Our blog is an invitation, a celebration and a conversation. We invite you to travel behind the scenes as we share stories about our hopes and dreams, our products and passions, and our everyday lives. Celebrate and affirm the best parts of the human spirit. Help us discover what it means to live an inspired life-to learn, laugh, love, grow and make a difference for the world. Join in the conversation. Open the book of your life and share the kinds of things that inspire you.

Entries Tagged as friendship

Reverse Trick-or-Treating

by Meredith · 11.08.2011

Most of us think of Halloween as a holiday for little ones--a day for kids to be enchanted with costumes and flickering candlelight and the prospect of free candy. But here at Compendium, we like to think of it a little differently. We think adults can get in on the fun. And since we're always on the lookout for ways to make each day more festive, we showed up to work last Monday looking like this:

After a morning of work and a potluck lunch, we set out to spread a little seasonal cheer by reverse trick-or-treating--giving away our books and journals to local businesses, pedestrians, neighbors, and passersby. We split up into four groups and headed out with baskets full of bright and inspiring treats to give away. We visited doctors' offices and cafes, retail stores, and banks...

and passed out goodies to cyclists, bus drivers, and people in their cars, waiting for the light to change.

We even tracked down a parking enforcement officer to share a little holiday joy.

Some people giggled and gave us high-fives. Lots of people needed to be convinced that we weren't selling anything. "No," we said, "we're reverse trick-or-treating. These surprises are for you." We got hugs from a stranger who was delighted to be given a gift with no strings attached. One woman from a dentist's office came out to thank us a second time and to tell us how much we'd touched her heart. Two women who had just spent their morning volunteering told us this was proof that the good you give to the world really does come back to you.

We returned to the office with empty baskets and stories to share. And in the spirit of sharing, we're passing this story on to you, along with a challenge to add a little unexpected joy to the world today. Your gesture can be a small one or something more extravagant. We'd love it if you'd share your ideas here. How will you add some joy and unexpected delight to someone's day? What can you do to pass it on?

 

» 2 Comment s   Tags: compassion · gift books · inspirational products · encouragement · friendship · friends and family

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Who is she?

by Meredith · 10.13.2011

You know her. Her spirit is the first thing people notice. Her mind always had a mind of its own. Her heart, though it has sometimes been hurt, bears a strong resemblance to a daffodil: it always flowers again.

We know her, too. She's the sister who follows her heart, the mother who lives such a beautiful example, the friend who's a constant source of inspiration. She's the coworker who brightens everything around her, and the neighbor who always knows when to stop by with a surprise. She's vibrant and spirited; she's brilliant and strong. And when we started thinking about it, we realized there are so many women like her that we set to work on a book that would celebrate and affirm these women and the wonderful things they add to the everyday.

Writer M.H. Clark and designer Heidi Rodriguez created I Am Her with their own favorite women in mind—mothers, sisters, best friends. They wanted the book to feel like a collection of ideas and beautiful things—a scrapbook of poetry, quotations, and images to prompt contemplation, creativity, and growth. It's a book to read, a book to write in, a book to ponder, and a book to share.

We're so excited about this book that we're giving away copies to five lucky winners who tell us who she is, and why she matters so much. Is she traveling the world? Is she making big changes in her life? Is she a bit of a dreamer, a dancer, a truth-teller? Nominate her here on our blog, or on our Facebook page. Just make sure to tell us about her by November 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm PST. Five lucky winners will receive two copies of I Am Her—one to give away to the person they nominate, and one to keep!

» 13 Comment s   Tags: girlfriend · mothers · gift books · inspirational products · friendship · i am her

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Celebrating Compendium Friends & Family

by Dan Zadra · 08.24.2011

A good friend of mine had a dream in which he saw himself as a gently glowing beam of light moving endlessly through a huge crowd. Wherever he went, the light made life brighter and happier for those he happened to touch. It was such a hopeful dream that he eventually decided to adopt that vision as his philosophy of life, and he was never the same again.

What a world this would be if you and I, and the people who live or work down the street, and across the hall, and around the world, suddenly decided to reach out more often and brighten our little corners of the world for friends and family.


