Mandi's sweet baby girls, My mom and Step-dad taking the time to hang with me in Texas. What a gift. 

A photo that Mandi took for her AWESOME Blog.

Just some silly girls taking pics with me when we all gathered for a day of sisterhood and laughs in my tiny lil room. :)

Working for Discovery! Austin in May of 2013. 
Many of my church family, Nina, Karin, Melissa, Holly and John taking BOLD steps to focus on healing. Its amazing how available we can be in others' lives once we have taken the courageous steps to work on our own.

Everyone is talking about their word or phrase for the next year. To me, it always feels like this commitment or claim over the year ahead. It feels like I’m setting an expectation and putting it in a box. So, this 2014, I decided to see how last year’s word played out. Let me tell you, it has been a doozy. BUT, looking at the meaning and the manifestation of it around me, has allowed me to see that what you take a simple word for at face value is only a smidgen of how  it can be revealed and seen around you. There is so much POWER in our words.  I have included pictures from 2013 and I wrote where I see the word bold being present. :) I used the synonyms etc in the captions to show from my perspective, what showed up for me, personally.

First, let me define Bold:
Of a person, action, or idea: showing an ability to take risks; confident & courageous
Synonyms: DARING, intrepid, brave, courageous, valiant, fearless, dauntless, audacious, daredevil
Antonyms: timid, unadventurous 
Of person or manner: 
so confident as to suggest a lack of shame or modesty. Impudent, insolent, impertinent, brazen, brash, disrespectful, presumptuous, forward
Of color or design; having a strong vivid appearance.
synonyms: striking, vivd, bright, strong, eye-catching, prominent, impactful;
Antonyms: pale
Type face having dark, heavy strokes, used esp. for emphasis
synonyms: heavy, thick, pronounced, conspicuous
antonyms: light

Because of the journey five years prior to this, I thought that this was my season of boldness in relation to going through a rough marriage and a divorce. Sort of coming into my own and being “Brooke”; unapologetically. And while that was part of it; I didn’t not even know how much more that would show up through the year. I’ve learned its not just YOU, its what you see demonstrated in others around you. when you read the word bold, you don't think of it being present among relationship lost, brain surgery, cancer diagnosis, treatment, job change, inability to drive, and loss of pretty much all independence as a 32 year old woman. Bold feels like a far cry.

LEFT: Sweet Sheere  being VALIANT and running a race in honor of a friend with cancer.  BELOW: wonderful Nicole and Sheere showing up at my house when I started to lose my hair. They were wearing shirts saying "you are not your hair; neither am I" Talk about Striking and Bold! Nicole was a few weeks away from getting married.                                         
Going to Concerts & places downtown; for me, I did not do this much from 2009-2012, living in Austin. Many of the Community around me during this season encouraged me to go out, etc.. I learned a lot from them.. especially about going to experience the city of Austin as a mature adult and not a silly college kid. :)

Above: I saw a boldness in Monique that demonstrated confidence and personality that gave me permission to not try to be anyone other than me to "fit" into where I may think I was supposed to be. Left: Melissa, Natalie, and Jamie demonstrate a daring and adventurous spirit to me in a myriad of ways. Melissa, has a steady peace about living entirely on faith in where she feels God is calling her to be. I have seen her struggle with 'shoulds' and expectations, but not shy away from pulling away to seek spiritual wisdom, discernment, and direction and standing steady with the answers. Natalie, has stepped up over the year and moved to  Austin, pursued work that she is passionate about, and surely being 'striking', 'vivid', and impactful in her pursuit to live fully and free. Her boldness and bravery has shown up in compassion, vulnerability, and even unsuccessful endeavors, BUT taking them as opportunities for growth. Jamie, her boldness has shown up in her generosity and support of those that are down. She is an encourager, supporter, advocate, vivid,  and impactful in all that she does. As much as her personality is bold and vivacious, I have seen  Jamie show up often as a someone that you may not even notice how much she is giving in her humility and willingness to just be present. Something I know will show up as a bedazzled jewel in her crown one day. ;) 

February of 2013 going out MadMen style to celebrate Monique's Birthday. I saw a group of women decide on a way to celebrate and execute.  The simplest of occasions, can be VIVID, Adventurous, shameless, and eye-catching. :) We made it an evening of petticoats, cute dresses, places like the Driskill, and fanciness.  It took an amount of boldness to dress up and just be what we wanted to be for the night. Yes, we got some looks, but it was fun, none-the-less. And I learned that It doesn't always matter what people think.


Left: May 2013 I  had recently bent to not take vacations, etc, because I know there are things I should be spending my money on. Monique and I had started a workout accountability and agreed that after a certain amount of time we would go to San Diego as a reward for our discipline. Here we are at the top of a sweet hiking spot in San Diego. And we also got to Hike Torrey Pines. This was risky for me financially, Bold (bc I HATE to fly) & Brave bc, I went without taking on others expectations, that I probably falsely perceived, of what I "should" be doing. Thankful to get to experience this, as it was just weeks before my seizure , when they found the tumor. Left: Here is some adventure at a local kareoke spot that Monique's uncle is basically the Godfather there.  We experienced lots of colorful "heart of the community" where he lives. I saw Monique take on her uncles "family" with excitement and openness. To me vulnerability is one of the boldest things we can do.

