Jodi Lewchuk lives and writes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her deeply personal storytelling and self-portraits explore the vulnerability, and bravery, of the human heart.

Introducing: Grace Notes

Introducing: Grace Notes


Welcome to Grace Notes.

This project has been growing, forming, fruiting in my mind for a long time.

About a year ago, I wrote a piece that wondered if I was becoming defined by the place I often write from. Absence and loss were pervasive in my life, and I wasn't scared to confront them. I stepped into their centers and wrote them from the inside out, inhabiting their dark corners and feeling their depths.

People responded to that writing. When I posted pieces with particularly raw emotional edges (some of them are collected here), I'd get messages from strangers needing to unload their secret heartaches and also from those I knew confessing to their own moments of darkness and doubt.

It is difficult to be so vulnerable in a public way, to share the most fragile places of one's heart so openly. But I have such vehement belief that it is in these moments of vulnerability that we connect at profound levels and understand our shared humanity. It's why I continue to strive for that kind of bravery and authenticity when I write.

But I wondered if dwelling almost exclusively in those places creatively was keeping me tethered there in my larger life as well. So I began to think about starting a new narrative thread. And it was in those musings that the idea for Grace Notes was born.

While the concept of gratitude practice is not new, my hope is to cultivate grace in (literally) my own voice. The heart of Grace Notes will be monthly letters that I write to people in my life recognizing how knowing them enriches my existence and brings me joy. My hope is that these will be the most wonderful thank-you notes of all — not in recognition of material things, but rather in celebration of the Self, the most beautiful gift we can give.

The monthly collection of Grace Notes will also include a note I write and leave for a stranger to find — left on the seat of a streetcar, tucked into pages at a bookstore, propped up against the sugar canister at a coffee shop. I'm trusting the Universe to help me direct these hopeful, encouraging words into the hands of someone who needs them. For this part of the project I thought about all the times I moved through days with a heart that felt too heavy to carry, and what a difference an unexpected word or gesture from a stranger could make.

Grace Notes speaks to and fulfills many of my passions. I adore handwritten notes — they carry an emotional weight in our now-digital world — and relish the joy that receiving one brings a recipient. It's why I've planned to send 500 pieces of lettermail over the next 5 years — who doesn't want to find a personal note written on beautiful paper and sealed with wax and an artful stamp in their mailbox?

I also believe in giving abundantly of the gifts each of us possesses. Words are the thing I seem to do well. And so I want to give as many of them as I can, and with them, in my own small way, make the world a little bit better.

There are two ways you can help me with that goal:

  1. Be a Grace Notes Recipient. I was reminded recently what a powerful experience it is to see ourselves through someone else's eyes. Others often perceive our beauty, gifts, and strengths much more clearly than we ourselves do. Let me be the eyes that see you and remind you of your unique worth. The invitation is an open one, so don't be shy
  2. Be a Grace Notes Collaborator. Let's spread the gratitude as far as we can. I'll send you one of the anonymous gratitude notes, and you leave it for a stranger to find in the place where you live. It'll be like pollinating happiness.

And of course you can also participate by starting your own practice — in whatever way makes the most sense to you for reshaping the narrative of your life to make room for more joy.

Because we can all use more joy. And that hopeful narrative is what lies at the heart of Grace Notes.


If you'd like to participate in the Grace Notes project, please use the contact form to send me an email. (You can also find me on Instagram and connect with me there.) Once a month I'll publishing a Grace Notes update documenting the project's progress, which will continue to take its stationery inspiration from my Thankfulmail subscription.

Lady Chatterley: A Modern Portrait

Lady Chatterley: A Modern Portrait

Marquise de M

Marquise de M