Friday, September 3, 2010

My Silver and Gold Anniversary

By Susanne Dietze

Well, it's the last day of our Big Blog-o-versary celebration, so help yourself to a piece of cake!

One year ago when we launched Inkwell Inspirations, I was excited, petrified, and totally clueless, which tends to be a pretty fair description of me in any new situation. The first time I remember feeling like this was as a six-year-old, when my family drove me across town to a public park for a different sort of intiation. And much like the day we launched Inkwell Inspirations, I had no clue what was going to happen next.

I was a small kid who joined my 1st grade class six weeks into the school year. I didn’t know the other kids. Sure, they were probably nice and all, but finding myself in a park with these gals on a Saturday shot my stomach down to my acrylic knee socks.

My mother reminded me I was joining the school’s Brownie Scout Troop, the branch of the Girl Scouts for girls in 1st through 3rd grades. This get-together in the park was the big "initiation ceremony." But what I didn't get was why the girls were being led away, one by one, beyond a group of trees. And they didn’t come back.

“Ah,” my mom said. “But this is how it all begins.”

I still didn’t understand, but I knew I wanted to be a Brownie Scout, so I took a deep breath and went forward when it was my turn. My family and I joined some of the established Brownie Scouts along with the troop leader, Mrs. V., who recited some sort of poem about a pond that revealed the identity of the new Brownie Scout.

“Now repeat after me, and we’ll finish the poem together so you’ll know who the Brownie is,” she said.
Brownie Scouts bookImage by litlnemo via Flickr

So I repeated after her, “Twist me and turn me and show me an elf, / I looked in the water and saw…”

I was spun in a circle.

“Now," the leader encouraged, pointing down, “what do you see? Finish the rhyme.”

I looked down. Resting on the scraggly grass was tin foil, taped over cardboard and held down by a rock.

“Tin foil,” I said.

“The word you want rhymes with ‘elf,’” my mom prompted. Which made no sense. Tin foil on the ground didn’t rhyme with “elf.” What rhymed with elf? I went through the alphabet. A-elf, b-elf, c-elf, d-elf…

“Myself,” some kid said. I still recall the exasperated tone.

Ugh! Of course. I'm the new Brownie!

And so, with a lot of help from other people, a clueless little kid was initiated into something bigger than herself. (The irony of using another word which also rhymes with elf isn’t lost on me here.)

Joining Inkwell Inspirations was much the same way. I was greener than a Girl Scout sash, illiterate in the blogging world and fumbling through my writing, but I wanted to be a published writer. Then Gina invited me into a fold of much wiser writers, and with patience, compassion, and class, they taught me html and blogger, among a whole host of other things.

These women of the Inkwell – strangers one year ago – also prayed for me when my life got difficult, critiqued my writing, rejoiced with me when I finalled in a contest, and sent virtual hugs when I received a rejection that compelled me to seek out a box of Kleenex and a 70% cocoa chocolate bar, stat!

They also introduced me to others -- authors and readers alike who’ve inspired me, touched me, and encouraged me in all aspects of my life through their posts, comments, and emails. These folks helped build my faith, challenging me in my relationship with the living Lord Jesus. And I pray that I can help somebody in the same way that I've been helped.

It reminds me a bit of this verse from 2 Corinthians: "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (1:4, NLT)

We're supposed to share the comfort of God with others. And the skills He's given us. We're supposed to help each other in order to build up the Body of Christ.Boxes of the two most popular Girl Scout cooki...Image via Wikipedia

That day when I became a Brownie Scout was one of my first steps in learning how to give and receive help. It wasn't long before I was taught the ropes, and the camaraderie among the girls tasted almost as good as a box of Girl Scout Cookies. I remember welcoming new Brownie Scouts when it was their turn to look into the tin foil, encouraging them when they didn't know what they were supposed to say or do next. I was learning, without knowing it, how to be part of a Body.

One song we learned in Brownie Scouts is that sweet little round about friendship. Do you know it?

Make new friends, but keep the old, / One is silver and the other, gold.

Today I’m celebrating much more than the Inkwell’s Blog-o-versary. I’m commemorating my Silver and Gold Anniversary – the celebration of friendships new and old and the ways God uses every new beginning to build the Body of Christ.

How has God provided support for you in your journey? Who are the friends who shore you up in times of trouble?
And on a silly note, what are your favorite type of Girl Scout or other cookies?

