My mom is a woman of many mottos. Two of her favorites while I was growing up (and even now) were: "be your best self" and "try a little harder to be a little better than you were yesterday."
The best part of learning these things growing up is that my mom practiced what she preached. She was never one believe or propagate that she's anywhere near perfection (even though she totally is perfect). She constantly made goals, even little ones, to make her into the best version of herself. As her kid it was expected that you would follow suit, not because she ever forced it but because she invited you to see what she saw you were capable of, challenge yourself, and become your best self. When you failed she was there to tell you how awesome you already were and that everyone experiences setbacks, failures, and heartbreak and that it's what you do afterward which really counts. It's because of this that I've accomplished everything I have in my life.
(Actually, thinking about it, both my parents are definitely this way. My dad is a man of challenge. Tell him he can't do something and he'll prove you wrong. And if he can't? He'll prove you mostly wrong.)
And because I'm my mom's daughter, I am still often so amazed by the accomplishments of others who challenge me even further. Tonight that was my little brother.
Braden in Nicaragua
Braden and I are 5 years apart in age, but growing up it sometimes seemed much further and sometimes much too close. When I moved to BYU Braden was 13, just out of middle school, and a teenage know-it-all (also a family trait). We had our fights, our friction, our problems, but we're family and that means everything. The older I get the more I realize just how true that really is.
While I was at BYU Braden grew up, we started to become friends as well as siblings. We'd email and have long phone calls where he'd tell me about all the annoying kids in high school. I edited his papers, his college essays, and even helped him pick out his first classes at BYU. During his Freshman year we'd have Skype night nearly once a week where we'd catch up, even though we texted and talked all throughout the week anyway.
Then it came time for Braden to go on his mission. I knew he'd be a great missionary, and he is. He's superb. Reading his letters is a constant testament to how awesome of a person he is. He's always challenging us to do, be, and love our very best.
And then tonight happened.
We got Braden's weekly email. I was ready to read it and read about how amazing he is and feel inadequate about how normal I am. Was I in for a shocker.
HE IS THE BEST PERSON EVER.
That's the gist of the email.
Really here's kinda what it was like, "Life is just the best thing in the whole world guys, isn't it?! I love everyone. Oh by the way I have Dengue fever. But I'm so happy to be in Nicaragua and be car-less and in monsoon season and hungry! It's awesome."
No joke. He's sincerely that positive when he was suuuuuuper duper sick. Seriously, click this link to read about Dengue. He is such an inspiration to me. Ridiculously ill and still -- a boss. (This makes me feel super weenie-tastic for my pneumonia whining.)
So that's my goal for the week. When work is tough, when life sucks butt, when I want to just crawl into my bed with intravenous Ben and Jerry's and a snugglebear, I'm going to think of Braden being a boss.
Care to join me?