If you’re reading this… you’ve found your way to STEP ONE – which is where I explain what #cultivatemorecourage is all about.  

2019 is a year that I already know will require me to possess a whole lot of courage. There are big things coming my way – some uninvited, none the less they are going to happen, so I need to be wearing my big girl panties or my life will mow me down like a fresh cut lawn.  Meanwhile, I also find myself allowing old dreams to find new life, setting some goals to live with intention, and blowing the dust off of some plans that needs to get back on track.   I’m just a regular girl trying to live a life that is worth while – and even that takes courage. But I’ve used up most of the courage in my tank – so I need to get some more to move this life forward.  The good news is – that’s totally possible.  I can cultivate more courage.  Because courage is the fuel that moves us forward into ________________  (you can fill in your own blank)

Maya Angelou says this about courage;

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 11.14.38 AM.png

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

Yes, courage is the fuel for everything else we will need. This is my mission in 2019 to #cultivatemorecourage and this is your invitation to join me.  So, here’s how we do it TOGETHER.  This year I am committing to ‘host’ conversations around cultivating more courage for our ‘online’ community.  This will come in the form of a blog post weekly on topics that I will outline in my next post.
What I’m asking you to do is – be a part of the conversation.  Read the post – and comment when it resonates with you, what’s going on in your life, etc.  I want us to do this together.  This way we can spur one another on in this journey to #cultivatemorecourage in 2019. Because I believe…everything BIG we desire for our lives exists on the other side of courage.
Give yourself a pat on the back because you’re half way through Step One.  Now, what I would love for you to do is comment on this post and let me know what your focus is for this year : Dream, Goal, or Plan…or of course all of these 🙂 .

Not sure… ask yourself these questions.

Dream – do I have a desire to reach a goal that feels completely unrealistic and far fetched at this point?  Am I passionate about this goal and does it connect with the sense of purpose I have for my life? Clue 🔎 this may be you if… you’ve selected your one WORD for the new year and have created your Vision Board but aren’t quite sure how to move forward.

Goal – am I currently, or have I been recently putting some effort toward a tangible end? Do you know your target?  Maybe you’re using your Full Focus Planner 😂 to be intentional about your effort, or have your S.M.A.R.T.  Goal Worksheets filled out for this achievement.

Plan – have you mapped out the steps it will take you to get from where you are currently to a Goal you have?  If you said YES, and let me show you my notebook, resource file, and all my FREE downloads on the subject, then girl you’ve got a Plan.

In addition with your comment tell me a bit where you rank yourself on the courage scale – remember that courage is fuel for your Dream, Goal, and/or Plan.  If your courage was an emoji would you be the flame 🔥  burning but no forward movement, the firework 🎇 enough spark to get a bit off the ground but ends in a fizzle, or the comet ☄️ enough energy to travel some distance? We’ll have fun looking back at the end of the year to review our progress!

I can’t with to hear from you and taking the journey to #cultivatemorecourage TOGETHER in 2019.

Don’t forget your homework 📚

1.) Comment on this post with Dream, Goal, and/or Plan AND how much courage fuel you currently have 🔥 🎇 ☄️.

2.) Read the START HERE – STEP TWO post next week where we will unpack the ‘how’ of #cultivatemorecourage.

Until then … be strong and courageous.

P.S.  If you haven’t joined our community yet, I encourage you to do so… I’ve got a special gift I’ll be sending to all my ‘friends’ in the next few weeks that I don’t want you to miss out on!

23 thoughts on “START HERE – STEP ONE”

  1. My words for 2019 are Perseverance and Contentment. I know they seem to counteract each other a bit but I believe God gave me these words to focus on for different areas of my life. My goals this year are to focus on my physical health by.losing weight in a healthy way through diet and exercise and getting the rest I need, my spiritual health by spending quality time in the Word each day, and my career and ministry life by growing in my leadership skills.


    1. Mary-I love those words. Most people in FL don’t know but I actually weighed 110 more that I do know when I delivered my daughter Caroline. Weight was something I had always struggled with. And it did take Perseverance and Contentment to gradually lose all of that weight in a healthy way. Good news is when you make lifestyle adjustments over a period of time it stays off! Truth be told – I could still stand to lose about 15 more lbs. Let’s see how we do over the course of the year 🙂 In just a few weeks I’ll be writing about the relationship between courage and perseverance – great timing!


  2. Reading your blog today resounded with me in that courage was not a word I would associate with myself but I realized that it takes courage to–
    ..Be in the later days of your life with so much of your life behind you–
    ..To face each challenge that comes with having a husband with Parkinson’s–
    ..To face the ever increasing taking over of household duties–
    ..To face the responsibilities of caring for the needs of two elderly, ill relatives
    Things that I have been doing with God’s strength trying to praise in all situations. Thank you for showing me that I do have courage even on bad days. I really think that will be my word for the year COURAGE in all that lies ahead in 2019–and PRAISE ever on my heart.


