Be Brave Friday – Becoming

It’s BE BRAVE FRIDAY, and so many of you are being brave in really big ways every single day. Dealing with cancer. Dealing with kids. Dealing with justice issues and war or work things. Dealing and dealing and dealing.

My offering today isn’t all that much. Not in the big scheme of people’s lives.
I think part of this painting was originally inspired by something, but it’s been so long now that I can’t remember.


For years it was just this girl on a blank canvas. She was made of blobs. The blobs connected to make a person. Each blob a moment, a memory, a joy, a pain. She had one hand lifted like she was ready to create something.


But there was nothing there.


Blank canvas mostly.


I took the painting into the basement and because it was so old and so raw and I couldn’t remember what inspired it, I just started filling in the blankness.


And she started to become something else. A dreamer? Definitely. But maybe also a creator? Maybe someone who didn’t care that she was made of blobs because she could recreate who she wanted to be, who she dreamed of being, and it could explode out of her fingertips.


I hope you can recreate yourself if that’s what you want, that you can put all those blobs together and become. Not necessarily become something more, but just become.


And no, I don’t think this is done yet. I think it’s still becoming. Just like me. Maybe just like you?


XO

Carrie


Be Brave Friday- The Overwhelm

I am not feeling terribly brave today.

I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed. My work load these past two weeks (and until Tuesday) has been huge. A lovely writer that I work with in Write Submit Support at the Writing Barn (and who only knows what I do there) said, “I don’t know how you get done all you do.”

Sometimes I’m not sure either. And weeks like these, where I will have read about 700,000 or more words and written well over 1,000 pages of feedback, working from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Plus, my own story, sandwiched in between deadlines, makes me not terribly balanced in this thing called life.

I’m lucky because I have work and work equals money to support my family, and that’s important.

I’m lucky because I really love story and helping people make their best ones.

I’m lucky because I have work. And yes, I’m already stressed about making enough money in May because that’s the way my anxiety rolls.

And Tuesday will come. And I’ll get to rest soon. And I am so lucky to be a part in other writers’ journeys as they forge ahead creating this brilliant stories out of their amazing brains.

Gosh though, right now, I’m so tired.

But Tuesday will come.

And I will jump into its arms, grateful and tired, but mostly grateful.

This is an old painting because I’m not quite brave enough to share thanks to:

1. Money anxiety

2. My tiredness

3. Not having a new painting, mostly because I haven’t had time to work on any.

Be Brave Friday

These last couple weeks have been a bit hard.

So, I went on a quote hunt and I found these bad boys.

Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has found that hearing a story—a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end—causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human abilities to connect, empathize, and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA.”   — Brené Brown

We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way.” — Kurt Vonnegut

And I just gave up trying to be a real painter and threw paint and things around and made a giant scribble this week and those it is not terribly technically adept (especially when I think of my artist friends’ works), I kind of am okay with it because there is joy under all that chaos.

My painting this week.

Right? There can still be joy underneath all the pain and worry, the anxiety and grief. Hope. Sometimes it’s hard to hold onto, but it’s still there, damn it. It’s still there.

In an article for Psychology Today, Karyn Hall writes that when trying to find a path for hope:

 “Find a clear path. Being able to see how the steps you are taking will lead to desired change is critical to having hope. If you don’t logically see how what you are doing can have a positive result, then carrying out the plan will likely be difficult. Write down each step that you need to take to get where you want to be. If someone else is working with you, then push him or her to explain how the steps lead to the results you want.

2. Look for role models who have found solutions. There are many, many people who have overcome tremendous adversity. Reading their stories and surrounding yourself with supportive messages and people can help you build hope.

“3. Do what you know you can do. When you are in despair, taking one step that is out of your routine can help break the sense of powerlessness you have. Make your bed. Cook dinner. Talk to a friend. Take a step you know you can do and that action can make a difference over time. Keep doing it, and then try to add more actions. Overcoming the inertia of helplessness can help you build hope.

4. Perform an act of kindness. Doing acts of kindness can have a dramatic effect on your mood and outlook. Kindness triggers the release of serotonin, so it has an anti-depressant effect. It also calms stress and helps reduce pain.”

For me those things sometimes help. But what also helps me sometimes is:

Getting outside. Just going outside and seeing the world makes me have hope because trees? Trees are lovely.

Getting exercise. I like endorphins. They are my friends.

