Courage, dear heart



the ability to do something that frightens one."

Every year, I sit down with a blank piece of paper and a bright colored pen, and I let my imagination lead the strokes. I set goals, lofty dreams, and even some silly small ideas I'd like to get accomplished. 

Once I'm done marking up that blank piece of paper, I sum it all up with a phrase. A phrase for the year, for the goals, and sort of a posture for the attitude I want to have for that year. 

Last year, my word was a hashtag, #WhyNot. 

I set some pretty lofty, "far reach" goals, by the grace of God, and a whole lot of hustle many came true. I had two people I dreamed of interviewing, and after pitching, 3 months of calling, organizing, and networking, both of those dream interviews came to life, and one even happened twice. I went back a lot to that phrase throughout the year, #whynot? 

The fear of no, the fear of not being adequate, or not being enough can drive us to never see the light at the end of our lofty dreams, but that phrase really set up a posture for the year. It was that very phrase, #WhyNot, that led me to my 2016 phrase. 

I was visiting Nashville for work, and on the last day of my trip, on a Sunday, in the back row of a random church, the bulletin had the title for the sermon, #NowOrNever. In the stirring deep down in my heart, I felt I needed to move to Nashville, I couldn't explain exactly why, my eyes had been opened that week, and I had a few ideas of what Nashville offered and what I ultimately was looking for in next steps of my life and career, but there was a large chasm of unknown. Just days prior, I was looking for a new apartment in Los Angeles, and then all the sudden I've decided to move to Nashville?

But, yes that's exactly what happened. I decided to trust that gut feeling I felt so passionately. I didn't even have time to tell my friends personally, because the way my lease was structured, it was really now or never, with just 3 weeks left in my lease upon my return to LA. So, once I committed to that gut feeling, that leap of faith, it was a whirlwind leaving. Honestly, that gut feeling turned into adrenaline, and I typed away at a Facebook status to let my dear friends know, after almost 7 years in LA, I was off to the next adventure. As scary as it was, there was something so thrilling about acting in faith, and fueling me forward. 

So, I lept. I lept without a job, without an apartment, with just knowing a few faces. 


hen it came time to jot down my 2016 goals. My paper looked a little different than in years past. Sure it was marked up with career goals, but there was room and space for more, for my health, and relationships, or maybe this year I was just more aware to make those even more of a priority. So, as I graced over the page, I thought Courage. Courage, dear heart. 

Courage, dear heart, became my phrase for this year. Courage is a word that reminds me of strength, different than being fearless, but both are strong. 

Anyways, this whole courage thing, when I chose that word, I thought it's perfect, because some really pretty ordinary goals for others are actually really hard for me, like setting boundaries for hours I'm emailing, so I'm not emailing at 3 am. To have the courage that 'hey that job can wait just a few more hours, and not be addressed at 3am, it's not going to leave you'. Courage to say yes to dates, when I'd usually be working long hours and not have any time to. Courage to be bold in my pursuit of opportunities on camera in acting and hosting. 

So, this courage, dear heart, has already taught me a lot, and I can tell you, it's not nearly as fun as #whynot, because for some reason courage, dear heart is a whole lot scarier lately. 

I cried this week. I don't cry much, but for the first time since I moved to Nashville, I cried. 

I'm not even sure all that mustered up the tears falling down my cheeks, but they really poured when one of my dear friends Betsy answered the phone, and the raindrops hitting my windshield outside, were synonymous with the tears hitting my fluffy cheeks. Because, courage is hard, guys. And sometimes in a big group of people in a town where you've been for 4 months, you can still feel lonely. 

I grew up a lot in Los Angeles, honestly I became who I am today a lot in part due to LA, coupled with my sweet Southern roots, but it's hard leaving a place that you've known so dear for so long, with people who have known you for years. Sure LA can get a bad rap, and frankly sure sometimes it deserves it, but honestly it still is magical, and it will forever hold a piece of my heart, and I truly think I'll ultimately be back and forth for projects. 

So, the reason I'm writing this novel of a post, is because I had a revelation on my night of tears. Courage, dear heart, can sometimes be a whisper, like please heart pick courage, don't look back. Courage can lead you down some skinny, tiny limbs of a tree. But, you know what? The ending and view we all want to see, come from the hardest climbs, with shaky, tiny, unpaved paths. One of my 2016 goals was to run a

half marathon

, after fracturing my back twice years ago, then slipping a disk in my neck a year ago, it's not one a doctor would advise, those hills were


but that ending was


worth it. 

I also thought about the trees on my street in Nashville, and how they've transformed in the months that I've known them. When I moved to Nashville, I thought the trees on my street were dead, we were in final wave of winter, and I thought the skinny little limbs with no blossoms, meant they were dead. They were scraggly, puny, and I thought how sad. However, a month or two passed, and those skinny little limbs soon had little buds on them, and then pretty soon they were flourishing with fluffy white and pink blossoms, making the street look like it was a cotton candy wonderland. They weathered the storm, and they flourished in due time, with deep roots and sunshine. 

Also, I don't regret my move, I want to be clear in that, I don't, because I know even on hard days, I felt that I needed to follow that gut feeling. Sure, it's hard, and I'd be lying if on the really hard days like this week, I have thought, 'gosh this could have been a mistake,' but mainly because it's uncomfortable. 

It's uncomfortable to be vulnerable, it's uncomfortable to pick up and start a new chapter, because as freeing as a blank page is, it's wildly confusing some days. So, courage, dear heart. 

I'm writing this to be honest, because courage I know is worth it, but it's hard. 

A lot of days I have this fire in my soul and a pep in my step, and all I want to do is talk to people along the way. But you know, I just didn't have that this week, and that's okay. Because, courage is an action followed by the decision to not shrink back into your fears, and it's not always going to make you feel like a burst of sunshine, sometimes it's going to feel like that tree limb wondering when the heck those cotton candy blossoms will appear. Some days the weight of that skinny, unpaved path will feel really dark, until you get to that everlasting, unbelievable view that can only be obtained from climbing, and blazing those trails. 

So, courage, dear heart.