This post is the fifth in a blog series where I’m exploring various aspects of INSPIRATION. When I chose INSPIRATION as my word for this year, my first thoughts were about finding, acting on and (in some cases) limiting INSPIRATION. I also knew I wanted this word to motivate me not only in my scrapbooking and crafting but also in my physical, spiritual and intellectual goals. During my FUN year last year, I published a two-week series entitled Where Does My Inspiration Come From?, which looked at the many different sources of INSPIRATION specifically for scrapbook layouts. However, in this series, I’ll be sharing a word for each letter of the alphabet (from A to Z) that relates to INSPIRATION along with my random and in-depth thoughts on that word and the various ways it relates to INSPIRATION in our lives.
E is for Experiences
Experiences can be defined as "events or occurrences that leave an impression on someone" and "instances of personally encountering or undergoing something." Experiences are "the knowledge or mastery of events or subjects gained through involvement in or exposure to them." When we experience something, we live through it, learn about it, feel it, and understand it better. I'm a huge proponent of spending our time and/or money on Experiences rather than acquiring more stuff.
My favorite Experiences typically involve travel. However, there are many types of Experiences that affect our lives, providing INSPIRATION to do more or make changes. The experience of serving in a soup kitchen may give us more compassion and the motivation to commit to more volunteer work. Sometimes we find INSPIRATION that leads us to Experiences, like visiting a battleground after reading about the men who fought there. There are also vicarious Experiences, which occur when we observe someone else and feel what they are feeling. For example, some people cry at the movies or rejoice with the characters in a novel.
A few months ago, I had an exciting experience that I really hadn't considered before. In fact, it wasn't even on my 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 list! I rode in a Huey UH-1 helicopter, right by the open doorway! The INSPIRATION for this experience wasn't necessarily a huge desire to ride in a helicopter, but rather to experience something with Robbie that he was excited to do. When he discovered that they were offering rides on the Huey UH-1 during our visit to the Frontiers of Flight Museum, he made a beeline to sign up (and pay!!!). Here's a digital layout I made about what will definitely be one of my most memorable Experiences this year.
(This is my March Top Five #4 layout!)
Another of my favorite Experiences involves all the learning and studying I've done about Laura Ingalls Wilder as a writer. Last fall I completed the Laura Ingalls Wilder: Exploring Her Work and Writing Life, Part I class, and this spring I completed Part II of that class. Overall, I was inspired to read 18 books during the course of these two classes, twelve during Part I (which I reviewed HERE). For Part II, I completed the last five of the Little House books as well as Rose Wilder Lane's Young Pioneers, which "borrowed" heavily from Laura Ingalls Wilder's original writings. I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the study of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life and writings. (These class Experiences were free through Canvas.net!)
These courses provided the INSPIRATION for us to make a stop in Mansfield, Missouri, on our recent road trip to Niagara Falls. We were able to tour the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homes (the farm house & the rock house) and Museum. We also stopped at the town square to see the memorial bust erected there and visited the cemetery where the Wilders are buried. This stop was especially enjoyable for me because I had just finished reading about these homes and the items in the museum. All of these Experiences (reading books, studying class materials, visiting these sites) together helped bring to life and solidify all that I'd learned about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Not all Experiences require travel or occur on vacation, some are free and much closer to home. I've mentioned it often, but we are so fortunate to have a local library that offers lots of programs for all ages. Just this week, Mama and I attended the Keep Calm and Read On event where a representative from Penguin Random House publishers discussed the new books coming out this fall! (I was definitely inspired to add a few more books to my want-to-read list.)
In summary, our lives are enriched by Experiences of all kinds. Experiences often provide INSPIRATION and can also be the result of INSPIRATION, thus the two are intertwined.
What are your favorite types of Experiences? Please share your thoughts on Experiences and INSPIRATION in the comments.
Click HERE to see all my INSPIRATION A-Z posts, or click a letter below to see individual posts.