Remembering the good. Thinking about victory and kindness. It’s not so much about finding role models for me, but seeing how wars have ended before, how pandemics have been dealt with before, how individuals have been brave and good and triumphant.

Creating something. It might be muffins. It might be a poem or a story. It might even just be creating a cleaner space, but tangible things? They help ground me. Even singing in the shower–if I can force myself to do it–can make a different for me, lean me towards hope.

How about you? How do you find hope?

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

Courage in Unlikely Places – How Thinking of Others Helps You Be Courageous

Today is Be Brave Friday, and I don’t have a ton of insight. I know! I know! Way to sell a blog post, Carrie, right?

Me and Em not being scared.

So, I thought I should look to some wordsmiths instead.

Courage is found in unlikely places.

J.R.R. Tolkien

There’s something that compels us to show our inner souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know.

Maya Angelou

Courageous people do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace.

Nelson Mandela

I am no Tolkein, Angelou, or Mandela, but there’s a great compulsion in me to edge toward peace at all times, to expose my innermost self, and to learn and learn and seek, which is why I hope to find courage in unlikely places as I contemplate some big writing leaps this weekend.

It’s a time for new projects–projects I’m a little afraid about, honestly.

And speaking of projects, this is a giant (for me) painting that I’m working on. I’m not done with it yet, so try not to judge too harshly.

Unlikely Places

Courage is sort of an elusive beast for us sometimes. I get anxious just posting, but what helps me to move past anxiety and fear is to stop thinking about myself.

I’ve been so lucky because I get kind people giving me feedback that my random thoughts and bits of brave have helped them get brave, too. That’s mind blowing to me actually. But it helps me to keep posting and keep revealing.

Here’s the thing: If you only think about YOU, fear starts taking over.

When fear starts taking over, it’s harder to act.

I could never post a poem or painting or podcast because I’m scared about being ridiculed or exposing my vulnerability, but when I stop focusing on me and what could negatively impact me, I allow myself to make connections with others and hopefully help them, too.

One of the easiest ways to take action, to move forward, to be courageous is to think about other people, the world outside your brain. If you have a sense of purpose (even if it’s to make someone else less awkward at a board meeting), then you can eat away your fear.

Caring about others, caring about helping others helps us shift the focus away from ourselves, but it also helps us push down our fear to a back corner in where it belongs.

POSTS AND PODCASTS THIS WEEK

And just to catch up, here are the posts from this week!

Shaun blogs about the four elements of a successful relationship.

I blog about our poor fence and the poor trees that keep come smashing down.

On Write Better Now, how to make your writing more intense.

On Carrie Does Poetry, I read the aptly titled poem, “You Aren’t Allowed to Write About Me.”

This week’s humorous, but yummy recipe was Microwave Raspberry Sauce of Wordle and Wine.

On Dogs are Smarter Than People, we talk about pot brownies, intention and the Rock. Yowza.

And our live podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, we talk about the weirdest songs ever.

And if you haven’t checked it out yet, my author interview with Tony Quintana on Dogs are Smarter Than People’s bonus edition.

POEMS EVERYWHERE!

Over on Medium and my social media, I post motivating daily thoughts from my animals. On Medium (and only on Medium), I post poems that I’ve written (usually) every weekday. You should check it out! And clap or something so I can make $1 over there this month. 🙂

How About You?

There you go! And how are you doing? Are you hanging in? Being brave? Thinking thoughts? Sharing new things?

NEW BOOK OUT

It’s called THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE and it’s the latest installment of the Dude series. Shaun (the husband) and I are currently arguing about whether it’s the last installment. I say yes. He says no. Feel free to weigh in if you’ve been reading it.

Getting Naked: How To Be Unstoppable: BE BRAVE FRIDAY

A lot of people ask me how I get so much done. And a lot of other people think that I don’t do anything during the day at all, which is pretty funny, honestly. Those people are mostly my surviving relatives.

When I was in seventh grade, I didn’t want to shovel and one of my siblings said I was lazy. They said the same thing when I quit my job at fourteen when I was mugged. It had an impact. But more on them than on me. And that’s one of the reasons why I firmly believe we can never let other people define us. Only we get to define us.

But despite that sibling’s belief about me, I pretty much work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day at a minimum. Sometimes I don’t stop until 10 p.m. That’s when I teach at the Writing Barn on Tuesdays.

To be fair, I do the Pomodoro method, which helps me survive.

