Tis the season of Girl Scout cookies and the first blossoms of spring.
Is it just me or does every home improvement store have an over-abundance of shiny lawn mowers on display and flocks of Girl Scouts grinning their gap-toothed smiles, asking if you’d like to buy some cookies?
Although I only had a brief venture into the world of Girl Scouts, I learned a couple important things I tucked into my bag of tricks:
1) The first lesson, of course, was that Thin Mints cookies could pretty much sell themselves and that diehard fans put them in their freezers to “save them for later” (translation: hide them from the kids).
2) The other key thing I learned as a Brownie was the song “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” At the time I thought this meant I would have a treasure trove of sparkly friends to last me all my days. It took a few more years for me to understand that meeting new friends was fun, but maintainingfriendships for the long haul was just as vital and full of its own sweet reward. What a great life lesson for a young pig-tailed girl to carry along with her even though her Girl Scout days were few!
Now as an adult, I have the opportunity to gather up boxes of Thin Mints from bright-eyed eager girls as easy as a brief stop while running errands. The friendship piece, though…that’s even trickier now than it was when I was the new student almost every year in grade school. Then I had the structure of school activities and the dubious recognition of always being the last person in every line since my last name started with a Z.
As busy mommas it’s hard to cultivate friendships anew and hold on to the wisps of friendships past. At the same time we’re trying to build our own network of relationships, we’re also nurturing our children’s friendships, helping negotiate playdates and shepherding our kiddos to make good choices in their interactions with others. Their world is so much different than our school days in which “social media” was passing notes without getting caught by the teacher.
Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and plant a seed of friendship, then patiently wait while the hectic pace of daily life churns on around us. It may take weeks or even months to get a glimpse of that friendship blossoming a little more. We may have to keep being the one to introduce ourselves at parent meetings, join a new Bible study, or volunteer for something that puts us closer to the action. In these awkward situations, I remind myself “baby steps, Dianna” and take encouragement from the fact that my boys have been steadily surging forward in their new relationships, too.
We discovered that little gestures can go a long way. A few months ago, we put a bike rack by our garage and invited boys that lived farther from the bus stop to park their bikes there. My son is now having more contact with neighborhood kids because we made ourselves just a little more accessible — a little more transparent to those around us.
Adults (or at least us introverted ones) seem to have a harder time showing this transparency. It takes courage for us to show our vulnerability, having outgrown that marvelous age where we could simply ask, “Will you be my friend?”
Friendship is a lovely gift from God. Many verses reflect this truth of connectedness.
Are you missing a friend connection? Would you like to have some more friends in your inner circle? Hang tough. There’s more to your friendship song and to mine:
“Silver is precious, Gold is too. I am precious, and so are you. You help me, and I’ll help you and together we will see it through…”
Since I’ve experienced the heartfelt joys of long-term friendships and have been fortunate to have seen best friends from high school and college in the last month, I know it’s worth it to invest in these friends of silver and of gold…and whatever lies between. I cling to the threads of my dear close friends through texts, phone calls, emails and Voxer to hold me over until our next face-to-face gatherings.
In the meantime, I’m tentatively testing the soil of potential friendships in my new surroundings. We just have to keep planting seeds in our interactions and step out of our comfort zones…who knows, we might bump into someone who is seeking the same sweet connection. And, if we get to share Thin Mints in the process?? That’s a win-win in my book!
Throughout the year we have houseguests and like to welcome them in small ways so that they feel special.
– Cutting some flowers from the garden and plunking them into an empty garden pot on an outdoor table
– Jotting a welcome note onto the dry erase board propped on the kitchen counter.
– Stacking some magazines on the guest’s bed
-Setting out a try of cold drinks
– Baking some cookies..and perhaps adding some bonus chocolate chips 🙂
– Leaving a stack of freshly laundered towels and new body wash in the guest bathroom
– Providing an empty basket for their family to use as a catch-all for their traveling items
– Writing out our network name and WiFi password so it’s easily accessible
hospitality = the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers
Hospitality is easily nurtured by including everyone in your family. Encourage your children to greet guests at the door and invite kids into their activities.
Set out some fidget toys or old-fashioned games to help get them started.
A family pet can be a great distraction to push through any awkward getting-to-know-you jitters.Sometimes hospitality is welcoming your own people back home after summer camp…
Or perhaps your spouse knows you’ve had a long day and provides you with a fruity drink in a fun souvenir glass…then joins you for a few quiet moments.
All of these little touches communicate “you are known” and “you are welcome here.” We are ambassadors of our families and can minister Christ’s love to others through simple gestures. So, put out that welcome mat and open your hearts for whoever may cross your threshold today!
