Sharing [Encouragement] Can Be Fun

By Jessica Sauer

IMG-1242One of my favorite books of all time is actually a picture book titled, “I Like Your Buttons.”

In this book, a simple compliment from a student to a teacher – “I like your buttons” – travels far and wide, causing a ripple effect of positivity in the main character’s school and around her neighborhood, brightening the day of more than just the original person. Eventually, the compliment train makes its way back to the original compliment-giver in a sweet ending to the book.

Now, I know that not all compliments have the lifespan of an entire day like in this picture book. But I dare to dream about what if compliments did. What if one, single act of kindness, could change the course of someone’s life? What if one, encouraging complement influenced someone in such a way that they adjusted the trajectory of their future? I understand these are big things to hope for. I also know that from deep within my heart, I believe in the power of encouragement.

“How do you know if someone needs encouragement?
If they are breathing.”
// S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A Founder

Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – needs encouragement. Encouragement is something that every single person who is alive and breathing is in need of. From hospital staff to bloggers, from stay-at-home mommas to those in ministry, from personal trainers to horseback riders — if they are breathing, they are in need of encouragement.

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So what exactly is encouragement? What is this thing we’re all craving, the thing that is in such high demand? Encouragement, simply put, is believing truth. This is easier said than done, and usually requires step number one: acknowledging lies. This is a hard step that many skip over, but it is imperative before moving onto step number two: replacing lies with truth. It looks something like this…

LIE: I’m a failure.
TRUTH: I am brave for trying; one mess-up, one mistake, does not define me or my future; I am not a failure.
LIE: I’m unworthy of love.
TRUTH: I am valuable, I am deserving; I am so worth loving.
LIE: I’m not enough.
TRUTH: I am able, I am capable, I am chosen. Because Jesus resides in my heart, and He is Enough, I am therefore enough.

Awareness of the lies that we are believing is a good first step. Lies are sneaky, they slither into your mind and heart in half-truth ways. But half-truths, fears, and lies are not what we are called to live in. No, we are called to live and walk in the freedom that Christ has called us into!

Fear is such a loud liar, but he doesn’t have the final say.

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Philippians 4:8 (NIV) states: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

These excellent and praiseworthy things are what we as Christians are to focus our minds and hearts on. I’ll be the first to admit, thinking about excellent and praiseworthy things can be challenging. Gossip, sin, and bad influences are just a handful of the many things that tear me away from constantly thinking of excellent and praiseworthy things. I even made it one of my monthly goals, this past spring, to focus on “EAP” things – that is, Excellent And Praiseworthy things! It was an intentional goal that I had to set in order to train my mind and my heart to focus on what Philippians 4:8 discusses. (By no means have I mastered this goal, but I am, with grace, learning to adjust my focus.)

Encouragement that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy is certainly of the Lord. It is my hope that when I encourage others, they don’t see me but, instead, they see the Lord. My prayer is that others will get a glimpse of God through my encouragement. I am simply a vessel of Christ, utilized by Him to share His light and love through my words of encouragement.

Encouragement is important for artists because of how easy it is to believe lies. Earlier, we talked about lies and the importance of acknowledging a lie and replacing it with truth. I want to take a moment and call out a lie most artists (including myself!) believe: the lie of “enough.”

Sometimes I fear that I am not enough (Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, etc.). Other times, I fear that I am too much (Am I too passionate? Too crazy to believe this idea will actually work? Too forward while marketing my services?). The lie of enough. The truth of the matter, however, is this: I am not too little, and I am not too much. I am enough, because Jesus is Enough, and He abides within me. Hallelujah for His standards, and not my own!

Encouragement is also important for artists to share with others. As creators, it gets us beyond ourselves and out of a self-focused, inward posture. Instead, it fixes our gaze on the good in others in a God-honoring way. This brings about opportunity for collaboration and community, both of which can be done in a Christ-centered way.

