Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Gift of A Letter

"An inspired letter can be as riveting as a stare. It can move us to tears, spur us to action, provoke us, uplift us, touch us. Transform us.  When written from the heart, letters are dreams on paper, wishes fullfilled,  desires statified. Letters can be powerful."
                          "Gift Of A Letter" by Alexandra Stoddard

As far back as I can remember, I anticipated the mailman.  Running to the mailbox when the flag on the box was lowered, I was eager to the possibility of recieving the gift of a letter.  Not much has changed, except maybe I don't run......the neighbors might wonder.....

For my entire childhood, I never lived in the same area as my maternal grandparents. But it felt as if I knew their life.  They scripted it for me in their letters.  I learned about the elderly neighbor lady who discovered she could paint.  What my grandparents enjoyed at the weekly jaunt to their favorite resturant.  The treasures they found at a garage sale. What the young preacher preached on a church.  I was even sent sermon notes. 

I still carry them in my Bible. 

I still trace with my finger the beautiful penmanship that my grandmother had. In time, Parkinson's disease stole it away and then she would dictate her cards and letters to my grandfather.  The beauty of old love.

The enjoyment found in writing and receiving letters runs deep. 

I have found the actual process of writing to be a natural form of autobiography.  As I articulate my thoughts to the person I am writing, my experience of actually living, is made more deliberate and with more acute awareness.  I become aware of what is currently happening in our family, struggles that I might be dealing with  and specific things that have recently inspired my life, such as a good book, recipe or conversation. I narrate my life.

As I think about the person I am writing, I am able to focus on how much they mean to me, to pray for them and thank God for their life intersecting with mine.  I am able to think about what life might be like for them and the think of questions I would like to ask.

Through the years, I have organized my top desk drawer with pretty liner, pens, stamps, stickers, address labels and collected a variety of paper and notecards.  By doing so, it is easier for my children and myself to set to the enjoyment of a thank you or letter.

It's been so enjoyable to be on the look-out for pretty envelopes, cards, stationary, colored pens, stamps and return address labels.

I recently got a letter from a new friend from Oregon.  We had participated in a seed swap.  When my daughter brought in the mail the other day (I think she runs....oh how I am proud), she handed me a padded envelope.  I was a bit giddy.

Later when I had a time of quiet and brewed a cup of tea, I opened the anticipated envelope.  Inside, I found a beautiful seed packet tied in raffia and an antique, painted button.  Also enclosed was a beautiful card and letter and a little coin purse my new friend had sewn!  What joy this small token of another brought that week.  A kindred spirit I have found.

How do we set aside time for letter writing?

"Letter writing used to be the principle form of communication prior to 1876 and the introduction of the now ubiquitous telephone at America's Centennial celebration.  Often letter writing was an art form.  In today's lightning-paced, nuclear obsessed society, we are virtually starved for the individual stamp of a personally handwritten letter.  We live longer than ever before.  So what is our maddening rush?  What makes us "too busy" to send the gift of a letter to someone we care about?  We all get caught up but to busy for what?" questions Alexandra Stoddard in A Gift of a Letter.

I have been deeply pondering those words.

For me, the quiet moments woven throughtout Sunday afternoons have been ideal for me to pen someone a letter.  In those hours, our home is quietly humming with children, pets and hubby.  A wonderful time for reflection.  A perfect recipe for letter writing. 

A personal letter can be a most intimate and touching of human experiences, one to another. 

A letter is a gift signature of you.

Spring Blessings!



  1. First of all, I just love your picture on top! It reminds me about my grandparents' yard when I grew up.

    I grew up in Sweden and I used to have pen pals from all over the world. I loved getting letters in the mail. In Sweden cursive handwriting was not emphasized. I thought my foreign friends' letters were so beautifully written in cursive handwriting. It was something I wasn't good at myself.

    Thanks for reading my post about snacks over at Far Above Rubies. I'm glad to see that you are continuing with the healthy way of eating. Have a blessed weekend!

  2. I love to write letters though I rarely receive a reply. I know it is hard to find time to sit down and write. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I found you through The Prairie Homestead Barn Hop. I appreciate your reflections on letter writing. I too, lament that the gift of a letter is nearly gone. I had the immense blessing and pleasure of having a friend who taught me what an indescribable gift it was to be given the gift of meaningful friendship. She taught me that a true friend gives of herself (or himself), her time, her ear, her thoughts and feelings. What a gift to be given the chance to see and hear her innermost thoughts! She shared herself in person and in letters. It is too easy in this world today to overlook the blessings of sharing something of ourselves. The life you touch simply by sharing of yourself can touch another forever. Isn't that one of THE most important Biblical concepts? RELATIONSHIP. Time, a letter, a conversation! You've touched on a perfect memory in this post!

  4. Found you through the barn hop. I want to print this for future reference. It's a shame how attached people are to their tweeting and Facebook and IMing. Even just the abbreviations alone (OMG!!) cheapen communication and encourage laziness and impersonality. Your post has motivated me to set a good example of how much better communication can be!

  5. Evey Monday I sit down and write 2 letters one to my Grandmother and my brother. My Grandmother and I wrote back and forth every week, since the day I left for college. Now she has alzhimers and cannot send me a letter, but they read mine to at the nursing home. They tell me she smiles and once in a while it seems to bring back memories. I have written my brother every Monday since he was sent to Iraq and now that he is in prison. I know it brings him comfort. Thank you for appreciating the letter. A nice blog.

