When the people who work at Compendium think about what it means to do something good in the world--whether it's a kind word, a small favor, or a selfless act--we believe it creates a ripple. It's an image we're all familiar with--a stone dropped into a still pond that sends out ripples far and wide. But have you ever thought of yourself as the pebble? As the single point of impact that changes everything?
That's what we started thinking about last week when we read this wonderful article at the New York Times. It's all about the phenomenon of people "paying it forward" at coffee shops and fast-food restaurants--an example, one woman says, of "goodness gone viral." All over North America, people at drive-up windows are paying for the people behind them. And the most amazing part is that the recipients of that initial act of kindness often end up paying for the people behind them. Sometimes, a chain gets going that can last for hours. One string of cars lasted for over 200 people. 200. Can you imagine? Each of those people drove away knowing they had done something simple and kind and completely unexpected for a total stranger. That's at least 200 people whose days were made brighter and fuller, just because one person decided to start something good.
So today, or next week, or any time inspiration strikes, why not take this story as a little challenge? As a reminder to do something truly good and utterly out-of-the-blue for a perfect stranger? Then, come back here or join us on Facebook and tell us what happened. You'll feel good and someone else will feel good, but the best part? That's just the beginning!
Today's blog post comes to in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month from Christy Stickney, breast cancer survivor and loving mom. Thank you, Christy, for sharing your story.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age forty-two. It was one month before I was to get married to a remarkable man—a man who lost his wife to the very same disease. His two children had lived through watching their mom die. I have three kids of my own. We were supposed to be on a beach getting married with the five kids. I told him to walk away. I told him nobody should live through this twice. But he wouldn’t even consider it. So instead of a beach wedding, we had countless doctor appointments and got married in our church after a meeting with my oncologist.
My husband gave me my ring in the hospital parking lot. Within two weeks of my diagnosis, I got married, moved, and had a double mastectomy. My focus was to get that cancer out of me and get these five kids ready to start the school year. It was not time for wallowing. I was in fight mode and I knew I had to fight like I had never fought before. I was a mom and I had a lot of mothering left to do. I knew that no matter how much time I had left, no matter what my prognosis was, nothing would rob me of time with my kids. I am not a martyr. I simply love being a mom.
Our family was being robbed of so much, but I was determined to get through my surgeries and have another wedding on the beach with just the seven of us. My husband deserved that and so did the kids. No matter what, I would make that happen. My doctors fought me and finally relented. We made it to Maui that December. I was still in the midst of recovery, but was able to make the journey. It was an incredible experience for all of us. All seven of us understood the victory of that moment. It did not even have to be talked about.
I read so many books during my battle with cancer. One of the books that resonated the most with me was, There‘s No Place Like Hope by Vickie Girard. I love when she talks about receiving your cancer diagnosis. She says, “Diagnosis is like going to sleep in your own bed and waking up in a foreign country where you don’t know the language or the customs and you have no maps telling you how to get home.” That is so true and what strikes me is how countless people find the courage and strength to finally get home. We are mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and friends. So many people count on us. However, we are warriors in our battle. We don’t give up. We continue to nurture those we love.
Her book also talks about how cancer causes us to think about life. “It causes us to listen to the inside of us more than we may be used to. Neither of these is a bad thing.” I see this as one of the most valuable things I took away from my cancer battle. I paid attention more. I worked on getting rid of the clutter in my life. I took stock in what I value. You are forced to spend your time wisely as you do not have the energy to do everything.
As I faced the chemotherapy part of my journey, I was scared. My kids were scared. My husband knew too well what was ahead for me. His daughter asked, “Why when everything starts going good does something bad happen?” I had to keep fighting. My oncologist gave me the news of needing chemo on the phone. I was at my son’s birthday party, it was a Sunday. I knew we would get through it. I looked for inspiration. I was still having so much difficulty from my reconstructive surgery. I love this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt in Compendium’s Hope book: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Never once during my cancer battle did I even consider giving up. In looking back on my journey, I realize there were so many things I did that I would have never thought I could do. I was laser focused on doing whatever was needed to beat this monster. I did not ask “why me,” instead I thought “why not me?” Receiving this diagnosis felt like being stabbed in the chest. I had two choices: lie there and wait for someone to take the sword out and save me, or pull the sword out myself, stand up, and fight. And fight I did.
I came out of this battle a changed person. A better person. A better mom. I cherish the simple things that I used to take for granted. This fall was the first fall in a while that I felt more like myself. I cherished the countless back to school shopping dates with the kids. I love watching my son play basketball. I missed many of his games. I got to go on a field trip with my daughter’s fifth-grade class this past week. I got to see my oldest child drive. That was a big one for me. It was the best, and I soaked up every minute of it. I am grateful this disease gave me clarity at such a young age. As Vickie Girard said, “This entire nation is populated by cancer survivors-everyday people who have beaten this disease. Let their success fuel your success!”
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For National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this month—a special time to honor cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones—Compendium is proudly donating 10% of our profits from any online purchases at live-inspired.com to Shine via the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Owned and operated by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Shine is a wonderful, warm, and inspiring retail resource for those undergoing cancer treatments. Not only is the shop stocked with a bright assortment of jewelry, scarves, and trinkets, they also offer important items that cancer patients need—such as wigs, compression garments, prosthetics, and physical therapy goods. Shine even offers complimentary head shaves and wig trims. And all the proceeds go back to benefit patient family services.
