“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?

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?

Hello Beautiful!

“Hello Beautiful,” by Timree

I sent the final¬†letters for Love Notes 20 this morning. Sigh.¬†I’ll send postcards periodically to my Love Notes pals while we¬†wait for the next round, but¬†the return to work tomorrow and preparation for the 2017-18 academic year means I must take a short break from my¬†role as a snail mail revolutionary and focus on the¬†life of the mind.

As you may recall from earlier posts:

Love Notes is a postcard project coordinated by Jennifer Belthoff that ‚Äúencourages slowing down, getting back to basics, and connecting through handwritten notes sent through the mail.‚ÄĚ Participants sign up for the swap on Jennifer‚Äôs website and then she assigns partners‚Äďnotified via email‚Äďwho correspond with each other for three weeks based on a prompt she provides each Sunday.

The prompts for this round were provided by Mindy T of Embody Love Movement.¬†Each prompt provided participants with the opportunity to reflect and share with their partners. I plan to use today’s microblog and the next two “Microblog Mondays” to share the cards and messages I received from my assigned partner and the kind souls who sent beautiful¬†reflections¬†out of the goodness of their hearts.

The first prompt was “Hello beautiful…”

Being told we are beautiful makes a tremendous impact¬†on our mental, physical, and emotional health, so I can only imagine¬†the good vibes that reverberated throughout the world as Love Notes participants retrieved postcard after postcard, note after note, letter after letter that began with the words, “Hello Beautiful!”

My partner, Jenni P, sent a postcard from the “Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site.”

From the postcard back: Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site preserves the 19th-century home of Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln, father and stepmother of our 16t president. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer living in Springfield by the time his parents moved here, but his burgeoning law practice often brought him to Charleston and the farm, especially during the 1840s. Abraham Lincoln also owned a portion of the farm which he deeded back to his father and step-mother for their use during their lifetime. Today, Lincoln Log Cabin is an 86 acre historic site that includes an accurate reproduction of the Lincolns’ two-room cabin which was reconstructed on the original cabin site in 1935-1936 as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project. A working, living history farm has been developed around the cabin. The site also includes the Moore Home, where Lincoln bid farewell to his family in 1861 before leaving to assume the Presidency, and the grave sites of Thomas and Sarah Lincoln at the Thomas Lincoln Cemetery. For more information, go to www. lincolnlogcabin.org.

Jenni has no knowledge of my love for purple, so it was a nice coincidence to find the purple flowers in the photo. Her message:

Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks, not in what they say. Just in what they are. –Markus Zusak, I Am the Messenger

Andrea F, whose work you’ve seen recently¬†in a “summertime post,”¬†graced my mailbox with¬†a collage of “happy red postcards.”

Collage, “Happy Red Postcards,” by Andrea F.

She wrote that the collage is a compilation of postcards from some¬†“beautiful happy moments” in her life¬†she wishes to share.¬† She closed the note simply–

Be beautiful.

Lori W’s cute chipmunk¬†gave me the “warm fuzzies.”¬† The little critter comes from Animal Box: A Collection of 100 Animal Postcards.

“Chipmunk,” 1990. By David Howell. Originally published in Sermons in Stone: The Stone Walls of New England and New York by Susan Allport

Her message–

Hello beautiful! Rest your heart on the ultimate certainty–you are loved!

Isn’t it so that when we walk in this truth (knowing we are loved) we are indeed more beautiful–inside and out?

I did the happy mail dance when I pulled the cards from Christine B and Connie F from the mailbox. Why? They both sent sunflowers! Christine sent a bouquet of sunflowers embellished with washi tape and paper accents.

“Sunflowers seem to be always smiling.”¬† Photo postcard by Christine B.

She counseled:

Be true to who you are and smile. It’s the prettiest thing you can wear.

Connie designed “one of a kind” cards for some of us in the group. I was simply speechless when I pulled her¬†card out of the envelope. Everything about this card made my heart sing–the sunflowers, the washi tape, the tiny mirrors, and the heartfelt message. [Photo does no justice].

“Hello Beautiful,” crafted by Connie F.

