Convincing Myself to Be Courageous


This blog is a parking lot. I am parking everything here that I am worried about, and I am worried about a lot, as I prepare to travel to Israel with my twelve-year-old granddaughter, Tillie. All the little things that would ordinarily have me nervous when I travel are exacerbated by the fact that my daughter wants me to swallow my fears and project an image of female strength and courage to Tillie. As I prepare to move into Helen Reddy mode – I am woman, hear me roar! – I will try to give away my fear as I write about it here. 

But first, let me explain the background of our amazing trip. A year ago, Tillie and I were invited to participate in a year-long, global, intergenerational program for grandparents and their preteen grandchildren (https://www.g2family.org). We agreed to meet monthly with our cohort, three other grandparent-and-grandchild couples. Tillie and I also agreed to spend time together each month to do a fun homework assignment. The goal in all this was to build a bond between the two generations. Knowing that kids can’t always turn to their parents when they have a problem, I was very eager for Tillie to have a strong connection to me. Hence, I was sold on the concept immediately! That the program culminates in a trip to Israel is a wonderful bonus.

We leave for our trip in four days and here’s what I am worrying about (but don’t tell Tillie):

  1. Foreign currency – I am packing shekels and dollars but what if I need more cash? On a trip to Europe four years ago the ATM machine didn’t accept my card even though my bank was aware of my travel!
  2. Cell phone service – I have spoken to Verizon just like I did the last time I traveled out of the country but that still didn’t make the transition automatic or easy! I have printed out a sheet of instructions this time, but will that work?
  3. Electrical adaptors – I ordered Type D like our tour guide mentioned, but they don’t look exactly like the picture our leader provided! 
  4. Going through customs in Israel – I am a perennial good girl, but on my previous trip to Israel I got bumped out of line for a more thorough screening (why, oh why?) that felt ominous, separated me from my group, and took forever!
  5. Of course, there are a bunch of little things that worry me like hotel hairdryers that are on a different voltage and offer up the possibility of frizzy hair, etc. But those are mundane issues, right? Certainly, I can wear a brave face in handling them??? Right?

I saw a home décor sign at a gift shop recently that is applicable now. It said, “Of course I talk to myself, I need expert advice.” In need of a pep talk as I face these issues, I turn to ten motivational messages I posted on social media in the past year:

  1. I will not obsess. I will not obsess. I will not obsess.
  2. Overthinking: The art of creating problems that don’t exist.
  3. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
  4. Be a warrior, not a worrier.
  5. Suck it up, buttercup.
  6. You are brave and brilliant and oh so resilient.
  7. Every little thing gonna be alright.
  8. Inhale confidence. Exhale doubt.
  9. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
  10. She believed she could, so she did.

Ok, I have parked my worries and filled my tank with confidence boosters. I’ve also gotten a good laugh, which lightens my mood. (Suck it up, buttercup?!) Add it all together, and I’m feeling better. It’s amazing to see that when I write down my worries they don’t seem as awful as when they roll around continuously inside my brain. 

Because of all this, I am going to stop looking at the hole and see the donut instead: An amazing trip with my beloved granddaughter awaits me! The folks at G2family.org have given us meaningful programming so far and will surely provide more in Israel. In fact, I know about one event taking place early in our trip. To prepare for it, the grandparents were given an assignment. We were each asked to write a blessing for our grandchild. The grandkids will receive these hand-written notes in a special ceremony. Here is what I said:

Dear Tillie Rose, I hope you will pick out one wonderful experience from the Israel trip and turn it into a “snapshot” to keep in your mind forever. Then whenever you have a difficult day in your life, you can find that snapshot in your head, and let it shine its light on you. XO, Marmel

This is such good advice, I think I’ll follow it too. When I catch myself in an act of personal bravery on this trip, I’ll snap a mental picture of it to revisit the next time I am in a panic. Thus, I will be reminded of these facts: I am strong, I am intelligent, I can handle the things that are thrown my way. Indeed, I am woman, hear me roar!

26 Comments

  1. Stefan Eckert says:

    Nice! Did T share with you the “snapshot”?

  2. Kathy Saunders says:

    Great reminders for life worries, Lorie!

  3. Rose Solomon says:

    One of your best posts ever, Lorie! I think it’s a keeper!

  4. Dorothy Abram says:

    It was so nice to read the blog, the wonderful part of it was that you got to
    share this experience with your Granddaughter.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Great post! I’m going to remember this when I’m overcome with worry, “stop looking at the hole and see the donut instead”. Thanks for sharing :). Maybe we’ll get to see a “brave” snapshot of you on your trip?

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Thanks for reading the blog and for commenting, Jennifer. Stay tuned for the next blog to hear about the trip!

  6. Fran Turrell says:

    I loved the blog and will keep this mind when I am worrying about something. Tillie is very lucky to have a grandmother like.you. sure you will enjoy your trip and look forward to hearing all about it. Fran

  7. Vera Long says:

    I love it that you worry so much. You, the inspirational speaker and inspirational quote poster! I’m more interested in your “mental snapshot” from your trip. Please share!

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      I always quote Richard Bach who said that we tend to teach best that which we most need to learn. Thus all those motivational quotes are for ME!!!! My mental snapshot of the trip is coming soon…in the next blog. Stay tuned.

  8. Linda Rousos says:

    Wonderful, Lorie! Exactly my worries for international travel– and for the same reasons Have a fabulous trip together, lucky girls!

  9. Laura Goldmeier says:

    Have an amazing trip! Love from your cousin Laura.

  10. Michele says:

    Lorie, loved this blog. #7 is my favorite! Have a wonderful trip.

  11. Sue says:

    You did it!

  12. Lisa says:

    How nice that you gave Tillie that snapshot tool to keep in her back pocket 🙂

  13. Shana says:

    I LOVE this! And I’m very proud of you, fearless traveler!

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Fearless Traveler! Love it! Thanks for reading this and responding, and of course for lending me your amazing daughter for this trip!!

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