Dear Fantastic Girl,If we all just followed one simple rule, every day, no matter what, no matter where, no matter who was involved, our lives could truly become consistently beautiful.

What if there was such a rule? Would it be worth following? What would prevent us from doing something that could have such profound impact and essentially give us everything our hearts want most? What would hold us back from keeping the rule every day, no matter what?

It might be worth a try.

The one simple rule is to love everyone, without expecting anything at all in return — to love for the sake of loving, for the joy and peace and relief that comes when you love without expecting anything in return.

Brave GIrls Club - ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE

Beautiful friend, life is actually so much simpler than we make it. Try it out. Love everyone around you, regardless of their behavior, regardless of their background, regardless of what they can do for you, regardless of what they have done TO you. Love them, wish them well, help them along if you get the chance. Don’t allow their negativity to keep you from being the loving person that you are.You are so worth whatever it takes to live a happy life. This is one of the best ways. It is true.

You are so very loved and so very loving. You are strong enough to love. You are.xoxo

 

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It is okay to be weary…

Dear Weary Girl,

You have already done so much, dear friend, it’s okay to be weary. Sometimes it is just so hard to think that we still have to keep going even when it seems like we’ve been going and going and going. The beginning is hard, and sometimes it’s hard to finish….but the most important time is sometimes the time that happens between the two of those times.

There is this time, this space between not anymore and not there yet…..that middle space…that space where it’s hard to keep going, it’s hard to keep perspective and it’s hard to keep a smile on our faces. This is an important time, and a confusing time. It’s a time that we don’t know how to measure and that we aren’t sure when will end. It’s a time when we’ve got to be braver than we’ve ever been.weary

If you are weary, beautiful soul….know that it’s okay to stop and rest. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to cry when you are in between here and there. It’s okay that you want to quit, it’s just very important that you don’t quit. It’s okay to spend some time thinking about quitting and then spend even more time not quitting. But, when you are weary, it’s okay to have a break in the middle somewhere……and then remember where you are headed and get going to where you belong.

You have always been strong enough to do this…you have always been brave enough…that has not changed. You know even more now…you are even stronger and braver. You are going to be okay. You are a phenomenal woman.

And you are so very loved.
xoxo

 

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Dear Beloved Girl,

Oh beautiful soul, do you know of the epidemic that is breaking so many hearts…the epidemic that has taken over so many good days?….it is the epidemic of feeling unwanted.

All of us have felt unwanted from time to time, but we are living within a culture that creates entire ways of living around the feeling that we are unwanted until we have the right car or the right body or the right job or the right hair or the right shoes. We live in a culture that is always trying to make us feel like we will not be happy until we have the things that are pasted across the magazine pages and the billboards and the movie screens and the computer screens.

And all to make us feel wanted. But let’s ask ourselves, dear friends….wanted for what?

What if instead of waiting to be chosen, instead of waiting to be wanted, instead of working to have and be all of the things that would make us desirable, wanted and chosen………what if we just chose ourselves? What are we waiting for and who are we waiting for to choose us and what will it even mean to us if it happens if we can not first choose ourselves…if we do not first want ourselves as a friend and a companion and a fellow soul?

Today, wonderful soul….you could choose yourself. You could choose yourself every day without having to fall for all of those tricks that say you must have the right things to wear and the right shape and the right amount of any number of things. You could choose yourself right now, just as you are…..and then….walk away from the game that says you have to be something more before you are wanted or chosen. Choose yourself….because, really…you are the only one who can do it. And….you are so worth choosing.

Brave Girls Club - choose yourself

And while we are all at it….let’s encourage each other to do the same…to not wait anymore. Remind her that she’s enough right now….she doesn’t have to wait to be chosen, she doesn’t have to wait for anything.

This is important….please choose yourself. It doesn’t matter who does or does not choose you after you’ve chosen yourself…..because, you are not waiting around anymore. Live now…choose now….no more waiting.

You are so very very very loved.
xoxo

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Come and paint with me……you are invited! (even if you are just learning!)

Hi Friends!!

I am excited to announce that I have been invited to do a collaborative course with 5 other artists, where we will teach your our favorite techniques inspired by our favorite master artists. I am SOOOOO EXCITED about this because I love the work of Gustav Klimt and I can’t wait to show you my interpretation of his work and teach you to come up with your own interpretation too.

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You will also learn from 5 other incredible artists!!! AND….get this…the course has an early bird price of only $49 (after that it will be $82) This is an amazing offer and I really hope you will come do this with me…

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Go here to sign up before the early bird price is done….(technology is so awesome that the way I get paid for doing this class is by you signing up under this link, that is attached to my name….so it would be awesome if you could sign up this way! thank you!!!)…this is such a great value for the amazing content of this course……




 

But here’s more about the class!!!

