Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dare to live wholeheartedly {Day 31}

For the last 31 days, I've been writing about things that I want to keep daring myself to be and do. It's been a great journey and I want to thank you for taking the time to come along with me!

Just the term 'dare to be' implies that it is a challenge and that it takes courage.

It will take courage to keep coming against the fear that rises up in me in order to live wholeheartedly.

By wholeheartedly I mean that I want to show up, be seen and live brave. I want to show up with my whole self, as Kara said yesterday, the good and the bad. 

It is only by showing up and letting my good parts and bad parts be seen, that I can live with a whole heart, and also be loved as a whole and complete person.

The past several years I've been intentionally facing some of my fears.

And, you know what? 

The fears that seem like intimidating, giant sumo wrestlers, usually end up being the most scrawny, wimpy, skinny ones in reality. 

They end up being surprisingly easy to take down. 

But, the key is in facing them head on. 

Taking that first step to face the sumo wrestler is by far the most challenging.

Now that the 31 days are over, I want to challenge us to keep daring ourselves. I want to challenge us to live wholeheartedly. To bring our complete and whole selves to all relationships.

To show up, be seen and live brave.

I am planning to dedicate my life to daring greatly. To giving myself permission to do the things that lead me to wholehearted living. In other words...

living with my whole heart.

Thanks again for coming along with me on this journey of Daring to Be. I hope you've found some permission here. I hope you've found some courage.

Blessings to you, friends.


What has resonated with you the most in this series? 

What would you like to read more of if you could choose? I'd love to hear in the comments!

This post is the last one of a 31 Day series on the topic Dare to Be and linking up with about 1500 other bloggers on hundreds of topics. Come on over to The Nester to visit!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dare to know yourself--a guest post {Day 30}

Please enjoy a guest post today from my lovely daughter, Kara. I invited her to be a part of this 31 Day series and she said yes! 

Hi! I’m Kara, Anne’s daughter! Mom asked me if I wanted to write a “guest blog” for her 30 Day series, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m currently studying Advertising and English, and I love to write.

This summer was an experience that changed my life. 

When I look back on it, it even seems surreal sometimes. I spent 10 weeks in Greenville, South Carolina, interning at a church there and living with a host family. 

This experience was excellent in so many ways, but the most important and lasting lesson I learned was one of self-discovery.

When I say “self-discovery,” I’m not necessarily talking about learning new things about myself, though that did happen. I also mean that I was equipped with language to express things that I always knew about myself but could never articulate.

After taking personality assessments, working on projects, meeting with mentors, and spending a lot of time reflecting, I could understand things about myself that I never had before.

I now understand why I am uncomfortable in some social situations and why I collect things and why I love making lists and so many other things.

To know yourself is a huge gift, and it’s not always easy.

It’s fun to explore your talents and interests, but it’s profoundly un-fun to be confronted with shortcomings and fears. It’s uncomfortable to find out that you’re not good at something, and it can be hard to figure out what to do with that information. 

Discovering everything you can about yourself (good things and bad things) is so important because this knowledge helps you focus on your strengths and work around your weaknesses.

As I have been writing this, I have been chatting with my best friend on Facebook. She and I are similar in many ways: we’re both introverted, introspective, and we spend a lot of time thinking. We often say that we get stuck in our own heads. 

She’s studying to be a music teacher. It’s always struck me how she’s never questioned that that’s what she’s supposed to be. She knows it with every fiber of her being - she is going to teach music to students, and she LOVES IT. Just now, she used the phrase, “It’s what I’ve been programmed for.” I guess when you spend a lot of time in your own head, you get to know yourself pretty well.

I guess I would just encourage you to get to know yourself. 

There are a lot of ways to do this. 

Spend some time thinking about yourself - think about what you like and don’t like, but then try to think about WHY

Think about what makes your heart full and your chest swell and your eyes smile.

Talk about yourself with other people. Ask yourself questions. Ask other people questions. Don’t be afraid to discover things - good or bad.

A cheesy Shakespeare quote popped into my head when I was thinking about writing this. 

