Recently, here at the table, Elizabeth wrote this lovely post on spontaneous hospitality.  How often hospitality isn’t about a beautiful table and a fabulous menu. It is about our time. Giving of ourselves in ways we might not realize are “hospitable.”

My mother died in March and as co-executor of the estate, I’ve spent several weeks at her house…emptying, sorting, throwing out or giving away 90+ years of accumulation. And the most treasured things I found were not things of financial value.

They were pictures and letters penned to my parents from others. Or notes my mom left for my dad and vice versa. It was the telegram dated April 1945 letting my dad, stationed in Germany, know that his firstborn had arrived. (The first of what would eventually be 7 kids, spanning 18 years. I am number 6.)

All of the letters, notes, cards and the telegram reminded me of a different era. An era when one sat down with a pen and a pad and wrote a note. Or sent a card or penned a letter. Put it in an envelope, licked it, sealed it shut and put a stamp on the right corner. 

Letters

We live in a fast-paced, get-it-done-sooner-rather-than-later world. We email and text. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram our way through the day.  And in some cases, we don’t even stop to have a conversation.  Or say thank you, as Elizabeth mentioned in her post.

I keep a large assortment of DaySpring cards on hand and I love to drop one in the mail with a handwritten note to a friend, family member and occasionally an acquaintance if I have their address. Often, I will get a phone call, Voxer message or text letting me know that the card arrived at just the right time, with just what the receiver needed to hear/read that day.  It isn’t me…it is the work of the Holy Spirit even in the midst of letter writing.

The hospitality of writing a note and sending a card is not a common practice, but maybe it should be. Maybe we should start a revolution of card and letter writing, written in long hand with our favorite ink pen. (This is mine & yes, in purple!) Sending encouragement, sharing a thought or scripture or just saying “hello, I wanted you to know I am thinking of you today.”

All that stuff that I discovered in boxes and closets, in the attic and under the beds…they were real treasures of a bygone era. Treasures that leaves me yearning, not only to hear my mother’s voice just one more time, but also to return to a time when there WAS time. When we took a minute to write a note or make a phone call. When we stopped to chat with our neighbor instead of keeping our head down and finishing our walk. Yes, I am guilty of that!

While I can’t physically return to a slower era, I can learn to slow down and make myself take the time to write a note. To drop a card in the mail. 

If I take the time to send a card, how might I change someone’s day and in the process change my own outlook?

One of our GraceTable writers, Shelly Miller, has a new book coming out in October. Rhythms of Rest Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World. Helping us learn to find time in our busy world so that we can be rested, refreshed and ready to do His will.

One of the favorite treasures I inherited was my mom’s recipe box. In it is a recipe for a Chocolate Chip Pound Cake. The recipe is hand written and stained. It is my son’s favorite cake & he is got married August 6th. This cake was one of the desserts at the rehearsal dinner. And when the cake was served, it was with love.  And at the dinner, surrounded by family and friend, I was thinking of my mom.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 cup sour cream
  6. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 cups flour
  10. 1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and beat well.
  5. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into greased bundt pan.
  7. Bake 35-45 minutes until toothpick inserted halfway between center and edge of pan has a few moist crumbs.
  8. Cool for 5-10 minutes, invert and remove from pan. Cool completely and serve with whipped cream or whipped topping.
Notes
  1. You will learn how this cakes bakes in your oven with a few tries. My oven usually bakes the cake 38-42 minutes. Overbaking will yield a dry cake. You can tell by looking at the top of the cake if it is too moist to even check for doneness. Once you get this cake just right, it might just become a family favorite!
Grace Table http://gracetable.org/

 