There are many beautiful people in the world.  Never forget you are one of them.  I hope you feel beautiful today! If you start to wonder what beautiful looks like, check the mirror.

My own message, drawn from a wall sticker in my home office, “Be your own kind of beautiful,” encouraged my postcard pals to embrace their unique light and shine on!

Just yesterday, I happily found a package of “Hello Beautiful”¬†notecards (top)¬†designed by Timree¬†that I¬†purchased some time ago. They’re too¬†pretty¬†to remain stored¬†in my¬†stuffed box of stationery, so I plan to write to some of my sisterfriends and remind them of their beauty.

If you were to write a “hello beautiful” message today, to whom would you write and what would you say?

Purple and the Language of Flowers

What’s just as heartwarming as “found” hearts? ¬†Purple blossoms in the mail, of course! My postcard pal, Jacki W., makes sure that I find purple flowers in my mailbox regularly. ¬†Jacki, a Love Notes and Global HeART participant, loves purple just as much as I do. Here are some of the gorgeous postcards she sent recently.

Wisteria Climbing: Potent Symbol of New Life

There is so much to love about this postcard! The way the wisteria adorns the house, the windows and doors. The garden beneath. The quaint home itself. Just a lovely scene.

According to Flower Meaning, the botanist who recorded details of the flower named it in honor of a fellow scientist, Dr. Wistar.

This flower is native to Asia, so naturally many of its meanings come from Chinese and Japanese culture. In China, this flower is commonly featured in art and plays involving marriage. Many people exchange the flowers as a good luck charm when planning a wedding. Since the vines and trees bloom in spring and early summer, it‚Äôs a potent symbol of new life. This is why modern florists recommend it for both baby showers and business openings. A well-trimmed wisteria bonsai offers perfection in a tiny package, tapping into the meaning of devotion. ¬†–From Flower Meaning.

Anemone: Windflower and Magic Fairies

There are few things as beautiful as a flower that stands alone. ¬†This image needs nothing more than the beautiful purple blossoms–no background at all. If I remember correctly, I squealed when I received this one.

The stories about anemones make the flower even more endearing:

The name anemone comes from the Greek word for “windflower.” According to Greek mythology, the anemone sprang from Aphrodite’s tears as she mourned the death of Adonis.

Thought to bring luck and protect against evil, legend has it that when the anemone closes its petals, it’s a signal that rain is approaching.

Still other mythology connects the anemone to magical fairies, who were believed to sleep under the petals after they closed at sunset. Perhaps it’s because of this magical and prophetic tales that today in the language of flowers, anemones represent anticipation. ¬†–from Teleflora.

Hyacinth: Constancy and Sincerity

Isn’t this deep purple simply breathtaking?

Legend has it the origin of hyacinth, the highly fragrant, bell-shaped flower, can be traced back to a young Greek boy named Hyakinthos. As the story goes, two gods ‚Äď Apollo the sun god, and Zephyr the god of the west wind ‚Äď adored Hyakinthos and competed for his attention. One day, while Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos the art of throwing a discus, Zephyr, in a jealous rage, blew the discus back, killing Hyakinthos with a strike to the head. Apollo named the flower that grew from Hyakinthos’s blood hyacinth.

Symbolizing sport or play in the language of flowers, hyacinth represent constancy, while blue hyacinth expresses sincerity. ¬†–From Teleflora

We select particular flowers for our loved ones because they carry a sentiment we can sometimes communicate only through the gift, especially when we are miles apart. ¬†So Jacki’s postcard selections convey powerful messages of well wishes, visions for my life, and a statement about the character of our friendship. ¬†Jacki has been a constant postcard pal and her cards always brighten my spirits. [Thank you, Jacki!]

I’m determined to transform my home office space into a purple space, and in that space I will have a wall filled with purple postcards. Until then, they’ll adorn the purple walls of my office at work.

