love notes fairy secret note

love notes fairy

Each month I host the Love Notes Fairy Project.  It is one of the most favorite things I do because it is wrapped up in pure magic.  Strangers come together to send snail mail love to those who need it most.  Without expecting anything in return they take time to reach out, let someone know they aren't alone, and open up their heart to share love.  

Magic indeed!  

I am grateful for the community that continues to grow, and for the way they show up.  They understand the power of words and the human need for connection.  They know that as human beings we all go through the same common emotions.  We may not be in the same exact situation, but we have felt the same feelings.  And so we reach out a hand, a hug, a word.  And we connect.  

Last week was a long and crazy week for me.  Life in some ways has been flipped around and I am learning how to show up.  I know I need to live with courage and in doing so it may cause a bit of discomfort.  But I need to step into that discomfort and claim my own voice.  

I need to rise up and allow myself to be seen.  

I arrived home from work on Friday completely deflated.  My heart heavy, my soul tired.  But a surprise was waiting for me.  A note from a secret fairy from Canada letting me know that I am not alone and that the way I show up in this world matters.  This single note flipped my emotions and filled me with so much love and happiness.  

It is truly amazing how one little card changed my day.  It reminded me of how important it is for me to keep showing up.  Keep hosting the Love Notes Project.  Keep putting myself out there.  Because even if we cannot see the effect we have on the world it is a ripple and it is changing things in positive ways.  

What you say to others matters.  What words of kindness can you share with someone you know?  A simple hello, thank you, or I appreciate you goes a long way.  Take a moment today to reach out to someone and let them know how much they mean to you.  It will make there day!  

seeking out where you belong

When you are quiet and still, where does you heart tell you were to go?  If you listened deeply and trusted your gut, what is the next step you would take?  Why do you continue to stand still?

You travel the same exact roads every single day.  Going in the same doors, seeing the same people, having similar conversations.  There is a new season to stand in, but everything feels like a carbon copy of the previous day.  You are traveling blindly through life.  Wanting to experience the full expanse the universe has to offer, but feeling stagnant in where you are.  Are you tied down to this particular location.  What is holding you back from taking the leap?  What is keeping you here?  

These four walls seem small.  You want to EXPLORE, EXPAND, BECOME.  How do you do that when everything feels the same? 

You long to be near water, in a small bicycle friendly community.  Where you can walk or ride you bike to work.  Where people gather on front porches, say hello to one another, and enjoy deep conversation.   You want to feel a part of something.  Have a place where individuals gather.  You want to be integrated into the community.  How do you get to this magical place your heart desires?  How do you navigate your way into the deep unknown?

Love, compassion, kindness, exploration, community, nature, fresh air, a soft spot to land, friendship, laughter, grace, health, wealth, smiles, support.  The space you dream of encompasses all of this and more.  How do you unearth it?

How do you find where you belong?

sacred moments

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I crave moments over possessions.  Tiny pockets of time where connection runs deep.  My heart opens up and a lasting memory is created.  This is more important to me than fancy shoes or an expensive vacation.  The best moments occur through a shared experience.  

Randomly finding a beautiful spot along side of a pond and spending all day there chatting and laughing.  

Coffee talk chats

Long walks

Getting lost in the woods

These precious moments fill my heart.  It is what gives purpose and meaning to my life.  Yes, nice things are well, nice.  But for me they are not a necessity.  I need the basics for survival.  Not the fanciest car, biggest house, or most expensive piece of jewelry.  

"I'm just searching for moments"  (One Week)

I crave living simply.  Letting go of material things.  Carving out time for adventure.  Taking a chance to connect.  Pushing myself out my comfort zone.  

I want to sit side by side and hear what is in your heart.  I want to hold hands, hug deeply, see you as you are.  I want to spend time together and learn all about your story.  As human beings we need one another.  We crave connection.  We aren't meant to go at it alone.  

So join me for a walk. Tell me what it is that lights you up.  What is your favorite memory? What do you hope to achieve?  How can we connect more deeply?  Together lets create sacred moments of love and joy.  

love notes

One simple letter sent through the mail can change someone's day
Yes, just a few words on a postcard
Can bring a ray of sunshine
It takes you just a moment to share your heart
And when you open up
You invite others in
What a precious gift our words are

A few years ago I started the Love Notes Postcard Project.  A three week postcard exchange where individuals are partnered up to send postcards to one another based off of the weekly writing prompt.  I started this project because I longed to connect with others and knew if I was feeling this longing others must be feeling it as well.  I put the call out there, inviting others to join me and they did.  

