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Category Archives: Inspiration

No Time Better Than Now

It’s a breath of fresh air to hear a story that makes us smile these days, isn’t it? Even for the briefest of moments.
 
“Laughter through tears, my favorite emotion,” as Dolly Parton says in Steel Magnolias.
 
This is a short story, with a powerful message, and some cool pictures as usual at the end. While I have personally never met the people in the story you are about read, I believe they will cross my path some day. We are a part of the same company. And at some future event, they’ll probably end up sitting next to me in one of those “meant to be” kind of experiences that happens to all of us in life when we least expect it.
 
Today’s “Take Note” is one of those “meant to be” kind of stories. It’s about a young woman named Jordan, who was recently married, and her parents — Luann and Jan — who had divorced 33 years before.
 
Jordan told the story at her wedding reception.
 
The story begins when Jordan became involved with our company, SendOutCards. She shared access to this very cool internet site with her Mom, who began to send cards to friends and family. Luann had experienced some difficult times through the years since the divorce, and Jordan thought doing this could help her in some small way. One of the cards Luann sent was to her ex-husband, Jan, a private pilot.

Luann sat in front of a computer on the internet, typed thoughts that she may otherwise not have had the courage to say, pressed a key on a keyboard, and a real card was then sent out for her.

Just one card.

When Jan received the card in the mail, he called Luann and invited her to take a flight with him to San Diego. He then took her out on a sailboat. And while they were sailing, he kissed her.

The feelings that brought them together 33 years ago, were still there. And, within a few months, Luann and Jan were re-married, on what would have been their 33rd wedding anniversary.

Such a simple thing as a heartfelt card, and the courage to send it, changed these two lives.

A simple story with a powerful message: You just never know.

And, as promised, cool card pictures below!  They are not pictures of a card sent to Jordan, since I only know her through hearing her story.

What’s here is a card I sent to my daughter Melanie, who celebrated her 30th birthday on March 23rd — 3,000 miles away from me in California.

It’s a cool card, that has multiple pictures inside of her grandparents who have all passed away, her kitties, friends, aunts and uncles, mom and dad, and boyfriend, as well as pictures of the two of us together.

You can send a simple card that could change a life, like Luann did, or you can create and send really fun ones — with lots and lots of pictures — celebrating a milestone.

CONGRATULATIONS HON!!!

If you thought of someone while you were reading this — someone you haven’t seen in a while — someone you would like to re-connect with, send them a card, on me. There’s no better time than now!

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Inspiration

 

The Rest of the Story…

You’ll remember last issue: That cool card we created for Mike’s Dad’s 90th birthday. Here’s the rest of the story…

Our family was excited to see the expression on Bob’s face when he opened up his special birthday card on Christmas Eve. We had it sent to us so we could watch him open it. And, he was as touched as we hoped he would be.

The things that matter in life. The things you do while you still have time to do them, because life can change for any of us in an instant.

After the celebration, Mike wanted to do a little something more: He had taken a bunch of pictures of Bob that night, with the card placed in front of the cake — a cool concoction in and of itself: it had a digital picture of the family in the frosting! Technology! Amazing! Thank you Wegmans!

Mike wanted to take some of those pictures, and make a special card to send to SendOutCards’ Founder and CEO Kody Bateman to thank him for making what we were able to do, possible.

So of course, that’s what we did — and here it is. The front is one of the standard 15,000 cards on the site. The rest we created ourselves, and never touched a piece of paper, printer or stamp.


From Kody Bateman’s vision of SendOutCards — created out of the adversity in his own life and his strong desire to help people become senders of cards — to this thank you from Mike, who used what Kody created to enrich all our lives. A full circle moment.

Doesn’t take a lot of time to do this kind of stuff … and the memories you create, last a lifetime.

Takes a lot to impress Mike — but he thinks this company is awesome. And, I of course, agree! There were 700,000 cards and gifts sent out by SendOutCards on December 15, 2010 alone.

Happy New Year everyone!

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2011 in Inspiration

 

Remembered Amidst the Holiday Bustle

Today’s edition of “Take Note” is dedicated to Bob, who is turning 90 on Christmas Eve. Bob is my SigOther Mike’s Dad.

Has to be kind of hard to have a birthday at Christmas time. Kind of gets lost in the shuffle and bustle of holiday time. Also kind of hard to think of what to get someone who is 90. They’ve accumulated all kinds of things in their life, and probably don’t really need a new tie.

This year though, Mike knew what he wanted to do for his Dad, well before his birthday: He wanted to do a special card to send him. And… he had a plan!

Mike went to his Mom (well ahead of our deadline, I am proud to say!), and asked her to find a special picture of Bob during his military days. Helen searched and found one, without Bob knowing, and gave it to Mike.

