"Don't be afraid."

I've said it many times. Heard it too. As a mom, it was one of my first tasks. To reassure my children that I was here, they were safe, everything would be okay.

In the face of a world of fear, maybes, and what-ifs, they are three of the most reassuring words ever spoken.

The angels always started with them, "Do not fear." They must have been a scary specter, but they always came with such good news.

To Mary, "You will bear a child, and He will take away the sin of the world."

To the shepherds, "I bring you good news of great joy . . for today there has been born for you a Savior."

It makes me wonder how many of our natural fears might be the predecessors of great things.

Fear is a funny thing. It can be life saving or life stealing. On the one hand some good common sense can keep us from harm. But I think more often fear tends to steal opportunity and the present moment.

I've learned a lot about fear as a mom. Dealing with my own and teaching my children to deal with theirs.

I've learned about courage too. But in this lesson I have been the pupil.

As I have watched my children fight their fears, overcome obstacles, and pursue their dreams, I have been inspired to follow in their courageous steps.

This blog is the fruit of that lesson. I always loved to write, filled journals with thoughts, and on occasion shared something I'd written with someone close.

But watching my children discover and boldly pursue their passions and gifts challenged me to face my fear and begin writing publicly.

And great things have happened.

No, no bestseller yet. But lots of encouragement from friends and strangers. Most of all, seeing my love for words being used to inspire, comfort, challenge, humor, and encourage others.

"Don't be afraid." Three powerful words.

My daughter, Emily recently entered an original song in a music competition and is a semi-finalist. Em is a dancer, actress, model, and singer/songwriter, and she unabashedly describes herself so. Those are her passions and the places God has gifted her, and she is pursuing them with abandon. I'm blessed by her talent and inspired by her courage.

Would you please vote for her? To hear her song and vote go here and scroll down to the bottom: AMTC Shine Music Competition