We are now 50,000 strong……..think of all of the good we can do for each other and for the world…….
Let’s all celebrate by being good to ourselves and to each other!
WE LOVE YOU!
DONATIONS NEEDED immediately for the tornado victims in Oklahoma! See how you can help here. Let's get to work, Brave Girls!
We are now 50,000 strong……..think of all of the good we can do for each other and for the world…….
Let’s all celebrate by being good to ourselves and to each other!
WE LOVE YOU!
Well, my name is Melody Ross, my sister Kathy Wilkins and I founded Brave Girls Club in 2009 because it was what we wanted to do more than anything else in the world, and because even though it seemed like impossible timing, we knew we could do it if we just buckled down and did it……so we did.
In a separate post…I will tell you exactly why we did it, and why we keep putting our heart and soul into it every single day….but for now…I want to tell you just exactly who we are. If you are wondering what Brave Girls Club IS….it’s a community for women everywhere who want to do big things with their lives, who want to overcome difficult things, and who believe in doing all of this with love and kindness and as joyfully as possible. We have a worldwide tribe through the internet, and any woman anywhere is welcome and invited…and we also have fabulous retreats in the Idaho mountains, called BRAVE GIRL CAMP….and any woman anywhere is welcome and invited to join us there, too.
This is me….Melody Ross. I am married to a man who I am madly in love with and we are parents to 5 phenomenally funky and creative kids….I am a full-time artist and a writer and a forever seeker of all things beautiful and true. I am a horrible housekeeper although an unkempt house makes me crazy, and I have a weakness for creme brulee. I think SPANX are the most incredible invention, ever. I love artsy cowboy boots when I am not in my bare feet and I know for sure that I belong in the mountains, it is my element……I am a 4th generation Idahoan.
Ok….I really like that picture I put up there…but I am not really that serious and contemplative……..and since I am writing this blog post, and I can…I am going to tell you that I am really more like this…………..
Now….on to the good stuff…..
This is my sister Kathy, my partner in Brave Girls Club and a woman who I can only dream of growing up to emulate….I would go on and on about her, but she would probably come on here and delete it…….so, I will just tell you that if you get the opportunity to ever meet her, talk to her, or spend any time with her…it will be an experience that you will never forget and you will be better for it. She will be sharing her talents on this blog….so you are all in for a treat.
Kathy is happily 52….and no, this photo is not photo-shopped, she really is this beautiful. Kathy is married to Kurt and together they have 8 children and 11 grandchildren (and counting!) Kathy is a phenomenal musician, and has a brilliant analytical mind. Her artfully crafted food will blow your mind and her skill of unconditional love and acceptance is a gift to the world. I feel so fortunate to have her in my life, let-alone having her as my big sister….she has been a critical part of my world since the day I was born.
Now, here’s a cool fact……when we started…we thought it was just going to be us…and to tell the truth, we are a pretty dynamic duo….but our goal was to do our best to change the world in little ways with kindness and good news and ideas and life-changing fun. Soon…our family members and friends joined-in, wanting to be a part of what we are doing….and now, there are many many of us involved in the behind-the-scenes adventures of Brave Girls Club. We want to tell you about a few of them…..and you’ll be hearing from and about more and more of them as our community grows….
Before I go on…I just have to say….YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR…you really are…and that is the truth.
Ok….moving on, more about us and the people behind the scenes….
Jeff is Kathy’s phenomenal son-in-law…he is married to Kallie (we’ll introduce you to her in a minute). Before he came to work for us, he worked for a mortgage company and was a high school wresting coach….he even won the coach of the year award! He is wonderful to work with, is a great husband and is father of 3 of the cutest kids around. Jeff works for us full time managing the business side of Brave Girls Club and keeping things running smoothly. We would never make it without him – he is amazing! He even drives the Brave Bus during camp.
Brock is my son and works for Brave Girls Club full time. He is pictured here with Sabrina, his beautiful and amazing bride. They are just starting their journey together and we’re so glad they found each other! It’s so fun to be around new and blossoming love. Brock is our incredibly talented videographer and video editor. He and I work together all day every day during our online classes – filming and getting everything just right. Brock is a joy to have around and I feel so lucky that he chose to work with Brave Girls Club! Sabrina has recently started working for us as Jeff’s assistant, and she has quickly become an indispensable part of our little team (and our family). What did we ever do without her?!