“To thine own self be true.”

If you want to be true to yourself, you have to know yourself.

Good luck! And God bless!


I love this. (of course I'm not biased at all!!) It really fits in with this theme I've had going all month. I agree, knowing ourselves brings so much peace and direction to our lives!

I think I'll be talking more with Kara about the processes she used this summer to get to know herself better.

Thank you, Kara, for sharing your heart with us today!

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks so much for visiting today!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to sit with someone's story {Day 29}

Have you ever been in a conversation where you really felt heard? Where the other person validated your feelings? Where they told you, "I understand?"

According to my Daring Way class facilitators, most people will say that they don't feel heard. 

I can relate to this on different occasions.

It's painful.

Today in class we talked about empathy. The facilitators said this was probably the most important session so far. (we've had six).

I found out this morning that empathy is a learned skill and it takes lots of practice. I didn't really realize that it is learned. And, it gives me hope that with practice I can get better at empathy.

They look like empathetic friends, don't they?

When someone is sharing their story (of struggle or pain), I need to try to set aside my "stuff" to really hear their story.

It will probably be difficult, but I need to practice NOT attaching values to what I hear them say.

For someone like me, who has strong convictions, this is a very important piece I came away with. A great reminder. I'm learning!


Empathy is putting myself in the other person's moccasins (or slippers, or boots).  To try to feel what they might be feeling. To ask them more questions to find out what their experience is like.

We can ask clarifying questions to get to the bottom of their emotion. 

We might think they are sad, but when we ask, are you sad? they might say,

heck no, I'm pissed off!

Or, we can say, Can you tell me what your experience is?

They will know they are heard when we really understand how they are feeling. 


We will mess up being empathetic with people we love and care about, because we aren't perfect. 

But, the great news is, we can circle around and try again. There is always room for a "do-over" in showing someone empathy.

If you are reading this and you say, Dang, I think I blew it today. I blew the chance to show empathy. Never fear. You can go to that person and say,

I'd like to circle back, because I wasn't with you on that when you shared with me. Can you share it again?

They will love you for that. They will feel extremely heard. 

It will take courage to circle back up with them, but it will be worth it.


I feel so blessed that I now have this tool in my relational tool box and let me tell you, I put it into practice already today. HUGE, I'm telling you. HUGE.

May you be blessed with these thoughts on showing empathy, too.

May we be able and willing to show those we love, that they are heard.


*These thoughts today were inspired from The Daring Way class based on Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly.

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dare to Be: Shame resilient {Day 28}

I admit it. In the matter of a couple of months, I've become an all-out Brene Brown fan girl. If you've been following along on the 31 Day journey, you already know about me reading her book Daring Greatly.

I am now reading The Gifts of Imperfection. I'm learning things in a workshop and an online Life Class. 

art journal

She said in the online class that she wears jeans all the time because she needs a pocket to carry around her permissions slips in! I love her!

I have been brought to tears by her writings more than once. I think it's because I feel validated. Her research and her writings are validating things that I've been feeling about myself for YEARS. (if I could, I would hug her for this.)

Her research in shame resilience is normalizing shame for me.

What is shame, you ask?

She defines shame as this:

Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.
 ~Brene Brown

What does shame feel like, you ask?

Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough. ~B.B.

I am realizing that in several areas in my life I've felt shame. For a long time. And, I'm also realizing that I've felt shame about my shame!! What a mess!

art journal page for online class
I am learning some key things about shame that are changing me and how I think about myself and others in my life profoundly.

1. shame thrives in secrecy and silence

2. shame is universal (everyone feels it)

3. judgement exagerates it (our own and others')

I am learning to be more shame resilient, which means that I'm learning to be courageous in sharing my difficulties with at least one trusted family member or friend. That basically, (in Brene's words) brings shame to its knees.

I'm learning to accept myself and believe that I am worthy of love and belonging even though I am not perfect.

How about you? Do you have someone you can talk to when you feel that warm feeling of shame rising up in you? I hope so. 

Do you accept yourself with all of your imperfections?

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts. Thanks for visiting today!