 This was a lunch celebrating Annabelle's Birthday, I think… I can't remember, but we were getting together for celebration. Let me tell you how Cheryl and Annabelle have GREATLY demonstrated boldness to me. When I first met Annabelle, she was timid (antonym of bold) to take actions towards where she felt strong guidance to do so. Over three years time this girl has taken such great leaps of Faith in Action, she challenges all around her to "just do it"; so to speak. And i have seen the fruit from her obedience. Annabelle is also one of the beauties that shaved her head in support and solidarity during my journey of radiation.  Cheryl, always the go getter type, has been a steady  boundary setter and not settling for less than God's best for her. This is who I have around me people! Craziness! :)

Lynn, Rachel, Kelly, Holly, Lisa, Annabelle, Sheere, Nicole, Yvette, Jamie, Natalie, & Monique

My precious roommate, Kimberly, not only has be GRACIOUS and wonderful through this journey of Brain Cancer. She also has been so willing to take life in faith by taking leaps boldly down a path to go back to school, start a  business with passion! With wisdom and trust in Gods direction, she is touching lives and inspiring others to live with passion, no matter what. I continue to watch the Lord show up in her life in ways that are a testimony of His faithfulness to us when we trust Him. It draws others to His nature and would not be seen if she did not choose it.  #makeadifference ;)

I had to opportunity to travel to Haiti in April of 2013. This was not something that I particularly felt excited about, I just knew I was supposed to go. I saw the team of others that had been before willing to step out to speak with others and walk the streets in Haiti with encouragement and willing to offer themselves up for prayer, support, or resources. Sometimes struggling with not being able to "fix" it for others; I have sometimes be timid to step into whatever I can offer without shame of not being able to solve the entire problem. With the consistency, dedication, and boldness, I saw my friends Mike, Nicole, Jess, Holly, Ben, Jim,  Joseph,  & Billy step into that so beautifully. It inspired me to be more willing to be confident offering what I had to offer. 

These Two: Nicole & Jess, first meeting them through Discovery!; Second, going with them to Haiti. Third, just getting to see them take steps to honor God fully with their relationship and grow. This picture, taken in August, was when Jess proposed to Nicole and set up a surprise celebration for all of use to be there afterward. These two walk with such willingness to serve, be vulnerable, compassionate, and encourage those around them. Two people I wouldn't mind being like when I grow up.  They were married this past December. 
Left: This is Jennifer, I met her at the Brain Power 5K. She then asked if she could follow my journey to raise awareness for Brain Cancer. She is not afraid to ask. That is something that I have grown through. Walking in fear afraid to ask, bc I was afraid to be rejected. I admire her boldness in seeing no harm in just asking. :)
These women above. have all shown me such boldness over the year. This particular night in September, we were celebrating Ames decision to not continue in unhealthy relational patterns. each of these women are all fierce and challenge me to be so brave. Megan, has shown such willingness to grow in her vulnerability. Danna,since I met her, has had a spirit that you just want to connect with. in that, there is a steadiness that takes confidence that I think women especially desire to exude. Christi, always demonstrates passion and powerfulness with everything that she does. But, in 2013, I have seen a quiet strength and openness arise in her that takes so much trust and willingness it has inspired me to do the same. Susannah, is another one of those that is not afraid to ask. I have witnessed and been challenged by her honesty, loyalty,  and committment to those in her life. It is a way that I think we don't value as a culture as much as we should. I feel like we are getting back around to that as a culture and I look forward to unapologetically being less of a people pleaser. 
This is just a tiny touch on the POWER of my church community. I moved to Austin in January of 2009. When I got connected into a small group, I met these sweet girls to the left. Here; 3 years later, we are celebrating the wedding of one of those precious women. Below is the small group that birthed out of the original one from 2009. It is wonderful to watch the story for His glory unfold through these small groups. we all have boldly been vulnerable, REAL, and support one another where we are at.  We have been meeting for over three years!
This large group picture is at our Pastors 50th Birthday party few months ago. Look at that huge community of people  that showed up to celebrate him. It clearly shows the love, bravery, and transparency it has taken to build this church community of 4,000 + people.  

I can't even touch on the amount of BRAVE, BOLD, VIBRANT people that I have witnessed in my life over the years and especially looking back over 2013. Here is a list of more pictures. Mandi, starting a blog that is is inspiring to to others, the celebration of Sara wedding through their boldness of being fully who God created them to be. Baptisms, 5k to raise money for Brain Cancer; Celebrating birthdays, nieces and nephews, Grand parents, college friends, High school Friends, Documentary viewings, & My family being vulnerable and bold in so sacrificially setting aside important things in their lives to be supportive and helpful. My coworkers and small group ladies showing up to help in any way. Lisa, using her gifts to organize SOOO much along the way, through this. the list continues on and on… 

What much of it boiled down to, for me, as I reflected is Much of the 
"BOLDNESS" that I witness and experience stems from vulnerability, asking questions, and trust in things beyond ourselves. Through all of this I have experienced and witnessed restoration in many relationships; Visions become realities, Dreams birthed, communities built, connections made, and many take action and make a difference in the lives around them. So when you feel like you may be being called to make a BOLD move. DO IT. you never know the trickle effect and joy that it may bring to those that witness.
1- 2013 has been a hoot 2- looking over my shoulder, it looks like Victory is around the corner 3 - the future is so bright; I gotta wear my shades.  4  there is no reason, just silliness. ;)

I encourage you to take hold of a word or phrase for 2014 and watch how it unfolds.. in many ways that you probably wouldn't expect in your little box. to 2014 I say BRING IT ON! check back in for the words of  2014! in the next post.

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