Welcome to Week 4 and Day 22 of the 2017 #sendcardsspreadlove challenge for National Card & Letter Writing Month! It’s also the final week – sniff, sniff. I can’t believe how quickly it all went by.
As a reminder, or if you’re just joining us, I’m asking you to send 4 cards out into the world this month, based on the 4 weekly challenge prompts.
The intention with this challenge is for you to connect with the ones you love in a fun way, while bringing back the joy and beauty of real communication…that still fits into your fast-paced lifestyle.
Here’s a brief recap of the past 3 weeks:
- A list of reasons to write
- A list of who to send a card to or even what type of card to send
- Guest post from Alexandra Franzen on the power of a letter to change a life
- Hand lettering tips and free resources from Ameenah Samuel
- Special designer feature with Sara McNally of Constellation & Co.
- Guest post from Mary Potter Kenyon about a 30 year friendship through letters plus a GIVEAWAY
- A fresh perspective on what writing letters could lead to from Caroline Donahue
- How to craft the perfect Just Because card by Jill DeLuce
- Designer feature with Richele Silva of Richie Designs plus a BONUS challenge
- A beautiful Memories & Milestone ritual from Skylar Liberty Rose
Day 22 Of The 2017 #sendcardsspreadlove Challenge
Week 4 Challenge: Spread Love
The challenge this week is to spread love. This is the entire idea behind the challenge!
Spreading love can be so much more than just telling friends, family and significant others how much we care for them. We can let complete strangers know that love exists by leaving notes of encouragement in public places for someone to find.
If you’re not sure what to say, write your favorite quote, poem or passage from a book. For the arty and crafty types, draw, paint or make a collage. For other ideas, refer back to the BIG LIST of reasons to send cards, especially #17-#23.
This week’s prize is a single collection of your choice (themed, special collections and stationery boxes are excluded). To be eligible, share your week 4 challenge card and/or letter on IG (remember to follow us) or in the Facebook group. Be sure to tag @prettybypost and use the #sendcardsspreadlove hashtag by May 1st at 11:59 pm EST. All winners will be announced May 5th via newsletter, on IG and in the Facebook group, so make sure you’re connected in one of those ways.
Now on to today’s guest post!
When I started Pretty by Post®, Josh of Hello Happiness Card Co. was one of the first designers I reached out to. And not only did he create the freebie e-card for my very first newsletter opt-in, but he also designed a custom card for PbP subscribers only (you can purchase it as part of a single collection).
He and his wife Jenny were on my list of must meet designers at the National Stationery Show and I’m so happy to say that they are the real deal. I’m amazed by their generosity and kindness. You can read an interview I did with him here as well as Josh’s post from last year’s challenge.
Today, Josh has kindly allowed me to republish his post on love, kindness and making the world a better place. Happy reading!
In a World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind
There I was, 9:42 pm, in a random Wal-Mart somewhere outside of Washington, D.C. We pulled Ruby, our 34.6″ long RV, into the parking lot for the night a little bit ago. I snuggled the kids and we talked about what we did that was brave and kind that day, and also what we could’ve done better.
On this particular day, we had spent nine hours riding roller coasters and eating really crappy food at Six Flags America. So the kids told me bravery for them that day was riding the Batwing, where you’re literally strapped in and flying all around like a bat. Yes, you’re looking straight down at the ground (imagine what it would be like to fly like a bat and you get the idea). It was pretty terrifying so we rode it twice. Except Lia, she’s not quite into the coasters.
But that’s all filler details. Earlier that morning, when I had just woke up, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw a beautiful picture with the words “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” That simple phrase is pretty powerful when you think about it. Because we can be anything we want to be in this world. Why not choose to be kind?
I told myself I was going to make that my mantra for a bit and see what happens. So I focused on walking around with a smile on my face. I gave out a few fist bumps and hi-fives when the opportunity came. I struck up conversations with the people who were working at Six Flags. You know they’re so used to just being told what people want, so when I asked them how their day was going it always caught them off guard. I made sure when they answered with a “Fine”, I would answer with something along the lines of I hope they find something that makes their soul come alive today or asked them what they dream of doing with their life.
Because I’ve learned it really is the moments where I’ve been seen, acknowledged or valued that matter the most. They don’t have to be life changing big moments, but we all want to be noticed. We want to feel like what’s important to each of us has a space in the world. But how many times are we caught in situations where it feels like we’re ghosts drifting along with no purpose. I like to think the simple act of being friendly and showing an interest in another human can make a difference in their life.
Which brings me to shopping at Wal-Mart at 9:42 pm. I carried my new mantra with me into the store. I grabbed a shopping cart and walked around the store slowly, as I didn’t know where anything was and I was pretty worn out. As I weaved up and down the aisles grabbing the boxes of cereal and milk and bananas I needed, I made it a point to smile at the shoppers and workers both. I said “hello” and “excuse me” whenever I got close enough. I kept a smile on my face, because after spending the whole day riding rides I never thought were possible, at speeds and drops that frankly terrify me, I was in a pretty darn good mood.
Here’s the deal, though. Not one person even acknowledged me. I got zero “hello’s” back. I got eye rolls. I got the cold shoulder. I felt ignored. I felt like I wasn’t even there. I felt like a ghost. But I realized those folks had bigger problems on their minds. Maybe they just got off from a long day of work. Maybe they got in a fight with their spouse. Maybe they were worried about paying their bills. Who knows, really. I decided just because others didn’t respond with kindness to my kindness doesn’t mean I should give up. Because in my world, I can be anything…and being kind is important to me.
Throughout the next few days, I kept striking up conversations with people. I kept smiling. I kept kindness at the front of my mind. I held doors open for others. I learned that people in Washington D.C. are friendly, especially around the metro stations when they can clearly see a lost traveler. I learned that the girls working the elevators at the Smithsonian museums rarely get acknowledged, except for what floor people want to get off at. Most importantly, I learned that sometimes small acts of unexpected kindness might not change the world, but it just might change someone’s day. And if I can change the course of a few people’s day, every day, than isn’t that a way to make the world a better place?
I’d love it if you would join me in being kind to each other. There’s a lot of negativity and hate out there. There’s a lot of fear being spread. There’s a lot of confusion and arguing and yelling. And we’ve all got problems of our own. So let’s focus on being kind for a while. Being kind doesn’t have to cost you any money, or even a lot of time. Just smile and acknowledge someone. Hold the door open. Strike up conversations by asking interesting questions. Just imagine what our world could be if we all took the time to be kind more often.
Note: I can’t find the original author of the saying, and I did try pretty hard. Either way, I decided to write it out for myself, so this design will be on an upcoming card and is available on lots of other stuff at my Threadless shop here.
We believe our words are a powerful force of encouragement. We believe we can use our words to show up for those we love with compassion, empathy and understanding. We believe we exist to love and be loved. We believe with our words, we can make the world a more beautiful place.