Thursday, October 23, 2014

Learning the art of bravery

What is Bravery?

Bravery can look like a lot of things to a lot of people.

I don't think bravery can be defined the same way for every person.

Brave for me means stepping out of my comfort zone, choosing to ignore the tapes that play in my head, and forging a new path.

This month has been a month of brave for me.

I set off on a faith journey to the distant land of........ O-hi-o

I forged new roads, made new tapes, and I met some great people.

Let me take you back a bit to a little over a year ago, because that is where this story of bravery really starts.

As I was reading the comments of a blog I saw my name and thought, "when did I comment on this?"  It was not me though, but another Karmen with a K.  I was thrilled and had to let her know I existed. This was my first step of brave; putting myself out there and introducing myself.

From there we began an online friendship through facebook and our blogs.

The more I learned about her the more I wanted to meet her.

I battled the tapes in my head telling me that I am not worth getting to know and broached the topic of meeting.  She was game, so we made a plan.

At O Dark thirty in the morning, otherwise known as 4 am, on Friday October 3rd I hopped into my husband's truck and started my long drive from CT to Ohio.

Sometimes, you don't even realize that you are being brave.

On the trip out there I was following the gps on my phone.  I had programmed it the night before to avoid tolls as much as possible and also to get me there via the fastest route possible while also avoiding New York.  As I was driving along in the dark through all the construction my gps told me that it had a new route that would get me there 1.5 hours faster.  That is a lot of faster so I pushed the reroute button without a thought.  It wasn't until I was driving through Jersey and the sun was coming up that I realized that I had just driven right smack dab through New York City.  Right smack dab through it! I was brave and survived it without even realizing where I was at the time and that I was even being brave.

Allowing someone else to do the leading let me conquer something that if left to my own devices I never would have thought I could do.  (Bigger life application inserted here.)  I was big and brave and stronger than I thought!  I felt like Super Woman in a white pick up truck.

As the hours and miles went by I would push out the creeping thoughts of "what if she doesn't really want me to be there?" or "what if they think I am weird for coming all this way?"  and would replace them with how I would feel if someone were to think so much of me to do the same.

That is another step of brave, hearing the old tapes, ignoring them, and recording new tapes to replace them and then play those.  And not just play them, but choose to believe them.

When I pulled up she came out and we hugged like old friends and I was welcomed into her home with the ease and comfort of walking into my own.  Her daughters were also wonderful, engaging, and also inviting.

Her sweet dog, Nigel, and I made fast friends. The day I wore capris he couldn't stop licking my legs, I think all the sugar I consume must make me taste extra sweet.  If I could have brought him home with me I would have, he is just the sweetest little guy.  I mean seriously how could you not fall in love with this face?

That night we went to dinner and  I got to meet many of her friends, all of them were just as lovely as they appear to be on her blog.

It was kind of surreal actually.  Imagine one of your favorite books, now imagine getting to step into that world for a weekend and live in it with all of the characters from that book.  That is kind of what it felt like, but not, because, you know, they are all real people.

I loved being allowed into her world, wanted even.  

Although a  part of me wondered if before I had come she was like, "Hey, friends, come have dinner with this lady in case she is a total nut case and I need back up!", but I told myself that it was probably more like, "Oh my gosh the other Karmen is coming and she is so Ah MAy Zing that you must come and dine with her, because it would be selfish to keep this much awesome to myself!"  

I am guessing that the truth actually lies somewhere in the middle of those two.  

The whole weekend felt easy and wonderful.  I felt able to be myself.  Even when being myself included dumping insane amounts of ice all over her kitchen floor, because the ice had not been falling into my water bottle like I had thought and instead was backing up into the chamber from whence it came, so when I pulled my bottle away all the ice fell everywhere.  (If there is a way for me to make a mess and be a klutz at the same time, you can bet I will find it.)  Or the time when I was getting ready in the morning I whacked the towel bar with my arm and sent the rod clanging, LOUDLY to the tile floor.  Myself is a bit loud, and messy, and imperfect and it all felt OKAY.  (Another brave, accepting me as being me and not belittling myself for it.)

When bravery changes your armor.

On Sunday, I went with them to church.  I was new, but I didn't feel it.  Everyone was so welcoming and warm, I was greeted with hugs and smiles.  During the service I felt right at home. That to me is the mark of a good church.  No matter what denomination it is, if it is God loving and Bible preaching the same Spirit should be present within it.  If it is, then it will feel like home, even if the "decor" is slightly different.

