On Amazon is a book: Be Bold. Be Brave. Be You. It has 100 blank pages. Yep, blank pages. The
description says “Perfect for all ages—kids or adults!”
As you would imagine, the point of the book is to record ways you’re bold and brave, ways in
which you’re being you.
As a woman of faith, do you think about being bold and brave in being you? Do you ever use
the words “bold” and “brave” to describe yourself?
As a woman of faith, do we need to be bold and brave? I’m going to be so bold and so brave as
to say the answer’s a resounding yes! Why, you ask? For love: for you, for us, all of us.
1) Be brave and bold for you.
I’m a passionate advocate for words of loving kindness. Walk the W.O.L.K, I like to say. “Walk
the words of loving kindness” in words and deeds. I post silly inspirational videos on YouTube
and my website. I try to share words that motivate and inspire in my conversations, in my
personal interactions throughout the day, in my time on the phone with my internet service provider
when I’m desperately seeking customer service. Yikes!
I have a dear friend, Michol. She follows my author page on Facebook FruitofMySpirit. She likes
and comments. I like and comment in reply. One day rather than post something, Michol thought
it best to talk to me personally. My heart skipped a beat. My cheeks got warm.
After seeing another comment about words of loving kindness, Michol asked, “Deanna, when
are you going to say words of loving kindness about yourself? To yourself?” Hmmmm…, I didn’t
have an answer for her.
Are you able to speak kindly about yourself? Do you worry that to do so might bring out a little
too much bravado and not enough humility, not enough appreciation, gratitude, you fill in the
I’ve lost count of the number of days that have started and ended with a critical assessment at
the mirror. And that’s after jumping on the scale with great hope and anticipation and then
jumping off with a heavy sigh. I can’t tell you the number of times my internal dialog has been
anything but loving, anything but kind. It’s certainly not bold and brave.
What do you say to yourself in the quiet moments? In the crazy ones? When life unfolds
beautifully? When it doesn’t? Remembering Michol’s call, do you say words of loving kindness
about yourself? To yourself?
On Valentine’s Day, my husband gave me a beautiful card that read: When I say you’re
beautiful… And there I stopped. I could not get past the word beautiful. “But I’ve got another 10
pounds to lose…” “But I’m getting grayer by the day…” “But…” “But…” “But…” My dear, darling
husband of 38 years shared a beautiful card and I got stuck on “but.”
You and I are beautifully and wonderfully made. No one has your wisdom and experience. No
one has your giggle, your laugh, your gray hair, your heart. No one can do what you can do. My
children will be the first to tell you we don’t need another Deanna in this world. We need you!
I can’t be brave and bold, if I deny how beautifully and wonderfully I’m made. You can’t be
brave and bold, if you deny how beautifully and wonderfully you’re made.
2) Be bold and brave for us.
I’m able to be bold and brave when you’re bold and brave.
Last month I was in New York City. After dragging my husband to museum after museum, after
making him stand outside Studio 1A for my moment with Hoda and the Today Show peeps,
after telling him when and where we’d be seeing Hamilton and To Kill a Mockingbird, I
surprised him with tickets to a NY Knicks-LA Laker game at Madison Square Garden.
The NY Knicks are not a great team. At the time, they were in 13 th place—two up from the
bottom in the Eastern Conference. I wanted Kurt to see the game, because I knew he’d enjoy
seeing LeBron James, a player who quite possibly will go down as one of the greatest, if not the
greatest, of all time.
I’m not a professional basketball fan, but I was very aware of what it meant to have LeBron on
the floor that night. Everyone played better whether guarding him as he dribbled down the
court, whether checking his 3-point shot, whether going for the rebound.
Yes, the Knicks played better that night. At one point I said to Kurt, “I thought New York was not
that good…” thinking they didn’t look that bad. “Deanna, they were playing LA.”
When we are surrounded by the best, we are all better. LeBron is a guy who walks onto the
court each night ready to be his boldest and bravest—no matter who the opponent. He takes
the shot. He sets up the play.
