As we continue celebrating 30 days of gratitude, we will feature small businesses that we are grateful for. This week, we are featuring our Choose Love Ambassador in Rhode Island, Terry Lee Cafferty. Terry Lee is a professional photographer and has created a line of greeting cards including Choose Love-themed ones. She donates a portion of her proceeds to the Choose Love Movement!
Why is it important to you to support the Choose Love Movement?
Being an Ambassador for the Choose Love Movement is something that is near and dear to my heart. It has been a true calling for me since I met Scarlett in 2016 and learned about Jessie’s message and her mission. Being a part of this movement was no brainer for me because deep down I knew it was now part of my purpose to help spread this message around the world if we are going to build a better future for the generations to come. I feel Jesse’s message to the world is one of the most important aspects needed in the healing of our mental health and in elevating the human condition at this moment in time.
My brand embodies connection, love, humor and moving humanity forward with products and a heartfelt business strategy. My social responsibility is at the heart of my operations by donating a portion of my proceeds to JLCL.
How do you practice the Choose Love Formula in your life?
I practice the Choose Love Formula every single day!
When I experience anxiety, grief, or the thousands of negative thoughts we all tend to experience in our daily lives, I turn to these principals and find peace of mind when I use them.
Finding the Courage to be honest, to take care of and be more unapologetically myself every day by overcoming fear and choosing LOVE instead, is key to a happy and fulfilled lifestyle.
Practicing Gratitude is an everyday experience when I focus on all the good in my life and what I do have, rather than dwell on what is going wrong, experiencing imposter syndrome or envy.
Gratitude allows me to celebrate others by using these emotions to empower myself and know that all good things are there.
Even in difficult, challenging times we can be grateful for all of it – the good and bad.
Forgiveness is the key to it all, really. I ask myself every day who I need to forgive and how I can do better in that area. Sometimes it’s a process and forgiveness seems impossible. Then I remember to see beyond the obvious circumstances, and I remember Scarlett and Jessie and the Sandy Hook shooting, and how the need to love and be loved is at the core of it all. We all want mercy so it’s important to remember to GIVE mercy, as well.
Compassion in Action is not a hard one for me because having an empathic personality, I truly enjoy doing for others.
It’s my jam … to a fault sometimes, but that’s ok. Let me explain. What I learned through the Choose Love Movement and the work of Dr. Chris Kukk, is the difference between having empathy for someone and compassion in action. When I feel empathy for a person, I tend to feel their pain and thinking this is a good thing, it’s actually not! When empathy for a situation is something I take on as my own, my brain tells me it’s real and my cortisol levels go up as if I’m actually experiencing that person’s pain. But, by practicing compassion in action … instead of going in the hole with them, I can offer a ladder and a hand to get them out of the hole which is actually more productive and helpful. This kind of practice in compassion actually increases dopamine and serotonin in the brain and makes us feel better while we make another person feel better by helping them. So cool, right?
What inspires you each day in your business?
My inspiration comes from celebrating connection between loved ones and our communities. My intention is to positively impact others by helping you connect with your favorite people. I build unique products providing communication with a platform to share and preserve life’s stores while inspiring others through creativity, art and dialogue. Knowing I can help others see the awe and wonder in life is everything to me because everywhere I look these days, there are people who are collectively struggling to connect with one another. My cards, my photography, and my art is inspired by the heart & soul of childhood, nature, ordinary moments and life’s adventures.
What’s a fun fact about the work you do?
The idea of designing greeting cards haunted my daydreams for a very long time.
I’ve wanted to make greeting cards since the 80’s, but always knew that if it were possible to make a good living from these cards, I would promise myself and God to give back in some special way. When I learned about Choose Love, I knew in my gut I had found my purpose for making these cards 30+ years later. What I didn’t realize is that all these years of experience would gift me with the multitude of images and quotes I’ve collected to work with!! You know what they say, “don’t give up on your daydream!” But, still, I struggled to make it happen. Raising a family and owning a portrait business kept that dream simmering on the back burner. Then in February of 2019, we all found ourselves facing a worldwide pandemic, the whole world shut down and the word “lockdown” became our reality. It was crystal clear now and I knew this was the time so Sending Love was born. More than ever, I felt people needed to connect in meaningful ways and couldn’t get out to purchase cards, so … that daydream of mine was now a reality!
What do you appreciate about being a small local business?
Being a local business in a small town is rewarding because of the relationships I’m able to make, hands down! It’s all about relationship in portraiture … the relationship with each other, between photographer and subject and ultimately between subject and viewer. In addition, I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community by donating my time and services to worthwhile causes to help make the world a better place, positively impacting children – especially the work I do with the Choose Love Movement. My greeting cards and my artwork take me out into the community in ways that help me connect, uplift and make a difference in a person’s life by allowing them to see themselves, the beauty of life and each other in a real way. Of course, my ultimate intention for my Sending Love Greeting Card Collection is to transform into a worldwide business, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And so it goes …Thank you to everyone who chooses me to preserve your stories and make your moments tangible. I’m nothing without the community behind me. I can’t change the whole world, but I can help change my small part of the world.