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Light ‘Em Up by Writing It Down

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A couple of weeks ago I found myself unexpectedly lifted out of funk by old cards and letters I discovered in my attic—souvenirs of sorts from my old life in the working world. It was a reminder to me of the power of noticing and appreciating others. More specifically, it reinforced my long held belief about the power of words—and why handwritten words are especially meaningful.

While verbal encouragement in the moment is an essential part of intimate relationships, it is also important to memorialize thoughts in a more lasting way. The simple act of pen to ink is a love offering.

When my children were babies I wrote them each a handwritten letter on their first birthday. They are upstairs in a special drawer in my room—all sealed up. I don’t have a specific plan yet for when I will give them to my children—but the words are there, awaiting the moment.

With toddler triplets life got crazy—and I started blogging. Like so many other schemes of mine, the grand plan to write on each birthday was abandoned. I was already recording my thoughts on motherhood on a regular basis. I have 6 bound volumes of blog posts on the shelf in our study—a chronological recording of so many moments of my children’s lives.

These blog posts have been a gift FOR my children—and hopefully an encouragement to other Mamas as they are on this journey. I realized recently, however, that writing about them and for them wasn’t the same degree of intimacy and personally writing to my children.

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And what about my poor husband? Long gone are the days of gushy love notes to him. Somewhere along the way sticky notes on bathroom mirrors, quick text messages and an occasional index card under a pillow when I am heading out of town took the place of my hands, using ink to express my heart—freezing those feelings on pretty paper for posterity.

Spoken words reverberate in hearts and souls. Written words can be tucked away and re-read time and time again.

And so, today, I am writing to my husband and my kiddos—words that are intended to be personal—not published. I’d like to encourage you to join me. Let’s not hide our lights (or our love) under bushel baskets—let’s let it shine on the ones we hold most dear by writing down little expressions of our hearts. This is the type of exercise that’s easy to think of as for the kids and leave out our spouses—but they need it to. This world is a tough audience, let’s be cheerleaders at home. Eloquence is not the point—encouragement is.

I considered waiting until Valentine’s Day, but it’s just a day on the calendar really. Why not a random day in January? It seems that might mean even more.

With all the messages our husbands and children get from the world all day, every day, I can’t wait to give them the unexpected gift of words on paper reminding them the truth of how they are adored.

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  1. Oh, you are so right! I cherish hand written notes and I love to write them but do not do it near enough and even though my children are grown, they would probably love a hand written note from Mom. And, then there’s my precious Grans! Great post!

  2. jennifer. i just LOVE this. such a great reminder. inspired me to actually put the lunchbox notes in the lunches this morning .my girls do love a written note. thanks for the reminder! and time just goes by so fast. i treasure my mom’s handwriting and her mom’s.

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