Brave Girl University is HERE!!! The doors are OPEN!

Brave Girl University is now LIVE!!! Come on in…the door are wide open and school is in session! WELCOME!!!

white desk soulful ways

Sept 2015 COMPLETE teacher list

  • If you’re new, just go to my.bravegirlsclub.com and you’ll be able to see all of the Course Overviews and the amazing Teachers and everything BGU has to offer you! If you like what you see and you want to be part of all this fabulousness, we hope you’ll enroll! (see links below)

  • If you’ve already been a subscriber, go to my.bravegirlsclub.com and login to see all the way into every classroom!

  • You’ll also see our brand new Soul School class for September…BeYOUtiful You, by Melody Ross.

Register for Brave Girl University HERE

Learn more about Brave Girl University HERE

Learn about the optional Brave Box add-on HERE

Identity and craft mockup set with retro filter effect. Cute vintage mock up on wooden background.

Identity and craft mockup set with retro filter effect. Cute vintage mock up on wooden background.

The Brave Box….a beautiful add-on to your Brave Girl University membership!

brave box mockup with website WEBBrave Girls from all over the world anxiously check their mail boxes each month and jump for joy when their Brave Box arrives!

It’s a gorgeous collectible box packed full of premium-quality, beautiful, soul-building goodness that you will adore! Original art, gorgeous limited-edition collectibles, powerful learning tools, fun creative projects…a monthly treat for your heart and soul!

  • Available to Brave Girl U subscribers ONLY (what is Brave Girl University?)
  • $24.95 per month (billed separately)
  • Quantities are LIMITED and ordering will be cut off once they are all called for…although you can always make your subscription effective the next month
  • Ordering enrolls you in a monthly subscription so you will always have a Brave Box reserved for you (unless you cancel)
  • See the very bottom of this post for how to enroll in BGU and add on a Brave Box subscription….
  • AND see the very bottom of this post for what this means if you are already a Soul School subscriber…
  • To be clear….Brave Girl University is $24.95 and the Brave Box is available (in limited quantities) as an add-on subscription for an additional $24.95 per month.

Just what’s included in a Brave Box? Here’s a glimpse….

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Here’s a sample of the type of contents you’ll find each month in our gorgeous Brave Box! It is jam-packed with goodness….tools for creating and living a brave and beautiful life.

everything from august brave box

brave box full

 

collage-sheets

You’ll love working with the premium-quality, saturated-with-color collage sheets, patterned paper, word sheets and graphics to use in art journaling, mixed-media projects, and anything else your creative heart comes up with!

 

art-print

You find an original 8×10 art print on lovely linen-textured paper, all ready for framing and displaying.

 

affirmation-cards

Each Brave Box contains a collectible, limited-edition Affirmation Card to carry with you and remind you of the month’s theme. You’ll find gorgeous original art on the front and a read-out-loud affirmation on the back.

 

buttons-collection

Each month we include limited-edition collectible buttons…colorful, fun ways to remind you of true things.

 

wise woman flashcard

back of wise woman card

front and back of flashcard

flash-card-sets

This is one of our favorites! Collectible, limited-edition Flash Cards…a new set every month to help you remember the lessons learned with the monthly theme. Two-sided….a short message with original art on the front, an entire soul-lesson on the back. Each set contains seven 4″ x 6″ heavy-weight premium-quality cards with rounded corners.

 

greeting-cards

We love sending cards in the mail, so we include two original greeting cards with matching brown-paper envelopes…ready to drop in the mail to someone you love.

september patch

 

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Each month’s Brave Box contains a stunning new collectible patch…absolutely the most beautiful patches you’ll find anywhere…each with a powerful Brave Girl message.

more collage sheets

decision cards

 

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Journaling pages, worksheets, and lesson pages help you learn the life-changing soul-messages from each month’s theme.

 

recipe

We bring a taste of Brave Girl Camp to you with a collectible monthly recipe from our camp kitchen.

 

rough-day-kit

Each month you’ll receive fun and meaningful surprises, like the kit for this ‘Rough Day’ tin for keeping little bits and pieces that remind you of what makes you the most happy.

butterfly canvas kit

finished butterfly canvas melody ross

or this beautiful collage making kit that came complete with the canvas to create it on….to get right

into making something that feeds your soul.

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Most months we’ll include an original stitchery pattern based on the month’s theme. So many ways to create beautiful things!

How to subscribe to get the Brave Box?

  1. Subscribe to Brave Girl University here  (the Brave Box is only available as an add-on for BGU Subscribers)
  2. Login to your Account at my.bravegirlsclub.com
  3. Click on My Account, and then click on the box that says Brave Box.
  • If you’re already a Soul School Premium subscriber, you don’t need to subscribe again…you are already good to go!
  • If you’re already a Basic or Deluxe Soul School subscriber and you want to upgrade to get the Brave Box, just login to your account at my.bravegirlsclub.com, click on My Account, and then click on the box that says Brave Box.

As always…no long term contracts. Cancel at any time. We think you’ll love it!!

But do it now, ok? Because we have a limited supply every month and we want to make sure that your box reserved and shipped to your door!

xo,
melody & kathy & the brave girl team

PS. If we have run out of our limited supply, you will have the opportunity to subscribe effective the following month so you don’t miss out again! :) 

 

Announcing….Brave Girl U Teachers!! (such a list it takes our breath away!)

Brave Girl University Teachers

 

Coming Sept 1…Brave Girl University!

Only $24.95/month gives you 24/7 access to courses by these incredible, soulful teachers…our own mentors and examples, women we love and respect and LOVE TO LEARN FROM.

