Fear of the Unknown

What scares you? What have you always wanted to do but never have? What is that thing on your bucket list that never gets done because obstacles stand in the way? Do you fear the unknown?

Have you ever thought, “Man, I sure would like to ______,” but at this stage in life you’ve just never quite gotten around to it.

What is your fill-in-the-blank?

I recorded a Facebook live version of this yesterday while on my paddle board out on Lake Keowee in SC. But then the rocks got in the way and the recording took an interesting turn and then it disappeared off Facebook. I learned that self-videography and paddle boarding on choppy waters with lots of boat wakes bopping me about is more a recipe for disaster rather than a recipe for a great Facebook live message. So….here I am at my laptop, plunking out the message in written form. There are fewer mishaps this way. And truly, I am a writer at heart.

I ask these questions because they are relevant to all of us and because I’ve been pondering these things while out on my paddle board this past week, dodging choppy waters and strong currents in four different states in the span of 7 days. After crossing the St. Croix river from Minnesota to Wisconsin, I saw a post by my long-time friend, Cindy Chrysler, that included photos of Pictured Rocks National Park at Lake Superior. The photos made me want to go there. And then I started thinking really I want to visit all 5 Great Lakes on my Bote board. But…..it’s all so far away. And, the water might be too cold. And it will cost money. And I won’t get to sleep in my own bed and enjoy the comforts of my own home. I’d be away from my family, what about my high school-age child and her busy schedule? And then there are the pets to care for and the four businesses to run…..so many obstacles. There’s also the fear factor – the unknown. What if? What if? What if?

The quote in my planner one day this week was perfect for the occasion: “Do something every day that scares you.” (anonymous). Fear cannot be your driving force if you want to accomplish anything noteworthy. And then today’s quote by Thomas Jefferson, “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” Now there’s a real gem to live by! It turns out I have learned a lot and accomplished much by following the lead of some of America’s great dudes of the past. (Another favorite is Ben Franklin and his “6 things a day” model, which I wrote a blog post about and still follow pretty much every day).

So, here’s what I’m getting at….we all have a fill-in-the-blank thing we’d like to do but never do. There are obstacles. What are yours?  Identifying the obstacles is the first step in overcoming them.

If you want to achieve a personal accomplishment goal, first write it down and then list the obstacles that stand in your way. Next, work through the obstacles one at a time to determine creative ways to overcome each obstacle. Then, like Nike says, just do it. What are you waiting for?

I’ve learned through my years of teaching and speaking in the grooming industry that there are two types: the go-getters with failure-is-not-an-option attitudes and those who give up when an obstacle stands in their way. The first do amazing things. The second mainly just whine a lot about how nothing ever works out for them. They are their own worst enemy.

So, in light of all of the above, and after making my obstacles list, sorting through my overly jam-packed calendar, and getting the thumbs up from my fabulous husband, I hope to head out from Hershey Groom Expo in less than a month with my Bote board on top of my SUV and make the 14-day trek up and around the Great Lakes region to board in all 5 lakes and even take a jump into each lake, despite the coldness, which for me is an obstacle of ginormous proportions. The trek will ultimately end up in Delaware in time for Lynn’s wedding before making the last leg home to South Carolina. In total, I will drive about 6300 miles. Along the way, here are my objectives:

1. Use Facebook live to raise enough money to buy a cow (or 2 or 3!) for some villages in Uganda, which will be delivered as part of #cowproject with the Call to Africa team going in early 2017. This will cost $1400. Divided by 5 Great Lakes that’s $280 per lake. I need folks wanting to get involved in making a difference in these folks’ lives, a real immediate, everyday, sometimes life or death difference by pledging $280 per jump in a cold lake, alone, maybe in bad weather. Whatever. I’m committed to doing it. Who wants to #getdirty?

2. Drop in on some CFMGs along my route and shoot some “Danelle Drops In” videos to share a glimpse into the world of these amazing folks living out their dreams. Real groomers, real life. Making it happen. If you are along my route, let me know so I can work out my travel schedule, fitting in whatever is possible.

3. Train 2 new Remote Certifiers for the NCGIA. We need more. I’m coming through New England/ON/Great Lakes region. I will train. Together we can save the world one cat at a time by making CFMG certification testing more accessible to those that want to pursue this fabulous opportunity and become a cat ninja warrior.

4. Shoot one child portrait session. Want photos of your child? Dramatic, adorable, editorial style, personality-driven photos you can share on social media and proudly hang on your wall? I’m coming through the above-listed regions. Let me know so we can schedule and make it happen. I will definitely be wanting some #behindthelens time!

