Sometimes there are things in life that find you. I have to say I’ve never before experienced so much confirmation of one of my “Words” for the year than I have this January. From a little gifted book, to online encouragement, to a side comment on instagram naming a song that spoke to another artist — this song, “You Make Me Brave” I had to look it up. She was listening to a version by Amanda Cook, but I prefer the more acoustic version by Sarah Reeves. You have to listen to the whole thing …

I can’t say I’ve ever had a theme song for my “Word” before … but … there’s a first for everything!

It’s SO perfect!! I tried to embed it here but have not been at all successful.

You Make Me Brave, by Sarah Reeves

I love her voice. I love the piano. I love the tune. Today, this is so moving to me.

Listen Here on Spotify or Here on iTunes.

Here are the lyrics:

"You Make Me Brave"
I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way
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Simplify. Rest. Soul-care. No.

It seems my “Word” the last few years have each related to regaining a sense of balance. Getting re-aquainted with my personal boundaries. Getting healthy. Those words make sense to me considering I had just come out of a long intense season of hardship. They provided a benchmark for the choices I would make throughout the year.

Discerning my “Word” has become something I look forward to as each year draws to a close. It’s rare for my word to be elusive to me. Most of the time it’s pretty obvious, I usually choose something that relates to a theme or a need that has come to the surface in my life. Something I want to dig into more deeply. For 2016, I’ve chosen …

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Back in November, I was approached by an acquaintance. She’s heard me speak at women’s events, services, and bible studies at church along with a friend of hers. They were talking together about a personal hardship she was navigating and what it looks like to be brave in difficult circumstances – what it looks like to hang on and not lose hope. This friend of hers, who is not even an acquaintance to me, told her, “You know who the most brave woman I know is?” And she mentioned my name.

Wow. What a gift. My acquaintance wanted me to know that they thought I was the bravest woman they knew. How humbling. I’ve definitely never FELT brave. Never.

This encouragement came to me at a moment when I was struggling with how much of myself to put out there. How to best encourage women in my circle of influence. How to make my mark on the world. Transparency is important to me, but I was wondering if that was the right way to leave a legacy? I know now. That word was just what I needed to hear God speak to my heart — I heard it and realized — I AM brave! I’m REALLY brave! My closest friends have told me for years how much courage they see in me. I haven’t been able to embrace that truth, until now. The true me is really really Brave. I am a courageous woman.

This year I want to tap into that Brave me more. Brave. What a very different word from the turning-in of Simplify. Rest. and Soul-care. I feel like “Brave” is more of a turning out now. A change in the winds of my life.

Each year when I choose a word, I never really know how it’s going to manifest itself throughout the year. Brave is one of those that could actually be a terrifying word — not knowing how it might be used. It’s not my style to think that way though. I’m not fearful of what may come and what might require me to use my Brave. I see it much more as an adventure. I have a feeling that much of  my Brave will be used in this space through thought sharing and art producing – or in opportunities to speak to other women. My desire is to reach those who need to hear something fresh. To give women permission to be their own brave selves as we each carve out a path in this life that is shaped just exactly our own shape. There are no cookie cutters here.

Do you have a word for 2016? Something to guide your choices and mindset for the year? Forget resolutions — choose a word! What’s yours?


  • Jessie - I really love this idea. And I love that your word is “brave.” I think I’d like the Spirit to give me a word. I’ll pray about it. I must say this is a year I could use bravery.

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It’s always so difficult to choose a small selection of favorites. And I always wonder which ones my families would choose as their top three. I imagine they see things that I don’t. Or maybe I was able to draw something out that they hadn’t seen in a while. Or perhaps it was a treasured rare moment when mom was able to hug her grown son or daughter for the first time in a while. I usually choose my favorites based on the emotion I remember of the moment, or the yummy light, or maybe the artistry of the image. I really do believe this is my art. From the capture to the edit, each image is very personal. Enjoy a peek at my JKPhotography Families of November!
IMG_7091 ceremony-7022 ceremony-7032 IMG_7201 IMG_7201a IMG_7238 IMG_7527 IMG_7565-2




IMG_8098-2 IMG_8136 IMG_8113 IMG_8160It was a busy Fall this year! Thank you to all of my families who continue to entrust me with these precious images. I’m so grateful to have this side-gig. I love meeting each of you and celebrating your family for an hour — Thank you, thank you!!! Merry Christmas to everyone!

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