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Category Archives: Faith

Instilling handwritten traditions

May 27, 2014 | Leave a comment

My friend Melinda is stopping by today to tell you about how writing cards with her mom became a meaningful tradition she now shares with her own daughters. I hope you enjoy her guest post, and stick around for next week when I’ve got a big announcement…

 

Memories of my childhood are highlighted with scenes of constructing the infamous thank-you note. My mother would set me and my sisters up at the kitchen table to write out our appreciation for gifts received or experiences shared. Prompted by gratitude, my mother led the tradition that intentionally communicated thankfulness.

We always had several different styles of note cards or simple pieces of construction paper to choose from. Whether stately monograms, delicate floral, or a beachside scene; kittens with yarn or majestic calligraphy; we listened to our hearts and chose accordingly. This was the practice of the art of expressing our personal style through thoughtful, crafted messages.

Cards Melinda received from her mom and friends so far this year

Cards Melinda received from her mom and friends so far this year

When we got older my mother would have to remind us to write them, but now as an adult, I thoroughly enjoy reserving the moments spent pouring out love in the notes I send. And equally as much, I experience heartfelt appreciation, from the efforts of another, when receiving one myself.

Yes, we are all busy these days; we are mothers and friends, coming and going. It’s become easy and effortless to shoot a text, tap out an email or post a note on someone’s Facebook page to let them know you are thinking of them. But the warmth of a conversation, a personal touch from a simple observation, delivered by way of paper, is truly matchless.

I have a process when planning to send a note. I think about the person I am reaching out to; considering their personality and acknowledging their circumstance or situation. Then, I pull out the drawer in the sacred space for the sacred tools, and carefully choose the right paper and the right pen; completely intentional and deliberately honoring.  Each aspect, from start to finish, holds hands with one another; cheering on this labor of love.

thinking of you card

Certain cards and notes I receive – I keep. Meaningful messages stand on display around my home; a lingering presence of harmony and solidarity. And as much as the external adornments become treasures to me, it’s the written words within them that fill my home with the lovely aroma of friendship and love.

Today, my mother still remains sharp as a tack with her thank you notes; her matriarchal mannerisms fully on display. Shortly after a holiday spent together, a united celebration, or thoughts of me that pass through her mind, a card is sure to follow.

I anticipate her notes; they dazzle with a glowing impression of her. The color schemes she chooses reflect her heart song and the scene depicted is never short of magnificent. But more than that, they bring her presence with them and our presence is truly the most powerful expression of love we can give to one another.

Today, I set up my daughters around the kitchen table; laying out markers, glitter, and paper cards. I remind them who we are writing to and what message we are communicating. Each daughter, as individual as she is, appoints a palette and chooses her words.

These are the traditions of intentional love; where we sacrifice our time and the cost of a stamp to reach near or far to communicate messages of love and hope; where we set present tasks aside and shine a light on a friend, telling her that she is seen.

This is how we communicate our faith one to another. This is how God’s glory reaches and rescues. And even today, paper remains the most valiant of messengers.

XOXOXO

Melinda

melindaMelinda Cadwallader is a wife, mother, glamour enthusiast and Wonder Woman’s biggest fan.  After her daughter’s diagnosis of Leukemia, she set aside her stylish career of leadership within the beauty industry and took up the most fulfilling, yet challenging, role of her life: matriarch. Melinda now uses her speaking and teaching experience to help build a culture of virtuous and capable, kingdom-minded women. Melinda is currently writing her first book, The New Matriarch, which speaks of how we become influential women, leading our friends, family, and community with a confident faith. You can connect with Melinda at www.equippedwoman.com.

My word for 2014

December 31, 2013 | 3 Comments

Have you ever picked a word for a new year? Not so much a resolution as a reminder. Something to encourage, uplift, or drive you. Last year, my word for myself was prayer. I just wanted to do more of it. I didn’t keep a running tally or anything this year, but I think I succeeded in making it more a part of my life in 2013.

I didn’t think long and hard about a word for 2014. It just popped into my head and I knew that was the one. This year has been a difficult one (although I’m well aware that it was much harder for others and that I do have good things to look back on as well). For me, 2013 seemed to be defined by health issues, stress, panic attacks, and loss.

For 2014, sure, I have goals I want and need to meet for this business. I’m still driven. But this year, I know that this word needs to define much of who I am. My word for 2014 is…

 

still

 

I need to be still. I need to take the time to REST and remember I like sleeping in and reading a book on the weekends. I like having time to do absolutely nothing. And amid the business owner and designer and wife and million other hats I wear, I need to nurture that girl, too. Or she turns into an overworked, stressed out, unhappy person.