This 6 week course begins May 5, 2015 with lifetime access.

Early registration price is $49.99 and the price will go to $82 on April 6th.

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Here is a glimpse of what you can expect each week:

*The guest artists will study under the “master” of their choice.  This will include a brief history of the artist.

*Start to finish video of the artist practicing a painting of the chosen master

*Videos sharing what they learned through practicing the techniques and style of another artist

*A start to finish video of the artist creating their own art using techniques they have learned but creating in their own style

*Each week will end with the artist sharing the artists that have encouraged and inspired them over the years.

*Each week will have book and video references

*Weekly live online “chats” with the artist

*All content has lifetime access

*All videos are pre-recorded so you can watch at your convenience

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Are you getting excited? This is a great time to learn how to paint, to learn some art history and to have some wonderful fun….this is also a great way to teach your children art history! I have used previous editions of this course in my homeschooling for art history….it is perfect! I hope you will come join us! You can’t go wrong for only $49….plus…lifetime access!!

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I hope to see you there!!!

Here are some great testimonials from others who have taken this course….

Praise for the Masters series…

“In all my years as an artist, I have never had a course that stretched and grew me so much. Not only has my art taken off in so many exciting ways, but I was blessed with friendship and support I never expected. Thanks for all that you do. I am so looking forward to part two!”

-Renee

***

“The Studying the Masters class inspired me to look deeper into my own art process. The format where I was able to find out more about the artist’s process and their techniques captured my attention. The presenting artists were quality women whose own art process gave me confidence to keep going. I look forward to the next class.”

-Linda

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“This course is one of the best I have taken in that it introduced me to several different modern day artists. In watching how they studied under some masters, I became a student of, not one, but TWO artists each week, some of whom I feel a real resonance with!! I feel as though I am finding more of my artistic voice as a result of this class, and that is pretty exciting!! Thanks so much Jeanne for helping me take another step closer to my dream! ”

-Silvia

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“The best class ever no matter your talent level…seeing the instructors paint right along in  “their” style of painting trying to get close to what a Master created was so enlightening since each had awesome talent but different ways to get the final results that they wanted! We were in their studio with there favorite supplies, magic!”

-Tari

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Ok…please please please come do this with us! It is going to be amazing!!!

Here’s the link again to sign up at early bird pricing!




See you there! I can’t wait to paint with you!

xo

melody

 

 

3. Let’s Explore LOVE….

I am in love with the power of love.

Even with all of the ways that this word is overused, misunderstood and manipulated, I don’t know of another word on this earth that is more important. I promise not to get sappy or dramatic or candy apple sweet on you. But, if there was one thing I could ever tell you, my friend, it is that if you want to feel whole, happy and complete….if you want to feel healed from the past and ready to take on the future…

…LOVE can do that.

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I come by my love for love honestly, but also selfishly, for it was love that finally saved me from all of the things that ever hurt me. Being loved by another human being is beautiful and profound. I think we all hope with everything that is in us that everyone alive gets to experience the joy of being loved, including ourselves. But I am going to argue that if we go through our lives seeking the experience of BEing loved above all other experiences, we will suffer.

We don’t need to suffer.

I love being loved. I have been loved. I am even truly loved by some loving someones this day. It feels so good to be loved. It really was not the love I receive or have received, however, that saved and healed me, but the love that I learned to give. There is something incredibly liberating, freeing and deep breath inducing about knowing that I don’t have to wait around for another human being to save me, heal me or want me….but that love heals in so many directions that it does not matter who the giver or receiver is.

Love is a power, for real. It is kind of like a super power.

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You see, love is such an active word, and not a “thing” to discover or find. We are taught something quite the opposite in our culture, and I believe that is why we see so much inner torment. We are taught to seek out happiness, happiness for ourselves above all else, like it is some kind of hidden treasure with a complicated map that only the very seasoned explorers will find in their lifetime. It is in our culture, in our media, even in our child selves to think and say “me, me, me.”

We are taught to become as desirable as possible, and to stay as desirable as possible, so that we may attract someone to love us. We are taught to do whatever it takes to be desired….which has translated into a shallow version of what love really is. Many of us feel useless or unlovable when those shallow measurements are not met. Yet…we yearn to feel the power of love.

And we ALL come by that honestly. We are creatures who have a survival instinct. We WANT to be happy, we want to survive. We want to be loved and understood and important. We want to make sure that we have what we need. As a child, this is absolutely necessary and appropriate and part of our development to be able to rely on others to give us what we need.

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We hear it in music and literature; we see it in all kinds of works of art from the beginning of time, that LOVE is what we want more than anything. Why then, when we seek and seek and seek for love, does it often elude us, leaving us feeling empty and miserable?