Here we are, a few years later and individuals from all over the world have participated.  Friendships have developed.  Hearts have opened up. Love has spread.  It is truly incredible what has happened because of words traveling through the mail. 

The next round of Love Notes begins on October 8th and I hope that you will join us.  

3 writing prompts + 3 postcards = 3 weeks of snail mail fun!

Whose day can you brighten with your beautiful words?  

you will be ok

you'll be ok

You will be ok
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other
Know that you have the inner strength to find your way
You may feel lost
But your heart will guide you
Take a moment to get quiet
Listen deeply
Do not fear the answers you are hearing
Lean into them
Trust your gut
You are strong enough to navigate your own path
Reach out your hand to others
Invite them in
Let them know they aren't alone
You can accomplish so much more together
Yes, there is uncertainty in this moment
But that will not last forever
Live bravely
Show your confidence
Do not be afraid to fail
You will pick up the pieces
You will find your way
You will be ok

mixed up

choices

Remember when it was easy
When you didn't even have to think about the next step you were going to take
When it all made sense
The world was in perfect harmony
And you played your part
Everything seemed right
Now here you are
With it all turned upside down
And you aren't sure where to even step next
Your heart torn to shreds
Your soul shattered into pieces
How did you ever end up here
Is it possible to get back to where you were
When it was simple
When life just flowed
When it didn't feel so hard
How did you get here
When did this shift occur
What choice do you make next

seek out the love from within

heart rock

Love is all around
When you open your heart up to it
But first you must start with you
Yes, you
Clear your over scheduled calendar
Take time to nourish your soul
Carve out space to do what you truly want to do
No need to be on anyone else's timeline but your own
This is your one wild and precious life
How are you going to live it?
Where are you going to go?
Who are you going to invite along for the journey?
You do not have to carry all your baggage
You do not have to take everyone with you
Be true to yourself, always
Listen to the voice that speaks from deep within
It is your heart whispering your inner desires
Do not fear the unknown path
You can find your way through any uncharted waters
You are the one holding the pen
You can write your own epic ending
And choose to begin again, anytime you want
Today is the first day of the rest of your life
What next step will you take?

the other side of the mountain

nature

And just like that your world shifted.  You didn't even realize it was happening yet you were the one putting in the hard work to make it so.  You carved out your own destiny.  This is what you've been dreaming of.  What you've been planning and scheming for.  You knew it wasn't going to happen overnight.  You knew you had to keep showing up.  And so you did.  One foot in front of the other.  Leaning in deep.  Following the conversations of your heart.  Never giving up on yourself.  

And here you are.  Standing on the other side of the mountain on the verge of that monumental shift.  Everything feels the same.  Yet it also feels different.  You are not the person you were when you began this journey.  You have grown leaps and bounds.  You have fallen down more times than you can count.  And yet, you have picked yourself back up again.  You stand with your shoulders back.  Your head held high.  You know that your scars are proof of where you have been and what you have overcome and so you do not hide them.  It hasn't all been sunshine.  There are many days when you were standing in the dark alone.  

And yet you found your way.  To this moment.  You created this.  You pushed yourself past your comfort zone and took time to listen to your heart.  You made mistakes, lots of them.  Yet you also made incredible decisions that propelled you forward.  You know that there is an ebb and flow to life and you allowed yourself to flow through and not fight the current.  

If only you could see how far you have come.  If only you could see yourself through my eyes.  You are a beacon of light and hope.  You nurture others, tending to their hearts, encouraging them to step forward.  You bring with you grace and gratitude.  You open up your heart and invite others in.  Challenges drive you.  You rise up.  Time and time again you rise up.  

