Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Low Cost, Lasting Impact

Announcements at the end.

Thank you.  Thanks to Heather and the "Snow-flakes" for making the first day of our six-day party successful.  Heather gave a nice introduction to our seven newcomers in the comment section.  We look forward to learning more about Laura, Mandy, Jenny, Jessie, Amber, Marie, and Mary Beth as the week goes on.  

Recap.  Yesterday's post talked about the use of postcards and labels as simple tools for staying connected with friends at a distance.  In true form our readers jumped in, adding to the mix other tools such as: Skype, Blogs, Peggy's Creative Greetings, Texting, Instant Messaging, Facebook, and Chaotic's suggestion of conveniently storing postcards and stamps in a Ziploc bag so you can grab them on the go.

Today.  Tuesday, November 18 we will examine another vital tool for staying connected.  Today we will talk about the use of rituals to connect with and celebrate our friendships.  Veteran readers understand why this should be the focus of today's post, for the eighteenth of each month is reserved for our very own highlowaha ritual.  It seems fitting then that we invite our new friends into the fold by asking them to participate.  In addition, we will open the floor for readers to share rituals shared by you and your friends.

Background.  Party-goers and new readers... our monthly ritual involves sharing our "high" from the past month, our "low" from the past month, and our "aha (something we've learned in the past month).  It is the perfect celebration, not only of our blog's name, but also of the significance of number 2(18) to our blog community.  The simplicity (and anticipation) of hearing where our highlowaha friends "are at" each month fosters warm feelings in the same way that reconnecting with an old friend over coffee might.  If you think might stick around this community beyond this week, consider taking a minute or two to visit the posts labeled "Ding, Ding, Ding... I Interrupt This Programming (4/29)" and "Begad, It's the 18th (9/18)"  They will give you all the background you need to feel in the loop.

Giveaway.  As part of our monthly tradition, we give a highlowaha t-shirt to one lucky winner each month.  All you have to do to get be in the running for this month's shirt is post your high, low, and aha.  Peggy, I have your winning t-shirt from last month in hand and will put it in the mail before the week is out.  I will insert a short note letting you know why I have been sitting on it.

Transition.  Before setting you free to post your monthly high, low, aha... a couple more examples of friendship rituals.

Example #1.  Chantilly Lace.  This was one of the best examples of a friendship ritual I've ever heard.  It was shared with me by a former staff person who, many years later, maintains close friendships with her friends from high school.  The group of friends has named themselves Chantilly Lace (can't remember why - sorry).  Every two years the group meets at a small cabin in Illinois where they grew up.  They play games, stay up late talking, share pictures, and laugh about the good old days.  The friends have made Chantilly Lace sweatshirts and anticipate with their excitement their alternate-year gatherings.

Example #2.  Another, less involved, example.  When I first moved from Louisville to Texas, life was bittersweet.  I missed elements of my life in Louisville and did not yet feel connected to Texas.  Heather and I were working on a professional project and we needed to have ongoing communication.  We agreed we would talk at 6:00 am every Friday morning.  Heather was on her drive to work and I was comfortably seated at my favorite Starbucks.  That one weekly friendship ritual became excessively important to me.  It was something to which I very much looked forward.  Some weeks we got right down to business.  Other weeks we'd hit the 50-minute mark and realize we'd not yet done any business.  Fortunately, our weekly phone call has been replaced with a bi-monthly lunch date , but that morning ritual served an important role in helping me through a transition and in feeding my friendship with Heather.

Question.  How about you?  Tell us about your highs, lows, and ahas in the past month - as well as any rituals you may share with friends?

Challenge.  Don't have a ritual?  Maybe you can challenge yourself to develop one before day's end.  Don't rely on traditional things like birthdays or holidays.  Pick the half-way point between the birthday's of you and a friend and establish that as your "celebrated friendship holiday."  Working with a group of friends?  Take the average of your birth months and the average of your birth dates.  Viola.  There's your personalized friendship holiday.  Now you just need to figure out how to spend the coveted day(s).  Got ideas?  Share them.

Announcements.  Lots of announcements today.  If you are a party-goer or a newcomer to our community, some announcements will make more sense than others.  Read them all, though.  It is a GREAT way to get a sense of the fun community upon which you have stumbled.
  • Winners of the Infamous Postcards: Laura, Mandy, and Marie are the only three party-goers who either posted or sent me their mailing address.  That was step one in winning a stack of Picture Postcards.  Step #2.  I will mail the three of you a Picture Postcard TODAY.  The first one to receive the postcard and do what it instructs wins.  Veteran readers... no such fun and games for you.  Thirteen of you posted.  And the winner is... Chaotic!!!  I like it, Chaotic.  I can't remember you ever having won something from highlowaha!
  • Blog-a-thon:  I got three more checks today.  That leaves us about eight checks short of having received them all.  I WILL mail the money to Tera on one week from yesterday (Monday, November 24).  Stick your check in the mail to me today and I will still get it in time to include it in the final tally.  My address is: 4012 Harvestwood Court, Grapevine, TX 76051.  Thanks to VERY generous checks from a number of you, we have already collected $285.00 in Blog-a-thon money (to go toward our Helping Hand Christmas family).
  • Super Bowl Throw Down:  Congratulations to Melanie who won last week's Super Bowl Snack Throw Down.  The secret ingredient was peanuts.  Up next is Heather and Susan.  Tune in this Friday and help choose the secret ingredient. 
Signing off until tomorrow...

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