Beauty the Brave – Vol. 14

“Be brave, little rabbit. Take a chance.”
~ Cherise Sinclair, Breaking Free

Ah, bravery. Bravery wears many faces and takes many shapes. To some, it means courage to stand unwavering in your convictions. To others, bravery wields a sword in the face of certain defeat. Bravery can be speaking up, showing up, suiting up, or standing up. Anyone can be brave when their rowboat is on a calm, placid lake. What happens when you find yourself in roaring rapids? When you look ahead and see jagged rocks and a tumultuous waterfall? Do you jump? Do you paddle for your life? Do you light a cigar and take in the view? Do you put on your goggles, get ready to go over the falls and think, “I can’t wait to tell my friends about THIS! They better put this on YouTube!” Or do you feel the undeniable itch in your back, between your shoulder blades, and finally–though you are oh so scared–decide to spread your wings … and fly?

Be brave, little rabbits. Take a chance. You can be heroes. Any day, every day. – Christy and Jennie

~ “Heroes” by Peter Gabriel from Scratch My Back. (Original by David Bowie)

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“She was bored. She loved, had capacity to love, for love, to give and accept love. Only she tried twice and failed twice to find somebody not just strong enough to deserve it, earn it, match it, but even brave enough to accept it.” ~ William Faulkner, The Town

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“The bravest person I know is afraid of the dark. She sleeps with a night lamp always, but if her friends are threatened? She suddenly thinks she’s a bear twelve feet tall and attacks whoever scared her friends.” ~ Tamora Pierce, Cold Fire

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“A craven can be as brave as any man, when there is nothing to fear. And we all do our duty, when there is no cost to it. How easy it seems then, to walk the path of honor. Yet soon or late in every man’s life comes a day when it is not easy, a day when he must choose.” ~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

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Ruby Bridges

~ US Marshals with Young Ruby Bridges on School Steps  (Source).
“She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all very proud of her.” Charles Burks, one of the U.S. Federal Marshals, later said of six-year-old Ruby. (via)

“Though I did not know it then, nor would I come to realize it for many years, what transpired in the fall of 1960 in New Orleans would forever change my life and help shape a nation. When I think back on that time and all that has occurred since, I realize a lot has changed. I also know there is much more to be done. That fateful walk to school began a journey, and I have now developed a vision to continue moving forward.” ~ Ruby Bridges

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“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

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“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

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“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” ~ Mark Twain

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“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” ~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

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“What’s the bravest thing you ever did?
He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.”
~ Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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Touched by an Angel

by Maya Angelou

“We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.”

~ “Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou

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“In order to fly you have to create space in the open air so that your wings can really spread out. It’s like a parachute. They only work from a high altitude. To fly you have to begin taking risks. If you don’t want to, maybe the best thing is just to give up, and keep walking forever.” ~ Jorge Bucay, Déjame Que Te Cuente

Hafuz

~ Harun Yahya (Source unknown, but very appreciated.)

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“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

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The Difference Between Strength and Courage

It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.

It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pains,
It takes courage to show them.

It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to endure abuses,
It takes courage to stop them.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.

It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

~ by David L. Griffith (we believe this source to be accurate, though we have also seen “Author Unknown”)

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“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.” ~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.” ~ Malala Yousafzai

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“We live and breathe words. … It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you.”
~ Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

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Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt, excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic

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“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  ~ Ambrose Redmoon

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“Lady Macbeth: But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.” ~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth

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Peonies

by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open–
pools of lace,
white and pink–
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities–
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again–
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

~ “Peonies,” by Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press)

***

“Sam: I wonder if we’ll ever be put into songs or tales.
Frodo: What?
Sam: I wonder if people will ever say, ‘Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring.’ And they’ll say ‘Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn’t he, Dad?’ ‘Yes, my boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that’s saying a lot.’
Frodo: You’ve left out one of the chief characters – Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam.  Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam.
Sam: Now Mr. Frodo, you shouldn’t make fun; I was being serious.
Frodo: So was I.
Sam: Samwise the Brave…”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

***

Would you like to hear
The night
I bravely fought the–
No?
All right.
~ “The Battle” by Shel Silverstein

***

This week’s Bravery-themed music playlist via YouTube, features music by: CAKE, Leonard Cohen, Drive By Truckers, Warren Zevon, and more.