When Mike brought it home, it was one of those REALLY old (over 60 years to be exact) black and white pictures that was curled, cracked and torn on the edges. How the heck were we going to get this into a card? But Mike had the idea of taking a picture of the picture, with our new fancy digital camera and see what happens.

Okay, that could work.

So that night, he took a bunch of pictures of this picture, under different lights, and at different angles.

We then uploaded the pictures into the SendOutCards site, and away he went, putting his design prowess to work. He did really well, too! Yours truly fine-tuned the borders on the pictures, font colors, backgrounds, and all that other cool stuff you can do with SendOutCards.

We couldn’t believe how clearly the picture came up into the system! A picture of a picture! Who would have guessed?! It was just awesome.

Things were falling into place like they do when you know you are doing something special – something you know inside will mean a lot to someone else.

For the front of the card, Mike zoomed in and framed just the profile of his father. We took it from the main picture, which is of Bob standing with his military buddies during the Korean War. The clarity we were able to create of Bob’s profile – even at the zoomed in level – was incredible.

The inside of the card was the entire picture of Bob and his group of buddies, spanned across the 3 panels of the card. The crack in the left hand corner of the picture gave what we were doing that much more authenticity, originality and class.

The inside flap which you see when the card is opened, was Mike’s simple message:

“Dad, SURPRISE!  I hope you enjoy this card as you celebrate your 90th birthday. I asked Mom to find you a picture that would be memorable to you, and I think she found it. I knew that this would mean a great deal to you and wanted to create something special to celebrate that time in your life.”

And above the text, Mike added a picture he found on the internet – which I then placed a frame around – of a plane that Bob had actually built and flown years back.

The card says “Hey Fly Boy!!!” on the front.

And, when we were all done with the card, we knew we had created something special that would bring a smile to Bob’s face when he received it, and for years to come.

We, of course, had to send ourselves a copy of the card, and it came out as awesome as we expected it would.

This is the power of the SendOutCards system: Being able to do what we did, without ever leaving home, and positively impacting not only the receiver of these wonderful cards, but those who send them as well.

As of this writing, Bob hasn’t received the card yet. We scheduled it to get there through the good ole’ US Mail by this Thursday.

It’s the little things in life that matter, that keep us going when life may not always be so nice. Something as simple as a card, created out of love.

As always, you’re welcome to send a card, my treat.

Enjoy the season!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Inspiration

 

Give Your Child a Hug Today

Was on my way home from a trade show recently, listening to the radio, stopped at a red light, waiting for it to change.

My cell phone chirped, and I looked over to see that a text had come through from my daughter, Melanie, telling me she would give me a call later on that evening. Had called her earlier in the day, because I needed to hear her voice.

My eyes filled with tears as the light changed.

Was thinking of the mother and father who, just a few miles away from where I was stopped, who would never again have the chance to talk to or hug their daughter Jenni-Lyn, or tell her that they loved her.

The story made national news the day after Thanksgiving. Jenni-Lyn Watson, a beautiful, vibrant young woman, had come home from college to spend the holidays with her family. Less than 24 hours later, she was reported missing by her parents.

Good Morning America did a segment to help get the word out. Internet sites sprang up. Flyers were everywhere. Yellow ribbons filled the neighborhood where Jenni-Lyn lived.

People didn’t want to expect the worst. Everywhere you went, you saw the looks on the faces of those around you. Nothing needed to be said. You could feel the tension in the air as we all watched on TV while the authorities conducted a massive search near pretty suburban neighborhoods.

Everyone hoped. But then, exactly one week and a day later, Jenni-Lyn was found. An entire community felt the pain and anguish of these parents, whose life changed forever in an instant.

I don’t know this family personally. Will probably never meet them. But the need I had to send them a card – to let them know I was simply thinking about them – was a strong one.

Turned on my computer and sent one out in seconds. Would I have done this had there not been a way at my fingertips? Honestly? Probably not.

May have thought about it. But then every day life would have taken over – as things in our lives always do – and I probably would never have done it.

Was never a big card sender. But now, when something happens, good or bad, it has become second nature for me to send a card to recognize, thank, express condolences, or simply tell someone, like my daughter, Melanie, that I loved her.

So, I sent her out a card out, too. Something unexpected coming to her in the mail to brighten her day.

Our lives are busy, especially this time of year. If you are thinking about someone specific when you read this, that’s your prompting. Do something about it … today. Send a card, my treat.

It may not have been a hug in person, but with Melanie 3,000 miles away, for me, it was the next best thing…

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2010 in Inspiration

 

Live Strong

We all have challenges in our day. Some little. Some big.

Each day, we get up in the morning, and our attitude is all that determines how we react to what happens to us during those 24 hours. For Susan Bertrand, a local Syracuse resident, what started out as a challenge in one aspect OF her life, ended up as a fight FOR her life.

