Live Inspired

Never Pass Up a Chance to Be Kind

by Meredith · 01.29.2013

Mid-winter in Seattle can be pretty blah. The skies are gray, it’s usually raining, and we still have months to go before the balmy weather and sun return. In other words, we’re ripe for any kind of a pick-me-up the world might send our way.

So you can imagine the surprise of discovering that someone, some person with a heart of gold, has been posting these signs around town.

On busy roads and main intersections, they've cropped up everywhere. And no matter where your mind is when you pass one, it makes you stop and think.

Yesterday, I passed one of these signs on my way to the coffee shop after work. “What this day needs is a cup of hot cocoa,” I thought, and as I was walking briskly to get it, I passed by a gentleman who moved his umbrella aside to let me pass. As I was in the coffee shop ordering my cocoa, who should walk in but the gentleman with the umbrella? A little voice, one which must have been inspired by those signs, whispered to me, “buy his coffee!” So I did. I tried to do it anonymously, but he eventually figured it out and stopped by my seat to thank me on the way out. “What a kind thing to do,” he said. “I like it. I really like it. It does a body good.”

And, just like that, I remembered how simple an act of kindness can be. Also, just like that, I might have started a new tradition for myself—one of little kindnesses wherever I can give them. Have you done something like this lately? You hear so often how great an act of kindness can make you feel, but when you actually do it, it’s astonishing. It really does feel good. It's enough to make a gray day bright.


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Inspiring Gratitude: Introducing A Thankful Life!

by Amelia · 01.10.2013

Gratitude is a miraculous little thing. It can be so small and simple to show—and yet its consequences can be enormous. Scientists have been studying this phenomenon for years. In research studies, groups of people who have been tasked with writing down what they are grateful for each day have shown remarkable improvement regarding both their physical and emotional well-being. They note that they feel stronger, happier, and more satisfied with their life. Just by noticing—and appreciating—the good around them.

“To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings,” says Dr. Emmons, one of the leading authorities on gratitude. It’s simple: When you take the time to really acknowledge the good things that are in your life, you expand your potential for happiness.

This life-changing philosophy has inspired us to launch a bold, exciting new campaign this year called A Thankful Life: Inspiring Gratitude. Our goal is to inspire the writing of one million thank you notes over the course of the year!

It’s our hope to spread the joy of gratitude well beyond our offices. We want to encourage others to notice and appreciate the gifts given each day—whether it’s reconnecting with an old friend, enjoying a beautiful mountain drive, or something bigger such as starting a new business or seeing a loved one finally come home.

And we’re beginning the campaign with several exciting projects. First, the release of our new A Year of Gratitude Kit: A Kit to Inspire 52 Weeks of Giving Thanks. It includes 52 thank you cards with envelopes, a guided journal to chronicle your year of gratitude, and helpful tips on how to write meaningful notes—all housed in a gift box.

Second, we asked each employee to anonymously write a few adjectives about each other as well as state our own personal goals for the upcoming year. A small group gathered these kind words and created individual Wordles for each employee as well as a company-wide poster.

The more an adjective or phrase was stated, the larger the word became. So, if more than one coworker used the same description for someone, then that word increased in size. As you can see, our Emma is very sweet and Renee is fun and hardworking—and now they know that we know it too! And, we have a lot of people with goals to spend more time with family and friends, do community service, as well as communicate appreciation to each other.

And lastly, we’re also taking the time to write thank you notes to our extended Compendium family. From designers to accounts payable, every employee is taking it upon themselves to go beyond our doors to say thank you to our sales representatives, retailers, and dedicated customers. We are so grateful here at Compendium for the ways these individuals and businesses make our company possible, and we sincerely hope that our spark of excitement will light a candle of gratitude in the hearts of others.

Please join us! Each month we’ll post more ways to inspire gratitude, your stories on how gratitude helped you, giveaways, as well as share a weekly gratitude quotation on our Facebook page. To get started, “like” us on Facebook or check back here. Or, even better, start by writing your own thank you note!

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Enough Joy to Go Around

by Meredith · 12.20.2012

All of us here at Compendium love to hear stories about the way people incorporate our products into their lives. When we received an email from Donna, one of our sales representatives, telling us how her new son-in-law Justin proposed to her daughter Natalie, we knew this story was too good for us to keep to ourselves. Here's Donna telling the story:

Okay, so some of you have asked…this is how it all went down…about a month ago Justin called my husband Dan and asked for our daughter Natalie’s hand in marriage.  And since then the two of them have literally been on the phone at least two times a week.

So this was a TOTAL secret! Only Dan and I knew what was happening. Total 100% shocker for the other 20 in the room.  We told no one!

