Summer Reading : Explore stories told through letters

Are you looking for some mid-summer inspiration? Well, I have something fun for you -- epistolary literature. You’re probably more familiar with this genre than you know! Epistolary comes from the Greek work, epistolē, which means letter.

Epistolary writing use letters or journal entries to tell a story. These pieces are always a fun read because they give a real-life perspective of the main character without interference from a narrator. In other words, we hear the reader’s thoughts and feelings in an intimate way that fosters unique connection and insight.

A few examples you might be familiar with are:

When I read epistolary books, I simply enjoy the intimacy and journey of following the writer's thoughts and emotions, without barriers. I also learn techniques for expressing myself in my own letters. I re-read phrases that convey thoughts and emotions poignantly and notice salutation and sign-offs I’d like to adapt.

Most of all, I appreciate that putting thoughts on a page is an exercise in honesty and vulnerability. Whether the words are intended for an audience or a private diary, it takes guts to be still, know our own mind and heart, and develop a practice of writing it down.

Celebrate the beauty of expressing your voice by getting into epistolary fiction or nonfiction this summer. You might consider making it a part of your kids’ summer reading as well!

Enjoy learning and loving the art of letter writing, my friends. Be sure to pass on your book recommendations too!

with joy,


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5 love languages : How to use your words of affirmation

The words you write on paper impact other’s far more than you probably know. I was cleaning out a desk the other day and found a note from a friend. The affirming words from a year ago still build me up reminding me about my character and heart.

In Gary Chapman’s book, Five Love Languages, he explains that people give and receive love through: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. When others love us in the way we best receive love, it hits a sweet spot and fills an emotional love bucket we all have.

This idea of love languages is not particular to men or women – it’s for everyone, and it’s been a guide for me to  strengthen my relationships and be a fiercely loving friend or partner. Take the quiz to learn more about your love language.

Sweet notes or heartfelt letters can be filled with intentional words that send a person who needs Words of Affirmation soaring! Here is Chapman’s definition of Words of Affirmation:

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.

I’ve included a few ideas for how to encourage and affirm any person -- especially those who are filled up with love through Words of Affirmation!


Get specific in your words of appreciation toward your partner, parents, friends, and coworkers. Everyone likes to hear “thanks”, but knowing the details of why you’re grateful can change a person’s perspective. Here are some examples of what to say in person, or in a note of gratitude:

  • I appreciate when you…
  • If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have gotten through…
  • I’m grateful you’re in my life because…
  • Knowing you gives me perspective about…


What a beautiful thing to be noticed, witnessed, recognized in our victories and struggles. A note of encouragement is the cheer to keep on being awesome and a recognition of our true character. Here are some examples of how to encourage in personal ways:

  • I believe in you because…
  • It impresses me when you…
  • I learn from the way you...


Show loved ones admiration and respect by giving specific and sincere compliments. Many times we’re thinking these things and forget to say them out loud -- challenge yourself to say it or write it down! Here are examples of how to write words of respect and admiration to the ones you love:

  • You___better than anyone I know
  • I wish I could___the way you do.
  • I’m proud of you for…
  • I marvel at the way you...

It takes time and intentional conversations to figure out the best way to speak someone’s love language, and there’s no better time than today to start! As you find opportunities to deliver words of truth and beauty, I believe you’re strengthening individuals and your community as a whole...and I just love that about you!

with joy,


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