About three days before I left Nashville in July, I got feathers put in my hair. It was a symbol for me, a marking of home. Every day I have seen them I am reminded that me and Nashville have got a thing going on.

I had dinner here in London with my friend Curt from Nashville on Tuesday night [that is a hefty sentence.. lots of proper nouns and prepositions]. We went to a Mexican restaurant called Cantina Laredo – the EXACT same one that we have at home – and it was delicious. [The only cheese dip I’ve had since JULY. I know. Suffering for the Gospel.]

Curt gave me a box with two little rings inside, a gift sent over from one of my besties in Nashville. I quieted myself so as not to cry.

Later when I got back to my hotel, after three long and beautiful months, the feathers finally came unclamped from my hairs. I sat on the settee situated at the end of my bed and held the rings and the feathers.

The transition, in one night, from feathers to rings said something to me. The feathers were fun and flighty and adventurous. Rings are commitment. I left Nashville in July, marked by my home and by my people with the blessing to be brave and wild and gone. And now I am marked by my home saying, ‘this is your place.’ A reminder that not only am I in love with Nashville, Nashville loves me too.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, I probably am. But in my heart, I felt that transition.

My band friends leave tomorrow. I get on the train and head back to my beloved Edinburgh and they ship off to some other city to do what they do best.

And to be honest, I’m scared about Saturday. I’m scared to leave them. I scared that my heart will rip audibly. I’m scared that the tears that are puddling now will wash my face raw by Saturday night.

But tomorrow, I have to choose courage again. And again. And every mile that the train takes me away from them will require another mile of courage.

Because leaving your people is really hard, even when you know it is the right thing to do.

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The rings for me are a beautiful reminder to be brave. And throughout this month of 31 Days of Courage, you’re gonna have the chance to get some beautiful reminders as well. My Etsy angel Madison did some searching around and found some AMAZING pieces of art… and many of those artists agreed to give pieces to you brave hearts.

Our first giveaway is from Artsyville! I absolutely LOVE this 5×7 Grit and Moxie print. Perfect to frame and set in your kitchen, on your desk, or wear around your neck. [I’m not the boss of you. You win, you do what you want. Okay? Okay.]

I am deeply encouraged by these words today [though I would say that God creates the worlds we live in, I totally get what this print is meaning].

Also, because Aimee at Artsyville hearts you people and believes that we all need reminders to be brave, she is giving EVERYONE 10% off their purchase for the WHOLE MONTH OF OCTOBER!

What the what?!?!

So just pop over to Artsyville and use the coupon code ANNIEBLOGS2011. It’s good until October 31.

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To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below. And make sure you leave your email address correctly so I can get in touch with you when you win! You must enter by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT (California time).

Do you have any objects in your life that remind you to be brave?

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Who I’m reading: Nester’s 31 Days of Lovely Limitations. I love that Nester. She’s smart and savvy. You should know her.