“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” — Margaret Cousins
How often do we let the people around us know how much we love them, how much we value them, and appreciate them and what they contribute to our lives and the lives of others? No doubt most of them are well aware of their faults and failings — the world is eager to remind them. The enemy of their souls reminds them. Their own hearts remind them.
But what about their gifts and talents, their strengths, their accomplishments and victories and successes? What about all the things God has done in them and through them?
We know how much it means to us when we’re feeling discouraged, worn out, and “weary in well doing” and out of the blue, someone compliments us or thanks us or lets us know that our efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. How those words lift our spirits and brighten our day!
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Are we encouraging others? Building them up? Blessing them with the gift of encouraging words?
We need to take time — make time — every day.
Fun Friday: One way to encourage a friend or family member is to send them a letter. Who doesn’t love to get real mail — the fun kind — in the midst of all the ads and bills! They say that letter writing is a lost art, but it doesn’t have to be. And you can make your letter extra special by sending it in a handmade envelope.
I looked on Pinterest and found lots of super creative, super elaborate ways to hand-make envelopes, but this is the way I made them when I was a teenager and I think I still like it best, because all you need is a good magazine with colorful pictures and some tape. That’s it. No scissors, no ruler, no glue.
I even made a couple of these on an airplane a few weeks ago. I was getting rid of the magazine and just wanted to take the prettiest pictures with me. It really is that easy.
If you don’t already subscribe to magazines that have good pictures, look for them at grocery stores or garage sales or Goodwill. You want the kind that tend to have lots of lush photo spreads with few words on the page. Victoria was one of my grandmother’s favorites and mine, too — for years I tore out the pictures and pinned them to an actual bulletin board, before Pinterest came along :)
1. Carefully tear the page out of the magazine and fold both sides inward, about a half inch to an inch. You could use a ruler to measure this; you could also use scissors or a paper trimmer if the page doesn’t come out of the magazine cleanly. But you probably won’t need to.
2. From the bottom, fold the paper up about a third of the page to form a pocket.
3-4. Fold the top third down into triangles to form the envelope flap. You’ve wrapped Christmas presents — you know the drill! An alternate method would be to forget the triangles and instead fold the top third of the paper over just a half inch or so horizontally. And then fold it down again, so that you have a rectangular envelope flap.
5. Use a piece of clear tape to secure each side of the pocket. Your letter will be secure inside the folds of the pocket, so this tape is just insurance. It doesn’t have to be any particular length or width. Sometimes I’ll slice the length of the tape in half, so that it’s not as wide — and therefore not as noticeable on the sides of the picture.
6. Slide your letter in and use one or two pieces of tape to secure the flap!
On the front, you can put your return address label and the stamp, and then add any plain ordinary sticky label in the center for the recipient’s address. If you want to get fancy, you can print the labels on the computer, adding some color to the background or using a special font. You could also trim the edges of the labels with textured scissors.
Are you inspired to get writing? Who will you send some encouraging words today?