That's what Compendium's annual Friends & Family event is all about. First, it's our way of saying a sincere thank you for being an active part of our online community. But it's also our way of inspiring you to reach out and inspire someone else, who in turn will reach out and inspire someone else, and so on down the line from heart to heart.

Think for a moment. Right now, there's a certain someone (or several certain someones) in your circle of friends and family who would welcome a little beam of inspiration, appreciation, or celebration in their world. The right card, book, or message from you--out of the blue--would make their day and light up their life.


What's the "right" card, book, or message for the person you have in mind? Don't worry; you'll know it when you see it. Spend some time on our website and let your heart make the choice. While you're there, enjoy our 30% Friends & Family discount with our compliments, including free ground shipping on orders that total $50 or more with the discount applied. Simply use code thankyou30 during step 2 of the checkout process. You can verify that your code has been applied during step 4.

From all of us here at Compendium, thank you so much for being our customer and friend--and for lighting up your corner of the world.

» 3 Comment s   Tags: love · relationships · inspirational products · encouragement · friendship · friends and family

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Our Inspired Community

by Meredith · 08.16.2011

All of us at Compendium will tell you that the work we do every day is about connecting. It's about creating products that bring people together in times of celebration, times of joy, times of challenge, and in simple, everyday moments. One of the greatest joys in this work is hearing from people who write to tell us how a book or product of ours has made a difference to them.

When Dan Zadra, our founder and senior writer, met Carrie and her daughter Skylar during a book signing at a local store, it was just the beginning of a unique friendship. Carrie and Skylar have been longtime readers of Compendium books, and had plenty of stories to share about the ways they live inspired in their own lives. When Dan found out that Skylar's 13th birthday was coming, he invited Skylar and her mom to the Compendium offices for a celebration. And they came!

We asked Carrie if she'd be willing to write us a blog post for us, and she graciously agreed. Want to share your own story with us about a product you love, or how you live inspired everyday? Feel free to comment below, or on our Facebook page.

Carrie writes:

When my 13-year-old daughter, Skylar, and I recently met Compendium founder, Dan Zadra, at a signing for the 2 book, we were thrilled to share with him how Compendium products have impacted our lives over the years.

Compendium's 5 book and video gave me the courage to move across the country from Cincinatti to Seattle to start a whole new adventure for my family. And the messages of kindness in Compendium's books have inspired Skylar to leave surprises on our neighbor's doorsteps and to hide notes in unexpected places for strangers to find.

After sharing these stories with Dan, he invited Skylar to tour Compendium's headquarters for her birthday so she could meet the creative people who give birth to the products we both love so much.

Our visit was an eye-opener, especially for Skylar. As we walked into Compendium, we were inspired by this place where creativity and collaboration are valued and where you can hold onto childhood whimsy and playfulness even as an adult. We loved how Compendium's space was filled with reminders...

to always celebrate your inner child...

to take your dreams seriously...

that creativity can be a messy process...

that no matter how important you are, making time for others is just as important...

...and to always tend to your soul and to others.

I am so grateful to Compendium for sharing these messages with my daughter as she officially becomes a teenager. Walking into Compendium's office was like walking into one of their books--joyful and inspiring. This experience has made Skylar and me more aware of the messages we send through our words and actions.

Thank you, Compendium folks, for taking the time to invite us into your world.

» 2 Comment s   Tags: relationships · the 5 book · the 2 book · inspirational products · friendship

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Sharing Joy

by Meredith · 06.29.2011

Here at Compendium, the arrival of a new book is always a reason to celebrate. After weeks of meetings and conversations, planning and writing, drawing and designing, revision and proofreading, we send our book off to be printed. And we wait. And then, one day we receive an unassuming brown package in the mail. Inside? We find something like this:

Joy is a book we've been wanting to make for a long time. It's vibrant and buoyant and full of life. And it's impossible to read from cover to cover without feeling a little brighter and a little more excited about the possibilities in each day. As Joy says on the jacket, if we want joy to be the story of our years, joy must be the story of our days. Joy must be a daily choice, a habit, a promise we make to ourselves. Joy must be the way we travel.

