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 gift books

Inspiration When it's Needed Most

by Carrie · 03.12.2013

Today's blog post comes to us from Carrie Schmitt, an artist and friend of Compendium, who has such a wonderful story to share about her experience with the She book that we wanted her to tell you all about it herself. Visit Carrie's site at carrieschmittdesign.com to find out more about her art. Here's Carrie with her story:

When I first read the She book, I was struck by how powerful the words were. I felt that every woman should read them over and over until these thoughts became the way she lived her life.

Perhaps single mothers need to hear these words more than anyone else. The challenges they face can be overwhelming. I know because I was one.

Today, I am no longer a single mother struggling with all the demands--financial and otherwise--that raising children brings. Not a day goes by that I don't sit in my art studio and think of that time in my life when I had no hope, when my future seemed so daunting.

Every flower I paint represents hope for another woman struggling--hope that one day she will find her way. That compassion and a helping hand will reach out to her.

Ever since I read the She book, I've wanted to incorporate these words into my artwork. One day, I tore out some pages and wove the words into mixed media collages.

When I learned about the Vision House, a local organization that provides transitional housing for women and children, I knew it was where these pieces were meant to be.

There is a (free) store where the families can pick out items to decorate and personalize their new home at the shelter.

I hope that the She book will remind them not to give up their dreams. That it will remind them to take one day at a time. That they matter. That they are doing the hardest and most important job in the world. That it will show them how truly amazing they are.

How do you spread messages of positivity and love? Feel free to post your comment here or to leave us a message on Facebook at facebook.com/liveinspiredeveryday.

» Comments   Tags: compassion · the she book · gift books · encouragement

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ABC Menagerie

by Meredith · 12.09.2011

"Inspiration is everywhere" is something we say often at Compendium. It's a philosophy we live by. The thought always reminds me of children, for whom inspiration truly is everywhere. Children have a gift for finding opportunities wherever they go and special moments in ordinary days. They savor a single cookie, a bright rock, an unexpected feather. They find beauty wherever it lies.

When Compendium's CEO stumbled across artist Elena Targioni's studio while on vacation in Italy, her sculptures awakened in him a child's sense of wonder and delight. And when the rest of us saw her artwork, we had a similar reaction. Everyone wanted to hold Elena's soft and whimsical sculptures. And everyone was curious to know what was in store for these wonderful creatures.

After some long conversations, lots of writing, countless hours of design, and four days of photo shoots...

we created this:

our latest addition to the Compendium Kids line. ABC Menagerie is one of those books that's sure to enchant any child (and plenty of adults, too). Each animal is introduced with whimsical poetry, and pops off the page with personality and vivid texture thanks to the work of talented photographer Hank Drew and his assistant Genevieve Pierson.

Do you know someone who'd like to meet a new friend or two? Maybe a whole menagerie? Would you like to give someone a cheerful reminder of the sense of wonder we can take in the world around us? This book makes a beautiful gift for any child, or for anyone you know with a childlike heart. Ayo the aardvark, Brunhilde the bear, and Chione the camel tell us they can't wait to meet you!

» 4 Comment s   Tags: children's books · gift books · inspirational products

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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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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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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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When I Was with My Father...

by Dan Zadra · 06.07.2010

 

Here’s a great reminder from our best-selling Dad, My Hero book:  “Those who say that we live in a time when there are no heroes just don’t know where to look. To find a real hero, sometimes all we have to do is look closer to home."  Joseph Campbell once wrote that a hero is not necessarily a legendary figure; more often he’s an everyday person who has given his heart to something bigger than himself. That’s a perfect way to describe a great dad.

 

 

It’s true. Few things in life are more powerful or heroic than a father’s positive presence throughout the years. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Think back on some of the simple, loving things he did that made you feel happy and secure. Was it the sound of his footsteps on the stairs, as he hurried home early from work? Was it his laughter at the dinner table? His cheers from the sidelines?  His words of encouragement and hope?  His hand on your shoulder and a “you can do it” when the going got tough?

 

Years from now, when you look back on all the times you had with your Dad, chances are you won’t be able to remember all the things he did or said. What you will surely remember, however, is how he made you feel---and that feeling will always be with you.