Mary Bonner
Mary Bonner / Posts / Blog
In the beginning, Mary Bonner usually share the basics. Married to her best friend John for 30+ years. A grown son & a beautiful new daughter-in-law. Currently living in the Northeast, but a part of her heart is in the Midwest. When you move on to deeper subjects, she may share about some of the heartbreaks she’s experienced. The loss of a child and a parent, or a debilitating illness. But through it all, one thing remains constant: The Lord’s comfort, peace and strength. God used the tragedies of life that threatened to bankrupt her family and instead used them to deepen her faith and change her for the better. She loves to cook, entertain and share a glass of wine with friends and believes a stranger is just a friend she hasn’t met yet. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and writing at www.marybonner.net.
  • Caryn Christensen
    http://carynchristensen.com

    Mary, I used to enjoy spending copious amounts of time reading and choosing cards to send to friends for various occasions~ it’s been awhile since I’ve taken the time to do that, but your sweet post reminded me that it really is a ministry that speaks to the heart of individuals. Thank you for this 🙂

    August 24th, 2016 9:25
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    • Mary Bonner
      Mary Bonner
      http://marybonner.net

      Caryn, I’m so glad it spoke to you. Finding the cards and letters among my mom & dad’s belongings was truly a gift. And I LOVE opening my mailbox and find a card!!

      August 24th, 2016 9:31
      Reply
      02
  • Tiffany

    This is wonderful! Precisely what I’ve tried to restore… the art of the handwritten letter –>(www.handwrittenletter.org). Oh how we treasure those words so much more, and for years to come they can become quite the legacy! Thanks!

    August 24th, 2016 13:01
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    • Mary Bonner
      Mary Bonner
      http://marybonner.net

      Oh, Tiffany!! Yes, they can become a legacy and mean SO much. I can’t wait to check out your website!!

      August 24th, 2016 18:26
      Reply
      04
  • Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org

    Mary, what a beautiful post. I, too, have my mother’s recipe book. It is chock full of handwritten recipes that she made for our family and for others. She was part of that by-gone time where a casserole could help a broken heart heal and receiving a handwritten note was not an unusual surprise. Thank you for taking me back to a gentler, slower-paced time.

    August 24th, 2016 15:17
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    • Mary Bonner
      Mary Bonner
      http://marybonner.net

      You are so welcome, Leah. I am glad you can appreciate what I was trying to convey.

      August 24th, 2016 18:27
      Reply
      06
  • Devi
    http://mydailybreadandbutter.com

    I love this, Mary. It’s a good reminder to pull out my cards and pen. I love sending cards (especially) in the mail to friends and loved ones. I forget sometimes how much it means to receive it.

    August 25th, 2016 7:03
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  • Carissa
    http://carissajoy.com

    Beautiful and well-said. I used to tease my mom for buying boxes and boxes of blank cards for every occasion, but I now realize how special it is to use them.

    August 25th, 2016 9:50
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  • Sandra Heska King
    http://sandraheskaking.com

    My mom was a doll collector. She gave one to us girls periodically and earmarked others for us and her grands. They have no meaning to me. Sorry, Mom. But those handwritten notes are priceless. I’ve noticed my cursive S’s and B’s look just like hers. I also gave some of my MIL’s recipe cards and notes written in the backs of vintage cookbooks. Clutter I can’t let go of.

    August 26th, 2016 6:16
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      http://eaobtixwqml.com

      A bit suspeirrd it seems to simple and yet useful.

      March 9th, 2017 1:38
      Reply
      10
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      May 26th, 2017 10:34
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      June 8th, 2017 4:37
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  • Rhonda
    http://www.rhondaquaney.com

    Your Mom! Can’t even imagine what that would have been like for her to have those babies and wire a message across the ocean. It’s a hard and holy thing to filter through the pieces of a life. Love the recipe that was served with love. And those pens! I usually use a pink one myself.

    August 29th, 2016 22:54
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  • Angela at Sal et Lux
    http://www.saletlux.com

    It’s funny, Mary… my teenage daughter is inspiring me in this area! She makes it a priority to write beautiful notes and send them, to friends, to acquaintances, and to grandparents. Thank you for the sweet reminder that it matters! I, too, have a valuable recipe box; I got my grandma’s. It’s a priceless treasure. 🙂

    September 22nd, 2016 22:53
    Reply
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