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The Hard Way after 9 Months

I have now decided that I am a firm believer that boundaries can unlock freedom and creativity of the mind and spirit. If we were just handed everything, there would be no innovation, no struggle to find a better way, and no victory! Because people are unsatisfied with the way things were, we have so many great inventions, tools, businesses, technology, websites, and services. They learned the Hard way, and decided that they wanted to create a future that didn’t have to deal with the same hard realities, but would learn and discover new ways to improve and build. Those individuals wanted their ceiling to be our floor, and for countless people, it has been just that. However, while the general population seems to be quick to learn technology tricks and standards from the previous generations, we tend to forget the spiritual, emotional and relational battles that the generations before us have already fought. We find ourselves in the same positions as many who came before us, and often end up worse. Why is this?! 

We don’t let someone’s hard way become our easy way. We have to do it the hard way ourselves. Now some of this is human nature, I get it. We have to try and fail sometimes and eventually we learn what it takes to succeed and are better and stronger because of it. However, what if I actually listened to my mom or observed the way she grew and progressed emotionally and spiritually and set my floor at her ceiling? What if I stood on her shoulders instead of trying to look her in the eye? What if I used the wisdom she gained and applied it to my own life?

We do too much talking, instead of asking questions of our elders and listening! 

I’ve tried to do this more in the past week. Asking and listening. Learning and making wise, but necessary changes. It’s hard! 

While I have had my losses and victories of living the hard way the past 9 months, the question within me is this: how can I live a “hard way” lifestyle and still stay sane? 

I am reminded of the quote that we heard at the global leadership summit, “learn from everyone, live like no one.”

We can all learn from each other in some way, but none of us should try to copy the way another lives! For a while, I tried to live the hard way how someone else knew and described it. Now, I think I am finding my own hard way. What is yours? 

It’s our Anniversary! 

Brave Avenue was officially established on this day last year!!

I started this blog as a way to start living my Brave adventure inspite of obstacles and deep rooted fear. I wanted my daughter to have an example of a brave woman to learn from and hopefully be proud of one day. This year has been marked by incredible moments as well as challenging (growth) moments. We’ve read and shared stories from beautiful women. We’ve laughed and cried together. Someone once said it is powerful when women get together and I wholeheartedly agree.  New things are coming to close out 2016; thanks for staying with us.

In honor of our anniversary we are hosting a giveaway. Share your bravest moment of 2016 for a chance to win a Brave Avenue gift box!

1. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

2. Share your story and tag #braveavenue in your post. 

3. A winner will be chosen next week!

Be BRAVE with your life,

Candy 

Guest Blog Story: Where’s Home?

Where’s home?

For two weeks I’ve been home in Nebraska visiting family and friends for the holidays. Since August of 2015 I’ve been living in Costa Rica as a missionary studying Spanish. I’ll be studying Spanish and living there until August of 2016, potentially longer.

A month before coming back to Nebraska I could hardly wait to get back home to see family, friends, eat old foods, and do things that I couldn’t do in Costa Rica. Yet, after seeing my friends and family, and doing those odd and end things, I found myself missing my friends, food, public transportation, and daily habits in Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica I would try and explain my life in Nebraska, but people couldn’t really understand the stories and experiences I tried to share about my “home”. Now in Nebraska my friends and family don’t quite understand my stories and experiences from my life in Costa Rica. I feel like an outsider in both places.

Where is home for me? I thought that when I came back to Nebraska things would just pick up where they left off, but I realized that life has moved forward while I was away. At the same time, when I’m in Costa Rica I don’t fully fit in either because I’m not fluent in their language and culture yet. So…where do I fit in now? Where is home for me?

Honestly, right now I don’t know the answers to those questions, but there’s one thing I know to always be true:

I can choose to trust the Lord and His plans for my life.

It’s hard feeling like I don’t have a “home” or a place where I “fit in”, but I am choosing to be BRAVE and trust the Lord through this season. You’ve heard the saying, “home is where the heart is”.

I give the Lord my heart so he is my “home”.