And now, we want to share Joy with you! We're giving away ten copies of Joy to ten readers who share with us something they do to find joy in the everyday. Post a comment to our Facebook page, or post a comment here.

We'll choose 10 winners at random from those who respond by Friday, July 8 at 11:59 pm PST. So join us in spreading joy everyday. Tell us where you find joy, happiness, and spark in your life, and we'll enter you to win!

» 21 Comment s   Tags: gift books · inspirational products · encouragement · friendship

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Mapping Your Dreams

by Meredith · 06.16.2011

All of us who work at Compendium love to receive emails and messages from people who tell us how our books have encouraged them to try something new, think more positively, or live a more inspired life. Sometimes, we're so caught up in reading our mail that we forget about the similar stories we have right in our own office. Today, we're bringing you a guest blog post from Carin, our sales director, whose story about the 5 book is one we knew we had to share.

***

Carin writes:

Goal-setting is powerful. We all know that to be true. But two years ago, my husband and I sat down, independently of each other, and worked through Compendium's 5 book to map our values and dreams in addition to our goals. What came from this was more life-changing than we could have imagined.

When we compared notes, my husband and I realized that we both had a passionate desire to live and work abroad. It had never seemed practical to pack up our family and embark on a journey overseas. Recent changes in the economy had put the brakes on Rod's real-estate practice, though, and we soon realized that this was the perfect time to explore our dreams. Why not have a 40-something married couple and three kids under 13 go to a third-world country?

Two months later, we had lined up teaching jobs at an international school in Baguio City, Philippines; we sold our non-essentials, put the rest in storage, and made plans to say goodbye to friends and family for a year, or perhaps longer...

Living in the Philippines was always an adventure. We learned how to turn a two-lane road into a five-lane one and how to drive in a place where people stop in the middle of the street to change their oil. Our children were immersed in a school of many cultures and learned that kids don't act the same everywhere in the world. Our blond-haired, blue-eyed child adopted a stronger Filipino accent than her native peers and cheerfully accepted cheek pinching from strangers on the street.

We learned that we bonded as a family (and with new precious friends) through the wacky and the challenging. We found that our assimilation and adaptation to new cultures wasn't as flexible as we once thought. We tried new things every day (though sometimes only once--fish head soup, for example). These experiences provided a chance for our family to rise above circumstances.

We observed a culture that is resilient and understands that hard times happen, and learned to stay calm even when things don't go as planned. We saw an entire neighborhood washed away by a landslide from one of the worst typhoons in decades, and we realized that you don't have to rely on electricity or the predictability of your favorite things to bring you joy. Above all, we witnessed the simplicity and beauty of a culture that is fueled by relationships.

I feel humbled that we were able to live this dream. I am grateful for the 5 book that magnified our dream and gave us the courage to check off quite a few boxes on our bucket list while impacting and being impacted by so many lives along the way.

» 3 Comment s   Tags: love · the 5 book · inspirational products · friendship

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You Have the Power to Make Someone’s Day

by Dan Zadra · 08.19.2010


Some people just have a way of giving us a much-needed lift. They make our lives brighter or our hearts lighter---but we don’t always get a chance to stop and let them know how much we appreciate them.

Did someone walk you home from school when you were little? Who sat up with you all night when you were sick? Who taught you how to catch a fish, or ride a bike, or write a paper, or carry a tune?

Who knew you way back when?  Who taught you how to kiss with your eyes closed?  Who believed in you before you believed in yourself?  Who gave you your first break, or bet on your dream, or told you how good you could really be?

Looking back, who was the most amazing neighbor, teacher, doctor, camp counselor, coach or minister to ever come into your life?  And what about the special people who are with you on your journey today?  Someone always keeps the lamp of friendship lit, or the home fires burning, or lends you an ear, or writes the eulogy, or bakes the cake, or makes you laugh until your sides ache, or tells you they care and mean it.

These people have meant the world to you at one time or another.  Today, a personal note or thank you card from you---out of the blue---would mean the world to them.