To celebrate friendship, I’m offering a 4-pack of Gaila Graphics' gorgeous notecards. Please note that the pack up for today's giveaway aren't the ones shown in the photo: they’re of butterflies, aren't bound with a ribbon, and do not have the watercolor effect on the edges. You can use these lovely cards, donated by the generous photographer, Gail of Gaila Graphics, to send your love to friends new and old. To enter the drawing, just leave a comment with your email addy included below, spaced out to protect you from spammers. I'll pick a winner at random by noon on Saturday. And thanks for celebrating our first Blog-O-Versary with us!

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. What a sweet, memorable story. Congrats on your blog-a-versary!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  2. I would say that Dina has been a woman that has shored me up in times of trouble and in hard times.God always seems to bring people in my life that are able to put my focus back on Him. As far as,Girl Scout cookies go I cannot get enough of Thin Mints.
    llizs email @ gmail dot com

  3. I have never been a girl scout, but my mom had and she taught me that song about friendship when I was younger. My favorite Girl Scout cookies would have to be Thin Mints... they're kind of addictive. gasweetheart211[at]netscape[dot]net

  4. Susanne, what a sweet story and a great tie in. You awe me. I love your voice.

    Oh and as for cookies-Samoas and Peanut Butter Patties. And now I'm hungry...

  5. I'll have some cake this evening since its my son's 8th birthday party. And talking about cake and thin mints in the same day is not fair! I also love the samoas.

    I remember about a year and a half ago getting an rejection from an agent I had really set my heart on. I cried out to God, asking if he really wanted me to be an author. When he answered yes, I knew I would have to find a community of writers that understood what I was going through. ACFW, Hiswriters, and most of all Inkwell have provided that community I so desperately needed.

  6. That was the best girl scout story ever! Thanks for sharing... I can be pretty literal too.
    Trefoils, kind of boring, but I'm a shortbread girl...

    cherbleusky at yahoo dot com

    Congratulations everybody!

  7. Good morning everybody! Thank God it's Friday, too!

    It's never too early for cake, in my opinion, but I'm starting out with a bit of veggie and going for the carrot cake.

    Angela, I'm so glad you could come by! I've got you entered into the drawing. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Ok, Louise, Adge and I are hungry for Thin Mints. Yum-O. This summer I visited a family member whose basement freezer had about a dozen boxes of those precious green boxes hidden inside. Literally she's a Smart Cookie.

    Before the photo of the cookie boxes was up, I had a photo of a plate of thin mints, and it was awesome. But something about the photo credit messed up the surrounding text and, sigh, what're you gonna do. I sacrified the yummy picture.

    Louise, Dina is a gem, isn't she? She's super knowledgeable and willing to share with others. What a great reminder that God brings people into our lives to encourage, challenge, and love us.

    Adge, that song can get stuck in your head, can't it? But it's a sweet, simple reminder to always be on the lookout for new friends. God wants us to reach out.

    I have you two entered into the drawing, too! Have a great day!

  9. Hi Lisa! Oh wow, I love the Samoas. Anything with coconut and chocolate, and I'm there.

    Thank you so much for such kind words. I'll never forget them. Thanks for all of the times you've sweetly helped me identify myself in the tin foil.

  10. Dina, Happy Birthday to your little man! How fun. Are you having a party tonight?

    These rejections we writers receive have a way of bringing us to our knees, don't they? I'm always amazed by how God takes the pain of my rejections and teaches me something from them, or gives me affirmation in a new way. It's a great reminder that He's the One in charge. But it still hurts!

    The communities you mentioned are wonderful and I've loved the fellowship and teaching they've provided me, too.

  11. Cheryl, thanks for the good wishes! You're so sweet to come by today and I've got you entered into the drawing.

    Oh, I love the Trefoils. Especially with tea. I love how they have those crunchy sugar granules, and such a nice texture. I remember when they were called "Scot Teas." Why do they change the names? I love those peanut butter patties, too, and I still call them "Savannahs" even though they're just, what, peanut butter patties now.

    Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for coming by!

  12. Susanne, there is a "military camp out" in my backyard tonight complete with challenge courses, massive water gun battle, tents, and campfire cookout.

    For those of you who were worried about "hurricane" Earl, its just a rain shower here and should be gone by midafternoon. But it will supply some great mud for the mud pit in the obstacle course.

  13. Dina, that sounds so awesome! What are you cooking over the fire? Have a wonderful time and again, wish your little man happy birthday.

    I love these themed parties and I'll be sad when they disappear from our family celebrations because my kids grow too "whatever" to have them. But I still like them. In fact, I'd like a Pride & Prejudice Party for MY next birthday, where we all use Mr. Darcy napkins and have a Lady Catherine pinata.

