Neighborhood message board spreads hope.
Technology keeps us more connected than ever, but texts and DMs don’t always have the power of the personal. That’s why if you have something nice to say, it can be made even sweeter by writing it yourself.
What started as the passing of handwritten notes on a Saddlebrook neighborhood bike path has turned into a standing invitation to write thoughtful words. The Blessing Post connects people through messages of hope and encouragement, and it is available to everyone who walks or bicycles by.
The man behind the Blessing Post, Don Prisby, put hundreds of notecards in a mailbox, which he placed on a post in his backyard. It was May 20, 2018, when he pinned the inaugural blessing to a corkboard for the first person to enjoy. That person would, in turn, write an anonymous blessing and leave it for the next person to come along, blessings like, “Stay strong—the trees around you have weathered many storms, and they have grown from the rain.” Or, “God made you exactly who you’re supposed to be. Love yourself so you can love others.”
Prisby mulled over the concept for years. “I recalled the warmth of the days when your mom might tuck a note in your lunch, or when we would exchange handwritten valentines and how special a written note was,” he says. “So I created a place in the neighborhood where people could leave and receive written notes. I called it the Blessing Post as a nod to how we post things online but [here] we’re posting actual blessings to one another.”
During the pandemic, Prisby modified the Blessing Post into a chalkboard, low enough for children to make their mark, too. He writes a theme or message, encouraging passersby to ponder its meaning or leave thoughts of goodwill by writing a message or answering weekly questions like, “Who’s your hero?” or “Who was your favorite teacher?” or “One positive of family time?”
Prisby placed the Blessing Post about 8 feet into his backyard, lining the pathway with stepping stones and adding a solar lamp for a soft nighttime glow. People tell him they like the chalkboard even more because they see the message from afar and can think about it as they approach.
One day, Prisby found two notes and a gift card at his front door, delivered by kids from Wayzata Free Church. The youth group had nominated people who contribute to the neighborhood. One note read, “ Thank you for doing The Blessing Post in your backyard. It made my day when I got to fill it out. Thank you for making the neighborhood a better place for everyone.”
Prisby and his friend up the street, Tony Kauch, take turns snow blowing the neighborhood path. “Whenever Tony cleans the path, he makes a pathway to the Blessing Post, so that tells me it’s valued,” Prisby says.
Neighbor Patrick Woods agrees. “The Blessing Post is a lovely waypoint along our neighborhood trails, encouraging all who encounter it to pause, reflect and choose gratitude and kindness,” Woods says. “We’re fortunate to have this beacon reminding us what truly matters.”
Whether in Prisby’s neighborhood or not, you can lift someone’s spirit. “Reach out to people. Write notes to one another. While our efficiency of digital communication is wonderful, let’s not forget that we need to be connected with real words and real messages of kindness and goodwill,” Prisby says. “There’s nothing like seeing the human hand in handwriting.”
A selection of notes received at the blessing post:
“Watch for the small things that make you smile.”
“You are amazing just the way you are.”
“May the beauty of the new fallen snow bring you joy and thankfulness.”
The Blessing Post is located on the path connecting Yellowstone Lane N. and Walnut Grove Court in the Plymouth neighborhood of Saddlebrook.
Learn more at theblessingpost.org.