Welcome to Mary Anne Radmacher's blog.

One way to get to know a person you've just met is to ask them to tell you about their favorite friends. It's said that a person essentially becomes an aggregate of the five people with whom they spend the most time.

There's another telling question to ask a stranger. It's all about a book.

1) Is there one book that you have re-read and will read again (and again)?
2) What is the most recent book that you've read and what stands out to you most?
3) What is the title of a book you recommend most often to friends?
4) What was the last book you read that made you so sad when it came to the end? (Because you wanted to keep on reading, not because the ending was sad!).

If the person you are just getting to know has never re-read a book, can't remember what stood out from the last book they read, doesn't recommend books to friends and has never felt sad to stop reading an excellent book...

I suggest that you stop conversing with them. And, perhaps, run. Kidding (not kidding). Perhaps you might consider striking up a conversation with someone else that you might want to get to know. AND start THAT conversation off by recommending a book you've recently read...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Books and Friends...

you are the time worn pages of my favorite book

(card# 00229)(poster 01125) at

I love the phrase, “an understatement of grand magnificence.” I quote Beryl Markham from WEST WITH THE NIGHT OFTEN. And I only have to pull the book off the shelf and it opens to page 217. The binding itself is time worn I’ve turn to it so many times.

So it is with my friendships. My dearest friends are like the familiar pages of my favorite books. Not taken for granted, but treasured, turned to repeatedly and often celebrated. Do you have at least one friend who fits that description? Pause long enough to let them know – maybe even share this with them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

have me stand by my friends in peace then I shall know what it is to be content.

(poster 01129

Stand in peace with my friends. In this time of unrest, standing in peace seems unattainable. I recall the campfire song lyrics, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” This is an attainable goal. Each day it is possible. I know this because I am certain that peace begins within.

In light of the headlines today let me say, rather than burn the symbol of someone else’s beliefs in protest TODAY I will fan the flame of belief in my own heart and live peace outwardly in support of the diversity of our world.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I shall wear your friendship on my head - it will keep the rain from me. (poster 01127 at

Throughout my life my friends have shielded me from the harshest elements of life’s storms. They have “kept the rain from me,” like a metaphysical umbrella. The wall in this photo is above my writing desk. The antique printer’s drawer and the other cubby hold icons, treasures and reminders of so many of the precious friendships that bring joy, ease and delight to my life.

One quick glance at a single object tells me a profound story of that particular person. How blessed I am to name such fine souls, “my friends.” How might you remember your friends today?

Monday, August 23, 2010


Is today the day that you actually hand write a letter
to a friend?


apparently the angels were quite busy so God sent my friend along.

(poster 27022 & 01126 at

“You’re an ANGEL!” It’s often declared about a friend who has done the unexpected, the much needed, the delightfully fun action. Friends often fill the “angel” category in my life experience.

How long has it been since YOU have been the angel to a friend? Something as simple as a meaningful note letting them know you are grateful for them might be a grace.

This vintage letter slot represents the threshold through which much of the goodness of my life passes. While Email is fantastic! - consider how long it’s been since you sent a HAND WRITTEN card/poster and put a stamp on it with a physical address. Is today the day?

Friday, August 20, 2010

around this table we recognize the value of our choices and take our food with joy. ( from poster #01074)

Too busy to eat at a table today? In the midst of the rush, how about thinking, with thanks, of all the hands that brought what you are eating to your hands? Dozens, if not hundreds of hands may have contributed to the effort to deliver that nutrition to sustain you. Enjoy your choices with joy and gratitude today!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


may the Lord bless you and sustain you.

may His light shine upon you.

may you know His grace

as the Lord turns to you and

recognizes you

may He grant you peace.

Numbers six: 24 – 26 ( poster #44020)

I hold a deeply resonate appreciation for Sacred Texts…

particularly this paraphrase from Numbers. This scripture is significant

in many traditions and even those without formal religious structures can

appreciate the spirit of blessing extended here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


In all things and in all ways may there be wings behind you (angels ever by you). taken from poster 27051

I wrote this for my friend, Connie. Our mutual friend, Susan, was dying of cancer and her last gift to us both was to introduce us to each other. She was acting like an angel in that gift of introduction. Unbeknownst to me…Connie’s path and my words had crossed many times. This blessing I wrote for her has turned out to be a blessing to me, repeatedly.