This story starts with the best of intentions: A local health and fitness studio – Dynamic Health and Fitness (www.dhfonline.net) – operated by two super guys, brothers Jay and Bryan Morgan, was the beginning. Have known these guys for years.

In 2007, Bryan, an avid cyclist, participated in the Live Strong Challenge in Philadelphia. This event is known worldwide because of the efforts of Lance Armstrong, winner of the Tour de France and cancer survivor.

Bryan’s experience led to the creation of the Live Strong Team of CNY – over 40 participants of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone worked together to bring the 40+ team participants to Philadelphia this year. Team member and cyclist Susan Bertrand, founder of the “Maureen’s Hope Foundation'” in honor of her sister who lost her battle with cancer, played a key role in the effort. Their efforts were recognized and recently featured on local Syracuse television show, “Bridge Street”.

Participants traveled to Philadelphia the weekend of August 22nd. To say the weather did not cooperate is an understatement. The Sunday the race was held, the rains came down unrelentingly the entire day. I remember thinking about the 40 people in Philadelphia and wondering how they were doing.

While in Philadelphia, organizers of the event apparently thought the rains would cease, so the race was on. The course was challenging, and even more so due to the weather. Pounding rain was coming down in unending torrents. When it became clear the rain was not going to stop, the race was called off. But not before the unexpected and unforeseen event that changed many lives.

Susan, doing her best to maneuver the course in the blinding rain, hit a pothole in the road. She was catapulted off her bike at a high rate of speed into the forest beside the road and hit a rock. She was rushed to a Pennsylvania trauma center where she was operated on 4 times and, at one point, given last rites. The next few days were critical, but Sue survived – in no small part, the doctors say, to the shape she was in by preparing for the race.

Neighbors, family and friends all came together to help out in any way they could, as people do during difficult times like this. She was brought out of the coma days later, and is now doing better and better each day. She will hopefully be home soon.

Such great intentions. Such an unexpected challenge that changed lives in an instant.

Someone experiencing this kind of challenge could use all the encouragement they can get, wouldn’t you say?!

Please send Susan a get well card on me: Susan Bertrand, c/o Dynamic Health and Fitness, 8395 Oswego Road, Baldwinsville, NY 13027. It only takes a minute.

As Susan works hard to get her life back, it will help to know that people are thinking of her. Wouldn’t it make all the difference in the world to you?

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2010 in Inspiration

 

Law of Attraction in Action

The Law of Attraction: we’ve all heard of it. Some of us believe it. Others – maybe not so much!

How about a real life example for you non-believers!?

All started 20 years ago when I was in a car accident – rear ended by a mass murderer. Yep, you read that right. Didn’t know that at the time, but found out years later from a reporter doing a story on the guy who had hit me. The reporter found my name on the police report from the accident, and called me as part of a story he was doing. The guy who hit me was actually very pleasant the day of the accident. He apparently had been out of jail for years and was a now functioning member of society. Who knew?

Got your attention, though, didn’t I?

Well, that accident started a history of neck issues for me, and lots of learning through the years about how to stay out of pain. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not. But through it all, I learned a lot about a subject that I would never have known before, had life not intervened as it did.

What does that have to do with the Law of Attraction? Plenty.

Through the years, alternative ways of staying out of pain – such as through chiropractic care – have been life-changing. My own chiropractor now, “Dr. Joe”, is awesome. HAVE to give him a little plug here – www.boriochiropractic.com. I just love Dr. Joe – he’s an Italian teddy bear!

Opinions on chiropractors are wide and varied. But, for me, it would turn out to be an example of the Law of Attraction at work in my life.

Months ago, the doctors diagnosed my daughter Melanie, who is living in California, as having had a stroke. At 28, this was devastating news (email me if you’d like the full story from a previous newsletter). Melanie went through all the regular medical testing for everything the doctors could think of. They came up with no 100% definite answers, and she was out of work for 2 months. They put her on some well known medications. Whether she needed them or not is another subject, for another day!

On her 2nd day back to work – after sitting 12-14 hours each day – she experienced another “episode” at home where she lost control of her hand, suffered numbness in her face, and down her arm. Alarmed, she went back to her neurologist, who told her to “Buck up. Go back to work. You’re on the drug. You’re fine.”

She was beside herself, and in pain. I was beside myself, 3000 miles away. Do I travel out there again? What do we do now? But I always knew in my heart there was something more to it than what the medical doctors were telling her.

Enter the Law of Attraction in action.

At my regular chiropractor visit the next day, and in tears, I told Dr. Joe what happened. I wondered if a neck issue could have caused the symptoms she was experiencing. She unfortunately had some car accidents in her past as well. His response: “Absolutely”.

Asked him who he might know in California, so Melanie could at least be evaluated. Well, he only knew one guy in California, and thought he was up north somewhere.

