Thoughts on being brave

A few months ago, I found myself standing on the edge of a decent size cliff in Lake Powell.  As I peered over the edge, a memory from 25 years earlier flooded my mind.


My family was in Lava Hot Springs in Idaho for a family reunion.  There were a few diving boards and 3 platforms of varying heights.  I was 9 years old and not a great swimmer (I’m still not a great swimmer).  But I sat and watched people jumping off those platforms and I decided I had to do it.  Because that’s just how I am.

So I climbed up the very long ladder, walked across the platform, and peered over the edge.  It looked much higher from up there.  But I had committed.  And there was no way I was climbing back down that ladder.  There was no way I was quitting.  So I stood on the edge for awhile, stomach turning, legs shaking.  And then I backed up.  And someone else would jump.  Then I’d walk to the edge, peer over, try to get courage, and then back up.  This lasted for probably close to 30 minutes.  Walk to the edge, peer over, walk back.  Walk to the edge…..

After being up there for so long, nearly every person at the pool that day was aware of what was going on.  And they were all……waiting.  Waiting to see if I’d jump or if I’d climb back down.  My parents never came up after me.  And I don’t remember them encouraging me to jump or climb back down.  They  just waited.  Like everyone else.  To see what I would do.

I don’t remember why, or how, but eventually I stepped off the edge.  And miraculously, someone got a picture of it.

{9 year old me stepping off the platform at Lava Hot Springs}


{a view from further away to show varying heights}


Because I had been up there for so long, and the entire pool became invested in watching me jump, when my head finally came up out of the water, all of the people at the pool were cheering and clapping.  I don’t recall being embarrassed.  I was just relieved I finally did it.  I did not go back up for another jump.


Fast forward 25ish years and I found myself in a very similar situation.  Only this time there was no crowd.  Just me and my family.  And my 15 year old niece who I couldn’t let show me up (that girl is WAY too crazy for her own good).  And my husband who so kindly said “either jump or climb back down, but this boat is leaving”.  And so again, I walked to the edge and backed up.  And then after a much shorter time period than the first experience, I jumped.


Both of these experiences got me thinking a lot about what it means to be brave.  And then, like it was meant just for me, Glennon from Momastery wrote a brilliant post on this very subject.  She said:


“Over time I have come to believe that brave does not mean what we think it does. It does not mean “being afraid and doing it anyway.” Nope. Brave means listening to the still small voice inside and DOING AS IT SAYS. Regardless of what the rest of the world is saying. Brave implies WISDOM. Brave people are not simply those who JUMP every time. They do not necessarily “do it anyway.” Brave people block out all the yelling voices and listen to the deepest voice inside the quietest, stillest place in their heart. If that voice says JUMP, they jump. And if that voice says TURN AROUND – they turn around, and they hold their head high. Often the one who turns around shows GREAT BRAVERY, because she has been true to herself even in the face of pressure to ignore her still, small voice and perform for the crowd….

Brave is: To Thine Own Self Be True. And Brave parents say: I trust you, little one – to Be Still and Know. I’ll back you up.”

(You can read the entire article here.  It’s a good one)

In both instances, I wanted to jump.  I wanted that adventure.  I wanted that memory.  If I didn’t, I definitely have the kind of personality where I would have never gone up in the first place.

The take away message–listen to the voice.  And be mindful that my children have their OWN voice and if I can teach them to listen to that, they’ll be okay.  Sometimes the voice says “jump” and sometimes it says “turn around”.  Feel the fear and decide if the voice is telling us to “do it anyway” or if the voice is telling us to run.  All we have to do is listen.  And trust. And then DO as the voice says.


Our kids are capable of SO much.

I posted this on my Instagram account, but wanted to have it here as well.

“He hasn’t been in any lakes this year.  He sits on the edge of the boat with his toes in the water and says “I’m getting used to it”.  Then on the way home he’ll say “I’ll be brave next time and get in”.  