I know that no matter where I am or who I’m with I can always have a sense of home, as long as I place my trust in the Lord and keep him at the center of my life. Being BRAVE is a choice. I choose to be BRAVE!

Will you choose to be BRAVE and trust the Lord with your life? He wants to take you down the most amazing, life fulfilling journey. I dare you to be BRAVE.

Find out more about Myhiah’s BRAVE life in Costa Rica on her blog!

Twitter: @mdotzler

Facebook: Myhiah Dotzler

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog Story: Bravery Starts with our Yes

Three letter word, yes.

Bravery starts with our yes. We have a choice. I have a choice, a daily choice. I can be busy and get soaked in the weight of life or I can be still and commune with God. I can hear and experience the sweet voice and gifts that we are given daily or bypass them. As the new year comes under way, lets remember that we have a choice to be brave and create new friendships, a choice to say yes and embrace Gods great gifts, to dwell in the beauty or sorrow that moments in life may bring. Because being brave will not always look like rainbows and colorful bouquets of flowers , it will not feel like biting into that piece of decadent chocolate cake; it may hurt a bit, it may sting like a bee, but

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

that’s where the beauty of life comes in. We have a choice to experience REAL hope, grace, compassion and mercy. Although a yes may mean we get to see and take apart ugly parts of ourselves- there is grace. Although a yes may mean we have to talk about uncomfortable subjects with individuals we hold dear to our hearts or those we are creating new friendships with- there is love. Although a yes may mean stepping into the unknown, there is hope that whatever and wherever the Lord has called you to will be greater and bigger than what you can imagine because He stands, before, after, and next to you. God is near and God sees your bravery. God acknowledges your bravery. I can say that I have seen the Lord in all of these and so many other facets on my move to Seattle last summer. These last 5 months have been tough- like REALLY tough, but because of faith, because of the immense love He bestows in each and every place I go to, I will continue to say yes where He leads. I will continue to trust and continue to find the many gifts that are present daily. I am learning to say yes.

Much love,

Anahi

Take some time to ponder on:

Where and in what ways can you take a moment and commune with God?

What are some of the gifts God is giving you?

How can you say yes to something new- daily/weekly/monthly/yearly?

2016: Review and the New

Review:

As the Founder of Brave Avenue I (Candy) am truly thankful for the opportunity to curate Brave Stories from women who can speak into our natural ability to rise up and live passionately. “What’s your story?” has been my go-to question when I’m in a room full of strangers or simply just getting my oil changed. I have always loved hearing people’s journeys, but I never thought a platform would open up for me to actually share with others. Brave Avenue seemed to happen by accident. I was at work listening to Pandora when a group called Boyce Avenue came on. I was digging the song and went to find out more. I mistook the name as Brave Avenue and only found a street name located in a few cities I had never visited. After Google failed to give me a complete answer I went to the source. God let me know he was challenging me to be brave in 2015. To say “yes” when I wanted to say no to discomfort. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had asked God to help me raise a confident and brave girl who would grow up secure and fearless of any challenge. Of course, it’s only natural that he would present me with uncomfortable opportunities for me to tap into bravery. My daughter has an example that she can look up to everyday. We’re only 6 months in and I must say I am proud of the impact Brave Avenue has made. We’ve grown to four regular Contributors, the Brave Stories have been shared in multiple countries, and our Guest Bloggers and Contributors have been impacted by the amazing feedback they receive, even inspiring some to move forward in their passions. Although we are the foundation, we still get motivated to take the next step after reading your comments!

This experience showed me four things:

1-Women need empowered women to lead the way for our younger generation.

2- Our voices matter and are valuable. 

3- Our thoughts and Brave Stories are important and needed. 

4- Saying “yes” can lead you to incredible opportunities only found in your dreams.

The New:

We are so thankful and blessed for all that has happened in this past year. As we review 2015, we are also excitedly anticipating all that will come in 2016 and how we can bravely face it together. As the co-founders of Brave Avenue, we would like to share our intentions and some themes that we have chosen to focus on for this new year.

