Across the seas and at home…

I find life to be utterly amazing in the way it unfolds when we acknowledge people. I led an online class for The University of Maryland University College, which adopted The Power of Acknowledgment for one of its classes. A student in the class is a US Airforce Captain stationed in Iraq, who felt the material important enough to tune in for at 3:00 am her time. I was deeply honored by her presence. During my presentation I recounted how I had asked my husband to write me a love letter when I was feeling down, and he wrote one that was so full of acknowledgments I had no idea where they were coming from. He stated that he always thought those kinds of things, but never bothered to get them “from his brain to his mouth. I then requested a love letter “about twice a week,” and he agreed! I recounted how I have been receiving this communications every Monday and Thursday for the past three years! At the end of the class, Shana sent me this email (which I am reprinting with her permission):

“I really enjoyed the webinar. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I have never had the opportunity to participate like that before. Thank you for taking time to speak with us today. I really enjoyed your book and have been incorporating your suggestions into my daily interactions. I believe everyone has good qualities (sometimes they are just harder to find in some people). Once you find those qualities and highlight them you get people to respond better. Maybe now I can get love letters from my husband too! Thanks again!


So I volunteered to help her get her husband to write her love letters, and she gave me his email address. But apparently, just her request of him was enough to have him write her a love letter — I was so moved to hear what had transpired. Shana wrote this to me:

“My husband Ed (Eduardo) recently left Active duty and is a USAF Reservist (Logistics Readiness Officer like me); he is now a deputy sheriff in Cumberland Co. N.C. I did tell him I wanted love letters and he sent me a very sweet one last night! I’m working on my response. He’s been having a hard time with me gone and our 2 1/2 year old still at grandma and grandpas. She comes home at the end of the month and we are all meeting in Europe for a 2 week vacation. ”

I then wrote to her husband anyway, whose email address Shana had given me when she thought she might need a little help in getting him to write her such a letter. I wrote:

“Dear Ed,

I have had the great honor of meeting your wonderful wife Shana through a web seminar I led for the University of Maryland University College on the topic of the book I wrote, The Power of Acknowledgment. After the webinar, she kind of wistfully wrote to me that she wished I could help her get you to write her love letters. .. But you obviously rose to the challenge, Ed and honored Shana’s request — without any outside prompting. When I first asked my husband, an Excel Developer, to write me a love letter to me, he went dead silent. Now, when asked what it means for him to write them twice a week, he says the following:

I like that I get to spend dedicated time to think about us during the work day. It takes me away from here and over to you. It gives me the opportunity to air anything thats not 100% in sync. It gives me the opportunity to thank you for being who you are in my life, for reminding myself how lucky I am, for reminding me that theres nobody else who would love me as you do, appreciate me, laugh with me…, make me feel at home, at peace, at one, as you do. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on what weve created together family, relationship, laughter, sadness, growth, encouragement, warmth, being, love. It allows for a committed communication one which might go missing unknowingly. So it keeps us in contact; connected in spirit.”

from Bob Umlas

I hope you get hooked the way Bob did, Ed. And in the meantime, I acknowledge you totally for stepping out and letting Shana know how much she means to you through your love letter of acknowledgment. There is incredible power in this exchange. It takes a secure and self-aware person to be able to do this on request. Many people would so “no” just because they have been asked. I’m so pleased for the two of you to have this kind of communication, especially under these most challenging circumstances you live with. Now Bob’s days for writing his “Hi!” to me are Monday and Thursday. You can feel free to choose your own schedule…”

And lastly, here is what Shana sent to me the other day:

Judy, Thank you for thinking of me. Today has been a tough one and a friendly “voice” is always reassuring! We lost 2 Marines the other day and today was their memorial service. I only knew them in passing from seeing them at the gym but losing anyone over here is not easy! Please pray for their families as well. I’ve included a couple pictures of Ed and Olga so you can see them! The first one is Ed and Olga at his academy graduation and the second is at Olga’s daycare in Puerto Rico.Shana


I’m just amazed at how open people are to the invitation to acknowledge each other. Once they start, and see the restults, a door is opened. Thank you Shana and Ed for your willingness to demonstrate this, and for your great service to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers for your safety are with you and your family.