A “Note”able Challenge….(and a prize too!)

Anyone out there remember handwritten notes? In this hi-tech age of emails, instant messaging and texting others on the cell phone, I’m afraid writing a handwritten note to someone has become a lost art. In our parents’ day, this was the main form of communication with those who lived far from you. Why, when I was a little girl growing up in the suburbs of Michigan, my mom didn’t even call long distance much. Even though her only sister lived in Milwaukee and they are extremely close, she limited her phone calls to Aunt Patty to just a few times per year. When Todd and I were in college and dating in the 80’s, we wrote each other several times a week in the summer saving our phone calls for once a week at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday nights when the phone rates dropped. Yep, back in “the olden days” as my kids would say, the old pen and stationary was the way to go.

Now, however, we have become too busy (or too lazy) to pen a handwritten sentiment. So this year, I decided to do something about it. I made it my New Year’s resolution to write a note to one person each week. Now, of course I didn’t tell you about this goal on January first for fear I’d not follow through as with some of my resolutions from years’ past, but I can say that this one has been much easier to keep and has blessed others’ lives in the process. And so now I have a challenge for you!

This weekend, pick up a pen and a note card or pretty piece of stationary—or a sticky note if that is all you can find!—and write an encouraging note to someone in your life. It can be a faraway friend, a distant relative, your old college roommate, or high school friend. Or think through your current life. With whom does your life naturally intersect? The mail carrier? The cheerful checkout cashier at the local Wal-Mart? The timid teen that played the piano for last week’s church service? The hairdresser who gives your locks their looks and never expects a tip? Whom could you cheer with a handwritten note of gratitude? To make this task easier, keep a tote bag with note cards, thank you notes, a pen, some stamps and your address book or church directory in your vehicle. This way, when you find pockets of time where you will be waiting, (carpool line, orthodontist’s office, soccer practice pick up, etc..) you can use it to multi-task and write a note or two. Then sit back and watch the thankful smiles roll in.

Now for the prize….leave a comment telling us to whom you feel prompted to write that note this weekend. You have until Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. EST. Then, I’ll choose one person to win a pack of note cards, one of my favorite pens and a Starbucks gift card so as you write, you can sip on something hot, sweet and creamy (or cool and tasty depending on where you live. I am in Michigan and we got three more inches of snow last night!!! Come on…it is almost April for crying out loud!!!).

Happy writing!!

Sincerely and with warmest regards, (how is that for an olden days sign-off?)



  1. Hi Karen!

    I must admit that I wanted to send a handwritten thank you for the autographed book you sent me (from winning Lysa’s organization contest), but I threw out the mailer before I got your address :-(

    So, I’ll just have to say it here:

    I really appreciate your gift! It comes at a time when circumstances in my home have changed just a little bit and I really need to get my “rear in gear!” I hope the ideas in your book help. I can’t wait to get started. Wish me luck!

    Be blessed,
    Beth Ingersoll

  2. Hi! I took your challenge and wrote a note of encouragement to my husband. He’s definitely an unsung hero around here, and I know he is facing a particularly challenging week at work this week. When he finds the note this morning, he will be reminded of how much I love him, appreciate him, and pray for him every day.


  3. As a military spouse, I have had to say goodbye to scores of special friends over the last 12 years. It can just about break your heart. One summer day about a year ago, I received a handwritten letter in the mail from a far-away friend whom I used to be stationed near, and I just about fell over backward at my mailbox! In this tech-age of email, it had been so long since I had held the handwriting of a dear friend in my hands. She could have written an email to say the same things–it would have been quick, fuss-free, and cheap. But the impact on my heart would have been lessened. That letter made me feel very cherished–I beamed for days! After all, she made time to pick out paper, compose her thoughts, find my address, and put it in the mail; she mus really care about me! I resolved then to bless others the way she had so sweetly blessed me.

    Well, letter writing has yet to become a routine for me, but your encouraging blog has prompted me to give it a try again! Today, I’m writing to thank the translator at our church. (We currently live in Japan, and our church has bilingual services.) Last night, there was a memorial service for a Japanese man beloved by all, and our dear translator was busy all evening translating back and forth in both languages for the Japanese and Americans who loved him. She is a tireless laborer in our church, and I pray that the Lord encourages her through the words He helps me write in a her card.

  4. Hi Karen! I loved meeting you and talking with you at the Hearts at Home conference! I appreciate the time you and all the speakers take to talk with all us Moms! YOU ROCK!

    As far as this challenge, I have decided to write letters to both of my children. My son who is 8 gets sooo bummed every day that he comes home and has no mail. And, my 3 year old daughter acts as if Jesus himself has knocked at the front door whenever she gets mail. She hoots and hollers as if it’s the best thing in life to get a letter, and ya know, sometimes it is! So, keeping that in mind, I’m going to write them both little letters just to say “Mom loves you!” Maybe it’ll show them the value of something hand written and possibly encourage them to do the same now and further in their future!!!!
    Thanks for this “a-ha” moment!!!!

  5. I loved this post. This is something I have been more purposeful about doing this year as well. I liked the idea of keeping my note cards with me so I could write whenever I have a little down time. This week, I will send a card to a lady in my church who is fighting cancer, and I also plan to write a note to each of my children.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Hi Karen! Thanks for the reminder to write hand written notes. I know how much it brightens my day when I get a note in the mail and so I welcome the reminder to pass along that encouragement to someone else.