Playlist link:

Don’t Forget: You are welcome to join me and Jennie at Words For The Year to get a single Words selection from me and/or Jennie every day.

What defines bravery to you? Who do you consider one of the most brave persons in history? Do you have a favorite BRAVE song or quote?

Need more bravery-inspriation? Watch this … you’ll be ready to take on the world!

44 comments

  1. Christy,
    This is my favorite Words post. I am deeply moved. It is timely and timeless. The Theodore Roosevelt quotes is one of my all time favorites. Just two weeks ago I shared it with my daughter, and I have an unfinished post in draft, that I had to set on the back burner for the time being, with that same quote. 🙂

    I loved “The Difference Between Strength and Courage”. How profoundly true.

    To one of the most courageous people I know, thank you for making my morning, my day, my weekend, a little brighter. ღ
    ~Victoria

    “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~Winston Churchill

    “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” ~Maya Angelou

    Like

    1. Aww Victoria, you make my life a little brighter. ❤

      I'm really glad you loved this one. I know bravery is something near and dear to so many of our hearts, especially mine as this is my year of "brave." This post felt special from the start, I'm really proud of it and how it flows.

      I love that you shared Roosevelt's piece with your daughter. That entire speech is pretty powerful, one of those links will take you to the full transcript. 😉

      Love the Churchill! And Maya could transcribe the phone book and it would somehow be profound.

      Love, c

      Like

  2. OK – you got Lenny doing one my fave songs of his of all times (not goosebumps as I type) and Monty Python AND ELO. What a blazing mix for this hombre this morning. Stronger and more fortifying than my bold coffee on this polar vortexing day.

    That quote by Yahya (“I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question”) was a shot to the solar plexus. I have been in a odd space lately, not myself, yet not quite not myself, and that one seemed to just slap me about like a gorilla on steroids. Thank you for that. Loved it. And hated it, as it has me looking inward and asking the same question.

    Hmmmmmm…

    But this has been my fave post so far here in this this space. Bravery – what an ideal, what a way to be. The world needs a bit more of it. But there are those around us, quietly and without fanfare, who exude it, who demonstrate it in ways that aren’t in the ways we think of as brave, as you describe so well here.

    Thank you for this.

    Wonderful.

    Blessings,
    Paul

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    1. We all need a good gorilla slap to bust us out of our comfort zones. I’ve had that photo saved on my computer for months–I’ve been going through much of my own soul-searching as you know–and it’s been a source of comfort and stomachache to me as well.

      A similar piece by Rumi gets me too:

      “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”

      Spread your wings, little rabbit. Go, be your own hero. Go, fly high.

      Love, Christy

      >

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  3. Fits right in with: Sara Bareilles – Brave – YouTube

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    1. It sure does, doesn’t it? 😉

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      1. EXACTLY! This video sits on my blog, too 🙂

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        1. I know y’all saw the kids and staff at the children’s hospital singing and dancing to this?

          I’ll find it…

          I was going to post it, but since I shared Sara’s live version at RoS, I didn’t want to burn y’all out.

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  4. I love this one, too. I think the distinction between feeling brave and being brave is especially important. When you only see another person’s brave actions, it’s easy to imagine that they grow out of a kind of certainty that you just don’t feel yourself. Or when someone, though frightened, does a brave thing, only to hear from another person, “It might be great not to be afraid of ….” Confusing one for the other makes for a lonely feeling all around. OK I didn’t say that so clearly, but I wanted to try, and I’m glad that so many of these writers said it so well. Many thanks to you for this.

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    1. I get ya. It’s a “what’s on the outside does not always match what’s on the inside” type of thing. It’s easy for people to look at butterflies and think they live a carefree life of flowers and sunshine, but they never knew her as a caterpillar or as one holed up in a cocoon in the painful throes of metamorphosis. Plus, butterflies don’t live very long. How brave to leave a safe life on the ground, for a short life of freedom in flight. “To be wild and perfect for a moment before they are nothing forever.”

      Sometimes just the act of living can be a very brave feat (like the quote from The Road). Bravery wears many faces.

      So grateful for your comment–thank you!