This post is part of a 31 Day series on the topic Dare to Be and linking up with about 1500 other bloggers on hundreds of topics. Come on over to The Nester to visit!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dare to Be: Celebrate You {Day 27}

Ever since I can remember, my parents always bragged about me for two things. There were probably more things, but what they were terribly proud of me for was this.

1. I  could say my ABC's
2. I could recite the Pledge of Allegiance

And, I could apparently do both of these when I was two.
I have to say that is pretty impressive, but I can't remember that. 

me, age 2

Click on this link to come on over to my companion blog-----------> Live the Silver Lining for the rest of this post today!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dare to Be: Present with family {Day 26}

She told him, "Dad, it's okay to rest. You've worked hard in this life. You can rest."

She knew. We all knew that Henry's eighty-three years had been lived to their fullest measure. The hands that lay limp on bed sheets were once strong and hardly ever resting. 

Nine days had slipped their way through time between the dreaded call that he fell to when the angels took him home. 

During these nine days, there were many glimpses beyond the velum-like divide between earth and heaven. I saw this in laughter and in tears. I saw this while cooking pasta with two nieces to feed an army of family.

I heard this in hymns sung by the hospice bedside and scripture read to closed eyes and shallow breaths. I saw it in good-byes cried by grand-daughters who knew that they wouldn't see their grandpa again in his time on earth. 

Glimpses of the Divine were everywhere in the ICU and hospice where pieces and parts of a twenty six member family camped out for nine whole days. Sadness. Of course. Hope and joy. Without a doubt. 


The snow is coming down gently around us as if on white pillows as we huddle together in the small unheated Veterans cemetery chapel. My two twenty-something sons and their dad joined hands with a couple of cousins and an uncle or two to accompany their grandfather's flag draped casket into it's prominent place in front. 

My mother-in-law, pulling her black coat around her cold shoulders is motioned to the red capped chair front and center. Her sons and daughters of two generations file in beside and behind her and sit down on cold plastic folding chairs. 

My pastor sister-in-law takes her place behind the wooden podium up front to lead us in the committal of her father to the ground.

I don't recall all the tear stained words she says on Tuesday morning. But, I think again and again how good and appropriate that this good man's daughter be saying these final words to honor him. 

As a family, we drew close and hugged a little tighter.

Brothers and sisters by blood and by Christ were drawn together during this time of grief in ways that had never been before to comfort, make life altering decisions and use their gifts to give to this special dad and grandpa and to each other. 

How can I say that this was the worst of times, but also the best of times? 

Have you lost someone special to you? Have you experienced the pain of loss, but also the love of God in the midst of your loss? I'd love to hear your story.

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

This post is part of a 31 Day series on the topic Dare to Be and linking up with about 1500 other bloggers on hundreds of topics. Come on over to The Nester to visit!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dare to Be: Present {Days 24-25}

How do you talk to someone whose eyes are closed tight? Someone who is not moving except for labored breathing and they may die at any minute? How do you talk to someone who will not give any indication that they heard what you said?

For the next few days in hospice, I knew my calling. My calling was to be present. 

To be present to my father-in-law during his last days on earth, whatever that would look like. 

Every chance I got, I touched his shoulder. I smoothed his hair. I held his hand. I counted it all a privilege that I will never forget.

His hands had driven a semi across many miles during his lifetime. When we had lived in a different state, his hands worked hard at doing whatever we needed done when they visited. His hands broke bread in church, and served in any which way that was needed. Now, his hand could not grasp mine.

I counted it a privilege to hold his hand in these moments. He was not aware of me being there. 

Or was he? 

They say that even if a person is not responsive, the last of the senses to go is hearing. And touch.

One by one, his children found a time to say their good byes. My husband said them to his dad with a few others in the room. One son wanted to say his alone.

I wanted to figure out a way to just say them.

He had been my father-in-law for 29 years. I wanted to tell him thank you for being such a wonderful father-in-law. I wanted to be able to thank him for welcoming me into the family. A girl not from Iowa, but from Nebraska. Someone not from their son's group of friends. A "foreigner". 