Well….again, it is because love is not a “thing” to be found…it is, rather, something that we DO.

THAT is where the power is, it is in the DOing.

It seems counterintuitive that to feel loved (which is what we think it will take to feel LOVE) that we could simply GIVE LOVE. It is not counterintuitive. When we give love…when we are love…when we perform selfless acts, expecting nothing in return…the love just fills the space that we live in, and it is as if we are being loved at that very moment. If we release the expectation of another human being having to give us the love that we need….it frees us up to feel the love that is already there when we ourselves are doing the LOVING.

It’s like you are thirsty, so YOU turn on the water instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Then…everyone gets to drink… get it?

This is what unconditional love is. And…in all honesty, love is not pure love unless it is unconditional,

I want to illustrate this with a personal story….because I am certain that I sound like someone who just smoked something that made me really happy and idealistic. I know I am making this sound easy. It is NOT easy…but, my friend, it IS simple.

My marriage changed 14 years into it. It changed BIG TIME. It went from 2 people who love each other deeply, to one person who is in love and one person who can not feel love. My husband suffered a brain injury and it took nearly 6 years for him to recover…by the time he was whole again, we had been married 20 years.

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We had 5 young children, we had a big business that we started and owned together, we had 7 acres and a farm that we operated together (mostly him). We loved our life and we loved each other….I loved him and he loved me back. He loved me and I loved him back.  That is what love is, right? You love someone, and they love you back.

One of the things that happened with his frontal lobe brain injury was that his personality changed. Along with this new personality came a lack of ability to feel romantic love or real compassion. He cared about me still…in the same way he cared about the horses out back, or the lawn, or sports…he cared about me. He just did not feel love for me (or anyone else) anymore. He knew intellectually that he should, and that he did at one time…he just couldn’t anymore. This was the worst kind of hell you can imagine…for both of us.

Brave Girls Club - Marq & Melody Ross

Sometimes the worst, hardest, most hellish stuff teaches us the best stuff, though. That was definitely the case for me. Because we had 14 years of pretty terrific marriage under our belt, because we had 5 children and a business and a farm….most days I decided to commit to doing whatever it took to hold things together. Simple? YES. Easy? NO.

I have to give a lot of thanks and credit to a neuropsychologist who pulled me aside one day and told me rather frankly that my husband’s recovery was going to be a very long journey, one that might not ever end in healing. He did tell me, however, that all of the recoveries that he had seen had one thing in common….that the patient was met with unconditional love and patience as he recovered. So…I committed to figuring out just what unconditional love was. I wanted to save my husband….but what happened was that it saved me. Then, it all went on to save my marriage, and maybe even my husband. Unconditional love saved my family, for sure.

If I were to explain what happened in my heart, I would have to tell you that it was a process. It was a process of going from a place where I ached and yearned and prayed and begged for my husband to love me…to a place where I ached and yearned and prayed and begged to be able to endure my husband not loving me…and finally to a place where I ached and yearned and prayed and begged to love my husband with the purest kind of love that existed, no matter what I got in return.

THAT is when I started to heal.

THAT is when I gave my husband the freedom to heal.

THAT is when I got my superpower

LOVE is a power. It just is.

This has become a super power that has taken all of the weight off of my shoulders of expecting any specific outcome in ANY relationship. This is a superpower that has taught me that expecting, assuming or feeling disappointed by the action or inaction of others is just a giant weight that was preventing me from soaring.marq and melody now

You can’t fly when you are holding onto a bag of rocks called expectation, assumption and disappointment.

But still, we need love. It didn’t make sense to me that I could ever HAVE love without GETTING love from someone. UNTIL I started practicing GIVING unconditional love…and like I said…it filled the whole room with love, the whole house with love, the whole day with love, my whole heart with love. And…..lo and behold….I had the love that I needed. It didn’t matter where it came from. Unconditional love is unconditional love…and it is SO BIG that it can’t help but absorb into your parched skin like the best cocoa butter out there……even if it started with YOU. Love is just magic like that.

I bet you are having a hard time believing me. I get that. I can not tell you the frustrating days and nights I spent, drenched in tears, while I practiced. I was so hungry, thirsty and desperate for love that I thought I might die. I was at a place where I felt like I had no choice but to figure this out. I am just begging you to give it an honest try.

Sooo….let’s explore unconditional love with some little activities….Come on, it will be fun!

Brave Girls Club - The Thing About Love - PROJECTS

We need each other…

Dear Beautiful Girl,

Sometimes we have no idea how much our lives impact the lives of others. Certainly we should not often make decisions based on what others think we should do, and should always follow our own hearts and guts…our own paths, but something that is also important to think about is how we are able to help others keep going by simply keeping ourselves going.

