The Lost Art of Letter-writing

Oh, my. I came across this TED video yesterday and as soon as I watched it, I knew I had to share it with you.

This short video made my cry. You see, in this video, Lakshmi Pratury talks about the letters her father for her before he passed away. Besides my compassion for her loss, her words touched me because they brought back some memories.

As someone who loves to write (no surprise there!), I used to write a lot of letters. Of course, those were the days before email, instant messages, and Twitter. In particular, I would write to one of my cousins almost weekly and I looked forward to her response. Then, when I spent time discerning a religious vocation (that may be a surprise to you!), I wrote my parents and family once a month and my friends a little less frequently. I tell you, I cherished the letters I received from my mom! They somehow got lost over the years, but I wish so much that I still had them. (Even today, I still insist on sending physical Christmas cards!)

This video reminds me that the need for the physical is important. Emails and the digital world is great (and I will never give them up), but there is something special getting a letter that someone took the time to write, fold and send through the snail mail. It sure beats bills and adverts!

Lakshmi Pratury wants to start an old fashioned letter-writing revolution. She plans to write for her son, and I think it is a great idea. So, I’m in. How about you? You in?

Books Read in September 2016

I read two (rather lengthy) books in September.

Books Read in September 2016

Image by Hermann (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

The books were part of the “Mark of the Lion” trilogy by Francine Rivers. And they were good, so very, very good!

The first book, A Voice in the Wind, introduces several important characters: Hadassah, Marcus, Atretes, Julia and several lesser characters. As the story continues the characters become woven into each other lives and affect each other in very profound ways. The second book, Echo in the Darkness, continues the story of three of the characters. However, I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t tell you who they are!

The stories themselves are set during the time when the temple of Jerusalem is destroyed. And, yes, the story (both of them) is Christian but not in an “in your face” way. As you get to know the characters, their faith (or lack thereof) fits in perfectly. It is just a part of who they are.

I have to say, the character development in both books is amazing. They seem so real and the reader is pulled so completely into the action you feel like you are really present and a part of their lives. I have read a lot of books with well-developed characters but these books have the best character development I’ve ever encountered. Seriously.

Both books are long (700+ pages!) but you hardly notice. I read Echo in the Darkness in two days! It is an easy read but also gives you something to think about. Between the two books, Rivers writes about issues such as slavery, abortion, euthanasia, promiscuity, and faith; topics that are still timely in our own day. And, she does so in such a sensitive, natural way. She doesn’t preach, give simplistic answers, or tells you what to think. She just lets the characters live their lives and the reader gets a bird’s-eye view.

If you are looking for a really, really good read, I highly recommend you read these books. Do start with A Voice in the Wind, though. Echo in the Darkness won’t make a lot of sense if you read it first, although you could, I guess.

The third book in the series is As Sure as the Dawn and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

If you do read the books, do tell me what you think. 🙂

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Book Review: Choose Joy

From the Book Description

“Sara Frankl knew she had a terminal disease, but she didn’t let it stop her from living. In the face of immeasurable pain, Sara chose joy–again and again. Her unforgettable message of hope and purpose lives on, even after her death, in her words.

CHOOSE JOY is a compilation of the lessons Sara learned while she was dying, written in her own words and sewn together by her close friend Mary Carver. It is a reminder to see the beauty in life, even when it looks nothing like you hoped or planned.”

Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver

My Comments

If you read one book this year, make it Choose Joy. Seriously. I almost can’t find the words to describe how this book affected me. It touched me to the very core of my heart and my being. It inspired me. It challenged me. It set me on a rollercoaster of emotions as I giggled and cried through the book. It changed me.

I have mild cerebral palsy and I am no stranger to chronic pain; although, not to the extent of Sara’s pain and suffering. But unlike Sara, I have not always chosen joy. And Sara’s decision to choose joy in spite of all the things she has been through reminds me, once again, that I am so blessed and truly have so much to be grateful for.

Additionally, Sara shows us what is really important – relationships. Who we are is infinitely more important than what we can do. How we relate to others, how we treat them and connect with them is what matters. This is a lesson that we all need to be reminded of once in a while.

Of course, I cried as I read about her passing. I hope I get to meet her in Heaven one day and tell her how much her words meant to me. I wish I could have known her in person while she was alive. She was (and still is) one of those special gifts from God to remind us of His goodness and grace and that it is always possible to choose joy, to choose love, over any circumstances in our lives.

Other notes about the book: The book is co-written by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. Carver offers introductions for each chapter and section and then switches to Sara’s words. It is well-written, well-organized and, of course, written in a way that keeps the reader turning the pages. I couldn’t put the book down and I certainly didn’t want the book the end.

Therefore, if you want to be inspired, changed, and challenged, I highly recommend Choose Joy. I give the book five (5) stars.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Hachette Book Group <http://hachettebookgroup.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”