My average week involves:

  • reading and editing 1,000 pages of other people’s writing,
  • writing about 100-200 pages of feedback for writers,
  • writing five poems and posting them on Medium,
  • creating 3-4 blog posts here,
  • co-hosting, editing, writing two podcasts, even though my voice is the biggest thing I am uptight about thanks to bullying,
  • writing about 5,000-10,000 words of my own stories,
  • sharing chapters as I write them (on one story in progress) on my Patreon,
  • sharing weekday quotes from my dogs and cats on social media,
  • deleting a lot of junk mail. 🙂

It can be a lot and I tend to get burned out every November/December. The holidays don’t help because I suffer that ‘mom holiday syndrome’ where I have 8,000 traditions and food and worries. And then I revive and get psyched to do more.

But here’s the truth: I kind of love it.

I don’t like being inactive. I don’t like stopping. And I use my free time (when I have some) to be with the people and animals I love.

It’s all pretty cool. And I’m lucky.

Now it’s time to be brave, get naked, and be real.

I’m so driven because I live a life where I’m currently the primary wage earner, and I am terrified of not being able to support my family, of losing my house, of not being able to feed and clothe everyone.

As the much youngest child (fourteen years), after my stepfather died, my mom raised me alone for most of my life and I remember what it was like to tell bill collectors she wasn’t home, to eat commodity cheese, to feel guilty to need things, to listen to her cry about money, to sell the house my dad built so we could live in one that was cheaper and had less property taxes. She ended up having to sell that one too.

That fear has driven me for a long time. And there was a short time in my adult life when I slept in the car in the winter in coastal Maine because I was too afraid of sleeping with my husband.

Hot tip: Big, furry dogs are good at keeping you warm.

But getting everything done is only partly about my fear. It’s also about habits.

Tim Ferris writes:

“The life you want is built on habits. There’s no way around it. What you do consistently will determine who you become in 5 years. What I’ve realized is the hard part isn’t habits. No.

“The hard part is habit maintenance.

When tragedy or bullsh*t strikes the temptation to give up your best habits for a day, week, month, or year is tempting.

“The days you don’t want to do your habits are the days you must. The trick isn’t to become a navy seal and develop a mind like a fortress. All you have to do is show up for 15 minutes and reinforce the habit on a bad day.

Habits maintain the belief of who you seek to become.

That’s how you become unstoppable. You strip yourself naked, show your fear, face it slowly or in big lumps, do the things you want to do so you can become who you want to be, and keep going and going and going.

But it’s not the only fear that drives me to have those habits and to try so desperately to evolve.

I’m also a little afraid of stopping.

I’m also a little afraid of having people realize how much I actually love writing my own stories, how invested in them I am, how I worry that they will vanish into obscurity, how I worry someday that I won’t get to share those worlds I make up at all.

Fear can lead to paralysis.

I’ve seen that before with my sweet mom, with a lot of friends that I love, and writers that I meet, and I know that I can’t let that fear stop me though, just like I hope you won’t let your fears stop you.

To get what you want, you have to journey into places that you haven’t been before and that can be scary sometimes.

To get what you want, you have to create the habits and do the work and that can be tiring sometimes (and scary too).

To get what you want, you have to be willing to face the discomfort, the fear, the yearning and that can be absolutely terrifying sometimes.

Is it worth it? Hell yeah. I think it is.

Ferris writes in that same article:

Success is the willingness to feel vulnerable

Many things in life make you feel vulnerable and like you want to curl up into a ball:

Saying no

Presenting a new idea

The prospect of marriage

Having kids

Accepting failure

Starting a new project

Getting a new job

Challenging leaders

Telling it how it is on social media

If you can’t lean into these vulnerable situations, you live life at a massively lower level. You avoid discomfort. Eventually you no longer feel like yourself anymore. It doesn’t make sense.

We all have to lean in and lean in hard if we want to grow. We have to face the discomfort and anxiety that greets us and embrace that Nike slogan and just do it.

Next year, I hope to continue doing and expanding and doing things I’m afraid of:

  1. Start another podcast.
  2. Feature more author interviews though they make me nervous.
  3. Have a writing retreat here in Maine if COVID chills out. Let me know if you’re interested.
  4. Write more poems even though they make me feel naked and exposed.
  5. Write more books including a book of my animals’ inspirations.
  6. Write some really different stuff under a pen name.
  7. Keep on fighting my fears.
  8. Maybe start a local news blog.

