Human Interest

The members of SedonaKind have no intention of leaving Valentine’s Day to Hallmark — they’re hearkening back to the 18th century in order to make the holiday special for Sedona residents.

“In the 1700s, it became quite popular to send ‘mash notes.’” SedonaKind member Jawn McKinley said. “They were simply notes sent to someone you admired, to tell them how much they meant to you. They had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, just appreciation for all the unsung heroes that make all our lives so special.”

In 2014, Sedona Women member Constance Loef inspired a small group to hand-make 75 such cards, complete with personalized notes — “to neighbors, grocery clerks, postal workers, teachers, folks at Sedona Recycles, Sedona International Film Festival and Chamber Music, just to name a few: People who, in large and small ways, make such a difference in all our lives,” McKinley said.

According to McKinley, the response exceeded everyone’s expectations. Using this as inspiration, McKinley and her peers got to work.

“Fast forward to the end of 2015, and the beginning of SedonaKind,” McKinley said. “Our dear Constance spoke up at our first meeting and suggested ‘Operation Special Delivery’ as a first project, and expanded it, just a little, to include making 250 cards. And so it began. 250 beautiful handmade cards were created, with our 45 members of SedonaKind delivering them to our own special unsung heroes.”

According to SedonaKind member Sandy Brandvold, it took her and members Joy Sinnott and Brenda Cosse two full days to design and prepare the cards for assembly. Fourteen members spent another two days putting the cards together.

“There is such synergy when you work with a group of women doing something you love and that is so worthwhile,” Gloria Woody said.

“In addition to the cards, we decided to create small pottery hearts to go with some of the cards,” McKinley added. “Dennis Ott of Sedona Arts Center provided us with the necessary clay and seemed to have as much fun as all the women, and Cliff Hamilton, the Loving Bowls master creator, helped 10 women create 150 small embossed pottery hearts. The clay had to be rolled, cut, embossed, then fired in the kiln, and this all took several days as well.”

This work is only a beginning. The week of Valentine’s Day will be a busy one for the women of SedonaKind, as they hit the pavement and start delivering their cards — some by mail, but most by hand.

“The whole point of all this is that there are always people in our lives who make it brighter, and who we never stop to take the time to thank,” Brandvold said.

McKinley agreed with the sentiment, adding an extra dose of ambition: “This year, 250 cards was all we could manage, and we know there are so many others in our community who deserve one. So we send you our love and thanks, and just watch your mailbox next year.”


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