Looking back on my own life so far, I realize that some of the people who were so good to me are gone now.  Did I thank them?  I hope so, I meant to.  Yesterday is gone forever, but today is a great day for all of us to stop and just say a simple heartfelt thanks to those who have made a difference in our lives.

 

» 5 Comment s   Tags: window cards · gift books · friendship

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Living on Purpose

by Layla · 08.11.2010

A note from Compendium: We're thrilled to offer you a post by our very first guest blogger--Layla from The Lettered Cottage. Keep reading, and you'll discover exactly why we feel so lucky to have her here.

***

I'll never forget the day my husband, Kevin, and I discovered Live-Inspired.com.

It was around 1 o'clock in the morning, and we were both working on our computers in our home office. The room was dimly lit and quiet, except for the sound of our clicking keys. We were both pretty tired, but we were on a mission to finish up some internet business before we turned in for the night.

One item on Kevin's to-do list was "find the website that makes the cool metal postcards."

Earlier that day, I had received one in the mail from someone who reads my blog.

There was no return address on the package it came in.

It was a completely random act of kindness, and I was not only blown away by the sweet anonymous gesture, I was also intrigued by the super-cool metal postcard she sent me.

So as we sat at our computers that night, Kevin did a bit of surfing and eventually landed at Live-Inspired.com. He invited me to pull up a chair next to him, and we spent the next hour scouring the entire site together. We sat there, side by side, just taking it all in. With each click of his mouse, we found ourselves smiling. We read phrase after phrase aloud to each other, and we became filled to the brim with a fresh sense of focus and passion.

As we made our way from one Live-Inspired webpage to the next, we were re-inspired to be dreamers, do-gooders, and romantics.

We were encouraged to share our abilities, energies and talents.

We were motivated to stay hungry and foolish.

And we were reminded to preserve and protect the things that can't be replaced.

At one point, we clicked on a link that took us to a video about the "5" book. If you've never watched it, I encourage you to check it out. It has the ability to both fill you up and take your breath away, simultaneously. It's amazing.

We watched it three times in a row that night. We even paused it a few times so that we could talk about some of the thoughts it sent rushing through our heads.

The phrase, "live your life on purpose" initiated a conversation about the importance of our 'invisi-goals'--the kind of goals that concern your spirit. The kind of goals that make you feel the most alive--like being a better friend or family member, giving back more often, and thinking more positively.

The question/answer, "What is life for? Life is for YOU" sparked a discussion about the importance of seizing every one of our days. We made a pact to be more observant, and to seize even the most common of occasions and treat them all like extraordinary opportunities.

We talked and talked, and we must have smiled for an hour straight. Needless to say, it was a truly inspiring day from start to finish, and by the time we finally decided to head to bed I swear we could've floated there.

» 12 Comment s   Tags: relationships · tin can · inspirational products · encouragement · friendship

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The Stationery Show Top Ten

by Liz · 06.01.2010

 

 “Start spreadin’ the news

I’m leaving today…

I want to beeee a part of it,

New York – New York…” 

 

This is what I hummed  from Seattle to New York City last weekend on our way to the New York Stationery Show.  My seat neighbor was probably less than thrilled on round 27 of my tune.  In thinking of how I could re-tell our stories to you with some New York flair, I landed on David Letterman’s “Top Ten List”.  So without further ado, here are the:

 

Top Ten Things from Compendium in the City:

 

10.    Since we already covered the humming, you should know that I am always happy.  I high-five coworkers, hug strangers, sing in traffic, etc.  Working at Compendium means we are surrounded by inspiration on a daily basis, and this inspiration rubs off.  This was evident when my cab driver looked in his rearview mirror and said, “You sure smile a lot.”

 

9.    New York City has the best slice of pizza for $1.00 at 9th and 41st.  I will buy you a slice if you can find a better one.

 

8.   We debuted our new boxed card sets and had outstanding feedback!  It’s so fun to hear people get excited about new products!

 

7.    We met an extraordinary woman with a touching story.  She came to the show to window shop and while shuffling through all of the busy booths, she discovered us.  She couldn’t help but stop.  She told us that she had stage 3 cancer, and is now living her life to the fullest.  She was touched by our products.  We were touched by her courage.

