Bravery Can Mean Going Belly Up

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Dream chasing and encouraging and fulfillment has taken up plenty of space on this here blog, of mine.

And last month?  Last month, I pursued one dream that I’ve harbored for a mighty long time.  With encouragement poured in from friends and Holy whispers of “you are already enough” ringing in my ears, I entered a writing contest.

If what I write next isn’t The Most Anti-climactic Statement in the history of ever, I might not know what anti-climactic really means.

I didn’t win.

But, but, BUT… I submitted.

And y’all, that was huge. It was a step toward something I’ve been saying I wanted to do out loud for a sweet forever.

And since I didn’t win, I get to share my entry here. With all of you.

You, who keep me on my toes and support the stuffing out of me. (I wish. The stuffing remains.)

My submission may have gone belly up, but my bravery in continuing to pursue The Dream? Alive and kickin’!!!

So, without further ado… my entry into the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. (And if you want to check out who did win? The winners are here.)

What the Toilet Paper Taught Me

I grew up with a father who lived by the credo that we have ten boxes of Kleenex in the house at all times. I thought this was normal.

Until, that is, I flew the coop and lived on my own for the first time.  My meager wages earned as a substitute teacher, while working as many jobs as possible until I landed my own full-time teaching job, barely covered one box of tissues – let alone ten! The idea of stockpiling Kleenex was laughable.

Years went by and I got the job, met a man, and started buying tissues ten boxes at a time. It only took two years of marriage and a visit from my in-laws for me to learn that this was normal to other people, too. Just, not always with tissues.

My husband’s parents live only a few hours away from us. One particular weekend, very soon after buying our first home, they made plans to visit and see what we’d done with the place.

A cleaning frenzy ensued. My inner Martha Stewart was ablaze in the kitchen, when my husband emerged from the bathroom, distraught.

“Please, TELL ME there is more toilet paper than this one roll,” he begged.

I mistakenly thought that reminding him that his parents would only be visiting for a few short hours would calm his agitated state.

Wrong!

“We DO have more than just this roll, though, right?” he pleaded again.

My choice of marital mate now fully in question, I reminded him, a little less gently this time, that his parents would only be visiting for four hours! And, while I don’t know how others’ bathroom experiences usually work, one double roll of toilet paper would probably suffice for four people in that short amount of time.

I shared this with him, jokingly.

This was a grave error on my part.

He slipped on his shoes, grabbed his keys and headed for the door. “I’m going to run out and buy us a six-pack. Just in case,” he announced. He looked pale.

At that moment, I understood.  I knew what this was. This was the Kleenex manifesto, only with toilet paper.

I explained that there was no need, as I had bought a twelve pack, double-rolls no less, the day before.

Those words worked better than any aphrodisiac. He strode over, looked deeply into my eyes, and proclaimed that I really was the one for him.

Two very important lessons were learned that day. One, I had clearly married a version of my father.  And two, my husband’s affections could be bought.

With toilet paper.

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How To Be Brave

BRAVE

Go…

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I’m trying. Really, I am.  This bravery thing, isn’t for the faint of heart.  And lately?  My heart is feeling pretty faint.  I feel like that one lone bird standing on the rock closest to the wildly pounding ocean, with the tumultuous waves ready to smash her to smithereens if she doesn’t take flight.

I tell my Sweetboy that bravery is what you do even though you feel scared.  I tell my Sweetgirl that mama’s can be brave, too, just by doing what they know in their hearts they are to do – not what the world tells them they should be doing.

And it all sounds so good.

Only, all of those words aren’t quite making it to my own heart lately.  I feel on the cusp of a bravery.  Glorious adventure and excitement await as soon as I will just commit to taking flight.  But, if I don’t, and soon, I’ll be crushed by the waves of disappointment, expectation, and even circumstances.

I don’t want to be crushed.

There is no need for panic.  No need for indecision.

I know how to unfurl my wings.  I even know what flight plan to use.

It’s a matter of doing it.  In trust.  In trust that He will hold me steady and keep His firm grasp upon me when the winds shift.

I just need to practice Brave.

Then, I will be.

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the beautiful community of writers for her Five Minute Friday writing prompt. Click the button below to participate, or to read what this word, brave, brought to mind for others.

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