Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Growing--Personal Encouragement that Keeps on Giving

Do you keep a file of items that brighten your day? You could call it an encouragement file or an inspiration file, my husband's term. Whatever the label, we like having a special place to keep thank you notes, printouts of kind emails, commendations, or other personally meaningful papers.
Our younger son recently had the pleasant experience--almost miraculous in these hard times--of having his immediate boss go to bat for him and secure him a nice raise. Pete showed us the email his boss had sent the higher ups and forwarded on to him detailing his accomplishments and contributions to the company. When I later asked Pete if he planned to keep the email, he said he hadn't really thought about it. "Print it and put it in your inspiration file," my husband chimed in. Mark then told Pete how he has kept and filed a rich collection of expressions of love and gratitude over the years. When he feels as though he is not accomplishing enough or that no one appreciates his efforts, he can turn to his inspiration file for positive motivation.
I am not the best example of being organized about keeping an encouragement file, but I do have stashes of commendations, personal thank you notes that particularly touched me (some of the best are from students), and some greeting cards with uplifting personal notes penned in. Sometimes it is enough just to remember they are there. At other times, I reread a few for the emotional boost and reminder of precious human connection they provide.
Question of the day: De you keep tangible reminders of encouragement, kindness, and love?


  1. In some ways, I do keep that file. I have a sturdy shoe box I keep tickets and playbills and little things in, I call it "Paul's Box". Paul was my husband and passed away in 1990. That box brings me joy in remembering him.

    I did keep all notes, thank yous from patients and silver dollars & tokens from my superiors. When that job ended badly, after 15 years, I found these mementos more painful, hollow. They became a mockery of the good since bad was all that was left. They are in an envelope I prepared to return to my employer as I no longer felt worthy of their merrit! I did not send the envelope but have no joy in possessing them, even 8 years later. I wish that time never existed.

    I guess I should say, there were good years, but I was not well, and it took its toll. I just didn't know it was time to leave, I was not a quiter! They could have been kinder, but for some reason, took a hard approach and left me with... nothing...

    Not a very nice reply to your beautiful post. I debated posting this, but sometimes things don't work out like you think!

  2. OK, I can't leave it there! I do not spend time in that dark place. I love my life today and my thoughts are usually centered in the now!

    The question just caught me off guard and I gave in to yestereday!

    I just opened my email and found this:

    Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.... His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.
    --Philippians 4:8-9, 7

    This was in a news letter from a very kind and positive person, Vernita Bridges-Hoyt.

    Isn't it interesting how something positive is waiting just around the corner!

  3. I keep all those things. I still have the letters from my wife when we were dating 42 years ago. I keep a daily journal with sheet protectors to keep the notes, emails and cards in. Even the nasty notes I keep. They are all good for later laughs.

  4. Thank you, Autumn. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and encourage me.

    Bill, I love your approach to life and your ability to laugh at negative notes later! It is wonderful that you treasure the memories of your courtship and marriage, clearly a loving relationship. The sheet protectors in a notebook are a terrific idea.

    Beckie, Your reflections are a testament to the range of experiences in life, from grief and pain to hope and faith. I am deeply grateful for your courage to be so open, so REAL, in your response to the question.

    I offer my sincere sympathy on the loss of your husband--I'm glad the memories bring you joy.

    I am sorry that the topic and question raised difficult and hurtful memories for you--it is so sad that the end of your job cast such a dark pall over all the good years of your service in the health care field. Your patients would be horrified if they knew. I do hope the time will come that you can reread their grateful notes and recall the rewarding feeling you experienced in helping them heal, both physically and as whole persons. Why is it that someone's cruelty can sometimes overshadow a world of good (something I have experienced, too, in different ways and settings)?

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Love yours! I'll have to come back and read some more!

  6. You are welcome, Manon--your blog is terrific. Thank you for your encouragement on mine.

  7. Hi Mary, thanks for visiting my blog! What a great story about your son and his boss - most unusual. I had started keeping what I call my pat-on-the-back file several years ago but haven't kept it up. You've just reminded me to get back to it! There's so much negativity all around these days, reading positive messages, especially if they're personal, is a great pick-me-up.

  8. I enjoyed your lovely blog very much, Deborah--thank you for visiting here. Pat-on-the-back file is a wonderful term! I hope you do get back to keeping it up and to receiving long-term positive benefits from it.

  9. Thank you Mary, you have put into words one of the most meaningful explainations I've heard!

  10. You are welcome, Beckie--thank you for your kind response.

  11. I like sending cards to special peopleo who are like my very special family. That why i pick out very special cards. For very special peopleo that are like my family. And thoes very special peopleo. Will always be like my very special family forever.

  12. That is a kind and thoughtful thing to do.