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Gratitude and Doodles

bookcover!

I have a friend. She’s actually more of an illustrator. And she’s also the cutest. The absolute cutest.

Being stubborn and depressed and unpopular saved her life. That’s amazing all by itself. But even more so that she wrote a book about it! For preteen and teen girls. Because not everyone can be the prom queen. And thank God for that.

She asked me to participate in a very special Doodle Dream Blog Party in honor of her book with all its gorgeous doodles. Of freaking course I will! Because being stubborn, depressed, and unpopular had a similar, glowing effect on me. I want to spread this book as far and wide as it will go. I want Sadie to read this book! I want her friends to read this book! I want my niece to read this book! I want my mom to read this book!

I want you to read this book. And share it with your daughter and your mother and your best friend. Because we need more stories like this. We need to know we’re not alone.

This week, the Doodle Dream Theme is Let’s Bee Grate-full.

So, let’s!

 

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I channeled my inner Jenipher Lyn and worked hard to create a doodle she might dig. It’s been a challenging week and I got a little bit teary-eyed realizing I would need to sit down on this busy day and make time to doodle my gratefuls. So exactly what I needed.

And seriously, this book is powerful. And adorable. And it could even save your life. 

The Moments that Come Together

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Man, I’ve missed you. It’s been six long weeks and one huge whirlwind since I last updated this space. I didn’t realize it’d been that long until this morning, and, now that I’ve had a few moments to breathe, I wanted to take some time and fill you in on all that’s been going on.

First, in the personal realm, we moved! Again!

My husband got the position he’d eyeing since he joined the Army. It’s straight-up graphic design, one of the few full-time design gigs in the Army. It’s an honor and a privilege. And I am so freaking proud of him. Some of you who’ve been around for a few years might remember when he was unemployed. It happened less than a year after we got married and it lasted for well over a year. I was still in school at the time and, generally speaking, a nervous wreck. He was depressed, that sinking feeling that comes from the binding, gendered belief that a man is supposed to support his family. Eventually, we felt we had no other reasonable option besides enlisting in the Army. But we are pacifists. Those first few years were tough. We were still struggling to catch our breath financially and the military kind of sucked the life out of both of us, especially him. He rarely, if ever, complained.

And now . . . it’s falling together like snow. It feels amazing. And it’s not only the new job. We got the apartment we wanted. It’s beautiful and tiny and affordable and modern and so us. Jermaine has ventured deep into the realm of interior design. From nook-style desks to closet lofts, we’re plotting incredible ways to make it truly ours. But on top of everything, we’re home. We’re back in Maryland where my heart’s been all this time. I cannot describe the joy in my gut.

I was talking about all of this to a friend at church last Sunday. She laughed and with warmth and wisdom exclaimed, “Yes, sometimes it does all fall into place! And we’ll take it, right? Because one thing I’ve learned in all these years is that it will eventually fall apart again. So it’s more than okay to enjoy the moments that come together.”

Professionally, I have some exciting irons in the shalom-y fire.

I’ll be in Austin in three weeks getting paid to teach a Shalom Session workshop to some of my favorite people in the world!

In a few weeks, Elora Nicole and I will be launching a brand new e-course that’s quite literally taken us over a year to birth. We are delighted and exhausted and oh-so-ready to share it with you.

In June, I’m going to launch my very first digital product :: The Shalom Sessions [Pocket Edition]: What the What. It will walk you through how to find your dream. This is also something that’s taken far too long, and yet just the right amount of time to become a real thing. I’m ecstatic to put it out into the world. And, as always, my crazy talented husband is going to do all the design work for it.

Currently, I’m teaching Fix My Life [FML]: An E-course on Food, Money, and Lov(ing yourself). It’s been one of my most ambitious e-course undertakings, and doing it right in the middle of moving sort of explains why I haven’t had time to blog. But it’s my baby, and I love all that’s being created in that class.