At least it was a place to start. Maybe get a referral or something. California is not exactly a small state. And just as there are good doctors and not-so-good doctors, it’s the same with chiropractors, or vets or dentists.

I wanted my daughter in good hands.

So I made the call to California, to Dr. DeMoss, Dr. Joe’s friend. The one contact he knows in California.

The outcome of that call? Dr. DeMoss is 20 minutes from where Melanie works.

In the entire state of California, the one associate Dr. Joe knew was 20 minutes away.

For me … I could breathe again, and felt in my heart it was going to be okay. Dr. DeMoss saw Melanie that very afternoon.

Turns out she has a very serious issue with the curvature of her neck, and he started helping her immediately. He didn’t tell her to “Buck up and go back to work.” We just won’t go there!

Law of Attraction at work? No doubt in my mind.

Today? She has no lasting effects from her first, or last “episode”. She’s back to work. No paralysis in her face. No numbness in her arms. She no longer feels like she is going to faint when she looks down in the sink to do the dishes. She is ergonomically correct now at work, sleeps on a special pillow (Tempurpedic – Mom’s gift!), and has special support for her back in the car. The ice pack she now has for her neck has become her friend!

The knowledge I gained through 20 years of personal pain and frustration went full circle to benefit someone I love.

And Dr. DeMoss … well I hear from Dr. Joe, that he is a surfing nut – big time.

So guess what? I am going to do a very special thank you card with a cool surfing theme to send to Dr. DeMoss in the mail, as my thanks for what he has done for us.  Going to add real cool surfing pictures, some thought bubbles and graphics, and maybe even a picture of Melanie inside when she was a baby or something else fun. I’ll get an “OH MOM YOU DIDN’T!?!”, but hey, Moms can get away with these things.

Do people take the time these days to express thanks like this? Not normally. But … I know about a cool, keep-in-touch tool, that lets me do personalized paper greeting cards the minute I think about it, completely online – yet sent through the mail with a stamp – without a piece of paper, printer, envelope or stamp in site.

Is there someone you thought of when you read this, who popped into your mind? That’s what we call a “prompting.” Send a greeting card to them today … on me, and make their day!

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2010 in Inspiration

 

Make today the day!

Sometimes, don’t we all look back on things that have happened in our lives and think … hmmm … “Maybe I could have done some things differently.” 20-20 hindsight is always enlightening, isn’t it?

Then we think, “Man, I wish I had known that ahead,” or “I thought about that. Why didn’t I ever do anything about it? And now it’s too late.”

Many of us make silent promises to ourselves that we’re going to do better — we plan to call someone we haven’t seen in awhile, send that card or go out to lunch with a friend.

Sometimes we do what we think about. And lots of times we don’t. This is a story about someone who did.

A few months back, we had an unexpected death in our family. My SigOther, Mike, lost his sister Gail. Gail was a gentle soul, who lived a quiet life in a special home. She went to work every day; traveled to places like Hawaii, Alaska and Cape Canaveral in Florida. Heck, she had been on more cruises in her life than we have!

When she unexpectedly passed on, the inevitable thoughts came to Mike that come to everyone at some point in their lives: Why didn’t I stop and see her more when I had the chance? What more could I have done to make her life better? Called her more? Sent her fun things in the mail?

Hard when you look back to see the things you would liked to have done, but never did. And may have lost the chance to ever do again.

Both of my parents have passed on, and I know what it’s like to look back and wish I had done some things differently.

But Mike still had time. His parents are both still with us, and I encourage him to do whatever he thinks about, NOW … while he still has the chance. He took his experience, and our conversations, and channeled this into what I will call “The Fish Dinners”.

Mike’s parents are older. They don’t get out much other than to doctor’s appointments these days. Not usually many occasions to dress up. Yet after Gail died, he knew it was even more important to stay connected, even though he is already one of those good sons parents can rely on.

So, one Friday afternoon, after work, he stopped down to their house. He knew they liked to go out for fish on Fridays. So that first week, he talked them into going out with him for fish.

And so began the weekly ritual of “The Fish Dinners.”  Initially his parents gave him a hard time about everything from his driving them to the fish place to paying the bill. But he would give them a hard time back, and make them laugh with his dry, sense of humor we all know and love.

Now, they are waiting for him, all dressed up ready to go, each Friday night, looking forward to those fish dinners.

Does this take a lot of time to do? No, not really. Just a little bit of planning ahead.

What kind of memories are those dinners forming? The kind that you remember in those quiet times, years from now, when you smile to yourself knowing you seized the moments, and made them count.

So go ahead and call that friend, make that lunch date or send that card (I know a cool keep-in-touch tool you can do this with!).

Make today the day.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2010 in Appreciation, Inspiration