5. Conquer a personal challenge, step out of my comfort zone, and do something kinda scary and adventurous and filled with unknowns. Inspire others to do their own scary, adventurous, life achievement, fill-in-the-blank, major accomplishment, so-glad-I-did-it thing.

BEFORE I take on this huge project and drive all those miles, I’m taking a vote. I’m not doing this unless I get at least 100 affirmative votes via commenting on this blog post or on Facebook.  And at least some of you comment and tell me what your fill-in-the-blank thing is. Let’s do this together. There’s no point in doing it alone if my 5 objectives are not met. I’d rather stay home, see my family, sleep in my own bed, have a hot beverage on my back deck, ride my horse, and hit the local 93-degree lake near my house for a bit of boarding. So let me know you’re in. Cast your vote. If I’m crazy, tell me to stay home and read a book (I’m totally good with this plan).

If, however, you want to go along for the ride by joining me via blog, Facebook live, and through meeting my 5 objectives above and making a difference at the same time, leave a comment. Can’t wait to hear from you!


UPDATE: I set up a YouCaring account for donations. Please use this to donate during the challenge if you feel so led. Thank you to all who have expressed interest thus far!

We Live What We Believe

I met the Beaty family some 18 years ago, just after we received a 5 lb, brown-skinned bundle of cuteness that we chose to name Halla. The name means “unexpected gift” in Africa. She was indeed that! With all of 4 hours notice, my husband and I dropped off our three oldest children at the house of some friends, borrowed the friends’ infant car seat, and drove excitedly to the local hospital where we were gifted a new baby daughter. She was so tiny then. And she had a head full of black hair, hair I didn’t quite know what to do with once it started to curl up tighter and thicken a great deal.

That’s why, when the Beatys first showed up as visitors at our church in Simpsonville and sat directly in front of us, I paid special attention to the adorable little twists Nechelle Beaty had constructed in her toddler’s hair. Kiarah, the eldest Beaty child, was maybe two years old at the time. Nechelle was pregnant with their second child, Karington.

Our friendship with the Beaty family was instantaneous. Over the nearly two decades we have known each other, we have been away on mountain retreats together, vacationed at the beach together, spent time with each other’s extended families at holiday events and family reunions, and spent many a late night playing games or just being silly together. We were there at the hospital when Kendall, Boo and Nechelle’s third child, was born. We were there at the courthouse for the adoption finalization when Kaitlyn and McKayla were officially made members of the family. We have shared many great times together with Boo and Nechelle and their children and created wonderful memories along the way.

Several years ago Mike and I hosted an adoption group through our church. Boo and Nechelle attended, expressing an interest in adopting a child. They believe, as we do, that the Christian community should be stepping up to the plate to live what we say we believe. If we value life we should do what we can to protect it. If we believe the Bible, we can’t ignore Jesus’s words about the true measure of one’s worship being so connected to caring for widows and orphans. Why, I wonder, do we not do this? What is it that stops those who say they believe these words from actually living them out? I think it comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of the messy.

Truly we live what we believe. It is one thing to say we believe something. But always – always our actions will express what it is we truly believe. I suppose this is where the old adage “actions speak louder than words” comes from. Talk is cheap. You live what you believe. I live what I believe. Our actions demonstrate this. Too bad the Christian community, as a whole, doesn’t seem to get that. Complacency is the norm. Comfort is #1. Fear is rooted in a lack of faith in a Sovereign God who holds all things in His hands. Whom shall I fear? Can you honestly say that…..whom shall I fear???

I can clearly see what the Beaty family believes. They are living it out. Not only through the fostering and adoption of two precious girls that come with the messiness all too common in the foster world, but in so many other ways where they give of themselves to meet the needs of others. Fear has no place in the midst of true faith. Their family is a living, moving, breathing portrayal of exactly that. What a beautiful family! What if the rest of the world lived like this? What if, instead of dwelling on the inane arguments our society bombards us with – arguments that are merely symptoms of much deeper issues – what if we chose instead to set our fear aside and live what we say we believe? What if we saved a child or two in the process and showed the world the gospel in doing so?

The world would be a much better place for sure! And it would be much more colorful!

Boldness is a great thing when it’s founded on truth!

Thank you to Boo and Nechelle and their sweet children for allowing Fourth Dimension Photography the privilege of capturing your beautiful family in photos! Thank you for living out loud what you believe. We love you guys!


To see more photos from the Beaty’s photoshoot, click here.