“Charming” Postcards with Gandhi

It’s been about a month since I posted my response to the final prompt of Love Notes 20, so it’s time to make good on my promise to share the cards I received for the prompt. As you might recall, the prompt was “Be the change.”

I received four beautiful postcards from some of my Love Notes penfriends.

Connie F played a little scrabble and then crafted this cute card. ūüėČ

“Scrabble: Be the Change,” Postcard made by Connie F.

Expounding on the theme, Connie writes,

“Change in our hearts, minds, and actions start with us for sure.”

She closed her greeting with the greeting found on Christine B’s gorgeous butterfly postcard:

“Butterfly Peace,” Photo by Christine

Be the change…and remember without change there would be no butterflies.¬† FLY HIGH.

Eileen V cited Robin Sharma and¬†cautioned that, “change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”

“Deep Meditation”

The back was just as artistic as the front with pretty (and neat) handwriting that I can only dream of emulating.

Andrea F, ever unique in her approach to the prompts, sent a recipe, ‘How to be the Change.”

“Recipe for Change,” postcard and charm crafted by Andrea F

Ingredients:

  • You
  • Your passion
  • Lots of love, patience
  • A hint of craftiness

Directions: Believe in yourself. Believe in others. Dream big and go for your dreams. Inspire others and spread your love.

As you can see, Andrea also crafted and placed a wine glass charm on the card. This added a “charming” feature to the card.¬† I’ve attached the charm to my Gidan Nodza Traveler’s Notebook, so I get to see it every day!

My “Charmed” Traveler’s Notebook

Here’s a close up of the charm:

Charm made by Andrea

See how it honors our snail mail relationship. ūüôā

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” is a quote typically attributed to Gandhi. However, that is simply a pithy “reduction” of Gandhi’s full statement:

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do. ‚Äď Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi underscores the interactive nature of transformation between the world and us. We, alone, do not create change in the world, rather we respond to the world’s need, a need that is also within us.¬†As we change, the world is transformed and vice versa.¬†

Are you tuning in? Listening for what the world needs? And what you need?

Fran-Made: What Is Your Postcard Story?

What do you to when you encounter a postcard pal who plays in a New Orleans-style brass band? You love her instantly!

I “met” Fran¬†a few months ago¬†through an offer she posted for American Girl postcards. ¬†I just “had to have” Addy! Since that first Addy postcard (hang on, I’ll be blogging about her soon), there’s been a steady stream of postcards from Fran in my mailbox. She finds postcards at antique shops and estate sales and generously sends to those who will appreciate them.I’m tempted to spend the next several posts showing off the postcards Fran sent.

Fran also makes her own postcards. The first “Fran-made” postcard I received was vibrant and intriguing and included an Artist Trading Card (ATC) and a note that detailed her “postcard story.”

Her postcard journey began with ATC’s seven years ago. ¬†She enjoyed¬†designing the “tiny art” cards in the style of the one pictured below–ink¬†colored in with copic markers.

Circles, Lines, and Angles, ATC by Fran B.

ATC’s are about the size of a playing card–2.5 x 3.5 inches–and allow for tightly conceived art. Sometimes¬†an artist¬†needs a larger canvas, so eventually, Fran realized she could make her designs on larger card stock and began making postcards. Postcards became significant when she was challenged by her mother’s illness.

Angles and Lines, Postcard by Fran B.

She writes:

I had made a few cards when my mom learned she had breast cancer. She lived in Florida. . . I began to send her a postcard at least once a week, sometimes more.  I could pray for her while I made my lines and colored them in. I also did some collage style cards as well and by the time she was well enough again to come and spend a month or so with us in summers, she had quite a collection of postcards.

Fran’s meaningful and touching postcard story compelled me to think about my own. I can’t remember the moment I fell in love with sending and receiving postcards, but¬†I’m sure it was around the same time I got into penpaling as a preteen. For years, my favorite postcards were those that told stories, shared some inspirational message or a bit of humor, and¬†those that were artistically “different” or “bold.” I regularly exchanged postcards (and letters)¬†with high school and college friends, but then “email” became a “thing” and snail mail communications almost vanished.

When I “discovered” swap-bot seven years ago, I found a whole community of individuals who loved sending and receiving postcards. My collections grew to hundreds in¬†less than a year, and I welcomed them all–literary, children’s book illustrations, maps, state cards, history, cultural, purple, pink, floral, lighthouses, African American, art, quirky, funny, and so much more.

I started designing my own postcards on a regular basis because of the many creative swaps on swap-bot, but the Liberate Your Art swaps (hosted by Kat Sloma) emboldened me to share them with the world.

Photo postcards, in particular, provide the perfect way for me to share the beautiful things I encounter in my daily life. Crafting my own postcards and writing postcards¬†also rescue me from life’s temporary madnesses. So, while I don’t remember quite where my story begins, I know why it continues.