Learn more here

  • If you were brought here by one of these teachers, please be sure to sign up under her so that she gets credit for referring you! This is how she will be compensated, so it’s super important!
  • If you are already a Soul School subscriber, you don’t need to do a thing because you’re already enrolled! Your Soul School subscription becomes a Brave Girl U subscription. It costs the same and you’ll still get regular courses by Melody and the Brave Girl team…you just get ALL THIS ADDED TO IT!!

You have amazing ideas…..please let them be born. (yes, YOU.)

This is another one for all of you beautiful dreamers, creatives…makers, artists, visionaries…musicians…writers….mothers…gardeners…friends…lovers…..PEOPLE. It is in ALL of us.

And this is just more about what I talked about in THIS POST.

I am writing this because I am now 100% certain that I am not the only one who used to feel like I was the only one who feels this way. AND when we find that out…that we are not the only one…and ALSO that OTHERS thought THEY were the only one…..a whole bunch of little candles get lit…and what used to seem so dark now is light….and it’s not so scary….and not so confusing…and there’s nothing to feel ashamed about anymore. Because…it just IS….and it doesn’t separate us anymore, but it unifies us. That is soooo awesome.

This is one of those things

I am finding that when I am in my creative cave, trying to let a new product line, or class, or a new phase of my marriage, or a serious issue with one of my children…..whatever sacred thing it is…..when I am in my cave of creative solitude trying to let something sacred be born creatively, it is a kind of difficult that has no words.

I used to not talk about it because it all felt so unexplainable…and so sacred/ridiculous/out-of-control. Embarrassing even. Humiliating sometimes. Because….when something is trying to be born….an idea….or something sacred….it is sort of all-consuming. No one seems to want to talk about it…..mostly I think, because there are no words. It doesn’t always feel good…..and then you have to explain/defend yourself to others why you are dedicating so much of your life and energy to something that is difficult and sometimes does not feel good. I have found that I hate having to defend myself. Especially when I am trying hard to just live as authentically as I can. When I am doing exactly what my deepest truth is telling me to do. But sometimes…..special people just need to know what the heck is going on with you. They wonder why you are doing what you are doing……

Well….the answer is because sometimes you can’t NOT do it. When an idea or a sacred something creative wants to be born…….it won’t let you NOT let it be born.

I used to think I was the only crazy person who dealt with this dilemma. So…I just didn’t explain my long bouts of creative isolation or brain-fogginess or distraction.

Then, I started to talk to a few of my creative friends and found that as women…..we are always trying/needing/feeling-called to birth SOMETHING. It is part of us, part of who we are….maybe it’s the same for men. I just feel like we are always on our way to creating SOMETHING. And sometimes we just try to hide that part of ourselves, because we think…WHO AM I TO CREATE ANYTHING? But, it still calls to us.

Some of us keep trying to resist it for years and years and years or even just for weeks or months….and truly, it is the worst kind of misery…..way worse than the uncomfortable parts of sitting on bed rest with your idea, nurturing and letting it be born the way it wants to be born….whether it’s a collage or a book or a song or a room needing to be decorated, or a journal entry or letter, or a marriage or a cake or a garden or a scarf to be knitted……or a class to be taught or a home to be built or a new life to be remade.

When we resist it we are miserable.

Sometimes the creative bed rest need only last a few hours, sometimes a few months….sometimes even longer….just depends.

And we get phonecalls and emails and text messages that say “are you mad at me?” or….”why haven’t you called….”  and we just don’t know how to say……I am in the middle of growing something sacred and it hurts and it also is beautiful and wonderful and exciting and real, and it is taking all of the energy that I have right now…………

and we don’t know how to ask…..”can you be patient with me? will you still be there when I can get up and get going again? When this thing is born?”

So we get up and do things that we shouldn’t be doing right now. We put our sacred something at risk to get up and do things that are not the most important things right now….things that satisfy the guilt we feel when we don’t know how to explain that right now…for this little short time, I am doing the most important thing that I know to be doing….I am letting something sacred be born.

We have to start letting ourselves go on creative bed rest. It is short…it is not forever. Most importantly…we have to let EACH OTHER go on creative bed rest and not get testy with each other when we have to decline invitations, or when we can’t return phonecalls or emails for a bit…..when we can’t do extra things…..it is temporary…but we must allow each other that. We all have a need to be creative. We need to allow each other that need.

AND THEN….when the beautiful sacred creative thing is born….we need to feel safe in sharing it with the world. We need to cheer each other on in the whole process, and then treat each other’s sacred something with sacredness and respect.

And most of all….we all just need to not really care too much what other’s think of our sacred something. Because that is not what it is about……it is about letting it be born, then loving it exactly how it is, protecting it as fiercely as we can,  and then letting it have a life of it’s own……no matter what the critics have to say.

We need to not have to feel afraid of what others will say or do if it is not good enough……..or if it is SO GOOD that it makes others feel sad or jealous or angry or whatever……..because sometimes…..OFTEN TIMES….the thing that wants to be born just HAD to be born…..and it is not in our control. We did not create something to be better or to turn heads…..or to impress or to be judged in any way. So if it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH or if it is TOO GOOD……..we are scared to share it once it is born. And many times, it was born FOR THE VERY PURPOSE TO SHARE WITH OTHERS….to bring JOY, BEAUTY, TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE, HAPPINESS, PEACE and UNDERSTANDING to the rest of us. Sometimes what is wanting to be born in us has NOTHING to do with us……..and we have to let it go out and have a life of it’s own.

Again…whether it is a song or a poem or a photograph or a painting or a meal or a novel relationship or an event or a solution to a problem. Sometimes we are the only way for it to be born….and if we did not stop and listen to that calling…it would never be born…..and someone, somewhere needed that EXACT thing….and that THING, that creative masterpiece was BORN with that purpose in mind.

