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tips for writing meaningful cards

People these days often like a card with something already written in it. Sometimes it is hard to find the words if your natural bent is not writing. When creating my note cards I leave them blank, so that they can be used for multiple occasions. Even if you are not a writer, there are some key elements to writing a meaningful card, and I have created something to help illuminate your writing.

As I was pondering this blog post, I thought, how can I help those who struggle to find the words? I thought of all the wonderful cards I received over the years, and my grandmother immediately came to mind. For as long as I can remember, my grandma has always included a verse or a quote on our cards. Birthdays, holidays, and sometimes just-because cards. She had so many amazing quotes, and one day pulled out her quote book. It was filled with delightful quotations that inspired her and that she had collected over the years. My sister Karly and I were immediately inspired to create our own. We copied some out of her book, and have continued to collect them ever since.

To the left you can see a card my grandmother sent, featuring a beautiful quote at the top. On the right is my own quote book that I use to this day.

These quotes often become a key element of handwritten notes. We can't all writing inspiring phrases all the time, but we can certainly borrow them to send some cheer or encourage someone. Sometimes it can take some doing to find the perfect quote, but what a joy when we stumble upon one that makes sense.

Along with including a nice quote, there are other ideas to consider:

  • If it's a birthday or encouragement note, think of a time this person made a difference in your life, even if it was the smallest thing. Tell them that story and how much it meant to you.

  • What is your favorite thing about this person? Tell them!

  • If it's a seasonal greeting, wish them well. Be specific about it! In what areas of their life do you wish joy or hope?

  • If it is a sympathy card or card for a difficult season, just let them know you are praying and thinking of them.

It doesn't have to be long, but if it's specific and personal it will mean that much more. Tell me in the comments what tips you have for writing cards!

The help is not done yet, though! My best work always comes from those things that delight me. It did not take much for me to decide that I should make some little quote inserts for my notecards. I already had the art, it just needed some tweaking and the addition of some inspiring quotations. Just tuck it inside the note card along with your note! Then when your loved one unfolds the card, more beauty will emerge. The card can be then be tucked on the fridge or somewhere to encourage and enjoy.

I made a set of Christmas ones to send some cheer and a set of winter ones to admire the beauty of the season after the holidays. I am one of those crazy winter-lovers, but even if the coldest season is hard for you, there is much beauty to behold in it. These little quote cards can help encourage you or a friend to find the beauty in winter. The Christmas ones display the lyrics to some lesser-known but still inspiring carols.

If you are wondering about the quotes themselves, I have a little bit of information about each one here. I used my own original artwork to illuminate them.

Christmas set:

Wexford Carol: A very old, traditional Irish carol. It's origins are uncertain, but likely was composed in the 15th or 16th century. The English version is a translation by William Grattan Flood, who included it in his Oxford Book of Carols (1928).

The Lord At First Did Adam Make: A very old traditional English Carol, first published in 1822 by Davies Gilbert. The Advent season in early days emphasized Jesus as the second Adam, and often began the story of Christ's birth in Genesis, going from the Fall to the Second Coming in Revelation through songs, chants, and tableaus. It set a large-scale context for what Christ's first coming meant.

Fanny J. Crosby: A prolific American hymn-writer and poet, Crosby was blind from a young age. She wrote thousands of hymns, some of her most famous being "Blessed Assurance" and "To God Be the Glory." I chose this lesser-known Christmas song, because I loved the image of evergreens that flows into praise.

Nahum Tate: An Irish poet and hymn writer, Tate was appointed Poet Laureate for Britain in 1692. The carol "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks," which the quote I used came from, is based on Luke's account of the annunciation to the shepherds.

Winter set:

John Burroughs: An American naturalist who wrote from the end of the 19th into the early 20th century. This quote is from his essay "The Snow Walkers."

William Hamilton Gibson: This quote is from a poem he wrote. Along with being a writer, Gibson was an American artist and naturalist in the 19th century.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: A family favorite in the Smith house, Longfellow was an American poet in the 19th century. This quote is from his poem "Snow-flakes."

Sara Teasdale: Another prolific American poet. This quote, and its delightful descriptions, comes from her poem "Winter Dusk."

You can find these note card inserts and the note cards in my Etsy shop!


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