And here you are.  In this moment.  Ready for whatever is next.  Your heart is open.  Your smile is wide.  You have arrived.  Yet you also know there is more work to be done and so you step forward.  

encounters with beauty

natures beauty

Do not forget where you came from
How you have been tended to along the way
Your roots run deep
Many people have become intertwined within you
The brief encounters
Fleeting moments
A smile shared with a strange
Deep conversations held around the fire of life
Side splitting laughter
A long embrace
A friendly hello
All of these moments leave a mark
They help to guide us along on our journey
Do not forget that you are where you are today
Because of where you stood yesterday
Each interaction cracks us open a little bit more
Connects us to the earth
And brings us deeper to knowing ourselves
Give thanks to those who have held your hand
Reached out to you
Listened when you hurt
And giggled with you in the rain
Life is beautiful when shared with each other

 

Written in 2011

stand tall and take the risk

take the risk

It was a single moment where nothing changed, yet my entire world shifted.  Yes one single moment can do that.  One single unexpected moment.  Where you simply show up.  You have no grand expectations, hopes or desires.  You are doing what you know needs to be done.  In fact you are mustering up the courage to get it done.  

And then it happens.  A friendly hello, one single smile.  And life as you knew is changed forever. What next step do you take when you don't know where you are going but know you have to go somewhere?  What micro movement helps you figure it out?  What path leads you closest to what your heart desires?

You want to risk it all.  Because this is life, and if you never try you never know.  You have always lived life as a risk taker.  Jumping into the uncharted waters.  There have been times you almost drowned, but you always have found your way back to the top.  You are a stronger swimmer now than you ever were before.  Confident in your strokes.  Ready to jump in head first.  

You understand the enormity of the choices you make.  You know that you are the one carving your own path.  What if you take the risk and it is exactly what your heart desired?  What if you take the risk and it was nothing like you expected?  This is the beauty of risk taking.  The great unknown that lies before you.  You must trust your own heart before you take the leap.  You must be willing to fail.  

And so you risk.  You leap.  You say yes because that is what your heart is calling.  And you end up right here.  Some moments it feels like exactly where you are supposed to be and other times you aren't sure where you even are.  This is life.  An ebb and flow of emotion.  It pushes you to your limits and reminds you of how far you have come.  You must be willing to go all in, always.  You must be willing to let go of expectations and trust that you will end up exactly where you were meant to be.  

So take the leap.  Risk the fall.  And see how high you can fly.  

be your own best friend

Why is it that we can be so much kinder to others than we are to ourselves?

If your friend arrived at your door with her heart broken you would invite her in, give her a comfy place to sit, and make her a glass of tea.  You would give her space to tell her story.  You would be a shoulder to lean on.  You would sit besides her and let her know that you are there.  You wouldn't rush her to get back up.  You would give her a place to rest and be.

Yet when you arrive at your own door with your heart in your hands you knock yourself over.  With a large list of expectations you push yourself to get back up sooner than you are ready.  You are demanding on yourself never giving yourself time to heal and rest.  Yet this is exactly what your mind and body need.  

You need to treat yourself like you would your best friend.  Be kind, tender, loving.  Allow yourself space to feel all the feels.  Do not try to rush through to the next emotion, just be where you are, and be ok with that.  Pour yourself a cup of tea.  Crawl into bed.  Do whatever it is that makes you happy.  Feed our soul with love.  

You deserve to shower yourself with kindness. Do you not hold back.  Feel the love and be the kind of friend you want to have.  

share kindness

Share kindness, always
Not only with those around you
But with yourself
It is easier to be kind to others
But you deserve love
You deserve to not be so hard on yourself
Grant yourself space to breathe
To be
To show up without judgement or criticism
I know
It's not easy
But it is what your soul needs
Do not feel foolish when you shower yourself with love
Open up the water and let it all pour out
Take time to look at yourself in the mirror
And love the person looking back at you
Remember how far you have traveled
Recognize how hard you try
You my dear are so much stronger than you know
Feel your strength
Breath in your beauty
Know that you are following your own path
Fill your soul with kindness
Infuse it in your heart
Remember, you are deeply loved
Be kind to yourself

{Inspired by the second prompt for the Love Notes Postcard Project}

hello beautiful!

Hello Beautiful,

There is so much I want you to know.  Like how proud I am of you and how deeply I adore your wide open heart.  You shine a light in this world like no other and I am grateful to be within it's rays.  

I honor the journey you have traveled.  How grateful I am to have had the opportunity to watch you grow.  I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.  

I see your strength.
I see how hard you try.
I see the way you show up.

