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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Here’s a great activity that focuses on specific goals.  If your group needs to increase in unity and friendship, this is an activity for you.

Goals: Activity Day Girls went to three different schools and cliques were forming.  The leaders wanted to encourage girls to include everyone, increase friendship in activity days and become more united.

One family member was invited to attend the event with them.

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Gathering Game: Bingo Board where they had to find someone who has been to Hawaii, or has a brother, etc to sign their paper.  There was also a photo booth and a display about each girl with their photo and information sheet already filled out.

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Opening Prayer and Welcome

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Buddy Find: girls sat down at a long table, which had pictures hidden under the chairs.  They each had to find girl with matching picture who would be their buddy for the evening.  The point of this was to break up cliques a bit and give them a chance to get to know someone new.

Stations (Carnival Games):  Girls rotated to different games with their buddy.  Each game had ‘getting to know you’ questions incorporated and they earned tickets at each station.
IMG_7541LIST OF GAMES:
balloon darts
can toss
face painting
ring toss
beach ball game
bean bag toss

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Share: After all of the activities, each girl introduced their buddy to the rest of the group and shared one thing they learned about each other.

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Speaker:  The talk was fabulous.   The speaker brought a “friendship toolbox” and had the girls come up to help her teach what it means to be a true friend.  Items included in the toolbox were: a defensive shield,  a listening ear, giant glasses to look for needs, cheerleading pom pom, heart to love and Cinderella’s crown (have courage & be kind).   She did a fantastic job connecting with the girls and challenged them to be friendly to all around them, and also to be a true friend to everyone in our activity days group.  It was an age-appropriate and interactive way to learn about the importance of friendship.  She asked for examples from the group and used some personal stories to illustrate the tools in the toolbox.

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Food & Prizes:  mini sodas, hot dogs, cookies, popcorn and favors that they could buy with tickets

This activity had some very specific goals and everything they did focused on accomplishing those goals.  They created a safe and fun atmosphere where the girls could learn about and build memories with someone new.  It was a success at every step.  What wonderful leaders to see the needs of their girls and carry out the activity with great love and care for each individual.

This was a great format for addressing a problem in an engaging way.

Popcorn anyone?

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I was just having  a conversation with a neighbor a few days ago about friendship and including people into our lives.  I’ve thought a lot about this topic over the years because although I feel like I am a good friend, I’m not necessarily the one putting myself out there to seek out new friendships.  I get nervous.  I’m not ever sure what to say or how to do it.  And I am very comfortable with having a few close friends and many, many acquaintances.

Jason, on the other hand, can make friends with a person while they wait on a street corner for the light to turn green.  It is his gift and talent.  He has and makes friends everywhere.  Thomas Hughes wrote:

Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts.  It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one’s self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.

In the last 16 years (almost 17 – I can’t believe it!) of our marriage, I have often used Jason somewhat as a crutch when it comes to this friend-making ability.  When we go to a new place, he is in charge of making the friends and forging a path in the “building relationships” area.  With him paving the way in this partnership of sorts, I then have more courage to follow along, using his strength to help me be more brave.

However, as we have recently moved to a new town, I have decided that I want to become better at doing this myself.  I believe that people can change.  It’s true that we come pre-wired, so to speak, with certain attributes and characteristics that make up the essence of who we are.  On the other hand, I also believe that we each have the ability to adapt or change, improve or get rid of certain qualities that we don’t like while adding characteristics to ourselves that we want to have more of.  With desire and hard work, we literally have the chance to become the best version of our own selves that we can be – no matter what our past has doled out for us or what our natural tendencies are.

So, with that in mind, I have worked on developing this quality of making friends in my life over the course of many years.  I want to be more like Jason.  I want to be more comfortable and open and able to create more meaningful relationships with those around me.  Throughout this personal quest for the ability to make friends more easily, I have learned something.  Having acquaintances is easy for me.  I have a lot of those.  I have business acquaintances, church acquaintances, neighborhood acquaintances, and so on.  I try to be kind to all those I meet – whether they are the person at the checkout stand or someone I pass while taking Cole for a walk.  That’s not the issue.

The trick for me that I have been working on is in developing those deeper, lasting relationships that mean more than just a wave or a hello in passing.  And the hard part about that is one simple thing – it takes a lot of time to build a strong friendship.  It takes effort.  It takes moment after moment after moment, all piled on top of each other to create something more substantial than a friendly smile to an unknown stranger.

But I’m working on it.  I am mustering up my inner courage and I am getting better at it.  I am taking the initiative more to be “that friend” to others.  I am stepping out of my comfort zone on purpose – with the understanding that if I truly want to become better at making new friends, I have to be willing to put in the time and effort to develop something with more meaning.  How do you do it?  Think about the best friendships you have – and they can include family because sometimes those are the hardest ones to maintain.  What do you do to develop and cultivate meaningful friendships?