So, thank you for helping me to keep on keeping on being a writer, a podcaster, an editor, a writing coach. Thank you for helping me keep bill collectors away and feeding my family. I appreciate it and you so much.

What habits do you have? What habits do you want?

What fear is holding you back?


My little, creepy book baby is out in the world because who doesn’t want sad, quirky, horror with some romantic bits for the holiday season?

It’s a young adult novel (upper) called WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK, please buy it!

It’s super fun.

What Does It Mean to Be Brave

Carrie Jones Books
Carrie Jones Books
What Does It Mean to Be Brave
/

No video today! Sorry!

This week things got a bit hectic. Apologies. But we wanted to quickly talk about what it means to be brave and of course, ask you to send in your Be Brave stories. Because we are still on a mission to share these stories and sing your praises with the world.

The Oxford Dictionary defines bravery as:

Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

And that’s pretty interesting because there are three components going on there:

You’re ready.

You’re going to endure something.

You’re showing courage.

The ability to endure is really about the ability to persevere, to face our fears and/or our circumstances and still be ready.

Ready for what?

Ready for whatever is heading towards us, the good, the terrifying, the empowering, all of it.

A lot of us spend a lot of our lives worried about worst case scenarios, rejections, falling down, and all of that energy we spend worrying? We can spend it actively moving towards our own moral and/or creative evolution and our goals.

Imagine: How cool would it be if you spent all the time you currently spend worrying about failing and instead use that time towards actively going after the things you want, the life you want to have, the person you want to be.

That’s what enduring is about. It’s about overcoming. And sometimes it’s about persisting. And almost all the time it’s about dealing with the fear that’s holding us back.

So much of the time the fear that’s holding us back? It comes from us.

Being brave means living in the moment, speaking with compassion.

Being brave means standing up for what you believe is right even when nobody else thinks the same thing.

Sometimes being brave is something as simple as responding to a Facebook post, or being compassionate, or reacting with empathy instead of anger.

Sometimes being brave is reaching out to someone else and saying, “This guy is a creep.”

Sometimes being brave is looking at yourself and know when you’re holding yourself back.

Being brave is truly defined by you and what you think it takes to persevere, to endure, to be ready and to shine.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – NO MORE TOXIC FRIENDS

Carrie Jones Books
Carrie Jones Books
BE BRAVE FRIDAY - NO MORE TOXIC FRIENDS
/

Here on Be Brave Friday we share Be Brave stories from our home in Maine because we want us all to ban together and be stronger, braver humans.

This week, we found a few Be Brave moments on a Reddit thread (link in the notes) about “what improved your quality of life so much, you wish you did it sooner.”

That might not seem like a place where being brave stories would be, but the truth is that sometimes we hold ourselves back and have to make some brave moves to have a better life.

Like Alternative Rip4728 did.

They said,

“Cutting out toxic “friends”. After years of knowing someone it can be hard to see that they are no longer the person they were when the relationship started. My childhood best friend grew into a manipulative selfish prick. For years I hung out with him almost every day after work and always felt miserable afterwards. Everyone around me questioned why I still spent time with him. I always made excuses that seem ridiculous in hindsight. I should have cut ties 10 years ago.”


That’s not easy. As said mcnugsss:

“I am struggling with making this transition. One of my best friends growing up is honestly an immensely selfish person today. It pains me knowing that when I make this next change there is a real possibility that they will pretty much stop existing in my life. I know it has to happen because it would be best for me, but the fear of losing an old “friend” is crippling. The reality is they are already lost and I need to move on for my own well being.”

This whole thread really hit a nerve with thousands of responses and Bengoris gave some advice, having done this themself.

“There were a thousand little things and overstepped boundaries that added up over time and just made me resent the hell out of that friend group. Once we got into an argument, I honestly said what I thought and we stopped talking after that. For a long time, I kept asking myself if I did the right thing. If I was a shitty friend too. But I feel like I was there for them when they were not there for me. Like I listened to them, but they didn’t want to listen to me. I know I always tried my best given the circumstances. And that brings me peace. If you feel like you’ve done right by your friends and they haven’t done right by you, it’s okay to part ways. You only have one life, you should be careful in deciding who gets to be a part of it.”

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Be Brave Friday – Three Ways To Help You Be Brave.

Being brave means that you go after what you want, you evolve into the person you want to become and you don’t let those fears stop you.