You’re thinking, but Deanna, I’m not LeBron James. I’m not a professional NBA player. I’m not a
“name in the lights” professional anyone. No, you’re not, but you’re beautifully and wonderfully
made, each one of us, and we’re unlike anyone who ever was or ever will be. You are the
greatest you of all time. There’s no one who compares to you. Absolutely no one. And when
you’re bold and brave, we will all be bolder and braver because of it.
3) Be bold and brave for all of us.
Did you get a chance to read the today’s paper? Have you scrolled through your MSN news
feed? Did you listen to the radio on your way to work? Any headlines that grabbed your
attention? Stuck with you?
You don’t need me to tell you that life is rather challenging. Our communities, our
neighborhoods, our neighbors, friends, and family are all facing challenges not expected, never
imagined, challenges that have gotten bigger and bigger, more and more complex, challenges
that are often encased in hate—bravado, not bravery, brashness, not boldness.
In response, debates and discussions divide, demean, and deter, often helping no one, solving
nothing. And that’s not just a little frustrating, that’s devastating. The big challenges before us
are getting bigger. The complex challenges surrounding us are getting more and more complex.
There are no easy solutions to homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, suicide, suicide
among children, suicide among our veterans, illegal immigration, crime, the high cost of
housing, the high cost of medical care, the high cost of doing nothing.
Too many important questions get left hanging in the air. Too many important issues of the day
get trivialized and reduced to soundbites. Difficult conversations are plagued with public
posturing. Public debates don’t just shred arguments, they shred character. Shouting matches
shame, belittle and begrudge.
Too many times I’ve watched the news and reacted with another “What…????” Rarely is there
a night when my husband, Kurt, hasn’t had to say, “Let it go, Deanna. Just let it go.” But I can’t
let it go. I want better. I want better for me. I want better for us. I want better for all of us!
When you and I are bold and brave, we become part of something very special.
Last month our trip to New York included a second visit to the Museum of Modern Art, because
I needed a second look at Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. Monet’s masterpiece is huge. The
panels take up an entire wall of the museum.
My first reaction both visits was to walk right up to the painting. Standing beside the artwork,
you can’t see the actual picture. All you can see are globs of color and brushstrokes that look
messy, not mesmerizing. But up close you can see Monet’s boldness. I would even add the
bravery of his choices. Not until you step to the other side of the room can you see his famous
lilies, the reflection of clouds in the pond. Up close you can only see dabs of yellow paint,
splotches of blue and purple, pink and green. From a distance, you can see depth and shadows.
Standing back, you can see a peaceful Japanese-style pond covered with beautiful lilies.
Your boldness is a beautiful spot of yellow in the day. Your bravery is a carefully added stroke of
blue. And standing in the moment, that may be all you can see: spots of color, strokes of time.
But one day you’ll find yourself standing back just far enough to see a most beautiful picture.
Thinking about being bold and brave, it’s easy to ask: What if I mess up? What if it doesn’t work
out? What if it goes sideways? Thinking about being bold and brave, it’s important to ask: What
if it does? What if it works out differently? What if it goes sideways in a better direction?
What if we step back and give ourselves the opportunity to see the beauty that is in front of us?
Let the picture take your breath away!
Today’s a blank page in your book. Be bold. Be brave. Be you.
Ready to be your boldest, bravest self as we enter this new decade?
Check out Illuminating Women’s 2020 conference.
Preview YouTube video WOLK: Say It with Flowers!
Watch Video Below and Meet Deanna!
Speaker | Writer | Author
Before my father died, he reminded me that Mom had asked me to write a book. At the time the boys were in college, and the notion of writing was unfathomable. Writers write books. By the time my boys were adults, I’d run out of excuses. I was also at that age when I could pause and reflect.
Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace was my first publishing endeavor. My second was Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God. Both are collections of stories that tell of God’s love and faithfulness. Both tell of His remarkable grace and mercy.
When not writing, I serve as the Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington state. I’m active in my church, serving on the Leadership Team and gathering with a wonderful group of ladies to study and giggle over lattes and chocolate. On my desk is a rock with the words “Choose Joy!” etched in it. It’s my inspiration for each day. As an author, it is my hope that my own words might share that joy we find together as children of God.
With Him, it can be so.
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