 

6.    Have you ever seen a cuter face?  Okay, maybe I’m biased, since this is my child.

 

 

Side note: Our new kids products are SO fun!!  I can’t wait to get the new World of Thanks kit out!

  

5.    Note to self/tip to travelers:  Always carry an umbrella in New York City.  Sudden DOWNPOUR and a nine-block walk in the rain make Liz a very soaked girl. 

4.    Our designers went to see the Letterman show and brought a Tickle Monster Laughter Kit for Dave’s son Harry.  The show’s producer had much fun with the mitts, I’m wondering if we have an adult demographic we are overlooking…

 

3.    We stocked our booth with One books to give away.  Three days and dozens of “Are you the ones giving away that cool blue book?”, and we inspired 1000 new Compendium friends and fans. 

 

2.    The Louie Awards are like the Oscars of our industry.  Last year we won Greeting Card of the Year with a Positively Green card and this year, WE BROUGHT HOME TWO AWARDS for Friendship and Sympathy cards!  Such a great honor!

 

And LASTLY:

 

1.    At the Louies we were introduced to a young man named Ian Meier.  Ian is a 5th grader who makes incredible handcrafted greeting cards out of his bedroom, sells them at local stores, and loves inspiring other people. Ian’s passion and innocence warmed my heart.  In the age of video games, Facebook hellos, and twitter thank-yous, Ian is bringing his generation back to gratitude.  He reminded me to think of how thankful I am for the people in my life who make me smile.  Then he encouraged me to slow down.  And tell them.

» 2 Comment s   Tags: relationships · tickle monster · positively green · gift books · inspirational products · encouragement · friendship

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To the Best Friends We've Never Met

by Dan Zadra · 05.14.2010

 

Who can explain the magical sets of circumstances that conspire to create a lasting friendship or bond between people?

 

Here at Compendium some of our most cherished relationships are with people we’ve never even seen face-to-face. Sure, we may have talked with each other by telephone, communicated online, or even collaborated from a distance on mutually important projects. But we’ve never actually sat down and looked each other in the eye, or shared a handshake or a hug.

 

And yet, we know in our heart of hearts that these people who we’ve only known from afar have come into our lives for some important reason, large or small. We count them among our friends and kindred spirits. Over the years I’ve adopted a special name for them—a term of endearment that you are welcome to use if you, too, are lucky enough to have similar people in your life. I call these people “the best friends I’ve never met.”

 

Let me introduce you to one. Back in the 1990’s Compendium received a phone call from an elderly woman who lived on a small pension in a trailer park in Lacy, Washington. Her name was Betty Kieler, and though she spoke in a gentle, wavering, grandmotherly voice, we quickly discovered that she could be very tough and determined when it came to fighting for her causes.

 

Betty proudly informed us that she was the newly-elected President of the Northwest Senior chapter of Random Acts of Kindness. Their goal was to somehow feed and clothe hundreds of disadvantaged children in the Pacific Northwest, and also teach them to read. Betty wanted Compendium to help by donating our Gift of Inspiration books and our window cards to their causes.

 

 

 

 

Over the next decade, Betty became one of the very best friends we never met, staying connected across the miles by phone or email. We marveled as she overcame recurring heart attacks and cancer on the way to recruiting dozens of senior citizens to her organization. Over time, Betty and her elderly volunteers fed and clothed thousands of students, and created a wonderful student reading program that became a national model.

 

We didn’t have to meet her face-to-face to know who she was, or what she stood for. It was clear. To all of us at Compendium, Betty Kieler was a kindred spirit, a familiar and reassuring soul, a beautiful example of what we like to call the “inspired community”—and one of the best friends we never met.

 

There have been lots of others along the way—people of all ages and walks of life with whom we share something special, hopeful and affirming. And now, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and other far-flung ways of connecting across the miles, there are more of us getting connected than ever before. Here's to the inspired community, and to the best friends we never met. People like Betty. People like you.

 

» 3 Comment s   Tags: love · relationships · volunteers · compassion · window cards · inspirational products · friendship

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