He gets nervous at the lake.  Maybe it’s the dark depths of black water, the waves, the potential of being run over by a boat, or the fish (sick).  But yesterday he decided it was time to get in.  So he climbed on the EZ ski.

As we let out the rope, I could see his face start to crumble.  And the tears well in his eyes.  And the immediate regret.  He looked up at me.  My instinct was to pull him back in.  But instead, the boat of siblings and cousins (and mom) erupted in screams and cheers.  “Yea Carter!  You can do it!”

We started to pull him behind the boat.  He looked down.   Still fighting the fear.  And then, he let go.  Literally and figuratively.  And the wind blew his hair and a small smile crept across his face.  And we continued to cheer.

When he climbed back onto the boat, he looked at me and said “I’m so proud of myself for doing that.”

Our kids are capable of SO much.  We just have to be willing to let them fight through the fear.

TED. Ideas worth spreading. And listening to.

I listen to TED talks when I’m doing laundry, washing dishes, walking on the treadmill, driving in the car.  It’s a great way to get through other things I’d rather not be doing.  A nice distraction from some of the mundane things I have to do.

Here are a few TED talks I think are worth listening to.


I love Brene Brown.  Her books are amazing.  Her speeches are equally amazing.

This one is surprisingly funny.  And definitely made me think about the direction our schools are going.

I REALLY loved this one by Amy Cuddy.  Powerful message about how our body language can shape how we think about ourselves and how successful we may become in our aspirations.  Although it has now made me super conscious about how I stand, sit, and interact with my body.  🙂

Tony Robbins is always great to listen to.

I laughed out loud several times during Shawn Achor’s speech.  Really funny, but also spot on about how happiness works.

This one is a little different and dramatic, but if you stick with it until the end, she ties it all together nicely with some talk about compassion.  Something our society desperately needs right now.

There you go.  Some “easy” listening during your chores or workouts.


For another amazing TED talk, check out this one my FRIEND did about how to have more energy each day.  I’ve been following her advice and it truly makes a difference.

And if you need a pick-me-up for the day, check out these videos that are sure to inspire you.

What am I so “busy” doing anyway?

I’ve made a new addition for my wall.

I’m putting this in a spot I walk by and look at often in my home.  To remind me to slooooooow down.

I’ve been focusing a lot on my WHY.  Why I do what I do.  What’s most important.  How I am using my time.  What is consuming most of my time.  Am I just busy or am I doing what matters most?  And does it all support my underlying why?

What can we eliminate as a family to have less “busy” and more intention?  What things will get us where we want to be?  And what things won’t?

In his book, More or Less, Jeff Shinabarger says there has been “a recent cultural shift:  we now determine the significance of a person by how busy they are.”

Something I think of often:  If Satan can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy.  Either way, he keeps us from fulfilling a purposeful life.

If I were to strip the purpose of life down to the bare bones, I would say the only thing that counts is how we treat other people.  How we make other people feel.  What kind of real, authentic relationships we created.  How approachable we are.  How we LOVE other people.  How we love ourselves.  What we give back to other people (time, attention, love).

Bob Goff
Am I available?  Am I accessible?  Am I present?  Or am I too busy doing too many other things (even if those things are seemingly important)?

For some reason, when I (we) become increasingly busy, the first thing that suffers is my relationships. My time for other people, for service, for FUN, for leisure time just BEING with the people I love is often the first sacrifice.

 So I ask myself, if a friend calls and needs support, will I drop everything and go?  Will they even call me in the first place if they think I’m “too busy”?  If one of my kids needs some extra love and attention, can my “to do” list be put aside?  

Do I make sure I get quality time with my husband?  Do I make sure I take care of and nurture ME ?  Do I have enough time, and energy, to serve people around me?

What makes my soul come alive and how am I proactive in making time for those things?  The same for my kids and husband?  What makes us come alive as a family?

What do I spend my free time doing?  And why?  Do I even have free time?  If not, why?  Does my use of time reflect who I am and who I hope to become?