Carrie Jones Books
Carrie Jones Books
Be Brave Friday - Three Ways To Help You Be Brave.
/

Because our daughter is home for the week, we’re taking the week off in posting BE BRAVE FRIDAY video and podcast and also our LOVING THE STRANGE podcast because we want to make family time a priority for this one week.

I know! We never miss a week.

And sometimes I have a tiny bit of anxiety over that, but it’s worth it. Family is worth it.

So instead, I thought I might quickly talk about what it means to be brave. Ready?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A BRAVE PERSON?

It’s pretty simple really. Being brave means being tough enough to face your fears.

Being brave means knowing something scares you but wanting to defeat that wall of fear, climb over it, chip away at it, knock it down brick by terrifying brick.

Your fear may be about failure, about self-doubt, about spiders. Your fear might be about ridicule or judgement. Fears come in all forms.

Mine mostly come about sharing my art, speaking in public, good, old public ridicule, being poor again, and making the world a worse place.

Being brave means that you go after what you want, you evolve into the person you want to become and you don’t let those fears stop you.

SOMETIMES FACING YOUR FEARS HAS TO HAPPEN OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

As a lot of you know, I’m terrified of showing people my art, but I’ve always secretly wanted to be an artist even though my family laughed at this idea or rolled their eyes or scoffed. I never took an art class until right before COVID and that was an hour-long session about felting. Oh. Wait. That’s a lie. I took a class about drawing at the Y but quit after a session because I was too scared.

Still, I had these wants, you know? I wanted to paint. I wanted to get the images in my head onto canvas or wood or napkins or whatever, and I wanted to share them. Or at least–I didn’t want to be afraid to share them anymore.

So, BE BRAVE FRIDAYS was born and I would show people my paintings-in-progress every Friday and my PATREON was born where I would show people chapters in progress every Friday and our podcasts were born where my voice would be out there to be ridiculed every week (now three times a week, wow).

Someone told me on Facebook last year, “Carrie, people on here are so supportive of your paintings. How can this be a brave act for you?”

That’s the thing. It’s still hard. Every damn week, it’s hard. But it’s getting slightly less harder most of the time. It’s a chipping away at it moment.

WHAT IS IT THAT BRAVE PEOPLE DO DIFFERENTLY?

They do the thing they are afraid of even though they are scared, even though they might fail.

You can’t achieve if you don’t take a risk.

They are honest about who they are and their fears.

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback over the years, usually by well-meaning, well educated, white women who are a decade or two older than I am who tell me not to be so open about my insecurities.

Spoiler alert: Judging me for being insecure or telling me how to ‘be’ is a sure-fire way to NOT make me more secure.

But it’s also a sure-fire way to make me a bit angry. I am okay that I’m not perfect. I know I’m a work in progress and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that. Why would I want to not admit that?

Once you start pretending to be someone you aren’t, you get so wrapped up in that lie that it becomes exceptionally hard to be who you are.

It becomes exceptionally hard to be brave.

Authenticity and being open about your flaws and weaknesses? It’s a brave thing.

THEY DON’T ONLY THINK ABOUT FEAR

Brave people think about the potential amazing outcomes that can happen if they succeed not just the potential horrible outcomes if they fail.

Spending all your time thinking about what could go wrong, means that you aren’t spending anywhere enough time thinking (and taking the steps) to do what you want to go right.

So, I hope you’ll be brave with me and share your stories. Here are my paintings this week. You’ve got this, okay? You really do. Be brave with me.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Elusive or Scared? When a Bird Lands on Your Shoulder.

Carrie Jones Books
Carrie Jones Books
Elusive or Scared? When a Bird Lands on Your Shoulder.
/

Our house is styled a bit like a farmhouse even though it’s in the middle of Bar Harbor, across the street from the YMCA’s back, dirt, and (until recently) unused parking lot, secure behind a row of tall ,cedar bushes that hide our porch, our windows, our selves.

There is a deep urge in me sometimes to just hermit myself and just do the work, to write, to cook, to paint, to help others make stories, and I’ll occasionally freeze in terror when someone knocks on the door or calls on the phone, or whenever anyone shocks me out of the realization that I am not alone. 

“You are a bit elusive,” one of my friends told me when we were walking through town together, past the storefronts full of t-shirts and mugs, the ice cream shops and restaurants, the big mailbox full of free masks.

I said, “Oh. I don’t mean to be elusive. I’m just scared.”

The day was scented with salty ocean air and all the houses and stores that we passed had lights on and the hum of music and videos and laughter.

