It's in the cards

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 23, 2007

By Linda Beck

For The Salisbury Post

In May 2005, there was an article in Prime Times about me and my friend Debbie. We shared our story about our instant friendship and how Debbie introduced me to stamping cards. She provided me with all the necessary supplies and we enjoyed “playing together” until Debbie moved away. So much has happened since then.

Back in the beginning, things took off and one thing led to another. I rediscovered how I loved to color. I was having so much fun that cards began to accumulate.

“What am I going to do with all these cards?” I asked Debbie.

She said, “If you enjoy making them, just keep on and don’t worry about it.”

Several times she predicted that I would find a use for them.

Sure enough, before we knew it, we had enough cards to raise money for several church youth programs. Different things kept happening and this hobby mushroomed into a ministry of service to others.

My daughter heard on the radio about a project in Winston-Salem. I called and got the details about sending homemade cards to our soldiers in Iraq. The soldiers do not have a place to buy cards so this helps them get free cards to send to their family and friends.

The coordinator in Winston-Salem took the responsibility for sending my cards to the soldiers. Benita has visited my home twice and shared many of her supplies just as Debbie did. What I thought was a one-time project has resulted in me sending several thousand cards during the past two years and another friendship has blossomed.

One of the soldiers who has Benita’s POC (point of contact) in Iraq came to visit her when he returned. He expressed the soldiers’ appreciation for the cards. He told Benita that it was kind of sad after he passed out all the cards that some soldiers would come back and ask if he had any more cards and he had to say no.

I think when I heard that I realized that God had prepared me for a new ministry. Physically, I can no longer travel long distances to tell others about Jesus. But in my private sanctuary, I can make cards that exhibit God’s love to those soldiers who are away from home.

One lady who read the story in Prime Times called and wanted to give me more than 300 stamps, cardstock, envelopes and other miscellaneous supplies. Betty Lou is another generous new friend who has become a part of this ministry as I sent 100 of her cards to Iraq.

Once we had a card-stamping party and became friends with the company representative. Like Debbie, making cards had been her hobby for many years so Gaye gave me a big box of supplies she had accumulated.

Some friends have donated money for cards to help me pay for the envelopes, tape and postage.These folks are great encouragers with all the nice compliments they pay me about the appearance of my cards. Another friend opened a new avenue of card-making when she gave me a wallpaper border of seashells. Several folks favored those so I began to collect discontinued wallpaper borders and books and taught myself the art of layering.

(I’ve never been particularly artistic but maybe I’m going to be another Grandma Moses.)

I enjoy using the wallpaper borders because I can make those cards faster which enables me to reach more soldiers. I did some research and found that North Carolina has seven units with more than 500 soldiers in Iraq so now I have seven POCs with which I can deal directly.

Again, I’ve been blessed that some friends and family are willing to take the cards to the post office for me.

In my healthier years, I collected used greeting cards for an organization that recycles and sells them. I never suspected that someday I would recycle more than 600 cards for the benefit of others. Recycled cards are less expensive to make but are just as pretty and save space in our landfill.

I would love to see more people become involved in sending cards for our soldiers to use. Right now, my personal goal is to send at least enough cards to Iraq for all our North Carolina soldiers as often as I can. I’m not able to serve my country but God has enabled me to use this ministry to express my appreciation for our soldiers and their service.

It is so amazing how one thing seems to trigger something else. A lady in Georgia who is also a stamper received one of my homemade cards from her aunt here in Salisbury. She called to ask if I would like to have some of her stamps and supplies and I have just received a box of goodies from her in the mail. It is ironic because she lives in Peachtree City, Ga., where Debbie was raised.

The nicest thing of all was when I received one of my recycled Christmas cards from the servicemen expressing their appreciation. One soldier who signed the card said he lives here in Rowan County. That card gave me a warm feeling of worthiness. I had read an article about people still having cards they received from soldiers in past wars and I realized that someday some of my cards may be keepsakes from this war.

I have been blessed to make use of my time so wisely and in the process make so many new friends and it all began with Debbie. God is so good!

I have been given so many materials for card-making that I would welcome some help. I can be reached at 704-278-9355.

Linda Beck lives in Woodleaf.