Why Courageous is My Word for 2017

Each year I pick a theme word for my year.  It is so much easier and more effective for me than a list of resolutions that always seems to wind up in a wad in a drawer by February.  I mean if it is already February without major progress, I might as well just say "next year" right?  (Any other resolution perfectionists out there, or is it just me?)

This year I chose the word courageous.  (And not because it is in the name of this blog... though that's a nice perk.)

I chose courageous because the gut-level, raw, honest, unedited truth is "courageous" is the reality I need right now.

Most people think I have the courage bit wrapped up.  I've climbed mountains with one leg, rescued kids and lived in a war zone with no running water or electricity for 7 years, faced-off with loaded AK-47s pointed at my head, traveled and spoken in about 20 nations.  I was mama to 130 precious children.  And I've always thought of myself as one who doesn't scare easily and thrives on what others run from.

But then came 18 rounds with cerebral malaria in 6.5 years that totally rewired my nervous, adrenal and immune systems and left me fighting for my life over the last 3 years since returning to the USA. I lost everything I ever worked for because my health crashed. 98% of what my life was about... Gone in the space of weeks. Relationships, gone. Kids I thought I would raise the rest of my life, gone. Goals, shattered in the dust between continents.  My home, no longer my own.  My health, decimated.  

After watching all my dreams die a death that practically took me with them, the scariest thing I've ever done by far is choose to dream again. To step out with huge uncertainty, long term health challenges and no visible path but the one I carve from the unknown in front of me.  One brave step at a time. Maybe you know that kind of path too.  You are not alone.

A wise friend reminded me today:

Courage cannot exist in the absence of fear.

So I move forward little by little reminding myself small steps still lead to big dreams. And I am dreaming big. Maybe even bigger than ever. And I am so happy to share this adventure with you.

What's your one word for 2017?  I'd sure love to know.  Drop a comment below so we can cheer each other on.


One my favorite commissions I get to do are lettering friends and soon-to-be friends one word for the year.  I added a bunch of style options this year, so if you are by chance interested in a hand-lettered, illustrated reminder of your word for the year, hop on over to my Etsy shop and see if one of the options catches your eye.  And you can always email me at michele@micheleperrydesignco.com with questions.  Or just to say, "Hi!" I love hearing from you all!