But for me, the word STILL is not just about being still. With all that bad stuff going on in 2013, STILL is a reminder that He’s still here. God’s still here. He’s still on my side. He’s still waiting. He’s still loving. He’s still mine. And I am still his. And maybe I lost sight of that a bit in 2013.

So there’s my word for the upcoming year.

I wish you everything that’s good in this world in the New Year. Have a happy 2014.

What’s your word?

be still and know printable

Free printable – click image

Why send a hand-written note?

September 5, 2013 | 1 Comment

A guest post by my friend, Amanda.

I must have been eight or nine years old, maybe even younger. I was an avid reader, and it seemed that all of my favorite books described deep friendships formed through the writing of heartfelt letters.

It was then that I started hoping for a pen pal, and not long after my wish came true: a missionary friend of ours was looking for someone to write letters home to, and we began sending handwritten notes across the ocean.

He wrote about the slums, the poorest of the poor, and how much they need Jesus.

I wrote about bicycle parades around our cul de sac, and what I was learning in school.

He wrote about life lessons like sleeping on a hard wooden board, and how thankful it he was that it was off the ground, other wise he’d be sleeping with cockroaches.

I wrote about Sunday school lessons and science experiments that were more interesting to my brother than they were to me.

We told our stories. We shared life lessons. We exchanged Biblical truths.

There’s more than just passé charm in a handwritten letter. It’s more than just an antiquated and delightful form of communication.

A hand-written note is an investment in the life of another precious soul.
Handwritten correspondence is an ages old, tried and true method of communication and relationship. Without it whole nations might not have been established. And without handwritten letters, our Christian Scriptures — the Holy Bible — would be missing the vast majority of the New Testament. Our entire understanding of Christian living, church life, spiritual gifts, Biblical conflict resolution, and grace would be missing key aspects that form our theology and beliefs.

Think about the love and devotion that Paul, Luke, and Peter put into writing their epistles to the early Christian church. They gave of their time, and were willing to risk persecution and death in order to encourage, disciple, and guide the early church through perilous times. They quite literally invested their own lives into the lives of millions of saints that were to come after them. Their resolve was unwavering and their legacy is unending.

A hand-written note is a social thread that knits our lives together in intimacy and camaraderie.
Before we were connected to each other in five or six different ways, there was pen, paper, and a stamp. Three items that individually serve very little purpose, but together they crafted history making documents, told stories of scandal and valor and tragedy, and connect us one to another.

Taking time to write a note of encouragement, condolence, congratulations, or a simple hello, ascribes value to the recipient, and connects us in a way that goes beyond 140 characters and emoticons. Through letter writing our hearts become engaged in the correspondence, forging friendships that may last a lifetime.

The tradition, the charm, the sophistication of letter-writing, there are many reasons to write a hand-written letter!

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In 2012, after opening up about her three year journey through infertility, Amanda decided to combine her desire for connecting like-minded women with her passion for story crafting and launched a Christian lifestyle blog, A Royal Daughter. Facing unexplained infertility wrecked her in the most painful, yet glorious way, and gave her a platform to share what so many infertile women want to say, but often don’t. Her desire is to offer to those who do not know the pain first hand an inside look at infertility and to encourage those who face the frustrating struggle to do so with grace and dignity.

 

Find Amanda online at her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram. No really. Go find her. You won’t regret it.

You are so loved. Seriously.

August 29, 2013 | 1 Comment

A guest post from my friend, Jill.

I love the fact that Stephanie’s business, RLPCo, is based on words.
And, ironically, that it is based on using a few words to convey deep thoughts…
And that the most important words, are Words from God.

I like to write in bullet points, but without bullet points,
Because I learned to write
By using an outline and then filling that outline in.
It’s the only way I can even think about organizing my thoughts.

I like to use ellipses…(those three dots there, that is an ellipsis)
I like to leave my thoughts open for more thoughts…
Instead of closing them, off…
It helps me keep my mind open to new ways of thinking.

I like to write in hashtags
Because I am #addictedtoinstagram
Most of my hashtags are singular in existence
Because no one else is stupid enough to create hashtags like me.

But if you look on Instagram
For the hashtag #youaresoloved
You will find a lot of posts…not just one
Because I say that A LOT.

you are so loved seriously

It’s not important to me if you are political or religious or rich or poor
Or hipster or preppy or pretty or ugly or smart or stupid (well…. just kidding)
Or popular or a loner or whatever
I want you to know, that you are loved.