…and then we knew it was worth it.

I write this to tell you to stick with it. I write this to tell the girl in Colorado who is writing a novel that you might not ever know why you have felt so called to put everything aside in your life aside from your family, and live in this deep loneliness, to finish it……but that you know that you MUST…and that it will be worth it! .And you are not alone!!!  And the clothing artist angel girl in Texas who pours her heart and soul into every beautiful masterpiece creates for the world because she wants everyone to feel her love and that’s how she shows it…I write this to the sweet beautiful artist in California who sits in her house making art videos to teach thousands across the world how to make art online…even though it’s so lonely sometimes, because she can’t NOT do it….it is her calling. I write this to the heartbroken soul in Florida who just keeps making art….night after night….because it proves to herself that she is listening to her soul….and because she CAN’T NOT make art…..it is healing her. I write this to the young grandma in Melba, Idaho who pours over every cookbook looking for the PERFECT recipes to feed to others so they know how loved they are. She can’t NOT…..it is one of her callings. I write this to the songwriters and the gardeners and the knitters and the jewelry makers and the painters and the yoga instructors and the dancers and the singers and the comedians and the quilters and the teachers. To all of us who are called to CREATE (and I believe this is all of us)….WE CAN’T NOT.

WE MUST.
AND WE MUST LET EACH OTHER.
WE MUST HELP EACH OTHER.

So if you must do it, you must. And some days it won’t feel good….and that is ok. Some days you will doubt yourself…and many days others will doubt you. Some days you will feel guilty and many days others will attempt to make you feel guilty. MANY days you will not understand and MANY MANY MANY more days others will not understand.

It is ok.
It has to be born.
Let it be born.

We need your light, your creativity, your unique contribution to the world.
YOU need to let it happen.
pass it on….pass on the love, the encouragement and the appreciation to every artist you know……
xoxo
melody

12 Minutes.

Today, just like everyday, I was highly anticipating naptime. Once both kids were down, I went straight to my computer to edit some photos. After about 15 minutes of quiet went by, I heard my 1 year old rustling and fussing in her bed. I tried to ignore it, hoping she would fall back asleep, but no such luck. I got her bottle and huffed into her room thinking, “This is my ONLY time…how dare you interrupt it!” I was hoping that a drink of milk and a 2 minute cuddle would do the trick so I could get back to my quiet time.

She drank a little bit of the bottle, then pushed it away. She looked up at me and gave me a big smile, then she started humming (she is my little music lover). So I hummed back at her and she giggled. She kept putting her hands up to my mouth so that I would kiss them. She did it over and over again and thought it was more funny each time. We hummed, we gave loves and kisses….and I was able to take a second and really realize how beautiful her eyes are. I wondered what she would look like when she got older. In that moment of quiet, I realized how much I adore her…and that I want her to be happy forever. Then, I laid her back in bed and she feel asleep.

When I came out of her room, I looked at the clock and realized that only 12 minutes had gone by. 12.  If I would have been on my computer, I would have edited 1…maybe 2 pictures. Big deal. What’s 12 minutes?

Today it was a sweet little moment with my baby…
Tomorrow maybe it will be telling stories with my 3 year old…
Or snuggling my husband…
Or making a really yummy hot breakfast for my family…
Or calling to talk to a friend…
Or going outside with my kids…
Or making someone feel EXTRA special…
Or painting my toenails…
I feel like I get so caught up in my “to-do” list and don’t give enough time to my “to-enjoy” list. Today I learned that 12 minutes isn’t much…but taking a a few minutes out of our non-stop busy lives to LOVE, FEEL, LISTEN & ENJOY feels really, really good.

Love Outside of Your Comfort Zone

A beautiful new post from our friend Lisa who has been teaching some of the Brave Girl curriculum (with our express permission) at a local homeless shelter. What SHE is learning is priceless….what she is TEACHING is life-changing. Here’s what she has been up to!   xoxo kathy & melody

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I want to share with you something that is so near and dear to my heart, something so important to me that I really can’t put it into adequate words.  So please bear with me as I try………

OK, so you’ve done the work.  You’re much more in tune with your soul and aware of your Truth-teller.  You’ve started to deep clean your Soul House.  You’ve done a lot of important healing through Brave Girls’ Soul Restoration course, or another course.  You look at your circumstances and your loved ones with renewed eyes of gratitude and compassion.  Life continues to have its ups and downs, successes and big challenges, struggles and setbacks, yet now you’re feeling pretty hopeful about it all, or at least you feel you have the tools to cope with it.

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And you are excited to tell people about this new awareness, this new hope and goodness and serenity that infuses you.  You see the pain in people around you, their feeling stuck and hopeless, and you just know this work can give them answers and peace.  You want people to receive this same medicine because you know how deeply this can help them.  You feel a vague sense that there is more, so much more that you are meant to do with this deep deep love you feel.  To spread your message.  This awareness, this hope, this love, this openness that has been released in you…………where do you go from here?

Well, if you ask me, I say we CHANGE OUR WORLD

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How?  BY TEACHING WHAT WE KNOW

OK, you say………..

But how can I, little old me, what do I know…………..

But I’m too busy right now………………………………………

But I have no idea how or where to start…………………….

But I don’t have time/money/experience……………………….

But I can’t see the end result, I’m not smart enough……………

I want to, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but………………….

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One step.  One tiny step in the right direction by one person is all it takes to start the ball rolling.  History is filled with “nobodies” who had the conviction of their dreams for a better world, and so they took that first tiny step.  And then another.  And then others noticed and shared the passion and joined the dream.  And eventually it made a world-shifting impact, a change for the better.  All because one person acted.

