**Update: I’ve chosen our two winners at random…but let me tell you, it was so encouraging to read about the people in your lives that mean a lot to you! And I’m sure they appreciated hearing from you, so thanks to everyone for participating. Here are the winning comments:
Winners, please email me, Amy, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address. I’ll send you The Love Letters and give you your options for your bonus book!
“Three books of stamps, please,” I said to the man behind the counter.
He stared at me for a second. As the only twenty-something in the post office line, I guess I stood out. “You gettin’ married? These for wedding invitations?”
I shook my head. “I just like writing letters.”
Another squinty, appraising look. “Email’s quicker, you know.”
Sigh. “I know. But…I’ll take three books of stamps, please.”
Let’s face it: people don’t write letters anymore. And I think that’s just a shame, because there are few things more exciting than actually getting a letter that isn’t a bill, another credit card application, or coupons to the local Chinese buffet. When someone gets something in the mail with your real, actual handwriting and a personal note, it means so much more than seeing your status on Facebook. It means you took the time to drop them a line because you care about them.
If you need a little encouragement to use those stamps that have been languishing in your junk drawer, here are some practical tips for being a letter writer in a fast-paced world.
Amy’s Tips for Letter Writing
- Buy a pack of postcards or small, cute notecards and keep one or two in your purse. Then, when you are sitting in the dentist’s office or waiting for a friend to show up at lunch, you can jot down a few lines.
- Letters don’t have to be long, complete life updates. A short “thinking of you” note with a question for the other person and a sentence or two about something you’ve enjoyed doing lately is just as appreciated as a four-page soliloquy (probably more!).
- Ask people for their addresses in a private Facebook message or via email. That way, you’ll be able to search for it again in the future.
- Sending a card out of the blue with a Bible verse or something you appreciate about another person is one of the most thoughtful things you can do. It might be exactly the encouragement that person needs in that moment. Yes, it takes a little time, but knowing you took that time is part of the gift you’re giving the other person. It means more than you might think.
- If you’re more of the send-a-package-or-gift type of person, it’s amazing the number of fun items you can send directly through the mail without boxing them up. Here’s a handy site giving you some creative ideas…I have personally tried the box of candy, Frisbee, and box of crayons.
One people group certainly hasn’t lost touch with the art of writing letters: the Amish. As Beverly Lewis puts it, “Can you imagine not having access to email, IM, Twitter, or Facebook messaging to stay connected with friends and family? Amish women don’t have that ‘real-time’ luxury, of course, but they do enjoy writing and sending pen pal letters and ‘circle letters,’ via snail mail—some as often as twice weekly. Sharing with extended family members in other cities or states is important, as is church-related news. Many of my Amish friends pen their letters on pretty store-bought stationery, or add their own floral drawings and artwork to plain paper, while others use a lined tablet for their heartfelt ‘reveals.’ Love letters, birthday cards, and encouragement notes are often saved for a rainy day, to be re-read and cherished anew.”
That’s one theme of Beverly Lewis’s new novel, The Love Letters. In it, an Amish family encounters a homeless man whose most treasured possession is a clutch of handwritten letters. As the story progresses, those letters—and the heartfelt words inside them—slowly change the other characters and help them to better love those around them.
And with that, we here at Bethany House would like to issue a challenge to you:
We’re going to give away three copies of The Love Letters, and each winner will also get a chance to choose a bonus Bethany House book for themselves and one to be sent to a friend.
How can you enter? It’s simple: write a letter or a card to someone you care about. Then comment on this post with the name of the recipient of your letter and one thing you appreciate about him or her. (We’re going on the honor system here…but be sure to actually send those letters!) I’ll draw the three names randomly from the comments and post the winners here on Wednesday, May 6, so be sure to check back!