“We give lip service to the idea that people are supremely important.  But what does our use of time say is important?”
                                                                                                         Jeff Shinabarger

It’s okay to slow down.  It’s okay to not be busy all.the.time.  It’s okay to take things off the schedule that don’t support my WHY or the goals and ambitions of our family life.  It’s OKAY TO SAY NO.  Because when I say “no” to one thing, I say “yes” to something that supports my why.  Something that matters MORE.

So I’m trying to slow down.  BE STILL.  Listen.  Pay attention.  Notice details.  Be deliberate with my time.  Nurture relationships with family, friends, and strangers.  And solely focus on what really matters to me.  People.  And love.

“Real Life Stories–Women of Inspiration”. Jenny from The Happy Family Movement

I first met Jenny at the Breathe Intensive in Las Vegas several years ago. We were only with each other in person for 4 hours, but have kept in touch ever since.

Jenny and her husband, Josh, started The Happy Family Movement, a site dedicated to helping families create a more meaningful life together. And they are also about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for their newest idea to help families, the Phone Monster. AND, they started the Summer Bucket List challenge to help families have a more adventurous, intentional summer with their families. They’re busy people.

Jenny grew up in less than ideal circumstances. But instead of letting a victim mentality consume her, she changed her story and is making a positive impact on the people around her. She LOVES her kids and is constantly trying to create a great life story for her family.
Real Life Stories
1. Give me a quick peek at your life story.
Oh, wow… a quick peek? Um… I grew up in a bad situation. My dad died when I was a kid and I never got to know him. My mom was into drugs and we had a bad relationship. I worked hard through high school and got a full ride scholarship to go to college. I got married, got my Master’s Degree in Accounting, became a wedding photographer with my hubby, had three kids, started a family blog called The Happy Family Movement, and now I’m starting a new business called Phone Monsters. I’ve just leased a van for my business, so if you need vans for your business, check out Intelligent Van Leasing! Whew! Life is BUSY but wonderful