This is Malary:
Malary is my daughter. She is an old soul – thoughtful, insightful, peaceful, funny and sooo much fun to be around. Malary graduated from high school and decided that Brave Girls Club is where she wanted to be, which made us all sooooooo happy! She works full time for us and does such a beautiful job. She takes the most beautiful photos (you’ve seen them all over our blog!). She loves to cook and works with Kathy in the kitchen at Brave Girl Camp to make every meal beautifully delicious.
Amy worked with us a lifetime ago. We had lost touch for lots and lots of years, then we found out she was looking for work and we were searching and searching for the perfect person to join our team. It was meant to be. Amy joined our team and we are sooo soooo soooooo glad she did! Amy is exceptionally organized and peaceful and calm, and she manages all aspects of our online shoppe. She is mother to 2 handsome boys – and one of them is a teenager if you can believe that! If you come to Brave Girl Camp, you will talk to Amy a lot as you make your preparations. We are so glad to have Amy on our team!!
I don’t know how to say all the things that this beautiful woman means to us. She is our mentor and a guide to us in everything we do. We count on her for her wisdom and her peacefulness and all the things she somehow just KNOWS are true. Patrice has built a beautiful life with her husband, Michael, and their 4 children, and has the most cozy, beautiful home I’ve ever seen. Patrice lives in California and we miss her sooo much when she’s so far. She is nurturing and loving and the best hugger in the universe. Patrice is on our team for SO many reasons, but the most official seems to be that she is our publicist. We feel so lucky that she is with us.
Kallie is Kathy’s oldest daughter. She has already led a big and amazing life and traveled many parts of the world, spent a few years doing humanitarian service and missionary work in South America….and is now married to the fabulous Jeff Maughan, whom we all love and adore. She is mother to 3 – one boy and two girls…all born within 3 years of each other. Kallie is a true blue Brave Girl.
Kallie does all sorts of things for Brave Girls Club that you will surely see as you return to our blog.
Chelsea is also Kathy’s daughter. She is super funny and super fun and an absolutely gifted organizer and event planner. You can always count on her to throw the best parties and make the most delicious desserts. Chelsea has martha-esque skills and keeps the most immaculate home that I’ve ever seen a young mother keep……she is extraordinary. She’s madly in love with her husband Luke….and they are parents to 4 little ones. Chelsea has her own photography business, CM Photography, which comes highly recommended and can be found on Facebook HERE
Chelsea does so much stuff for Brave Girls Club behind the scenes, and is also our kitchen manager for Brave Girls Club…..you’ll be hearing from her and about her a lot here on the blog.
Our mom is part of Brave Girls Club because she made us who we are………but, she also comes to EVERY SINGLE one of our retreats and works in the kitchen…and makes deeply meaningful lasting bonds with all of the attendees there. She will never know how many marriages she has helped save, how many hearts she has helped heal, how much wise advice she has given that was whole-heartedly accepted, and many women from all over the world who have adopted her as “Grandma” as she is affectionately known at Brave Girl Camp. You will be hearing a lot more from and about her on this blog, too.
Then there is our Brave Girl Camp Staff...these girls caught our vision and RUN with us to make it happen! They are amazing and we couldn’t do what we do without them. They are the truest of friends and we are so thankful for all they do to make Brave Girls Club what it is.
Camille came to our very first Brave Girl Camp….our practice camp…..there were 5 of us there and we bonded in a way we couldn’t have anywhere else. She has been to almost every single Brave Girl Camp since then! Cam is mother to 3 amazing children. When you ask what Cam does, the answer is…almost EVERYTHING. She is so talented and if there’s something she doesn’t know how to do, she figures it out. She works full time, but during Brave Girl Camp, she comes to the Ranch at night and helps us in the kitchen and the Art Barn. She is phenomenal and Brave Girl Camp wouldn’t be the same without her.
If you’ve been around Brave Girls Club for a while, then you’ve probably heard of Maria’s beautiful jewelry and seen the bracelets she made for Brave Girls Club (find them here). Maria is a big part of everything we do and has been with us since the very beginning. She is married to Jed and they have 1 brave boy and 4 soulful little girls. Maria is true in every way. She is LOVES to have fun and works hard at everything. Recently she became a certified CrossFit trainer! She is awesome, and you’ll love every minute you spend with her at camp……we sure do!!
We always joke that Hilarie came to us through the Boy Scouts of America. Her husband and my husband are HUGE scouters….they live, breathe, eat and sleep Boy Scouts, and since we both live in the same area, we were destined to cross paths. Hilarie is married to Carl, who has also been an enormous help to Brave Girls Club. Together they have 3 sons and 2 daughters. Hilarie is at all of our Brave Girl Camps and is soulful and fun and sooo loving.
