Tag Archives: finding purpose

One is silver, the other is gold. (Wednesday’s Wisdom)

I wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up. My mom wouldn’t let me. Yet another example of my deprived childhood. That door had been closed by two of my older sisters. While away on a troop camping trip and desperate to come home (because they had been split up), they rolled in poison ivy. It worked; they were sent home and dismissed from the troop. There would be no more Girl Scouts in our home. Truthfully, I never really wanted to join, but even if I had, that’s the story I was told.

It wasn’t until my older daughter was in the 4th grade that I thought about the “opportunities” available through Girl Scouts. She joined, and her younger sister became a Brownie. I became a troop leader. Though short-lived, ours was a good experience. All two years of it. No poison ivy rolling, but then again, I was with C when she went to camp. One thing I did take away from our weekend camping trip was the “Friendship Song”–or whatever it’s called. It’s a song about friends, new friends and old friends. One is silver, the other is gold. Great lesson in that song–get out there and make new friends, but value those that are already dear. One I’ve tried to stress to my kids.

However, sometimes in the busyness of life, I can forget to do the same. I hold up in my little cocoon barely making time to pop out and visit with my Ya-Ya’s. Let’s face it, all relationships need nurturing to grow. Without attention, marriages grow stale, children get pissy, and friendships wither. But with only so many hours in a day, an invitation to coffee with a new friend is easily declined. And, declined invitations can mean missed opportunities for growth and laughter.

Growing friendships is much like dating. There are awkward moments and probing questions. There are bridges built and similarities and differences explored. This past month I’ve intentionally opened my schedule to add some silver to my collection of gold. It’s meant that I’ve had to shave time here and squeeze my schedule there. It’s meant that I’ve said no to some invitations and let go of other obligations. But, it’s also meant that I said “yes” to the invitations of 3 really neat women, giving me the chance to get to know each better: one I’ve known casually for 4 or 5 years, another I met through our town’s Japanese sister city/host family program, and the third I met just a few weeks ago when she gave a talk about “finding purpose.” I share commonalities with each, and each offers me unique gifts in who they are.

Additionally, through my month-long 2BloWriMo and my new Transitioning Mom Facebook page, I’ve gotten to know some of my fellow bloggers and “cyber-friends” even better, bonding over similar interests, frustrations, and offering mutual support in writing, motherhood, and life. When I started writing this blog, I never imagined the relationships I would make in the cyber-world. And, now they are as much a part of my treasure as the three new friends I sat with face-to-face in the last few weeks.

I believe the most magical aspect of friendship is that, with proper nurturing, silver turns to gold. A casual coffee chat often plants the seed that grows into the tree that offers me shelter during the storms, a place to play in the sun, and a safe place to store fears, tears, and laughter. It takes effort to make room for friendships, especially new friendships. Schedules often need to be tweaked and squeezed to meet all my current obligations, and I’m often too tired to put on my best “date face” to make a new friend. But, this past month I was reminded to always make room for more treasure in my life.

Are you making room to add some silver to your gold?

©2011 Mary Lanzavecchia/Transitioning Mom

Are you LOL?

This morning, as I headed out the door to the dentist (yet again!), C locked the door behind me. For a moment, I reflected on the increased ease I have in my schedule. No longer are my days dictated by naps, diaper changes, or babysitters. Though still in the throes of motherhood, I’ve loosened my grip on the reins considerably.  I can direct the girls to finish their lessons without me, fix their own dinners, and turn off the lights when they head up to bed long after I’m asleep. With every step towards the empty nest years, they assume more responsibility and I am granted more freedom to rediscover who I am and plot the course for my next chapter.

One of my favorite excavation tools is books. I collect them like a child collects seashells at the shore. I also believe they are among the most personal gifts I give. I am not faithful to one genre, though I do tend to favor books that carry an inspirational message, be they fiction or non-fiction. Amazon loves me. No, they love my credit card.  Last year, around this time, I was shopping Amazon for journals for my girl’s Christmas stockings. I looked first for A’s; I wanted something with writing prompts but not heavy or deep. Playful. I wanted playful prompts for my reluctant writer, who happens to be a perfectionist. That’s when I discovered the author, Keri Smith, and her series of playful, inspiring journals.

The first journal placed in my cart was, Wreck This Journal: To Create Is To Destroy. It begins with a warning that, “during the process of this book you will get dirty. You may find yourself covered in paint, or any other number of foreign substances. You will get wet…You may grieve the perfect state that you found this book in….” She dedicated it “perfecectionists all over the world.”  The directed activities are “outside the box” play. For example, “Collect your pocket lint. Glue it here.” and “Doodle on the top of: the cover, the title page, the instructions, the copyright page. Fold down the corners of your favorite page.” and “Drip something here. (ink, paint, tea) Close the book to make a print.” Smith’s fun activities, which are afforded ample room on the pages to fulfill, encourage the perfectionist to let go and simply have fun. Though barely touched, I am still encouraging my young, beautiful, analytical perfectionist to play her way through it, and she is learning the only thing shared between perfection and play is the letter p.

The next journal added to my cart would be for my energetic, bouncy C; How to be an Explorer of the World: Portable Art Life Museum. The back cover states, “At any given moment, no matter where you are, there are hundreds of things around you that are interesting and worth documenting.” Smith’s activities encourage self discovery through observation. She directs her reader to observe and map out the cracks in a street, notice and record color by collecting paint chips and to glue them to the preceding page, and to study the language of trees by collecting various pieces fallen from a tree and playing with them in different arrangements. She wants her reader to not just look at the world around them but to see the world through different lenses. For the writer and world traveler that lives within C, Smith’s book offered a reminder to never see the world through “stale eyes” no matter where you are in the world.

The last I stumbled upon, Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life , was added to my cart for me, and another copy for my sister. In it, Smith writes,” Play is the most important element is discovering who your are. Play will lead you right into you deepest desires.” And, I love to play. Hidden in the pages are ideas that I have found in other books, but these are wrapped in play and encouraging words. On page 48, she shares “Ten Things I’ve Learned From Women” before encouraging her reader to make their own list. On page 68, she teaches the reader how to make a smudge stick and on 69 directs the reader to “write a letter to yourself in the future…five, ten, or twenty years from today.” My copy is marked with Post-it tabs and is scribbled in throughout. It’s fun. It’s inspiring. It’s my reminder to LOL, Live Out Loud.

How do you remind yourself to live out loud every day?

For more on Keri Smith’s fun journals, visit this link to start you on your exploration:

Amazon.com: Keri Smith Boxed Set (9780399536557): Keri Smith: Books