Encouragement is not only biblical and important for creatives, but encouragement is valuable for everyone (for the artist and non-artist, for the believer and non-believer).

Encouragement is important because it empowers and inspires in a motivational way, which can, in turn, cause a ripple effect of love, kindness, and joy – just like in the book “I Like Your Buttons.”

Encouragement, when genuine, can change the world. Maybe not the entire world, but someone’s world. And isn’t that worth it?


So who am I, and what is it that I am doing? I’m so glad you asked!

mailbox 1My name is Jess, and, as someone who loves (1) writing, (2) encouraging others, and (3) the lost art of a good, ol’ fashion letter, I wanted to do something that could combine all three of these elements.

I have seen the need for encouragement, especially that of personalized, handwritten notes. A handwritten letter of love and encouragement shows the recipient that time was taken, thought was given, and authentic intentionality was shown. I saw a need, and I had the capacity to fill the need, so I thought to myself, “What am I waiting for?!”

“Say ‘yes’ to what matters.”
– Lara Casey –

I began brainstorming what it would look like to send encouraging snail mail to others – family and friends, yes, but mostly acquaintances and strangers from all over the world. And this is what I came up with:

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Sharing Can Be Fun is a movement started and run by me, Jess! I write and send handwritten letters of encouragement to others, once a month, for the course of 12 months. That’s one year of snail mail encouragement, sent with kindness and love, from me to you!

Individuals can sign up to receive letters for themselves, letters for a friend, or letters for both themself and a friend. Once I have received the mailing address(es), you can let me know if you have any prayer requests you’d like for me to discuss in the letters. It’s no-strings-attached and no cost. Simply snail mail encouragement, from me to you, because Sharing Can Be Fun! And because encouragement is so sparse these days – so needed – and if I can do something about filling that need, then I’m all for it.

So, send in a letter request now for both you and your friends. Even if you’re a tiny bit interested, reach out! Direct message me at @SharingCanBeFun on Instagram, or email me at SharingCanBeFun@gmail.com.

Don’t want to necessarily request a letter, but want to get involved? I’d love for you to reach out and inquire about ways you can support the Sharing Can Be Fun movement. Because your small support can actually become a great act of love when we trust God to multiply our efforts – like bread and fish.

It’s about meeting each unique individual where they’re at.
It’s about loving them well.
It’s about no-strings-attached inspiration and motivation.
It’s about discussing the excellent and praiseworthy parts of life.
It’s about complimenting the lovely things about them.
It’s about encouraging them, because they are breathing.

Encouragement is a game-changer. It is something I am so passionate about, because I believe encouragement has so much potential, so much power.

Join the Sharing Can Be Fun movement today!

Reflections From My Older Self: On Writing

Words by Kaitlyn Hiltz // Photos by Adam Dahir

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When I engage in the act of writing, it often has this interesting way of transporting me to a slightly older, wiser, more experienced, and most compassionate version of myself. In doing so, it speaks to my present persona, inspires me, and gives me the vision & confidence to be ‘her’.

[‘Her’ as in the best version of myself.]

IMG_2529I write predominantly about what I’ve personally experienced, worked through, and/or have overcome by God’s grace. However, to say I’ve got it all down to complete and unfailing mastery would be a BIG, fat lie.

And yet – I refuse to tell ‘her’ to shut up. Even if all the things I aspire to are a work in progress, it doesn’t mean there’s not enough reason to still listen to that higher voice and tune in to the wisdom she’s giving me, right now.

Ironically, we can’t always see where we’re going when we try to connect the dots looking forward. We get so caught looking ahead that we often neglect where we’re at, and even worse – we forget what we’ve already walked through. Far more often, it’s in hindsight – in reflection, that our paths become so clearly illuminated.

I don’t think giving a healthy respect to your history means you’re living in the past. Rather:

“Looking back gives us the confidence
we need to move forward.”
[Krista Williams]

What if we saw ourselves as that older, wiser persona reflecting on ourselves in this present moment?