I can guarantee you that these tiny-steppers were busy with life, often confused, distracted, discouraged, unsure and scared.  They made huge mistakes along the way, yet the fire inside them kept burning anyway.  And they couldn’t ignore it.  They stepped out of their comfort zone.  They didn’t let doubt kill their dreams.  And the big secret about these world-changers????  THEY WERE JUST LIKE YOU….………….

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The you who feels antsy and discontent with how things are.  The you who feels overwhelmed with the enormity of society’s problems.  The you who feels like you can’t possibly make any difference.  The you who is afraid to ask for help, who thinks they have to do it alone.  The you who feels they aren’t good enough, smart enough, savvy enough, competent enough, attractive enough, confident enough, experienced enough, educated enough, important enough.

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Well, I’m here to tell you that all those excuses are excellent!!!  But they aren’t true.  Those are the lies we tell ourselves out of fear, in the midst of being stuck in the status quo.  The lies that hold back our souls’ purpose.  The funny thing is, that soul purpose, that thing that keeps trying to nudge us out of our complacency?  It won’t give up, try as we might to keep it bottled up.  We don’t have to know the outcome of our efforts before we start.  We don’t have to have all our ducks in a row.  We just need to believe in our convictions and have faith that our own life lessons can help others.  We need to act on our love for our world.  

Now I’m not suggesting that any of us will become Gandhi or Mother Theresa (though wouldn’t that be amazing!!!!).  The “world” I’m talking about is our own world, our local communities, our real world that we inhabit.  There is so much need for this!!!!  Everybody can benefit from these basic lessons, I mean every single person in the whole wide world.  Because we belong to each other.  People in at-risk situations, like being homeless, or young adults aged out of foster care, or people rescued from sex trafficking, or people with addiction problems,  with ptsd, ex-cons, the forgotten elderly, those may seem to be the most obvious people who can benefit from getting in better touch with their souls.  But really, everyone can benefit.  Everyone has hurts, everyone struggles.  The need is endless.

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And the more people we touch by teaching what we know, the more it snowballs as they teach what they know, and then those people teach what they know, and on and on and on……..

This is very important to me, this notion that we all have important stuff to teach others, to help others.  In fact, I think its our obligation, our duty to humanity, or however you want to say it, to pass on what we have learned and what has helped us.  Because what is the point of all that life-knowledge if we don’t share it?  We are all connected.  We belong to each other.  And so I want to share with you what I have been doing for the past few months, as an example of what you can do too.  Because I know for sure that you can do this.  If I can, you can for sure!!!!

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For the past few months I have stepped WAY OUT of my comfort zone.  I mean waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy out!!!!  I have been teaching “mini” soul restoration 3-lesson courses at a 30-day emergency homeless shelter for women in my community.  I am not a skilled teacher by any means.  I muddle through.  I blank out.  A lot.  There is often dead air in my talks.  I giggle too much.  I repeat myself a lot.  And I’m sure I have my mouth hung open as I listen to the students.  This is way way way way way out of my comfort zone!!!  Did I say that already??????

BUT IT’S NOT ABOUT ME.  And that’s what propels me forward.  

IT’S ABOUT THE MESSAGE.  It’s the most powerful message I know and I believe it in so strongly:  that we are all beloved unique important souls with a purpose on this earth, that we have choice and self-determination, and that we can heal ourselves through honest self-awareness and with the help of a kindred community.

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I have been asked over and over how are we got started doing this, so I’m going to tell you.  It started for me when I took Soul Restoration years ago, and it simply changed my life.  If you know me, you know how much I talk about it, even at the risk of sounding like a broken record.  I still do the lessons myself, because we all need refreshers and reminders.  Over the past few years, I’ve also staffed at many Brave Girl camps and seen Melody teach this stuff and witnessed the impact it has had on the campers.  It’s kind of in my blood now!

Back at home I am blessed to be a part of a small sisterhood of kindred souls, which started out as a book club, and evolved into something much more deep and sacred.  Over the years these friends have witnessed my growth and heard my tales and followed Brave Girls Club.  And they totally buy into this dream of mine, to spread this most powerful message.  We read “Love Does” by Bob Goff (PLEASE READ IT) and that nudged us into taking action and stepping out into our dream.

So the first tiny step was taken by my dear friend Nancy, who simply called this homeless shelter and asked if we could come and volunteer.  Then we each took more tiny steps:  orientations, applications, brainstorming meetings.  Those were so fun!!!!  And the steps got bigger.  Planning, making the nametags, decorating the journals, buying the supplies, copying handouts, figuring out the decor which we bring to each lesson: tablecloths, lots of flowers, art, figurines, all to set the mood and let the guests know they are special and worthy of this nurturing.  We were given the Wednesday evening slot where normally the guests at the shelter have bible study.  90 minutes!  That’s all!  For 3 Wednesdays.

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Thinking that the guests would be a diverse group, guessing that many of them were not used to talking about their souls, I decided that the first lesson would be the basics.  What is a Soul.  What and who is your Truthteller.  What is journaling and why is it so important.  I wrote out my script, down to 5 minute segments.  I have the guests spend time answering simple journal prompts, and those who want to share do.  I show them simple art journaling techniques that they can do with limited supplies, for when they leave the shelter.  I share my story, I read to them.  We pray, we laugh, we cry, we swear, we all let our guard down.  No one is forced to participate, and some don’t, at first.  There is resistance from some at first, sometimes strong resistance.  Eventually the non-participators and the resistant ones do come around, every time.  But mostly there is fascination and tears and recognition and lots of gratitude all around.  By the end of the 90 minutes, every time, never fails, these women literally look lighter and brighter and heads up and softer and make eye contact.  It is a miracle. Every time.