Love Notes Catchup: Time for New Friendships

Another round of Love Notes¬†began last week, and as I await postcards, I thought it might be wise to share many of the dozens of¬†love notes I received during and since¬†Love Notes #19 (in April). It seems there will never be enough time to showcase all of them, so I’ve decided to share a bundle of cards in¬†this post¬†and others later¬†in their own special posts.¬†As¬†usual, some of¬†the cards are handmade,¬†some are store-bought, but all¬†were especially chosen for me. Forgive me for the lack of details, but do enjoy the pretty. [Click an image for a closer look].

 

Yanelis, my assigned partner, wrote in the first card she sent, “It’s time for new friendships.”¬†Her statement was almost prophetic; I met many new penfriends via the last round and I’m looking forward to getting to know more members of the Love Notes community.

Wishing you a week filled with love and postcards!

My Bouquet of Yellow Postcards

My Yellow Postcard Bouquet

I cannot let March end without sharing the big yellow bouquet of postcards I received in honor of International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month. ¬†With Beckra’s (ongoing) permission, I hosted her “Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day” swap on swap-bot for the fifth time. ¬†I felt compelled to share the yellow blessing with the Love Notes community and many were excited to participate. ¬†So, in addition to the swap-bot participants and the women in my circle of family and friends, I also sent dozens¬†of postcards to Love Notes participants. ¬†In return, my¬†mailbox was filled with yellow flowers all month long.

The first postcards came from my two swap-bot partners, Jan and Valerie [Click image for a closer look].

My penfriend Beckra sent a¬†bright¬†closeup of a yellow flower she photographed. ¬†She hasn’t participated in the swaps lately, but she always sends me a card for IWD.

“Happy International Women’s Day.” Photograph by R.R., Beckra

Then, the cards from my Love Notes pals made their way to my P.O. Box from various parts of the USA and the world.

Christine B’s was the first to arrived with an IWD greeting and a¬†sweet message–“You are an outstanding woman and I am glad we connected.”

“Happy, Happy International Women’s Day.” Photographer, Christine B.

After reading the Karle’s Wings post, Christine sent a second postcard, orchids,¬†in memory of my sister, Karlette. ¬†Isn’t she the best? ¬†There’s a special heart hidden in the photo. Can you see it?

“Orchid for Karlette.” Photograph by Christine B.

I usually don’t mind postal markings on postcards. ¬†I “minded” this time. :-/

Lorelei sent a coloring card with a couple of spots colored in yellow:

Illustration by Johanna Basford, from Secret Garden 20 Postcards

Many sent photo postcards. ¬†Some, like ¬†Beckra’s and Christine’s, featured¬†the photography of the senders [Click image for a closer look].

Ellen even used a stamp featuring my favorite flower:

Sunflower Postage

Some sent “store-bought” postcards: [Click image for a closer look].

Many included inspiring messages:

“Life is Beautiful.” From Jackie W.

She is clothed in strength and dignity,and she laughs without fear of the future. ¬†–Proverbs 31:25

We get so worried about being “pretty.” Let’s be pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty smart, pretty strong. –Britt Nicole

“Waterlily.” From Eileen of Germany

Little yellow flowers
Dancing with the breeze
Little yellow flowers
Huddled round the trees
Little yellow flowers
Seemed to know my pain
Little yellow flowers
in my mem’ry will remain. ¬†–Valerie Dohren

Yellow Jessamine, State Flower of South Carolina with an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, State Butterfly of South Carolina.  From Connie of S.C.

Some women fear the fire; some women simply become it. ¬†–R.H. Sin

“Tree Cotton Plant.” From Sheila L.

May we continue to make progress on all issues that affect women.

Some featured the art of the senders with inspirational reminders [Click an image for a closer look].

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. ¬†–Mother Teresa [Cricket]

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. ¬†–Unknown [Lori W.]

Debra D. sent an elegant¬†“thank you” for my “hosting” the swap.

“Thanks,” Heartmade by Debra D. of Virginia

Martha S., whose work has been featured on Pics and Posts before, sent one of her gorgeous artistic creations with a poem (the scan does little justice).

“Cherry Blossom Season.” Artist Martha S.