What would she say? What would she be proud of? What correction would she give? What would you admire about her? How would she inspire you?

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I also think the beauty of being a child of God, is being spoken to as you truly are; and as you’re fully called to be.

In breaking the analogy I’ve been crafting – not only is it your older, wiser self that’s trying to guide and direct you from a place of reflection, but it’s the Creator of the Universe, who’s created and affirmed YOU, and who will always call you by name. He often speaks to us through our intuition and conscience, as they’re the most familiar voices we have. If nothing else, let this be known – we change in the moments where we encounter not just who we are, but who He is.

We are [insert absolutely anything good & worthy here], because He is.

You know those little ‘checks’ you get? The little pauses that really make you think? It’s not just your sixth sense. It’s the Holy Spirit. It’s His divine direction.

We can [and I think we should] inspire and attune our minds through the gifts He’s given us. Whether your pull be to writing, speaking, painting, coaching, teaching, listening, creating, designing, working with our hands, stewarding finances, assisting, care-taking, leading, uplifting people, etc.

In Romans 11:29 (ESV), we’re told:

…the gifts & the calling of God are irrevocable”.

IMG_2537Said plainly – He doesn’t take back what He’s freely given and He doesn’t make mistakes. The Message translation puts it this way: “[they’re] under full warranty – never canceled, never rescinded.”

Does that mean we get to just receive and proceed with those gifts at personal will? No.

So then – what is our role in the gifts and calling?

Seek first [the kingdom]. Embrace it. Be content in the in-between. Innovate. Adjust. Succeed. Fail. Learn. Do over. Be humble. Keep going. Be still.

Our job is to receive and respond in unison to what He’s creating – when, where, and how ever He’s asking us to play a role. Sometimes that might even mean doing less than we’d like.

Because when we’re not always ‘doing’, we become a lot more dependent on Him, and a lot less reliant on our own good deeds.

When I start downloading the DNA of His nature through the process of writing and reflection, any concept of my own personal production becomes obsolete, as I choose to enter His presence in the right posture.

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Personally, writing fires me up because whether it’s pen to paper or key to screen,  it’s a place I can go to experience His presence. It’s an outlet where I can witness His natural order. It’s a fluid motion where I get to experience His divine partnership.

Not a platform. Not a position. A posture.

Which by definition, is an attitude; an approach to life. And it doesn’t come from initially knowing. It comes from being in the work of. It comes from seeking, reflecting, resting, and observing. It comes amidst “#theprocess”.

God shows up when we seek Him first and He does it in ways and places we could have never anticipated. Listen to that older, wiser inner pull – because He’s with you and He’s for you.

Now and then.


Meet the Writer:
Kaitlyn Hiltz

Kaitlyn is a communications professional and the owner of kvh. creative LLC – a freelance studio providing writing, editing, marketing, & branding services. She’s obsessed with catching the meeting point of sun & ocean on the horizon, and spends as much time as possible with her family, fiance, and friends. Join in on her website and Instagram, as she writes about discovering what it means to be whole, in mind + body + heart & soul.

Meet the Photographer:
Adam Dahir

Adam is a photographer and graphic designer located in Reno, NV (available worldwide). He a strong believer that there is such a beauty in the silver lining of where photography meets passion; which is where he likes to sit. He has a consistent passion for travel and for the people that fill this world, and he can’t wait to see where he ends up next. To view more of his work, please visit his website or Instagram.

Why Crediting is so Important to Photographers

Words & Photos by Lindsey Noel Roman // Republished from lindseynoelphotography.com

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As photographers we’ve all experienced it at one point or another. We are casually scrolling social media, when we see a photo of our work. Yay! We do a mini happy dance, so excited our clients are loving and sharing our work. Then we halt to a stop when we see it. Or rather…the lack of it. No credit. Our name or business is no one where to be found with the post. That happy feeling we had is now filled with confusion and I’ll be honest, some bitterness. If you’re a photographer you know the exact feeling I’m talking about.