“Scared of what?” she asked.

I didn’t know.

But I did know that I didn’t want to be controlled by those fears, that I wanted to sit out on the front porch and talk to people as they passed by rather than hunkering in my backyard.

In our backyard, we have a couple of bird feeders that Shaun (my husband) put up and is in charge of. My parents divorced when I was three or so, and my mom was horribly afraid of birds—all birds, even cartoon birds. So, we never had bird feeders. And the crows cawing in the trees, the jays making the feeders rock with their weight, the graceful hovering of hummingbirds, and the tiny steps of finches thrill me like they are magic, forbidden magic.  

My mother would not be able to go in our backyard.

All my life, I’ve wanted to have a bird land on my hand. I’m not sure where that urge came from. A passing romanticism? A proof that my soul was good enough for a bird to trust? A way to convince myself that I was linked to something bigger and more profound than I was?

Sometimes when I go out into our backyard, the birds startle and rush into flight and I coo to them, “No. I’m not a threat. I’m not a threat. I’m just here. . . .  Um, we gave you the food in the bird feeders. Friendsies?”

The pigeons are usually the boldest and they’ll just watch me from the eaves of our house and sometimes they’ll coo back. A tiny trickle of adrenaline will rush through me and I’ll whisper, “Yes.”

Sometimes, I think that the backyard birds are elusive, but they probably just want to be safe like I do. But sometimes in that urge for safety we miss opportunities. We are stuck wondering: What is it to be whole?

It’s so much easier to answer: What is it to be broken?

When I was little, after my stepfather died, I would go out into the woods and flop in the tall ferns, smell the New Hampshire soil above the hard granite and stay absolutely still.

Waiting.

If I was still enough, I hoped, a bird would think I was just part of nature, that my cords were dirt and my K-Mart shirts were flowers or stones. If I was still enough, I was sure, a bird would come and land on me. We’d be—connected.

The world would go on all around me. Squirrels would hop from pine tree to spruce to oak to maple. Chipmunks would scurry along the ground. Birds would alight and gather. Deer would tiptoe by.

And I’d be waiting. Hoping a bird would come along, land in my small, upturned palm and claim me as part of it all—connected.

But I already was. I just didn’t realize it. A deer smelled my hair. A chipmunk scurried across my stomach. A squirrel would drop acorns near my feet. My spine rested against the ferns, the moss, the soil and for hours would feel the rustlings of a world beneath me, rooting. Connected.

Sometimes, my mom would come and find me and yell, “What are you doing out here? You’re going to make yourself sick.” She’d hurry me back home, complaining of the dirt on my legs, the flicks of moss, the ferns that had somehow twined themselves into my hair. “Look at your fingernails, Carrie! What am I going to do with you?”

I’d be ordered into the bath or shower, to clean my nails, wash my hair, and be just myself again.

To be whole is to be afraid, to long for safety, but also to stretch beyond it. To be an artist or a writer or even a person is to remember that we are not just individuals, scared all by ourselves, acting all elusive even when our hearts pine for connections. Mortality is terrifying sometimes. Pain? Not so fun. Fear and rejection and ridicule sucks.

Like the birds often fear us for our predatory natures, we can really fear each other, fear exposure to trolls, to negative-nellies, to grumpy people in restaurants, shops, or even our own Facebook, Twitter or TikTok pages and of bigger villains who do unspeakable things.

When we try to connect, we can be admonished by people who love us and look after us, people like my sweet, fearful mom who worried about the dirt I was collecting, the potential bugs, ants, ticks, predators.

But we’re bigger than those fears. We’re more than our resentments, our pain. We’re more than our flaws and egos. We are part of something huge and connected and divine, connections so massive that it’s hard to comprehend sometimes.

A bird can’t land on our hands unless we show them our palms.

We can’t heal or help or love other people unless they step outside.

This weekend, I went on the hammock in the backyard to read a book for work and less than a minute after I flopped down there, a sparrow alighted on my shoulder. She was barely on me for five seconds and her wings fluttered and beat the whole time.

But she was there.

It’s okay to be elusive sometimes, even fearful sometimes; it can help protect us, but we don’t want our fear to become our prison. We are bigger than that, our whole nature is bigger than that. We just have to reach out our hand and let the bird land in it and settle for and rejoice in a shoulder, and we have to be the bird and not always fly off or hide away, building our nests bigger and bigger until we can’t find the way out.

