Wildflowers in the Mail | What Are You Nourishing?

from Kathi

I managed to get to one of Jennifer Belthoff’s Write Together sessions earlier this month. I intended to return to the prompts and write more fully about them. That hasn’t happened yet, but in recent days my response to one of them proved to be a test of discipline and my commitment to myself. 

I am nourishing…

I am nourishing my peace. I am firmly rooted in stillness and shielding myself from the clamor and confusion of a world that can be harsh, mean, violent, and cold. I am finding ways to center myself so that I don’t fall into utter despair over the evil that subtly creeps and settles into the fabric of human hearts.

I am protecting my peace by maintaining barriers against toxic people and toxic culture, by accepting that I am not always right, my way is not the only way, and that others are entitled to being who they are and moving through this world as they wish.

I am seeking pathways to peace in the most disturbing national and international moments. I am staying responsibly informed, but am turning away from and refusing a steady diet of news and social media and feasting on light and beauty instead. 

I am crafting an environment of peace by creating order [internally and externally] and by fueling my soul with the Divine, with poetry, with art, with song.

What are you nourishing? 


About the Image: My Wildflowers friend, Kathi G, sent the card above–a card she says reminds her of me and my “endless vision of creativity.” Aww…thanks, Kathi. The card, sold exclusively for Trader Joe’s, features the work of Laura Graves. You can find more of her art on Instagram or Society6.

Wildflowers in the Mail | Heavenly Spots

from Lisa

Are you okay? Really okay?

The world can be chaotic and exhausting. When we think things can’t get any crazier, they do. When we think we will work together to find solutions for the world’s ills, we create more problems. When we think we can’t get any wearier, there’s always something that proves otherwise.

Sometimes things are a little too much, so we vacillate between a strong desire to set the world on fire and a simple wish to spend our remaining days in our beds contemplating color. It is during these maddening, tiresome moments that we must “find the heavenly spots” and “show [our] neighbors where they are.”

The poem below by Cleo Wade provides a formula for dealing with the world’s ills. She reminds us that we choose our responses, and there’s a whole lot between setting the world on fire and giving up.

“Tired”
Cleo Wade

I was tired of worrying
so I gave myself my peace back
I was tired of feeling intimidated by what I should do
so I pulled up my sleeves
and
got to work on what I could do
I was tired of not knowing
so I found out—about myself, my family, my
ancestors, my government, and the struggles of others
I was tired of seeing evil everywhere
so I found the heavenly spots and showed my
neighbors where they
were
I was tired
of looking at the world as one big mess
so I decided to
start cleaning it up
and when people ask me if I am exhausted
I tell them no
because
more than anything
what I got the most tired of
was being tired


About the Image: This week’s posts will feature postcards from my Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friends. We are a group of women who (mostly) met each other through Love Notes, but who decided to form our own group and continue sending encouraging mail to each other [when Love Notes transitioned from Facebook to another platform]. Our group name comes from “Wildflowers,” a poem by Morgan Harper Nichols. Today’s image features a photo from Lisa C. It was taken at her favorite park, a heavenly retreat from the craziness of the world.

Scripture Mail | An Encouraging Word

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Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. –1 Thessalonians 5:11

Scripture mail might be my favorite type of mail to send and receive. There’s something about opening a postcard or an envelope filled with scriptural goodness that fuels the spirit.

Whenever I receive scripture mail, it seems the senders listened for Divine direction on which Bible verse(s) to include. The card above represents a “case in point.” Shortly after returning from my father’s funeral, I received the card with the encouragement below tucked inside from LadyJo, a member of the group Christian Friends on swap-bot. She had no way of knowing about my father’s passing, but inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:11, she sent timely encouragement my way, and it did much to hearten me.

Scripture mail can take many forms–store-bought postcards and notecards, stickers, “pass it on” cards that can be purchased for as little as a dime, bookmarks, coloring cards or pages, a page or two from a devotional book, handmade cards, photo cards, and even index cards with scripture written or typed on–with or without other embellishment. There are countless possibilities.

Scripture mail tuck-ins from Elaine (aka servingHim), another Christian Friend on swap-bot

Sending scripture mail is a great way to support an individual who might be facing difficulties. We don’t always have the appropriate words to comfort or answer life’s problems, but we can usually find a Bible verse that offers peace and hope.

Or, like, quote mail, scripture mail can be sent to let individuals know you’re thinking of them. There are many verses that can be used to just say, “Hi!”

It’s easy-peasy, of course. You can jot a few Bible verses into any card you have available. If you don’t have cards, stationery or notebook paper will suffice. Just slip the verses into an envelope and send them on their way. It truly is the thought that counts!

