Gifts need not always be material things that cater to the desires of the eyes or flesh. One of the best things that we can give is the assurance that someone is being thought of and loved. We can do this in many different ways, one of which is through verbal or written expressions of acknowledgement or appreciation for a person's worth and his/her efforts to do the right thing, which is often unnoticed or overlooked. It can also be a commendation and encouragement.
Some have a hard time figuring out what to say or how to express what they feel. When I mentioned to a retired-doctor friend who is involved in a voluntary hospital work that I gave several thank-you cards to some medical personnel in that hospital, he asked me if I could give him a copy of my messages so he could share them to others as a pattern for their own thank-you cards when the need arises. Sure, I wanted to share, but I also stressed that the messages I wrote were my personal feelings based on the doctors' kind actions towards my personal needs. I'm sure that those messages won't apply to everybody.
My point here is, our message should be tailored according to the need or situation of the recipients. It should be something we personally feel from our heart, sincere words that we truly want to get across to them. The key here is having a caring attitude, being truly interested in them. We should avoid expressions that merely flatter in order to please them.
What I usually do is keep an eye out for the ones I regularly associate with. Find out their up-side (for commendation) and down-side (for encouragement). Then I try to feel for them, deeply, and reflect on what to tell them. Thereafter, thoughts and emotions spontaneously trickle in, ready to be converted into written words that can fatten the heart. After printing the messages, I take out the cards that I made and choose which ones would go to whom. By the way, I make as much cards as I can whenever I have spare time or while I watch TV, so there's always something on hand any time I need one.
By giving out cards with well thought out messages, I'm living up to my motto "Scatter sunshine", which is also synonymous to "Sprinkle happiness". I was touched by what a friend said when she received her card, "I know you made the Card yourself and there is love in every detail." Isn't it also a loving thing to say? Yes, she said it perfectly: there's love in every detail. (I thank my friend, Silke, for this.)
Here are some of my recent "sprinkles". (I blurred the visible messages for privacy's sake.)
for a family I admire due to their kindness, humility and solidarity
for a couple who needs cheering up and joyful association
a belated wedding wishes and gift for a close friend in the Philippines whose wedding I've missed
for a very thoughtful and caring friend
for a couple in Denmark who warmly welcomed us to their home and prepared a sumptuous dinner for our group, a memory that remains vivid in my mind
a farewell card with good wishes for a young couple
a souvenir for a newly-wed couple
for a friend whose kindness and generosity remain constant
for a big family whose members are like pieces of sunshine
for a very kind elderly woman who lives alone in a villa that I regularly clean; she ordered 4 cards from me to send to her friends, so I made these cards below
appreciating a couple for their selfless deeds
After sprinkling these bits of happiness, I also feel showered with happiness in double amount, knowing that every bit of love that I put in each detail can make the recipient feel loved.
"There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”
- Acts 20:35