You are determined.  You chase after your dreams with wild abandon even when you do not know where you will end up.  You lean deeply in and follow your heart.  You take risks and jump into the great unknown. You are braver than you ever give yourself credit for.  

Stop for a moment and look around.  Did you ever think you would end up here?  So deeply loved.  In a kind and caring relationship.  Unearthing your passions.  Adored by your nieces and nephews and spending so much divine time with family.  You have really come so far.  

I know, I know.  There is so many more roads you are looking to travel.  I understand that and appreciate your hunger.  But do not allow that hunger to blind you from all that you have accomplished and all that you have made it through.  

Your patient and tender heart encourages others to open up their own hearts.  Your calm and gentle soul slows people down and reminds them to savor the moment.  Do not ever stop being who you are.  Embrace your quietness.  You connect with others through your thoughtful words.  Know that you never have to pretend to be somebody else.  

I love you.  I cherish your curiosity and passion for adventure.  Keep running.  Keep riding.  Keep moving your body and navigating your own path forward.  You know as much as I do that you were never meant for the conventional path.  It just isn't in you, and that is ok.  What is wonderful is that others see that in you.  They know that you shine your brightest when you step boldly into yourself.  Keep stepping into yourself, always.  

And remember you are loved.  So deeply loved.  

xoxo Love,
Your Biggest Fan!

{Inspired by the Love Notes Postcard Project first writing prompt.  I encourage you to write a love letter to yourself.  Begin with the words .. "hello beautiful" and love on yourself deeply!}

charting the unknown waters

Lately I have been swimming in this sea of uncharted waters.  There are moments when I feel as if I am drowning.  It is like I have forgotten how to swim and need to re-learn each of the strokes.  The shore feels incredibly far away and I don't know if I will ever reach it.

The steady crash of the waves has me feeling disoriented as the tide pulls me further out to sea.  I am trying to find the strength within me to stay afloat but I am defeated.  This beautiful ocean is an incredible life force.  

All I can do is surrender.  

I feel as if I am waiting for my real life to begin.  The life I dream of.  The one that I scribble about between the pages of my journal.  The life that my heart deeply desires.  I crave this life and deep in my soul know it is the one I am meant to be living.  

Yet here I am in the middle of the ocean, losing site of the horizon.  Fearful of swimming to shore because it is a big and bold move forward.  In order to swim I need to believe in myself.  I need to know that I am deserving of my dreams.  That my voice is meant to be heard.  That there is room enough in this world for what I want to offer.  

I can see it.  I can feel it.  I know that it is the right direction for me.  I just need to be brave enough to leap.  I need invest in myself fully.  Ditch the "what if it doesn't work out" thoughts and simply see what is possible.  

I must to take the chance.  

Now more than ever I need to show up for myself.  I do not know how many days I have left on this earth.  Life can be taken in the blink of any eye.  One day we are going about our daily business and the next day we could be gone.  And we never know when that day will be.  If I continue to delay going after my dreams I may run out of time.  

I don't want to run out of time.  I must begin.  

I know I have said it before time and time again, but this moment feels different.  This ocean I am swimming in is terrifying and it is forcing me to be brave.  I will re-learn how to swim. I will find my way to a new shore and I won't give up even if it takes awhile to get there.  Because what I dream of is my destiny and only I can create it.  

And so I begin swimming

love notes is back with special guest Mindy Tsonas

The Love Notes Postcard Project is back and I am thrilled to announce that we have a very special guest!  Mindy Tsonas with Embody Love Movement will be providing the weekly writing prompts.  I received a peak and they are so good.  I can't wait to share them with you!  We begin July 9th, sign up today!

Embody Love Movement is a global non-profit organization founded by Dr. Melody Moore, created to empower girls and women to celebrate their unique inner beauty and push back against harmful media standards, commit to kindness and contribute to meaningful change in the world!  ELM offers in-person workshops, events, and online experiences and education, dedicated to helping each of us discover our real beauty within.  

I feel that this is the perfect collaboration because Love Notes is all about spreading kindness and lifting up each others spirits.  We do this through handwritten notes in the mail.  You never know the true effect that your words will have on the recipient but I can guarantee they most definitely make them smile.    

