Christmas Light Reflections after Braving the Wilderness

Conneaut Lake, PA Christmas Light Tour on the Barbara J

Conneaut Lake, PA Christmas Light Tour on the Barbara J

Christmas Light Reflections after Braving the Wilderness.

This past weekend was a gathering of The Best Book Club Ever, where we talked about one of my newest favorite books, “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown.

So I already told you how much I love this book.  Remember?  

I couldn’t wait for our book club discussion about it, and it did not disappoint.  In fact, it empowered.  It really connected me with a special group of family and friends in a meaningful way.

There is so much I could say about it…

About how I connected right from the start when Brene talked about “not belonging” to her own family.

This paragraph sucked me in:

“Even in the context of suffering—poverty, violence, human rights violations—not belonging in our families is still one of the most dangerous hurts. That’s because it has the power to break our heart, our spirit, and our sense of self-worth. It broke all three for me. And when those things break, there are only three outcomes, something I’ve borne witness to in my life and in my work: 1. You live in constant pain and seek relief by numbing it and/or inflicting it on others; 2. You deny your pain, and your denial ensures that you pass it on to those around you and down to your children; or 3. You find the courage to own the pain and develop a level of empathy and compassion for yourself and others that allows you to spot hurt in the world in a unique way. I certainly tried the first two. Only through sheer grace did I make my way to the third.” 

But there is so much more…

About authenticity, vulnerability…
and dehumanization.

About the paradox of things like love, the NRA, politics and religion (just to name a few).

And though there was and always will be great differences in opinion among the group on these important issues and values, everyone respectfully listened to each other share, and we grew closer for it.

So after three or four hours of powerfully connecting conversation and breakthroughs in belonging, our gang bundled up in parkas, knit hats and woolen mittens and boarded the infamous Barbara J Paddle Wheel Boat on Conneaut Lake to set sail at 10pm and spend an hour touring the lake and the homes surrounding it lit up with Christmas trees and colorful lights.

25 degrees. Snow flurries. Dark night. Bright lights. Even brighter spirits.

These are my Christmas light reflections after Braving the Wilderness.

Cheers & Hugs,


38 thoughts on “Christmas Light Reflections after Braving the Wilderness

  1. I bought and read the book on your recommendation and it is currently doing a regal tour of each of my daughters and doubtless friends of theirs too. There are few books that I consider ‘must reads’ but this is one of them and I have you to thank for guiding me. Your book club sounds fabulous … is there anything better than reading, discussing, debating and bonding over great written works? And the lights on the lake? Just magical!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a beautiful photo! That must have been an amazing adventure – going on the lake at 10:00 pm to see the Christmas lights! The book, Braving the Wilderness sounds like an awesome book! You certainly did make it to #3. Because that defines you beautifully!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this book recently and found it to be just as powerful as any Brene Brown has written. The fact that her message resonates so powerfully with so many shows how similar we all really are. May we all fight against our fears and pursue authenticity and connection! Sounds like a beautiful evening with good people! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, wow, Jodi, I’m reading that very book right now! I got the goosebumps with the quote you used because those words made me pause, reflect and say quietly …. God knows but I do know this. Tears are pricking my eyes. Powerful book!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this late November after your post, it definitely is a must read! Did you read the one that I recommended? Your book club sounds amazing. Thank-you!


  6. Thanks for sharing this, Jodi! (How I wish my book club was like yours…mine tends to “debate” rather than discuss books, as though there was just one right way to interpret a book and it’s message.)
    But I want to find and read that book….I loved the part about now belonging in our families, because I think so many of us felt that for so many different reasons. And far too often, we choose to respond in the first two ways, when the only way to live a full and happy life is the thirds. It’s a message that needs to be spread. Thanks for doing your part!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to say – we have the best book club ever 🙂 – it is such a unique and amazing group of people – we are so fortunate to be a part of it. I hope you do read this book, and I look forward to your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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