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Category Archives: Stories Behind the Cards

A 1950s love story in letters: Part III

December 26, 2014 | Leave a comment

This is the third in a three-part series of a real-life 1950s love story in letters.

In Part I, home economics student Anne met cowboy Milo on a ranch thousands of miles from home.

In Part II, she responded to his proposal and the two kept up with their correspondence leading up to plans to visit at Christmas.

And Part III? What happened after Christmas?

Marriage certificate

Wedding picture

Laying in grass

They got married and lived happily ever after. They became the grandparents to my friend Melody, who so graciously allowed me to share Anne and Milo’s story with you.

Anne and Milo passed away before Melody was born, so imagine how important these letters are to her. To her family, and their history.

Their letters are real and tangible. Anne and Milo had to make time for each other. Their letters are in their own handwriting, on pieces of paper they touched. And those will be around for a long time as Melody’s family so lovingly preserves them.

Isn’t it amazing how doing something as simple as putting a pen to paper can bring two people together? Take the time for it. And it doesn’t have to be the love of your life. It can just be a friend, or a simple thank-you note. I can guarantee you neither of you will ever regret it.

A 1950s love story in letters: Part II

December 24, 2014 | Leave a comment

This is the second in a three-part series of a real-life 1950s love story in letters. See how Anne and Milo met here.

So, did Anne agree to marry her cowboy?


September 1951

Anne responds yes to proposal letter


I’ve been trying for the last half hour to get to sleep but haven’t been able to. Thoughts of you and plans for next summer just keep running through my mind.

Guess I kind of jumped the gun in my last letter. You never did ask me to marry you before the letter. My last letter was practically a proposal and it’s not even leap year. Anyway the answer is yes. I’ve never met anyone as desirable for a husband before and don’t expect to in the coming year. …






She said yes!


Anne and Milo continued their correspondence that fall, making plans for Milo to visit her on the East Coast at Christmas. They talk about their day-to-day activities, their plans for visiting, and their plans for the future. Here are excerpts from some of their letters leading up to Christmas. (Click any thumbnail to see it larger.)


November 2, 1951

Nov 2

(From Anne)

It was wonderful to come home from class this noon and find a nice long letter from you waiting.

I’m sure now that everything will work out all right for us. How could I help but be happy with a fellow like you. …

I can’t imagine life without you and to think that I almost backed out of going to Montana but something inside kept telling me to go. Maybe God was planning for us to meet. … I love you so much Milo.

It’s perfectly alright with me if you plan to come the day vacation starts. It sounds like a wonderful idea. The longer you’re here the better. …

All my love,


November 12, 1951

Nov 12

(From Milo)
Hi sweetheart,

Sure wish you were here so I could tell you how much I love you. …

[In response to her question about settling down …] Anne with you and for you I can not only settle down but I can like it. In fact that’s exact what I want to do. That is a promise too. …

It doesn’t surprise me your folks don’t like the idea of your marrying me after all there are several reasons they could have, my age and occupation, location, and I suppose several other things. …

Darling you won’t let that stop us though will you? We’ll get such things worked out, maybe not just like we would like to but some way we will. …

Good nite sweetheart
I love you,


November 15, 1951

Nov 15

(From Anne)
… I’ve made my decision. I want to marry you and spend the rest of my life in Montana. …


November 16, 1951

Nov 16

(From Milo)
… Ever since you left no matter where I am it seems to me that I should be some place else … Sure hope next winter we are married and together. To me now that seems the most important thing in the world. …


November 18, 1951

Nov 18

(From Anne)
… My heart jumped a few beats this morning when your letter came. …


November 26, 1951

Nov 26

(From Anne)
… What would you like for Christmas or have I already asked you? …

Nearly three months has gone by now since we’ve seen each other. It seems like three years instead. The wonderful memories of the summer are still vivid in my mind as the the day I left …

All my love,


Check back on Friday to see what happened in Milo and Anne’s story after Christmas.

Speaking of which, merry Christmas to you and yours!




A 1950s love story in letters: Part I

December 22, 2014 | Leave a comment

This is the first in a three-part series of a real-life 1950s love story in letters. Click any image to see it larger.

In the summer of 1951, Anne, a home economics student in college, was looking for experience — and adventure. So she traveled from Vermont to the Lazy K Bar dude ranch in Big Timber, Montana, to put her skills to use for the summer. She knew the dude ranch would have cowboys. She didn’t know it would have Milo. After a few months together, it was time for Anne to head back East. And their letter exchange began.