My love for you is imperfect…
I’m limited by my sin and humanity,
It doesn’t mean I don’t love you, because I do,
But my love for you comes because He loved me…
I don’t love you because I HAVE to,
I love you because I’m free to.
I don’t have to look at how we are different, or the same, or anything else
I love you because I have the freedom to love you…

If I were an RLPCo card,
The front of me would say,
“You are so loved, seriously.”
And the back of me would say
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

What would you say if you were an RLPCo card?
What would your simple message be?

Find Jill online at 99wpm.com,
on Facebook here,
on Twitter here,
and definitely, DEFINITELY go follow her on Instagram.

Why I love a gay man

March 20, 2013 | 14 Comments

I have a friend. A really good friend. One who unreservedly supported my dream of starting a card business. One who lifted my spirits when I lost my confidence. One who never held back in sharing and teaching.

One who had to move out of the U.S. and back to London because his and his longtime partner’s relationship was the most important thing to them. After seven years in the U.S., he wasn’t able to obtain a permanent resident visa and his partner wasn’t allowed to vouch for him. They left behind family, friends, careers, lives they had established in New York.

benn

Benn and I were partners in crime at work. The redheaded command center of the newsroom. And even though his leaving meant I got promoted to the job I always wanted, not much in me was happy about it. I was heartbroken.

Even though I’ve moved on from that job to do this, the cards, full-time, I miss him. But I want to tell you about Benn, because I honestly think — KNOW — I would not be where I am today without him.

When we met, I was fighting a losing battle with having confidence in myself. But he believed in me. This person that I so much looked up to for his skills and confidence. For four years we worked alongside each other. Bouncing ideas, asking questions (that was most often me) and teaching (that was always him). All the design skills I have? I owe pretty much all of that to him. The ability to try something different with design and not worry about it — I owe that to him, too. He had actual training as a graphic designer; everything I knew was self-taught. He never turned down a question or a teaching opportunity. And he never missed the chance to encourage me when my confidence was slipping.

When I told him I was starting a card company, he was excited for me. When I was trying to figure out printer settings and which paper to use, he donated his time — and his expensive paper. When I was stoked at the flash of genius that is the {not sent from my iPhone} card, he was the first person to know about it after my husband. When I made a big sale, he was genuinely interested and happy for my success.

The bottom line is … Benn played a huge role in my development as a person and a designer. And it never, ever mattered that he was gay. It was never weird. It never affected his or our work. But it sure did — does — break my heart that he was forced to leave the country to be with the man he loves. Maybe I can’t speak for the country, or for the city we were in, or for you, but without a shadow of a doubt, *I* was better for him being around.

Whether or not you agree with gay marriage, God calls us to love one another.

I love him for changing me in the best possible ways. He loved me by being a friend and mentor. He is one of my most favorite people in the world.

I just wanted you to know that.

 

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*** I welcome you to post your thoughts in the comments, but please be respectful. ***

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I’m linking up today with my friend Amanda at A Royal Daughter for Desire to Inspire.

Easter is greater than Christmas

March 18, 2013 | 3 Comments

easter vs. christmasIs it just me or is Easter > Christmas?

Don’t get me wrong. Christmas is a big deal. Our savior was born. To a virgin. In a barn. But then the he grew up. Was nailed to and died on a cross. Rose again three days later. Saved us and ensured we could spend eternity with the Father.

Easter is like Christmas x3. Right?

Also, chocolate bunnies. Just sayin’.

Chocolate bunnies Easter card

Wrestling with God

February 11, 2013 | 2 Comments

Do you ever get so frustrated you just want to throw up your hands and ask the heavens “WHAT IS GOING ON HERE???” I do. I’m human.

At that point, I pray. But it’s not the usual quiet praise and supplication. It’s more like “Ok God, seriously. WHAT are you doing? What am I doing? This isn’t working. FIX IT. Show me. DO SOMETHING, for pete’s sake.”

And maybe that’s not the best way to pray. But you know what? He can handle it. He can handle my questions and thrown punches.

God can handle your punches

Genesis 32:

24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel [he struggles with God] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel [face of God], saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

Jacob wrestled with God. And God didn’t go cry in a corner. He fought back.

So go ahead. Question. Ask. Yell. Tell Him your fears and doubts. Put up yer dukes and go for it. He can handle it.

Wrestling with God might turn out to be painful. Because he will fight back. For you. He’s fighting for you.