Birthday Cards and Sweet Notes

Most of my childhood vacations were spent at a campground. Each year I'd make a new friend and we'd vow to be pen pals. In college I wrote letters to my parents, my sister, and even our dog. I found a stack of those letters after Mama passed away, along with years of cards and other notes I'd given her. When my husband and I were dating and in the early years of our marriage, I'd write him long letters and poems declaring my undying love. In years past, I would sit with the church directory in my lap and write notes to the people whose names jumped out at me.

The art of handwritten cards and letters has gone by the wayside. It's easier to send an email, easier still to whip out a quick text or message on a Facebook wall. Any form of communication from a friend can be an encouragement; however, it's a special delight to open the mailbox and find a  treasure amongst junk mail, bank statements, and bills.

I've recently been reminded of the pleasure that handwritten words can bring. In one week, I was blessed with three lovely notes from ladies in my church family. The first was a sweet surprise. The second, even more so. When the third arrived, I was reduced to tears as I pondered the grace and goodness of God; He used those notes to encourage me and to demonstrate true community.

My birthday soon followed. With renewed appreciation for the efforts of the givers, I revived an old family tradition of displaying them on the mantle. It's obviously been a while since I've done this, because my girl asked why I did. I told her that seeing them each day makes me smile. (She's declared that she is going to do the same when her birthday rolls around.) I remember Mama telling me that her mother always said she wanted nothing more than a pretty card for any occasion. Mama felt the same.  The older I become, the more I understand. Every time I read through the cards that family and friends picked out for me this year, I am struck by the power of words.  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. (Proverbs 25:11) While not spoken, the sentiments a card or note brings can be a gem of great value to the recipient. There's also the added bonus that a handwritten correspondence can be kept, savored for years to come. Just a few days ago I found this card a dear friend wrote me months ago, tucked inside a book. The prayers and exhortation it offered warmed my soul.

These last few weeks have prompted me to be more intentional in encouraging others. I'll still send texts, emails, and Facebook posts to let others know I'm thinking about them, but I won't rely on electronic communication alone. For my birthday a friend gave me a box of the cutest notecards I think I've ever seen. 100 of them. I plan to use them well and to use them often.


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