

(Just imagine how long it took me before I discovered a way to get this done faster.)

So, for anyone who has the same difficulties I do and is interested in how I organize,

Here's what I do:

Last winter, I purchased a 13-pocket expanding file folder.

In the first pocket, I have return address labels and envelopes.

(This would also be a good place to put stamps, but my letters are rarely light enough to send through the regular mail.)

The folder also has a front pocket meant for a CD.

In this I keep a shopping-list sized paper

With reminders of my sponsor number,

My children's numbers,

Important holidays,


And days that my sponsored/correspondent children celebrate.

(This means that I don't have to be on the computer looking that information up as I'm writing letters!)

With twelve pockets remaining inside,

There is one for each month of the year.

I labeled these with the main, easy-to-read month being the month my children should receive their letters

And the smaller month to the side being the month I should send it.

Inside of the pockets for each month, I put



Coloring pages,

Sudoku puzzles,




Books (free PDFs are awesome!)

Inspirational cards,

Birthday cards,

And anything else I might find that I want to send to my sponsored child.

One of the major advantages I've found to having a system like this is that I can just slip in items at any time.

When I'm at the store around Christmastime, I can pick up some Christmas stickers, slide them in the appropriate pocket, and they're all ready to be sent a couple months before the next Christmas.  Then my sponsored children can get their Christmas stickers on Christmas rather than after Christmas.  (Of course, after Christmas would be perfectly fine, but OCD people like me might prefer this method.)

When there's a cute gratitude printable available around Thanksgiving, I have something to stick in next Thanksgiving's letter that will help as I tell my sponsored child about the holiday.

When I'm surfing the web and find something that would be so cute, but I just wrote a letter two days ago and I'm sure that I will lose it in the mass of papers around our house before I get around to writing again . . .

Well, you get the picture.  That's the main reason I use this kind of system.

I recently came to the realization that taking the time to pull everything out of one pocket and sort it into two piles for two children adds to the amount of time it takes me to get letter-writing accomplished.  It also makes little sense since I usually know when I print things what I'm sending to whom.

Therefore, I purchased a second folder.

I now have one for each child.

This should mean that, in the future, when I have loaded my folders with goodies, I will still be able to close my folders!  (This was a problem last year after I fit goodies for two people for an entire year into just one folder.)

I used the same process for this folder that I used for the previous.

I labeled the months in the same way.

(I apologize for my terrible handwriting.  This is why I use a keyboard.)

I stuck the labels on

And I moved all of one intended recipient's goodies to that folder.

Not too difficult, and all I have to do later is pull everything out,

Write numbers on it,

Writ a letter,

And stick it all in an envelope.

This leads me to two other things I've found helpful:

1.  Sticking sticky notes with the intended recipient's name on the envelope.  This was a huge revelation for me because it takes me a couple of days to get the letters themselves written vs. a couple of hours to get things numbered.

2.  Numbering items before putting them in the folder.  This takes a lot of time while I'm doing it, but I obviously have some time, since I'm working on it anyway.  Later I might not have so much time available.  It helps, if printing things from the computer, to make the numbers part of the document being printed (I did this with the book - it took half an hour, but much shorter than it would've taken by hand!).  If there's anything else normally done to the items before mailing, I try to do it before sticking them in the folder (i.e. removing tassels from bookmarks, writing captions on photos, etc.).

Another thing I find helpful is getting a lot of pictures printed at once.  It isn't easy for me to make time to upload the photos, send them to the store, and pick them up.  Occasionally, there are also 50% off sales on large enough orders.  So, if I print them all at once, I save myself time, trips to the store, and money.  I can easily print lots of pictures, add sponsor & child numbers to all of them, label them all, split them up into groups of 5-8 photos per month, and be set for awhile.  (This is especially helpful to me during school months.)

And there it is!  My photos, Christmas stickers, stationery, printables, and other papers almost all ready to be mailed!  Now, if I could just take less time writing my letters . . .

In spite of the temporary topic change, I do have some reasons to share!

It's been so good to get back to counting these!!!

Reasons 4347-4387 today,

Still seeking to know who He is 

Because He is everything:
  1. He has chosen Zion (Psalm 132:13)
  2. He has desired Zion for His dwelling (Psalm 132:13)
  3. He will rest in Zion for ever and ever (Psalm 132:14)
  4. He sit enthroned in Zion (Psalm 132:14)
  5. He sit enthroned in Zion, for He has desired it (Psalm 132:14)
  6. He will bless Zion with abundant provisions (Psalm 132:15)
  7. He will satisfy the poor of Zion with food (Psalm 132:15)
  8. He will clothe the priests of Zion with salvation (Psalm 132:16)
  9. In Zion He will make a horn grow for David (Psalm 132:17)
  10. In Zion He will set up a lamp for His anointed one (Psalm 132:17)
  11. He will clothe His enemies with shame (Psalm 132:18)
  12. The head of His anointed one will be adorned with a radiant crown (Psalm 132:18)
  13. He bestows His blessing on Mount Zion (Psalm 133:3)
  14. He bestows His blessing on Mount Zion, even life forevermore (Psalm 133:3)
  15. He has chosen Jacob to be His own (Psalm 135:4)
  16. He has chosen Israel to be His treasured possession (Psalm 135:4)
  17. He is greater than all gods (Psalm 135:5)
  18. He does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth (Psalm 135:6)
  19. He does whatever pleases Him, in the seas and all their depths (Psalm 135:6)
  20. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth (Psalm 135:7)
  21. He sends lightning with the rain (Psalm 135:7)
  22. He brings out the wind from His storehouses (Psalm 135:7)
  23. He struck down the firstborn of Egypt (Psalm 135:8)
  24. He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of all people and animals (Psalm 135:8)
  25. He sent His signs and wonders into the midst of Egypt (Psalm 135:9)
  26. He sent His signs and wonders into the midst of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants (Psalm 135:9)
  27. He struck down many nations (Psalm 135:10)
  28. He killed many kings (Psalm 135:10)
  29. He killed Sihon king of the Amorites (Psalm 135:10-11)
  30. He killed Og king of Bashan (Psalm 135:10-11)
  31. He killed all the kings of Canaan (Psalm 135:10-11)
  32. He gave the land of Sihon king of the Amorites as an inheritance (Psalm 135:10-11)
  33. He gave the land of Og king of Bashan as an inheritance (Psalm 135:10-11)
  34. He gave the land of all the kings of Canaan as an inheritance (Psalm 135:10-11)
  35. He gave the land of Sihon king of the Amorites as an inheritance to His people Israel (Psalm 135:10-11)
  36. He gave the land of Og king of Bashan as an inheritance to His people Israel (Psalm 135:10-11)
  37. He gave the land of all the kings of Canaan as an inheritance to His people Israel (Psalm 135:10-11)
  38. His Name endures forever (Psalm 135:13)
  39. He will vindicate His people (Psalm 135:14)
  40. He will have compassion on His servants (Psalm 135:14)
  41. He dwells in Jerusalem (Psalm 135:21)

Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him: 

(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:


Christina said...

I love this idea, Mary! I'm disorganized and could really use a system like this. I just know your Compassion kids love to receive letters from you!

Mary said...

Thank you, Christina! I know yours enjoy receiving letters from you, as well!

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