The Lost Art of Letter Writing – A Giveaway with Beverly Lewis

**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:

Bev1Bev2

Winners, please email me, Amy, at agreen@bethanyhouse.com 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.”

SongbirdsForever

These are the stamps I’m using right now.

 

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.
Lately, I've had these Pixar-themed postcards tucked away in my purse.

Lately, I’ve had these Pixar-themed postcards tucked away in my purse.

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.”

Love LettersThat’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!

55 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Letter Writing – A Giveaway with Beverly Lewis

  1. I used to write letters all the time. I also received them. I miss handwritten letters. How nice it is to read heartfelt words from a loved one. (And to open your mailbox to something other than bills.) 😉

    I just wrote a handwritten card to my sister, Jeannie, who lives several states away. There’s nothing that can replace heart-words. One thing I appreciate about her is that she’s my lifetime friend, always there, at my back and in my heart.

  2. I wrote to my sister-in-law, Julie. I love that Julie is someone very selfless and truly cares for the people she encounters in life. She is a gem!

  3. I wrote a hand written card to my mother in law MARY. Her birthday is coming up and.she lives far away.
    I love to get hand written cards and letters. I am teaching my children to keep in touch with loved ones this way as well.

  4. I wrote my letter to Christie Lynch; and I most appreciate her sweet gentleness (to all who enter her home and/or life), as it’s a beautiful testimony of the love of our Father!

  5. Okay, where do I start on this. I thought I was the only person left on earth who sends out letters and cards on a regular basis. I think I’m the only one who asks the post office clerk for the recent copy of USA Philatelic with all of the most recent stamp collections. I have stamps in all denominations, and one of my favorites was the birds that you posted. (Of course they didn’t have any more when I went back to get some.) I recently sent cards to 3 friends: Pam who lost her dad; Cecil who’s been ill and missing from our local congregation; and Kim who provided hospitality at her home for which I was truly grateful and thankful. I would LOVE to win this book. The theme speaks to me, and I’m almost finished with Bethany House’s Together with You by Victoria Bylin which I’m loving. Thx for this fantastic post. Now I know I’m not alone.

  6. I write notes to my grandchildren because it makes me feel closer to them and I know it will bring a smile to their face when they get the mail – just mailed 2 yesterday 🙂

  7. I’ve written a letter to my nephew, Gordon, who recently suffered a loss. I didn’t have a card on hand, so I wrote a letter to be mailed today. I have seven nephews, some of whom are older and some a bit younger than I am. I hadn’t seen Gordon, who lives in another state, for many years. His sister started having family reunions and has included me in the gatherings. It was so nice to see them all again. Gordon was a pharmacist, who just retired a short time ago. When in school for his profession, he graduated at the top of his class. (I think it was fourth.) I was/am so proud of him.

  8. I love this idea, and actually miss the concept of sending (and receiving letters). I know it’s winderul to get a “thinking of you” tucked amongst the junk mail, bills and donation requests. Handwritten is definitely the way to go, and not a chain letter sent to everyone you know. This has propelled me to send a notecard to a friend of mine in California, just as a thinking of you from TN. Thank you so much for the reminder and a nudge into my conscieness to do this. 🙂

  9. I wrote to my Aunt who just sent me flowers. She loves to read Beverly Lewis books and she loves me. Just mailed my note of thanks.

  10. I write letters on a normal basis. But it has been a while since I wrote to my grandma so I am going to write her. I appreciate all the love she gives her family

  11. I wrote a card to my cousin in Texas. We’ve written letters to each other since we were jids to keep in touch.

  12. My card will be going to my good friend, Karen Slocum. She is a constant source of encouragement and someone I know that I can count on no matter what. That is what I appreciate about her.

  13. I am part of this awesome group of ladies who rotate names and send cards to each other weekly for 8 weeks. It started out with just a few who wanted to encourage one another and was suppose to be a one time event. It is now on round 6 and going strong! I am blessed each week when I open up my mailbox. I have met a few kindred spirits and we will continue to write and encourage each other!! I shared this great article with the Facebook group to confirm we’re on the right track 🙂 I am HUGE Beverly Lewis fan and would love to receive her new book! Thank you ❤

  14. I write a lot of letters / send card. My mother left her card collects and I share them with many. I put a sticker on the card saying it is from the collection of Donna Davis. I think the written mailed word is very important.