Eileen Hood and Carrie L. Jacobsen, the hard-working managers behind Shine, explain that the store came from a true customer need—with patients approaching them asking where they could find wigs and breast prosthetics. And patients also needed a private and comfortable place to choose and purchase these essential items.
Shine has become a safe haven for its customers. With this disease that often leaves patients feeling scared and uncertain, Shine’s space is warm and inviting. Customers are met by a friendly, supportive staff of volunteers. “The people who run the register are volunteers who give their time and support,” says Eileen. “Many of them are cancer survivors so they have a great kinship with people. They’re beautiful smiling faces for people who are overwhelmed.”
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Today's blog post comes to us in honor of Breast Cancer Month by Dan Zadra, Compendium founder and cancer survivor.
Here’s a cancer success story that will warm the hearts of cancer patients and their friends and family everywhere. It’s the story of Vickie Girard, a courageous young woman who not only survived terminal cancer, but went on to write one of Compendium’s most beloved gift books: There’s No Place Like Hope: A Guide to Beating Cancer in Mind-sized Bites.
In 1992, Vickie was diagnosed with end-stage metastatic breast-to-bone cancer. It was devastating news. Statistically, there was no hope, no cure. Doctors at three different cancer centers advised her to get her affairs in order. Instead she chose to fight.
Vickie Girard not only survived her cancer, she went on to become a tireless patient advocate. For nearly twenty years she crisscrossed the country, informing cancer patients and their families how to better prepare to fight, win, and recover from this disease.
One day she called Compendium, and here’s what she told us: “In all my years of counseling cancer patients, I have never found the one book that patients and their families are always requesting… so, I’ve decided to write it myself. Will you publish it?”
And so began an amazing journey for all of us at Compendium. Currently in its eleventh printing, There’s No Place Like Hope is now known affectionately as “the little blue book” in cancer circles and support groups throughout the country. More than 100,000 patients (including myself) have relied on Vickie’s book to calm our fears and light the way on our journey to wellness.
“I have come to tell you that we can and must stand up to this bully called cancer,” she writes in the introduction. “We must stop speaking of cancer in whispers. We may have cancer, but cancer does not have us. Cancer is a beatable, treatable, survivable disease—and we should yell our success stories from the rooftops, so that others will take hope and fight too.”
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In the mid-1980’s, Compendium’s founder Dan Zadra watched as McDonald’s updated its slogan to read “50 Billion Served.” He remembers thinking, as he stood on a Seattle sidewalk, “If someone can serve up 50 billion burgers, someone else ought to be able to find a way to serve the world something a little more inspiring.” Later that week, Dan wrote “One Billion Messages of Hope and Inspiration Served,” on his white board. He knew that the moment you set your dream to paper, you invite the world around you to help you make that dream come true.
Within a few months, we designed our first “window card.” The concept was simple: Hide a message of hope and inspiration behind a die-cut window in a small pop-open card. And then encourage people to give them away to others.
People all across the country quickly discovered our powerful little cards. Within the first year, we circulated almost 10 million cards, and the numbers just kept growing. Our cards were carried into space by American astronauts, to the top of Mt. Everest with international climbing teams, to the bottom of the ocean with U.S. submarine crews. Our cards were handed out at Ground Zero to help raise the spirits of the courageous 9/11 response teams. And our cards are given by parents and teachers to children, and to countless patients at hospitals and cancer treatments centers throughout the country.
And this season, we’re happy to introduce a newly designed version of these classic window cards—ThoughtFulls. Outside, you’ll find elegant designs to brighten you spirit and catch you attention. Inside you’ll find timeless messages of inspiration to capture your heart. It’s our same message of big inspiration housed in a new (and still charmingly small) package.
In the meantime, we’re making room for our new line by offering a close-out sale on our much loved, best-selling classic window cards. Check out our website for more details!
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We’re excited to announce the launch of our Story Lines series and website. These illustrate-your-own books are just waiting for kids to bring them to life—because they get to create the cover and illustrate the entire book! Every book has its own special theme and story, from riding to Egypt on a giant kangaroo to cheering on grandma when she saves the day as a real-life superhero.
After drawing and creating each masterpiece, parents can upload their children’s artwork to our fun and inspiring gallery for the whole world to enjoy. Every title is shown with adorable characters, wonderful drawings, and quotes directly from the kids.
Every piece is one-of-a-kind and every book will become a wonderful keepsake for families to treasure for years to come. So take a look around, explore, and get inspired at the Story Lines website today!
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From kindergarten to higher education, a new school year means a lot of excitement, new learning, and bold discoveries. Prepare for all of the adventures ahead by creating an inspiring space to work, create, dream, and discover.
Whether you have a young student at home or are a student yourself, try to set aside an inspiring work area that’s motivating and free from distractions. You can energize and uplift your space by adding more light, hanging a list of priorities so they stay top of mind, and getting a comfortable chair. Be mindful of noise and even smells. And be sure you have everything you need nearby so you don’t have to leave your space to get individual items, such as pencils or paper.
In addition to your physical space, don’t forget to create an inspiring mental space. Journals, sketchbooks, or notebooks are wonderful places to write down your daily to-dos or your big ideas. It can also help to keep separate notebook for different projects or classes.
And don’t forget to celebrate the successes. Display a “You Did It!” board next to your child’s desk or create a collage of achievements for yourself. No matter which methods you use, just be sure that you find what works best for your needs so you or your child can stay motivated and truly enjoy the adventure of learning!
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