Sunday, October 31, 2010

It Only Takes A Spark ...

This morning, six girls were out making the world a better place. I was there, I took photos, and I had my proud moments again. But you know what made me stop and think today? This young girl.

As we took photos, she had an idea for a picture. Then another idea ... and another. I offered her one of my cameras, and she told me that she liked being in front of the camera but not really behind it (quite the opposite of me). My daughter and I showed her a couple of things about the camera and how it worked. Before we knew it, the photographer had been unleashed!

There were no lack of ideas, and I think we attempted nearly every one of them. There was laughter, delighted squeals when something turned out extra special, and the animated gushing only pre-teen girls can do that makes everything feel like an adventure. So, an adventure we had! All it took was a little spark of inspiration and someone to take note and fan the flame.

(Get ready to sing ... I'm taking you back to my junior high church choir and our favorite song.)

It Only Takes A Spark ... To Get A Fire Going ... The words are more than a song in my head. At least they are when I stop to think about it! As a mom, I think I'm guilty of letting sparks die far too often. I admit it. I'm busy. We have a demanding schedule. And there are opportunities that slide by on a daily basis. I think it's that way for so many of us moms out there. It's probably that way in any realm for ANY of us out there.

I'll admit something else. This adventure was not something I did by choice. It's humbling, but I truly only made the effort because my department made a mistake in posting the information for this particular opportunity. While I probably could have waved a boss wand and sent the situation elsewhere, I decided to personally get involved and try to make it something special. I had to wrestle myself out of the house to go do it!

Roll that all together, and there are several life lessons to toss around. But you know what? I'm just glad I somehow had the patience to let the moments unfold. It really was only a spark. And out of the 441 photos we brought back with us ... less than 100 were mine! Yep, I'd say that was a fire.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Strong and Confident Hope

These girls ... beautiful. I am profoundly blessed when I get a few moments to have their energy infuse the air I breathe. I see such strength and confidence. I see bravery. I see unity. I hear infectious laughter and notice quietly hopeful moments light their eyes. Little do they know, their spirit and even their spirited antics are secretly fueling my heart.

When children are faced with overcoming great odds as they grow into young adults, my heart is particularly tuned. I'm a mother who daily feels the joy and pain of watching a child bend and turn with life's sometimes rocky road. And while every life has grit and grind of one kind or another, these girls have a common bond.

They are daughters of incarcerated women.

I do not know what that feels like to a young girl. I do not know the depth of the challenge they face. And when I stop to imagine, my heart cries out for them. But I do know this ... they are empowered. And my heart swells because they are empowered by Girl Scouting.

This is Girl Scouts Beyond Bars. Courage. Confidence. Character. The world is definitely a better place.
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Dove Dialogues & Silver Linings

In a moment of inspiration this morning, I ran to get chocolate for my staff. Why? There's more change in the air, which for us means revising hundreds of documents, web pages and electronic resources. The change itself isn't big ... but the work and stress of "re-revising" what has been revised more than once in the past 2 years is pretty big.

This falls on the shoulders of one person more than others, and I not only brought chocolate when I stopped by to share the news, but a big, thermal coffee mug. I think she will need it! We shared a laugh when she emailed the message from one of her Dove chocolates. It was so appropriate: “Don’t take it personal.”

Then I get: “Be the silver lining in another’s cloud.”
Awwww! Still appropriate, maybe the chocolates were a silver lining. I pat myself on the back.

After that: “YOU are that superwoman. So enjoy!”
Hey! Mine are sounding like more work!

… So now I’m kind of afraid to open the next chocolate.
… But I can’t stand not knowing.
… So I open the next one (even though I don’t really want a chocolate): “Don’t take it personal.”

I just have to laugh.

But you know what? Like so many things, there's a message. Doing good = hard work. Some people have the perception that working for a nonprofit is a warm, fuzzy career move complete with relief from the pressure of corporate equivalents. However, I know several people who have tasted both sides and get a laugh at thinking that nonprofit jobs are "cake" jobs. We know better!

We get the pleasure of doing good as part of our job. But you know what? Being the silver lining is no easy task! Actually, like so many of the wonderful opportunities that come our way in the world, it looks like work ... and it is.

So to sum up the advice of the day, don't take it personal. Enjoy! Be the silver lining, superwoman!
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