 

There’s a little poem by Marsha Jeffrey Hendrickson that expresses what I’m trying to say. I once had this poem typeset and framed for my own dad at Father’s Day. He kept it on a shelf with his favorite family pictures for years, and we included it in his memorial service when he died:

 

When I was with my father,

when I was just a child,

the world was filled with wonder

and every place was wild.

And every day was magic,

and Santa Claus was true,

and all the things that mattered

were things my father knew.

We often went exploring. . .

and I learned to love the land,

but the greatest thing I ever learned

was how to understand---

That the finest gifts are often

things we may not always see;

when I wasn’t with my father,

my father was with me.

 

A great dad is someone we look up to, no matter how old we are. He may not be perfect, but he has given his heart to his kids, over and over, especially when it counted.

» 1 Comment   Tags: love · relationships · father's day · gift books · inspirational products

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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 Mom, For All the Wonderful Things You Do

by Dan Zadra · 05.03.2010

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 82.5 million moms in the U.S. (including yours), but more than three times that many Mother's Day cards and gifts will be given out this year. Why? Because Mom has been a lot busier than most of us realize.

For starters, it turns out that she is not just your mom, she is also someone’s sweetheart, wife, or best friend---and that definitely deserves a couple more cards or gifts.

 

If you have brothers and sisters, you’ll probably run into them at the card or gift shop this year, because your mom is their special Mom, too.

 

Now consider that your mom may also be someone’s cherished stepmother, adoptive mother, godmother and/or grandmother. I can remember that my big sister Lynne’s house used to look like a jam-packed Hallmark store on Mother’s Day. A single mom, Lynne somehow held down a full-time job, raised seven great kids of her own, and still found time to nurture several beloved grandchildren and godchildren---and they all made the pilgrimage to her house each year with a special card or gift in hand.

 

 

 

Today, our mothers are not only managing the home, they are also leading the House and the Senate. These days your mother may still be running the PTA, but chances are she may also be leading her company, community, church, hospital or volunteer organization.

 

"We mothered this nation," wrote former White House correspondent Liz Carpenter, "and we have no intention of abandoning our roles as nurturer or wife, mother, loving daughter, tax-paying citizen, homemaker, breadwinner."

 

How does Mom do it?  I’m not sure. Just be glad she does. And on Mother’s Day, be sure to celebrate, honor, love and affirm her.

 

Note: Continue our Mother's Day conversation; tell us about your Mom and the special ways she cares for you.

» 2 Comment s   Tags: love · relationships · mothers · gift books

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Thank a Nurse or Doctor Today

by Dan Zadra · 04.29.2010

  

No one goes through life without being touched by angels. We all have stories of a nurse, doctor or caregiver who made a difference.

 

I remember when my son was born. My wife was in labor for 26 grueling hours. Our nurse worked tirelessly side-by-side with us all night long; it was so exhausting but so beautiful for everyone. Somehow she made us feel as if she cared about our baby as much as we did.

 

I remember when my daughter had ear surgery. She was just five years old and looked too tiny to have an operation. The nurse knew how nervous I was, so she invited me to push my daughter’s gurney to the O.R. Somehow she made me feel as if my daughter was her daughter too, and that nothing bad could possibly happen.

 

I remember when my Dad was in his eighties. He fell in the rain outside his church and couldn’t get up. He was sad, scared and embarrassed---but then the EMT ambulance from the local fire station arrived. Those big strong guys were so tender and empathetic. They understood Dad’s feelings, got him back on his feet, and then led the onlookers in a round of applause for him!

 

I remember when Dad was 96 and had come home from the hospital to spend his last Christmas with us. We all knew that he only had a few days to live. But somehow his hospice nurses and caregivers made those final days feel full and rich. Because of them, some of my family’s Christmas gifts that year were strength, courage, wisdom, faith, forgiveness, healing, peace, joy, laughter and love.

 

 

National Nurse’s Week is May 6-12, but healthcare recognition will continue all month long. If there has ever been a special nurse, doctor or caregiver in your life, now is a great time to let them know how much you appreciate them. Send them a Because You Care book, or a Gratitude book, or a Hero book with a personal note from you written on the inside flyleaf. If possible, drop by the hospital or clinic and give them a hug. The work they do is heroic. It often goes unheralded, but it should never go unappreciated.

 

Note: If you have a personal memory or story about a special caregiver, please share it in our comments section below. 

 

» 1 Comment   Tags: compassion · nurses · caregivers · gift books · encouragement

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