Side note: I do advise you to make sure the receiver will not be offended, particularly if you do not share the same belief system. I send scripture mail to encourage, uplift, or inspire, not to proselytize or get someone to convert to my religion or denomination. I am particularly drawn to sacred texts, so just as I am inspired by texts outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition, I’m sure that non-Christians find wisdom in the Holy Bible.

If you want to get a little fancy, watch for my next scripture mail post. I’ll share and talk about how to make simple scripture mail.

Until then…

Scripture Mail | The Bible That Has It All! [And Giveaway Winners]

bible

Thanks to a busy week and fatigue, this blog week did not go as planned—with a first post on the fundamentals of scripture mail followed by some of the encouraging scripture mail I’ve received. I’ll back up to those post in a few of days. But today, I’m sharing the ultimate in scripture mail—The Holy Writ itself! 

Have you ever received a Bible in the mail? I have many times, usually because I ordered them. 🙂 I love having different translations and Bibles that serve various purposes. The Young Women Love God Greatly Bible, which I arrived via snail mail a couple of weeks ago, is an exciting addition to my devotional life. I received a complimentary copy of the Bible as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. 

I opened the pages of the Bible and was pleasantly overwhelmed by its offerings. At a whopping 2200+ pages, the Young Women Love God Greatly Bible has everything! It presents the Bible in the traditional format that most are used to—from Genesis to Revelation–and offers many, many features that make learning and studying scripture appealing and enjoyable:

  • Memory verses for each book of the Bible
  • Brief introductions for each book of the Bible
  • 50 reading plans
  • 10 topical reading plans
  • Personal testimonies and insights from women all over the world, including country profiles for each woman
  • Reflection questions
  • Challenges for further study
  • 100 devotional thoughts
  • 10 maps, featuring the world of the patriarchs, the Kingdom of Israel, Jerusalem in Jesus’ time, and the journeys of the apostles
  • 10 detailed timelines
  • Infographics
  • 25 letters from a woman of faith that addresses life’s challenges and questions
  • 25 heroines of the Bible
  • 25 heroines of the past (Christian history)
  • 32 God’s “heart for the nation” scriptures
  • and much more

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The Bible, published by Thomas Nelson this year, was edited by Angela Perritt and Melissa Fuller, who were driven by the “battle cry” to love God greatly. The Bible was designed for young women, which [chronologically] I am not, but at heart very much am. As a dean/professor at a faith-based institution, I use a lot of biblical materials geared to the young adult set, so I am über excited about introducing this Bible to students! In fact, I was so excited that I snapped shots of some of the features and sent them to a few students who oohed and ahhed as much as I did. 

Leafing through this Bible is a pleasure! At every turn of the page there is something that captures my attention and makes me what to just stop and take note—even if I am just flipping through and not intending study. For deep scriptural study, the editors have included instructions for the SOAP method of Bible study (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer), which works for Bible study newbies as well as seasoned Bible scholars. 

The font is just the right size, not too tiny, not too large. Plus, teal (?) subheadings break up all the “gray” and give the eyes moments to rest. Minimal sketches/drawings throughout the Bible serve as invitations to slow down and consider passages while coloring. There’s ample room in the margins for Bible doodling or journaling or (my favorite) making copious marginal notes. Oh–another favorite—there’s not one but two ribbon page markers!

The Young Women Love God Greatly Bible features the easy-to-read New English Translation (NET), which may make the Bible easier to understand for some.  As mentioned earlier, this Bible has more than 2200 pages of goodness, so it is pretty thick and heavy. It is not the Bible I would take to church, but it is certainly perfect for those long study and prayer sessions in the comfort of home with a tall cup of tea, pretty pens, and a Bible journal. It is also suitable for group Bible studies. 

I would love to tell you more, more, more about this Bible, but I think you’ll have to check it out for yourself. You can find it at the FaithGateway store or on Amazon.


Screen Shot 2022-06-16 at 10.30.49 PMWeekend Giveaway Winner: I let the wheel decide, and our weekend giveaway winner is How I’m Living with KB253! Congratulations, KB253! Be sure to use the contact form above to send me your address so I can send your goodies. And…since I appreciate all of you, I invite the other five participants to send me your addresses too! I’ll send a happy note or two to each of you this summer! Have joy!

Snail Mail | Floral Notecards and a Weekend Giveaway!

Phyllis Collage

Squeals! An enveloped filled with flowers and cacti! Not actual flowers and cacti! Notecards, of course!