In my massive spare time, I’ve also completed the Finding Your Arc e-course in Story Sessions and have graduated to become a Story Coach (in addition to my signature Shalom Sessions)!

I’ve churned out a few kick-ass bios and received some glowing reviews.

In the process of moving to Maryland, we drove back and forth, from NC to MD and back again, twice. And the first time the kids wanted to ride in the “cool” car with their dad, so I got six straight hours to dream. I ended up with some doozies:

Look out for a 31 day “Ordinary Time” version of Be coming this August!

Both FML and Breaking the Dress Code will be back with bells on this fall.

In addition to repeating my e-courses, I’m working on several big and small projects this summer—

One is still super secret. If I told you, I’d have to hide you, and that would just be weird.

My main project is what I’ve affectionately titled, “Write the damn book already, Brandy.” It doesn’t matter what else happens this summer, by the first day of fall 2014, I’m to have a working draft of my non-fiction debut and be on the hunt for an agent. This is happening. And if you want to give me serious eyes and hold me accountable, I’m all for it.

The last one is a joint effort on many fronts. It’s a blog revamp. Content, design, and everything in between. Jermaine is helping, obviously. And I’m so freaking excited. It’s long overdue.

Besides that, Sadie and I will be finishing up homeschooling and prepping for the 7th grade. Brooklyn will be exploring new ways to bump his head on our kitchen island. And Jermaine might even persuade me to take some actual time off and have a little fun.

I may have a Pay-What-You-Can (what you really really can) Shalom Session sale coming up kinda sorta soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, hop on my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know.

Learning to Surf [the Ocean of Rejection]

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“It’s not a good day unless you get a rejection letter in the mail.” +Nate Haken

One month from now, I’ll be on a plane heading west! I’ve been dreaming of 2Days with Rob Bell for over a year (it’s a conference, people, I’m a happily married woman)! I have a hotel room and plane ticket! I’ll get to see some dear friends while I’m in California! And Nicole, who wrote this SPECTACULAR piece on how our beauty is like gravity for Wild Goslings, is attending the conference, too! Sorry for the overdose of exclamations, but for all concentrated purposes, it’s Christmas is September.

Jermaine says that the anticipation for the thing that you really really want is actually the truly fun part. I don’t know if I buy that, but I would like to make this wait extra awesome sauce.

So I’m going to try to get rejected as much as humanly possible.

Learning to surf the ocean of rejection (as the very last Fuller Brush Man put it in Daniel Pink’s amazing book) is the hardest part of moving people. One of the things I’ll be covering in Breaking the Dress Code is how to get good at being rejected. But I don’t want to ask people to do something I’m not intimately familiar with myself, so this is the perfect opportunity to spend a little time exercising that skill.

For the record, I’m fairly good at rejection right now. If I want something, I’ll go for it. It’s not in me to sit around and wait for permission. When you’re a lovesick high school girl, as I often have been in life, this can have a desperate effect. But, as a resourceful entrepreneur, this trait can save your life. Or change it, even.

So, here I go! I added “Pitch five emails” to my list of daily practices (and stayed up until 1am finishing them last night). Up until now, pitching was a once a week task for me—but one I never got good at getting around to—unless there was a deadline. In an interview I listened to yesterday, Daniel Pink casually remarked, “You know, as an entrepreneur, I get rejected ALL the time.”

Wait, what? OH. You mean it never stops?

I could choose to find this depressing, realizing that the people I most admire still have to surf this ocean every day. But it’s actually incredibly encouraging.

Maybe the point isn’t to get to the place where you don’t get rejected anymore.

Maybe the point is to get to the place where you kind of love it. Because you know it means you’re showing up.

PS. My friend Brenna shared Imgur’s Reasons My Son is Crying this morning on Facebook. So inspired, I made my own.

PPS. Want to learn more about surfing and rejection? Let’s Break some daggone Dress Codes, yo. Also, fun fact, I’m going to take real live surfing lessons in California next month! Pray for me? I have an ear thing (my ears hate me).

