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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A Beauty in Truth

There is such a beauty in truth, isn’t there?

Feeling the need to find my people, be purposeful, create beauty… it’s all percolating in my heart.  And I long to do these things without being rejected.  Without having my purpose be cast aside as unimportant.  I deeply desire to see others appreciate the words I create.  I do, indeed, long for these things.

And yet, I am afraid.  I’m afraid to fail, to not matter, to produce words that do not reach into hearts.

But, I go ahead and do these things afraid.

I do them because if I don’t, what is true of me will not be seen.

And what is true of me?

I am a sinner, the worst among them.

I will fail, many times over.

What I create may well end up being of no consequence.

But what is also true of me?

My Audience of One tells me that what is true is that I am already accepted.  I am already created with a purpose.  I was, in fact, already a thing of beauty creatively made in the image of One I can only pray to be more like every day.

I’m reminded that all that matters is that I believe these things – that I believe Him!

And that is a beautiful truth.

And it sets me free.

I’m linking up with the beautiful hearts over in the Five Minute Friday Community at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog.  They had some words to share about TRUE. Maybe you’d like to share your thoughts, too?  Click the button below to hop on over there and check some of them out or add your own.  Or, even better? Do both!

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Chasing a Dream – Part 2

 

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Chasing a dream requires bravery. For some folks, that bravery comes in the form of Ice Cream Therapy. Ahem. Bravery truly comes, though, from The Source of all courage. We are reminded in 2 Timothy 1:7 that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
 
I believe that. Do you? We aren’t meant to be cowering in a corner over the possibility of failure. Nor are we meant to be shy with the gifts that others (and probably even ourselves) have identified in us. Maybe your dream (the one that always uses the gifts that are unique to you!) just needs to be whispered to with the love of Grace. The Grace that doesn’t care about the failing or succeeding; but cares only for the trying and the trusting.
 
We are meant to boldly walk forward, one step at a time, be it ever so tiny, toward all that God has for us. Our abilities? Our strength? Any self-discipline we can muster? It’s all from a God who loves us so. And God knows you. And me. Oh yes He does! And He wisely knows how best to help us tweak our individual gifts and use them for His glory.
 
 
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I’d just bet that when we get lit from within with that ember of a dream that has ignited into a full-blown fire, God is up there smiling so widely. I imagine the angels are doing Holy fistpumps as we come suddenly discover what it is that we were meant to do. And when we get the courage to ask God for our next steps, He will give them.
 
And then? Stand back World! This is when it gets crazy exciting. When our God-given gifts collide with our God-given bravery, everything changes.
 
I want to be in that place of not worrying over the possibility of falling flat on my face in failure. I’m clinging to the hope of success. (Maybe with a little Ice Cream Therapy thrown in for good measure?)
 
 
Won’t you join me?

 

Cussin’, Cursin’, and Swearin’ – Oh My!

Intriguing, isn’t it?  Especially for those handful of you who read this (Thank You!)  and know me well enough, in-real-life, to know that I only do any of the three under extreme circumstances.  Like, say, stubbing my toe.  Or breaking my favorite pancake batter bowl.  Or indulging in One Too Many on Girls Night Out (which happens hardly never).  Oh heck, I am Captain Ahab’s daughter, after all…

Anyhoo… My SweetBoy and I were headed home after dropping off a friend of his that had spent the last day of April vacation week with us. As a last ‘hurrah’, we’d stopped by one of our favorite ice cream establishments and picked up a little treat for ourselves.  His treat was a sad ode to the end to vacation week.  My treat was a hearty celebration for the end of vacation week.  We were happily driving along, and SweetBoy informs me that his friend told him what the “S” word and the “F” word meant.  I spat out my mouthful of mini-blizzard all over the front windshield and said “What, now?”!  (This last action upset me greatly.  It was a MINI-blizzard, for-cryin’-out-loud!  I barely had ten bites of the dern thing in the first place.  Now, I only had nine…)

All joking aside, I do my level best not to cuss, curse, or swear. Especially in front of my children. So, I found it a bit disturbing that my SweetBoy, who works so stinkin’ hard to understand the meaning behind everyday phrases and words, as it is, now knew what two of my least favorites were.

You can bet your bippy, that when SweetBoy informed me that the “S” word is for “Stupid” and “F” is for “Failure”, I was so relieved.  And, I’d never been happier to hear those two words in my entire life.  Never. I drew in a deep breath, along with a prayer of Thanks, and exhaled loudly.  SweetBoy has been picking up on some new subtleties lately.  It’s been a very exciting development!  He heard that exhale and said, “They’re really really bad, aren’t they Mama?”.  I’d like to note here that I instantly decided that I really liked this other child’s family. A lot. Those two words can be emotional weapons when used towards another human being.  And after this conversation, I’ve started being mighty careful with how often I throw those words around and under which circumstances.

I replied, “Oh, yes indeedy!  They are bad words that can make people feel sad.”

And he said, “Well, then, I’ll NEVER use them again.”  I just love how black and white his beautiful brain is.  Yes please!