For a lot of years, Jen lived practically down the street from us…..we loved being so close to her. Recently she moved a few hours away and we are happy that she’s found a good fit for her family, but sad that it’s so far from us! We miss having her so close. Jen is married to David and together they have 5 of the greatest kids I’ve ever met. Jen is still going to come to our Brave Girl Camps, and we’re SOOOOO glad that we get that time with her!
I have known Carrie forever……she is someone who went through it ALL with me. She is a true friend and a pure soul…..and I love to be with her. Carrie is married to Chris and together they have a daughter named Courtney who is soooo much like her mom and is spectacularly talented. Recently Carrie came to work for us and she helps Brock and I put our class videos together. Carrie also comes to all of our Brave Girl Camps…I really hope you’ll come sometime and meet her. She is lovely.
Terry came into our lives at the very same time that Patrice did (Patrice is the one we introduced you to earlier). They both came to the same Brave Girl Camp in October of 2010. Terry lives in Texas with her husband John, and they have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Terry means so much to us. She is the kind of girl who is awake, dressed and ready to go at 5am (with her bed made). She loves to laugh and have fun and has taught us and encouraged us through so many things. She comes all the way from Texas to nearly every one of our camps, and we get absolutely giddy when we know she’s on her way. She is wise and wonderful and helps us every day with our vision and making important decisions. She is a gift!
These are the people who are actually an every day part of Brave Girls Club, but there are SO MANY OTHERS who volunteer their time, who spread the word, who help in more ways than can be counted……
This is our sister, Lynda, and our niece, Stephanie…who have been known to travel all the way up the mountain with their full-size harp and guitars to give our retreat attendees a world-class live music concert (did I tell you that most of my siblings are professional musicians…and that has been passed down to their children and even mine…and our parents are musicians too….but we can talk more about that later). Now they come to Brave Girl Camp at the River Ranch to sing for our campers there.
and this is our little sister, Jennifer….who helps whenever and however she can, as she juggles her life with her 4 little brave girls and one brave little dude…..we love having her!
We have friends who diligently show up for each and every retreat and the meetings beforehand to sew special gifts for the attendees, to handcraft nametags and to cook soulfood………they are truly angels to the Brave Girls Club Revolution…..an army of do-gooders and funky artsy ladies who want to connect with others of the same mindset…..
We could never do what we do without all of the help that we have….without all of the hundreds of women all over the world who have already joined us in this Revolution of Goodness……good life, good times, good memories, good news, good food, good friends, good fun…the Brave Girls Club family is a phenomenal tribe of phenomenal women….of sorts of ages, all sorts of backgrounds, all sorts of dreams and hopes and struggles and experiences.
Soooo…that’s who we are….
We hope you will join us!!!! Brave Girls of EVERY age, shape, color, country and walk of life are welcome here!!
How do you join us? First, find us on Facebook. Then watch our videos on YouTube. Then come back to our Blog often and see what’s going on! You might also be interested in Brave Girl Camp or one of our life-changing online classes. And check out our Home Page for current ways to team up with us in compassionate projects to spread love and light all around the world. There’s lots of good stuff…and we need you!
We’re so glad you’re here!!
Brave Girls Club is a worldwide community of women who want to live the best, happiest, most productive and fabulously brave life they can possibly live…and that means something different to every single one of us.
Brave Girls Club is an online community, a portal for amazing connections, a news source for everyday heroes, a resource for great ideas, amazing endeavors, everyday problem solving, realistic recipes and unforgettable get-togethers. Brave Girls Club is a place to feel free, to feel peace, and to feel brave. Brave Girls Club is not an exclusive club…every woman is invited. Brave Girls Club is life-changing fun, life-changing truths, and life-changing friendships.
WHAT do we want to create here? These are the ways that we want to leave every woman when she visits us….
We want every woman to feel safe in her dreams, safe in her weaknesses & frailties, safe in her strengths and accomplishments….safe in who she is and how she is and what she is. Brave Girls Club is a safe place to be just exactly who you are and who you are working to become.
We want to remind each other how capable we really are…especially when we are not feeling capable at all. We want to show each other that there’s all different kinds of talents, strengths and skills. We are all capable of so much more than we know!
We are not only capable…we are POWERFUL! We are resilient and strong and we each have the power to make our lives and the lives of others better and more joyful. We have the power to overcome, to restore, to change, and to be happy no matter what our circumstances are. We have the power to create things that have never been created before. We have the power to make the world a better place….and we all need to use that power!
