Dark | Sit with It

Sunflower from Arizona

I am sharing a piece I wrote just a few moments ago during a writing circle session. I chose the prompt “I wish” for the group, hoping that a fanciful tale of unicorn dreams and butterfly wishes would fall from my pen. Instead, after being unable to write about my feelings for weeks, this spilled out:

I wish I could take this darkness that has settled into my being over the last few weeks and kick it straight into oblivion, into the abyss from which it sprung. It has robbed me of sleep. It has taken my calm. It has driven me to consuming way too much chocolate and to long-overcome habits of rolling my eyes and sucking my teeth and impatience with the world. It has made me so unlike me. I wish I could pull myself up to dance on clouds and sing on rooftops and never, ever apologize for being too joyful. I wish God would release me from the grips of darkness. I wish He hadn’t invited me to let it steep. To let it all rise to the surface—the grief and vile feelings, the suppressed hurt and trauma that I have stuffed too far down because I don’t have the energy or capacity to deal. I wish I didn’t have to confront the darkness. I wish I didn’t have to do the hard work of grappling with it and wrestling with it. We know Light wins. Light always wins, so why not skip the drama and just win already? Ugh! I wish I didn’t have to sit with the darkness, especially when just a flicker of His light is enough.


About the Image: My sunflower-loving, Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friend, Jamise L, sent the beautiful photo-card to me shortly after my father’s passing. Having lost her own father five years ago, she is well-acquainted with the journey. Her note offered comfort, love, and a shoulder to lean on. Thanks for the sunshine, Jamise!

Postcards That Make a Statement | We Love You, John!

“The John Lennon Wall.” A public art display honoring John Lennon and the Beatles. Located in Praha 1, Prague., Czech Republic.


Who Sent It? The handmade postcard above featuring part of the John Lennon Wall was sent to me by swapper Philippa D (papercaper) on swap-bot. It was sent 12 years ago for a “Simply Love” postcard swap. Since the wall is always changing (as people draw and write over existing art and words), I really appreciate this little bit of what it was.

Postcards That Make a Statement | Good at Heart

Anne Frank

Anne Frank (1929-1945) and her family hid for over two years from the Nazis in Holland. Her diary from these yers is an incredible testimony of the human spirit. Artwork by Susan Keeter, oil on canvas, 1996, Syracuse Cultural Workers

…in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

I have an insanely busy week ahead, so I’m taking it easy on myself with low-effort posts. I will be sharing “quote” postcards I’ve received that haven’t been shared on Pics and Posts before. The posts will be (otherwise) wordless, but feel free to share your own responses and opinions about the quote in the comments. Have a good, productive, and happy week!


Who sent it? The postcard came from a new Love Notes friend, Dove S. She sent this one along with another one that I plan to share this week.

Let’s Take a Trip to Canyonlands National Park

Decisions! Decisions! Where will the road lead next? Should we stay a while longer in Utah? Or should we move along?

The postcard I received just days ago urges us to visit the Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah, so we’ll remain in Utah a little longer.

Canyonlands National Park preserves 337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert. Water and gravity have been the prime architects of this land, sculpting layers of rock into the rugged landscape you see today.

Canyonlands preserves the natural beauty and human history throughout its four districts, which are divided by the Green and Colorado rivers. While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different opportunities for exploration and adventure. –from National Park Service

The districts are Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves.

Canyonlands

Sky District, Canyonland National Parks, Utah Photograph by George H.H. Huey. Designed and distributed by Impact Photo Graphics.

The postcard came from Kelly C, another Wildlfowers friend, who has been traveling all over the country this year. Sadly, a super-busy season of work impeded our meeting up when she was in my “neck of the woods” earlier this year.

From the postcard back:

An afternoon thunderstorm creates a vibrant rainbow above Monument Basin and the surrounding canyons at the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park.

Despite the postal tattoos, this view is gorgeous! As you just read, the postcard features the Island of the Sky district:

The Island in the Sky sits atop a massive 1500 foot mesa, quite literally an Island in the Sky. Twenty miles (32.2 km) of paved roads lead to many of the most spectacular views in Canyon Country. From these lofty viewpoints visitors can often see over 100 miles (161 km) in any given direction, resulting in panoramic views that encompass thousands of square miles of canyon country. –from Discover Moab

Read more about the park by visiting the Canyonlands Natural History Association site. For more breathtaking views of the park, click here >>> Canyonlands National Park Flickr.

Are you ready for another trip? Or should we stay put for a while?

Wildflowers in the Mail | Discover…

from Gina

I happened across an extra copy of the postcard I made for Love Notes 38, prompt 1. I decided to share the words I wrote to my partner because, maybe, someone in my blogging audience needs the words today.

I hope you discover…
the sacredness of this moment with all its questions stirring up the wind. 

I hope you discover…
the lessons in the turbulence of sorrow and everyday struggle.

I hope you discover…
the stillness within and allow it to cradle you until you emerge whole. 


About the Image: This postcard came a few days ago all the way from Germany, sent by my literary twin, Gina B. I was going to save it for my next sunflower week, but decided to share it today because we can always use a little extra sunshine! Sonnenblumefrische [Sunflower Freshness?] is the work of Berlin illustrator, Arinda Craciun, who shares about her art and process on her website. You can also find her work on Instagram and Behance. Thank you for the sunshine and for introducing me to a new artist, Gina!

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.

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!