I grew up in north central Indiana in a loving Christian home where I learned firsthand to shower others with God’s love in small, everyday ways. My parents were exceptionally common examples of how to share God’s love. My Dad was a public accountant whose job it was each year to help farmers make the most out of their meager earnings as they tirelessly worked the land, in hopes of having a profit at harvest. His job was numbers, but his joy was people.
My mother, a housewife, was a great communicator. She sent greeting cards to local folks, church people, individuals she read about in the newspaper, heard about on local radio, learned about at the post office or any other place she had occasion to be in contact with others. Mom was an encourager. Her calling in life was to spread cheer. Until the day she died at age 85, Mom could be found buying pretty postage stamps to make her notes more appealing to the recipient of each card. She was somewhat artsy and decorated plain stationery with tiny flowers and other simple designs from nature.
With Mom’s example before me, I picked up the card-sending habit as a young adult. However, since I was employed outside the home, my audience differed greatly from hers. I enjoyed the friendships made through employment, no matter where I worked. Listening to the worries and problems of co-workers, praying for them and offering a little encouragement was quite natural for me.
Soon after my Mother’s passing, I was led to a local funeral home where the director and his wife sent me for training to support their clients through bereavement support classes and in other ways. Eventually, that part of my life influenced my new-found hobby of creating photography note cards. While shopping one day in my local CVS, I encountered a small display of Plymouth photo cards. I bought their entire stock that day, and a personalized sympathy card ministry took flight. My heart found purpose in offering peace and comfort to families at a time when God’s Word was needed most, and no other phrases or trite messages could provide that special touch. In time, my photographs and various messages quite naturally grew into other areas such as birthdays and anniversaries, celebrations of all kinds and blank note cards. Each card contained a 4 x 6 sheet of paper with peel & stick tape on the back for the user’s convenience in adding personal notes.
Soon I began giving bundles of my cards as gifts. Although I have a short list of friends who purchase a few cards for their use, this is not a business for me. When an auction item is needed at church or at other non-profit functions, I create gift baskets of my cards to donate. In my rural community, I likely send 30-40 personalized photo cards per month. Two dear friends use my Plymouth photo cards to decorate various rooms in their homes, framing them and rotating designs by theme and the changing seasons. Recently I mailed a few cards featuring photos of my own hand quilting projects to both of these ladies from 3 states away. A bit of my own poetry or appropriate quotes or scripture often complement the photos. For me, your cards are the perfect vehicle for creative expression.
Our own lives can have a profound and positive effect on those around us if we only share our gifts and talents as opportunities arise. Each day presents a new way to offer hope to our hurting world if we just pay attention. Author Katherine Paterson once wrote these words, “Hope…is not a feeling; it is something you do.”
Yes, each of us can all do something. Offering a helping of hope is always in good taste.
~Carla R. Barker
Note: You can find all of Plymouth Cards vast color option on our website, PlymouthCards.com.