An artist to me
is one
of those
kind of prophets
of our community.
Their antennae,
or their sense
of what’s
happening,
is so vital
and so pure
that we always
need to listen
to them. –Fiach Mac¬†Conghail

And finally, Lori-Anne C. of Canada, ¬†sent a handmade, sunflower-shaped postcard that¬†made me squeal on a day when I really, really needed to be reminded to “face the sun.”

“Sunflower Love.” Artist Lori C.

The beautifully written message on the back of the postcard was just what I needed to hear the day it arrived.

Isn’t that an “amazing”¬†message?

You are amazing and strong and brave and wonderful!

When life tries to convince you otherwise, be sure to carry this heartfelt message with you.

Thanks, ladies, for all the postcard love! ¬†Until next time…Hugs!

Another Round of Love!

We completed the first round of Love Notes 2017 a couple of weeks ago.  Again, I had a beautifully artistic soul with whom to exchange cards and messages.  My partner, Carolyn D. of Garden City, Idaho sent handcrafted cards with elegantly handwritten messages.  It was always such a treat to find one of her notes in my mailbox.

For week 1’s prompt “I can trust the universe because…,” Carolyn sent:

“Create Art” by Carolyn D.

I can trust the universe because of its maker, who shows Himself in the laughter of the children, the beauty of nature, and the kindness of strangers.

Week 2’s prompt, “I invite you to tend to your soul…” provided me with a gorgeous card and much needed advice. ¬†I should have heeded this advice before I was forced to spend¬†four days in bed.

“Feathers and Spools,” by Carolyn D.

I invite you to tend to your soul in a tub of hot water with your favorite bubble bath… Then, donning warm socks and a pair of sweats and reading your favorite book while curled up in your favorite chair.

I’ll be tending my soul and body in this way tomorrow with a hot cup of tea added to the prescription. My soul and¬†body need this.

And for “Love is…,” the dreaded week 3 prompt (dreaded because that means the round has come to an end), Carolyn appropriately sent hearts and love.

“Hearts and Love” by Carolyn D.

Love is…

  • taking time to help someone when you’re in a hurry
  • being kind when someone’s opinion differs from yours
  • God giving you strength when you are overwhelmed by the events in the world and in your country

I’m intrigued by how Carolyn¬†can take torn paper and cut outs and make such visually appealing cards.

We were similar in our approaches to the prompts and I thoroughly enjoyed our exchange. ¬†She ended the swap with a nice lengthy note telling me a bit about herself. ¬†I’m happy to add her to my growing list of postcard pals.

As usual, I received extra¬†cards from other Love Notes participants turned pen friends. ¬†I shared Martha’s cards here and here. ¬†If you haven’t seen it¬†already, you’ll fall in love with¬†the adorable raccoon watercolor.

  • Jacki sent a multi-paneled postcard, “Driftwood Art” by Martin Wiscombe. ¬†This one was sent from the future, as it was dated February 18, 2017. ¬†I love it! ¬†I’ll make a point of revisiting it on 02-18-17.
  • Lorelei sent a “Did You Know?”¬†postcard about Five Missions of San Antonio, Texas.
  • Sheila, a new Love Notes friend shared a woodblock print by Holly Meade, a Maine artist. Check out Reach Road Gallery for more.
  • Marrianna,¬†another new friend and very talented photographer shared her gorgeous flower, edited in iColorama, one of my favorite editing apps. ¬†You can see more of her¬†work on her blog, Snapshots in Time.
  • Christine, who is a prolific postcard sender, sent her cheerful watercolor tulips.

[Click an image for a closer look]

The next round begins in April. Plan to join in! For more information and to sign up, click here.

“When Giving Is All We Have”

"I will give thanks to you, Lord with all my heart." Psalm 9:1 Art by Lorelei C. #lovenotesjb

“I will give thanks to you, Lord with all my heart.” Psalm 9:1. ¬†Gratitude Art by Lorelei C. #lovenotesjb

When Giving Is All We Have

One river gives
Its journey to the next.

We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it‚ÄĒ

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:

Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.

You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me

What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give‚ÄĒtogether, we made

Something greater from the difference.

~Alberto Ríos, 1952

Happy Gratitude Day!