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For the second lesson, I distilled down the essence of the Soul House lesson in Soul Restoration.  The most powerful lesson of all, I believe.  Everybody relates to it.  It’s all about making boundaries and how to protect them.  We have had some amazing discussions!!  Many aha moments, many breakthroughs.  I give them journal prompts to work on throughout the week, and many of them write diligently.  I love seeing how opening up brings these women closer to each other.  This is raw and real.  One of my biggest goals is to get them to see themselves and each other and everyone else as souls.  In the third lesson we make simple truth cards, cut and paste.  Of course, they don’t want to stop when our time is up.  In fact, they never do at any lesson.   And did I mention that every Wednesday 1/3 to 1/2 of the guests are new arrivals?  So we review the prior lessons and just keep going.

My kindreds, Nancy, Pamela, Heather and I bring our best selves to this project.  And that in itself is amazing to be a part of.  We have learned so much about ourselves, about how to do this better each time.  We learned quickly that we can prepare all we want, but things don’t necessarily go as planned.  So now we prepare to be flexible.  And we have learned the hard way not to take anything personally.  And to be vulnerable and open.  And we are so pumped up about this that we are taking it to other venues and other at-risk groups around our community.

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So stay tuned for updates on this wild journey we are on.  Follow me here or on my website at www.lisaville.net or on Facebook.  I hope this inspires you to go out of your comfort zone and spread your love around your world.   I would LOVE to hear about that, or any questions you might have.  And please remember, that if you want to use ANY resources or curriculum from Brave Girls Club, you need to ask their written permission.

REMEMBER — LOVE DOES!!!!!!!  

xoxoxo Lisa

 

you will fly again…

This is a blog post I wrote on January 21, 2009…I just really keep feeling like someone out there needs to hear it. xoxo Melody

You will fly again
Want to know 4 words that changed everything for me? Here they are…“You Will Fly Again…”

This blog post is for anyone with a broken heart right now…anyone with a broken spirit…anyone with broken wings….anyone who is trying to figure out how to put their life back together. This is for you……

I met my darling friend Lula some time last year….a beautiful, tiny woman with small hands and kind eyes and long white hair. When she looked at me the first time I felt like she looked right through my skin and saw everything I ever felt. After we talked for a few minutes…and I thought I was getting away with the surface conversation we were having…she took my hands and said “you feel like you have been fired from everything you thought you knew, with no explanation, don’t you?” My mouth fell opened, so stunned….I had never had anyone put my feelings into exactly the right words…but she did it.

Then…she looked at me deeply, and softly squeezed my hands. We were sitting knees to knees….she made sure I was really paying attention, waited for a few more big tears to fall and she said…”Melody, You will fly again…I promise.”

I then went on to tell her about the dreams I was having and the way I was feeling and the books I was reading and how everything just pointed to broken wings…..wings that felt like they could never heal or mend…..that my best years were over…….and…how devastating that was. How permanent it felt.

I told her how I’d always been a huge proponent of PICK YOURSELF UP, DUST YOURSELF OFF and START ALL OVER AGAIN. I told her this time it was different. I couldn’t do it….I felt broken and I didn’t know how to ever feel whole again.

I told her about the recurring dream…..of being a little birdie, and sitting under the tree watching all of the other birds fly…..birds I used to fly with….and new birds…and birds that didn’t even know how to fly when I used to fly up there….but now they are flying. I told her how I would just sit under the tree and watch all the birds fly, and cry…..BUT, that I didn’t know for sure why….I wasn’t sure if I couldn’t fly, or if I wouldn’t fly. All I knew is that I wasn’t flying, and that it hurt.

I told her that I read books about how to find your passion, how to ‘fly’….I read books about how to find out who you are and what you want to do with your life…

But…….they only made things worse. You see, I told her…I KNOW how to fly. I have flown before…I used to fly fly fly day and night. I don’t need anyone else to show me how to fly or how to find my wings……my wings are broken….what do you do when your wings are broken?

Sitting birdie Well, it hurts. It doesn’t make sense…I think that’s one of the hardest parts….that, one day you feel like you could conquer the world and soar to the highest heights…one day you feel like you are riding the wind, letting the current take you away…..everything flows….you have a bird’s eye view of life….

and then, something happens….and now that I have been through it, I am seeing it happen again and again to other birds….and it doesn’t matter why you feel like you lost your wings or that they are broken past repair….it doesn’t matter whether it’s because your husband cheated on you or your business partner betrayed you or your cancer test came back positive or your house went into foreclosure or you lost the baby that you waited so long for or the parent that you need now more than ever…or that one of your children has gone astray or your husband is chronically ill or you are chronically ill or your business failed or your prayers weren’t answered the way you wanted them to be….

doesn’t matter…it all hurts the same….and lots of times it leaves you to crash to the ground in a botched emergency landing.

there’s one truth that ties it all together, though…….that you WILL fly again….you will.

We humans, we fly with our hearts. All we need is hope, and faith….when we lose that, that’s what puts us under the tree, flightless…..watching everyone else and wondering what happened. I know it’s hard to find hope and it’s hard to find faith when we feel like the whole world just got swept out from under us…..when we feel like we are too full of holes to be anything but empty. But, I promise…you can fly again, and you will. I know that…….let me tell you how I know……


Vintage butterfly
I found out today that there are over 17,000 different species of butterflies…..
Different butterflies

and that there are over 10,000 different species of birds.

Anatomy of a wing
Anatomy of bird

I learned that the anatomy of wing is so super-high-tech that it absolutely, positively HAD to be by divine design. I learned that God takes ALL of His masterpieces VERY VERY VERY seriously. He gives his winged things, and ALL of His creatures, great and small…everything they need to be successful, to fly….not just to fly, to soar. (unless you are a chicken….but, I’m sure there’s a big huge reason that they don’t have soaring wings but hot wings instead….)