We all need more happy places to retreat to. We want to create one of the happiest places around….how will it be happy? It will be happy because it will be filled with stories that will inspire us to overcome and make the most of things….it will be happy because you will meet people just like you whose stories will make you smile….it will be happy because it will be filled with beautiful things, beautiful people, beautiful places and beautiful truths. It will be happy because you will be here with thousands of other women who want to have life-changing fun!
We want to create an environment where we all feel encouraged to seek out and find our personal missions in life, and then feel encouraged to live them. We want to encourage each other to try new things, to forgive, to be happy in spite of obstacles. We want to encourage each other to create real and lasting connections…to take care of each other and look out for each other. We want to encourage each other to seek for truth and beauty, all the days of our individual lives.
Brave Girls Club has already connected women together from all over the world with our mountain retreats and get-togethers….we want to do the same thing with our online community. We want brave and powerful women to find each other, no matter where they live. We want bonds to be formed and friendships to flourish. We want people to find out about what you are doing to change the world, and we want you to see that there are other women just like you. Imagine what we can do when we all find each other!
You already know so much more than you think you know. You are so much stronger and braver and more resilient than you remember. You know what to do and you know how to do it….we just want to remind you. We want to remind each other…when we fall down, when life knocks the wisdom out of us…when things happen that make us draw a blank and paralyze us….we want to remind each other of all that we know, of all that we are…of all that is meant for us.
We want to feel alive, every day! We want you to feel alive again….we want you to get your dreams back….remember who you are and what you have always wanted to do with your life. We want you to LIVE A GREAT BIG LIFE!
So what is the GOAL of BRAVE GIRLS CLUB??????
WE JUST WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, ONE BRAVE GIRL AT A TIME!!!!
Why Brave Girl’s Club, you ask?
Well, the answer is multi-part. The first answer is…because we want to…and why not spend time doing the things you want to do most? The next answer is….because it needs to be done. We believe this with all of our hearts…we believe there needs to be a place that is full of good news, full of good people, good ideas, good adventures……full of goodness. We are doing this because WE need a place like this to go to.
We are doing this because we believe in the power of being brave….and we believe in the power of being a girl.
We are doing this because we believe that there’s so much to celebrate in life, even when life is difficult. We are doing this because sometimes you can’t get through things alone….and we want to connect brave women to other brave women so that you never HAVE to do anything alone again.
We are doing this because we believe there is a better way…where women can support, lift-up and help each other through life…show each other how to navigate through new and scary things. We are doing this because we want to be part of that better way…
We are doing this because we think that women get bombarded with lots of lies about what life is, what life can be…and what women are and what women can be. We want to expose the truths of life to each other. We want to create a place where you can just be who you are, and dream what you want to dream, and where you feel empowered and uplifted and alive.
We are doing this because we just want to change the world, one BRAVE GIRL at a time.
Sometimes disappointing things happen and you just have to think back to all of the disappointments in life that turned out for the very best. We are doing that with as much enthusiasm as possible right now. And…we are deciding to dig while we wait.
You see, a month or so ago, Kathy and I bought shovels. We were having a little meeting at a cute little coffee house in the town that we were both born in….and we knew for sure that it was time to make some concrete goals about growing Brave Girls Club. We KNOW we’ve got to get our own retreat center near our homes so that we can start hosting a few retreats a month as well as day retreats…4 retreats a year is just NOT enough…we have enough of a waiting list to do at least one a month, so we have GOT to have our own place down here in the valley and we’ve got to get to work just DOING IT…….we have NO IDEA how this will be accomplished. But, when the meeting was over….we just decided that we would go down the street to the hardware store and buy ourselves each a shovel…and we decided that ONE YEAR FROM TODAY, we will use these shovels to break ground on our new retreat center. The details would come together somehow…..we know this from the way all of it has happened…..the shovels would be a visable act of faith to show our belief in what we are doing.
So we did it, we bought some shovels.
Well, immediately little miracles started to happen. Life works like that…you take one step in faith and a thousand steps are taken toward you and your goal. It is very cool.
Well, that following week….we quickly decided, based on our huge waiting list for our sold-out camps, and on the hundreds of emails we get each week about how badly so many dear women want to come to camp….AND the fact that we just WANT TO DO THIS…….that we could not wait a year.
So we decided to look for a place NOW.
So we did.
The next day, on Craigslist,
We found a perfect place.
It was INCREDIBLE.
We met with the owner…everything was a go.
The place did not need to be built…it was already built.
The owners loved the idea. They wanted to sell it but did not yet have a buyer, so they agreed to lease it to us until we could buy it.