Mindy Tsonas is the creator of Studiofemme, an Embodied Artist, and certified Embody Love Facilitator.  She helps to guide women into the extraordinary Wonderland of themselves.  Through juicy creative pursuits and honest explorations, her calling is to inspire others to shake loose and get naked in empowered, exquisite truth, to name and claim all aspects of who they are, and un-shame every desire.  She is also an avid Love Notes participant.  

What is Love Notes?

Love Notes is a free three week project where individuals are paired up with one another to exchange hand written postcards.  Don't worry if you do not have postcards, note cards are fine.  Some people even create their own.  There are no hard and fast rules as long as it is a little something you can send through the mail.   

Worried about what you are going to write?  I got you covered!  Each Sunday a writing prompt will go out to provide you with a jumping off point for what to write on your postcard.  As I said above Mindy's prompts are divine and I just know you are going to love them!  

This is the 20th installment of this project and I could not be more excited to begin.  Friendships have formed and mail continues to be exchanged long after each round is finished due to the extraordinary individuals who participate in the project.  

Looking to learn more?  Click here or pop on over to the Facebook Group.  Have a question?  Drop me a note at jennifer@jenniferbelthoff.com.  

This round is going to be so good!  

showing up for yourself

Next week I kept saying to myself over and over again.  Next week I will begin.  Next week I will get back into the groove.  Yet that time came and went and I continued down the very same path I was traveling.  The one I no longer wanted to be on.  

Next week I said again, next week.  

And here we are in that moment of time and I am pushing myself to step forward.  To choose movement, gratitude, journaling, meditation, nourishing my soul, and showing up with love. Because there is no reason to wait a second longer.  It is time to be in the present moment, today.  

I know that I all my grand plans won't work out the way I dream they will.  There will be slip ups and moments where I veer off course.  But even if some things slip through the cracks that does not mean that all is lost.  I must simply pick up from where I am and keep stepping forward.  

Life is a beautiful ebb and flow.  

There is no such thing as perfection.  Only an opportunity to be right where I am.  And so I begin right here.  Carving time out for myself.  Making my desires and needs a priority.  Accepting the messiness that comes along with it and savoring every moment. 

How about you?  How are you showing up for yourself?  

 

one foot in front of the other

Stand tall in who you are
In all your glory and all your downfalls
Know that you do not always have to get it right
Sometimes you will stumble
Veer off course
Go the wrong way
You might even reach a dead end
It's ok
Life isn't perfect
It never is, and never will be
There will be ups, and downs
Along the way you will learn how to navigate your own course
With each step you take
Each moment you encounter
Hold onto laughter
For it is laughter that truly is the best medicine
In the hard times when it is difficult to come by you will need it most
Do not push it away
Embrace it and allow your body to feel it's joy
Because even in moments of deep dark sadness it is ok to laugh
So put your shoulders back
Hold your head up high
Know that your mistakes do not define you
You are beautiful just the way you are
Continue putting one foot in front of the other
As you create the most epic life that you want to live

the story keepers

We were talking about how I used to suck my thumb when I was younger {not sure why, but we were}.  "I did it for a really long time" I said.  "How long" he asked?   And I didn't know the answer.  I just always remember my mom telling me that it was a long time.  Longer than I ever should have been.  

Moms are the keeper of the stories.  

They know how old you were when you learned to ride a bike.  They know where they were standing when you were running up the stairs and knocked your two front teeth straight out.  They have all the details of the time you and your brothers rearranged every christmas ornament on the tree and when you were the accomplice when she moved your dads car at the park-n-ride.   

Moms know the stories behind the victories and the scars.

They remember the day she dropped you off at college and how she cried in the car on the way home because you were growing up so fast.  She was there the night your prom date picked you up.  She helped you get your car fixed when you had a fender bender in the parking lot, and cheered you on at every track and cross country meet.  

Recently I was trying to find out my exact birth time and no one in my family knew what it was.  It was then when I realized that so many of my childhood stories live with my mom.  She knew all the details and helped us all sort through the scattered memories we had.  