And….I didn’t just learn today, but a very long time ago…..that…..even though we are all human beings (created in God’s image, by the way) that there are millions of different kinds of US…and that we are all made with everything we need….and like wings on a bird or a butterfly…..We fly with our hearts.

AND WE WERE MEANT TO SOAR.

Let me show you and tell you why I know that……This is about as personal as I have ever gotten, even though anyone who has ever read my blog knows…I am a pretty open book….I put it all out there, and take it or leave it, love it or hate it..this is me…no apologies…none….but, this here, what I am about to show you….wow, this is REALLY personal. And, let me tell you why I am doing it. You see, since my last real blog post…I have gotten SO MANY LETTERS and emails…so many…of people who are in so much pain…and I have tried so hard to keep up with personally writing people back (and I’m so sorry if I didn’t get to you yet)….and, I am seeing, that for every person with the courage to admit how broken they feel…there are hundreds more who are too ashamed…because….I was. Weird to feel ashamed for being in pain…but, that’s us…we are human. Weird to feel ashamed that you can’t fly…but, we do…I know I did.

Here’s my big personal secret…this sculpture. This, I made one night when I could not find any words. Then, when it was done, I put it in a dark box…..and put the lid on…and left it there for many months….I did not want anyone to ever see it….because…this sculpture was me…..and it was YOU, if you are broken or ever have been…this sculpture is wingless and hairless and clothesless and eyes-less and hopeless. This is where I was. But, what I see is that I did know that the only thing I could do was to give my heart to God. (that is what is in her hand) This is when I felt like my arms and my legs were barely attached to my body (just by a thin string) and my wings were not attached at all. This is when I did not know how I was even breathing because my heart was not in my body but in my hand…this is when all that I had left was enough hope to hand my heart off to God…to beg to Him to help me fix my wings….that was all I had left. This is when I was crying out and begging…begging for the courage and strength and the will to fly again.

I want my wings back

Wow….this is vulnerable huh? this is personal…like I said…take it or leave it…this is my truth and I am committed to living my truth for the rest of my days….no apologies…none. I just know I have to tell you where I was so that you know that I KNOW that you will fly again. I know you will.
I KNOW YOU WILL FLY AGAIN!

Because I AM FLYING again…..and, it is miraculous and beautiful and amazing and…….now I can see the birds under the trees…where I used to be….not only see them…but really really FEEL them…so, I have to tell them what I know. YOU WILL FLY AGAIN.

Now…let me tell you what else I learned today..I learned what to do when you find an injured bird……directly from the ornithology society it says…

“Place an injured bird in a covered box (with air holes punched in it), and keep it in a warm, QUIET place. Do not try to administer first aid, offer food or water to the bird, and avoid lifting the lid to check on its condition. The less it sees of you, the less stress it will experience, and the better its chances for recovery will be.

 

Hmmm…I thought that was great considering I had put my little sculpture in a dark box, put a lid on it and let it be.

So…are you giving yourself a break? Are you letting yourself heal up? Are you understanding that it’s ok if you need to be left alone to get things figured out? For me….once I was in a “covered box in a warm quiet place” I was really able to let God do what He needed to do for me….but that took lots of trust. That’s back at the end of 2007 when I CLOSED FOR RESTORATION….I really did too….we moved way out in the country, an hour away from everything for a whole year….that wasn’t planned on my part, but it sure was exactly what I needed.

Here’s what happened……and it was sort of uneventful…and natural….without a big ceremony or any kind of warning….the lid came off the box…..I sat there for a minute..and then I tried to fly…and guess what? I still knew how….and, I was strong enough. And….I am flying a little bit every day now…feels so so so good….especially when I think about how I REALLY HONESTLY BELIEVED that my flying days were over………oh no, honey…..no way…that’s not the kind of life that was meant for us. We were born to soar….

Flying birdie
so here’s me…..a little flying birdie……and it feels so good….even though I am not one of those really fast and really elegant and really exotic birdies….I am who i am and I am flying….and I am so happy. It was time for me to fly again….and it was not on MY timeline because I would have chosen for it to come much sooner…BUT….God is never early and never late…but always right on time….(in the words of Egonda’s daddy, one of my greatest teachers)

I will leave you with one final little message from my sage friend, Mary Kay……..we sat in her Pilates studio earlier this week…..and, as she always does, she coached me with some really wise words……she said….that she wishes that New Year’s resolutions did not come in January…that it’s just the worst, most unnatural time..during the Winter..when everything is dormant and we can not plant or grow anything…that it is just not natural…that winter is for rest and renewal and recharging…..and that spring will come soon enough….

and I realized….that flying is that way too….some years we are in the winter of our life……..and it seems like nothing is happening…that everything has stopped…that it’s cold and lifeless…but, it’s only a season…and then spring comes…and we can fly again.

YOU WILL FLY AGAIN…I just know it. YOU WILL. Now…go make a list of all the things you can do while you are in your little box, resting, mending, healing….make that time for yourself…because before you know it…you will be soaring….

….when you are sitting under that tree, all alone…seeing all those birds flying above you…..look past the birds that are flying…and look past the clouds…and ask our God, who loves you and knows you…ask Him to show you exactly who you are, give Him your WHOLE HEART…and then you will know FOR SURE that you will fly again as soon as it is time….

xoxoxox
so much love to you little birdies…..
melody

You will fly again 2

Brave Girl Kitchen – Chocolate Pots De Creme OR Mousse (so decadent & easy I should keep this recipe in a vault)

Brave Girl Kitchen - Chocolate Pots De Creme

I’ve had this luscious dark chocolate recipe in my Brave Girl Camp arsenal for a while now — and baby, I have some tricks up my sleeve that I just have to share with you, because THIS recipe can be your world-class secret weapon, too!!

Maybe you’ve had Pot de Creme at a fancy restaurant…it’s rich and silky and impossibly smooth, a decadent dark chocolate explosion of velvety lusciousness…..served in sweet little portions for a (nearly) guilt-free indulgence….ooooooooooh baby, you’re gonna LOVE this.

At Brave Girl Camp, I always make sure I listen to the comments at the table when the girls start eating this dessert.  “Oh  my gosh….oh my GOSH….OH MY GOSH!!!!……mmmmmmmmmm!!!….oh WOW!!…you get the picture).

Ramekin-licking has been known to happen…I’m just saying. It is THAT AMAZING.

FIRST, we must learn how to pronounce it so we don’t embarrass ourselves and because French deserts taste better when we use the French pronunciations (it’s a proven fact). SO….say it like this: Poh-də-KREM. (Try it a few times… impressive, isn’t it?!?)

Now for my secrets.

Pots de Creme recipes usually include a bunch of fussy complicated steps and lots of chances to totally blow it. Bleh. At camp I simply do not have time for that! Here’s why I love love LOVE this recipe! One sauce pan, one blender, less than 10 minutes and I am ready to pour this chocolate loveliness into ramekins. Off to the refrigerator, and dessert is DONE. Seriously, this is one amazing recipe.

Brave Girl Chocolate Pots de Creme

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 oz bag  Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips (or equivalent high quality dark chocolate – these chips are convenient and work great)
  • 1 1/2 C Milk (whole, 2%, or 1%)
  • 1 C Cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/8 tsp salt

For garnish:

  • 1/2 c cream whipped with 1 -2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tsp vanilla
  • fresh berries

Instructions:

  • Place the chocolate in a blender.
  • In a large saucepan, whisk the milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth. Heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. (Note: if you heat this too long, it will curdle. Don’t panic…just take it off the heat and proceed…it’s going to be FINE. Trust me.)
  • Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Put the lid on the blender and then cover it with a thick towel (for safety). Place your hand over the towel. Blend until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is silky smooth. It won’t take long.
  • Pour into 6-8 ramekins. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and fresh berries right before serving.
  • (Can be made a day ahead.)
  • Bring some to Kathy’s house to share with her.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Chocolate Mousse Alert!!!

UPDATE!!! If this is too rich for you, here’s a happy surprise…you can turn this ultra-easy recipe in Chocolate Mousse! Just pour the mixture from the blender into a bowl and refrigerate to cool it. Not chilled…just cool to the touch. Then whip 1 or 1 1/2 cups of cream with some vanilla and sugar. Take a wire whisk and stir the pot de creme to loosen it up. Fold in the sweetened whipped cream until it’s thoroughly mixed, being careful not to deflate the air in the whipped cream.  Put this mixture into pretty dishes or stemware and chill…then top with a little more whipped cream and chocolate shavings. There you have it…EASY fool-proof Chocolate Mousse!!

Enjoy!!!

love,

kathy

Let’s stop today and see what is here already…

Dear Seeking Girl,

It is often said that a good way to treat others that we love is to imagine that it is our last day with them…or our last day alive.

But what if we tried instead, to live as though it is our VERY FIRST DAY with them?

Try to live this day as though it is the first time you have ever seen your child, or the love of your life, or your parents…or your beautiful friends. Look at them from head to toe…see them for what they are and who they are…look around at all that they are doing, and who they have become……work hard to make sure they know exactly how you feel about them. Work hard to be someone that they might want to have in their life.

Brave Girls Club - LOOK UP, DARLING

We work so hard to go go go. Let’s stop today and see what is here already…what we don’t have to go anywhere to see.

Let’s try to start seeing things that would blow our minds and touch our hearts and bring us to tears if we were paying attention….or if it were the first time it ever happened…or the first time we ever met.

Life is so beautiful, so full, so miraculous.

You are so loved.

xoxo

(…pass it on…)
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We Must See Past What it Seems…..

After a dear friend telling me about a hurtful experience she’d had this week…..I began thinking again about a story I have told a few times….a story that my children will tell to their children, and maybe even beyond that… because it was such a learning experience in our family….maybe even a turning point…it’s a story that I think about often because we were the main characters in it 3 or 4 years ago, and even though it was something that lasted less than 15 minutes….it changed all of us….and now I see others differently, especially when it seems that they might be main characters in the same story…or one a lot like it. I used to be too embarrassed to tell this story….but I am not anymore. This is a human story that everyone needs to hear, I truly believe this…I hope you will stay with it, it’s kinda long.

As we move along…I want you to think about some of the big signs with big messages that I bet you wish you could wear around your neck sometimes so that people would be more gentle….or even that you could put around the neck of someone you love….so that you didn’t have to go into a big long story to defend yourself or someone else….so that people would just stop judging and and just be kind.

First, if you don’t know my history because you are brand new to Brave Girls Club…welcome welcome welcome! I need to start this story by giving you a little bit of background….. you see, my husband had an accident in 2004 that injured the frontal lobe of his brain……it has taken 6 years to get him back……but in the middle there, between 2004 and now…lots and lots of stuff happened. He was essentially out of it…but not just that….he changed to someone else, we lost him. His personality changed completely, he could not work, he was angry and depressed and could not cope with human beings.  He did not feel love or affection, really he only felt anger…rage…and he was suicidal most of the time. He did not remember a lot of things. He could not take care of our family or even himself, really……..(and I want to mention again that through lots of miracles, he is 100% recovered now…we are so thankful….he is even BETTER than he was before his accident)

But……during that time…..he would have these confusing and amazing glitches of time when he would be totally normal. It was bittersweet. They would last for an hour sometimes, and sometimes for days…or even weeks…then he would sink back down into that horrible place. When he was sick, I protected him fiercely. I didn’t want anyone to see him like that…I had faith that someday he would recover….but man oh man it was lonely…I wished every single day that I could just walk around with a sign like this….