September 1951


First letter from Anne envelope

First letter from Anne letter

Dearest Milo,

Arrived in New York safe and sound, but not very happy, last night about 9:00 p.m. It’s hard leaving a place you love so much but doubly hard to leave a person you love so much. Getting on that plane was the hardest work i did all summer. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so frank, but I’ve never been a girl who plays hard to get and tries to keep a guy guessing — Montana means more to me after 2 1/2 months than Conn could mean in a lifetime, and you mean more to me than any other fellow ever has. Please don’t forget me during the long winter or the few plans we made for the future. You asked if I could give up everything back east — it would be hard at first perhaps but the gain is so much greater than the loss. I know we could be very happy together. …


First letter from Milo and proposal envelope

First letter from Milo and proposal letter

Dearest Anne,

Sure wish I knew that you got there safe and alrite. Never did I have such a feeling as when that plane took off. I hope I never have to stand and watch you fly away again. Ok darling I do love you and I just got to know. Will you marrie me? … Already I miss you so and haven’t had time to get even food yet. I saw Mrs. V.C. in town yesterday. She said what did you do with Anne. I told her and she said I thought maybe you would bring her back as a bride. I told her I was still going to. … I sure wished you hadn’t have gone. I think this is going to be the longest winter I ever put in.

Remember I love you,


What did Anne say to Milo’s proposal? Check back on Christmas Eve to find out …

12 Songs of Christmas

November 25, 2014 | Leave a comment

12 songs of christmas

Christmas is very much at the heart of Red Letter Paper Co. In fact, making Christmas cards that reflected both our faith and our nontraditional design aesthetic was how it began. So we made up a list of songs that we love to play around the office this time of year. Like our beginnings, it’s a bit of a mash-up of the modern and the traditional. If we included every Christmas song we loved, the season would be over before we got to the end, but here are some of our favorites.


Vince Guaraldi Trio – “Christmastime Is Here”

This song is pure bliss. It always fills us up with so much happiness. Both the instrumental and vocal versions are beautiful, but the children’s choir just seems to make it more magical, more innocent.


Rosie Thomas – “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year”

Actually, it is a little bit Christmastime all year around here. Let’s just say that when you run a card company and make Christmas cards throughout the year, the Christmas tunes play long before the tree goes up.


Over the Rhine – “All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue”

Here’s a little gift of Christmas melancholy to you from our most cherished Christmas record: “Snow Angels” by Over the Rhine. In fact, one of our cards is inspired by one of the tracks on it. Can you guess which one?


MxPx – “Christmas Day”

This song is a little manic, but so is the season. The idea is that it’s the little things that are important and even the smallest gestures can mean a lot.


Josh Groban – “O Holy Night”

This is one of the greatest Christmas carols sung by one of the greatest classical voices.


Love Spirals Downward – “Welcome Christmas”

It’s not often you hear the words Christmas, children’s special, and “goth” in the same breath, but this is an even more ethereal, more lilting rendition than the original from the animated Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”


Amy Grant – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

To be honest, Amy Grant’s entire “Home for Christmas” album is a favorite, so it was hard to choose just one song. Since we’ve moved around a lot, this tune helps us feel a little closer when we can’t be home with our loved ones for Christmas.


Innocence Mission – “See, Amid the Winter Snow”

For us, this was not a well-known Christmastime hymn until one of our favorite bands released this rendition. Like the song, this band is beautiful and totally overlooked. If you like this, we highly suggest their record “Birds of My Neighborhood,” it’s the perfect music to settle into a winter of joyful reflection once the Christmas candy has worn off.


Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Say what you will about Mariah Carey, but this song is just FUN. And so is the Jimmy Fallon classroom instruments version.


The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”

The lights are up around the city and we can feel the sense of anticipation building, and we want that feeling to last forever. While it shares a title, this is not the song Nat King Cole made famous — that comes next.


Mel Torme/Michael Kessler – “The Christmas Song – Open Fire Mix”

The warm and cozy classic — shaken, not stirred — with a little cocktail lounge chill-out for relaxing. We would prefer this with Nat King Cole’s vocals, but we love this remix.


John Denver and The Muppets – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

This is the perfect song to end on. Plus you can’t go wrong with The Muppets.


What are your favorite Christmas songs/performances? Leave a link so we can listen too!

Instilling handwritten traditions

May 27, 2014 | Leave a comment

My friend Melinda is stopping by today to tell you about how writing cards with her mom became a meaningful tradition she now shares with her own daughters. I hope you enjoy her guest post, and stick around for next week when I’ve got a big announcement…


Memories of my childhood are highlighted with scenes of constructing the infamous thank-you note. My mother would set me and my sisters up at the kitchen table to write out our appreciation for gifts received or experiences shared. Prompted by gratitude, my mother led the tradition that intentionally communicated thankfulness.