Do you have a postcard story? If not, it’s time to begin… ūüėČ

The Ripple Effect: Sharing Kindness with Our Words

Last week ended with my feeling “less than kind,” so I’m happy to revisit the postcards I received for¬†prompt two of Love Notes 20¬†to increase and fortify my kindness quotient. The prompt was “Share kindness…” I know. I know. I’ve done a number of kindness posts recently–eight, to be exact–but¬†there’s so much more to share on the topic.

My partner,¬†Jenni P,¬†sent another postcard from the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site.¬†I’m convinced someone had a talk with her about my postcard “likes.”

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site

She loves Mother Teresa, so she wrote a MT quote as her message:

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.¬† –Mother Teresa

Christine must have been peeking over her shoulder because their messages “echo” each other!

“Share Kindness,” postcard crafted by Christine B.

Connie F sent photo inspiration, featuring another favorite–trees.

“Roots in All Direction,” photo by Connie F.

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions and the roots spring up and make trees. –Amelia Earhart

I love how Connie completed the prompt:

Sharing kindness has a ripple effect. We never know how far a kind word or gesture will go.

Lastly, my Austrian postcard pal, Andrea F, crafted a tag postcard featuring a photo of a quirky mailbox. I’m slightly amazed that she sent it “naked” (with no envelope) and it¬†made it to me in almost pristine condition.

“Kindness and Confetti,” postcard made by Andrea F.

She reminded me to “throw kindness like confetti”¬†and to¬†toss a little in the direction of myself–which¬†is the sentiment¬†written on the back of the¬†postcards I sent.

As for my part, I “crafted” a “minimalist” postcard.¬†That’s what I’m calling it, at least.¬†I cut leftover white¬†cardstock down to 4×6, printed a kindness scripture onto the cards, used the¬†Cricut to transform miscellaneous scrapbook paper into hearts, and glued the heart to the cardstock.

“Be Compassionate,” handmade postcard by Me!

Interestingly,¬†within the context–just a few verses before Ephesians 4:32–the instruction is given to:

Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that benefit those who hear them.¬† –Ephesians 4:29

The compatibility of our messages¬†is uncanny, almost¬†as if we’re¬†sharing one¬†mind on the matter of kindness.

So¬†much unkindness is (typically) rooted in our speech that we must be reminded to be kind with our words and to speak only what “benefits those who hear them.”¬†It takes nothing from us to speak a tender¬†word or encourage someone along the way, but often we behave as if giving to someone takes something from us.¬†Actually, the effect is just the opposite–treating each other with compassion makes¬†room in our hearts to give more¬†and make¬†our world a better place.

It took very little work and very little effort to make my postcard. Likewise, kindness takes little, if any, work and effort.

I’ve made a conscious¬†decision¬†to share kindness¬†with my words and¬†“be generous” with my love to¬†increase my kindness quotient this week.¬†Want to join me?

Bring on the Sun!

My mailbox has been brimming with love and cheer all year. I thought I’d use the summer break to “catchup-blog” about snail mail, but summer will be over before that plan is fully realized. Therefore, I’ll just blog as the mood hits me. And right now, I’ve been hit with the sunflower bug.

One of my neighbors is growing sunflowers in her backyard again. I look out my office window to watch their progress and await the sunny blossoms that will make their appearance soon. I can’t wait to visit them!

Fortunately, I have penfriends who can do amazing things with watercolors, pens, cameras, and paintbrushes. Their artwork keeps my sunflower-heart happy even when sunflowers are out of season. Two of them were kind enough to send me sunflower love–and their cards arrived on the same day!

The first postcard features a photograph shot by Christine B.

Is It a Sunflower? by Christine B.

Christine’s note informed that this was a black-eyed Susan and not a sunflower, but she wasn’t sure. It looked like a sunflower to me, so I did a little research. My garden app–not helpful. ¬†Google–very helpful. What did I learn? Even if this is indeed a black-eyed Susan, the wildflowers are in the sunflower family. How cool is that? Christine (kind of) sent a “sunflower” without intending to do so.

Happy dance!

Wild American Beauty: The Black-eyed Susan¬†offers a cute story and interesting tidbits about the flower, but doesn’t mention its relationship to the sunflower. The Old Farmer’s Almanac does.

The second image was crafted just for me by one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever “met.” This is my first time receiving a card from Trang, but I’ve seen her gorgeous creations via Love Notes and the¬†Global heART Exchange.

“Sunflower for Chandra” by Trang K.

I squealed when I saw this beauty! The card was made with watercolor, pen, and glitter (The scan does little justice to the art work, and the clear glitter shows up as dots). To top it all, Trang wrote a sweet “just for me” message on the back:

Let your heart shine like the sun and bloom into flowers…sparkling with love and joy.

Trang’s sparkly personality comes through this card!