  15. I just sent a twelve-page letter to my pen-pal of nearly sixty years who lives in Scotland. We’ve never met, but we still feel like family. Around the same time last fall, we shared heartache when her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and mine with leukemia. We also share the same maiden name. I agree, there is nothing like a hand-written letter in the mail. I started “writing” letters to my big brother Jack when he was in the air force during WWII. Of course, they were just scribbles, but he loved them.

  16. will wrote a letter to my daughter christy…..we have connected after at lease 10 years! we lost so much time….after praying to lord to get her back he answerer not as soon as we wanted but in this time!

  17. I love to send and receive cards and letters. Glad to see so many others also love this. I just sent 2 Thank you cards , one to my church The Family Worship Center, and one to Laura. Both have been such a special Blessing to me and just telling them Thank You verbally was not just something I needed to do.
    Thank you for interesting post and giveaway.
    I

  18. Kathy,
    I sent my brothers daughter Kim a letter and also decided to print off seven pictures of her mom and dad, I printed off from files I had of them in my computer. I included them in the letter with a package of seeds for her to plant in their memories. Her dad always had beautiful flower gardens. Her parents died a couple years ago. They were so very close and she still mourns for them. I have written many letters but no one answers them most times.
    But this reminder by you will get me started to send letters again, not for me but for the person getting them.

  19. I am writing letters, cards, and friend mail as we call it to my friends on Instagram. We have never meet,mouth we send surprised mail and care packages to each other like stickers, lipgloss, and things like that. I have 6 and 1 of them is in Ontario.

  20. Thanks so much for doing this giveaway, Amy! I adore writing letters, cards, and notes, as many here have commented–what a great way to encourage someone, and to practice pretty penmanship! Here’s to pretty stamps, as well!

  21. I sent a card to my friend Nancy who has been in a lot of pain lately.
    I sent a card to my friend Barry who has a chronic health issue.
    I sent a sympathy card to a 6 year old girl, Natalie, who recently lost her father.
    I included had written messages, scriptures, drawings, and for Natalie a drawing of a puppy and stickers.

  22. I don’t really write letters. The main reason for that is that all my friends and family live close to me. BUT I do like the idea of receiving letters. I received some letters from authors after I reviewed their books and thought it was so sweet.

    So I decided I would write a letter to a friend of mine that lives a little farther away. Her birthday is coming up and I’m going to send her a beautiful birthday card with a personalized message. This is a great friend of mine, I’v now know her for almost two years and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

    You see I met her at school (we’re both in the same program: studying to become teachers) and we soon figured out that we were both Christians. She is the first friend I have who shares my faith. She’s brought me closer to God, showing another way to see things and live my faith. She is the greatest and I know I can always count on her. 🙂

  23. I’ve written a letter to my son and daughter in law who are expecting a baby in October. I includeda couple gift cards and a poem. I love putting my thoughts down on paper. It makes the person who receives the letter feel special. I have stationary and colored pens to make my letters personal.

  24. I always write a short note or letter to enclose in Christmas cards. I have one friend in AZ who does not have a computer, and we write letters to each other.

  25. I have a new “pen pal” that I received from another author. Heather is very good at letter writing, but I’m much better at email!

  26. I sent a letter to Jimmy, my cousin who is in prison. He’s a friendly guy who has made some bad choices, but his attitude is positive. May the LORD change his heart.

  27. I enjoy a nightly iMessage from my 14 year old granddaughter, Cassidy, but we also exchange letters on a regular basis. It is a delight to read in detail what is on her mind. She eagerly anticipates my letters as she notes in her “goodnight Nana” messages. My heart is just as joyful when I read her letters. This gives me insights in how to pray for her.

    I, also, enjoy sending encouraging notes to fellow church members on a regular basis. My husband and I are in our 60’s but are amongst the youngest members of our church. We live near the largest retirement community in Florida. It is easy to listen closely as people share their lives and see who needs to know someone cares for them more than just on Sunday.

    Thanks for your blog. It is insightful.

  28. I mailed a card to my Aunt Jean. She is such an inspiration. She had major surgery with her arm amputated due to an infection and she is so positive and upbeat! Thanks for the gentle push and reminder how important it is to send/receive cards. Thanks for the opportunity to win! Linda

  29. I just made a Mother’s Day card for my sister who is in Calif. She moved there almost two years ago, so I haven’t seen her. Before she moved she was just a few miles away. I miss her so very much. In her card a wrote a letter to her. I love getting cards and letters, too. Thanks for a chance to win.