The room finally emptied of people. The chair was open next to his bed on the day before he died. I sat down. I held his hand. It was puffy and kind of red, except for the blue that was beginning to form on his fingernails. This was a sign there wasn't much time left. 

I held his hand gently, sitting next to him. And, I thanked him for all those things as if he was looking right at me. I told him through tears. I was present.

I am grateful for that chance. 

Being present is something I am daring myself to keep doing. Even when it might seem awkward or uncomfortable.

Being fully present brought indescribable blessing.

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 days posts. Thanks so much for visiting me!

This post is part of a 31 Day series on the topic Dare to Be and linking up with about 1500 other bloggers on hundreds of topics. Come on over to The Nester to visit!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dare to Be: Brave Part 2 {Day 23}

News flash. 

Today, I did not want to go to the gym. 

My flesh is so weak! I wanted to just cozy up under an afghan and drink tea this afternoon!!

On Day 12 I told you about our trial at the gym, with our oldest son as our trainer. It's been going pretty well, in that my husband and I are still going. Our two week trial is up tomorrow. 

So, the proof will be in the pudding. Tomorrow.

And, I felt really frumpy today at the gym. It is really hard for me to stand in front of a mirror. Much less to stand in front of a mirror lifting weights at the gym. 

I am in loose fitting pants and a sweatshirt, because, it hides more. Nothing I'm wearing really matches. I am not put together. I look around and I feel, just frumpy.

even though I put my belt on yesterday morning and it just hung there....good sign something is happening!

So uncomfortable and honestly, I'm not sure I would go right now if my husband had not agreed to do this with me. 

But, I did the weight lifting anyway. 

I'm not sure about you, but being brave to me doesn't just look like going to a gym when I am out of shape, and lifting weights in the weight room with Arnold's 
and very fit women all around me.

Being brave looks like going back. And back. And then back again.

It will take bravery to keep going and facing that mirror and really facing my own negative body image. Something I really need work on.

As we were walking out of the gym today, my husband says, I don't know about all this. Is it really doing any good?

I say to him.

You are investing in your future self.

Yes, I really do believe that.

I'm going to keep choosing to be brave.


Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dare to Be: Creageous {Day 22}

This post is part of a 31 Day series on the topic Dare to Be and linking up with about 1500 other bloggers on hundreds of topics. Come on over to The Nester to visit!

There's no such thing as creative or non-creative people. But people who use or don't use their creativity.
~Brene Brown

No, you didn't read that blog title wrong. I made up a new word. Today.

Creageous=creative + courageous

The Brene Brown online Lifeclass I started yesterday has me putting on my artistic hat. (the one that I have been reluctant to admit I have.)

I have also been asked to do some pretty courageous things in The Daring Way class I'm in.

I think it's all warping my brain. In a good way.


Flash forward to today. I call my husband to see how his day is going. After he tells me that his day is challenging, I tell him

"You are creageous." (pronounced cree-a-geous)

an assignment for the Brene Brown Life class

He laughed. I laughed.

That is not a word.

Or, is it?

I say, "Uh, I meant to say courageous, but I think I just coined a new word combining creative and courageous."

I've never made up a word before. But, I kind of like this one.

It was a verbal blunder, but I think I'm on to something. 

I think we were all born to be creative in the way that we live.

We were all born to be courageous.

So, why not call it, creageous??!

Here's to you, an artist, living and making art in your little corner of the kitchen, workplace, concert hall or laundry room.

Here's to being creageous!

Do you see yourself as creative and courageous? I know you are! I'd love to hear about it in the comments!


P.S. I am showing a picture which is part of the pledge I took in my online class today. I am imperfect and I am enough.

P.P.S It was courageous for me to take my own photo. I'm not a fan of having my picture taken, even by my own self!

P.P.P.S. My fingers aren't really crooked!

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks for visiting me!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dare to give yourself permission {Day 21}

This post is part of a 31 Day series on the topic Dare to Be and linking up with about 1500 other bloggers on hundreds of topics. Come on over to The Nester to check that out!