Today I need the visual of angels wrapping their wings around me. Ah! I may not be able to see them but there’s comfort and certainty in knowing they are there.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

embrace yourself as you are. celebrate yourself as you long to be. (taken from poster # 01079

All the events of my life have conspired to bring me to this very moment. Here I am. I love and approve of myself just as I am – just as I see myself in the mirror. There’s a little reminder card posted in my sight line that reads, “CONSTANT LEARNER.” Accepting myself just as I am produces contentment. Celebrating the qualities I long to bring into my life more fully – gives me a travel vision. A dream destination of all I long to be helps me to know where next to point my toes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

On The Wings of Possibility

In the quiet of this day may you know the greatness of your spirit and may your hopes fly on the wings of possibility.

(from poster # 01101)

Decades ago I wrote out the longings of my life. On that list was have seventeen books published. Hear that? Decades ago…and today I’ll share a photo in place of the essay. This photograph was sent by a friend who was visiting the country’s largest book store (I know, you New York folks claim the same about The Strand bookstore, but still…)Powell’s in Portland and was excited to find several of my many books. I’m on my way to seventeen…

Friday, August 13, 2010

Leadership, Vision and Change

Leadership and change begin in a room with one person and a vision. (taken from poster 27042 at

People were insisting that leadership required others to lead. And I insisted that leadership begins within. You lead yourself before you lead others. That’s why I wrote this piece.

Our culture tends toward externals. Outside validation (“what do you think of me?”) consensus building, (“what do you think we should do?”) and so forth. Questions are valuable tools.

The most important questions are the ones which we first address to ourselves. What vision are you connected to today – and how will you lead that change or idea into your life?

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Every possibility begins with the courage to imagine. (from poster 02047 at

Many of my most satisfying endeavors, so far, have begun with the people around me telling me why “it won’t work.” Helpful, earnest folks just trying to keep me from “spinning my wheels,” or “getting hurt,” or “not making any money at that,” or other such protective (and dispiriting) sentences.

There are very few people in my life whose opinions I seek out when I’m busy mustering up the courage to imagine the pieces and part of a vision. I go to the most brilliant thinkers I know who are most inclined to give me good ideas on how to make the possibility real. Reasons why a thing WON’T work can be instructive, too. I just don’t go out of my way to look for those.

What courage can you call up today to begin to imagine a previously unnoticed possibility? It’s true, you know…EVERY possibility begins with the courage to imagine…

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Keys And Doors

a key to a vital life is an eagerness to learn and a willingness to change. (from #01026)

The President of Portland State University stood in my studio. We had been discussing my unique educational path as she shopped in my little studio for greeting cards and posters.

She was frustrated at not finding a sentiment that expressed how essential education is throughout a life. So as she chatted my pen was moving over paper. I wrote sentences exploring my own view toward learning and how I kept my enthusiasm alive for new ideas . When she brought her pile of cards to the drawing board, which was also my sales counter in those days, I was able to present her with a card I’d just made…

A KEY to a vital life is an eagerness to learn and a willingness to change. What are YOUR KEYS to a vital life? And what doors are they opening today?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Spreadsheets, Crochet Hooks and Change

Change, of any sort, requires courage. (at on poster 01018)

Last week I didn’t know how to manage an excel spread sheet, let alone create one. Last week I didn’t know how to crochet. Thoughout my life you wouldn’t have been able to count the times I had been heard to say, “I can’t make that information available on an Excel Spreadsheet. I’m not familiar with the program.” OR – “I’d love to crochet, but I don’t know how.”

I’ve bumped myself from confusion to courage with this simple question, “What if we just acted like every thing was easy?”

Last week I had the courage to launch into a program that has intimidated me for years. And one step at a time, I learned what I needed to know. Really? Am I saying that took courage? You bet…courage AND a bunch of focused, dedicated hours. Learning to crochet means abandoning my preference for perfection for awhile. I’m learning on a lumpy, bumpy lap blanket. And when I’m done I will NOT rip it out…but I will keep it as a warm reminder of the courage required to change my vocabulary, patterns, stories, and practices.

mary anne radmacher

Friday, August 6, 2010


BE AVID. LAUGH UNTIL YOU CRY. (taken from poster 01039 at

I could have added…and “wet your pants,” but I’d already written that on a card and, well, it seemed less that poetic. Still. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the kind of laughter that feels like therapy. The sort that, when you are finally calmed, and if you accidentally glance at the friend you are laughing with it starts up – all over again. It’s better than pie. Yes, better than chocolate. It’s better than anything consumable because it not only nourishes the soul but it’s good for you body, as well.