Get this…the owner’s name is ART. ART!!!!!!!!!!! (meant to be, I tell ya)
We decided that we would use our shovels to plant flowers instead of break ground on building our own place. It is the perfect time to plant bulbs for Spring…..so that would be the new job of the shovels…
We would plant thousands of flowers around this perfect place, which we had already named BGC Restoration Ranch.
Another thing happened a few days later…I had purchased a cool vintage alphabet on Ebay….and that week…..I got the package in the mail….and with it…THIS thank-you card….from a total stranger who knew nothing of me…..I was collaging my shovel when I opened this card……
I mean…seriously…LOOK! A shovel! A butterfly!!! And our numbers…the date we had chosen for our Soul Restoration class…..1/11/11 AND THEN JUST READ THE VERSE.
…I thought…”THIS HAS GOT TO BE SOME KIND OF SIGN….”
So…it all was working out PERFECTLY…all signs pointed to YES YES YES!!! We were planning to sign papers yesterday. We were thrilled. Everyone involved was thrilled….our children were jumping up and down and everyone we know could not wait to go see it after we signed the papers. We had tons of volunteers to paint, redecorate and get the place ready. Our shovels were happy and ready. We were OVER THE MOON EXCITED!!! It felt so right!!!!
I drove past the place yesterday morning and sat and stared at it. Then I drove a mile away and sat in the parking lot of a drugstore and wrote in my journal. I waited there for the call that it was time to go and sign the papers.
WHAT A MIRACLE that this is happening a year early!!
The phone rang and it was Kathy and she said….”I don’t have good news…”
“A cash offer just came to the table and they are taking it……so, we are out of the running…..the deal is off….”
WHAT??? REALLLY??? HOW??? WHY???
Well, then I just felt a calm peace…reminds me of the way I felt earlier this year when I got the same kinda phonecall….huge and devastating and confusing disappointment over something that I thought was certain…something that we prayed and wished for and felt like was ABSOLUTELY right for our family. But, it wasn’t. The whole story is on my personal blog HERE.
Well……that was yesterday. This is today.
Today I collaged the photos of all of the Brave Girls that have ever come to camp on my shovel. I will soon be filling it with many more faces of others who have written letters….the people who make us want to do this so badly….the women who believe so dearly in this dream…and all of us who NEED this. I Mod Podged lots of “truths” on there too..
But……my shovel does not want to wait. It doesn’t want to sit there doing nothing….it has work to do….work it wants to do.
Might not be the work that I was hoping for at this moment…..
But, while we are waiting for what we hope, wish and BELIEVE will happen someday….why JUST wait????…why not wait while doing things we CAN DO.
Today I will go and buy flower bulbs that I will use my shovel to dig holes that will hide them under the earth and soon under snow and ice…and in the Spring they will magically appear as flowers….even though I won’t be able to see all of the cool stuff that is happening underneath.
You see, I have really been thinking about this.
The soil is there, it is ready to be planted. It is time to plant what needs to be planted right now. The soil is ready because it has been made fertile with all of the compost of my life……just like yours is. Your mind and your heart hold this incredible soil that is ready to be planted…sometimes you are in the phase where it’s being made ready….and it is surprising just what it is that made that soil so rich and ready.
See……my compost…the scraps and waste of my life has been put deep into the soil and now it’s rich and fertile….just like a field or a garden that has been filled with fertilizer and compost that was made from things that we thought were nasty and stinky trash….it is going to be used to make the seeds grow…whatever we plant there, it will be ready to grow. You see how cool this is…how cool life is…that it takes all of this stuff that most people call trash and waste, and it is the very thing that puts the nutrients back into the soil so that whatever we plant there will grow and thrive?
So…we can’t break ground. We can’t plant flowers at our own place yet….we CAN plant lots and lots of other things. And we will.
My challenge to you today is to go buy a shovel. Buy a shovel for that big dream and that big plan that you have in mind. Make it pretty…….then, while you are waiting…USE THAT SHOVEL to plant goodness wherever you go. DON’T WAIT for the big day…..because you will be able to plant so much while you wait…you’ll plant things that will grow in ways you could never have imagined.
And..someday it will be time to break ground. I hope that the shovels will be worn and used and clinked and dinged and in need of sharpening…………..because that’s what shovels are for.
AND……..we will invite you with your shovel to come and help us break ground someday….WHEN IT IS TIME. WHEN IT IS TIME. WHEN IT IS TIME. That is when it will happen. So….please get your shovels ready, you are invited. If you are in need of our shovels in the meantime, we will be ready to use them……
Lots of planting will be happening every day, THAT I promise.
Keep on diggin’, really nothing is more important than that.