I just started an online Oprah/Brene Brown Life class today. It's based on Brene's book: The Gifts of Imperfection, which I just started reading last night. Turns out she wrote this book back in 2010. 

How did I not know this?

In this book she talks about love, belonging and authenticity. She talks about courage, compassion and connection. And, that's just scratching the surface.

Remember on the first day of my series I said that I sat down and made myself a permission slip and I ended up with sixty five things on it that I need and want to give myself permission for? 

Well, it turns out that the first creative assignment for this online class is to make a permission slip page in our art journal.

I did that today. 

I thought I'd share it with you.

My Permission Slip

The point is not to be perfect. (see my mistake?)
To be messy.
To have fun.
To be authentic.
To not compare.

See all those permissions I've written down? All the things I need to give myself permission for? I've written in this 31 Days series about some of them

I cried through the first half of the how-to video this morning. Mostly because she is speaking my language! She is putting to words what my heart has been after for the past thirteen years and more specifically the last three to six years. 

I want to live more Wholeheartedly

To let go of what people think and instead to live more authentically. To live more like Anne and less like the shoulds and the oughts that roll around in my head and take up too much room in my heart. 

It is hard to break out of the comparison trap. It's hard to break free from perfectionism.

But, I'm up for the task.

Brene Brown and Oprah, bring it on!!

I challenge you today, to make a permission slip for yourself. Give yourself permission for those things you've been unknowingly withholding from yourself. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Click on my button for a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dare to Be: Five ways to make peace in your relationships {Day 20}

How do you make peace with someone who's wronged you or offended you?

I mentioned in this post to limit the time spent with people who are toxic to you. 

But, what if you have decided to limit your time with that person, or maybe you've moved on from them (such as a co-worker from a previous job). Maybe you've moved on physically, but mentally and emotionally they are still taking up residence in your mind and soul.

A Ready Listener

What do you do with that residue of hurt that's left over even after the I'm sorrys are said?

Sometimes there is residue left, like coffee grounds in the bottom of your cup.

It's important to be able to get rid of that residue, or in other words, to let go of the hurt and pain. 

To forgive.

Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison hoping the other person will die. 

Although there are not easy answers as to how to get rid of the hurt for good, there are some things I've learned in order to make peace in my heart. To rid myself of the reside of emotional pain, bitterness or anger. (yes, it's okay for us to say we get angry.)

Following are five ways I've found to be extremely helpful in making peace in relationships.

!. Ask God for help. 

Ask Him for his wisdom and strength to forgive and let go. Most times this is the only way I've been able to even begin the process of making peace. 

If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault. 
James 1:5

2.  Pray for God to bless that person.

Even if you don't consider yourself a believer in God, wishing someone well in your heart doesn't leave much room for wishing them ill. This is not easy if you are still angry and hurt. But, seeing this as an intention really does help.

3. Send a card to the person who hurt you.

I once had a co-worker relationship that was very difficult for me. I ended up quitting the job because of it. But, even after I left, my soul was still holding on to the anger. Sending a card to this person seemed to release the grip of my hurt feelings a lot more. 

4. Give them a gift. 

I know this sounds outrageous. Because it is. It doesn't have to be a large gift, and you probably won't feel like doing it. But, I truly believe the power of the hurt is broken just that much more when we give a gift to someone who hurt us. It can even be anonymous and still work wonders for your own heart.

5. Write a good-by letter.

This is an unedited letter that you write to them, but for your own benefit only. You do NOT send this to them or give it to the one who's offended you. Just write down 
Dear _______________,

And then write all of your hurt feelings down. To them. Anything goes in this. This is solely to drain the negative energy or emotion from your body, soul and spirit. If you choose to, you can tear it up afterwards, or burn it as a sign of letting go.

Lots of times when we make the decision to forgive or make peace the feelings have to catch up. 

Letting go of hurt is a process. 

And, it will be a different process for each person and each situation. 

Just know, that if the feelings to forgive don't show up right away, it's okay. 

