Welcome to the first “SUNDAY EVENING HYMN” on the ‘Hymns in My Heart’ website. I had the idea today, during a slow day at work, that I would sit down on Sunday nights, post a hymn card and reflect. In the current world, a post as such would be called a ‘blog.’ I prefer to call it a ‘reflection’. On my mind tonight are all those who helped this greeting card business take flight.
In order of their appearance. . .
MY HEAVENLY FATHER
He has never promised smooth sailing or perpetual smiles during my lifetime. But he has fulfilled His promises to guard and keep, prosper and protect me. How grateful I am to have always known the love of my heavenly Father, seen spiritually through the gift of His Son, Jesus, and physically through everyday blessings too numerous to number. Hymns would not exist were it not for the central subject matter about which they all sing–God’s love for a fallen world–a love so deep and great it would propel Him to sacrifice his only Son on a cross to save it.
It was my mom who embedded the first hymns in my heart over fifty years ago. As far as my mind knows, they have always been there. For the first eight years of my life, at bedtime, mom would read books to me, say prayers with me and sing multiple hymns. These are the hymns that I treasure the most. The card below is verse two of my favorite hymn “The Sun Has Gone Down,” one of my treasured ‘Mom hymns.’ She’s in heaven but I know that if she were still with us, she would be tickled to know the hymns she taught me are being shipped around the country.
Dad continued embedding hymns in my heart as a youth. We sang hymns after devotion every night. He and the principal of our school chose which hymns the students would memorize each year and memorizing hymns was a grueling part of his Confirmation classes. I didn’t like it back then. But I sure like it now. And then, akin to an act of Superman, he faithfully ran the business for me while I raised a family. The business started back in 1995 but has never had an online presence. For fourteen years he made trips to the print shop in Mankato, cut cards, folded cards and packaged cards to be shipped all over the country, running countless marketing campaigns to drum up business. I have TWO faithful fathers. One with a capital ‘F,’ and one with a small ‘f.’
I’m married to a man who doesn’t limit me, never complains when I make a mess and who, when considering purchasing something expensive, usually asks me first if there’s anything I need. He has supported this endeavor from its inception and lovingly endures my 12-hour designing stints where I don’t come up for air. He also helps me think through things, a skill he possesses in spades.
During the past year’s push to increase the variety of cards available, my sons and their wives were asked to choose their favorites on multiple occasions. They dutifully obliged me and have all been supportive. Our third son, Paul, worked part-time for me, logging many hours doing data entry and moonlighting as my tech-support. Opinions matter, in general, but the opinions of my family members matter most.
ADUNATE WORD & DESIGN
Di Lohr, owner of Adunate Word & Design near Watertown, WI, mentored me in the art of crafting a website. She lived out an important philosophy I hold dear: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Di painstakingly explained the nuts and bolts of designing a website, gave me the structure to start and, opposed to finishing it for me, gave me the freedom and know-how to do it myself. How I loved that about her services and her incredibly keen eye for the powerful relationship between words and design.
UW WHITEWATER SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Ron Chisholm from the WWSBA provided all the answers to the questions about how to become an ‘official’ WI business. On October 19th he called to let me know he was taking the place of the initial rep I spoke with and expressed his desire to help me get started. He said he would call in a month to see how things were going. I put it on my calendar. True to form, he called me on November 19th. THAT was impressive.
Di Lohr pointed me to a phenomenal printing company right in Fort Atkinson, WI, where I live. I had driven by Badger Group a hundred times during the 20 years I’ve lived here and never noticed it. And now they are the brains and muscle behind my website storefront. Jayne Pfeifer and Peter Nysted are the ‘Batman and Robin’ on my project and a more kind and accommodating pair of helpers one would be hard pressed to find. Badger Group takes my (hopefully) pleasing designs and turns them into stunning products with their high standards, seen both in the quality of the printing and accuracy of the folds and perforations. I suppose I’m biased but one would be hard pressed to find a greeting card as beautifully produced as Badger Group is doing for mine.
FORT ATKINSON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Carrie and Jeanne from the Fort Chamber were behind my first public announcement. I was unaware of the wide scope of good work the Chamber does for our town’s businesses. A free article and photo in the newspaper is only one example of many opportunities for a business to connect with others, promote its products or be supported.
Rob Pero and Brent Hoffman from Perodigm Media in Cambridge, WI, built my Facebook business page after I tried and failed. More valuable than that was instilling confidence in me regarding the tech world, a world that, more often than not, makes me feel inept. Brent’s advice on running a business page resonated with me: “Be real. Tell your story.” I appreciate when I see ‘real’ and have always liked a good story. I think I can do that.
These are the folks who, alongside the grace of God, have helped me motor forward. The website and storefront launched on December 10th and I’ve been thrilled with the response so far. It’s confirmed. I’m not the only one who loves and appreciates the beautiful, comforting and inspiring words of hymns. There are many of you who can say the same. There’s a reason some hymns have been sung for hundreds of years. They are beyond ‘good.’ They’ve entered the category of ‘timeless’ and the melodies that coat them become embedded in hearts for a lifetime.
The final lines of the hymn below are found on the inside left panel:
“For hours that pass lightly as birds on a wing,
Thanksgiving I bring, thanksgiving I bring.”
A sincere ‘thank you’ to all of the above for helping my business get off the ground. And ‘thank you’ to those who have already purchased cards. I pray often during my marathon designing stints that they will be a blessing to all who receive them.