    I'm so glad Earl isn't causing havoc for you! I was worried about all you guys on the east coast.

    Have a great day!

  14. Susanne,
    Dina is a real gem.Very knowledgeable and an all around wonderful person.This post challenged me to see what really our friends are for in this life.

  15. Oh, you gals....


    I'll confess I was a Girl Scout. Maybe for a month. I didn't mind doing the "stuff," but I didn't want to wear the uniform or sell cookies.

    I was kind hoping we'd get some fall-out rain from Earl. Nope. Guess Dina kept it all down there in VA Beach.

    Cheryl, I'm gonna send you a note about guest blogging. First gotta get my email to working smoothly again.

  16. Hi Susanne and all my Inkie friends. You're all gold to me. Did I tell you that the EDITS ARE COMING, THE EDITS ARE COMING. :)

    I like this scripture A LOT!
    "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (1:4, NLT.

    I love the peanut butter cookies. What were they called?
    Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

  17. You and me both, Louise. I think when someone gives, they're quite special. I want to be more like that.

    And I bet you've made Dina's day!

  18. Gina, our uniforms were kinda funny. I remember having a beanie, a patterned shirt, and knee socks with these orange-tasselled garter things.

    But selling cookies rocked! That's the one fundraiser nobody ever seems to say "no" to. My neighbors liked to see me and my red wagon coming down the street.

  19. Jillian, yay yay yay! I'm so happy! Can't wait to hold your book in my hands!

    Isn't that a great Scripture? It comforts me when I'm going through mucky stuff to know that God can use my experience to possibly bless others. And there should be somebody around who can help comfort me.

    I think those peanut butter sandwich cookies are delicious. How do they make them taste so good? I refuse to believe it's through fat and sugar. I say pixie dust and magic.

  20. You're right Susanne, Louise really blessed me today. Especially since I didn't always tell and give her what she wanted, but rather what I felt God was leading me to say and do. That takes a lot of maturity for her to see that in a positive light.

  21. Wow, Dina, yes. Speaking the truth in love isn't always the easy route. Neither is accepting the truth in love. You guys have a special friendship.

  22. I love your story, Susie! Of course you said tin foil... that's what it was :+}

    I was never a Girl Scout, but I've supported them over the years by purchasing many boxes of Thin Mints (my fave).

    As for the friends who shore me up... certainly, all of you ladies. I didn't know most of you when we started this blog, but I'm sure glad I know you now! And most of you know that Lisa has been my best friend since we served in the ACFW conference bookstore together back in '07. She puts up with a lot from me (including my latest frantic email when I feared that historical fact wasn't lining up with my fiction writing).

  23. Did anyone miss me? I did field work today meaning I was out in a field (literally for a change) and away from the computer. Just as well as I've been obsessing over
    the Weather Channel satellite images of Earl.

    Is there any cake left?

    I was a Brownie and my mom was my leader. I was a leader when my daughter was a Brownie. And no, it wasn't all about the cookies.
    Susie, I'd forgotten about the mirror/tin foil thing. But every GS should know the Make New Friends song!

    I'd like to say hi to everyone but I'm tuckered out. Will pick on Jilly though. "Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies"?

    And - I love the Bookshelf Muse blog! Angela, great to have you visit!

    Actually the cookies are not always called the same exact thing in all 50 states. Never met a GS cookie I didn't like.

    Thin mints are like...well, they could lead to world peace, IMO. We should ship some battleship size loads over to the middle east and make them all sit and eat them together.

    "I've got something in my pocket, it belongs across my face... I keep it very close at hand, in a most convenient place...
    I'm sure you couldn't guess it, if you guessed a long, long time... finish it ladies....

  24. Aw, Jen, you're so sweet! It *was* tin foil, it was! :-) It's not like you can really see yourself in foil. And I couldn't say that I saw my blurry outline in the tin foil, either. That didn't rhyme with elf.

    And Thin Mints rock. No other way to put it.

  25. Deb, I did miss you! I wondered all day if you'd gone somewhere exotic (yeah, I know). How was the field work?

    I saved you a piece of cake. It's dripping in chocolate.

    Yes, thin mints could teach the world to sing. In perfect harmony....

  26. Hey Deb,
    Wasn't that something about a smile when you eat Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies? Yum! I was a Brownie too!

  27. Hi Susie,

    I enjoyed your story about your girl scout initiation. I'm also so thankful for the wonderful impact the women of Inkwell Inspirations have had on your life. I am sure you are encouraging other women as well; you have always been a faithful friend to me. I love Samoas (though I think they're called something more PC now.)


Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.