Distracted from Best Intentions

Distracted from Best Intentions

Phyllis Lifestyle 36 Comments

Like most busy people, I am easily distracted or pulled away from things I intend or want to do. I have a friend named Joan who sends cards to many people for encouragement, birthdays, or just to say, “I love you.” Whatever the occasion, she never misses a chance to send a beautiful card.

I am always overwhelmed when I receive one of her cards, and it just changes my day. I often joke and say that I want to be like Joan when I grow up. She shows kindness through her ministry to just about everyone in her life. I don’t even ask how many cards she sends on a monthly basis. She just loves doing it.

A simple note, thoughtful card, or hand-written letter changes everything! I often intend to send caring messages to my friends, but I get distracted and focused on something else that requires my attention. Then later, with regret, I think about the opportunity missed. That’s why there are so many belated birthday cards in the stores, I guess.

I am trying hard to not let distractions keep me from the things that really matter. I’m trying to get ahead by putting reminders on my calendar a few days before a friend or family member’s special day arrives.

It’s the little surprises that let people know how much you love them. Case in point: I have every card from my children, grandchildren, and husband in a box in my closet. I cherish every little token. It doesn’t have to be a purchased card–sweet thoughts on a sticky note work for me, too. My grandchildren write great ones on plain paper, and oh, how I treasure them!

E-mails are wonderful, too. Texts are nice, if that’s your usual mode of communication! Any message that says you are important, loved, or thought of has such value in a relationship. Start with baby steps. Send one card this week to someone special! You will make that person very happy.

How often do you share thoughtful messages with the special people in your life? 

Southern Lady March/April 2018

Comments 36

  1. Going through emails I discovered this unread blog from you, Phyllis. I have always thought it was important to remember special friends and family with handwritten notes. Perhaps I enjoy doing this because I so appreciate receiving handwritten notes and letters. While I do not cover every holiday and birthday, I try to send notes often. My mother impressed upon me the importance of this sort of connection. Thank you for finding the time to encourage modern women to maintain lovely courtesies from the past.

  2. I love this and oh how I need to do better at this. I have a box full of cards I’ve hand made and stamped with a friend and I need to get them out. My oldest son, 21, confided in me that he and his girlfriend actually write notes to each other which I found to be endearing. Although they text and face time since she is studying abroad in Europe this semester they actually talk on the phone too which most people this age do not do. I hope they continue to write letters to each other. Maybe I need to make him some cards for him to send to her. And I will say this has inspired me to start writing and sending more cards since I do have an abundance of them. Thank you, Phyllis you know how to prick our hearts to do better.

  3. A couple of years past, I chose as a Lenten discipline to write 40 notes to people who were dear to my heart. The group was, of course, scattered geographically and also “scattered” across the years of my personal history. Yes, it took some time, but it was a wonderful discipline … and inspired a dear friend to do the same the next year. I was the delighted recipient of her first note! (And I began each note with the statement of my purpose in writing, so each recipient knew (s)he was a “dear one” to me.)

  4. Phyllis, you are a woman after my own heart! I’ve set a preparation day each month to write cards and make meaningful plans for the month ahead. This little bit of intentional forethought has reaped beautiful rewards in the hearts of those I’m celebrating!

  5. Thank you for your wonderful post!! I, too, love to send cards. I have all of the birthdays of family and friends listed on my calendar so that I can send each of them a card on their special day. I also love saving the beautiful cards I receive. My husband surprised me one year with a special gift – a beautiful hand made wooden camelback trunk – painted “blue” and tole painted with the most beautiful flowers. The trunk has always had a special place in our home and is filled with the cards I have received through the years. It’s almost over flowing. Such treasures!!! I appreciate all of your posts and the inspiration you share.

  6. I so enjoy lovely stationery and beautiful cards. I have a friend who creates unique, stunning cards–and shares them with me often.

    Another friend send over a hundred cards a month to soldiers, veterans, shut-ins, as well as those bereaved, in crisis, or in need of cheer. Those who know her will contribute stamps and boxes of encouragement cards for her personal ministry. What a blessing she is to every person she encourages!