She used to joke about how I put out every pair of shoes for the Easter Bunny when I was younger.  We were only supposed to leave out one pair and the bunny would drop in a piece of candy, but I pulled them all out and lined them up neatly.  I am not even sure where this tradition came from but I do know if my mom was here today she would have the answer.  She would also know the exact time I was born and be able to tell me story of how it all happened.  I know it involved them being at a halloween party the night before and her waking up with clown make up still on, but that is all I know. Little bits and pieces of memories from when I was small.

The moments you live become embedded on your moms heart forever.  You are an extension of her and she remembers every tear, every smile, every heartbreak.  It is etched onto her heart forever and wherever she goes she carries it with her.  

Today is the two year anniversary of my mom's passing and I am trying to hold onto all the memories.  Laughing as our message in a bottle floated back to us again and again because we couldn't throw it out far enough.  Sitting on the beach chatting.  Arts & craft nights.  That one time she came to visit me and everything changed.  Her thoughtful gifts and home made seashell decorations.  Our trip to Brooklyn.  How proud she was cheering me on for the marathon.  There are so many memories and I do not want to let them fade.  

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Catch all the memories you can if you still have the chance.  Ask to hear the stories over and over so they are forever etched onto your heart.  Listen deeply and jot them down.  And if you don't have the chance to hear them again replay the ones you have and hold them close.  

Life flashes by in the blink of an eye, but it is you memories that remind you of what made you who you are.  Hold onto these memories and savor them deeply.  

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory" ~ unknown

day dream believer

At my third grade parent teacher conference Mr Carestia told my mom that I was a good student  However he could see in class when I drifted off and entered the world of day dreaming.  A glazed look coming across my face, and that was it.  I was checked out.

I have always been a dreamer

I believe that we must dream.  For it is the first step to making anything come true.  Setting the intention and planting the seed.  If we don't think about what it is we want we never know exactly what we desire and therefore can never obtain it.  

My dreams are charted out through vision boards, journal entries, pinterest searches, and moments of quiet when I allow myself space to sit and think. I imagine what it is I truly want, how I will feel when I get it, and who I want to be by my side along the way.

Yet dreaming can only take you so far.  You must be willing to do the work in order to see your dreams come true.  You have to take the steps, follow your hearts desires, and show up.  Yes, your hands will get dirty.  Your heart will break.  You will veer off course.  You will feel like you will never make it.  

There is even a chance your dream won't come true, but you never know until you try.  

You can't expect someone to show up at your door with our dream on a silver platter.  Life just doesn't work that way.  It requires you to take the time and energy needed to make something happen.  It means pushing yourself past your comfort zone and being ok with whatever the outcome, especially when it's not the one you were expecting.  

Lately the dream of writing a book has been nudging me again.  I started a few years back but never made it happen.  But just because I couldn't do it then, does't mean that I can't do it now.  One thing I know for certain is that books don't appear out of thin air.  A lot of hard work and dedication goes into them.  I must show up to the page and grant the words permission to spill out.  I must be dedicated and encourage myself to write, even when I don't feel like it.  Beauty emerges when we push ourselves past our edges.  

What dream is living in your heart?  What one step can you take today to bring yourself a little bit closer to it?  

Show up and say yes to your dream

Choose to carve out the dream that you desire.  Put in the hard work and reap all of it's rewards.  Do not be afraid of failure but rather be afraid of how you will feel if you never give it a try.  

expand your circle

You are larger than the circle that surrounds you
Your friends, family members, co-workers
The barista at your local coffee shop
The cashier you chat with each time you go to the grocery store
Your mailman
Your yoga teacher
Your librarian
All of these people surround you
Creating the daily world you live in
The one you hold close
The one you know like the back of your hand
But beyond that circle there is a world of people ready to great you
Looking forward to meeting you
Wanting to lend a helping hand
The passenger next to you on the plane who opens his heart
The women hosting running retreats in Oregon
The  man sitting in front of you at both the Chicago Cubs and White Sox's games
The friendly voice answering all your health insurance questions
The waitress at the airport lounge
The author who's book you stumbled on
Yes, there is so much more out there than the circle you are surrounded by
You are bigger than your circle
Your heart is capable of stretching wider than you think it can
You can expand
You can grow
You can invite others in
Do not be fearful of what is beyond your comfort zone
Allow yourself space to open up
Smile at strangers
Begin conversations
Know that anything is possible
When you are willing to take a chance
Take the chance to expand your circle
And allow yourself space to shine