Let's all be brave

I'll start today by saying I'm genuinely proud of myself and my friend Lauren, who after months (maybe even years?) of us talking about wanting to do a girlfriend bible study, we actually, finally made it happen. On our own. In full disclosure, we had no idea what we were doing and pretty much played the whole thing by ear. But we did it and we made it all the way through a book, and somehow convinced two of our friends to join us (and they kept coming back each week).

We may not have realized it then, but that was brave.

We had weekly get togethers and discussions and lots of chardonnay. We read through a book that forced all of us to think and act outside our comfort zones, and the best part is that we did it together.

And that was brave, too.

Our last "meeting" lasted four hours, mostly in part because we ate, drank and girl-talked all while discussing the last chapters and the end of this new "thing" we embarked on and completed. And after discussion was over and done for the last time, we decided to keep going. To look up places in our community to serve together and to meet again soon to find the next book we can dive into, maybe this time with a little more confidence that we know what we're doing.

And that is definitely brave.

As we were ending this (quite literal) chapter, we went around and talked individually about what we got out of this book and our time together, and I think this was the coolest thing we did throughout the five week adventure. Naturally, I grabbed my laptop and between sips of wine and bites of cookies, frantically started typing because I knew this was going to be too good not to capture.

And these are my brave, brave friends - what they learned from this book about themselves, their relationship with their faith and where they want to go from here. I am so, so proud to call these girls my girlfriends. If there were ever a reason to be persuaded to read a book, I think this would be it. Enjoy! Xoxo.

"I remember all the moments that spoke to me. I'm like, 'I get it now. And where could I apply this to my life?' It never once felt like I was being lectured, but I appreciated that I knew then in that instance that it meant something to me and how I needed to apply it to my life."

"This brought out defining moments of my life and how I want to make myself better and continue to put myself out there. Now I value myself more and look at things differently."

"Now I'm able to step back and think about being brave, and having a consciousness of it - opportunities to be brave and having the self awareness that we're capable of it and are capable of so many more brave things. We want them so bad now and are excited for it. Having that excitement, having a whole new feeling about how we live our life and a new meaning to it. Even every day things we don't think twice about but could impact someone else and impact you more than you know it."

"I'm learning we don't have to do this amazing thing to be brave or to change someone's life, but the little things we do can make such a difference to someone and to us."

"I've found myself a lot more vulnerable thinking about the person I want to be and what I need. I'm allowing myself to be the person I want to be - and that's really vulnerable."

"It makes me want to be a better person, a better wife, a better friend, a better coworker."

Note: The book we read is called Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs. It's a non-fiction, essay driven book that is way more than a bunch of bible verses. It's real life stories that are relatable, funny and encourage you to be brave in all aspects of your life. You can purchase it on Amazon with the link below. Do yourself a favor and check it out. I promise it's a worthy one.

**Special, special shout-out to my friend Annie Jagoditz who took these awesome photos. You, my friend, are amazing.