Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"You Can't Re-Read a Phone Call"

My mother was a writer, poet, playwright, and author, but she was also a letter writer.  She was a big believer in the written word and its power.  Although she was very outgoing and loved talking and socializing, I remember her telling me on more than one occasion:  "You can't re-read a phone call."


That's the truth.  As fantastic as our electronics and gadgets are, they don't give us anything tangible or lasting.  Texts and e-mails are fleeting.  Social media posts gets replaced by newer ones every minute.  The very nature of SnapChat means it's gone right after it's created.  We tend to lose the majority of communications we make.

What it Means to the Heart
Having some form of communication that you can hold in your hand is a precious thing.  A note, a photo, a card, or a recorded memory gives us the {power found in reminiscing}.  Phone calls are obviously wonderful--hearing someone's voice is like nothing else.  But the truth remains:  you can't re-read a phone call.

Whether separated by distance or even death, the ability to re-read a loved one's words to you can bring happiness, peace, and comfort.  Knowing someone loves and believes in me helps me through tough times.  It really does.  I've read love letters over and over again!  (Best love story ever.)  This ability to bring back words and messages from the past--even the recent past--can give us greater connections with those we love and can make us happier.

Three Ideas to Record Communication
Who needs a lift?  Who needs to know you love and believe in him/her?  Whose life could you touch through words of encouragement?  What communication have you received recently that meant a lot to you?  Do you still have it?

Here are three ways to make words tangible, something that could be read and remembered again and again.  
  1. Print and save e-mails.  This is certainly not something you want to do with every e-mail, but if someone's kind words or warmth touched you, print the e-mail so you can re-read it later.  Simply punching holes and keeping the pages in a binder is an easy way to do that.  Rather than mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest when you're feeling a little melancholy, pull out the binder of those words meant just for you!
  2. Send handwritten cards or letters instead of e-mails.  Even a short note of appreciation, encouragement, love, or support can make all the difference in the world to someone.
  3. Try creating book instead of just a note.  It's a little sturdier and more beautiful, and it's obvious you put some meaningful effort towards it.  From "100 reasons I love you" books to "You Are Loved" books like {this one}, there are some very personal possibilities that will be meaningful and heartfelt for years to come!  (To get started creating something that makes a difference, click the red "how to get started tab" at the top of this page.)

I've created a lot of heartfelt gifts using words!  I couldn't possibly tell you about everything I've done over the years, but I'll tell you about one.  For my husband's 40th birthday, my three kids and I wrote out 40 reasons we love him.  I put it in a digital book with a few pictures scattered throughout (similar to the one shown here).  He LOVED it.  It got more attention than the grill his parents bought him that year!  True story.  To this day, he keeps that little book on his closet shelf and stands it up so it's open to a new page each week.  He sees it every single day.  And that's what a gift of heartfelt words really does.

By the way, I've always used the Flip Books from {Heritage Makers} for these type of books--like the one pictured here.  Flip Books are 5.75"x3.5" and cost around $12.  The pages are really thick and have a wire binding (which is how my husband gets his to stand up open on the shelf).  There's a protective plastic (clear) cover.  It's just a bitty book, but it's worth its weight in gold.

Give the Heartfelt Gift of Words
Letter-writing has become a lost art, but that just makes the written word more precious.  Take some time to preserve the important communications you receive and sent out.  Or create a heartfelt gift with your words.  It makes the best gift in the world!

Need more ideas for heartfelt gifts?  These links have additional ideas: 
Words have so much power, and they can help and even heal in many ways.  Think of words the next time you think about giving a gift.  Don't underestimate what preserving or recording communication can do.

20 comments:

  1. My husband recently graduated with his PhD after many years of University. We were so touched to receive a few cards in the mail! It really stood out to us (differently than a note on facebook or email would).

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  2. Love the quote, thank you for sharing! It has helped me think more deeply about how to preserve our memories for our family and each other.

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  3. This post makes me miss my Grandpa's so much! I remember growing up one of them recorded their life story... I have to admit we made fun of it... But now after he has been gone for so long I am so grateful I can go back and listen to his stories and hear his voice! Thanky you for that reminder again!

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    1. Oh, yes. Actually hearing the voice is such a blessing. I am so grateful that my mom and grandparents are on tape and in written letters and histories. It's so important to now remember to do that for those who love US. Thanks for reading. <3

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  4. Love this post Jennifer. I have made a little book for my mom a few years ago for her birthday. She makes cards and of course sends them to her friends and family. She also puts them on a blog. For her birthday I collected all her photos from her blog (so photos she had made herself) and bundled them in a little spiral book. That way she still has her cards to look at.

    I also started writing with a new friend I met through an online class. We are now pen pals. She is in the US and I am here in Norway. It's so much fun to get a letter in the mail from her. It just gives me much more pleasure than an email.

    For our girls I made some scrapbooks. With photos and little short stories. They love to go through them now already. Imagine them looking through those books when they themselves have kids.

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    1. Thanks so much, Nicole. I love the things you've done (and still do). They're so meaningful, and will be for years and years to come!

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  5. I love it when people share awesome little tidbits of wisdom like this that help me see things in a different light. Your mom was full of wisdom. Awesome!

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    1. Thank you, Ben. She was. :) Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading.

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  6. I miss your mom! So grateful you are following in her footsteps by protecting the power of the written word! Thank you for being an inspiration to many who are struggling with keeping memories alive!

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    1. Can you believe it's been 2 years? I was talking with my dad and Elin recently about how it seems like so much longer than 2 years. Thank you for this sweet comment. xoxo

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  7. After reading this, I think I need to start printing each of my blog posts. It's kind of the story of our family. Maybe I need to make sure it survives in hard copy form.

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    1. Definitely, Christa! I've printed my (personal) blog both just copying and pasting into Word as well as some Heritage Makers hardbound books. It really is the story of my life and the story of my family. Thanks for reading--I'm so glad you were inspired!

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  8. So true! One of the reasons I started blogging is so I could have a record of major events in our lives. I'm a much better verbal communicator but am trying to expand my writing skills through this journey!

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    1. That's great! Good for you. The written word will be something your family can pull out and have again in the future, so it's definitely worth preserving.

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  9. Oh how I love this. When my husband was deployed we sent each other journals back and forth and hand written love notes. I still have them all to this day. I like to look through the box every now and then and reflect on where we were and how far we have come.

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    1. Thanks, Tannah. I love what you and your husband did with the journal and notes. We often think about these things being beneficial to our families in the future, but I love how you pointed out that you benefit from them NOW! I have a similar collection of love letters that is really good for me to sit down and read. :)

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  10. I absolutely love this. I lead a mom bible study, and I have taken this to heart and written each woman in the group a letter. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love what you did for your mom Bible study group. They will appreciate it so much!

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