“…seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13
If you are new to our site, Welcome! If you’re a continuing reader, notice we’ve made some changes to freshen up virtually for you. We’re still tweaking some of the format, so it may be a little messy — just like our houses when we’re in the midst of a good visit.
Doors are a means of access to our homes, the entry point for family, friends, and neighbors. Often a front door is the first glimpse of the household it represents. Sometimes it’s worn and well-loved. Little nose smudges and fingerprint smears on the door panes greet you. Remnants of the previous holiday’s decorations may linger, left in the midst of more pressing activities. The raucous sounds of children’s voices and footsteps are heard before you even ring the doorbell. Lively interactions await you here.
Sometimes the front door is new and fresh, accompanied by a bright welcome mat placed just so. Potted plants sit flanking the door. This may be the “starter home” of a young couple who is quick to answer the door, eager to welcome their first houseguests.
Another door may seem utilitarian and sturdy, only a security peephole is visible. A small dog yaps to warn its older owner of someone at the threshold. Your visit here may be the highlight of this person’s day since this door no longer gets the traffic it once did in its younger days.
Doors are made of simple building materials yet represent so much more to those that live behind them. Doors offer security, a sense of protection from the outside world.
When you are invited through a door, there’s any underlying message of welcome. An open door communicates that you are sharing yourself with others: “this is us, you’re welcome here.”
Doors within our homes provide privacy as well as define our individual spaces. The more doors between you and the outside world, the more you feel “tucked in.” Doors provide comfort, a sense of belonging: “this is our space.” Sometimes a door can provide a boundary between you and another family member if you need an additional buffer. Family members communicate their level of openness in how they leave their doors – wide open, ajar, or closed?
Much can also be communicated by how you leave a room. Do we close the door gently, sealing in those sweet experiences just shared? Or do we leave with a harsh slam – “I can’t handle you right now!” type of gesture? This may ebb and flow through different developmental phases of our family life.
As parents we decide who comes in and out of our doors, showing our children how to develop discernment regarding who gains entrance into our homes and preparing them for having doors of their own one day. Parents help set healthy limits and reasonable levels of accessibility. During the toddler years, doors open and shut a lot, but under our supervision. School-aged children may have friends drop by, knocking eagerly to see if someone can come out to play. Later on, the doors are often closing behind teens as they go off with friends.
A door also represents the launching of our family each day. With my oldest it’s a quick hug as he heads out the door on his own. Few words are exchanged early in the morning with this one, but the hug at the door is a brief connection. With my middle son I step out on the porch with him, sharing a few quiet moments sitting together on the bench before he gets on the bus. Lately we’ve been talking about how my head can now rest easily on his shoulder when not so long ago his head rested on my shoulder. Lastly, my youngest and I play a little catch with his football, often including neighbor kids as they wait for the bus. I’ve noticed the bus driver’s wave is a bit more enthusiastic on the days the boys are huffing and puffing as they climb aboard.?
Each of these small moments is a way to open the doors of children’s hearts, to help them be a little more steady as they venture into their school day. Perhaps this extra boost will allow them to impact someone else’s day in a positive way.
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…I am the door, whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7
Jesus is THE DOOR and is open for all of us. All of the time.
Finding “pasture” is discovering our sphere of influence in our families and community — one person at a time; one moment at a time.
How well are we showing our accessibility to others? In this season of holiday bustle, who can we welcome through our doors? Whose door do we need to visit to extend a special, much-needed blessing?
We are embarking on a journey and invite you to come along. Just as you are, in the midst of your ordinary day. Walk with us as we explore the beauty in everyday moments. We may linger at some points along the way, wander around a bit, or sometimes seem to have a frenzied pace to meet a determined goal.
We have been walking life together for 17 years. God has bound us together through our marriages to two brothers and the shared experience of us both being mothers of boys. Our lives have intertwined through the course of family gatherings, holidays, vacations, and raising children. We have a lot of common threads in how we live our daily walk and share similar views of parenting. In many ways we are very different, but we have learned how our personalities complement each other in our combined families.
We are curious about how God transforms the Ordinary Threads of daily life into extraordinary tapestries of family, community, and unique individuals. We are particularly focused on how these Ordinary Threads are woven into our homes and how we as women layer these threads in the midst of all the bustling activity from day to day.
There’s a bit of mystique involved in transitioning a house into a home. God created in each of us a strong desire to provide a warm, nurturing environment for our families…to make our houses into homes that are safe havens in which to nurture our little people and to support our hard-working husbands. It’s not a simple task; it certainly doesn’t occur overnight. It’s a process we’ve shared throughout the years and want to broaden our sharing community with you.