100 Days…

…to Brave.

<100 Days to Brave>

I impulsively ordered this book off of Amazon after listening to the author’s podcast one day. She was talking about how she had just moved to a new place and knew absolutely no one, and one thing she said stuck out to me in a really big way: She said YES to every single invitation she got. To meet up for coffee, to attend a Mary Kay party, to go out with a group. The answer was always YES.

And I thought to myself, how brave! As an introvert, I value my alone time. I glory in my ability to say NO to things. But often I tend to over-indulge this grown-up privilege and withdraw, keeping far to close to home when I should be out there being brave. So when she started talking about the devotional book she had written for girls just like me, perhaps more courageous than we allow ourselves to live, those surrounding themselves by fear (aka safety!) and living smaller than we should, I hopped right online and bought it.

The challenge for Day One is simply this: tell someone that you’re starting this journey. So I’m telling you. I don’t think I have massive amounts of blog readers so far, but sometimes it’s better that way, isn’t it? Imagine we’re sitting at a coffee shop, and it’s sweater weather and the fireplace is crackling and our lattes have that gorgeous art on the top and we’re Instagramming it all and sitting in the light surface-y conversation and then I draw a deep breath and confess to you, “I want to be brave. I’ve been living my life so small, and allowing fear to hold me back. So I’m taking this challenge called 100 Days to Brave. Do you want to take it with me?”

So how about it. Be brave with me?

Transition

Winter is here, can you feel it? I love the transition season of autumn, but its beauty is the flare of a match, blazing up in glorious color and then fading quickly, blowing out in a sudden gust of wind and leaving the cold and dark in its wake.

Windsor had its first snow yesterday; the earliest I can recall since I’ve lived here (going on 9 years this January!) And just like that, it’s as if the aspens never turned yellow, as if the October sun didn’t blaze golden and warm across fields of sunflowers. A family I was once incredibly close with took their annual family vacation in Vail last week – a vacation I was once invited to, a family I was once considered part of. My life has since taken a different path, and I do not regret the change, though the loss still hurts and the emptiness still echoes within me.

I cleaned my office this evening- my beautiful, built-with-love office. Whenever I enter it I am overwhelmed with that elusive feeling of home, of belonging. DJ made it for me. He worked tirelessly to paint the walls the perfect shade of greige; his hands assembled the desk and the bookshelves; he considered my love of light and of the ocean when he chose the mural, and he thought of my smile when he picked out the bookends, and he anticipated my astonishment and delight when he put the photographs I had thought were lost into their frames.

There’s a corner in the office where two large boxes sit, and have sat since the beginning. Inside them are remnants of a life I used to live – relics of the girl I used to be. I’ve lugged these boxes with me through a minimum of three different moves, and each time they’ve sat in the corner or in the closet or on a shelf, unopened and un-thought of, at least until the next move when I come across it and feel that tangible connection to the contents, that overwhelming reluctance and inability to get rid of them. I’m a hoarder, in a very gentle sense of the word. It’s hard for me to throw away things that I feel connected to; things that remind me of special moments and memories.

Today I threw out both boxes. It hurt, a bit, but it felt good, and it also felt somewhat symbolic. Holding on to the past holds us back. We should not ever forget the lessons we’ve learned and the paths we’ve walked, but holding onto baggage (emotional, spiritual, and physical!) only ever weighs us down and makes it harder to move forward.

It’s okay to throw things out. It’s okay to leave parts of yourself in the past. It really is.

There are times when I don’t know who I am anymore. But I know who holds me (as cheesy as that sounds!) and I know the kind of person I want to be, and somehow those things are enough to keep me grounded as I move forward. The love of people may change, lessen, and leave, but God’s love never does – and it is enough.

 

my girls

My girls. My tribe. Encouragers, truth-speakers, and some of the most courageous and strong women I have ever known. Words cannot express how honored I was to have them all by my side on my wedding day. They’ve been with me through so much, never wavering in their friendship, love, and loyalty. These are the ones who will circle the wagons, and be there for me when I need them – which they have proven over and over. Theirs is no friendship of convenience or ease, but fierce once-in-a-lifetime loyalty. I can’t imagine my life without you!

My only regret is how far apart we all live! My sister lives in Connecticut, Rissa in Mississippi, Heather in South Dakota, and Jacinta in Virginia! Honestly, when I look at all of us it’s amazing how we all stay connected. But some people are just special, and neither time nor distance separates you.

There are others I could list, others I wished I could say were there with me but who were not. But though my heart ached with the loss, they were all there with me, held close in my heart, and I’m overwhelmingly grateful I was able to share the day with these four. (Stay tuned, because I’d like to do a feature with each one of them!)