I often wonder what my children will be when they grow up.  Will they become artists or scientists, teachers or writers?  Will they get married and have children or will they stay single?  I am not sure and honestly, it does not matter. I want them to do what makes them most happy.

My oldest daughter just celebrated her 7th birthday a few weeks ago.  She is a unique gal filled with so much spirit and drive to be her own person.  She does what her heart tells her to do.

I was shopping for her birthday gift and found this t-shirt that reads, “Be You Bravely”.  I purchased the shirt knowing this is what I want my girl to know.  I want her to know that she can be herself, confidently and bravely.


This spunky gal of mine is known for wearing superhero costumes, rescuing bugs in the backyard, climbing tall trees to the very top, and recently, signing up to play flag football.  She is herself.

For her birthday, we were in Northern Michigan and she shared she just wanted to be with her family on her special day.  She has often talked about horseback riding and asked if there was any way she might get the chance to ride a horse.  Andy and I secretly found a stable up north that met her request.

There would be seven of us.  Andy, myself, our monkeys, and my mom would be participating in the adventure.  We pulled into the stable and Devin got the biggest smile on her face.  She realized her dream was going to be fulfilled.


While our special girl was elated to be getting the chance to ride a horse, others in our group were less than thrilled that this was the birthday excursion.  With some words of encouragement and promises of prayer, all of us got onto our horses, bravely.

We rode through the narrow trails of the Mackinac State Forest, lined up behind our leader.  She spoke to us about her history and where her business came from.  I was inspired listening to her.  Our leader had started her business and I could tell she “bravely” was herself in following her dream.

I looked behind and everyone was riding confidently.  The birthday girl was stroking the mane of her horse and my youngest was calmly chatting away with her wrangler.  Even the skeptical riders had smiles on their faces.  They showed such satisfaction in overcoming their initial resistance.  We were all being us, “bravely.”


In that moment, on that tree-lined trail, I realized how special this day was.  First of all, I’m blessed with such an amazing family.  I’m blessed with a daughter that loves to test her limits and challenge the rest of her family members along the way.  I’m blessed to know that we all truly appreciated the simpleness of this special day.


As my monkeys get older, I want them to believe in themselves, create their dreams, and follow them.  I want them to know things will not always be easy, but that’s when they need to be brave.  Others may not trust they are doing the right “thing”, but if they have faith in themselves, promise and commitment to follow their heart, then they are on the right path to making their dreams come true.

Make it a great day today and “Be You Bravely”.



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