    I immediately thought of an older couple from my church. I’m a young mom with a 15 month old daughter. Recently my husband had to be in the hospital 2 hours away for 2 different weeks. It was really hard to be by myself and take care of my daughter. This couple took me under their wing : took me to dinner, called to make sure things were okay and just encouraged me. I consider them my 2nd parents (as my parents live out of town!) They are wonderful to my family and I and I just want to show them appreciation. I want to thank them for loving me. I can’t wait to get the handmade card in the mail !!!

  7. What a wonderful idea to restore this lost form of communication! Thank-you. My Grandma, who passed away last year, used to send us stationary for Christmas when we were kids and lived in Belguim. I think I’ll send a note to my Grandpa in Arizona. Their 53rd anniversary would be April 17th. They were such an inspirational couple. She was even my Matron of Honor at my wedding. I think it would mean a lot to get a note from me.

    Thanks again for the idea,

    Melanie in Swansea, IL

  8. I appreciate what you shared today! I love getting personal notes in the mail. They always brighten my day. I love buying different notecards at Target (especially on sale) They have so many cute ones. I am going to send a note to a special friend. We usually workout together but her mother has been ill for 2 weeks and in hospital. She has been visiting her and helping take care of her 100yr. old grandmother. It has been a difficult time and keeping up with 3 kids and husband.
    In the past she has sent me special cards and wrote encouraging words in each of them that were just what I needed at that time. An encouraging word goes a long way. Emails just aren’t the same as a pretty card handwritten and sitting in the mailbox!
    I also find fun thank you cards for kids to write their thank cards for gifts. Colorful pens make it fun as well!

  9. Hi Karen,

    I have just recently been enjoying your blog. I attended Hearts at Home in Grand Rapids last October and heard you speak. I have greatly enjoyed your books!

    Thanks for the letter writing challenge. I will be writing a nice note to my mother in law. She is a wonderful woman who has been a blessing in our lives.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  10. Hi there! I’m so excited that you wrote about the good ole handwritten note! Oh, how I love handwritten notes. When I open my mailbox and see a letter inside…no, not a card with a signature at the bottom…but a true letter where someone took the time to write about what’s happening in their lives, asking about yours, and so on. What’s even better is when they pour their heart out to you through the ink constructed words. Sigh…so rewarding…so heart warming.

    I’m going sit down with a cup of coffee and write my grandmothers a letter as if I’m having a conversation with them. What a wonderful idea you’ve had Karen!

    Prayers and Blessings!

  11. God is speaking to me from so many avenues! Thank you, Karen, for ‘challenging’ us to “write” a note. Earlier in the week a devotion on Proverbs31.org encouraged us to call or contact that old friend we’ve been meaning to. Wednesday night, our Pastor said the Lord was bringing to him old friends to pray with. I had thought I’d contact an old friend who lives an hour away to possibly get together over Spring Break but last night I realized it was too late to try that. With your challenge, it shows me I can still contact her and I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store! I’ve got the card ready and will drop it in the mail this afternoon. Thank you!

  12. Right on, Karen! or should I say “write” on! I love this idea. Right away I thought of a young girl who works where I shop. She’s mentally challenged but gives her all and always makes my day brighter by her cheerful attitude. I’m going to write her a note of appreciation!

  13. Hi Karen-
    I enjoy writing notes when I think of it. It is unexpected and always brightens someones day. We moved from Minnesota to Iowa in Nov. Both of my children have struggled with starting a new school and making friends. My son especially since he has struggled with a new teacher. I sent a thank you note to his teacher in Minnesota telling her how much he missed her and that I didn’t realize all she had done for him from Sept. – Nov.
    She really cares about her students and I wanted her to know that she is making a difference.

    Thank you Karen for your new book which I am currently reading, for your wisdom and insight. God has blessed you with a valuable gift.

  14. Karen – I absolutely love this idea! I am going to start this challenge by writing my dear husband a note to tell him how much I love and appreciate him. Before kids, I did this frequently, but have really slacked off over the last 2 years. It wasn’t until I read your blog that I realized just how long it has been since I’ve written down the things I love about him.

    Thank you!! I have so appreciated all your advice and feel almost like a new person after implementing several of your tips for being organized.

  15. Hi Karen – I sooooo agree with you. I really believe we need to remember the generation of people who came before us when it comes to notes of encouragement. I just created 6 note cards for my mother-in-law. Last spring I planted her yard for her – she no longer can do this job that gave her such joy. But she could enjoy the fruits of our labors. She chose the flowers and watched over me as I planted them. Late in the summer I took a picture of the flowers we had gathered and placed in a vase. Now I am making greeting cards with the picture of the flowers that grew in her yard. On one card I will write her a note – thanking her for raising such a wonderful man for me to marry and she can use the other 5 to send to her friends. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. Karen,

    I check your blog out all of the time, was at the Hearts at Home seminar and I’m currently reading your new book. So I am happy to say that because of you a lot is changing around my place!!!

    With that I decided to write today an old high school friend that normally comes once a month to our Girls Night Out organization in my local home town, but hasn’t been able to make it lately because her husband is in the military….now normally I would e-mail her but she doesn’t have much time to be on the computer and her cell phone is never turned on!!! So I thought she would really enjoy getting a letter in the mail, knowing that I miss her and appreciate her friendship!!! Thanks for thinking of all us moms out ther and reminding us what’s important!!

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