I ordered 22 Thanks A Bunch books and Dan and I wrote personal notes to each person inside them. I figured I would use the thank you window cards for place cards and each person could read theirs off…like fortune cookies.  We started and Justin and I had it preplanned to end with him.  So that’s how it went…if a really profound window card was read, everyone would go “ohhhhh….” and I would ask for it to be reread!  The 9 and 6 year old boys read theirs like such big guys and then little Izzy recited each sentence after her mommy helped her read her card.  She was so excited!

Natalie’s quote was so profound for the moment that she did not even know was coming.  Dan and I were dying…my heart was beating so hard I figured everyone at my table must have heard it…and then came Justin…he opened his and said, “What?  This is strange.  Mine says get down on one knee.  Yes, it says I must get down on my knee.”  He pushed his chair back and got down on his knee and facing Natalie he said, “Natalie, I love you.  Will you marry me?”…the entire room gasped.  Natalie kept wiping tears away and holding her hand on her chest as Justin leaned in for a kiss as he put the ring on her long awaiting ring finger.

Needless to say we all jumped up and ran to both of them…and time just stood still.  Mouths were dropped, and my Dad said, “Did it really say that?”…like straight out of the movie Moonstruck. It was indeed a day to be thankful for!

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Meet Compendium's Ambassadors

by Angeline · 12.11.2012

Over the last few months I've had the privilege of getting to know 11 outstanding individuals. Each of them radiates positivity, is committed to uplifting others, and truly understands what it means to live inspired. They are our Compendium Ambassadors.

The ambassador program began out of curiosity about the inspiring ways people were using our products. Every so often we'll hear a story about someone passing along window cards to friends who need encouragement, or receive a note from a recent graduate who used the 5 book to pursue some hidden dreams. We hoped to collect these stories and make a few new friends along the way.

Our ambassadors are a group of bloggers, students, mothers, artists, business consultants, and travelers. Each was given a similar box of Compendium products to share. The ambassadors never fail to surprise me with the creative ways they're spreading Compendium's message of living inspired with friends, family, and even strangers. During the next few months, I'll be sharing their stories with you.

Today, I'd like to introduce Jessica of Pen N' Paperflowers Studio & Design.

Jessica says she's always engaged in something artistic and describes herself as a designer by nature. "I have an inherent desire to inspire others and I share all things creative and inspirational on my blog, Pen N' Paperflowers Studio & Design," she says. She resides in Florida with her three beautiful daughters and her best friend. Visit her blog for much more on her graphic artistry, crafting, photography, digital invitations, party accessories, art prints, and patent-pending pastry stand!

When we asked Jessica for a list of things that inspire her, she created such a fantastic and heartfelt list we wanted to share it with you:

What inspires me:

I'm inspired by my children and the importance of motherhood.

I'm inspired to reach out to others to lift them, empower them, and encourage them.

I'm inspired by simple acts of kindness and love towards others.

I'm inspired by the strength of those who overcome amazing challenges and burdens.

I'm inspired when I focus on the simple things in life, which are ultimately the most important.

I'm inspired by human connection through humanitarian efforts.

I'm inspired by love, in any and all forms.

I'm inspired to give to others in whatever capacity seems fitting, especially if I feel it will help to lighten their burdens.

I'm inspired by the goodness and greatness of the human spirit.

I'm inspired by music and art.

I'm always inspired to be involved in creative things as well as inspired by the creativity of others.

I'm inspired by quotes and inspirational books.

I'm inspired by Compendium. *wink*

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Gifts of Gratitude

by Meredith · 11.14.2012

At this time of year, we're all thinking more about the things we're grateful for. If you look closely, those things are probably not things at all--they're people. They're the family members who've supported you, the friends who've encouraged you, the neighbors and coworkers who've done more than they needed to to make a difference.

In the spirit of gratitude, we've put together a gift guide filled with inspiring little thank-yous for anyone who's been generous with their time, talents, or heart. Discover books, cards, and gifts to express just how thankful you are for the people who make your life so bright and full.

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Spooky Business

by Amelia · 10.31.2012

Have you ever seen a moth hard at work on her computer? An ice cream sundae getting something from the printer? Or a black swan taking customer service calls? These and other delightfully inspired costumes graced our office this week for Halloween, many of them painstakingly handmade and well worth the effort. In addition to dressing up, a costume contest, a potluck lunch, and pumpkin carving rounded out our spooky day—in between sending emails, designing books, and other work-related activities!

Many of us will go home to hand out treats to happy little ones knocking on our doors—but for a little while, here at Compendium, we grabbed some of that youthful Halloween magic for ourselves!

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Not Your Average Gift Shop

by Angeline · 10.15.2012

When I first walked into Shine, I thought I was visiting just another fun neighborhood boutique. A rack of our Positively Green greeting cards stood by the entrance. Jewelry and assorted trinkets lined the front counter display. My eyes were immediately drawn to a display of brightly colored scarves. And while I'd certainly take my girlfriends to shop here, this cozy shop also has an even deeper purpose.