Ella: “The Hard Way”

In 2016, I will live the hard way. I will not retreat to a cave of easy comfort but will climb the mountain, no matter the weather, becoming stronger each day along the hard way. Clearly, the hard way will be difficult, but I will choose to deny present comfort for future reward while living a life of focus and purpose. “Happiness is a by-product to enjoy, not a dream to seize,” John Townsend.

Jennifer Diane: “This Is Me”

I am finally at that long-waited point of fully embracing who I am and everything that goes with it. Every day, I will openly and unapologetically express, laugh, create and pursue. When the fear of rejection rears its ugly head, I will punch it in the throat and side step it at every opportunity. I am confident that 2016 is a breakout year for me.

Candy: “I will pursue trust.”

This past year has taught me that I have a quiet strength that has the ability to greatly influence change that is bigger than me. In 2016, I will stop breaking promises to myself and confidently trust in Gods promises. It’s time to stop down-playing who I am. When fear attempts to take hold of me with its excuses or reminders of the past, I will boldly call it out. I will no longer be bound by the fear of actually seeing good outcomes.

Stating your intentions for 2016 is not just writing down your to do list for the year. It is about creating healthy lifestyle habits that develop and reveal the authentic you.

Your perspective on how you do things is everything. Your perspective comes from your ‘why’. Why do you want to do more in 2016? Why are you choosing that specific word or theme? Inwardly focused goals are not strong enough to bring about a powerful game-changing outcome. It is when we can step outside of ourselves and see the bigger picture and purpose of our actions when we realize we can truly make a difference and find happiness.

It’s YOUR TURN!

If you are ready to bravely achieve more this year, we challenge you to answer the questions below. Invite a friend to join you.

  1. What is your intention/theme for the year?
  2. How do you plan to accomplish that?
  3. What obstacles/fears do you foresee standing in your way?

 

Be brave and empowered on your journey!

-The Brave Avenue Bravenistas

Guest Blog Story: A Little Bravery Goes a Long Way

Four years ago, I did something a little crazyokay, maybe not crazy, but a little brave. I got on a plane to go abroad for the first timealone.  I didnt know who would be meeting me on the other side of the Atlantic, but I had a feeling that it would all work out. Seven continents and 20 countries later, Id say that my hunch was on point.

Out of all of my travels, the greatest bravery that I found was in surrendering. Releasing my motives, my agenda, and my plan, and courageously clinging to God’s perfect will was where I found extreme bravery.  Braver than boarding a ship to sail with 90 strangers to the coldest continent on Earth. Braver than jumping beside a waterfall with only strangers at the bottom to see me surface. Braver than sleeping at a stranger’s house in Sydney, Australia and trusting that it would all work out. I mean, this bravery that I speak of is far beyond all of that. It’s deeper. In surrendering, I’ve experienced a freedom that has no boundaries. (Tweet it!) No zip codes. No limits. This bravery takes me to places that fear will never see.

This bravery manifested in this simple prayer to the Lord: I have a “yes” waiting for you. That “yes” has placed me before Buddhist monks. That “yes” has sandwiched me between atheists and agnostics, Christians and Muslims, colleagues and strangers. That “yes” has walked me down beautifully mysterious roads in Malindi, Kenya. It’s nestled me safely in various flats in Hangzhou, China. It’s welcomed me to teach women at two universities in Saudi Arabia. That “yes” took me much further than any “no” would’ve ever taken me. That’s why I have a “yes” waiting for Him. That “yes” places me in the safest place: His will.

Every time I get crazy enoughI mean, brave enough to get on another plane, I connect with some of the most beautiful people on Earth. I connect with people who have their hands out to give. Im stretched and humbled. Im challenged to do more, be more, and give more. I’m challenged to surrender. And with a grateful heart, I say “yes.”

This time last year, I made my final payment for my trip to Antarctica. I had this wild idea three years ago to see all seven continents by my 30th birthday. God had a wilder idea: to connect me to people around the globe who would pour into me, pray for me, challenge me, and strengthen me. As I thaw off from my trip to that frigid continent, I can’t help but smile. Bravery took me to a place that fear will never see. Where will bravery take us next?  