One of my new “flower sisters,” Phyllis R, sent them. When she asked for my address a week or so ago, I thought she was planning to drop a postcard in the mail. I didn’t expect an envelope full of her beautiful photo notecards, so you can imagine my glee!  If you’d like to see the full photos, just click the image above to access the Flickr album. [I even added a card Phyllis sent for Easter].

Remember the last post when I talked about how easy-peasy it is to make postcards from your own tree photos? Well, guess what. It’s that easy to make postcards or notecards from any of your photos. 

Anyway—Phyllis’ package gave me an idea for a weekend giveaway! A snail mail kit! 

I will randomly select someone who comments below and send her/him/them a mini mail kit consisting of a set of notecards, postcards, postage stamps (if in the USA), and a few tuck-ins and/or stickers. My goal is to unload some of my excess stash. Kidding…maybe. 😉 Seriously, I want to encourage you to send more snail mail because personal mail equals connection, and we need connection now more than ever!

Soo…don’t be shy. If you have nothing to say, simply type “snail mail” in the comments section, and you just might be the lucky winner.

The giveaway ends Monday, June 13 at 11:59 p.m. (Central). The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 15. 

Good luck!

Snail Mail | #ThursdayTreeLove | Tree Mail!

from LAW

Who says you can’t fit a tree in a mailbox? My pen friends certainly know how to use snail mail to share what’s growing in their parts of the world, and today I am sharing three photo postcards for your tree-loving pleasure.

My pen friend, Lori Ann W., sent the photo postcard above last October (2021) for a Love Notes prompt. On the back of her card, she wrote:

Find your way through your days knowing you are so very special and are cared about by so many!

A sweet message for a gorgeous scene! The photo was shot by one of her friends, who graciously allowed her to make postcards from the shot.

Christine B, my most prolific pen friend, sent the card below the previous October (2020) for Love Notes too.

from Christine

She wrote:

Give me just a second to remind you how important you are to so many. You have had a lot handed to you and I’m always impressed at how you handle everything.

Aww…this one brought (good) tears to my eyes.

The postcard features a dead ponderosa tree on the bank of Lake Mary in Flagstaff, Arizona. Christine told me Flagstaff has the largest standing ponderosa forest in the country. How cool is that?!

from Karolyn

Finally, these “tree feet” were sent to me by Karolyn for a Photographic Postcard swap on swap-bot. It was sent 6+ years ago, so it has been sitting in my “to be blogged” box an embarrassingly long time.

Karolyn, who’s from Missouri, captured the tree when she visited the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. She found this tree clinging to the rock alongside a waterfall.

All three photo postcards capture the timeless beauty of trees–one tree glowing in the sunset; one dead but standing tall with its evergreen friends; and one with deep, strong roots crawling along a waterfall. Gorgeous sights with beautiful lessons and messages I would have missed if it weren’t for cameras and snail mail.

Snail Mail Quick Tip: Tree mail is easy-peasy to send. Is there an interesting tree along the path you walk, jog, or drive regularly? Is there a favorite tree in your garden? Did you find a tree that took your breath away while you were in a park or on a nature trail? Trees are–thankfully-everywhere, so that makes sending trees a cinch: Just take a shot, have it printed at your local photo printer (even Walmart and Walgreens print postcards onsite), write a note, and send it on its way to make a mailbox and a human happy.


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Snail Mail | Join the Revolution!

Lori Anne Address Book Cover

I spent a good part of Sunday clearing my desk and making a note of all the people to whom I owe letters. Since my father’s passing (in February), I have had little inclination to pen letters and postcards. In fact, I realized my snail mail life has been a mess. Not only are there letters I haven’t responded to yet, but I discovered there are many notes and letters that I haven’t even read!

How can this be?! What kind of snail mail revolutionary have I become?

As I decluttered my desk, I had two brilliant ideas. Yes, brilliant. I gathered all the stickers, postcards, stationery, washi tape, and other embellishments I came across. Instead of relocating them into their proper containers, I placed them in a ziplock bag and decided that I would write letters and notes with all the desk clutter. That way, I minimize the sense of overwhelm I feel lately when choosing cards, envelopes, stickers, etc.  Desk clutter mail kit. That’s idea #1. 

My second idea? To make this “snail mail” month on the blog. Yep, pretty brilliant. Right? June will be a month of snail mail tips, happy inbox and outbox mailbox shares, and more. Of course, this means, my blog readers will become my snail mail accountability partners. If I tell you I’m going to do it, then I have to do it. 