As to the word AVID? I love that word. It embraces so many qualities I admire in my day. To be avid is to all at once be eager, enthusiastic, ardent, passionate, devoted. When I’ve been told, “You’re so intense.” I smile. And I think to myself, “They say that like it’s a bad thing.” And then I edit their comment to AVID. I embrace it: I’m so avid!

How will you live AVIDLY today? Ah – have some avid laughter!

mary anne radmacher

Thursday, August 5, 2010


She changed. She learned. She laughed. (from a woman’s living eulogy, poster 01037 at

I laugh after I change and learn. That’s how it works for me. Before I learn I’m busy trying to learn. Seeking out new knowledge. Opening my eyes to see things from a different view. John Keats said that, “Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. Even a proverb is not proverb until your life has illustrated it.”

In the midst of change I’m very engaged. Utterly absorbed in expanding my capacity for new information. There’s a reason this is called stretching. Stretching isn’t easy for most material and it’s certainly not “easy” for me. But so worth it. When I compel myself to reach beyond the borders of what is comfortable…I become my own finest student AND teacher. That moment of epiphany? That moment which has the quick sound of, “OOOOH. I see.” That moment is when the whole of it becomes real in my experience. THAT is the moment that I laugh with relief and joy. Because when I understand how the change and learning line up, it really DOES become easy.

msary anne radmacher

Wednesday, August 4, 2010



I began my company on my own. Absent a degree in business, ha! Absent a degree in anything, absent operating capital, absent staff or infrastructure. Yes! “we laugh to survive” was one of the first lessons of business I shared in my poster line.

It came as no surprise when catalog companies that supported educators and health professionals ordered this poster by the hundreds.

The more serious our endeavors are – the more significant is laughter to our surviving AND our thriving. In fact, laugher is the bridge that takes me from just “survive” into thrive. I laugh myself into a larger perspective. Having a tough day? Laugh it up.

(text of poster 01006, with permission of

Tuesday, August 3, 2010



This was THE first poster I made. It’s the poster that “started it all.” It was a hot July day in the second summer of my company’s life and the surf was calling my name. Having my boogie board and all my gear stored in my production studio made it even more difficult not to answer the call. I caved. I grabbed a greeting card graphic that I wasn’t going to use and scrawled SOME DAYS ARE SIMPLY MEANT FOR PLAYING. When I came in for work the following day I had several “orders” pushed under my door for “that poster in the window.” A product that’s all over the globe was born…all because I followed my impulse to play. How about you – Got Play?

Interested in play as a viable corporate concept? Look from Kevin Carroll's WHAT'S YOUR RED RUBBER BALL? to the Brain Gym concept to MOVING FROM STRATEGIC PLANNING TO STORYTELLING by Roger Martin, to find studied professionals telling us how important play is to our successful day.

mary anne radmacher

Sunday, August 1, 2010



Laughter is the element that holds my day together. And, more specifically, it is the very thing that holds ME together, regardless of the circumstances of my day. Here is a list I have compiled of 62 things. Doing any one of them likely results in laughter of some sort. And done one after another is just like an artist building color upon color. Vivid. Pick one. Let me know how it goes.

See a friend. Walk in a garden. Take a deep breath. Try something

new. Go a new way. Find out the name of a tree in your neighborhood.

Plant a tree if there isn’t one. Greet a stranger. Plant seeds. Watch the

weather. Wait. Believe. Make a gift. Post a card. Give a smile. Offer to

help. Appreciate a soldier. Play with a puppy. Stand in the wind. Walk

up a hill. Stretch. Wonder. Imagine. Clean your closet. Use a differ-

ent color pen. Use crayons. Dance. Sing a little song. Do the unex-

pected. Be extraordinary. Say yes to most things. Pretend it’s easy. Say

you’re sorry. Use a new spice. Laugh loudest. Be extraordinary. Try

it. Write something. Be original. Be well. Practice. Hop. Skip. Jump.

Kiss somebody. Be special. Imagine something. Tell a story. Listen.

Inspire. Be inspired. Swell with pride. Brag. Rearrange. Drive some-

where. Walk somewhere. Send a card. Visit a friend. Eat an apple. Be

grateful. Go ahead and weep for this never-to-be-seen-again moment.

Love as deeply as you can.