There is a way out if we want. We have to want it.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – Blind Faith: Lessons from a Scruffy Ball of Fur

Carrie Jones Books
Carrie Jones Books
BE BRAVE FRIDAY - Blind Faith: Lessons from a Scruffy Ball of Fur
/

On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration.

Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website.

This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together.

I wanted to share my be brave moment too! I have spent my whole life bouncing around jobs and never finding one that stuck. I thought teaching would be it but after this year, I already hate it. So I sat down and asked myself what I actually want in life. I want to write. I want to make money through my love of words. I want to create artwork, make cosplays, talk about books, basically anything that means I can work my own schedule and my own rules while fuelling my love of creation.

So that’s my be brave moment. I’ve allowed myself to finally voice my dreams and start to plan how to make them a reality instead of forcing myself to grind through whatever job I’m currently working because I’m so scared of what people will think of me being a failure again.

I’m absolutely terrified. But I’m also excited for the first time in what feels like forever. I may fail, but I may also soar. I won’t know until I take the leap. And that leap is happening in 8 days

Kirsty Elizabeth

Blind Faith: Lessons from a Scruffy Ball of Fur

Just after our family moved to Europe, our sweet cat Muffy passed away. We were all devastated, especially her sister Squeakers. That’s how we found ourselves at a local home for wayward animals, adopting a kitten. “To keep Squeakers company,” we said, fooling no one. 

We arrived with my multi-lingual mother-in-law Denise in tow to help interpret, and we met four adorable, orphaned kittens clearly meant for us. Unable to pick just one, we brought them all home, to Squeaker’s abject horror. Within hours everyone had cozied in, save Squeakers, protesting adamantly from her hiding spot under the couch.

Intent on helping further, we donated cases of food to the overwhelmed center and, in the process, met the center’s latest arrivals. Lots of frisky animals ran up asking for our attention.

Denise was focused on something else, but we were too distracted to notice.
I should mention here that Denise is legally blind. One eye is barely usable since a botched cataract operation, while the other blacked out after a stroke. All of which has left her depressed. Tilting her head this way and that, she manages some meager vision. And as we made the food delivery, she was intently focused on the grubby, orange ball of fur huddling in the corner.

Asking what it was she was seeing, Denise learned it was a new arrival, a gravely ill kitten with wounds in both eyes. The director explained the kitten was an injured sibling of the same litter we had taken home found cowering nearby. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. Our gang of four had another sister — and one who needed immediate care. Needless to say, we grabbed the blind, sick kitten and raced her to a veterinary clinic.

There we learned that her injuries were grave and her life was in danger. If she managed to live through the trauma, said the vet, the kitten might retain some vision. They cautioned us because the kitten seemed to have already given up. And so we began a series of treatments and operations we hoped would regenerate the health and sight of a very sick kitty.

Months passed . . .

We call her 3P. Piccola Peste Preziosa in Italian, which translates to Petite Precious Pest. She is a scamp and has more guts than the rest of her siblings combined. She adores Squeakers, who loves her dearly, all the while pretending not to. She is healthy and happy, recovering total vision in one eye and partial in the other. Her once grubby, malnourished self is now a blaze of beautiful, dappled cinnamon. And, what’s more, she has given Denise a reason to live, and shown Squeakers how to love again, teaching by example how to dance with courage and dignity despite the odds.

What Psychology Tells US

Learned Helplessness is a powerful psychological concept first observed in animals and later applied to human behavior. Experiments have shown that when repeatedly subjected to situations beyond their control, animals fairly quickly adapted to the adverse conditions and subsequently failed to even attempt to escape the negative situations.

In a nutshell, it explains how we get stuck, how we fall into defining ourselves by our least common denominator, how we let temporary limitations become permanent handicaps, how we fail to believe in ourselves above all. It explains why we don’t try, try again when at first we don’t succeed. Just as its name implies, we learn that we are helpless to control our fate and thus we stop acting in our own best interests, becoming victims of our own self-limiting thoughts. That is, until we find a way out of that dark tunnel. Until we find hope.

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor, authored Man’s Search for Meaning, which, in its original form translates more exactly to Nevertheless, Say Yes to Life. In these memoirs, he explored the importance of finding meaning in life despite external circumstances, no matter how brutal. Frankl insists, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

This lesson came to us in the form of a scruffy ball of fur, who said yes to life and in turn enriched all of ours.

Donna Roberts

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

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