by Molly Jo Realy (@mollyjorealy)

My Brave Birthday, Part 1: Baseball and Beignets

Life is full of savory experiences. But first: Define “brave.”

Have you ever taken an online personality test? Do you know what your Enneagram is? Are you an otter? A bear? Do you prefer reading over writing? Is quartz your spirit crystal? In case you were wondering, I’m a Three with a strong Two/Four influence; definitely an otter, and I prefer amethyst. My soulmate is caffeine with a chocolate kick. SIDE NOTE: Leave a comment with your results!

People often tell me I’m brave. I don’t get it. I’m not sure what brave is supposed to feel like, but I think brave people are heroes. First responders. People in management positions. I’m not brave. I’m just a woman doing what needs to be done. Although this day, I’ll take it.

But you may have picked up on this aura around me that whispers says screams “Extrovert!”

Yeah. My family and fellow writers aren’t too sure where that came from, but what the heck. We (try to) embrace it anyway. So I’ll be the first in line to tell you what a surprise it was when I decided to celebrate my birthday alone. Yup. 100% nobody invited. Just me and (most of) the day to myself.

Except, in the words of Albert Nimziki in Independence Day:
“Excuse me, Mr. President? That’s not entirely accurate.”

Who doesn’t love a day filled with shiftable plans, fluid ideas, and inspiration? I found plenty. And while I’d love to share all of it with you, there are more than a few problems with that idea:
1. You’re probably not interested in the minutiae of my moments.
2. Some moments are catalysts for creative writing. So, forgive. You’ll have to wait for the stories.

The first shareable moment was enjoying a cuppa joe with my favorite Joe, Shoeless Joe Jackson.

Molly Jo's Journals: My Brave Birthday, Part 1: Baseball and Beignets: Enjoying a cup of coffee at the Grave of Shoeless Joe Jackson

Molly Jo’s Journals: My Brave Birthday, Part 1: Baseball and Beignets: Enjoying a cup of coffee at the Grave of Shoeless Joe Jackson

Do you notice the cleats and pennies? People come from all over just to watch him play. Oops. I mean, to leave tokens. I visit his grave every year since I moved to the Greenville area. Joe was a hero. Banned from the game for life when the Chicago Black Sox were caught in a cheating scandal, he couldn’t not play. He was often seen playing under assumed names. Even though he and his teammates were acquitted, they were never again allowed to play in the major leagues.

Brave Note No. 1: This was the first time I found Joe’s grave without asking for guidance. We chat about baseball, writing, finding inspiration, truth as a stepping stone for storytelling, the unfairness of the world, perseverance, and he encourages me to keep at it. I met W.P. Kinsella, author of Shoeless Joe Jackson, when I was in college. He said the same things. So maybe this conversation was just transference. Who can say?

My next stop took me to Main Street. I love parking the car and wandering the mile back and forth, experiencing shops, quaint mice (true story, but not what you think. And that’s for another Journal.).

After my shopaholic event at the Spice and Tea Exchange (again, another Journal. Or follow me on Insta for my tea-spirations), I strolled next door to get my New Orleans fix at the Lost Cajun. Mmm. Beignets and chicory. Boo, they ain’t kidding around with that powdered sugar! I guess it was pretty brave to eat that without a full frontal bib.

Molly Jo's Journals: My Brave Birthday, Part 1: Baseball and Beignets: the Lost Cajun

Molly Jo’s Journals: My Brave Birthday, Part 1: Baseball and Beignets: the Lost Cajun

Brave Note No. 2: I struck up a conversation with the couple sitting next to me at the bar. “But, Molly,” you say. “You’re an extrovert. How is this brave?” Honeybee, lemme tell ya. Extroverts do well in crowds. It’s the individual oh-my-gosh-did-I-just-say-that-out-loud-to-one-person conversations that instill a special blend of panic. I can (and often do) look like a fool in front of a crowd. But hey, there’s safety in numbers. When it’s just me, there’s no one to hide behind. Did someone say, “Yikes”?! Cool beans, though. I absorbed the atmosphere. Drank my chicory. Took many mental notes for Penny’s next experience in a New Orleans restaurant [HINT: It’s not at Rain’s establishment!]. And then it was time to grab my beads and move on.

Brave Note No. 3: Since I was “alone,” I asked others to celebrate with me. The clerks at the bookstores, tea shop, and general store all joined the fun. I brought several items to the counter or explained what I was looking for, informed them it was my birthday and I like surprises. When I turned my back, the clerks and cashiers chose my purchases for me. They secured them in bags, I paid, and they even hid the receipts. I wouldn’t know until the next day what I bought!

FUN HACK: Next time you’re out and about, bring someone else in on the fun.
Let a person in the store choose your purchase.

CALL OUT: Shoeless Joe even gave me gift: As I was walking back to my car, I found a penny! Y’all know how important pennies are to me. They’re notions that little actions build. Everyone starts with something small. To me, pennies are heavenly tokens, a reminder to trust God to provide.

And while I’d love to share more about this wonderful day, this post is pretty long.

But I have one more thing for you:
Y’all know by now I love baseball. Like, llooooovvve baseball. I’m all about the Yankees. Shoeless Joe. Field of Dreams. W.P. Kinsella. Aaron Judge. All of it.

So bless my heart! Imagine my surprise when my brother the Dude sent me a package with this:

Molly Jo's Journals: My Brave Birthday, Part 1: Baseball and Beignets: Dude Candle Baseball Scent Molly Jo’s Journals: My Brave Birthday, Part 1: Baseball and Beignets: Dude Candle Baseball Scent

To be real (which I am), the baseball is mine. From fifth grade. That was a lloonnng time ago. I won it by reading a crazy amount of books for the Scholastic Read-a-Thon. I don’t remember what the top prize was. I was after that baseball! Books and Baseball. They go together like beignets and bravery. See what I did there?

Dude Candle “Baseball” scent was created with me in mind. Awww. Now that’s a birthday gift. The candle is ahh-mazing. I know I say that about a lot of things. Well, yeah. Because life itself is amazing. But, truly. This candle? I can’t even. It’s the thrill of the grass, the pitcher’s mitt, the setting sun, the peanuts and Crackerjacks, the roar of the crowd. It’s the 7th Inning Stretch. It’s everything. Don’t believe me? I double-dog dare you to try it, and tell him I sent ya. Feel free to click on the pic above or visit

You know what else? This Journal is posting on Opening Day. See? All things lead to Baseball, Beignets, Books, Bees, and Bravery. (You’ll get the books and bees part next time.)

Until then, drop a line. Let me know how you like to celebrate your special moments. How do you find inspiration? And who are your heroes?

Bravery, Baseball, and Beignets. Life is full of savory experiences! #baseball #shoelessjoe #savorthejourney Click To Tweet

Come alive, stay wild, and always, savor the journey.
MJR Red Signature


I would love to share with you about journaling, tea, God, and New Orleans. Drop me a comment or send me a message.


Come alive, stay wild, and always, savor the journey!

Author of the romantic location mystery novel, NOLA, Molly Jo Realy is an award-winning writer, editor  and author coach. Encouraging others to embrace their unique talents to come alive and stay wild every day is her cup of tea! Addicted to God, cats, caffeine, pens, and planners, in no particular order. Savor the journey, y’all.

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