    Thank you for reminding us to share a word of kindness!

  7. A beautiful and heartfelt post! And, one that is close and dear to my heart. I am a note and card sender, and love to collect pretty papers to have on hand when I want to write to someone. It is truly the little things in life which make our days special. I am almost giddy when I see a handwritten note in the mail and I hope the recipients of my notes are as well.

    Florence spoke about Alexandra Stoddard. Alexandra is a gifted and special soul. She has inspired me to think better and different thoughts. She truly is a note writer and her book, “The Gift of A Letter,” is a little book of remarkable inspiration.

    Thank you Phyllis for this post. Once again you have brought to the front an issue of importance, and one for thought. It is these little things which can have a ripple effect toward good in our world.

    1. I love her book Gift of a Letter. That is one I ready over and over. She is a dear friend of mine and I have several letters from her that I have saved. My favorite is the one she wrote from Paris on navy blue paper with White ink!!!

  8. Hi, my name is Joan too– and I’d like to think Phyliss is talking about me !!!! haha…
    …but the fun part of your always enjoyable blog post, is that I also love & send cards all the time….and I have kept cards and notes from family members since the 50’s too !!
    I just “smiled” when I read this blog as I know how wonderful it feels to send these cards!!

    1. 1950’s is a wonderful era. I have only one letter from my grandmother and it was written in the late 50’s. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. Thank you, Phyllis. Once again you have reminded us of the important things in life. It is becoming a lost art..letter writing, sending cards or thank you notes. I treasure every one I have ever received. Several years ago, I faced one of the most difficult and disappointing times in my life. I cannot place a value on the cards, notes, and letters that I received during that time. I have them in a basket and reach for one from time to time. They were my encouragement, frankly somewhat of a lifeline that kept me from falling into depression. So, I say, don’t wonder if you should. Write it, send it, don’t give it a second thought. You may never know the true value of a word “fitly spoken” through the simple gesture of the pen. It could be like”apples of gold in pitchers of silver.”

  10. I love sending and receiving notes. Words of encouragement and affirmation can strengthen relationships even if the sentiment is just “I’m thinking of you.” Whether through email, texting or handwritten…personal notes can give life to the recipient. Thank you, Phyllis, for reminding us once again to be intentional in showing kindness to the people around us.

  11. For those who have older relatives or friends whom you buy a gift for; a nice box of assorted cards and a book of stamps makes a great gift. I used to do this for my grandmothers and my Mom. They are all gone now, but I know that it meant a lot to them to receive such a simple gift.

  12. My sweet mother-in-law sent so many cards to others. She was too ill to send cards the last Christmas she was with us, but others understand & sent their greetings to her. This made her feel so loved.

  13. I love stationary and sending cards and notes,as much as I love getting them. But I have become resigned to the fact that many people these days just don’t do this for whatever reason…maybe it’s not in their nature or perhaps it’s just a sign of the times. But I find texting also keeps me in touch with many of my friends and many seem to respond better to that. And Phyllis, you of all people should not feel bad about forgetting to send a note now and then, as you send out the loveliest thoughts to us all on a regular basis through your Ribbon! And we are truly blessed because of that.

    1. Roma thank you. Texting is the easiest way to communicate with our children and grands. But I have to be very cautious and not let it take me away from notes!!!!

    1. Thank you Alta Faye. I remember with great fondness the letter you wrote me on a beach ball and mailed to me!!!
      That was the most unusual note I have ever received!!

  14. Another wonderful and touching post from you Phyllis ! Beautiful responses from your friends in blog land …
    May you all receive a thoughtful card from someone dear to you – and soon!

  15. This made me think of my Mother who might not remember your name, but she never forgot a birthday. She would send a card to all the children and grands with a dollar in it, except for my husband who she would send $5. I think she felt guilty about pitching a fit when we got engaged and him turning out to be her favorite son-in-law. Miss her humor so much!

