My Personal Mission: Be an EnCOURAGEr

Posted on May 31 2018

These are interesting times. So much is happening to divide our country. I learned that no one really cares what we think or changes their minds based on Facebook posts, Twitter or what they see in their Instagram feed. And that is ok! It took me awhile to realize that although snarky memes can be funny. They can also be offensive and divisive. There are better ways to take action.

I want to write about my core beliefs and how I put those beliefs to work. My personal mission is to be an EnCOURAGEr.

According to Webster (I roll old school); To be an encourager is to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence. But, I also know, you can’t give it, if you don’t have it. To encourage others, we must first embrace ourselves and find our own footing. I have a story about a friend, who shall remain nameless! At one point in my life, I lived in Kansas City. One afternoon, some friends and I were at the Art Festival on the Plaza. I ran into a friend who was once a co-worker of mine. Funny thing, I had seen her ex-husband the night before. Knowing they are still friends, I say, “Hey, I saw your ex-husband last night.” She, without missing a beat, replies, “Oh! You are going to have to be more specific!” There was time when I would have judged her comment so harshly. I would have felt she was being flip and not taking marriage seriously. But, on this day, I saw things differently. Two things: 1. Who cares what I think. She certainly didn’t. As it should be. 2. In that moment, I was so impressed with her honesty and how she OWNED her journey, even though it probably didn’t look like she thought it was going to look. She claimed the highlights and the challenges as her own. I believe we all have things we skim over in hopes of minimizing. For me, I didn’t go to college. This embarrassed me and caused me to question my self worth. I didn’t even join Facebook for the longest time because every time I skipped over that question in the 'About Me' section, it would circle right back around and ask the college question again. They seemed hell bent on knowing where I went to college! This would put my self perceived failure out there for the world to see and caused me stress and heartache. It was not until I reconciled my feelings about my value, was I able to find my gifts. I am a child of God, after all. I was able to use these gifts and grow into the person I am becoming. When I put the fear of judgement aside, I found a new freedom.

I founded Flipside Pillow.

I don’t believe, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” I believe names, bullying and negative influences are hurting us all.

As adults, we are our own gatekeepers. We choose our social media influences, our podcasts, our tv shows and our friends. Hopefully, we choose wisely.

Our children do not have this luxury. Things come at them at a dizzying pace. We need to use every opportunity to be encouragers. At Flipside Pillow, we design pillowcases for kids AND we attach a permanent marker. You can write a message to your Littles, that will be the last thing they see every night before they lie down their heads to sleep. We manufacture our own fabrics with encouraging words, vibrant colors and whimsical art.

Jack Canfield, Co Creator of the massive Chicken Soup for the Soul empire, says, the research shows, what we talk about, think about and watch on tv, right before we go to bed, plays over and over in our subconscious. If you ever listened to ghost stories around a campfire, you know this is true! Let’s take advantage of that with loving and encouraging words at bedtime.

Now, a short time later, less than 2 years, since we began selling happy Autograph Pillowcases, we have the most amazing and fulfilling stories. People give Flipside Pillows to kids for so many reasons. Most recently, I was speaking to a parent who purchased a pillowcase because she and her husband are divorcing. Her daughter, therefore their family, is struggling with anxiety. They sat down as a family and decorated the pillowcase together. The parents wrote love notes and positive messages to their daughter. This mother told me that the first night her daughter took her pillowcase to her father’s house, was the first time she did not call home crying.

The most moving story is about my mom’s best friend in Tennessee. She has ALS and can no longer write her name. She purchased a pillowcase for each of her grandchildren and outlined her hand on the “flipside” of each pillowcase. She typed to me, because she can no longer speak, that her grandchildren will have these pillowcases long after she is gone. She takes comfort knowing she will be remembered each night.

Gracious words are a honeycomb. Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Parenting is the most powerful work in the world. Personally, I believe I already won the lottery of life, being born in America to loving and nurturing parents. My mom made me a pillowcase with a personal message when I was a child. It meant the world to me. I want every person to feel as special as I felt, in that moment.

Comfort and connect with your children. We are here to help.

With love,
Mel

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