The Kaleidoscope


Image from Dawn at My Home Sweet Home

I’m six and courage is school bus yellow. I stand on the curb, holding my lunch, and wait for my first day of kindergarten. My sweet mom tells me again that she’ll drive me to school (and she does every day after). But that morning I stubbornly put small feet in patent leather shoes on the steps to independence and ride.

I’m twenty-one and courage is wedding dress white. I wait at the end of an aisle to become a wife. In this  crazy world I make vows that talk about for better or worse and wonder what the future may hold. I choose to risk for love.

I’m twenty-six and courage is pregnancy test pink. I stand in the bathroom and discover once again I’m ready to start our family but God has other plans. I learn to live in the waiting and discover sometimes bravery simply means remaining in the unknown. I’m still there now.

I’m thirty and courage is shiny laptop silver. I sit in coffee shops, at the library, and outside on our porch writing my first book. It feels like putting my heart on display, like giving birth, like nothing and everything I’d hoped. And it scares me silly.

I’m here now and courage is summer leaf green. I stare out the window at the trees in my yard and hear God’s whisper again, “Be still.” So I stop my whirly-twirly life, let go of my insecurities, and try once more just to be. It is unfamiliar, this place, and my heart pounds harder than if I am going into battle.

I once thought of courage as a single color—always fire engine red—blazing and bold. But I am finding it is more like a kaleidoscope. It changes with the seasons of our lives, with who we are becoming, with what God is asking our hearts to do. Just when we think we know it, the form alters and we find ourselves seeing it anew.

And through all the shifting this remains—in every color, every life…courage is breathtaking.


Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear from over twenty amazing women about what courage looks like in their lives. Imagine all of us sitting around the kitchen table at a beach house, coffee in our hands, listening to stories as different as each one telling them.

We want you to have a seat at the table too! Just write on your blog about what encourages you, include a link to, then add the link to your post below. If you do so before midnight on Sunday, August 16th you’ll be entered to win the limited edition (in)courage t-shirt below. That’s me being a bit sassy in those photos. My one and only stint as a model…

(in)courage t-shirt front(in)courage t-shirt back

The back says: Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24 NRSV

Are you (in)?

Update: Wow, you girls have already filled up the first McLinky! I’ve started another one below so we can keep going (just scroll on down). We LOVE getting to know all of you!
You maxed out MckLinky (woo-hoo!) so we started another one. Just keep on linking…

MckLinky seems to have shut itself down today. But we still have a few hours to go until the giveaway is over! So here’s a new one in case you’re getting in at the last minute…

  • Amber@theRunaMuck

    Holley, I love this post. You’re gorgeous to me.

  • emily

    Holley. I don’t even know what to say about this. I am so inspired by all those colors of courage. A kaleidoscope indeed.

  • The Nester

    That’s my arm in the top photo! My arm has NEVER looked so cool. And y’all, Lisa Leonard made that bracelet for me it says: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

  • The Nester

    After admiring my beautiful arm for a few more moments I actually read the post. Wow! Holley, you have such talent to be able to string words together in a way that speaks to the heart.
    thank you.

  • Carlyn Canady

    I am sooo excited about this site! WooHoo!

  • Kristen ~ Pajama Mama

    Holley-your Kaleioscope of courage is beautiful. I love contemplating the different seasons of our lives and the idea of colors of courage that shade them is one I will have to give more thought to.

  • patty

    congratulations… the site looks beautiful!

  • Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home

    Holley, you are a beautiful person and an amazingly talented writer. I am tickled pink to see a photo I took on the first post on this site (and yes, Nester, your arm looks way cool).
    Looking forward to the blessings (in)courage brings!

  • Monica @ The Writer Chic

    So excited! So excited about the site, so excited about this post, so excited to be (in) with some of the best women in the world. May God be glorified through the work of this site — it’s gonna be a fun ride!

  • Mary @ Passionate Perseverance

    So excited about this new site. The pictures are bold and the writing cleaver and lyrical. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Blessings and Congratulations ladies! Job well done!

  • Maureen

    Such a great post! The imagery is fantastic :)

  • Angela

    Just amazing. I will have to think on this and post on my blog later this week.

  • Jennifer

    Courage like a Kaleioscope… that is such a beautiful image and so true! I love your words!!

  • TLC Inspirations

    Well said.

  • Dawn

    your kaleidescope is amazingly beautiful… i suppose i have never thought of courage in colors… but now i think my heart will seek them

  • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

    Beautiful words, beautiful images. Thank you, Holley. I can’t wait to read all these posts that are linked up!!!!

