Tag Archives: writing

And then there is BRAVE


Learning to be brave can take many forms. For some, it goes so far to as find a newly brave soul jumping from an airplane; others test their taste buds with strange foods in strange lands. Many people consider stepping in front of an audience to be a bravery make-it-or-breaker. In my own quest, I am testing my limits and finding my courage by sharing my heart via this blog and offering it for others to read.

To that end, I recently submitted an entry to be published in an online publication. While my piece was not chosen, the act of editing it to conform to the publication’s standards (and limit of 450 words!), then sending out to be judged took as much gusto as that first time I stood behind a podium to address hundreds of people. And, maybe, just maybe, when the task was complete, I put on my well-worn SuperGirl tee shirt!

The following is a consolidated story from my mission adventures in Honduras

And then there is Brave

I thought I was so brave when I left my children. I filled their arms with stuffed animals to cuddle and their hearts with promises to love them forever. I arranged for babysitters, church friends, my mother to comfort them in my absence. My MOPS Mentor mom suggested I leave love notes and Bible verses to read if they felt sad. I packed my bags, I kissed my babies, and then I left them.

As the plane took off and my home receded farther into the distance, I recited the verse I had left with my daughters, my mantra of bravery.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Several hours later, our plane touched down in the third world country I was to spend the next two weeks. My mission team and I wound our way through customs, hoping our bags would not be confiscated. We traveled through checkpoints of armed teenaged military personnel and were awoken at night by nearby gunshots. I was often frightened, but not afraid. This was an adventure, an opportunity to see another side of life, to bring God’s love and hope to hurting, abandoned children. I would return home and tell my daughters I had left them to spread goodness in the world. It was hard being away from them, but I would show them I am brave.

And then I met bravery face-to-face, looked into eyes of true courage. She arrived at the orphanage with her five young children, then the young woman signed paperwork, handed over her babies, and walked away.

The native language being foreign to me, I gleaned only a little of the conversation but words were unnecessary. Grief has a language all its own, a non-verbal way of taking over one’s posture, gaze of the eyes, strength of hand, to expose the deepest heartbreak. I saw the vacant look in her eyes as she left her babies; the orphanage would provide a safer home than the one she offered full of sickness and abuse.

What love and wisdom – bravery she probably didn’t know she possessed – it must have taken to leave her children, giving them their best chance at survival. In weakness, my heart crumbled as I recognized the strength she possessed was something I do not, with my clean, secure home and healthy, well-fed children. Choosing to separate herself from her children in order to save them, she revealed to them – and me – what true bravery is: a sacrifice of love.

Toilet Paper


What am I doing?!? I must be nuts. Starting (another) blog. I can’t keep up with a daily (or even yearly) journal. I never made baby books for my daughters, posted pictures from trips to Paris on Facebook, or even ordered our wedding photo album. But here I go, starting another project. And for what? To set myself up for disappointment? To share my intimate thoughts and feelings with the general public? To open myself to critical feedback (bad idea – my mother will warn of my defensiveness). No, I just want to change the toilet paper.

The toilet paper rollers around this house twirl down to cardboard faster than we can flush. I’m not sure if I buy really sparse rolls (come on, Charmin, bulk it up a bit!) or if we use too much per, uh, use. But, in each of the bathrooms in our house, I estimate I change the roll every other day. Day, night, middle of a thunderstorm, doesn’t matter; it’s always me who changes it. So, sometimes I get fed up and I just don’t. I pull out a new roll and plunk it on the counter. There it waits for someone (always me) to come along later and treat it with due respect. If I’m in a daring mood, I’ll balance it on the old roll that now resembles a mummy in disrepair. But inevitably the new, thick roll will fall off and snake it’s way across the bathroom floor. The ingenuity it takes to reel that puppy back in while staying seated should land me a spot at MIT. Or at least a spot in their restroom.

Admit it, we’ve all been there. Peeling off the last snippets of gauzy paper just so we don’t have to be The Last One. Placing a new roll behind the commode, hoping the next visitor has more time. And then there’s the question of the empty roller. A small piece of cardboard that would go unnoticed in the trash. It’ll decompose someday, won’t it? Nah, better to be recycled. One. More. Step.

Well, here’s the thing. Each time I actually change the paper when it needs to be changed and properly dispose of the roller in our recycle bin, I feel this small thrill of accomplishment. I think, “I just did something. Perhaps I should do something else!” And I almost always do (after washing my hands, of course). I’ll put away some toys, fold laundry, or wash the dishes. Once in a while, I’ll do something crazy like keep going until the house is clean. All because of the toilet paper roll.

I figure this blog is much the same. Typing it out, getting my experiences and emotions organized and entered takes a bit of effort. I’ve been trying to balance my thoughts on my own precarious soul for too long. Each time I write, each time I see myself consolidated into words on a screen, I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment. I am so much more than a clumsy chatterbox who changes toilet paper for a living. I am pertinent. I exist where I am not present. My opinions are worthwhile and open for discussion (especially positive feedback). Yes, I will change that toilet paper roll, again, and then I will write. I hope you will read.