Maybe, you’d like to become a snail mail revolutionary too. You probably have everything you need:

  • Stamps
  • Postcards or stationery with envelopes
  • Pen, typewriter, or computer and printer
  • Friends’ and family members’ addresses
  • Desk or some other sturdy surface

And if you want to get a little fancy, some extras:

  • Stickers
  • Washi tape
  • Colored pens, pencils, markers
  • Quotes, poems, song lyrics

Join me. Sending mail is one of the small pleasures of life, and with all the madness going on, the world needs more gestures of kindness and love. It’s a win-win in both directions!


About the Image: The image above is actually an analog address book made by my artsy pen friend, Lori-Anne C. I am honored to be the recipient of one of only three of these hand-painted Lori-Anne originals. And yes, I still keep a physical address book, so this gift couldn’t be more perfect! Well, actually, the sunflower puts it over the top! [Lori-Anne makes gorgeous art. Click her name to see more. I’ll be sharing another Lori-Anne original later this month, so be sure to tune in].

NPM | PhotoArt Inspiration | Revolution

Powerful Revolution

When I shared nayyirah waheed’s poem “ism” on the blog a couple of months ago, I knew I would eventually pair it with a photo. I didn’t know which photo until one day–for a different project–I asked the two students featured to pose for a picture and “act like sisters.” They nailed it with the first shot! When reviewing the pics, I realized I had the photo I wanted.

The students featured are Na’veh M. (nah-vay) and Wanéa A. (Wah-nay-uh). You have seen their work featured on the blog before–“No Woman Is a Paradise Island” (Wanéa) and “Three Poems and a Tea” (Na’veh).

As part of a creative writing course, Wanéa published her first book of poetry, Witness: The Life of Jesus Through the Eyes of Others, which is available on Amazon for a whopping 99 cents! The reflections are presented in various poetic forms–villanelle, tanka, haiku, blues, free verse and more.

Na’veh, like France, just graduated. She publishes her poetry regularly on Instagram and will hopefully self-publish a book soon. I’ll be sure to let you know when she does!

This is our final National Photography Month post, but my camera will not be resting anytime soon. For now, on to other things…

NPM | PhotoArt Inspiration | Divine Feminine

Divine Feminine

I cannot let National Photography Month (NPM) end without sharing a bit of PhotoArt inspiration (PhotoArt plus an inspiring quote). Today’s features an image of France Régine, one of my (now former) students, receiving an affirming hug at the end of a reading in which she read pieces from her book and discussed her creative processes. Unraveling, a collection of journal entries, poetry, stories, and musings from France’s teen years to early twenties may be purchased at Barnes and Noble. I typed on her friend’s sleeve a quote from the queen of the #truthbomb, Danielle LaPorte. After considering France’s presentation and our many in-class and out-of-class discussions about women, writing, healing, and power, these are the words that came to mind after capturing this moment.

Please tune in tomorrow for another bit of inspiration and our final NPM post.

Until then…

NPM | #ThursdayTreeLove | Blues for the Babies

When I published Tuesday’s blog post, I was unaware of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. I have been burying my head in the sand because the recent news cycle has been far from heartening. I learned about the loss of 19 children and two teachers in an early morning meeting. I sat through the meeting sick to my stomach and overwhelmed with grief. 

I thought about the appropriateness of the poem I shared Tuesday—especially its title, “The World Is Wild.” Any world in which an 18-year-old, a child himself, can purchase an assault weapon is out of control. I wondered how I would have crafted that poem had I written it Tuesday; I wondered if I would have been able to find the words.

There are times when the words weigh so heavily in my spirit that no amount of lifting can bring them to the surface. This does not feel like a time for poetry. Or a time for song. The only thing I can feel is a slow, long, moan–a deep gut sound that vibrates and sways and rattles the grief out of the soft and hard to reach places.

Our country seems oriented toward violence. Far too often the targets are innocent individuals minding their business and living their lives. And worse, far too often the targets are children wide-eyed with wild wonder and little clue about the dangers that lurk in dark, dark hearts.

It is mind-numbing to know that children are taught to run and hide in case of an active shooter, that teachers who are trained to educate must also be prepared to protect students from gun violence and even take a bullet for the children they are trained to educate. Why is that?! Why do school buildings become a one-sided war zone for twisted souls with a vendetta and time to kill?

I have no words. I have only the admonition to hold your babies close and hold the individuals who have lost their babies and loved ones close in your heart. Including the family of the perpetrator. They are hurting and grieving too.

The words below are the closing lines of a blues poem I wrote during my sophomore year in college. They are appropriate for this moment.

from “Nobody Told You to Be a Fool”
Chandra Lynn (Age: 20)

Just go to sleep, honey; rock your precious child;
Just close your eyes and rock that tiny child—

Protect that baby’s innocence; find comfort in his smile.  


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.