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      1. Worth watching again and again and again 🙂

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  5. Not only your post is amazing (as always), but I love reading through the comments as well. Your butterfly/caterpillar insight was beautiful. I think people who stand up for moral issues in today’s world are super brave–because they seem to get blasted the most by others (especially the so-called ‘tolerant’ ones in politics and media)

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    1. Hi Char, I love the comments too. Always enjoy seeing what sparks an interest in different readers and where that inspiration can lead. The butterfly story surprised me–I may have to play with that thought for RoS some as it certainly relates to recovery-type issues.

      And yes! Even if I don’t agree with someone’s opinion, it’s always refreshing to see someone take a stand. So rare.

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  6. Beautiful (and) brave…as always!
    I’m going to read it over and over and then deposit a response worth reading. I’m just soaking it in right now 🙂

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    1. Soak and reflect as often and as much as you’d like! (Though I saw your other comment come in too, and will respond shortly, my brave little hummingbird…)

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  7. Got home a couple of hours ago after the the fourth week in a row of 2-3 day business trip jaunts. Now please understand I enjoy most all the fine folks I meet in these travels and I have a passion for flying but I have to admit I was ready to pull up to the gate of my little piece of country here in the Lone Star State this go ’round. My apologies for veering way off topic but here’s what I’m listening to because I caught the tail end of it while refueling a while ago and now I’ve got it turned up to 11 here in the garage. Thank ya’ll, appreciate you.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrQRPg050gI

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    1. Whistler, you’re alright in my book.

      I moved to your little state a few years ago, and while she’s starting to grow on me, I still miss the ‘country’ of my youth… She’s always on my mind.

      It’s always fun to veer off on to a country road tangent. Welcome home!

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      1. Maybe we can meet in the middle.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXXYivFr7hU

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        1. LOVE her. Colvin has a pretty good memoir out, she’s in recovery too. I admire her a lot.

          Another one in the middle for you:

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  8. Wow! I really love this post. It’s just what I needed to read today. Thank you so much!
    -Jami

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    1. Why, you are so welcome Jami! So glad it was timely for you–I love when that happens. Lots of love, -c

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  9. Hi Christy! This is an amazing post. I have lived in fear for so long, it has been quite a challenge to go forth, to rebuild, to become human, to be “normal.” I had to learn everything… shoot, still learning. I am definitely a jumper! Close my eyes and just go for it. I am not sure if that’s brave! Lol!

    But wow, what a great collection- all very strong, brave and courageous people, so very inspiring, I can feel a certain surge of spirit in me.

    Thanks Christy! Hope Spot is doing well and you of course. Hugs.

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    1. Jumping is VERY brave, Maggie. Fear can paralyze so many of us, but if you can be scared and jump anyway? Now, that’s pretty brave.

      So glad you enjoyed the collection! Spot and I are both doing very well–thank you so much for asking, and thank you for dropping by! Hugs, Christy

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  10. A day late, hopefully not a dollar short! This is an amazing collection, and I feel braver for having read it! “The Difference Between Strength and Courage” really spoke to me, I will be going back to it again and again!

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    1. One thing about us over here is none of us stick to a schedule, Josie, with the exception of when the posts actually go out. (Most Saturdays, and usually in between 8 – 10 eastern, but see even that’s not written in stone.) Sometimes people will save these posts to read during the week when they need a pick-me-up, so please read and comment whenever you’d like. You are never ever late.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the collection — thank you for letting us know! -christy

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  11. Sitting in my basement sunroom watching the sun come up while nestled in front the fire…
    What a perfect setting to read your awesome collection and wipe away happy tears (okay, full-on body shaking sobs!). Of all, Mark Twain (followed by Harper Lee) struck the biggest chord with me. I’m so guilty of hiding behind my “brave” physical feats only to shrink into a corner when given the blessed opportunity to love with all my heart, speak the words that need to be spoken and let myself feel the pain (and even happiness) in this life. The children’s video was awesome (that’s when the sobbing started) and LOVED that John Belushi was there to bring me back 🙂

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    1. Moral courage in an era of physical courage … I mentioned to Char just how rare that can be these days. And Harper Lee, sigh. The bravery to respond and not react… that’s something I continue to work on myself.