PPPS. Are you on the list yet?

 

Five Minute Friday [Birthday Edition]

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In a Shalom Session this morning, my friend Tanya told me about Five Minute Friday. Funnily, it happens to be Friday right now! In I jumped.

Basically, Lisa-Jo hooks you up with a word prompt and then you set a timer for five minutes and spill your thoughts all over the paper. Link back to the original post, and then, all that’s left is to check out someone else’s five-minute spiel, leaving a comment, like ya do.

So, here goes!

Today’s Prompt: LONELY (oh, God)

My spill:

I miss my husband. It sucks to turn 32 without him. Moving to Maryland was a crazy thing to do. Almost as crazy as the first time I did it. But, last night, with all our friends singing to me and that stupid sombrero (God only knows where it’s been), I did NOT feel lonely.

I felt loved.

I felt a part of something. These friends, most of them introverts, risked awkward small talk and DC metro traffic to be with me and my baby boy on my birthday. These friends, most of which I would not have ever met if it weren’t for Jermaine, have carried me through the inevitable loneliness from the moment I arrived. No. From the moment he had to go. These friends, they make him so happy. He worries about me. I know it. My tendency to ball up and bawl out. He knows they’ll get me through it.

 


 

Hanging Curtains

I don’t know if blogs were created to be online journals, but I’m learning I need the outlet. Not to journal, per say, but to play with my words. Writing, I feel like a mad scientist (let’s see what happens when I use “belligerent” here). I love The Bomb Shelter, but I need a lab. A dressing room. A space to try on different writing hats (and hang those gypsy-cotton curtains that Jermaine thinks are tacky). A space where rules are meant to be broken.

So, here I am. A dreamer with a penchant for tangents and big ideas. Some topics I’d like to explore:

  • I read a blog a few weeks ago about a woman who used her 40th birthday to give away 40 gifts. My 32nd birthday is coming up. I want to copy her. Interestingly, my birthday this year is the same weekend as the Wild Goose Festival, so I’ dreaming up ways to have this all go down there in Asheville.
  • I want to get back into fighting slavery. I dreamed last night that I went back to India to visit a friend from the trip. It was greener than the first time I was there, but someone was trying to hurt us. Last week, I reached out to another friend from the trip and she gave me a lot of very practical, tangible things I could do to help the anti-trafficking efforts in my own town. Her suggestions left me a bit overwhelmed, I’m sure that’s where the dream came from. I’m struggling to feel like *I* could actually do that kind of stuff.
  • When I had Sadie, I vowed to create a resource for young moms to help them navigate the stuff no one tells them about. Some practical stuff about how to cook and clean, and other more pregnancy related stuff like postpartum depression and homebirth and trusting your instincts. Recently, that idea has morphed into a blog and I feel like it could be amazing. If I do launch it, it probably won’t be for a couple of months, but I’d like to flesh it out a bit in these pages.
  • I just signed up for Elora Nicole‘s story-coaching ecourse. VERY excited. I’d like to delve into what I’m learning there, here. And one of the things seems to have something to do with women and our “place” in this world.
  • This is the year I’m going to write a book. All I have to do is figure out which one. The novel? The Shalom Sessions? Or Emergency Breakthrough?
  • I want to dream of the future. Should we have another child? Should we adopt? Both? How do I make this crazy writing/speaking dream really real? Where do I begin creating a safehouse for survivors of human trafficking?
  • I think we’re going back to homeschooling Sadie starting this fall (sixth grade). I’d like to write out my schemes, fears, dreams, hopes, and research. And perhaps some resources, too.

I have no freaking clue what this is going to evolve into. And I don’t want it yet. I want to experiment. To throw noodly ideas at the wall and see what sticks. If your drawn to my writing and have an idea that you’d like me to explore, I’d love to hear it.

Thank you for tuning in.

Shalom, friend.

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