Follow more of Karissa’s adventures at sevenby30.com!

Guest Blog Story: Bravery in Motherhood

What makes a person brave? When I ask this question, I’m not referring to US Military brave or firemen brave or even risk-your-life-and-tackle-criminal-for-strangers brave….. These men and women are obvious heroes who sacrifice everything for the ones they love and those they don’t even know exist. They are beyond selfless and possess an inner strength and perspective of life that many do not, including myself.
I’m talking the everyday bravery and courage that is consistently shown by people we work with, volunteer next to, and make small talk with while our children are at the practice of the activity of their choice. Bravery shown by those who don’t see it in themselves.

I’m referring to the mamas who don’t recognize such greatness within themselves. The ones who have this unbreakable spirit and seem to glide through the toughest of circumstances with a distinctive grace and dignity. The mamas who are working several jobs to make ends meet, the ones who go from work to school only to stay up later than they should to make sure everyone is prepared for the next day. The mamas who endure the worst of circumstances, the mamas going through a divorce or separation, the ones who’ve lost their jobs or husbands. The women who are wives, mothers, career women, and homemakers are the brave, confident, strong, and resilient ones.

These mamas [you and I] are brave.

David going up against Goliath was brave. But, so was Ruth choosing to stay with her mother in law in a foreign land with no source of income. She had no means to take care of herself or Naomi but chose to believe that modesty & purity were her best options when there were definitely “others” out there, if you know what I mean. Bravery is simply courage in action. It takes courage to raise your children and advocate for them when all we have is our mommy instincts telling us something isn’t right. It takes courage to raise your child/children alone. It takes a certain boldness to face terrifying circumstances and not back down or break down when your strength is required. It’s our inner strength that allows us to smile and create a peaceful environment when our babies need comfort and solace.

And, mamas, this is the thing.

While the sacrificing and giving that we do is second nature…. While it comes naturally and we do it without even thinking; it’s easy to fool ourselves into believing that the natural instincts to provide for our child is not a big deal. It’s easy to minimize the enormous efforts we put forth and say that we’re “just doing what needs to be done” without realizing the vastness of what we do.

Y’all. We are mothers – we partner with God in creating and maintaining life. There is nothing minimal about what we do and how we do it.

Mama. You are brave. And, don’t ever forget it.

You can follow more of Alaina’s unashamed growth as a mompreneur of twins!

Instagram: @amayes

If you would like to share a brave story along your journey, fill out a contact form here!

Destined to Live

Purpose is defined as ‘the reason for which something exists’. When something is created it has a purpose for its existence. For example, a hammer was created to do two things: to knock in nails and pull them out. To a certain degree, we all understand purpose, but getting into deeper levels of understanding, such as my life purpose, can get a little murky or intimidating to think about.  
There is a reason I am here. When you think of your life this way, it can shift your perspective on how you’ve been viewing purpose. If a hammer has purpose, how much more purpose must human beings have with all of their complexities and nuances? I understand this even more now as an entrepreneur trying to build a business in my early 30’s. I understand that I have specific gifts that pinpoint me to how I should be investing my life. My gifts tell me ‘this is what you were created to solve’.

When building a business you must be tuned into purpose or it isn’t going to work. You will otherwise be deterred by the many bumps along the way. Sometimes I consider how much easier life would be if I just simply lived beneath purpose and pursued an easier path. I always come to the same conclusion: it’s not worth not pursuing. It’s taken a bit of trial and error, but I am closer than ever before to figuring it out. I get a sense of exhilaration thinking about the possibilities of what my life can look like.

  
You are not here to just get by in life. That is not living. You were made with the intention of leaving an incredible mark. There is a confidence that comes from discovering your purpose, and you will only know if you are willing to exercise your bravery muscle to pursue what that is. Don’t be afraid of necessary adjustments along the way. With a sprinkle of bravery that extends from the value you’ve placed on your life, you are destined to live the life you were meant to.

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