On New Year’s Day Gavin and I have the tradition of going to breakfast and talking over the past year and planning for the next. We definitely hijacked this idea from my sister and brother in-law who have been a great example of diligence and planning. It is fun to see the lofty goals we had set for ourselves and see what had actually happened in those 12 months. Some were accomplished, others not so much, things we never expected showed up and it is always a joy to look back.

Well, this year one of the many goals I had for myself was to get better at writing thank you cards. After we had our 400+ person wedding in 2010, there were STACKS of cards to write from the many showers and celebration that ensued. It was a daunting and regular task to get them all done. To this day I am not even sure if they all got finished, mailed and sent to the right people. Let me know if you didn’t get one and I’ll drop it in the mail 🙂 . But really, it was a serious internal battle to get all those puppies done and it really was something that my heart didn’t want to do, it would be hard and take time, I wanted it to be genuine, I wanted the card to be timely. All of these things that “I wanted”. I definitely took the ENTIRE year to get them done.When the baby showers started I was a little better at getting them done, but it still took way too long to get them out.

Enter 2013 New Year’s breakfast. One of my goals was to get out the thank you cards for Cole’s shower, Christmas Thank you’s, and others in a timely manner. As I began thinking through what the hold up was I realized that the reason I didn’t write the card is because I wasn’t thankful, or I thought I deserved the gift, or I had a lack of appreciate. Bummer realization, let me tell you! I realized that the only solution was to pray and ask God to change my heart, to give me a heart of thanks that truly was grateful and appreciative, so appreciative that I just had to run home scribble out a card and get it in the mail ASAP.

The Lord is faithful let me tell you! In the last few months I have sent out more cards than in my whole life. It has truly been a blessing to see how God has increased my thankfulness for people and their involvement in my life. It has caused me to LOOK for people around me that I am thankful for and encourage them in their efforts. It has caused me to send out cards that are just because, or because I am thinking about them, or because I was encouraged by them. Writing cards has been a joy, yes it takes time, it takes more money than sending an email, but it has changed my heart. Praise be to God.

As a mom of 2 young kids, it is hard to get out of the house and go sit at a coffee shop or someone’s house the way I would in the past. It has been fun to keep up relationships, encourage and connect with ladies in a new way. It has been such a blessing and I am excited that there is a way for me to care for people in a way that is appropriate for this season of life.

Now there could be a whole other blog about my favorite cards, stamps, return address labels, etc. but we will save that for another day. But to get you started in writing cards here are my tips.

– make a list of all the people you have received a gift from, had an encouraging conversation with, or saw serve in a way that blessed you or was an example. Think of the faithful people in ministry around your church, there is ALOT! When I made my thank you list like a to do list it was motivating and helped me get started.

-get cards. don’t get huge ones, to start, get ones that are small. They fill up faster. 🙂 hey sounds lame, but we are just trying to get started people! A short thank you is better than none at all!

– gather supplies and put them out in a place that is visible. supplies include, cards, pens, stamps, return address stamp, church directory, print out of the addresses, and you thank you list.

-pray and ask God to change your heart and give you a heart of thanks.

-sit down and start. just 15 minutes or whatever. Don’t dwell on the details, make it personal but don’t write a novel. Start on the bottom half of the card, go to the back if you need more room. Aim for 3-5 sentences. Be sure to say thank you, what and why your appreciate and minimize the use of “I”. I like to write with a cup of tea and nice music. It really makes me feel like a grown up and well put together feminine lady.

-put the stamp on it, march to the mail box and put it there. Go in the house and don’t be arrogant that you were so thankful and appreciative and wrote all those cards. 🙂

-when your list is complete, start another. Find a person in the directory and send them a card just because. Think of people who have life events going on. keep working through lists and praying that God would give you eyes to see.

I pray that you will have a heart of thanks and your mailman is burdened with the influx of mail he is carrying away from your home! It really is a blessing to your heart and an important thing to do. Not because of Emily Post, but because of all that God has  done.