Today I am thrilled to have my niece, Tarah Duarte, guest posting. Tarah is a beautiful young woman that is fearless and pursues life with an intensity that I wish I’d had at her age. She has studied abroad in Australia and upon graduating from college went on a mission trip to Cambodia – both life-changing experiences. One thing that Tarah is and has always been is a dreamer and she is supported in those dreams by her family, which include her mom (my sister), her dad and her brother. Tarah is following her dream by moving from the west coast to Nashville, Tennessee and she shares how LOVE looks like following your dream.  Enjoy….

What does LOVE look like?

I took a deep breath and then let out another long cry. With my little hands clinging tightly to the chain link fence, I looked up and pleaded, “Mommy please, don’t leave me. Don’t make me do this.”

I was six years old at the time, begging my mom to not leave me at ski lessons. I had already fallen a few times, I was cold and my six-year-old brain couldn’t understand what good could come from learning to ski. So I hoped that by telling my mom I wanted to give up, she would just let me and that would be the end of it. But instead my mom did just the opposite. She bent down, told me to take a few deep breaths and reminded me that even though it was hard she believed that by the end of this class, I would know how to ski. So after wiping the tears away, I turned around and went back to my ski class.

My mom reminded me of this story the other day as we were sitting on the floor of my new apartment in Nashville, Tennessee. I just moved here a couple weeks ago with nothing but what could fit in a couple of suitcases and my Toyota hatchback, my mustard seed of faith and my big dream to one day work as a publisher in the country music industry. I moved here without a degree in business, without a job offer and really with no promise this would work. But what gave me the courage to be able to step out and take on this crazy adventure was something I did have- people who believed in me.

Believers are a rare breed, because believing isn’t easy. It’s a choice. An intentional choice to ignore what the world is telling you about failure and an intentional choice to believe in what will go right.

Even though I’m just now entering the (scary) world of adulthood, I’m learning quickly how it tends to beat people up. I look around and everyone has their own bruises and scars from the times in their lives when they tried to believe and it failed miserably. After you have failed once or twice, it only gets more difficult to make the emotional investment it takes to be vulnerable, try again and believe it could work.

But when you choose to ignore the ways it could go wrong and believe in someone’s dream, you empower them. And when you empower them, you help them create a launching pad for pursing their dream and perhaps more importantly, believing their dream can be achieved.

The reason I still so vividly remember that ski class story isn’t because of how it began but because of how it ended. The class finished and my mom returned to that same chain link fence. But this time there were no tears- just a proud little girl with a big smile, ready to ride the slopes with her family. For me that day, love didn’t just look like my mom saying, “I love you”. Love came in the form of her believing in me and because of that I believed in myself enough to learn how to ski.

So, start small. Love in the shape of believing doesn’t need to be extravagant.

Send the text telling someone you are proud of them for the risk they are taking.

Then take someone out to coffee to find out how they need support.

Soon enough as it gets easier to believe in others, it’ll get easier to believe in yourself too.  Plus you never know, what might seem like something small to you could be just what someone needs to make them believe in them self and their crazy dream.

Questions for you: Has someone believed in you and your dream? Did you believe in someone and their dream? How did that change your dream or their dream?

Tarah is a recent college graduate who just left behind her home state of California to live in Nashville, Tennessee. She’s currently working toward her goal of one day working in the country music industry. She’s a fan of all things coffee, bucket lists, Grey’s Anatomy and good books. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook and occasionally writing here…for Aunt Mary.


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