  • L.L. Barkat

    The color of courage. Yes. Like the color of love or sorrow, joy or struggle… it changes as life unfolds.
    Beautiful post. Great new site. (I’m so curious to watch its inception and growth… that’s my social media side speaking. :)

  • Jesse Lane

    Great stuff Holley! I’m excited to see what God has up His sleeve here…

  • PS~Erin

    What a great idea… I’m so looking forward to more posts! And I’ll definitely play along with the “what encourages you” linky soon.

  • Teresa

    I am so excited about this site…..

  • Kayla Becker

    This is beautiful… simply beautiful. Thank you to all of you who write and who made this site happen. For me, it exactly what you dreamed it would be… a place that felt like home. May God use this place to transform the hearts of so many women who long to be changed from the inside out.

  • Pam Warden

    I’m not seeing my entry for the Faith Folk post, I rewrote so please delete the first if you’ve got it. Lovely site!!!

  • Lisa@BlessedWithGrace

    Great reminder of what real courage really is. Love the new site! It looks great.

  • Lori Heyd

    I was so blessed and touched by “Kaleidoscope” and I love this site, so glad you launched it on my BIRTHDAY! HA, Lori

  • Debbie Petras

    I absolutely loved your post on courage. What an interesting take using colors to describe each stage of courage in your life. It certainly was very memorable to me.
    I’m very excited about this new site. I recognize some of the 20 bloggers and can’t wait to read each one’s post.
    Since I am an encourager, I’m sure I’ll be visiting quite frequently. I do believe we need to be there for each other as women of God. There are so many going through extremely trying circumstances and I believe the world around us is watching.
    Is there a difference in how we deal with difficulties or do we act just like everyone else? I pray that as we submit each day to the Lord, He will work in and through us to reach others with the message of the Gospel. And they will recognize us by our love!!!!
    So, congrats on this exciting new site. Let’s encourage one another.

  • melissa @ the inspired room

    I love your words and most of all your HEART for us women. Thank you for your tireless work on this amazing home away from home at (in)courage!!

  • Hillary @ The Other Mama

    Loved this, Holley. So expressive, touching and straight from the heart. It’s a great representation of the whole site and makes me want to hop on a plane and come give you a hug. If only ATL wasn’t in the way… :-)

  • Robin (Pensieve)

    Holley, my affections for you are only growing the more I get to know you. This is beautiful! I love how you’ve seen courage as an evolution, not as a static trait that never adapts. You see and communicate with fresh perspective, then make it accessible to your readers.
    Bravo, friend :).

  • Holley

    I’m reading (and rereading) all of your comments and I’m just so touched by your words. Thank you for being here, for coming (in), for making this first day even more than we’d dreamed. We serve a BIG God, friends, so very big…and He loves us fiercely, deeply. I have great affection for you too–both those I know and those I’ve yet to meet. I hold you in my prayers and look forward to sharing life together on these pages. Gratefully…

  • Erin

    Beautiful beautiful post. Thank you so much for your perspective and inspiration!

  • Gigi

    What a blessing this “house” will be to me! And it comes at a time when I really need to be (in)couraged…thank you all for this ministry!

  • Sarah

    Great new site! Keep up the awesome work. Praise the Lord for what He is doing in all of you lovely ladies.

  • Meg

    Hi, did the Mcklinky hit it’s limit? I was going to submit my blog post about encouragement.
    Oh well, if anyone’s interested, here it is. It’s called, “Sweet Encouragement”:

  • Holley

    It looks like we maxed out MckLinky! I had no idea that could happen–so sorry! Thank you for leaving a comment so that we would know! I just set up a new list so you should be able to add your post. You girls are amazing–I’ve loved reading your posts!

  • sara paschal

    This was a wonderful exercise I totally enjoyed doing this;)

  • We are THAT family

    Holley-I loved this post! It was the perfect start to this amazing venture. I admire you for your courage.

  • Beth @ A Quest for Relevance

    I can already tell that I’m gonna LOVE this place!!!

  • Joanne Sher

    This is a FANTABULOUS post!! Absolutely fabulous. So powerful.

  • Carol

    It’s early Sunday morning and I just found this site. I don’t even have words to express how much it meant to me. Thank you. I thank God for you. I will be sharing this with my friends

  • anaseini saro

    what amazing imagery of courage! you could almost transport yourself and taste the emotions of courage in the changing backdrops of Hollie’s story..Thank you for being so inspiringly creative and succinct. Iam excited and proud of this brilliant project that clearly spells passion for God personified.vinaka. ana luv

  • marti

    My courage is to trust in the Lord, and knowing that he is restoring my marriage. I found out in July that my husband was having an affair and instead of flying into a rage and screaming, I stayed in prayer for Gods strength on how to approach my husband. And with prayer and courage knowing that God has never left me and never stopped listening to my prayers of dispair. He is working a mightly miracle in restoring our marriage. I forgave my husband the instant I found out, and love him unconditionally.

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