  6. I love letters, too. It is so special now with everyone communicating with e-mail and on FB to get an actual handwritten letter. Thanks for the reminder with this post. I'm now following...

  7. Hi Malinda

    I found you through the Raising Homemakers Linkup. Firstly I want to say that I adore the picture at the top of your blog.. is it your home? If it are so blessed!

    Secondly, I was just like you, I loved to receive letters. I had penpals from all over the world. These days nobody wants to even mail out Christmas Cards anymore. Its a dying art. As for the penmanship.. I know what you mean there too. My children all lament that they don't have nice handwriting like me, but they never practice! (Or had it drilled into them at school like I did)

    I cherish all my old letters (especially the ones from my hubby in our courting days) and old cards that have messages written inside them. I hope to pass this on to my children some day.

    It's easy and convenient to just type a message and hit send, but so much more a treasure to have a letter to look back on and cherish.

    Thank you for this post.. very inspiring.

  8. Thank you! This post really resonated with me.
    I collect and use dip pens. I love the scratch of the pen, the smell of the ink, the creamy smoothness of the paper...all of it, really!
    I treasure my dad's letters on legal paper, my husband's on college-lined notebook paper, and my mother's and grandmother's on fine stationery. I usually see more of a person in their handwriting than I do in their photos.
    Now as I've begun writing my daughter letters in the form of a blog, I try to take one day a week and write a "real" letter and put it in a notebook, too. I hope she'll treasure these as much as I do my letters.
    Thanks again for the post and for taking time to link it up!

  9. What a beautiful admonition to write letters. For the past ten years, I have been blessed with a letter-writing ministry to a woman in prison. I would spend hours praying for the Lord to give me words, making a rough draft and finally, penning sometimes lengthy letters. These days I usually opt to use the computer. Perhaps I will write the next rough draft on the computer, and pen the final copy...

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! I wrote lots of letters when I was younger {teenage yrs}. When my husband & I were dating, we lived almost 2 hrs away & sometimes only saw each other once a month. Our letters to each other were treasures ... & still are, as we have each & every one! I now love to send cards & do this pretty often. You've inspired me to get back to letter writing!

  11. Just visiting from the blog party. I love to see your interest in "old fashioned" things and ways. That definitely has me intrigued, as does that gingersnap recipe...yummy!

    Have fun "Partying" this week and stop by to say hi when you get the chance!

  12. What a beautiful blog, content as well as appearance! I agree with you about letter-writing...I still have letters my parents wrote me when I was in college in the 70s, and I cherish them. You've made me want to write more letters!

    I do hope you'll stop by and visit my blog,, and my book blog too,

  13. Stopping by from the Ultimate Blog Party ... love your blog!! I am also a homeschool Mom and love reading blogs of other homeschoolers.I love that you still write letters! That is quickly becoming a "lost art".

    Have a great week!


  14. Beautiful blog. stopping over from UBP. looks like we follow many of the same blogs. :)
    i can't wait to try the gingersnaps. yum!

  15. I love the idea of the lined drawer with all the supplies for letter writing. I still get so excited when I receive a hand written envelope in the mail. I am a Christian homeschooling mom too. Visiting today from the blog party.

  16. Hi Malinda,
    Lovely to meet you through UBP. This is my first year and I am enjoying finding so many great blogs, like yours.


    Gg - Notes on the Journey

    ps. I am a long time letter writer.

  17. Found you on UBP'11! Your pictures are beautiful! I still have many of the letters that were written to me by my grandparents. It definitely is something to treasure!
    ~ Wendy @

  18. What a beautiful post! For the many points you have made, we emphasize good penmanship with our boys...something that is rare for males. I loved my mothers handwriting and cherish every piece of paper I have that she wrote on...even a few grocery lists!

  19. I feel like I've stepped back in time at your blog! In my dreams I want to be more like this! I used to write letters a lot, but not so much. I try to send a card to a friend once a month. Visiting from UBP. Come see me at The Knowlton Nest (

  20. What a truly lovely blog. I miss writing letters and hold on to the few I receive. A nice reminder. Visiting from my first UBP!

  21. I love writing letters too! It's so important to keep the written word! It means so much more than an e-mail too!

    I'm visiting from the UBP2011. Please stop on over to my mission aviation blog and check us out!


  22. I sometimes forget it however my mother had the most beautiful handwriting .... When I was growing up everyone kept in touch by sending cards and writing letters as a matter of fact I had 3 pen pals ..... still to this day I keep in touch with some of my friends with a letter or a card .....I do my own handmade cards with recycled papers and other such lovelies
    ....What a beautiful blog site you have here!

  23. Hi Melinda, I'm new to your blog! I saw you on someone else's blog (although I can't remember which one memory is good, just short). Love this blog.

  24. Hi! I’m belatedly stopping by from the UBP. Nice to meet you! I'm in CO too.

    I have two blogs, and I’d love for you to stop by when you get a minute. We're giving away a $100 Visa gift card at Giveaway Corner. Thanks! (A free giveaway every weekday) (Family blog)

  25. Stopped in from the UBP. What a lovely place you have here. Looking forward to visiting again!