2. Tell me about an “every day moment” you are grateful for
Every night at bedtime, we crawl into bed with each of our kiddos for our nightly ‘snuggle chat’. We snuggle and talk about their day, their hopes, their fears, their dreams. It’s really the only part of our day that’s not usually chaotic and I love connecting with them.
3. Tell me about one ambition you have right now
I just launched my new business Phone Monsters and I’m really focused on getting that off the ground! I want to build a company that creates products that help families connect more.
4. If you could speak on anything to a large group of women, what would you talk about?
I’m lucky enough that I get asked to speak to mother’s groups fairly regularly and the one thing I always talk about is living intentionally and creating memorable experiences for your family. I believe that it’s SO important for every family to sit down and figure out exactly what your family values are. Once you know what your values are, work on setting up habits that help you live intentionally within those values. It benefits your family and it helps teach your kids more about living intentionally!
5. What does the phrase “create a good life story” mean to you?
I love this phrase!! To me, it’s all about creating space to let good things happen. It’s about saying yes to adventure. It’s about going out and doing things instead of just talking about doing things. It’s embracing your fears and going for it anyway. It’s about turning off the TV or computer or the cell phone and going outside to play catch, or tag, or ride bikes. It’s about giving back and doing good in the world and teaching your kids to give back and do good. It’s about love….it’s always about love!
6. Tell me something someone taught you that made an impact on your life
We’ve learned so much about life and embracing who you are from SO many people we’ve met in the photography industry and other creative entrepreneurs.
7. Name one event in your life that has made a significant impact on the course of your life story
I quit my job to go back to school and get my Master’s Degree. We started our photography business at the same time. It was the riskiest, craziest thing we had ever done and I’m still shocked today that we made such a crazy decision considering that up until that point, we played everything safe.
8. What is something you want to accomplish you haven’t yet?
I’d love to give a TED talk!
9. What photographs are you most grateful for from your childhood or teen years?
I’ve got two photos of my dad that my grandpa gave me before he passed away. They’re the only connection I have to a dad I never knew and don’t remember.
10. What are you most proud of?
That I broke the cycle of neglect and abuse. I’m not a perfect mother, but I’m a really good one and my kids know without a doubt that I love them.
11. What is the best parenting advice/tip someone gave you?
I read a magazine article written by husband/wife nutritionists one time…Most of the article was how you should only give your kid a cupcake or treat on their birthday, etc. But there was one nugget of info in there that was amazing! They said you should give your kids HUGE servings of veggies at every meal, but never force them to eat all the veggies. So I give my kids as much as a whole cup of veggies at every meal. Sometimes they eat half the bowl, but sometimes they eat ALL the veggies. I guarantee they eat WAY more veggies than they would if I gave them a smaller serving. I know it’s small thing, but it really works!
12. Tell me something you are sure of
I am sure that every person on the planet has a special talent that the world needs. We don’t always know what it is immediately, but when we find it, it’s our responsibility to share it with the world and make an impact.
13. What is your favorite quote or life motto?
Say yes to adventure!
14. What is your favorite part about yourself (not a physical trait)?
I’m very driven and focused. I have a lot of confidence in my ability to get things done. And if I believe in something, I won’t let it fail because I won’t give up until it succeeds.
15. What type of photographs do you wish you had more of?
Photos of my brothers and I as kids
16. What is something you do to help drive away fear or anxiety?
I write myself encouraging notes on the good days so I can read them on the rough ones. Even when everyone else believes in you and is encouraging you, sometimes you just need to remember that YOU believe in yourself too.
17. What is your favorite part about being a mom? Your least favorite part (just keepin it real on this question–I know you love your kids)?
My favorite part of being a mom is seeing my kids be amazing…sometimes that’s sharing a cookie with someone, writing a nice note, standing up to a bully at school, picking up trash on the beach. And sometimes it’s Lia’s silly dance moves, finding Ava hiding behind the chair with a book, and Max’s serious obsession with whatever he’s obsessed with at the moment…which right now is sharks.
My least favorite part has got to be bedtime. Seriously! Kids have no sense of urgency! On the nights we don’t have activities bedtime is much smoother. But anytime we get home late and need to do super-fast-bedtime as we like to call it, I always feel frustrated at their stall tactics and when they get out of bed thirteen times. Tell me I’m not alone in this!
18. Tell me something about yourself that may surprise people
I’m an incredibly Type A, organized, plan everything kind of person, but I’ve learned to be spontaneous and be okay with that.
19. What’s one thing you wish you would have known when you were younger?
That’s it’s going to be okay. That perfect attendance doesn’t count for anything really. That nobody will ever ask you or ever care what your GPA was after you graduate. That you can find a way to make a living doing just about anything you love…seriously.
And for fun:
Favorite book: HARRY POTTER!
Favorite family tradition: oh my gosh…we have so many. Probably riding bikes to the park on the 4th of July. We watch the city fireworks display then bike home. Our city allows people to shoot off fireworks, so the whole bike ride home feels like a fireworks serenade!
Something you enjoy doing with your spouse: Exploring and adventuring. we love to do active things!
Talent you wish you had: I SO wish that I could sing
Favorite meal: hmmm..Depends on the day, but I love good pizza, pretty much all Mexican food, and anything on the grill.
If you never had to do one specific thing again, what would it be: EMAIL
Favorite show on TV: I would say HIMYM, but it ended this week and they totally blew the ending. So probably Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Parenthood.
Something that scares you: Something happening to my hubby or kids
Favorite thing about your husband: he loves to act ridiculous just to make me laugh
Something you can’t live without: Pepsi…I know it’s terrible for me, but I love it so much!
What’s something you think about often: money. I wish I had a better answer, but it’s true. One of the down sides to being an entrepreneur is having to constantly figure out where the next payment is coming from 🙂

THANK YOU for doing this interview Jenny! And thank you for doing everything you can to do GOOD things in this world.

If you want to read other “Real Life Stories–Women of Inspiration” interviews, click here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...