With those thoughts in mind, here’s today’s download.  You can use it to make a card for a friend or maybe you are a little like me and you want to become better at creating strong friendships in your life.  If so, perhaps you’ll want to print it out and frame it as a reminder of this inner characteristic you are trying to develop or strengthen.

The best friendships are built piece by piece, conversation by conversation, kindness by kindness, memory by memory.  A million little things that each take a little time – but as that time passes, we emerge with more of our best selves invested in someone else’s life and deeper, stronger, more meaningful friendships.

please click on image to download pdf

please click on image to download pdf

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Preserving the memory is just as important as having the experience – it gives you the opportunity to relive it over and over again.

We had a bridal shower for my sister-in-law Kendra the day before her wedding last week (this has been the month of showers!) and her long-time friends from Washington DC came.  These gals have literally been Kendra’s friends for years and they have a history filled with funny memories.

Two of them decided to create a scrapbook for Kendra – a journey from the time they lived together to now.  Neither of them are scrapbookers.  In fact, Jen told me that she walked into Michaels and had no idea where to even start.

But here’s the thing…even though Jen was embarrassed that it didn’t “look” like a scrapbook, I loved it.  I asked Jen if I could post their scrapbook for Kendra on my blog.  It captured all of the best parts of their lives together – the fun, the memories, the stories behind their inside jokes, everything important.  It’s one of my favorite scrapbooks I have ever seen and I’m so grateful that they took the time to put it together even if they didn’t feel like they had enough “experience at scrapbooking.”

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Notice how there are all the elements of a fabulous scrapbook in their gift: photos, journaling, even a few embellishments.  Sure it’s great to use all the latest products and techniques to create our scrapbooks but sometimes I think we lose sight of the real reason why we got into this hobby in the first place – because we like to celebrate memories…and if we can be creative in the process, even better!

I know that sometimes as scrapbookers we might feel like our efforts aren’t as good or as skilled as someone else’s.  The funny thing is that even though Jen and Heidi didn’t feel “experienced” enough to scrapbook, what they created was one of the best scrapbooking experiences I’ve seen in a long time.

So go for it!  Anyone can be a scrapbooker because anything that captures a memory is a scrapbook of sorts.  Put photos in a photo album, create digital photo books, write in a journal, put a photo in a frame…whatever! It’s all a part of celebrating memories and that’s what we, as scrapbookers, are all about.

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Lightening Fast

Two nights ago our house was hit by lightening…or at least lightening struck very, very close to us  We’re not quite sure which.  After we heard and felt the loudest “BOOM” I have ever heard and leaped out of bed to shut off the elevator alarm and security alarm that immediately started blaring, I sat in bed with the comforter pulled up to my chin and my heart beating like mad!

I told Jason, “I’m kind of freaked out right now!”

House Still Intact

House Still Intact

When we assessed the damage the next morning, we realized that it could have been much worse.  Our house was still standing.  No one was injured.  But that lightening bolt still managed to create hidden havoc in the wires and cords that run through all of our lives these days.

Our elevator repairman (Salvador – it means “to save” and that’s what he does…saves us on a regular basis) stayed until after 7 pm trying without any luck to get the elevator working.

Our computer-programming neighbor finally got the internet working again after a few hours of patiently trying every option.

The home security guy replaced every contact to get our alarm up and running again.

And in the meantime, wheelchair repairmen worked till 10 pm to fix a motor in Jason’s chair that had gone out (unrelated to the lightening but unfortunate timing to say the least).  Without having any luck, they are now following him home so that we can move Jason to his old wheelchair and they can take his current one with them to their shop.  They are going to try and fix it while we are gone for a week in New York.

We decided to deal with getting the Direct TV boxes working later.

Just a few short days ago everything was normal….It’s amazing what can happen lightening fast to change that.  To throw a kink in our well-laid plans.

So, what do we do when life goes awry?  We can complain.  We can cry.  We can get angry.  Although none of those things seem to make it better by any stretch of the imagination.  Doing all of that often times doesn’t even make me feel better.  Mostly they just make me feel worse with the problems still hovering, waiting to be dealt with.

I was lucky today.  I didn’t have a lot of places I had to go that couldn’t wait till another day. I didn’t have a huge to-do list that couldn’t be rearranged to make room for service people to arrive.  It was a little easier today to deal with a lightening bolt than it might have been some other day.

But no matter the day, I want to remember that I have the choice of how I handle inconveniences and headaches and roadblocks.  I get to decide how I will react to my circumstances – not the other way around.

And we’re lucky.  We had many gifts given to us today – gifts of time and knowledge and hard work.  I’m not sure how to express adequate thanks to those who have stepped up and pitched in so, I’ll just say, “Thank you.  Thanks for making an irritating and complicated day a little easier.”

And thanks to my neighbor who got me on the internet again so I could share this with you.

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