Words, words words: tools for touching hearts and lives, by Elizabeth H. Cottrell

Bundle of Letters - Words of Love

“Bundle of letters – Words of Love” Photo by Christian Mueringer

Saved and treasured notes and letters

My paternal grandfather Robert Beverley Herbert was 71 years old when I was born in 1950. Tucked inside the desk I’ve had since childhood, there is a well-worn, much-treasured bundle of letters from him—letters he mailed me starting when I was a young girl. They were the first meaningful letters I ever received, and they contained news, advice, and wisdom from a man who was born only 14 years after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. Such is the connection power of words that they can cross centuries, miles, and even lifetimes.

Since those first letters in my life, over the last many decades, I’ve received hundreds of beautiful messages in the form of handwritten notes and letters from friends, loved ones, and even strangers:

  • Congratulations when I reached milestones in my life.
  • Appreciation for things I’ve done or given.
  • Sympathy when I’ve experienced a loss.
  • Encouragement when I’ve been in the midst of a challenge.
  • Offers to help when I was heavily burdened.
  • “Thinking of you” notes for no particular reason.

I’ve saved the most special of these and re-read them often. Of course any note from my children and their spouses falls in the category of treasured correspondence! I consider each a precious gift, and they carry value far beyond the cost of the paper and postage.

Reviving the art of personal note writing

Now I’m trying to revive the art of personal note writing and encourage others to see what a powerful connection tool it is.

Not just because it’s a nice thing to do (but it is).

Not just because it’s often proper etiquette (although it is).

Absolutely not because I want to put anyone on a guilt trip.

No, the reason I’m committed to shining a spotlight on the personal, handwritten note is because I believe notes containing words from your heart—heartspoken—written by hand on a piece of paper and mailed to the recipient, are too often overlooked as effective tools for connecting with others.

Why is connection so important?

I believe connection with others is nothing short of a conduit for God’s love.

Scripture in the gospel of Matthew describes Jesus telling a Pharisee: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)

And from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

If you believe, as I do, that love is what life is all about, you’ll see why I get so excited about a simple, affordable tool for using words to connect and share love with others quickly and easily.

Why don’t people write more notes?

I hear many reasons from kind, well-intentioned people about why they don’t write more personal notes:

  • They don’t have time.
  • They don’t know what to say (this is particularly true when writing to someone grieving or in any other awkward situation).
  • They don’t think of it when it’s convenient.
  • They procrastinate, and then it feels too late.

Of course there are people who can’t write because of physical disability. There are others who prefer to connect in other ways: by phone, in person, or by email. Personal note writing is not for everyone.

You can learn to write beautiful notes

If you’d like to write meaningful notes more easily, don’t miss my special free guide that will teach you how to overcome the obstacles above and write heartspoken personal notes that comfort, encourage, and inspire. You can get it at my blog, Heartspoken.com. Just put your email in the box at the top of the right sidebar to receive information on how to access this guide.

While you’re there, you might enjoy other note writing posts as well as letter and note writing gifts.

Here are links to articles loaded with note writing encouragement and tips:

Words, words, words

Words are powerful, and I applaud Karen for reminding us of their richness and purpose in our lives.

Please add personal handwritten notes to your arsenal of tools for using words to spread more love to others in your life. They are your legacy of love.

Photo credit: “Bundle of Letters” by Christian Meuringer via BigStockPhoto.com

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Elizabeth Cottrell headshotElizabeth H. Cottrell, a.k.a. RiverwoodWriter, is a master connector who curates information and resources about the power of connection to present them in ways that provide meaning and value to her readers. She is a passionate student of everything related to life’s essential connections: with God, with self, with others, and with nature.

Elizabeth shares connection findings, inspiration, and guidance at Heartspoken.com, where she is also reviving the art of writing personal notes that comfort, encourage, and inspire.

Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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11 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events, Words & Vocabulary

11 responses to “Words, words words: tools for touching hearts and lives, by Elizabeth H. Cottrell

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your Words, Words, Words Week, Karen. It was wonderful to reflect on how much words, in any form, mean to me. I invite personal note writing questions from any of your readers and would be especially interested to learn why they do — or don’t — write personal notes themselves.

  2. Well said, Elizabeth. (though, imho nothing wrong with a good guilt trip on occasion 🙂 )
    We are a funny breed: we love receiving letters but are so loath to take the time to send them. I know I don’t write them enough any more, resorting to the ease of e-mail again and again. And yet, my father is not connected to the internet, and so we connect with pen and paper (occasionally the phone when time is of the essence) and it is a delight.
    Which reminds me, I need to write him a letter….

  3. Pingback: Words, Words, Words | Heartspoken

  4. Ah, you taught your kids well. 🙂
    Off to write –
    Happy Friday!

  5. Wonderful to have you featured again on my blog, Elizabeth. I was taught, at a young age, the importance of personal corresondence. And I have kept it through the years. I love to send personal notes, and I love to get them as well.

  6. I so love getting and sending personal notes in the mail. I have a couple of friends and a daughter who send me handwritten notes in the mail on a regular basis. I also taught my children the importance of thank you notes and am pleased to say, they practice the habit to this day. Not so much my grandchildren though. I do hope it is not a dying art. So pleased you teach people how to do this Elizabeth. Long live the written word!

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