    1. Betty – thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration and 100% right – you are courageous. We have the tremendous opportunity living on the east coast to view the sun rise over the Atlantic every day. Your words are a reminder that sunsets are just as magnificent. Living our best in every season of life takes dignity and grace – thank you for modeling this for us. With much love in Christ.


  3. I really love this word. One year I took it is my banner word for 365 days and discovered the two prefixes that might fit in front of “courage” could be dis-courage or en-courage ,
    It was a wonderful year of lessons with those three words.


    1. Toni – what a WORD to use as a banner over your life for a whole year. Let’s always be givers, lenders, and sowers of courage – knowing that there will be days when we need to take, borrow, and harvest from others. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with all of us.


  4. My word for the year is Hope. Although, I admit I’m feeling a little at loose ends these days. On hold, maybe is more accurate. Not necessarily hopeful.
    It’s weird. It’s the new year, but I’m still in the middle of things started last year. (Six rounds of chemo from September 2018 to February 2019.) I’m in the homestretch, but not out of the woods. And so, while I’m sort of hopeful for what the year to come holds, I find myself stuck. Not able to move there yet. Still mired in where I am.
    And quite honestly, I’m questioning all my dreams these days. This whole treatment journey has been about God unravelling me. Stripping me of pride–the notion that I believe that I’ve had anything to do with how this journey has gone to this point. That my own health or fitness or choices have somehow contributed to the outcome. And maybe the same applies to my dreams? He’s stripping me of the idea that somehow I am in control of how it will unfold and how it will look.
    I read recently the phrase, “God, help me to be courageous enough to let go of my opinions of how you should do your job.” It resonated so much because I have all kinds of opinions of what God should do and how he should do it.
    But maybe the most courageous thing I can do is let go? I need courage. I need to be brave. But I don’t know where to start or how to start. (Yes, I’m a mess!)


    1. Janine – oooooooooooo in case you are at a loss for what that is – it’s a hug – the kind that a close friend gives you when you need it most, the kind that lingers, draws the tears to your eyes, and warms your heart – before the words – I offer the hug.

      You are courageous and brave every time you show up for your treatment, AND especially for sharing your feelings here. YOU ARE BRAVE. Your thoughts remind me of a conversation I had with a friend in Bible Study a few months ago – she’s been through a recent, unplanned life altering traumatic change and listening to her talk about it made me reply – it’s something you’ve been through, not your identity. If no one has told you lately, cancer is something you are dealing with/navigating/going through – it’s not your identity. YOU ARE LOVED, CHOSEN, BRAVE you are not cancer.

      You are going through something huge, and hard, and scary. In a few week’s I’m going to share how suffering with dignity is one of the ways to cultivate courage. Until then – I applaud you for participating in the hope*writers challenge. While you may not want to think about dreams, goals, and plans right now – you shouldn’t put the life giving things you can do on hold. Just keep swimming – write, write, write. True we are not in control – but God does expect us to have dreams, goals, and plans that we offer up as co-creators of the life He has given to us – He didn’t make us robots after all. But letting go of control to protect ourself from pain is (so hard I couldn’t think of a word to use)

      On a theological note. I’m confident enough to say that God’s not mad at you, He’s not punishing you, and this is not His plan for you. His plan for all of us was to live in the Garden – this is the ugly part of living in a fallen world, ugly happens. But He is with you, will never forsake you, and is working all things (even this) together for your good. (which will be revealed in His time) RECEIVE IT!

      Oh by the way, you’re not a mess – you are beautiful, creative, wonderful human… who is walking through a mess. I will be praying for you friend – healing over your body, wisdom for your treatment, and love and kindness and patience for yourself from yourself and from the ones you are closest to. With much love in Christ, Melissa


      1. I have used a lot of courage in the moments of “ACTIVE WAITING”! Contrary to popular opinion, “Waiting” is not passive, but rather a very ACTIVE fully conscious, alive choice. The “active” part is being in the moment of waiting, antennas UP for the lessons, reading the road signs, processing the emotions that are being funneled through the Lord’s fingers, and USING the entire waiting process as celebration of being yielded to the LORD. Not running a head, not looking behind, but exquisitely present with HIM. Active Waiting is going through a “tube to pop out the other side” so to speak. It is a deliberate, courageous choice to choose to Trust God.


      2. Toni, thanks for your comment. I love the notion that waiting is still an active response to what God is doing, not sitting around waiting for lightning bolts to hit. The lightning bolts and revelations are all around me if I choose to see God at work, even in the waiting. Thanks for this.


  5. My word for the year is LISTEN. As a TALKER, listening is very difficult for me at times. I interrupt a lot, which is not only rude, but annoying. This is especially so to my husband of 38 years! 😦 I retired early a couple of years ago, and my hubby is retiring in a couple of months. We will be spending a lot more time together, and more than ever I will need the COURAGE to keep on the path to be a better listener and not a failure when I don’t hit the mark during a conversation. I have had many experiences in life that have taken much courage, but I’m naturally not a BRAVE, DARING or COURAGEOUS person. Really looking forward to taking this journey with you and this community this year.