  16. Just last night I was finally letting go of some Christmas cards from about three years ago (not picture cards – just can’t pitch them!) and I ran across a Christmas card/letter I had received from my St. Simons friend. In it, she stated that she was so happy we share a letter writing correspondence. It reminded me that I owe her a letter! And, today, your column also made me think of how many zillions of cards my Mother still sends her friends and acquaintances at 92 beautiful years of age. Your words today inspired me and reminded me of how much receiving a card or letter in the mail means to others.

  17. Yes, it makes me happy to send pretty cards to loved ones and friends. Thank you cards are a must. It surprises me or should I say stuns me that many don’t feel the need to respond to a kind act with a thoughtful card. I was not taught that by my parents but learned that from a wonderful woman, my mother in law. She loved to write letters and send cards and if she received one she would send a thank you note. She had a beautiful penmanship even age age 97 . She taught school in a one room school house in South Dakota and in her latter years, in assisted living , she received many well written letters thanking her for the extra time she spent with them to give them a wonderful education. There were doctors, lawyers and school teachers who wrote those thank you letters. She saved those and I enjoyed reading them when we visited her there. I never knew what she really though of me until I spoke at her funeral. Many people came up to me to say that she, Ruth Genzlinger, had written to them about her love for me. I miss her.

  18. I enjoy sending birthday cards and special occasion cards,too. I keep a record of all the birthdays so I do not miss any one’s special day.

  19. I have a friend who is now in an assisted living home. I try to send her little notes every few weeks along with her birthday and holidays.

  20. I agree with the above rely from French Garden House. Just the time you take to write on your blog is such a pleasure to me. Your words are always so inspiring, and I always look forward to opening your posts.

  21. Phyllis, I just want you to know how much the cards can mean. About a year and a half ago I had a double mastectomy and one hip replacement. My sister sent me a get Well card or encouragement card at least once a week through chemo and radiation. It was a wonderful , wonderful uplifting thing for me. I was able to put them around our mantle so I could be reminded of how much she thought of me and the good thoughts she sent.

  22. Phyllis, what a lovely post as usual. I do send cards to friends,relatives,etc. There are some that I have not received a Christmas card from in a few years. I still send one because I feel they may be having trouble or are lonely.

  23. Phyllis thank you for this wonderful post. I love receiving cards & handwritten notes. I have found that with every birthday, I receive fewer birthday cards. Most of my friends will just send me a text or post on Facebook and although I appreciate the thought, I secretly wish they had mailed a card. I have always sent Christmas and birthday cards, but with so few people doing the same, I have questioned whether I should continue. But reading your post has changed my mind. I will continue to mail out cards because it brings me joy when I do it and hopefully the recipient will appreciate it too.

    1. Susan, this saddens me, as I notice I am getting fewer and fewer birthday cards, too. I like to think when I take the time to go out and carefully choose just the right card, I would receive a phone call or a mention of it in some way. Just this afternoon, I told my son I see I’m receiving almost NO e-mails that contain any information I’d like to see about family, school goings-on, etc. Instead, I do get lot of misinformed, negative political comments. These e-mailers used to send a paragraph of what’s going on in their life. I’m learning more and more that people are using Facebook, and that’s something that has never interested me. My husband has been ill for several years, and e-mails are my window to the world.
      I just love cards and I still write letters. Author Alexandra Stoddard claims she can talk an hour on the phone and turn around and write a note to that same person. I believe it. Once upon a time, when I had the time, I was able to do that. It’s so fulfilling. Thank you for this site where we may write our innermost thoughts.

  24. Another wonderful post. Although I have to tell you, Phyllis, that YOU are that kind of wonderful person. I have always been extremely impressed that you take the time to answer emails so quickly, because I know you are very busy. When I speak to your staff at Hoffman, they all say that you are a wonder….that you always take the time to talk to them, to visit with a new mom who has just had a baby, and more, no matter what is on your schedule.

    Thank you for being the kind of woman that you admire. I for one, hope to be just like you!

    1. Thank you Lidy! I appreciate your lovely words. I am trying always to bring some beautiful thoughts into our lives. I get so sad being bombarded by the news in the world. We have to work harder to create loveliness don’t we?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *