All about the February Soul School class: ‘Love Even More’… and what’s in the Brave Box!

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“One of the most important things we can do is to figure out the best ways to love the people who are most important to each of us. But we also need to figure out the best ways we can love ourselves, and dedicate a great part of our lives to this task. Love is truly one action after another and one decision after another… so what do we need to decide and what do we need to do? That’s what this course is all about. One little thing after one little thing…done day by day…that ends up being an entire lifetime of loving…and THAT is a very good life.” — Melody

This month, we will be focusing on learning creative new tools to help us Love Even More. As always, stunningly beautiful projects and fun ideas await!

How to participate? Find out all the details and JOIN HERE.

Let’s take a look at what’s included in February’s Brave Box for Premium Subscribers!!
(If you’re a Deluxe or Basic subscriber, we’ll note below exactly what you’ll be able to print from your wonderful digital kit.)

You’ll get LOTS AND LOTS of video lessons by Melody, project tutorials by Kathy, plus lots more. Deluxe and Premium Subscribers get the full “Love Even More” lesson. Basic Subscribers will receive the Journaling portion of the class. It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s full of great ideas and ways to help you move joyfully forward in your life. Besides the videos (which are worth the subscription on their own!) you’ll receive digital, printable materials for the class and projects. And Premium subscribers receive a mailed Brave Box with even more goodies! We’ve taken photos of everything so you can see exactly what you’ll get….

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Premium Subscribers receive a Brave Box. We’ll show you exactly what’s in this box of fabulousness…

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A one-of-a-kind embroidered collectible patch.

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A beautiful collectible “Love Even More” pin.

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___________________________________________ A collectible Love Even More Affirmation Card

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…with a message to remind us of everything that’s true about loving and being loved.

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A lovely framable art print.

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Two pretty lovey-dovey greeting cards with kraft envelopes…to send to someone special.

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Lesson Sheets and Journaling Prompts (Digital for Deluxe and Basic).

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Project Sheets ____________________________________

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A gorgeously designed February calendar.

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Melody Ross Designer Patterned Paper and Collage Sheets (Digital for Deluxe & Basic)

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Melody Ross Designer Patterned Paper and Collage Sheets (Digital for Deluxe & Basic)

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Materials for DIY projects. (See below)

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DIY Xoxo Gift Tag Project

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DIY Love Gift Jar Project

A brand new Truth Card kit.

PLUS many many
incredible video
lessons and easy to
follow, step by
step project
instructions by
Melody (and Kathy) …
all in the great
Brave Girl style that
makes our classes
fun and personal,
powerful and life-changing.
You will LOVE
this month’s class!!!

 

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Subscribe or upgrade any time in February to receive your own Brave Box. Upgrade by emailing us at support@bravegirlsclub.com

Your subscription options in a nutshell (there’s something for everyone):

PREMIUM: All the videos and printable PDFs, PLUS the Brave Box…high-quality printouts of all the class materials along with a collectible patch, collectible button, 2 greeting cards with envelopes, materials for DIY projects, affirmation card, a February calendar, and an 8×10 frame-able print… everything you need to get the absolute MOST out of this powerful class. $44.95/mo

DELUXE: All of the videos and printable PDFs…This is a GREAT option for those who want to print their own curriculum. $24.95/mo

BASIC: Includes the journaling portion of the class plus more. If you have limited time and want just the basic foundation of this lesson, this is for you! $9.95/mo

Here’s the deal, friends…if all you had time or energy for was to watch the videos, you would get SO MUCH out of this class. We have spent WEEKS creating this class, and we are SO proud of how it has turned out. The assignments and writing and DIY projects are of course amazing, and we know you will love doing them. But no matter what, we hope that you just watch the videos and see what happens. Come join us!

xoxo
melody & kathy

SIGN UP HERE
DETAILS HERE

Sign up or upgrade today and your Brave Box can be on its way tomorrow!

PS. ALL subscription levels give you non-expiring access to any online class you have ever purchased from Brave Girls! Upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time. No long term contracts…we work hard to earn your trust and participation.

Passing this goodness along…tag-team posts (and a give-away) from our friends Courtney Walsh & Stephanie Ackerman

A real treat for today!  We’re sharing these two great new tag-team blog posts by our dear friends Courtney Walsh & Stephanie Ackerman. Full of insight and goodness, with a free printable that we think you’ll love! Thanks, Courtney & Stephanie, for allowing us to pass this along to the Brave Girls….

First…an excerpt from Courtney’s post….

Meet Courtney!

Meet Courtney Walsh

A Paper Hearts Printable {from Stephanie Ackerman}

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Courtney’s hot-off-the-presses beautiful new book…Paper Hearts!

A few months ago, in the midst of starting “The Studio” I distinctly remember feeling stressed out and overwhelmed (shocking, right?) Sometimes the absence of structure does that to me, and I’ve found I have to create it for myself.  But as I set out to formulate a plan, I realized there were many, many things that concerned me about starting a business. Time. Money. Space. Those are just three, any one of which could send my neurosis (neuroses?) into high gear.

Anyway, in one of those key moments, which also happened to be about the time I was deep into writing Paper Hearts, God spoke very clearly. He said, “Ask for what you need.”  This MUST be a universal theme because….my sweet friend Stephanie Ackerman of Homegrown Hospitality also clung to it. Which is good for the rest of us because she created a pretty awesome printable that we can all print, use and share for FREE!

This is Stephanie. Do you know her? (You should!)

Stephanie Ackerman

Meet Stephanie Ackerman

 

You can meet her HERE on her blog!

Because of my own experience, this whole concept is woven into the Paper Hearts story, threaded through the background as Abigail learns she doesn’t have to have everything all figured out. What a liberating thought, no? And one that serves you well whether you’re starting a business or taking a test or trying to decide on a next step. Ask for what you need. In Paper Hearts, these handwritten expressions of a couple’s love are what drive the story…and when I think about amazing handwriting, Stephanie instantly comes to mind!

She created a gorgeous background, but not only that, she shows you a super cool way to use it….

(….Now let’s jump to Stephanie’s post to see about the printable and to see what she has to say about Courtney’s new book…)

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FROM STEPHANIE…..Visit her blog

Paper Hearts & Ask For What You Need

When Courtney asked me to play along with the launch of her book latest book, Paper Hearts, I said yes immediately without even reading the book. Here is a little blurb about Paper Hearts:

Abigail Pressman would never have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could restore her belief in love. As a business owner in a quaint town at the base of the Rockies, she’s poured everything into dreams of expansion . . . and resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park’s tradition of stamping mail with the city’s romantic postmark.

When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the paper hearts, a distraction that couldn’t come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail’s new landlord, and he’s threatening to end her lease to expand his practice.

As she fights a growing attraction to this handsome man crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts reaches the Volunteers, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail’s doubts about love, or could it rescue her dreams . . . and her heart?

Personally, I have been working on NOT jumping the gun and answering YES when asked to do things BUT because it was Courtney (and I LOVE her books) I knew I wanted to.  She “asked me for what she needed” and I said Yes.

I have to admit that I have not finished reading the book yet but wanted to throw in my own spin on the topic “Ask for what you need” topic because I do not do that and I need to.  I am pretty sure that I am not the only one that does not ask.  I will be the first one to offer help to someone and force myself on them to help with what they need BUT (darn big buts) I am the last one to ask for what I need.  I forget or I make excuses that “I will” and then I don’t.

I need to be specific with God, too.

YIKES..that is a big one.

Sound familiar?

Now that it is my turn to share with you how I tied in the “Paper Hearts” theme with the “Ask For What You Need” quote, I wanted to show you what I made to remind myself (and others) to remember to ask.

First I doodled out the “Ask for what you need” quote onto a piece of watercolor paper. BEFORE I added color to it, I scanned it in black and white:

Paperhearts

Once I had that done, I added a little watercolor to brighten it up a bit: Paperheartscolor3Then I sat and looked at it for a bit and thought about the quote, what it means and what I need to start doing.

I was not real sure what the next step was going to be but I knew that I needed to tie in the hearts.  The paper that I doodled on and water-colored was small so I created a worksheet that holds four of the same print. I loaded my home printer with card stock and printed it.   IMG_7523
I knew that if I die cut the paper or simply cut shapes with scissors that one side of the paper was going to be printed and the other side would be blank so I re-printed my paper so it printed the same image on BOTH sides.

What a great idea!!!..I know !

Using my Banners & Hearts die from Sizzix, I cut out lots of double sided hearts.  Now do not worry if you do not have a heart die, simply use a stencil, template or freehand hearts and cut them with scissors.   IMG_7528Once I had my hearts cut out, I grabbed my sewing machine and started sewing the hearts together, right down the center to create a garland of hearts.  IMG_7501Don’t sweat it here either of you do not have a sewing machine.  A needle and thread work just perfect and you do not have to go down the entire center of the heart.  Just run the needle through one of the top humps of the heart and string them that way.

IMG_7510So now what?

Well, I have my little garland of hearts hanging right where I can always see them as a constant ( and pretty dang cute) reminder to “Ask for what I need”

Thanks for stopping by.  If you create something based on this idea, I would love to see it.  You can email me at homegrown1(at)att(dot)net

or

tag me on IG at http://instagram.com/stephanieackerman1/

or on

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.ackerman1 IMG_7513You can download and print out my art (on both sides of the paper!) to create your own garland Download Paperheartsaskforwhatyouneed but PLEASE do not duplicate or sell the art.  Thank you.

Author: Courney Walsh   Visit her blog

Featuring Printable by Stephanie Ackerman  Visit her blog

Everything You Wanted to Know about Brave Girl Camp

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Perhaps you have seen us talking about Brave Girl Camp on Facebook every once in a while. Perhaps you haven’t even heard a single little bit about Brave Girl Camp. Perhaps you kind of know what it is but you have lots of questions about it. Maybe you even know ALL ABOUT Brave Girl Camp but you are on the fence about coming! Or maybe you have already been to Brave Girl Camp and are thinking about coming again (it has certainly changed over the years!). Whichever of those situations describes you, hopefully this post will clarify some things and help you decide if Brave Girl Camp is for you.

what is brave girl camp

In a nutshell, Brave Girl Camp is a magical, amazing, all-inclusive 4 day art + life retreat, with perfectly planned days of meaningful fun and connection, designed to help you move forward joyfully into the rest of your life.

But it is so, so, so much more than just that. Brave Girl Camp is…

A place of beauty and pampering.

A place filled with lovely things that women appreciate so much but that they often forget to do for themselves, like pretty dishes and colorful flowers.

A place to learn the beautiful truth about ourselves.

A place to rest and feel safe, where you can hear your own thoughts and soul-whisperings.

A place to gather with other women to share our stories and CONNECT with each other.

A place to form true life-long friendships

A place of lots of laughter and remembering what it’s like to have girl friends.

A place to experience what the woman’s soul craves.

A place where every moment is magical from the moment you arrive at The Ranch until late in the evening.

A place where you can stop and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

A place where women of all ages and backgrounds come together and learn from each other by dropping their labels.

A place to make art that burns into your heart the things you will learn, so that you never ever forget.

A place of discussions, projects, and ideas that help women make it through their own adversities.

A place where delicious, nourishing, lovingly made food is served on gorgeously set tables.

A place where women learn how to live the most beautiful life possible, no matter their history or challenges.

A place where good women find each other.   

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when and where

Brave Girl Camp is held in the little town of Star, Idaho on a beautiful piece of secluded property nestled right along the Boise River. We call it Brave River Ranch.

These are the dates for the 2015 and 2016 camps:

2015 Camps
March 17-21, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT
May 5-9, 2015 SOLD OUT: waiting list only
June 9-13, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT
September 15-19, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT
October 13-17, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT

2016 Camps
March 15-19, 2016
May 3-7, 2016
June 7-11, 2016
September 13-17, 2016
October 4-8, 2016

REGISTER SMALL

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sleep

Brave Girl Camp guests stay at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Eagle, Idaho. The hotel also sits right on the Boise River just a few miles down the road. We pick you up in the morning with our awesome vintage school bus!

Your tuition includes a room in the hotel with two queen beds, so we do assign you a roommate who will likely become a very close life-long friend! Some women prefer to have a private room for the duration of Brave Girl Camp and we can absolutely make sure that happens! It just costs a little bit extra in hotel fees.

typical day

A typical day at Brave Girl Camp starts off with having breakfast at the hotel with your fellow campers. We will then pick you up on our vintage school bus around 9:00am and drive you to Brave River Ranch where the morning begins with a lesson by Melody. We will feed you a wonderful lunch and delicious snacks in the afternoon. You will have time to journal, time to make art in the Art Barn, time to take a walk along the river path, time to talk with other women, and time to do whatever else might be nourishing for your soul. At dinner time we gather at the most beautifully set candle-lit tables and enjoy a fabulous meal together. Followed by a scrumptious dessert, of course. The evenings include more time to work on your art, wonderful shares around the red carpet, live music, laughter, and all sorts of magical experiences. At the end of the night, you will return back to the hotel for a restful night of sleep so you can do it all over again the next day!

artist

No, you most certainly do not have to be an artist to come to Brave Girl Camp! You don’t have to know a single thing about art… just be open to creating and doing the projects with the BGC curriculum. And if you want to learn some art techniques, Melody teaches some basic lessons on the very first day and there is always at least one loving staff member in the Art Barn to help you.

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travel

We do not currently travel to host Brave Girl Camps in other locations. Once we are empty-nesters, hopefully we can start doing that! We are also working on some other big changes that will allow women from all over the world to benefit from the Brave Girl Camp experience and curriculum.

cost

Brave Girl Camp has an all-inclusive tuition of $1799. YES, we have payment plans available! You can see your payment options when you register and you are welcome to email support@bravegirlsclub.com with any questions.

come again

Absolutely! We have many women who come as often as once a year. Your second experience can be even more wonderful than your first!

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allergies

We can definitely feed you if you have food allergies and intolerances. Several women have come to Brave Girl Camp who are allergic to gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, nuts, and a plethora of other foods. Your meals will be just as delicious and you will be totally pampered!

alone or friend

For the optimal experience, we recommend that you come by yourself. It is not against any rules to come with someone! In fact, many women do come with a friend, sister, mom, etc. We really do believe that you will get the most out of Brave Girl Camp if you come without anyone who knows you. Here are some words of encouragement from alumni who are so thankful they came alone:

“It is a game changer and the minute you get off that bus you will not even think you came alone – I so promise you. best.healing.decision.ever!!” -DF
“Most girls come by themselves, and I PROMISE you, it’ll be okay.” -Kathy
“[I’ve] been lots, went many times by myself but never left that way!” -RM
You’ll make soooo many new friends. It’s amazing!! Melody and Kathy and the rest of the brave bunch are the best.” -KW
“I went solo…SO WORTH IT!!! And as [previously] said: you never leave that way!!” -FB
“You will be surrounded by brave girl sisters and your soul will be so blessed!” -KK
“I went alone – best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Brave River Ranch is a very special place, and that Art Barn is simply magical. But the best part of Camp is Kathy & Melody and the Brave Girl team – so much love shared every minute of the day.Give yourself this gift – you deserve it!” -DW
“Going solo is the way to go because I feel your more apt to participate and won’t hold back. And you won’t be solo for more than a minute because you will meet a whole new group of sisters that will be lifetime friends and the second you meet you will click. Promise!!!” -DB
“Totally went by myself – knew no one… Truly blessed beyond measure! I hope you give yourself the gift of BGC!” -CF
“You cant be alone at Brave Girl Camp! I went alone…I met 3 BGCampers on the second leg of my flight and another at the shuttle. I am shy too…just do it anyway!” -GP
Went alone in October. Best decision, ever!! Made some amazing, true, soul sisters!!! In fact, three of us are road- tripping to a weekend retreat in April! Definitely a lifechanger for me!” -TE
“Going solo is the way to go. That way you just bring yourself and no obligations from home including family & friendships. It opens you up to have the full experience just for you.” -HW
“Go by yourself!!! It is honestly a very intense, amazing experience that you really want to do alone. You don’t go and socialize with your friends anyhow, it’s hard to explain… It really is a life changing gift you should totally give yourself! I went 3 years ago and am still seeing changes from it!” -SR

purpose

If the answers to these two questions weren’t already covered by all the previous answers, then hopefully the following testimonials from Brave Girl Camp alumni will help you get an even better idea of the purpose and value/benefit of Brave Girl Camp.

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rachel

My life has been impacted by Camp in many ways not the least of which is meeting some amazing women who have become dear friends!  Camp has a way of putting things in perspective, it gives you a time to rest and reset your priorities.  It’s a blessing. 

My favorite thing about camp is the relationships I’ve built with the women I’ve met.  These are woman from different corners of the world that I doubt I would’ve met if not for Camp. I can’t say enough about the dear friends I’ve met at camp.  I still keep in touch via our Camp facebook page, getting together with locals and many attend my Handmade U retreat.  I love seeing them!

One of the insights I get from Brave Girl Camp is that everyone has the opportunity to take today as Day One.  No matter what has happened in your past you own it, and make decisions beginning today to make your life how you want it to be now!

I would whole heartily recommend BGC, it is a fun time, but more than that there is a lot of love behind it.  The family that opens up their home to these women make it special!  If you are on the fence about going to camp, jump down , put on your Brave girl boots and sign up, NOW!

-Rachel McGough

katie

I have kind of a funny registering story. I was up late on FB one day in summer 2011, and one of my friends had just shared a post about BGC. I had never, ever heard of BGC before, but I went to the BGC FB page and “liked” it. Then I clicked to the BGC website and found the page about camp. It sounded so amazing and magical and like something I needed in my life that I signed up right there on the spot. I didn’t consult my husband (who was sleeping), I just DID IT. Like, 10 minutes after reading about it. Can you believe that??? Well, in the morning of course I had to tell him I had signed up for this camp.. in Idaho.. that I had never heard of before last night.. and it was kind of expensive.. and I would have to fly there.. I wouldn’t know anybody else.. and yes, I of course was sure they were nice people and not some kind of cult (ha!).. I just knew. I wasn’t worried about not knowing anybody. I just knew anybody who would be there would be great. Also, The payment plan made it much more doable for me. My husband was kind of skeptical about all of this, but I just *knew* Brave Girls Club and Camp was going to be amazing. And it was and is!! And as soon as I got home from my first camp, he saw how happy and light I was and what a great time I had and he said, “Why don’t you sign up for another one??” He got it!!

Since attending camp, I have been more artistic, more of a life risk-taker (not hiding so much inside of myself), and I have just felt better about myself overall. At camp you feel so valued and loved, it is an amazing experience. I try to carry that with me and remember that it is okay to be SEEN and that I am worth being seen.

My favorite thing about Brave Girl Camp is that you can just be yourself. You can show up as you— an artist or non artist. Wearing your kind of clothes, hairstyle, whatever. Talking how you talk. Feeling how you feel. All is right and nothing is wrong. You are wholly and completely accepted for who YOU are. There is no reason to hide any part of you, and parts of you that maybe have been hiding can feel free to come out for the first time in a long time. You can just be you and everybody is so happy to know the real you!!

There were so many insights I took home from camp! One insight I took home from my first Brave Girl Camp that pops into my mind immediately is that I am worthy. I am worthy of love, of being seen, of being heard, of taking up space, of anything good that comes my way. It is easy for me to feel insignificant and just being around all the love and having so

june25many people genuinely want to be around me (and also respect my space), really boosted my confidence about myself. One other thing is that it really does not matter whatother people think— that I need to live my own beautiful life in my own beautiful way. Other people have many reasons for doing what they do and whatever they do is usually not about me, and even if it is I can’t worry about it. Worrying about other people just takes away from my own life and brings me down. I am still working on this.. and it is a powerful insight to have.

Meeting new friends at Brave Girl Camp was easy because everybody was very friendly and open. I have stayed in touch with our large groups through our own private FB groups. There are some friends I have stayed in closer touch with on Facebook and sometimes on the phone.  It is nice to have friends outside of my immediate circle of people where I live who know some of my challenges and struggles and who can serve as support for me. I also can serve as support for them, too! We are better together.

I would definitely recommend Brave Girl Camp. It is such a fun, life-changing experience. It can be emotional, but in a good way because you release negative emotions and things that have been holding you back. You also get to be artistic and use the supplies in the Art Barn, which is so fun— and it doesn’t matter how “good” you think you are or aren’t. Everybody can do the projects at Brave Girl Camp and there is no comparing, which I love. You get to hang out with the BGC staff and they are awesome. You get to meet other amazing Brave Girls, sometimes from around the world, which is incredible. You get to be taken care of and not have to worry about anything like meals (btw the camp food is SOOOOO good!) or housekeeping or driving or anything. You just get to focus on you for a little bit, which is wonderful.

If you are on the fence about Brave Girl Camp I would say, “Go! Please go. You will be so happy that you went.” If I would sign up again today, the experiences that I have had at camp would allow me to relax about the cost, the fact that I would be going alone, and any other potential worries that could possibly exist. Instead I would focus on and remember only the joy, strength, and wisdom I have brought home from camp with me. I know it is all worth it. The memories you make and lessons you learn truly will last a lifetime. So don’t wait— go check the available dates right now! :-)

-Katie Vollman

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september

I attended Brave Girl Camp in May of 2012. I had wanted to attend since camp started, but just couldn’t justify the cost. I was part of the first Soul Restoration online class in January of 2011. I met wonderful women in the class, who I became friends with and realized that I was not alone as I walk my path in life. As our friendships blossomed, our group became a bit more closeknit and some of the ladies decided to attend camp in May, 2012. At the time they decided this, I wanted to go, but the cost was holding me back, so I didn’t sign up. I did, however, tell my husband that I wanted to go. While he was supportive, he also had no idea where to find the money. I watched a fellow Brave Girl, Coreena, go to camp, come home and start making choices that left me breathless. I had no idea how she could do what she did!

In March of 2011, I got laid off from a very well paying job that I had been at for over 3 years. My job was eliminated and the work off shored to India. I was heart broken, but I received a nice little severance package, so that was good. The minute my husband heard about the severance package he said “I think you now have the money to go to Brave Girl Camp, and I think you should go.” I remember sitting there just looking at him and thinking I couldn’t spend the money on that. However, I took a leap of faith and signed up! I paid in full, immediately, while I had the money, and my dream started on its way. I believe in manifesting dreams by speaking them out loud. I believe that if you put it out there, the universe will make it happen.

By the time May 2012 rolled around, I was in a new job, and had literally been counting down the days to camp since March 2011. I had a post it on my desk that showed how many days were left till camp. Even now,I vividly remember the morning I left for camp. I woke up at 4:00 am, and I remember the whole morning being surreal. I remember taking a selfie of myself, once I was all ready. I have no idea why. I guess in my mind I thought I might look different after camp, who knows. I remember being on the plane and in my mind, wondering what it was going to be like, and I remember feeling brave. Brave for going, brave for being willing to look at myself this way. I landed in Boise, and texted my sweet friend, Mel McGee, who was anxiously waiting at the gate for me. We flew into each other’s arms in a flurry of crazy hugging and giggling. We had waited since the online class to meet. It had felt like forever.

After having lunch with Mel and her husband, we went to Rembrandt’s, a coffee shop in Eagle. The minute we walked in, two ladies came up and introduced themselves. It was Laurie Jacobsen and Jill Atherton, more ladies we had talked to online but never met. Eventually we worked our way across the street to a local gallery where I remember meeting more of the girls, including Melissa Forberg.

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Eventually, we all went back to the hotel, where we met Brock. Brock got us all situated with our Brave Girl goodie bags, handmade treats all put together with love and careful thought. It was so SO magical. Then we got on the bus and drove to McCall. We were the last camp to go to McCall (it is held in Star now)… McCall was like no place I had ever been. Heck, Idaho was amazing to me. My heart will always belong to Idaho, thanks to Brave Girls. When we arrived at camp, the facilitators, including sweet Melody, were lined up across the street, cheering and waving their arms wildly. It made me cry that anyone could be that happy to meet me.

We got off the bus, and we all got hugged by everyone. It was… incredible. We were loved and taken care of, and spoiled like nothing I’ve ever ever experienced.

Camp passed in a blur. We had red carpet sessions with Melody facilitating that were beyond anything I could ever have imagined. We had a campfire that was amazing. We made art, we laughed, we cried, we walked to the lake and back. Marq, Melody’s husband, quietly took care of things in the background, making sure things ran smoothly and we all had what we needed.

I remember making art, with Melody, and shaking my head and trying to grasp that we were not only in the same room but creating together. I remember looking down at the table tarp and seeing that I was in the exact spot where someone who is a very well known artist had sat and left an autograph. I can’t remember who it was now, but if I told you, you’d nod and know who it was!

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I want to say that my favorite thing about camp was the food, because Kathy and team lovingly prepared meals that were beyond incredible and over the top amazing, but of course, camp was about much much MUCH more than that. I think my favorite part at camp was being on the red carpet, in a sharing session, around the 2ndday, I guess. I remember it being my turn and telling Melody I felt “stuck.” She smiled and told me “You aren’t stuck at all, just keep going.” I didn’t understand at the time, but I trusted her, and she was right. (there was more she said, but that was the crux of it.) Red carpet time at camp is so so precious. You learn about each other, and you learn about yourself. You find out that you aren’t alone. Everyone has struggles, and amazingly, many of our struggles overlap. Even women who think they don’t have struggles have them. We all have our own journeys, and our journeys are all breathtaking and awe inspiring.

When the bus dropped us off after camp, back at the hotel, I had arranged to stay an extra night and fly home on Sunday morning. I am SOO glad I did. This allowed me some time to re-enter reality and quietly absorb what I had learned. I was gentle with myself, and did a lot of writing in my journal.

I got home and I remember thinking that I didn’t feel any different. I felt like me. I don’t know what I expected, but I remember just desperately missing camp and the ladies there. We all kept in touch, in a private group on Facebook, and still do.

Looking back, now, I can see so SO many things that Brave Girl Camp brought to me, and taught me. Just the fact that I’m never alone would have been enough, but there’s so much more. It’s hard to vocalize and quantify, but I am in NO way the person I was before camp. I am continually changing and learning and growing. I’ve left a job that was squelching my soul and now have a job where I am treasured. I have made more art in the past 3 years than I ever made before. I’ve continued to take classes and learned and have actually vocalized to others that I am an artist.

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I have always looked at others, who are very very giving, and wanted to be like them. But I’m just not. And, that’s ok. I give in other ways. I may not be showering people with physical gifts, but I DO shower EVERYONE in my life with inspiration and positive messages, as much and as often as I can. I try to be a beacon of light, a sunflower, when people are going through dark times. I may not have all the tools to do this, but Melody has taught me that I can always love, and then love more. Honestly? It’s all about love.

If you are a woman, of any age, who wants to become the woman you were meant to be, I strongly encourage you to find a way to go to Brave Girl Camp! It IS a life changing experience, like no other. This isn’t an art retreat. This is a soul retreat. This is a sacred healing place, where you will be nurtured and loved and treasured like no other place that I have ever been. What Brave Girl Camp brought to my life can never ever be taken away and will always grow and blossom in me. I see small changes from it all the time, and I smile, because I know what started it all. I will always hold a special place in my heart for Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins for starting BraveGirls Club and Brave Girl Camp. When women come into my life, on Facebook, or in real life, who are struggling or need support, my first words are “have you heard about Brave Girls Club?” And that usually opens the door. 

-September Radecki

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camille

I went to Brave Girl Camp in June 2013

Money  was for sure an issue before signing up…also the thought of going through all of the emotional stuff I wasn’t sure I had to go through in front of strangers.

I walked away more grateful. I feel like because I was able to share my experiences with others around me and to listen to their stories I was truly blessed. We became a united team cheering each other on.

I felt like I could finally dream again. No one could take my dreams away. I walked away more able to love everyone around me.

Sharing lessons with Melody and Kathy was my favorite part of Brave Girl Camp. I felt like my Truthteller was very close during those lessons.

I learned that it is very important to make and set boundaries. I learned that all women/mankind have the same hurts, the same desires, the same pure love for others. I learned that mothers are the most significant people in our lives.

I would very much recommend Brave Girl Camp because I think each woman needs to feel pure, radiating, unfiltered love.

If you are considering going to camp there is a reason, and you most likely need to feed that need in your soul. Your soul WILL be fed. You will feel so blessed as you come home from camp.

-Camille Sturges

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janet

I went to Brave Girl Camp in June and November 2012 and November 2013

I was scared to death to even sign up for my first BG camp. By the time I had enough courage and decided that YES I would do it…camp was Full! I boldly got on the waiting list and was totally thrilled when I finally got in.

I went to camp with so much Fear in me. Fear of Everything. Fear of Living. Fear of being ME! I was a quiet little mouse watching other people live. I knew I needed to get rid of that Fear…I was tired of holding on to it.

I had no idea that what I needed was Confidence until I got there. Sometime during the week I decided I was leaving my FEAR in Idaho and taking CONFIDENCE back home with me. I slowly began taking off the layers of fear and clothing myself in Confidence. I became a more confident person. I know there is always so much more you can learn and so many ways to grow…but truly, I began
to walk on the path of confidence and I have never looked back!

Camp was just an eye opening experience. I was in awe. I believed myself to be a spectator in life but what I saw was all this interaction and connection. And I wanted that! There is something about sharing the deepest struggles of your soul and knowing you are not alone and that people really do understand. Not only the deepest struggles though… the highest joys too! That has become my most favorite thing of all. I crave the connection of like minded souls. Camp is just a bunch of strangers who come together and become friends for life in no time at all! (someone else at Soul Comfort said that first)

I would highly recommend Brave Girls Camp. The BG staff feeds you gourmet meals and pampers you and draws the beauty out of you. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry and you will realize that it is a big world out there…but you are not alone. You will make friends and get connections and realize how much you need this….and wonder why didn’t you do this sooner!

Just do it. Leave the Fear of the Unknown behind. You will learn so much about yourself in those few short days… but you will come away with precious memories and valued friendships. Just do it.

-Janet Joehlin

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So, what do you think? Does Brave Girl Camp sound like something you and your soul could benefit from? Do you have four days sometime in the next two years that you could dedicate to YOU?

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Here are the dates again for 2015 and 2016. All the dates are scheduled during gorgeous seasons in Idaho!

2015 Camps
March 17-21, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT
May 5-9, 2015 SOLD OUT: waiting list only
June 9-13, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT
September 15-19, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT
October 13-17, 2015 – ALMOST SOLD OUT

2016 Camps
March 15-19, 2016
May 3-7, 2016
June 7-11, 2016
September 13-17, 2016
October 4-8, 2016

register

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We would absolutely love to have you as our guest. We can’t wait to hug you when you get off the Brave Bus and we can’t wait to get to know your beautiful heart! We are so excited to connect with you, walk with you, create art with you, heal with you, sing and dance with you, eat with you, and see the light in your eyes shine bright by the time you go back home.

You can read even more about Brave Girl Camp by clicking here.

Hope to see you at Brave Girl Camp in 2015 or 2016!!! We love you already. xoxo

melodyandkathy

P.S. If you still have some questions, go ahead and ask them in the comments below or send an email to support@bravegirlsclub.com!

No matter how hard the winter is…

Dear Hopeful Girl,

Sometimes winter can last so long, or be so cold and dark and difficult that it seems like it will last forever. This is not just for the actual season of winter….but for the winters of our lives. You know….the times when things were very good and then it seemed as though they died.

Winter is a peculiar time, however….because there is so much going on that can not be seen. There is SO MUCH happening that is restorative and beautiful and lovely and important. So much happens in winter that is such a good example to all of us…and example of how we could live our lives by following the gift that is winter… (just as every season of the year, and every season of life is full of its own gifts) .

It is a time of rest for the plants and the animals…..and maybe just maybe, it is supposed to be a time of rest for us. It is a time when everything is restored and renewed and built back up to get ready for the hard work of spring…the renewal, the rebirth, the new life.

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What if we took it all into our own souls and had a time like this….a time that we give ourselves full permission to have? A time where we are simply restoring, resting, renewing and getting strong for what is to come?

Because no matter how hard the winter is….spring is going to come. No matter how dead the world may look…it is going to come back to life….as green and beautiful as ever. The sun is going to shine and everything is going to grow again….as soon as it is time.

Living in the hope of all of that is a happy place to be, and enjoying the seasons as they come is a happy place to be…..please live in that beautiful hope.

You are so very loved.

xoxo

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:)

And guess what??? ….life goes on (even if WE don’t feel like we can)

Something that seems really super duper cruel when it feels like your own life is falling apart…is that all around you life is going on. And something that feels ultra super merciful and kind when your life feels like it is falling apart…is that life goes on. It depends on the moment and it depends on the circumstance. Either way….life goes on.

I love that. (and some days I sort of hate it)

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Life goes on after death, and life goes on during death. Life goes on after loss and during loss and before loss. Life goes on whether you are holding your breath and making deals and sleeping away the sorrow. Life just goes on. The weeds keep growing and the babies keep growing and the sun still comes up and goes down every day. The news comes on and people still post selfies and there are still sales all over town and people waiting in line for all sorts of stuff at all sorts of places……people are still singing along to the radio in their cars and people are still waiting for the bus on the street and people are still laughing at the movies and people are still falling in love……..no matter how much things have come to a total stop for us….life just keeps going on.

No matter what.

This is something that we can count on. It just is. Life will just keep going on. This means we can take a rest when we need to and things will still keep humming along. This means that the world is not going to fall apart without us. This means that there is a whole lot that keeps this world moving and we are so connected to everything else…..and that when it’s time, we will go on too. As soon as it is time.

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And it also means that we need to always remember that tomorrow the kids will be one day older…and while life is going on, they are suddenly 5 years older…and then 10. And sometimes life kept going on while we were busy figuring things out and one day we wake up and we have aged. It’s weird….and it’s awesome and it’s beautiful and it’s perfect and it’s tragic. But no matter what….it IS. Life goes on.

I have cried more in the last 3 months than in most of my life combined. I have cried every single day….about life going on and about life ending and then about life going on even though it ended. It is hard. It is hard to grasp and make sense of.

The same time my dad was dying, my daughter sent me the ultrasound photo of her new baby girl. While there was so much loss this year…..there was also baby Leo being born….and something wonderful about baby Leo is that he has absolutely no idea that ANYONE’S life is falling apart…he’s just a happy happy happy guy when he’s happy and he’s a hungry little guy when he’s hungry and a cranky little guy when he’s tired. He’s just living his life and loving it. Leo has been a lifesaver for about a million reasons. He got his first tooth, and he started crawling, and he learned to belly laugh, and he started eating food from his hand to his mouth. He says mama and dada and no.

He’s not old enough yet to have the mistaken belief that something can happen in life that is big enough for life to not be able to go on.

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Please don’t worry, dear friends. No matter what it is. Life goes on…….and even when it feels like it’s going on without you….it’s really just going on FOR YOU so that when you are ready, you’ll be able to jump on and go on too. Sometimes things happen that knock the wind out of us and we think we will never be able to go on…that life will not go on. SO MUCH GOOD is happening simultaneously….right alongside the tragedy, the trauma, the wars, the deaths, the terrorism. SO MUCH GOOD LIFE IS GOING ON ALL AROUND IT. Things are still being planted, and being born. Things are still growing. Things are still being built. People are in love. People are taking good care of each other. People are standing up for each other and protecting each other. Beautiful music is being made. Beautiful art is being made. Beautiful friendships are being made. People are seeing places for the first time. People are doing things for the first time. People are celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and births. LIFE IS GOING ON. Really really really good stuff is going on. Life goes on……because people are awesome.

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And whenever we are ready…we can do all of that stuff too….because we are all awesome.

So when it feels like life cannot possibly go on….I promise you….life is still going on. For you. For me. For all of us.

We are all so very loved.

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beautiful Gift of Starting Over

Every morning I must choose to start over with the intention to be better than yesterday. And that certainly doesn’t mean that I am actually getting better every single day. Some days I don’t progress at all. Some days I go completely backwards. But still, each morning I must choose to have a brand new beginning. In fact, you know what? I usually need to start over several times throughout the day… I am a perfectionist and it is SO HARD to give myself the grace I need to start over when I falter. I’d rather go hide and cry in shame (and sometimes I do!), but that never gets me anywhere because shame is not in line with the truth and worth within me and within every beautiful human being. Grace is what I need to start over again and again and again. It’s what we all need… GRACE, not shame. As many times as it takes– Every. single. day.

Brave Girls Club - no shame in starting over

Many mornings are a breeze to begin with a fresh start. Some mornings are tough and take a lot of effort. This morning took me a good couple of hours before I could put my foot down and make the choice to begin again.

I don’t get my hair done very often (only about once a year)… Yesterday I went to my hair appointment, I told my stylist what I wanted and I showed her some pictures. When it was all done, I kind of  liked it but didn’t LOVE it, and I thought maybe it was the lighting in her studio that made the color look funky. But I was too shy and didn’t say anything about how the blonde tone didn’t look quite right. I went to my car and sent my Danny a picture, and of course he said things like “Wow baby! You are one HOT mama!!! It looks beautiful!!” So I went on with my day and felt fine about my new hair. Then I woke up this morning, looked in the mirror, and I just started sobbing. (I am 6.5 months pregnant, okay?) I don’t know if my hair magically changed overnight, if it was my crazy pregnancy hormones, or what… But I HATED it and I was having an emotional breakdown over some silly hair. I felt like my life was ruined for a good hour. My poor husband was leaving for work and I was crying in his arms as I sent him out the door. He was so sweet and understanding.

At that point I started down-spiraling. I felt terrible that I was sobbing as Danny was leaving for work… and I thought, “now it’s my fault that he is going to have a bad day. He gifted me this hair appointment as part of my birthday present and now he’s going to think I am a high-maintenance, ungrateful, immature little girl for behaving like this over my hair. Surely his day is ruined because of me!” A few minutes later I felt my baby girl kicking inside of me and in my irrational state of mind, I thought, “how in the world am I going to be a good mom to this sweet little baby if I can’t even handle my hair being the wrong color?!” I cried a while longer. I was being much too hard on myself. I went to the mirror, brushed my hair, and tested out different styles to see if I could get it to look good. Nothing was working… and obviously I needed to give myself some grace for a re-do of my morning. I texted my mom (Melody) and she first assured me that it was okay that I was crying over my hair, then she let me know that I could get my hair color fixed quite easily and she told me exactly what I could do. Danny called me to tell me it would be no big deal to go back to the hair stylist and ask her to adjust my hair. I took a few deep breaths and remembered that I could start over that very second. I thought, “alright, I am going to be okay! My life is not ruined!” Now I can start my day over again, make it productive, and be a much better wife when Danny comes home than I was when he left.

I am so thankful that I can begin again WHENEVER I need to! There is absolutely no shame in that… None. It is such a beautiful gift that we can all take advantage of every minute of every day.

Brave Girls Club - Begin Again PATCH

I know that my reason for beginning again this morning is quite shallow and most likely related to pregnancy hormones. But guess what, I needed it and I am going to need it again tomorrow. I am going to need it when I slip up in my marriage or other relationships and I am going to need it when I don’t make perfectly healthy choices. I am never NOT going to need it.

There are so many mornings and afternoons and nights that I need to start over in my marriage and other relationships. It is so easy to let something unkind slip out of my mouth, or to let my eyes roll, or to to deny an opportunity to serve. And that’s why it’s a beautiful gift that we can start over at any moment… because even the kindest, most loving person you know can say unkind words, roll their eyes, and deny even the smallest chance to serve others.

When we are trying to make healthier choices, it is so easy to eat that one cookie, skip that one walk, or go to bed one hour later than we should have. It is okay, in fact it is so courageous and admirable to start over again and again when we slip.

It is easier for some people than others… so let’s give ourselves some grace AND let’s give others some grace, too. Because everyone is going to need a LOT of start-overs every single day of their lives.

Here’s to a lifetime of beginning again and again!
xoxo – malary

P.S. This month’s Soul School theme is “Begin Again” and it is by far my favorite month yet– because I have been extremely hard on myself since the day I was born… and the knowledge of being able to start over without shame is priceless for me. I think it would be SO valuable for us all to learn the lessons included (especially at this time of year)! Plus the projects are super gorgeous.

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Click here to read and see everything that is included in Soul School this month. You are going to love it!

Brave Girls Club-Affirmation Card Back

Our 18-year old Madi in a sweet new video about the brave act of being YOURSELF…

Our own MADI is featured in our new youtube video…all about the brave act of being YOURSELF…

Several weeks ago she buzzed off all her hair…it was a spur of the moment act in support of another teen girl who was being bullied….and while she doesn’t regret the act of support, there have been times when she regrets not having her hair. She has bought wigs and hats and has gone through a bit of a struggle as her hair grows back.

In this sweet new video, she teaches us all what she has learned about being herself and being comfortable in her own skin… Wouldn’t it have been great to have learned this stuff at 18??

“Sometimes it’s really hard to be yourself, it seems hard because the world has put an image of what the “perfect person” is. After cutting off all my hair I struggled a lot. I felt as though certain clothes didn’t look good on me anymore and I couldn’t pull of MY style. I often had to remind myself that I am me no matter my hair style because being YOU isn’t what’s on the outside. Being you is being true to your spirit, and soul. I have such a strong belief in how important it is to be you. There is only one YOU in a world full of billions of people and knowing that feels pretty darn special. So just be you because YOU are special. There is no one in the whole world who is just like you. You are unique and important and being you in this world is important, so go out and be the best you that you can possibly be and love yourself. Love your image, love your body, and love your soul.” — Madi Ross

xoxo

When beginning means doing things you don’t want to do…….

I woke up with a headache. It is January 2nd. I have to do some yucky, very painful stuff I don’t want to do today….at all. I am procrastinating. I just ate a 2 inch slice of cookie dough from the roll of cookie dough in the fridge that we didn’t use at Christmas time that we ran to the store to get so that we could have some kind of home baked goodies around here. It is pretty much the only food in the house right now. I stopped eating sugar and junk a long time ago and I have been doing a really good job. Today I ate cookie dough for breakfast. This year I think I already stink at beginnings. I don’t want to begin yet. I am procrastinating like a pro. I am sitting here in my bathrobe on the couch trying to motivate myself to go get dressed for what I have to do today.

But I’m going to show up where I need to do be today…and I’m going to do what I don’t want to do.

Right now I don’t know how to begin knowing who to be or what to be or what I want to work on next. Yesterday I didn’t care so much. I was just happy and made art and did what I do. I got up and I got dressed to look just like me and I went out and made art.

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I loved the whole day til late last night until I started thinking about what I have to do today.

Today I just feel raw and like I should really have a plan for this year that is amazing and earth shattering and incredible and compelling. I have always been so good at making big things happen. I got in the shower way after midnight last night and went to bed with wet hair….so my hair dried in the exact hairdo that reflects how I feel inside right now. Up in the air.

Last night I kissed my husband goodnight at 12:30 and he said he’s so happy that I made art all day…he’s so happy that I am happy. But I still don’t know who to be or what to be or what I want to work on next that is incredible and compelling and earth shattering.

I don’t want to do what I have to do today and I started dreading it yesterday so much that I went out to the art barn all by myself yesterday morning and I stayed out there and made art til almost midnight…even though it was so cold and I had to go outside to the woodpile every half hour to put more wood in the wood stove so it stayed warm enough to paint. I came inside when I was hungry and the only thing there was to eat was a big tub of cheese puffs from the teenage boy new year’s eve party the night before. I ate those for lunch. At about noon I decided I wanted paint a bird….to collage a bird. I started making patterned papers with the stamps I carved last month while I sat on the couch for days and cried. I never got around to that bird. I made lots of backgrounds for future paintings. That’s the best I could do yesterday to begin something. It was January 1 after all.

Then one of the backgrounds dried and I drew a face on it with charcoal.

Then I started collaging a blue hat on her……and one of the skinny scraps of blue paper fell on her face and looked like a big long tear streaming down her face….so I trimmed it a little….rounded it out….

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and 4 hours later…..she was this……

and I added 3 birds because I know we are never alone…even when we can’t see and hear and feel all of the love and support and truth that is all around us…it is still there.

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Life has been too full of too many things that I don’t want to do.

And way too many things happened that I didn’t want to happen.

And so many things didn’t happen that I sooooo desperately wanted to happen.

I almost turned in my brave girl card this year. I almost resigned. I didn’t feel very brave by the end of the year. I felt beat up. This year kinda broke me, it kicked me in the teeth and in the gut and then when I fell….it seems like it kept kicking. And I just wanted to hold my new grandson and eat chocolate and listen to spanish guitar music and look at pretty things on Pinterest…so I did.

Life has been too full of too many things that I don’t want to do.

And way too many things happened that I didn’t want to happen.

And so many things didn’t happen that I sooooo desperately wanted to happen.

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I don’t want my dad to be gone. It’s not even that I miss him all day long…it’s just that I don’t want him to NOT be 1 mile up the road to the left and then turn left and go 5 miles and turn right and it’s the first house on the left. I don’t want that option gone. I didn’t want him to die and I don’t want him to be gone.

I don’t want to go pick out his gravestone today. I just don’t.

I wanted last year to turn out so differently than it did. I didn’t want to find out that my husband has no memory of all of the things we need to heal from concerning his brain injury….I don’t want to be the only one holding 10 years of horrible and devastating memories. I just don’t.

I don’t want to be in this body that is still recovering from adrenal exhaustion and chronic hives and grief. I want to be in the body that I had 10 years ago. I don’t want to be 35 pounds overweight. I don’t want to have wrinkles. I didn’t want to age so much this year. I just didn’t.

It’s going to take so much time and so much work to get my body to the place I want it to be. I don’t want to do what it’s going to take to get back into shape.  I just don’t.

I am going to show up though. I don’t think anyone there starts out really wanting to do the things that have to be done to be able to begin. Beginning is hard. It just is. Beginning every day, again and again and again is even harder. Staying with the daily beginnings…..showing up to start again every day……..that is hard work.

But it’s where all of the good stuff is.

I hope today you will do something that you don’t want to do that has to be done….that you will begin but just getting up and being who you are…..

I am going to show up today and do something that I don’t want to do and I know for sure that when it is done….I will be so thankful and so glad that I did it. I would have so many regrets if I didn’t show up for it. My sisters are going too and I don’t think they really want to do it either…..and I know for sure that my mom doesn’t. But we are all going to show up.

Then I am going to go to the gym and I will know that there are a whole bunch of others in there who really didn’t want to show up. They just didn’t. They didn’t really want to begin. It’s too hard to begin sometimes. But we all gotta think about the reason we begin…it is so that we can get to  what’s on the other side of the beginning….getting there…and sometimes it’s just got to be enough that we are not where we used to be, even if we didn’t where we would end up when we began.

I’m going to keep showing up to my beautiful life and my beautiful marriage as it is TODAY and my beautiful self as she is today. I am going to keep showing up….even when I don’t want to.

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Will you be brave with me today? I’m going to get out of my bathrobe, I’m going to go make myself a green drink and drink a few glasses of water. I’m going to dress up and go look at gravestones that will have my parent’s names engraved in them. I’m going to show up for that….because it is important. I am going to do something that I really and truly and absolutely don’t want to do…..and that is how I will begin today.

For today….just begin.

xoxo

melody

So….we just lost our dad…and we want you to know him…….

Kathy and I are sisters….but we are only 2 siblings of 9. We have an incredible family and we all love each other very much.

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Almost a month ago, we lost our dad. We are heartbroken and it has been very hard to keep going while also grieving this enormous loss. We really want you to know him, though. He was fighting a tough battle that we thought he was going to win. We were able to sit with him for over 2 weeks in the hospital, where many beautiful, meaningful and sacred conversations took place….where we got to see even more of exactly who he is……..it has been a heartbreaking, devastating and also an absolutely amazing experience. He was too young to go….we weren’t  ready…and we will miss him so much….we will grieve his loss for the rest of our lives……but we would like to share with all of you who our father was….

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devoted to you

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I had the honor of writing his life sketch and speaking at his funeral. I will just copy and paste it here.  This is a real life hero…….

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Harold Johnson, born May 10, 1938 in Nampa Idaho

We have the great honor of giving you a few beautiful details about our dad’s life…who he was and what he did.

Our dad was so much more about who he was as a human being than what he did or what he collected or what he owned or what he acquired. We hope we can shed even a tiny spark of the huge light that he is.

Although he had many great successes throughout life, his heart was always in his relationships, his goal was always to show more love and acceptance to every human being he encountered and his actions always led toward optimism, happiness and gratitude, no matter what stage of life he was in.

We could tell you that when he was a boy his life was not easy, that he had to work for anything and everything because money was scarce and stability was not to be found….but what we would really want you to know is that he was a spectacularly brilliant, fun, optimistic, adventurous and hard working youngster with big dreams and that he didn’t let anything hold him back, bring him down or make him a cynic. 

It is true that when he was still a teenager, he wanted to enlist in the military but soon found out that he had a heart defect, which kept him from being able to live out that dream….and that he had one of the first open heart surgeries in the United States at only 19 years old as a young husband and father….

But what he would really want you to know about that is that when he met his beloved wife, Myrna Jean, and they were BOTH still teenagers….nothing mattered except for being with her….and that they sailed through that heart surgery together just like they did every other difficulty and trial in their life…and that as he was recovering from such a dramatic surgery at such a young age….he was actually focusing on his brand new son, Michael…and the life he wanted to build for his bride and his son….and soon his whole house full of children.

It is a fact that our dad worked very hard in trade school to become a journeyman electrician, and that he was a favorite to all of his teachers and employers…and that he would ride his motorcycle for miles and miles every day to make sure his employment would provide for his growing family…..

We know that he bought out his partner and owned his own business, a very successful business for a very long time. He was an exceptional employer and a well respected businessman in the community….

But the important thing about all of this that he would want you to know is that it doesn’t really matter what it takes to provide…that you just do whatever you can and you make the most of it…you show up to work with a smile on your face and you go the extra mile, do a throrough and quality job and don’t cut corners….you treat the people you meet along the way with fairness and respect and dignity, even love….that you should always go the extra mile for all of your customers.

…..then you come home and kiss your wife and play with your kids and that makes all of it worth it.

Our dad was a hard worker…he taught us to work hard through multitudes of home projects including an enormous floor to ceiling wall to wall rock fireplace in Mountain Home….a renovated camper project….Mike’s property 

Dad always had something going on and was always helping Mom to make something better or more beautiful….he taught us all to do that. He valued hard work….and he was always very busy….

But something else he taught us by example is that……no matter how busy you get…always make time for fun, and for music and make time to take your wife on a date every Friday night….make time to sit down and talk to your children and to somehow let each of them know that they are loved and that they are special and that they are seen. 

It is true that dad struggled with very difficult health problems all of his life. But, there’s not much he would want you to know about that…..

but what WE want you to know that there was never a day when we would hear him complain about it, or even mention it, no matter how much pain he was in, no matter how tired he was…and that he consistently showed up to his life with a smile, a joke, a song, a memory…..and a youthful heart that was always ready to make more memories, sing more songs and tell more jokes…..and that to the very end, he didn’t let his body keep him from living out his heart’s wishes….and that those wishes were always filled with love and fun.

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towing grandkids 2

towing grandkids

barbershop

guitar

He could fix anything, he could figure anything out, he knew facts about just about everything….he is the smartest person we know. He loved history and he loved making his property as beautiful as possible. He had an award winning voice and he loved to play the guitar. He loved cars and loved his cars…he loved tinkering on them and making them even better than they were.

He LOVED singing in the barbershop quartets that he was a part of through all most all of his life….the quartets he was a part of were award winning and he loved to stand on stage with the men he loved to sing with in the competitions…….he loved singing with his sons and he loved singing with his wife. He loved to sing. 

You see, he was so good at so many things….

But the thing that he was very best at was loving….giving….and opening his strong arms to whoever needed that love. He gave the best hugs and the best advice. Though he was good at so very many things, the things he was legendary at were being the most devoted and in love husband to his wife, being the kind of father who believes in you, delights in you and roots you on every step of the way…..

the thing he was good at….was just being good….good to the core, MADE of goodness.

We asked his loved ones to give us some words to describe him, along with a few short sentences about him….here are a few of those…

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I will always remember his great harmony and wonderful tenor voice.

He was always cheerful and I loved to hear him laugh and tell stories.

I will be eternally greatful for his kindness and willingness to serve others and share his blessings.

He is genuine, loving, warm, selfless. My favorite memory has always been his warm greetings, how excited he was to see people and how welcoming he was. I always loved how he’d call out my name and give me a big huge hug, everytime we visited without fail. He gave the best hugs, the kind where he just held you so tight that you had to hold your breath for a while… I’m gonna miss those!

He is loving, Musical, Giving…..Uncle Harold taught me how to milk a goat, how to tie a neck tie and how to sing barbershop music….I’ll always remember how he trasnported me from Nampa to New Plymouth on his Honda, for those long weekends and vacations from school…..How I loved to spend time with him and his family…I always felt so loved and such a part of the family…Whenever I’m feeling down..I try to focus on those times…It makes me happy….

“What-e’er thou art, act well thy part.” He sang every “part” perfectly and was an example of acting “well” even when he was sick or in pain. I was very touched to see him always show up to support family, no matter how far away, with all the problems he was facing.

Wise, Warm, Wonderful – the best example of a father, husband, son and uncle that I’ve ever known.

I remember how he and MynaJean took my mother and brothers and me into their family when we lived in New Plymouth. It was a difficult period but one of the most joy filled times of my early life. Motorcycle rides down the canal bank, his electricians truck parked in the driveway, singing mule skinner blues, and always, always so kind and gentle.

Harold is gracious, kind, and totally selfless. So Christ like. A wonderful brother in law. So loving. Such a good example. So musical. The list could go on and on.

He was pure, sincere and delightful beyond measure.

Harold was courageous, endured pain, loved his family a good father and husband. Harold had a passionate love for his family, friends,music, home, and especially for his beautiful Myrna Jean,… one Valentine’s Day they, unknowingly, bought the same beautiful card for each other. Harold moved me and my four little boys numerous times. Always there for us in our time of need He made our life fun,… filled it with guitar playing, foot-stomping, hilarious joke-telling times. I loved listening to the ‘Four Dad’s’ perform their beautiful harmonies…Harold, Chad, Scott and Bruce…they were so very special We followed their performances all over the valley. So thankful we had him in our family.

Dad was smart. He seemed to know how everything worked and what was wrong with anything that was broken. He could fix anything. He was also an inventor. How many cool things did he build with parts from broken machines? Remember that riding mower he souped up that would through the grass about 30 yards? Or the 3-wheeler he build out of 10-speeds and a rototiller engine? Awesome …

Gentle, light-hearted, genuine, a softie. Seems obvious, but I have really fond memories of singing with him or singing for him. Seemed like those singing times where the times when he would bust up laughing because someone got the words wrong or something and it just cracked him up. Oh and his jokes! So funny and usually took about 5 minutes to tell. What was the one about the dead horse in the bathtub? Anyone?

He believed in us. Each of us and our unique gifts and journeys. He would do whatever it took to help us out…. I totalled my first car and didn’t have insurance to cover its repairs, so he towed it back to Mtn Home and he and mom banged all the dents out of it and he fixed the mechanical issues and I had a car to drive again. He loved our mother. He sacrificed and worked so hard to support us…he did whatever it took to bring home a paycheck. He liked being with us. He loved to jam the whole family in the station wagon and take us for rides…generally the highlight of the ‘ride’ was a stop for DP. He was a friend magnet. Our back yard was frequently filled with friends with guitars on the weekends. He served on the school board at New Plymouth for a period of time. The president of the school board once commented that Harold didn’t speak often during their meetings, but when he did, everyone listened because what he said was so well thought out and wise. He was handsome as anything.

When I was about 6, Dad took me to DQ in Nampa on the tank of his Honda 750 and bought me my very own milkshake. Strawberry. I vividly remember that.

I remember riding on the tank and steve would ride behind your dad….Fun times! Especially when he would let me crank the throttle…

Dad was so intelligent. He was the one you went to when you wanted to know how something worked. I remember him reading to us at night – there was a period of time when he read to us every night, and that meant a lot to me. And of course the music – ingrained in my soul, I remember every note of the songs he sang with his buddies, and with Mom. Now I also know how strong he was, courageous, how much he loved life and Mom and his family. Laughter, motorcycles, jokes…loyalty, impeccable character, unfathomable love for so many – how was it that so many felt such deep love from him? He was a miracle, the face of Love – he showed us with his life what real love is. We are so lucky that he is our Dad.

He loved to tell a good joke – usually had a smile on his face, a true gentlemen, the brother my dad never had

loved him like my own dad – He was without guile, meek, humble and there was never a time I didn’t feel loved like a daughter by him. So filled with gratitude to be a part of his eternal family.

I remember his steady Christlike example and unfailing kindness to anyone and everyone he met. His capacity to love and serve was unmatched, always by the side of grandma. I attribute one of my greatest joys in life to his influence, that of music! How the choirs of heaven have been craving his presence!! His laugh and hugs will forever be impressed upon me. I love them and miss them so much. Grandpa I love you!

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We could go on for days and days with memories of our father, and each would point back to the quiet legendary hero that he was and is.

We had the great gift of being able to spend his last few weeks with him, sitting by his bedside both day and night. While in the beginning, we were all hopeful that he would regain his health and return home to continue on living this incredible life he has lived…..we were able to be with him when he found out that his earthly life was going to be over soon….

it was then that we were able to see more clearly than ever who he is and who he always has been…..

as he spent his last days speaking gratitude, kindness and love to his doctors, nurses and every person who came to visit….as he spoke the words “I love your mother so much” more times than we can count. As he told us that he would forever be our guardian angel…..as he courageously showed us how to wrap up a life well lived.

He is a legend.

He is an icon.

He is our hero.

We can’t wait to be with you again someday, Dad.

 

pitchfork

young with grandma

Recycled Sweater Challenge….23 Christmas projects DONE!

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On a post last week, I presented a little challenge to myself….how many Christmas decorations could I make out of a $5 thrift-store sweater?????? True confessions….giving myself a challenge like that was a GREAT excuse to put everything aside, great creative, and make a big mess at the Clubhouse. (Next maybe I’ll ‘challenge’ myself to take a nap or eat a Hershey bar, hahahahaha!) Other Brave Girls gave me TONS of inspiration here on the blog an on our Facebook page…THANK YOU! You put my imagination into overdrive.

SO….here’s what I came up with…some things took an hour or so, some as little as 15 minutes. I made the sweater fabric stretch as far as possible (ha ha) by combining it with other things we had around, and I made some little gifts along with the decorations. Now in no particular order….here’s what a beautiful $5 thrift store sweater turned into….

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Mitten Garland1. A Mitten Garland

mitten-garland-212 mittens stitched onto felt backings with wool hearts and old buttons and such….

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Journal
2. Dreams Journal….

A sweet journal slipcover….perfect for recording winter dreams.  The clasps from the sweater made a perfect closure.

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - JOY Gift Bag

3. JOY Gift Bag

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - LOVE Hat

4. LOVE Beanie (just for Madi) …

The letters were free-hand snipped out of wool, stitched to a black wool patch, then stitched onto the front of a stocking hat.

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Love & Joy Cuff
5. Love & Joy Cuff

cuff-clasp

The back of the cuff  is my favorite…. :)

 

6. Fireside Pillow….

‘Come sit with me by the fire’…. really, come on over! :)

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Stocking Hat Ornament

7. A Stocking Hat Ornament….stitched with ‘Snow Day’

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Stocking Hat Tag

8. A Stocking Hat Gift Tag

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Sweater Ball Ornament

9. A Pieced Wool Ornament

(SNL Fans….we could call this a Schweat-er Ball)
  Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Trees Tote Bag
10. Wooly Woods Tote Bag

Repurposed logo bag from last winter’s Soul Comfort camps…the trees are strategically placed to cover the Soul Comfort logo. :)

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Truth Card Cozy

11. Truth Card Cozy

(Thanks to Carl for making this one!)

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - XO Letters

12. Kisses & Hugs Letters

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Bird Ornament

13. Little Bird Ornament

I made this one with felt, Brave Girl tissue paper, lots of mod podge, and a pair of the sweater clasps.

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Never Judge A Book By Its Movie Bookmark

14. “Never judge a book by its movie” bookmark

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Boot Cuffs

16. Boot Cuffs!

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - - BRAVE Gift Bag

17. BRAVE Gift Bag

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Candle In The Window - Jar Candle

18. Candle In The Window…Candle Jar Cozy

Candle in the Window is a great Alabama song…and I love it stitched on this candle. It’s held together on the back with three vintage buttons.

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Headband Flower

19. Chunky Flower for Head Band

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Heart-Wrapped Candle

20. Here’s My Heart Candle

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - 3 Hearts Ornament

21. 3 Heart Ornaments

 

Brave Girls Club - 1 thrifted sweater - 23 projects! - Heart Tags

22. XOXO Heart Gift Tags

 

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23. A giant flower for a cute hat…

…finished off with our ‘Protect Your Peace’ button from Soul School

So that’s it! I finally had to make myself stop and get back to ‘work’…I still have a basket of wool pieces left, just waiting for their chance to be turned into something new.

Give this challenge a try! See what you might be able to make from a thrift store find..or even something that’s been living in your closet. We’d love to see what you come up with!!! Thanks again for all the inspiration, Braves. :)

Wishing each of you a blessed season of PEACE…

xoxo

kathy

Brave Girls Club - Post by Kathy