    1. Karen –
      I can totally relate – I think I actually starting writing again because I had practiced listening for the last few years and never really got a chance to share all the things on my heart. So maybe, the more you comment the more success you will have (ha!). I’m excited for your ‘retired’ season to unfold. It seems like so much of what I read, listen to, and watch lately is screaming… be BRAVE, DARING, and COURAGEOUS – but really, that’s easier said than done. The more I have to push myself just a little at a time – the more I buy into the process. #cultivatemorecourage is the answer. Love that you are on the journey friend. xo Melissa


  6. Melissa, I’m excited about this community. My word for 2019 is BELIEVE, not just Believe in God, but BELIEVE GOD, as Moses did, Believe I am who he says I am and I can do what He leads me to do with Focus and Fervence, not procrastination and fear. This year my heart’s desire is to Believe (God) Big, to See (our) Big (GOD). HE is speaking to me loud and clear through you, Beth Moore, and others…Be Strong and VERY Courageous (Joshua 1:7,9) If God’s great servant Joshua needed that much encouragement from God, there is Hope for us ALL. (My emoji may be firework getting some momentum). Thank you for your courage to start this community.


    1. Jeannie – I’m excited to hear all about what God is asking you to BELIEVE Him for. Your faithfulness and desire to keep pushing yourself to know God more, grow in Him, and produce spiritual fruit to His glory inspires me. Thanks for being a part of the community and engaging in the conversation. God has BIG plans for 2019 friend. xo Melissa


  7. I am in exact middle of get the dream, goal and plan to all line up with each other. The ultimate goal is to get my online business/ministry to monetized and my speaking started. But it is all about total life changes in every area. “Change” was the word God gave me for this year and He wasn’t fooling. Everything is in the midst of change. Can’t wait to see what keeps unfolding. I am a full on bonfire…


    1. Betsy- Good maybe I’ll stand next to you and get some sparks flying 🔥. I can relate in that I feel like I’m going through a huge internal transformation…I’m looking forward to all of that actualizing itself to the point that others can see the change too. Thanks for being a part of the conversation friend.


  8. Hey friend! My word for the year is JOY. With several losses in the past year Joy is the word that keeps appearing. Starting Lisa Harper’s study “Job…A Story of Unlikely Joy” and even my devotional (from one of the friends I lost this year) is on Embracing Joy.


    1. Deb- Was just getting an outline ready to teach from Philippians. Joy is a major theme. Loss so attacks our joy doesn’t it. I’ll be keeping you in prayer and asking God to remind you of all the good times to help kindle the joy. Love you dear friend – coffee soon!


  9. I don’t know why I read the second email first. But I just now read this first blog! I’m so backward. What emoji would describe me right now? Maybe this one🤦🏽‍♀️! I’m not sure if I have a dream or a goal. There are so many things going on all at once so I think I try to focus on, what needs to be done right now. But part of my “goal” is to help my mom get to a place where she is ok emotionally. She’s so incredibly sad over the loss of my dad. I can only do so much but the Lord can do it all. She just has to let him. Sorry for the rambling!!! Love you!


    1. Allison- My heart for you is to find 1 thing for Allison this year. I’ve got a resource I’m putting together that I will be sending to all of you – may take me till March, but I hope you will at least use it as a stepping stone to your 1 thing. On the Mom note – you are so patient. I hope maybe you can take her to Grief Share on Thursday nights so you are not carrying the whole load – or maybe she will go to a Sisterhood Group with you? Praying she is willing. Love you friend.


  10. After a sabbatical I am back!
    I am incredibly proud of you and applaud the courage you continue to exhibit in everything you do! Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be part of your journey and for continuing to help us all take that next courageous step!
    My words this year are uproot and consecrate. Uproot the lies that remain hidden in areas where I thought there was already healing. I guess there was healing, just not complete healing and I desire complete healing in 2019. My 2nd word, consecrate…..God has been consistent in showing me that He desires more in all areas of my life to be set apart for Him…and He wants me to give Him the first parts. I look at 2019 as the year all those nagging items of things I should have tackled years ago will finally get done! I need the brain space to capture God’s dream for me instead of replaying the guilt of what I should have already cleaned up….spiritually, physically, mentally. I don’t want to be sitting in January of 2020 with the same list heavy on my heart. This is my year of progress and capturing God’s vision over my life. Historically I am more like fireworks. The first distraction that comes my way takes me off path. It usually presents itself in the form of a physical nature or ailment. I see God showing me already that this year will be different. Even in our sufferings and unplanned moments, God has a plan and a purpose to propel us forward as we look to Him in everything. Excited for this new journey with you!


    1. Kimberly – Yay… and take me with you into 2020 ⬇️

      “I don’t want to be sitting in January of 2020 with the same list heavy on my heart. This is my year of progress and capturing God’s vision over my life.”

      yes, yes, and Amen friend. 😘


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