A Family Letter to My Daughter as She Turns 21

Its pretty amazing when a daughter grows up to be your friend.

My mom (your grandma Linda) left a huge legacy of pursuing relationship with her family, even though she passed away at the age of 51 from a car accident,  she impacted our lives beyond measure.  She and I were close; which isn’t to say we never had our differences while I was growing up, but when I was in my 20’s, we became best of friends.  She had a knack for making the relationship with all seven of her children feel special.

My relationship with my mom became unique when my folks adopted Isaiah, and I had my firstborn, our babies were six weeks apart. We became best friends raising our babies to age seven.  Not every mother / daughter experiences this, it is something I treasure for the time I had with her.     As we celebrate your 21st birthday, I am blessed beyond measure to have a daughter that has grown up and is my friend.   Their will be a day when you too, raise your family, invest in family relationships and have your child grow up to be your friend.  Its the beauty of life.

Their are such rich life lessons being around horses.

My goodness, am I ever grateful for the time spent together with horses, all that we learned and are still learning, watching you compete on hot summer days where I got to be a “show mom” and beamed as I saw your confidence growing being with horses.   The numerous life lessons we are learning being around horses will apply to your life ahead.

Win or lose, improving your best is what matters.

Ribbons, trophies, awards all show accomplishments and some measure success to these; however I think the bigger success is when we determine -win or lose- to improve our personal best in all we do.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 – “Whatever the activity in which you engage, do it with all your ability.” 

Life’s Show Ring can look glamorous and easy, but it is the behind the scenes preparation that makes it so.

We learned that the moments in the show ring that look glamorous are filled with behind the scenes preparation, many hours of practice, building trust, respect, teamwork, communication and cues,  hard work, plain ole sweat and perseverance.     I know we will always remember those 4-H competition events, hot summer days, full day schedules, numerous changing of show clothes for western pleasure and gaming,  when we slept in a tent, through the rain, and woke to inches of water all around us! ha!   Lots of work carrying heavy water buckets to the horses, hot and tired, yet we were very much in awe that we were taking care of horses, and you were competing and winning ribbons.   I love how God answered your earnest prayers for horse connections.  An answer to prayer beyond our wildest imagination. 
Ephesians 3:20, 21 – Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. To Him be the glory forever and ever.

Becca walking Lola through her fear of water
Trust can make fear ripple away.
Conquering fear takes a lot of patience, gentle assurance, and trust that has been built.  The rewards of seeing a break through, when fear has been overcome and replaced with trust and confidence is far beyond words.  We have learned that all too often, fear is a liar.   Your dad would say, “Never let fear be the deciding factor.”

Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

What if I fall? … oh my darling, what if you fly?

Being teachable will help you soar in so many aspects in life.

Meeting Marjorie and her willingness to share the horse world with us is a rare treasure in life;   I love how she sees potential in you, how teachable you are; and was willing to invest her time, share her horses and introduce us to the horse world.    God certainly answered prayers in an amazing way.
but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” Psalm 66:19

Lola in the lake (deep water, totally trusting) with Becca and her mom

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

So my daughter, as you pursue your life ahead, I see you strong and courageous, confident and true to yourself, caring and kindhearted, smarter than you think, being teachable and have determination to not give up on the important things.  Your nursing career will affect many lives in a good and positive way, caring for those that are hurting, worried, and facing unknowns, you will be able to bring sunshine to their souls. God will be with you.  You will be a good wife and mother some day; you will carry all the things you have learned in your heart and share them with this world.   Your dad and I are ever so proud of you.

Much love to you,
“May he give you the desire of your heart & make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4

I asked our family & some close friends to also share in this letter to you.


Becca, when asked what advice I would give my daughter on her 21st birthday I initially said “I don’t know” then later joking I offered up “Don’t eat the yellow snow” (still good advise).

The days that followed filled by head with so much I want to convey that when I sent it to your Mother she had me trim and edit so it would fit here in this post.

One thing that didn’t change from my originally draft is rule number 1.  Always listen to your Dad – Always! Somethings will just never change.

The next would be choices, perspective and attitude.  These all go hand in hand.
With every fork in the road you can choose the left or the right, to be positive or negative, to have a good attitude or a bad one.  Before you make a big decision, ask yourself what you really want, is this the right thing for me, will this have a positive impact or a negative one, or, is this something I am ready to fight and work for.

If you can keep a positive and healthy perspective you will notice that everyone has a lesson to teach, whether they know if or not.   You learn 2 things from everyone you meet, what to do, and what not to do.

You are capable of so much more that you can imagine.  I’ve seen it!  Just look at what you have accomplished so far!  Working with horses, building solid relationships & nursing school! (to name only a fraction of your vast trophy’s).