      We’re all here to learn our individual lessons, Michelle, and I gotta believe, if we’re still alive, we’re still learning what we need to know. So none of us have it all figured out completely. Except Cookie Monster — he seems to have the answers to all of life’s big questions. Cookies. 🙂

      (It’s okay to flutter and buzz about if that’s your nature. Problems start when we start denying our true nature. But even hummingbirds stop to rest, to get a drink of nectar, to enjoy the sun. So buzz about, but never forget to nourish yourself with what your body and your soul needs to flourish. xoxo)

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  12. Love the Peter Gabriel version of “Heroes”! Cormac McCarthy is on my top 3 list of favorite authors. I have read “The Road” many times. It personifies courage and bravery from a dark standpoint. One of my favorite quotes on bravery is this one-

    The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there…and still on your feet>Stephen King

    Inspiring post ladies!

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    1. That’s a great quote, M, thanks! We had a King one that didn’t make the final cut (I felt bad about that, but even worse about cutting Gandhi):
      “Sooner or later even the fastest runners have to stand and fight.” ~ Stephen King, Just After Sunset

      “The Road” is not light and carefree reading, is it? But even in dark times and in horrifying conditions, bravery can still shine. Even the act of choosing to live in such conditions …

      Peter Gabriel, I know right? I heard it in the new movie “Lone Survivor” and turned into one big goosebump as I listened. I’m glad you liked it, and the set, too! -Christy

      Like

  13. whiteladyinthehood · ·

    Great post ladies! It was one of the best ones yet.
    It reminded me of one of my little friends, who decided to sing in the Talent Show. She was really shy and wouldn’t come out from behind the curtain and when she did – she started crying and ran off. At the end, she came back on stage and told the audience, “I want to try one more time!” People were clapping for encouragement and she started singing. Her voice was a whisper and she was terribly off key…and then “it” happened. Her voice got louder and her courage came forward and by the time she got to the end, she was belting it out! I was so proud for her trying it that one more time! (she got a standing ovation)

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    1. Awwww, I want to stand and applaud her now. I love that. I think her courage roared when she made the decision to “try one more time.” Even if she only whispered her whole song, that would have been an incredible act of bravery. But the fact that she nailed it and had a moment? Even better.

      I’m not sure there’s enough money in the world to get me to sing on stage. I never even did karaoke in my drinking days, LOL.

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  14. Holy Rocky Balboa in a Scottish kilt with Morgan Freeman doing the narrating! I know, I just mashed three flicks into one sentence, and I’m not the least bit sorry about it. I feel like going for a run right now. But seeing as how it’s dark outside and it’s minus something or other, I’ll just thank you for the inspiration.

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    1. And since it’s dark outside and cold here too, and since I killed my treadmill earlier, I will just say you’re welcome and then go watch men beat each other up in the so-called Pro Bowl. Team Rice vs. Team Sanders? Wha? I feel like it’s middle school all over again and people are picking dodgeball teams while I’m hiding out under the bleachers smoking a cigarette with some dude named Duckie.

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  15. Another great set, and great comments too!

    I realized while reading this that I actually have no working definition of bravery. I have no idea what that says about me.

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    1. I think some of your adventures definitely classify as bravery, Guap. Or foolish. Or both!

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  16. […] remembered all of the quotes on bravery and courage I had just shared on Words for the Weekend (Beauty the Brave) and how I had asked, in essence, what do you do when your row-boat is no longer in smooth waters? […]

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  17. Loving your Brave theme Christy .
    One from Samuel Beckett. “I can’t go on. I’ll go on”.

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    1. Thanks Joy, always nice to see you.

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  18. […] Words for the Weekend you really shouldn’t have missed Christy’s post “Brave“, which just so happens to be her word of the year! I followed that up with my own year word […]

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  19. […] brave, little rabbits. Take a chance. You can be heroes. Any day, every day. Beauty the Brave–Vol. 14  at Words for the […]

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  20. Had to come back and reread this again. So glad Michelle posted it in her recent Beauty the Brave post on RoS. xoxoxo

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  21. LOL — I meant to write Michelle’s, Standing Together Like Tall Trees, post. See, I told you I loved this post. It’s imprinted in my brain. 😀

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    1. Haha, I knew what you meant. I’m glad she linked to it too–I needed to reread it. 🙂 I have a couple pretty personal posts this month, I have to muster all my courage! Love ya Xo

      Like

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