We always had several different styles of note cards or simple pieces of construction paper to choose from. Whether stately monograms, delicate floral, or a beachside scene; kittens with yarn or majestic calligraphy; we listened to our hearts and chose accordingly. This was the practice of the art of expressing our personal style through thoughtful, crafted messages.

Cards Melinda received from her mom and friends so far this year

Cards Melinda received from her mom and friends so far this year

When we got older my mother would have to remind us to write them, but now as an adult, I thoroughly enjoy reserving the moments spent pouring out love in the notes I send. And equally as much, I experience heartfelt appreciation, from the efforts of another, when receiving one myself.

Yes, we are all busy these days; we are mothers and friends, coming and going. It’s become easy and effortless to shoot a text, tap out an email or post a note on someone’s Facebook page to let them know you are thinking of them. But the warmth of a conversation, a personal touch from a simple observation, delivered by way of paper, is truly matchless.

I have a process when planning to send a note. I think about the person I am reaching out to; considering their personality and acknowledging their circumstance or situation. Then, I pull out the drawer in the sacred space for the sacred tools, and carefully choose the right paper and the right pen; completely intentional and deliberately honoring.  Each aspect, from start to finish, holds hands with one another; cheering on this labor of love.

thinking of you card

Certain cards and notes I receive – I keep. Meaningful messages stand on display around my home; a lingering presence of harmony and solidarity. And as much as the external adornments become treasures to me, it’s the written words within them that fill my home with the lovely aroma of friendship and love.

Today, my mother still remains sharp as a tack with her thank you notes; her matriarchal mannerisms fully on display. Shortly after a holiday spent together, a united celebration, or thoughts of me that pass through her mind, a card is sure to follow.

I anticipate her notes; they dazzle with a glowing impression of her. The color schemes she chooses reflect her heart song and the scene depicted is never short of magnificent. But more than that, they bring her presence with them and our presence is truly the most powerful expression of love we can give to one another.

Today, I set up my daughters around the kitchen table; laying out markers, glitter, and paper cards. I remind them who we are writing to and what message we are communicating. Each daughter, as individual as she is, appoints a palette and chooses her words.

These are the traditions of intentional love; where we sacrifice our time and the cost of a stamp to reach near or far to communicate messages of love and hope; where we set present tasks aside and shine a light on a friend, telling her that she is seen.

This is how we communicate our faith one to another. This is how God’s glory reaches and rescues. And even today, paper remains the most valiant of messengers.



melindaMelinda Cadwallader is a wife, mother, glamour enthusiast and Wonder Woman’s biggest fan.  After her daughter’s diagnosis of Leukemia, she set aside her stylish career of leadership within the beauty industry and took up the most fulfilling, yet challenging, role of her life: matriarch. Melinda now uses her speaking and teaching experience to help build a culture of virtuous and capable, kingdom-minded women. Melinda is currently writing her first book, The New Matriarch, which speaks of how we become influential women, leading our friends, family, and community with a confident faith. You can connect with Melinda at www.equippedwoman.com.

So many of my favorite memories…

March 20, 2014 | 1 Comment

Last year, my grandpa turned 80 and I made him a special card. This year, I’m releasing it as part of  Mother’s Day/Father’s Day series, because once I got to thinking about it, I figured there were probably a lot of other people who share this same sort of sentiment.

Father's Day card - So many of my favorite memories are on the lake with you

When I was young, I used to love going fishing with Grandpa. Sometimes it was just us two, sitting on the lake in a small boat, and sometimes my younger sister would tag along too and it’d be the three of us putting worms on hooks and waiting for the fish to bite.

Those are some of my favorite childhood memories, and so that was what inspired the card.

And even though I moved away from home 10 years ago, my mom still teaches me how to cook things whenever we’re together. (The kitchen is not my strong suit.) So then that turned into this next card.

Mother's Day card - So many of my favorite memories are in the kitchen with you

And then those turned into these.

Father's day card - So many of my favorite memories are in the garage with youMother's day card - So many of my favorite memories are in the garden with you

You know what else I like about these? Maybe your dad taught you to cook or your mom was the one tinkering with tools in the garage. Not a problem. These are perfect for anyone who is part of your favorite memories.

Have a special memory you’d like to see on a card? I’ll be accepting a limited number of custom orders, so get in touch now to reserve your spot!