By Sunday night it felt as though Karmen and I were old friends.  Chatting freely and deeply.  At one point her husband came into the Kitchen and said that we were in there solving all the worlds problems.  We were.  Get ready world, Karmen and Karmen for President & Vice President 2016!  (okay not really, but we would be awesome!  We could throw the world an awesome party and solve all its issues at the same time. Of course I am too much of a flighty creative to hunker down and get to business, so it is probably better if I just stick to blogging and kitchen table conversations.)

When I came back home my Sister told me I was brave for going.  I was, and I am.  I am brave.

It is an evolving bravery.

It is giving me a new armor.  It is a process of shedding my old armor of walls and fear and replacing it with an acceptance and comfort of who I am.  And with this new armor I am gaining with it an army. An army of people who also accept me and bring me comfort and who are helping me to remove those walls that I hid behind and are inviting me to go with them into this brave new world of freedom to be m.y.s.e.l.f.


  1. This is so beautifully written I could cry! I guess I’m such a kook that I missed your bravery or the true gravity of it. I’m sorry about that. You WERE brave on so many levels and WE were the privileged recipients of that bravery. Everyone loved you! I did feel connected with you right away and so LOVE that you “braved up” and drove all those miles for me. :) Thank you, if I didn’t say it before! Now, it’s my turn to come see you! :)

    1. Just name the date! I think you were brave as well to have me, in your home no less, sight unseen. We are all so brave it is ridiculous! =)

  2. Words can't fully express how happy I am to see God's Masterpiece being revealed. You have always been a priceless work of art, but now God is revealing it to you. I am so thankful for the work you are doing and the new tapes you are playing and believing. You are a beautiful person and you are brave.

  3. Oh my! Look at you wearing your courage like a cape. So proud of you! I bet it was hard ... with all those nasty little tapes telling you something other than the truths like "You're amazing!" and "You have so much to offer!" and "You are a blessing!"

    I hope I'll get a trip in the future. Or maybe I can travel there. One day. We can dream.

    Much <3

    - |<@ren (also with a "K")

    1. You are for sure on my list of people to meet! I envision a weekend of crafting and storytelling around mugs of something yummy. You are always welcome to come to me, but I would love to take in all of the beauty of your home. You are crafting it around pieces of your soul and I want to be able to absorb that in.

    2. Yes, Karen, with a are only one letter off of being a Karmen. ;)

  4. I just wrote, but it didn't post, so I'll try again! Bravo for you, Karmen. That certainly took a lot of courage. I'm so proud of you. And God gave you blessings far beyond you even expected. :) You are a very special person, Karmen, and I enjoy reading your blog.

    1. Thank you Trudy! I am so thankful for your reading and cheer leading. You are one of my blessings.

  5. OH Karmen, You are Wonderful and AMaZInG. I'm so glad I got to meet you, finally. I wish we could have gotten to spend more time together, your visit was too short and Karmen H. did hog you...LoL. Thanks for the reminder of the old tapes. They have occupied a lot of time in my head (I call them my committee) When I remember to fire the committee and replace them with the Truth of Christ. WOW. what freedom. Hope to see you soon. Julie T.

    1. Julie, it was so lovely getting to meet you. I would love to spend more time with you as well. I am seeing a girls weekend get together somewhere in the future.

  6. Wow, Karmen! I love that you and Karmen met in person. How awesome is that??? Lot's of brave - and so thankful that you are fighting the old tapes, and believing the new - because you are worthy, you are cherished and you are AWESOME! Thankful you had this amazing brave weekend and thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  7. My heart is bursting reading this - and I'm smiling, SO.BIG. Oh. You are so very brave and I love how you are finding new armor and replacing old tapes, letting new friends into the deep places of your heart. How far you have traveled down this road of Brave this past year! I'm so proud, so very proud - and so very happy for you, that you got to meet the "other" Karmen. Isn't it something amazing to meet these writer friends that have grown so dear to your heart in person? I am still hoping for the day I can meet you in person, friend. Until then, I'll love you from Seattle.

  8. Thank you Amber. I have traveled quite a ways from where I was two years ago haven't I? I look forward to the day we get to meet and hug in person! It is coming!


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