These flowers will join the collection of sunflower postcards on my inspiration wall, offering cheer and light during the dark moments. Thanks, ladies!

Note: Signup for the next round of Love Notes closes July 9. What are you waiting for? Follow the link to sign up. You know you want to. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†#LoveNotesJB

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Throw It Like Confetti!

There’s something about confetti that makes us all happy, giddy even. The laughter is infectious and we spread it around without even thinking about it. ¬†That’s how we should practice kindness.

Today’s post features a kindness postcard¬†crafted by a “newish” penfriend, Connie F. of South Carolina.

“Confetti” by Connie F.

“Throw kindness around like confetti.”

I giggled with glee when I retrieved this postcard from my post office box. The confetti is so cheering! ¬†Notice the purple and pink flying hearts? Connie sees hearts everywhere (there’s proof in her Instagram feed). And though she says the inspiration for the winged hearts was the line from Jewel’s “Hands”¬†(see Monday’s post), the hearts carry another message: When we freely exercise kindness, we are giving love wings and tossing it “like confetti” throughout the world.

Isn’t that what kindness is all about?

Be sure to throw some kindness around this weekend. Your small part has exponential potential to heal the world.

Guard Well That Treasure, Kindness…

Many years ago one of my good friends warned me that I was too kind and admitted that she was worried people would abuse my kindness and that would forever change me.  Though I thought this would never happen, I recalled her statement more than a decade later when I looked in the mirror and did not recognize the person I saw. A light was missing. The spark had dimmed.  The unkindness of others had taken a toll on my spirit and was beginning to affect how I interacted with everyone.

That moment in the mirror was a wake-up call.

I had an acquaintance who operated from the belief that few could be trusted and it was “better to get them before they get you.”¬† Even when she could plainly see (and admitted so) that she was wrong about a person’s motives, she found it difficult to change her approach.¬†She was always in self-protective mode, and it was clear (to me, at least) that her defensiveness and abrasiveness were¬†the result of people’s taking advantage of her kindness.

I did not want to become this person.  I did not want to assume the worst before I expected the best. I wanted (to continue) to treat people with kindness.

Today’s kindness card,¬†designed by Cricket, reminded me of¬†my mirror experience¬†and underscored the lesson I learned in “guarding kindness.”

Cricket, who¬†designs¬†simple and elegant cards,¬†posted a “sneak peek” of the card on Facebook,¬†and I admired the card before I knew it was on its way to me.¬†The bright green and¬†the red hearts in place of fingernails were visually appealing, but I loved the words which were typed on the card¬†using a vintage typewriter.

“Guard Well…” by Cricket

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.¬† –George Sand (Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dudevant, n√©e Dupin)

Kindness is a treasure that should be protected–given without hesitation and with no regrets.¬†It is indeed a gift that changes the giver, even if it doesn’t change the receiver. But kindness doesn’t mean answering “yes” to every request or becoming a doormat.¬† As I suggested in an earlier post, one can be compassionate while saying “no,”¬†and kindness shouldn’t cost anything.

Sometimes, people have other motives. Sometimes, people are mean. Sometimes, people are so wounded from past experiences that they know of no other way than to take advantage or hurt others.

Their behavior should not determine how we treat them, but we must learn there is kindness in walking away.

“Do Your Random Acts…”

For Lorelei, December 31, 1954 – June 15, 2017

Today, Lorelei C., one of my postcard pals was laid to rest. She was a kind soul who generously and randomly sent postcards that would arrive just when I needed a pick-me-up. Tributes on her Facebook page and the Love Notes page reveal that everyone had that experience with her.

Just hours before her passing, one of her daughters¬†urged¬†us all¬†via a FB post, “Do your random acts of kindness. She loves that stuff.”¬†I can think of no better way to honor her memory than by doing just that.

***   ***   ***

Today’s Global HeART kindness¬†postcard features minimalist¬†art by Christine B., the person who introduced me to the¬†Global Art Exchange, the Love Notes community,¬†and (indirectly) to Lorelei.¬† Christine sends dozens of “random” postcards every week; she clearly exemplifies “random acts of kindness.”

“Kindness,” by Christine B.

On the back of the postcard, Christine penned:

It is just too simple–be kind!

Her placing¬†cutouts of the letters that form the word “kindness” against a¬†plain white background makes her¬†intent is clear.¬†Kindness, plain and simple, is where we should place our focus in our daily interactions.

The card seems to encourage us to do our acts of kindness–without noise, without distraction, without motive or promise of reward, acknowledgement or applause.¬†And sometimes, as Christine points out in her note, the kindness may be in “one word [that] can change someone’s entire day.”

She ends the card with the admonition:

Be kind whenever possible.¬†It is always possible.¬† –Dalai Lama

Mere days before her passing, Lorelei was still sending¬†postcards.¬†“It is always possible.”