New cards: I can’t imagine my wedding without you in it

February 25, 2014 | 4 Comments

When my husband and I got married nearly 10 years ago now, we had a relatively small bridal party. (And it was before Pinterest, which sometimes I wish I had, and other times I’m glad I didn’t feel the pressure to put on a Pinterest-perfect wedding.) But our bridal party had four attendants on each side, so for me, it was two friends and two sisters.


I guess you could say this card was really concepted back then, although I didn’t start making cards till much later. But I remember thinking back then that they were the people I needed up there with me, and I couldn’t imagine doing it without them.

So this card is for them, even though my wedding is long past. But I hope you future brides — and grooms! — who feel the same way about your bridesmaids and groomsmen can make good use of it now.

will you be my bridesmaid maid of honor will you be my briesmaid / maid of honor

Also available with maid/matron of honor. Plus you can pick your color, juuuust in case you ARE planning a Pinterest-perfect wedding :)

custom color bridesmaid card

Guys, I went with a classic black/white/gray look for you, but if you’re gonna sport a powder blue tux and want cards to match, just lemme know. (I can also customize to say best man.)

will you be my groomsman card

will you be my groomsman best man card

Happy wedding planning!

New cards, for Valentine’s Day and beyond

January 7, 2014 | Leave a comment

Personally, I’m still waiting as long as I can to take down our Christmas tree, but the truth is Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. So I’ve added a few new cards to the shop for this season and beyond. Here’s a look at what’s new, and the thoughts behind them.

let's hold hands for always

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be one of those cute old couples who’s still holding hands and pinching each other’s butts. Right?


more than 140 characters to say i love you

Sometimes it takes a little more than a tweet to say what you have to say. So grab a pen and spell it out. (Keep an eye out for future variations on this one…)


in good times and in bad

This one’s a little different than most Valentine’s Day cards you’ll see, and admittedly, different than many of my own. It’s for those times, as much as you love each other, when it’s not all puppies and rainbows. I actually made this months ago for my husband when our wedding anniversary fell just days after we had to put our beloved German shepherd to sleep. Neither of us felt very romantic, but I wanted him to know that we’d get through it, together. It’s important, I think, whether you’re mourning a loss or navigating a bump in the road or whatever it may be, to show how much you care. And judging by the quick reaction to the sneak peek I posted of this card on Instagram, many of you know what I’m talking about.

So whether you’re in a good place to send a romantical (yes I know that’s not a word) card for Valentine’s Day, or maybe not so much as usual, you’ve got options. Just make sure you tell them you care in one way or another.

My word for 2014

December 31, 2013 | 3 Comments

Have you ever picked a word for a new year? Not so much a resolution as a reminder. Something to encourage, uplift, or drive you. Last year, my word for myself was prayer. I just wanted to do more of it. I didn’t keep a running tally or anything this year, but I think I succeeded in making it more a part of my life in 2013.

I didn’t think long and hard about a word for 2014. It just popped into my head and I knew that was the one. This year has been a difficult one (although I’m well aware that it was much harder for others and that I do have good things to look back on as well). For me, 2013 seemed to be defined by health issues, stress, panic attacks, and loss.

For 2014, sure, I have goals I want and need to meet for this business. I’m still driven. But this year, I know that this word needs to define much of who I am. My word for 2014 is…




I need to be still. I need to take the time to REST and remember I like sleeping in and reading a book on the weekends. I like having time to do absolutely nothing. And amid the business owner and designer and wife and million other hats I wear, I need to nurture that girl, too. Or she turns into an overworked, stressed out, unhappy person.

But for me, the word STILL is not just about being still. With all that bad stuff going on in 2013, STILL is a reminder that He’s still here. God’s still here. He’s still on my side. He’s still waiting. He’s still loving. He’s still mine. And I am still his. And maybe I lost sight of that a bit in 2013.

So there’s my word for the upcoming year.

I wish you everything that’s good in this world in the New Year. Have a happy 2014.

What’s your word?

be still and know printable

Free printable – click image


September 19, 2013 | Leave a comment

On a ship off the shore of Korea, he wasn’t allowed to turn on any lights at night. And so he sat on the deck, reading her letters by moonlight.

I learned that about my grandparents at my granny’s funeral last week. They were married for 58 years before she succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS, on Sept. 7.

granny and grandpa

I have lots of memories of her. As a kid, I spent a ton of time at their house during the summers. We did a lot of shopping. She didn’t like cheese. (I know, I don’t understand either.) One summer, we had a particularly fun water fight after I turned a hose on her and she grabbed a second one. It’s one of my favorite memories of her.

