Challenges, wisdom with Mama Bear

Challenges, wisdom with Mama Bear

This weekend on the blog I'm really excited to welcome for the first time a new guest writer to the blog: Erene Schwarz. She also happens to be my Mama Bear. I've had the idea for sometime now to ask if she would consider visiting us on the blog from time to time and write about anything she feels called to. Braver is a place where we can diversify and broaden our horizons from the stories of how other humans are experiencing life and living their own versions of being braver. I have no doubt someone reading today's guest entry will be able to take something from the wisdom shared. Thank you for being here, Astrid | Founder

Are you ready for a challenge?

Challenge: noun. a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc. something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc. 

I recently embarked on learning a new skill, which, on looking back, would prove to be a challenge for me. It was not a physical competition nor was it a difficult teaching position, nor was it a business venture! No, my challenge was to learn how to make sourdough bread, and before you say “Oh that is so easy!” wait a minute or two.

The easiest part was to get the recipe from my sister who is an expert at baking. I read it through a few times and decided to start. She had given me a starter so I thought it would be easy as pie!

Well, let me just say that the first two loaves were absolute disasters!!!

Despite reading through the method a few times, I could not get it right and after two ‘bricks’, which were quite inedible, I decided to give up and continue buying bread!

My family would not let me give up - they were so encouraging and persuaded me to try one more time. I read a couple of articles on method and folding; proving and feeding the starter; overnight on the counter or in the fridge. Folding just so, several times with rest in-between and letting it rise requires patience and time: twenty-four hours from beginning to end.

I read so many articles, I could almost smell the sourdough on my skin, without even having put my hands in the dough.

Well, five or so loaves later, today the perfect loaf came out of the oven, and for now I am satisfied that the loaf is almost perfect and will be enjoyed by all.

Going back to the definition: something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort.

A challenge, no matter what you are facing, requires from you to draw strength from within yourself. Once you have decided to go for something, you will either win through or loose before you even start.

It takes strength of character to persevere, whether it is baking bread, preparing lessons, in business, powerlifting or whatever work or sport you are involved in.

You have to work at the method that will get you to your goal; you have to keep to the instructions or rules in whatever field you wish to partake or compete in; you cannot give up after the first failure - if it is worth the end result, then the journey to get you to that end is what will require character, determination, perseverance on your part and encouragement of family and friends should you be blessed with those too.

Life is full of challenges and at times, they may seem to be too difficult to face, but when you reach your goal, you will feel the satisfaction of having overcome the hurdles and feel thankful that you persevered!
Bread anyone?!

Mama Bear

Challenges, by Erene Schwarz
Main photo of Mama Bears best loaf yet, 11 January 2024

If you are interested in becoming a guest writer on our blog please write to Astrid here for more info, we would love to hear from you.


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Well done Erene! I take my hat off to you. Thanks for sharing your challenge and your final success, as well as the idea of what a “challenge” is!


Mama Bear – your dedication to learning how to make sourdough is so inspiring. To challenge yourself when you could simply be baking other delicious breads you have already mastered, shows how people need to continue to grow and learn, and once ‘perfected’ to keep seeing more ways to improve.
Thank you for sharing your bread and wisdom, I will cherish it!


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