….because on the outside…I looked like I had EVERYTHING GOING FOR ME…I looked like I might just have a perfect life….but I was hiding a very painful secret….

Well…a lot of other things happened too………you can imagine what might happen over the years while we have a 7 acre farm, a pretty big international business that we own with lots of employees…..a life that  HE managed before his accident, while he just let me do the fun and creative stuff….now we had lots of medical bills…lots of sorrow and lots of distractions……we also had LOTS of kids…..and no one competent managing the business…

Well…after a few years, I couldn’t hold it all together…our business was suffering for all of the reasons listed above and a few more reasons on top of that……..and we discovered that we were really SINKING. Well……one day when he was partly lucid….he was THERE…he was coherent….I told him the condition of our life.

He kind of panicked and he went straight to work figuring out what he could do. It was insanely heartbreaking when he would “wake up” after weeks or months and I had to tell him how much things were deteriorating financially, etc. It was very hard. But when he could, he did what he could….before his mental illness sucked him back into the prison it kept him in most of the time.

He called a sign place and had a huge sign brought out to our house…the kind that you can put letters on, and it was electric and lit up…….He put it by the road in one of our horse fields……then he drove our Suburban….both of our trucks….my classic Thunderbird that he got me for my birthday a few years earlier…..our tractor…all of our tractor implements…the boat that I worked 10 years to get for him (and that caused his brain injury, incidentally)……….and he lined everything up along the fence and he put a price tag on every single thing. Then, he put the letters on that big huge sign and plugged it in.

You have to understand that we had worked for MANY years for those things. We started a business in our twenties and we sacrificed everything we had for all of those years to make it work. We owned almost all of it outright…….but, when I told him that the business was struggling….this is what he did….

Sooooo…..there it was….all in a row……all of our stuff…..out in our field.

All of the neighbors driving by…our friends…the community…..people who knew us most of our lives and people who knew nothing about us…..we were just the young family who lived in that beautiful little farm house on Beacon Light road with the perfect lawn….or what USED to be.

You see, in addition…for months….our once beautifully manicured yard started to be filled with weeds that were now several feet high. I just couldn’t keep it up. The lawn was a nightmare. Everything was just falling apart all around me and my heart was broken over my husband, too. It was humiliating and exhausting and horrible, really.

Well, the sign was not up in the field for more than a few hours…….when my husband’s phone rang….it was someone who saw all the stuff and my husband’s phone number on the big huge sign. We were sitting out in the yard while he was still coherent and he was feeling devastated about the condition of our lawn…..I was apologizing that I just couldn’t do all of it………..he was so heartbroken at his limitations and that he had left me to try to handle our life alone……we were trying to make a plan…..

He answered his phone…I saw that he was just listening…I could hear that the person’s voice was getting louder and louder and louder………..my husband just listened. He turned his back to me a little so I wouldn’t hear. But I could hear it….It seemed to go on and on and on……..

These were the things I could hear on the other end of the phonecall….

“You are bringing down the value of my property with that ugly sign!”

“What are you doing?”

“That is the most obnoxious sign, do you have a permit to have that out there?”

“Are you starting a used car lot?”

“You have got to get all of that moved and out of here or I am calling the authorities”

I sat there, mortified, embarrassed, humiliated, mad, sad, devastated. I was certain that this would snap my husband back into his dark hellish place.

But, when the man was done ranting, my husband waited a second and then very calmly said something that I will never, ever forget…….

“Sir,” he said, “There was a time in this country, in this community…when if you drove past your neighbor’s house and saw every single thing they own was for sale in front of their house…and that their lawn had not been mowed for weeks….that you would stop and say….WHAT IS GOING ON, SOMETHING MUST BE TERRIBLY WRONG, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU?”

The man was silent…..and then my husband went on to tell him a few details about what was going on with our family….

The man waited a moment and then his tone changed…..he apologized….I mean, really apologized and then said…

“I am going to call all of my friends and see if any of them need any of this stuff….”

***************************************

I wish with everything in me that we could have put a sign up on that big stupid lit up billboard in our field that said OUR LIFE IS FALLING APART….  but all that we really could put up is a sign with the price of everything that we owned that was worth any money…….

WHAT IF we could all wear a sign that said what WE REALLY MEANT? What if we could go straight past the small talk……..or the masks…….and we could actually go straight to the heart of the matter…….what if our friends and family wore signs like this?

…we would treat each other differently.

I think we should just try to imagine it………that when a friend is quiet…or not showing up to stuff she usually shows up to….or acting a little “off”….or a family member is wearing pajamas to the grocery store for weeks on end……or not answering the phone…..or the lawn is not mowed…..

whatever it is……….

IT IS A SIGN. It is not a sign that can be read in words and letters, but it is a sign that someone needs to be treated gently…that they need help….most of all, that they need love, understanding…and that they DEFINITELY DO NOT need to be judged.

Every time I think of this story….I want to be better…I want to do better, I don’t want any silent signs to go unread before my eyes or my heart…..I don’t want to make up my own answers to what must be going on…I don’t want to assume………..

Let’s be gentle with each other.

Let’s read each other’s signs.

HAPPY NOVEMBER….so much to be thankful for!

xoxo

melody