  30. I love handwritten letters. That seems to be a thing of the past. I wrote a card to my husband (of 45 1/2 yrs) telling him how much and why I love him. He has stood by me through thick and thin, sickness and health, and is my partner for life…the love of my life!

  31. I just recently mailed a friend (Judy Toelle) a book entitled, “The Oregon Trail”. I have been mailing her books that Amanda Cabot has written because Amanda dedicated one of her books to me. I love doing that and I know that she loves getting them. She used to be a librarian, but had never read any of Amanda’s books even though they were in her library. I also get them autographed by Amanda before i mail them. I love sharing books that are special to me! and I don’t even mind paying the postage since my father was a mail man before he died.

  32. I am sending a note to my sister in law Sandy. We live across the country from each other and it is great to keep in touch with something other that email!
    I love writing letters to my grandkids! I made them up a box with notecards, stamps, an address book with family addresses in it and their own return address stickers in it. It is fun to see them getting into sending notes and cards to others.
    I have also mailed them soccer balls and two liter plastic bottles filled with goodies (not boxed). so fun!

  33. I wrote 40 letters during Lent to encourage or to thank people who have impacted my life. What a blessing it was to me! I liked doing it and will keep doing it. And the responses I got were so much fun and so unexpected!

  34. I write a lot of notes because I love getting mail. I just sent a card a card to my daughter Melody at college and a friend named Mindy…she is trusting God as she endures lots of physical pain. I appreciate her faith.

  35. I love writing little notes & letters. They truly brighten my day! I wrote a handwritten card to my mama. My grandma (and all time favorite pen pal) passed away last week. I wrote a letter of encouragement to my mother. This is a difficult time for our family, and I hope to cheer everyone one up through handwritten notes, just like my grandma would have. 🙂

  36. I am writing two note because these folks were already on my mind. LL for time spent together and childhood memories. SOL for friendship and support of recently lost love one.

  37. I wrote a note to my friend Thelma that recently reconnected with me after a long absence of communication. She only writes letters and does not use email or social media.

  38. I am sending a card and letter to Beverly Lewis because her writing and her online posts are an inspiration. (Thank you, Bethany House for your help with that! ) I use “snail mail” quite often!

    • You are so thoughtful, Donna, to send me birthday cards/notes, and thank you’s,…and for your sweet prayers. I’ll look forward to this snail mail! 🙂 What a joy to have met you during one of my tours, when you and your family traveled so very far. Blessings abundant!

  39. I am sending a card to my best friend, Chaunalee. She is one of the most kind and caring people I have ever known!

  40. I have always been a letter writer since I was very little. I still like to write letters and send cards by mail. I recently sent a card to a lady (Vonnie) years ago on a Laura Ingalls Wilder tour. I became a widow a few years ago (at a young age) and she recently became a widow. (older than me) We have kept up with each other since meeting, even though we live many states away from each other. It’s nice to get a card or letter in the mail.
    Susan in NC
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

  41. I love hand written letters! They are one of my favorite things to get and to give! I write notes to my family and friends all them time. It is awesome! I wish more people would write letters. I wrote a note to my friend/mentor 🙂

    • Her name is Kate Nowak! 🙂 I love how much she loves the Lord! She is an awesome friend and I couldn’t imagine life without her!

  42. My Grandmother Ouida shared her love of hand written letters with me when I was very young and I have never lost the fascination of putting pen to paper. I delight in handwritten letters which is truly a lost Art. I often write letters to my Grandchildren Damien and Gracie that live just across town from us. I mailed a card and enclosed letter to each of them today telling them how much Nana and Papa love them! I can’t wait to hear them tell us all about receiving it from the mail carrier. This is an experience that we have shared often since they turned 3 years old in 2012 because I think it’s a treasure to share through the generations to come! Children are our greatest resource and investment so we need to teach them all that we know and Letter Writing is, was and always will be a wonderful, tried and true way to communicate. It’s always fun to get something especially for **you** in the mailbox that isn’t a bill or junk mail, reminding you that you are loved and cherished by someone in this world! It’s called “snail mail,” or “happy mail!”

  43. Pingback: Book Review : The Love Letters | Milk and Honey Meadows

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