You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.

The title of this post is a quote that I LOVE by Katherine Carter!

I was blessed to spend some time over the holidays with the two bravest women I know, my mom and my cousin Sharon.

While they are brave for totally different reasons, each one has inspired ME to, in turn, become more brave.  And who couldn't use a little more of that in their life, right?!

Several years ago my parents parted ways, and shortly thereafter my mom sold her home in Wisconsin to follow us south to Texas.  She didn't know anyone in town but us.  At the age of sixty-five, she left her community, her friends, and much of her family to start a new life in a place she prayed would have warmer, shorter winters.  

Once settled, my mom found a job, began working out at the local senior center, and slowly...but surely...began to make some friends.  This past November, my mom turned seventy and corralled an unforgettable birthday celebration/family reunion for my brothers, myself, and our families in Palm Springs, California...a place she hadn't visited in many years, but had a strong desire to see again.

My cousin Sharon, whose family drove from the Frozen Tundra of Wisconsin to Dallas literally in the midst of one of the worst weather systems imaginable the day after Christmas, is the mother to two wonderful kids, Ryan and Mallory.  She is also one half of a great partnership with her husband Jay.

Sharon and Jay have been challenged over the past decade.   Ryan, now nineteen, has a severe and complex case of epilepsy.  Ryan has had to go through THIRTEEN surgeries on his brain and he takes many meds daily for his condition.

Ryan requires a lot of special care.  Watching Sharon and Jay work together, along with Mallory, to function daily, all the while making the best of the situation and utilizing their great sense of humor in the process, was such a gift to watch as they spent the week with us.  Sharon is also a great role model for Mallory as she works in their school system with special needs children everyday.

To me it's a toss up as to who is a more self-less human being, my mom or Sharon. Likely each of these women would (a) deny, and (b) be irritated I have written about them because they would both say there are others much braver than they are.

But, not in my eyes.

Because of who they are, and because of the love, support, and encouragement they have always shown me, I know I am going to be doing some very brave things in the coming year.

Often you don't have to look far to find people who inspire you.  And sometimes, unbeknownst to you, YOU are the one who inspires others.

Because of living your life JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

Find someone who inspires you to want to do brave things with this year, someone who makes you want to aim higher, reach further, someone who motivates you to try hard to find, and to be, YOURSELF.

And, by all means, stop exhausting yourself trying to be something you're not.

Don't know who you are?  

It's time to shed some layers and find out!

Here's a great song to help you find your courage...