When my husband and I got married, she gave us a quilt she made by hand just for us. A couple weeks before her death, I went through a bunch of cards from our wedding as we were cleaning out to move. Hers was in the stack, saying there was “love in every stitch” of that quilt. And I believe it.

grandparents and girls.jpgThat’s me on the right, and Granny is holding my little sister.

While we visited a few times a year as kids, as an adult, I didn’t make it back to Kentucky where my grandparents lived very often. Thankfully, we stopped there for an evening as we drove from New York to Santa Fe last year, and I’m so glad I got to spend some time with her and my grandpa before she got really sick.

Losing her is immeasurably sad. But her legacy is great. At her funeral, the church was FULL of people whose lives she touched. I am just one.

But I was blessed to be her granddaughter.


I’m kind of homesick for a country
To which I’ve never been before;
No sad goodbyes will ever be spoken,
 And time won’t matter any more.

Beulah land, I’m longing for you,
And, some day, on thee I’ll stand,
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah land, sweet Beulah land.
I’m looking now across the river
Where my faith will end in sight;
There’s just a few more days to labor,
And then I’ll take my heavenly flight.

Beulah land, I’m longing for you,
And, some day, on thee I’ll stand,
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah land, sweet Beulah land.
((Beulah Land, sung by my father at Granny’s funeral))

Parting is such sweet sorrow

August 19, 2013 | 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 1.32.48 PM

My computer is like my child. Besides my husband, it’s the thing I spend the most time with. I love it. And like a child, sometimes it drives me completely nuts. Although the spinning wheel of death is more like Mac putting ME in timeout.

So here I am, preparing to send my baby off to summer camp for two weeks. Only on a moving truck. I keep thinking of things I need or want to do before I pack him up. But eventually I must face the facts and wave goodbye for a little while. Send him off on his own for an adventure from Santa Fe to Seattle, where we’ll meet again.

Mac is already preparing for the trip, wrapping up projects, filling orders, writing blog posts. He’s got only a few days left to get it all done.

I’ll be closing up shop for a bit while Mac makes his trek. I will accept orders through Wednesday, Aug. 21 and they will be shipped in our normal time frame. On Wednesday night, I will put my shop in vacation mode. Thanks to Mac’s little brother, iPhone, I’ll still have access to email and Etsy messages so I can answer any questions that might pop up, and so you can check in on me to see how I’m doing without my baby around.

Mac and I will reunite on Sept. 3, but we may need some time together before the shop goes back online (and also while we wait for whoever Internet provider to show up).

So long, Mac. Have a great trip. See you in Seattle.

Three years, three lessons, three free

August 6, 2013 | 3 Comments

Today is the three-year anniversary of the day RLPCo first opened shop!


1. This isn’t easy. People often ask me how I got started with my own business, what prompted me to do it. The truth is, I thought it’d be easy. A few design skills here, some paper and envelopes there, and voila! Business! But it turns out that is only a small portion of it. I didn’t start with some grand scheme to change the world, just to help people find something they couldn’t find before. Over the last three years, I’ve really grown along with my business, honing in on my passion for sharing my faith my way, and doing it in a way that serves others, too.

be the influenceNecklace from Amanda Lynne Designs

2. Confidence. Man, was this lacking when I started. I think there are the kinds of entrepreneurs who can jump in with both feet and think they’ve got it all down pat. The ones who know their vision, won’t stray from it, believe in their product so much they can sell it to a wall. Then there’s the rest of us. The ones who have to be told over and over again that what we’re doing is good, that we’re making a difference. The ones who will second-guess their business’ purpose a thousand times, think about quitting. I’m a lot better three years later. Oh I still have my moments. But I’ve grown as a person, as a designer, and as a business owner. I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going. … Usually. ;)

3. Online friends are real-life friends. I wasn’t on Twitter before RLPCo launched, and I had a personal blog read by all of a handful of people I already knew. Building relationships has been a HUGE part of this for me. And the timing couldn’t have been better, during a period in my life where community outside my apartment was lacking. You gave me purpose. You supported me, encouraged me, made me laugh, prayed for me. I’m so, so thankful for you, many of whom I’ve never even met in real life. You guys make me better.

I really can’t say thank you enough to anyone in the last three years who’s bought a card, spread the word, said a prayer, or a million other things that mean so much.

But in an attempt, we’re having one heck of a sale.


Today only, till 2 a.m. ET, to celebrate three years, buy three cards, get three free.

There’s no code to enter, nothing to remember. Just add three cards to your cart and then write the other three you want in the notes at checkout. That’s it.

Thanks again. Truly. Here’s to many more years!

* Free cards must be of equal or lesser value. Up to 9 free cards. Purchase must be at full price — sets not included.