Red Envelope Project Results


Well, let's just say that my postal carrier didn't have to do any heavy lifting for this year's Red Envelope Project!  

To recap, the first step of the Red Envelope Project is to distribute envelopes  - on windshields, at restaurants, in doctor's offices, on the grass outside a school, and to participants in my Family of Writers class.  A piece of paper was inside every envelope asking people to write one thing they love, pass it on to another person, and the last person pops it in the mail when the list is finished.  I even put a stamp on all 42 envelopes! 

But, alas, I only got 6 out of 42 envelopes returned. But, of those six that were returned, the LOVE is big and wonderful and hopeful and just pure good.  Thank you so much fabulous anonymous love listers.   

We'll get to that LOVE LIST in a moment, but first here are some thoughts about the project. 

Me thinks I didn't start the LOVE right from my end.  It's a pretty good metaphor for life, right?  You get what you give.

Next year, I need to make the outside of that red envelope irresistible! 

Next year, I'm handing the envelope to people instead of saying, "Come get this envelope from the basket as you leave," at the end of Family of Writers classes.  Personal connection. What a concept.

Next year, I'm owning this instead of being nervous and nonchalant whenever I casually "dropped" the envelopes in the parking lot at Pavilions, or on the stairway at my doctor's office. 

Official Love List Stats:

  • 4 envelopes came from Family of Writers participants. 
  • 2 were picked up by total strangers.
  • One had a Santa Ana postmark so I know that's one my awesome brother, Mike Nelson, dropped for me at BJ's Restaurant in Tustin.   When we were talking about this project Mike had a theory that I'd get some blank ones because a Good Samaritan picked it up, thinking someone had dropped an important letter that needed to be mailed.  Sure enough, My brother was right.  One came back blank.  (BTW, my bro is always right and he's a great mortgage banker. Check him out at for all your mortgage needs!)
  • Since I had 5 completed lists with 5 I LOVE lines on each list, that means 25 people sent some love. 

So let's get to it - here is the 2018 Red Envelope Love List - in the order letters were opened:

I love dancing.

I love my kids.

I love my family.

I love my life.

I love my friends.

I love unplugged family time.

I love playing sports with my friends.

I love family activities...outdoors.

I love baseball.

I love a "feel good" movie on a Friday night (viewed from my couch).

I love pizza because it tastes good and I love cheese and the tomato sauce.

I love watching USC play volleyball. The team plays a high level with a powerful game.

I love watching my kids play basketball and baseball. They always try their hardest.

I love playing with my L.O.L dolls because they are fun to play with.

I love watching basketball.

I love magic.

I love 50's and 60's music.

I love running.

I love designing kitchens and bathrooms.

I love my family and my dogs.

I love my family, including our fur babies; watching my son play tennis; and his girlfriend; and my neighborhood.

I love that my daughter, son-in-law and grandson and my cats (and their dog and cat) live with me and we all love each other, and I love my family and friends.

I love my family, my friends, my home. I love how the sun comes up so perfectly and how the beach always stays beautiful.

I love my beautiful girls. I love watching them grow into talented, fun, loving ladies. I love going on vacation and spending quality time with them.

I love spending time with my three beautiful daughters, my husband and our doggies.

That's a lot of love.  It does me good to write 25 sentences that all begin with two of the best words in our language: I LOVE.

Thank you, anonymous writers who participated in the project this year.  It's good to know that in the month of February, 25 folks thought of someone or something they loved, wrote it down, and mailed that love so it could land here...where I received me the privilege of sending it back into the world like a gentle back and forth love tide.    

Photo by Oleandra9/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Oleandra9/iStock / Getty Images

Why don't you try it, too?

Write a love list with 25 items.  GO!  Do it now. 

I love...

I love...

Don't worry about spelling.  Don't worry that you might not make the perfectly curated and balanced list.  Don't worry that you forgot to write I love my husband.  We know you do. Just do it.  Do it fast.

You can keep it in a safe place.  You can come back to it on the days you really need to remember what you actually love.

Or, you can live on the wild side. 

You can take a thick marker and write this across the top:


Then, throw it on the grass near a school filled with beloved children.

Maybe someone in the deepest darkest place will pick it up, and read it. 

Maybe you'll bless them in an unseen way with your words, inspiring them to pause for just a moment and wonder,

"What is it that I love, too?"

Cuz, here's the deal, folks. Knowing what we love will always make a difference in our world.

Always writing,


P.S. On February 22nd, I received more I love lists. Here are the lines: I love soccer, theater, my kitchen (especially when it's filled with friends and family), basketball, my girls, soccer because it's always a challenge whenever I play and I get very competitive, Ginger because she is lovable in all sorts of ways and I love to play with her, my friends because they are always there for me and they are funny and very amazing, Korean BBQ because I love their rice paper and briskets, and my family because they were there when I was born and I love them very much.  xoxoxox