Now before you read any more, I want to put this out there: this post is NOT meant to point fingers or blame anyone if they’ve ever posted a photo without crediting the photographer who took it. Heck, before I was in this industry I did it all the time, because I didn’t know better. And I truly believe there’s two reasons people DON’T credit photographers, none of which has to do with malice or bad intent.

1) They forget. It’s that simple. We’re human beings, and we forget things.

2) They don’t know it’s important. They haven’t been educated on the matter.

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As far as forgetting, that’s 100% on us photographers to communicate with our clients about crediting and why it’s important WHEN we deliver our images, or even better, BEFORE we’ve even taken a single photo. As far as reason number two: not knowing it’s important, I’ve put together a couple of reasons why crediting is vital to us photographers, and makes us happy dance every time you do it.

Your Photos Are Our Artwork

Imagine you’re a painter, and your work is being showcased in a museum or gallery. Let’s pretend you’re at the museum watching everyone interact with your work –  but here’s the kicker – your name is nowhere to be found on your paintings. You keep hearing praises of people loving your work, but since your name isn’t on the painting, they have no one to praise. Wouldn’t it be frustrating as the creator of that painting to not be credited for something you’ve taken the time, energy, and creativity to make. That’s how we photographers feel about each and every one of our photos we give our clients. We’ve spent hours training, learning, shooting, and editing, just to give you photos you LOVE. The biggest thank you a client can give a photographer is crediting their image every time they post it.

Referrals Are the Main Way We Attract New Clients

Relationships are the name of the game. Most people, when searching for a photographer, will go to their friends’ pictures to see who they trusted to capture their big day, before they ever type “wedding photographer” into google. Just by putting our name or website in the caption of your photos, you’re saying to everyone, “We LOVED working with him/her/them and we think you should too!” Sharing our name allows people to find us and our work that much better, because it’s honestly the number one way new clients find us.

It’s Just a Respectful Thing To Do

Crediting your photos is simply put: the respectful thing to do. Think about when you look through a magazine. Every time you see a photo, you’re going to see the name of the photographer who took it somewhere on the page. It’s industry standard to credit an artist when they’ve made something that you’re using. So yes, it’s respectful, it’s industry standard, and more than that: it’s nice, it’s kind, it’s the “right” thing to do.

It Shows Us You LOVE What We’ve Created For You

So hear me out. If you love your photos enough that you’re posting them to social media, wouldn’t you WANT to share with your friends the person who took them? Wouldn’t you be so stoked for your friends to have rad images like you do? I thought so! When you put our name in the caption of your photos, you’re telling us thank you. You’re showing us that you LOVE the work we’ve created for you, that you’re willing to shout it to the rooftops. (Even though that’s totally not necessary. :P) We legitimately happy dance every time we see you credit our name next to our photo, because we know we’ve served you well. Making our clients happy is literally everything to us photographers. It’s why we do what we do. Knowing we’ve given you heirlooms you’ll proudly show your grandchildren one day, is the best feeling in the world. THAT will always make us happy dance.

As photographers, we aren’t asking you to sing our praises in a paragraph every time you post our photos. That would be ridiculous and totally not necessary. All we’re asking is that you respect and love our work enough to share it with the world by putting our name in the caption. So simple! Hopefully after reading this, you’re a little more educated on why crediting is SO important to us photographers!

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And one last side note to photographers: give your clients grace. People will still forget to credit you. Understand that, and give them grace. Don’t be rude. Love and serve your clients hard, and they will proudly share your name every time they post your work.


IMG_2419Meet Lindsey

Lindsey is a Hawaii-based adventurous destination wedding and elopement photographer, a professional frolicker, and a frequent traveler. She is a free spirit who loves Jesus, thai food, black coffee, and telling stories. She is all about authentic, real connection and unposed moments.

To see more of her work, please visit:
www.lindseynoelphotography.com
PC: Andrew Roman >>>