Sunday, April 17, 2016

Winners and Grievers

First, the winners.

Drumroll, please.

Announcing, just four months late, the winners of the random give-away for the 2015 Thanksgiving Crusade challenge!

#34, Stamping Sue

#26, Marsha D. 

Congratulations to Sue and Marsha! Each of you has won a $25 gift certificate from the online stamp vendor of your choice. Please send me an email (susanraihala at roadrunner dot com) that includes your choice of vendor and also your snail mail address.

Blessings to all who participated in the challenge and sent Thanksgiving cards last year. We're going to do it again this year, but please remember that any day can be a thanksgiving day.

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings." 
--William Arthur Ward

That's one of my favorite quotations.

And now for today's card, which reflects the gratitude I am feeling for this lovely spring weather we are finally getting in southwestern Ohio.

I completely free-handed the silver border on the raised ruler used. Go, me! Those curves were a challenge, let me tell ya, but the movement they add to the otherwise static design made a big difference.

I love the underlying message of the branch, reaching out to another that it can't touch but can still care about. This card is destined for a far-away friend in Texas whose mother died recently. It'll go out in the mail in time for Mother's Day.

Now, the grievers. 

When we send sympathy cards, sometimes that's the last we do for the bereaved, and this is certainly appropriate for those whom we don't know very well or are not particularly close to. But the whole first year after a loss can be especially painful, as those "firsts" have to be faced...the first Mother's/Father's Day, the first birthday, the first Christmas, the first anniversary of the death, and whatever other firsts were especially important within the relationship.

Sending regular doses of love and encouragement after everyone else has forgotten or stopped mentioning the loss can be supremely comforting to those who mourn. It takes commitment and time, but for those we love, it can make all the difference in their grief journey.

Is there someone grieving a recent loss to whom you can make that commitment? If they are far away, send cards and emails. If they are close to home, invite them regularly for coffee or lunch. Listen. Don't judge and don't try to make them snap out of their grief. Don't tell them it was God's will or the deceased is in a better place or any of those other cliches designed to put a bandaid over the arterial bleed of grief.

Just be there for them. Cry with them. Care.

I'll get down off my Stephen Minister soapbox now. But if you ever have questions or concerns about how to help a friend or loved one through grief, please email me. There are so many helpful resources out there.

The bottom line in the Thanksgiving Crusade and in all our card making is to send more cards...and by doing so send more love.


stamps: Stampabilities branch, Uniko sentiment
paper: Papertrey white 
ink: Memento lilac posies, Memento Luxe black
accessories: Prisma silver metallic broad marker, corner rounder, craft foam, glue, rhinestones


  1. Thank you, Stephen Minister. Wise words.

  2. Lovely card. I can't believe you did that freehand! Great words encouraging us to care. And lastly, so happy to be one of the random draw winners.

  3. Thank you for this timely reminder. I have taken a day off tomorrow to have some time for me. My plan is to make some cards, and do some sewing. I was feeling a bit torn about some sympathy cards that I did not get out "on time". I did not know if I should still send them. Your post has told me that I absolutely should send them. And I will make some extras for my stash so that I will have a card the next time it is needed.

  4. wonderful card, Susan, and wise words.

    I am sure your friend will be thankful to receive such a wonderful card around mother's day.

    Nowadays most people tend to forgot mailbox and letters. Emails, What's app and facebook goes much faster.

    But a real letter, send by snail mail is more sustainable. You can re-read the encouraging words in a card or letter whenever you need it...

  5. Thank you for your words to remind us of the power and meaning of personal mail. I save cards sent to me with caring messages, and I am often thanked by recipients of the cards I make—and they save them for the same reasons.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!