Owned and operated by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Shine is a retail resource for people who are undergoing cancer treatment. Not only is the store stocked with gift products, but they also sell 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 in the lower portion of the store. All the proceeds go back to benefit patient family services.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Eileen Hood and Carrie L. Jacobsen, the wonderful managers behind Shine. They tell me that the store came from a true customer need. Patients approached them asking where they could find wigs and breast prosthetics. They also needed a private place to choose and purchase these things.

Shine has become a safe haven for its customers. Cancer is a disease that often leaves patients feeling scared and uncertain. Shine's space is warm and inviting. Customers are met by a supportive staff of volunteers. Eileen tells me, "The people who run the register are volunteers who give their time and support. Many of them are cancer survivors so they have a great kinship with people. They're beautiful smiling faces for people who are overwhelmed."

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month--a time to honor cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones. Each day, Shine serves as a resource and comfort for cancer patients--and that is truly inspirational.

For more information on Shine, go to:

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by Amelia · 10.03.2012

Once a year, the Compendium office transforms itself. We become Funpendium—a little crazier, a little zanier version of ourselves. What’s the reason? Spirit Week. It’s a few days we set aside to get to know each other better, connect, and, well, act silly.

As a relatively new member of the Compendium family, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. The week before, I was handed a Spirit Week Field Guide … We needed a manual for this thing? Why yes, yes we did. There were three fun-packed days to prepare for.

Day 1
Our first day consisted of wearing retro, vintage athletic gear, which was not only fun to dress in but also appropriate attire for that day’s activity: an über scavenger hunt. Full of smiles, we divided into four teams, were handed a set of clues, and told to go for it! We set off running (sometimes literally!) around the local neighborhoods solving riddles and documenting it all with photographs. Some teams preferred to skip:

Among other activities, we gathered and gave away smiles and gifts to strangers, the local food bank, and public servants. My personal favorite was writing an inspiring quote in chalk on the Burke-Gilman, a nearby trail that’s popular with bikers, walkers, and runners.

Day 2
Our second day was focused on celebrating our motto of living inspired. Wearing our favorite color—orange, of course—we were treated to a delicious lunch and a private tour on Ride the Ducks.

We also played get-to-know-you games, where we learned that a surprising number of folks in the office don’t like the sound of tearing paper—who knew? We also have quite a few hikers and ocean lovers among us—not surprising in our beautiful Pacific Northwest location!

Day 3
For our final day, Field Day, we had the opportunity to connect with our not-in-the-office colleagues: our hard-working, local warehouse coworkers—without whom none of our lovely products would get out the door!

Once again, we divided into four colorfully named teams: Envy Us, a green, 80s glam rock band; Uncorked, a red-wine inspired group; Bluevana, a 90s grunge team; and Relish and the Super Dogs, named after the electric yellow-green color of their shirts and fit with custom capes with hot dogs adorning the back.

We set off to GasWorks Park for an afternoon filled with activities, including a hot-dog speed-eating relay (of which I was a proud member), a water balloon toss, a three-legged race, and many others.

At the end of each day, my face hurt from smiling. At the end of the week, I was filled with happiness, knowing that I was part of an organization where hugs and laughter are not only appreciated, but expected. Needless to say, my newbie fears were quickly abated, and I’ll be more than ready for next year’s Spirit Week!

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A Campaign for Good

by Meredith · 10.01.2012

At a time when we're getting used to political signs and slogans everywhere we turn, the Brighter Day Project has a non-partisan campaign that really appeals. The idea? Post colorful, inspiring signs on street posts, in front yards, and on buildings around your neighborhood. Send a little ripple of goodness out into the world. And see what happens next!

The people behind the Brighter Day Project have made their designs available for download so you can print out your own signs for home, office, or public spaces. For a donation, they'll send you a more durable sign of your own. A campaign for unexpected happiness? We're inspired!

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To Bounce Gracefully

by Miriam · 09.19.2012

There's a carpet cleaning company that I pass every day on my way to work. Their office is in the middle of a heavily industrial area of town with warehouses on either side of the road and forklifts crossing the street and stopping traffic. The company has a large sign underneath their company name where they post inspirational quotes. It's such an unlikely place to find inspiration, but it works.

There was one quote that really rang true for me recently. My husband finished grad school this year and is looking for work. We also just had a baby.

(photo by Jessica Eskelsen)

Life has been full of changes for us, and with them come lots of frustrations. We would really like my husband to find a great job. And we would love to move out of our one-bedroom apartment to have more room for our growing daughter. But we just don't have those things yet.

As I was driving to work, I passed by this company's sign, which read: "It's not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce."

One day my husband will have a great job. One day we will have a bigger place for our growing family. In the meantime, we are learning to bounce gracefully.

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