How about you? Do you find it hard to let go of hurts? To forgive? I'd love to hear what has helped you in the comments.


Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dare to Be: An artist and to make art {Day 19}

Do you consider yourself an artist?

I never once considered myself an artist.

The Master Artist at work
Until recently, when I saw this quote and the book it comes out of.

"You were born to make art. You were made to live art. You might not see yourself as an artist, but you are--in so many unexpected ways. In what you create, whether poetry or pie, sculpture or sand castle, calligraphy or conversation. It's time to uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world with the courage to be who you most deeply are."

Emily Freeman, Author of A Million Little Ways

I need these words. Just these words from the back cover of her book breathe fresh wind into my sails.

I was born to make art. I was made to live art. I was born to be an artist at whatever I do in life.

I'm not sure if I'm feeling permission or validation, but her words make me feel something new about me, and what I create.

"The world needs you awake and alive...the world does need you to come alive right where you are and not where you wish you were. If writing books or songs or painting living rooms is what makes you come alive, then that's what you'll need to do."~ Emily Freeman

I think I'll go paint my living room.


Click on my button for a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dare to Create Space for Yourself {Day 18}

I  really thought we were going to move. I thought we'd be out of our current house long before now. Last year was spent sorting, cleaning, getting rid of bunches of stuff on Craig's List, at Goodwill and just throwing stuff out. 

I had us moved, so I haven't been at all interested in decorating this house lately. 

I love to pick out paint colors, rearrange furniture, hang things on the walls in pleasing displays. I have a mixture of decorating styles, but mostly my decor has been "early attic", meaning I had lots of things and furniture handed down to me.

I could call it:

Country farmhouse
Pottery Barn wannabe
{these are not professional terms :)}

I love junking. Antiquing, too, but the prices are much higher than junking. :)

I've pulled wreaths out of dumpsters, and chairs off the curb. I like to re-purpose. I would say I am artistic and crafty.

But, after thirteen years in the same home, I've gotten pretty tired of looking at the same walls.

The last week or two though I've been thinking, I'm here, so why not make the best of it for now? Why not create a space for me out of some unused space in our house?

My mind went to our periwinkle guest bedroom that never has any guests.

I've thought more seriously about turning it into a prayer/DIY/writing/creating space for just myself. I love that idea. 

Here are the before pics of my guest bedroom:

I think I was in a "I want this to be a shabby chic bedroom with all white furniture, so periwinkle will look great on the walls" faze.

So much for that.

Now, I badly want neutral. Something similar in style to The Nester and City Farmhouse. I love their decorating styles. Lighter, brighter, neutral.

My next step is to create a Pinterest Board called something like My Creative Space and start pinning away.

I am getting kind of excited about this.

Periwinkle will become a light tan or a barely there blue. Periwinkle will be no more.

Next will be searching the house (or Craig's List or Goodwill) for furniture that will promote rest, relaxation and creativity. For me.

Even if it is just a corner of a room, having a space we can call our own even if just for thinking is a great idea. Do you agree?


P.S. I'll keep you posted on the progress of my creative space-to-be.
P.P.S. If you have any ideas for me, I'd love to hear your input!

How about you? Do you have a place where you go to create, write or just meditate? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks for stopping!

Chubby cheeks and baby dreams

I'm once again linking up with Five Minute Friday. The prompt today is "laundry". Come on over to Lisa Jo Baker's blog and join in!

Chubby cheek against mine.

Chubby hand in my hand.

He's perched in my arms on the washer. 

Lid open.

Swish, swish, swish go the clothes.

Warm dryer running next to us.

Baby eyes are transfixed on the clothes going round and round in the suds.

The hum of the washer is luring us both into a sacred bond. 


Mother and son.


Why is laundry so comforting at times? I still find comfort in the hum and swish of the wash. But, agitation at the buzz of the dryer.

Don't remind me that my work is never done.


Keep me right there, 

cheek to cheek at the washer with this memory.

Baby eyes and mine.

Baby hands in my hand.

Heart to heart we stare into the suds and dream mommy and baby dreams.

Five Minute Friday

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