You need not downplay your talents, they are certainly self evident.  You are in for a wonderful life.
But, every good ride can have a speed bump or two.  There is a saying “good captains are made in rough waters” – it’s true!  There will be hard times, but you will learn from these “tough times”.  That’s why perspective and attitude are so key.

Every job will have tasks that you hate.  That’s why it’s a job, not a hobby.  And no one, I mean NO ONE will do the hard things for you.  If you want something you will have to do it for yourself.

Laugh at yourself, trust your gut, don’t underestimate yourself, follow your instinct &
listen to that little voice inside.  You will know what to do if & when you listen to it.
God gave it to us specifically for the purpose of guiding us when things are difficult or you have a tough decision to make.

Don’t be ruled by fear.  Although life can be scary, it is also worth it to face that fear (think about the first time you actually sat on that horse).

Finally – Know that you are loved!  You don’t need to worry about what others think or how they see you.    The people who matter are those who love you for exactly who and what you are.  You are unique and there’s NOBODY just like you!

I could go on & on about finances, exercise, and the value of a true old friend (a true old friend gets harder to find each passing year by the way) but I think I will save a few of these nuggets so that I will have a excuse to give you a call out of the blue to say how proud I am of you and that I love you with all my heart.


To Becs – From your Bro   “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  – quote by Howard Thurman


Knowing my mom, she would say to you, “Pray about everything.”   Her advice would include turning worship and praise music on; focusing on God to turn away worry, and seek Him through all life brings . – Grandma Linda

If you stand up for what is right, you’d be willing to spend a night or more in jail for it.” – Grandpa Hank

Always honor your parents, no matter what ….” – Grandma Becky

Grandma C. shares some advice her father told her: “If you don’t want to do something you’ll regret, don’t do it the first time.” – Great Grandpa Lawrence B.

Becca, in your nursing career, go for everything, try everything, perfect your skill, you will never regret learning.  In nursing, you will have many opportunities to share your faith and minister to those in your care.   – Grandma Cornelia & Grandpa Vern

Becca, when I met you, you were a shy, freckle face young girl, who had an eagerness to learn about horses.  From day one I saw you as a willing, teachable and obedient, very important qualities to have.  You have become a beautiful amazing horse lady, but most importantly a woman who loves the Lord and He has rewarded you greatly.  You are loved. –  Steve + Marjorie

Aunts, Uncles & Cousins:

Stay true to who you are, be confident and follow where the Lord leads you.  We send lots of love!  – Auntie Kristy

Becca, You are turning 21, oh to be that age again!  I was thinking about something to share and there are lots of things I could say.  Like buy a good pair of shoes, your back will thank you or the best rest happens before 10pm … Yet , as I ponder it, boil it down, I would say this:    Be true to God.  Seek His will.  Then it all falls into place as it should.  When you do this, you can look back and see how the pieces fit together like a puzzle, even when it may not make sense at the time.  When/if you mess up, tell God, He welcomes us back.    You have so much going for you!   – Uncle Tim

Becca-boo, Happy 21st birthday! You have been a joy to watch grow up.  I wanted to share with you that I know God will use you to heal the broken and care for the lost.  Never lose your sweet spirit and always cherish the way God has crafted your tender, strong spirit.  Keep persevering and the reward will be wonderful.  Isaiah 61 holds promises that I know are for you.” All my love Auntie Jessica

Isaiah 61: The Spirit of God, the Master is on me because God anointed me.  He sent me to preach, good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.  God sent me to announce the year of His grace a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them a bouquet of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.  Rename the “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display His glory.

Happy Birthday Becca!  May this next year of your life be full of delightful surprises and rewarding experiences.  Keep studying hard and preserving.  Psalm 37:4-5 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  21 is full of fun!  Love ya cuz! – Ashley C.

“My tip(s) are actually spin-offs from a book I read last year, no surprise there, so you’ll have to pardon me from quoting them as they aren’t 100% my own thoughts.
The book is “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans” where the author interviewed thousands of elderly people in nursing homes. He found that they all had similar advice and he put it into a book.
Here’s two that resonate with me:
1. Take care of your health while you are young- preparing you for when you will become old. All those things like caring for your teeth, and making sure you are strong now will be building your body up for later in life. People often become frail because they didn’t prepare early for getting old. Decide now what you want your body to be when you are 60, 70, 80… and make it happen. Sure things happen along the way that we can’t plan for with our health, but there’s a lot that we can plan for.
2. Marry someone with similar interests. They need not be exactly like you, but should be similar enough that your life won’t be a wild ride of hating one another because you just can’t get on over basic things. Opposites may attract, but rarely do they make a great life-long partner.
3. Include large doses of what you love in your work. