Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Power of a Pen, Paper and a Stamp


Don’t we all enjoy getting a letter or card in the mail?!

When I was a child, yes, way before email and text messaging, I had an aunt whose husband was in the military so our relationship was a long distance one. She was so good about writing letters and even sending an occasional handmade card; I was always intrigued with her cards. She made her own cards ‘when card making wasn’t cool’. I also had an elderly aunt, that I rarely saw, for some reason she took up writing with me, she was amazing! She once wrote me a letter all in rhyme, it was beautiful!

Don’t get me wrong, I love email, but I also find it sad that there are so few hand written cards and letters mailed anymore.

Today everything is fast and disposable, including relationships. Relationships take time and energy; writing letters or sending cards can help to develop a relationship. There are times that things can be said in a letter so much better than verbally.

A hand written card or letter can be treasured literally for a lifetime and beyond. Letters and cards are a way of documenting family history. I love going to my grandmother’s home and reading letters that were written when she was a teenager. I wonder how much of our history is going into the Trash folder on our hard drives and forever gone? I wonder how much of our journal keeping is being poured into blogs, only to be deleted one day?

There is an element of dying to self and serving others when you set time aside to write a letter or hand make something for someone. It is a beautiful way to love your neighbor. It is a giving of your time and heart. Hand written cards and letters can be an incredible ministry of encouragement for anyone, but especially for girls. Girls that are at home and want to serve God by encouraging others can use their time in such a productive way while they sow seeds of kindness with each written greeting.

Some Things to Consider:

v Keep your words positive and upbeat.

v Usually your goal is to encourage others. No one will enjoy a letter or card that has a negative overtone.

v Share how God has provided for you or done something special.

v Have a balance of reference about yourself and other people/things. You don’t want it to be all about YOU!

v When sending out greeting cards, it is important that you know enough about the recipient to avoid accidentally being offensive.

v Stay away from cards that poke fun, the stores are full of those. You want to be encouraging, perhaps humorous!

v Consider the person’s interest and style, make the card relate to them.

v Think of holidays or seasons that give special opportunity to share the goodness of God. Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving are times when people are more open to hear/read Scripture.

v Address the Envelope Properly- You should send your card to the home of the recipient, not their place of business. Unless it is something personal like a birthday, get well, etc… it should be addressed to the spouse also, using Mr. and Mrs. Children are usually impressed when they receive an envelope with Miss or Mr. before their name. J

Have a Plan!

v Make a list or calendar of people you would like to minister to with your cards. Note birthdays and/or holidays.

v Set aside one or two days a year and make cards in bulk. Be sure to make some extras.

v Organize and store your cards and supplies.

v Buy stamps ahead of time and put them on the envelope. This is half the battle.

v The difference is not how artistic you are, but it is making it personal. Don’t fret about your card being fancy, just be yourself.

v As much as possible write out all the parts, the greeting, the signature and the address.

v Develop legible or even beautiful handwriting. Anyone can write nicely it is just a matter of self discipline (practice). Don’t you enjoy getting an envelope with pretty handwriting on it?

v Be flexible and don’t give up. If you have a time when you can’t get any cards out, just pick up where you left off. Sometimes life is crazy! J

Opportunities:

v Birthdays

v Sympathy

v Elderly

v Missionaries

v Distant Family

v Nursing Homes

v Sick Children

v Church Members

v Bereaved

v Sick

v Struggling

v Thank You

v For no reason at all! J

Sympathy Card Etiquette

v Mail your sympathy card as soon as possible after the death.

v Always include your last name, even if you know the family well.

v Send the sympathy card to the closest relative of the deceased, usually the widow/widower or oldest child.

v Keep it short and simple, unless you have a special memory you would like to share.

Think of Christmas Cards, don’t we love getting them?

v Do we really take time to read the pre-printed greeting?

v Do the ones with the pre-printed signature make a big impact on you?

v Do you respond differently (emotionally) when there is a handwritten note inside?

v Don’t you love it when there is a picture included?

Christmas cards are a big part of Christmas tradition. This is an ideal time to share the Gospel during such a commercialized, God mocking season. Consider setting aside some time to put serious effort into your Christmas cards. It takes planning and some money, but you’ll be amazed at how Christmas cards touch hearts. Make them personal, let people know they are not just another name on your list, but that you really want to communicate with them. Make them feel special! Remember it is about relationships.

Thanksgiving is another time to send cards or letters to people expressing your gratitude for them.

Not only is card making a way to show love to people, but it can also save your family money! A card from the store can range from $1 to $5. Plan ahead, make your own and save money!

Give her of the fruit of her hands;

and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:31

1 comment:

Mama Hen said...

Kathy,
What a great post! I have been thinking about Christmas cards also. I want them to be personal, to show what our family really believes about the Christmas season, but not be long and "Boring." I'm glad you mentioned this now because it gives me time to think more about it and start working towards Christmas. Wendy Clark