Life is kind of like a big long marathon, and when others are running in front of us, behind us, and alongside us, it makes it easier for us to keep going too. In the same way…others are seeing you as an inspiration and motivation to keep going.

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When we think about quitting, dear souls, let’s think about the others who have watched us keep going and how that has helped them to keep going too. When we are having a hard time being brave…let’s think about the others who have been able to be brave because we have been brave. These things can help us all to keep being brave, for ourselves and for each other. We all help each other in so many more ways than we know. We need each other…we need to take good care of each other. Let’s do that.

If it feels right and true, keep going, beautiful soul. Your fellow life-travelers are rooting for you, and you have so much more support than you can see.

You are so very loved.
xoxo

 

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The world needs more courageous women…

Dear Brave Girl,

We can look far and wide and here and there and everywhere for just the right instructions for being courageous and brave….but in the end, it all boils down to the choices we make minute by minute…especially the choices we make when we are afraid, or when we feel like quitting, or when we must do something very right but very difficult.

Courage is simply making the choices that must be made every day…and then acting on them. Sometimes being brave means we have to hold on tight, and sometimes it means we have to let go. Sometimes bravery requires staying with it, and sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to walk away. Bravery is doing the right thing, the truest thing, the best thing…no matter how afraid or uncomfortable we are.

Brave Girls Club - brave choices make brave women

The world needs more bravery, dear friend. The world needs more courageous women who live from their heart…and who are kind and good and true. The world needs more mothers and sisters and wives and aunts and friends who are courageous enough to make brave choices….day after day after day. The world needs YOU.

You are so brave, dear soul. Thank you for being so brave.

You are so very loved.
xoxo

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What will it take?

Dear Becoming Girl,

Hello gorgeous friend. You know…a year from now, things will be a lot different than they are today. There are so many things that will be different, things that we just can’t ever guess would be different..then the same old things will be different that always are…another year older, new stuff is in style, new stuff is all the rage….

But some things just might be the same…things that COULD be different if we would make it so. A year from now, we can be doing the same things we are doing today….meaning we will be in the same places we are now (even when our hearts want the day to come when we are finally healthier, when we are finally working toward our dreams, when we are finally focusing on the things that matter most).

For some reason, we crazy humans sometimes think that things will change just because we want them to change….then a year goes by…and nothing has changed. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

What if we just think for a moment how we want things to be a year from now, then work backwards? What will it take to get things to where we want them to be in a year? What needs to happen TODAY? What needs to be changed? What needs to be started? What do we need to quit doing? What do we need to start believing?


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Today is a great day to live in the moment by thinking about what we need to do to get to where we want to be….because nothing will change if we keep doing the same things over and over again.

You can do this, amazing girl! You can! And, it is time!

You are so very loved.
xoxo

Honor it and then just LET IT GO

Dear Ready Girl,

Sometimes we think that all we need is to be able to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense for us. We need to make sense of why something happened or why someone left or why something wonderful ended.

Not everything is going to make sense…in fact, some things will never make sense, ever…and we just have to move on. Sometimes we don’t get closure on things we needed closure on…so we have to create the closure by saying goodbye to what we DID know, and let the rest just go.

Something wonderful we can do is to list out everything good about the thing that doesn’t make sense anymore…we can list everything we appreciated and loved about it…to kind of honor it and to take the sting away…then we can privately honor it and then just LET IT GO.

When we clasp our hands around things, waiting to let go until they make sense, our hands are too full and can not be open to the things that are waiting for us.

You are ready to do this, beautiful friend. It is time.

You are so very loved.
xoxo

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All of it matters…every minute

Dear Beautiful Girl,

A lot of days can go by very quickly…days that turn to weeks, then weeks that turn to months…and of course, those months turn to years. But each day is made of minutes…..and those minutes really and truly are what make up a life.

Beautiful soul, how are you spending your minutes and your hours…and how is this creating your sacred and important life….this one beautiful life that you have to create?

We can spend each minute the same as we always have….which means creating days, weeks, months and years that will be like they always have been. The way we spend each minute and each day really adds up to how we spend our life.

So each minute matters. If we truly want things to change, dear friend….if we want a different life…we have to do something different with the minutes and the hours of our days. Sometimes we think it takes some kind of big dramatic change…when really it just means starting to do something small with our minutes….minutes that turn to hours….

A life changing decision can be made in minutes. The things it will take to sustain that decision will take minutes and more minutes. When we spend good minutes, and good hours….we have a good life. THAT is what makes a good life.

Your life is sacred and important….your time is sacred and important….your decisions are sacred and important.

May we all live as though our lives are sacred and important, and may we treat each other the same. It matters….all of it matters. YOU matter.

You are so very loved.
xoxo

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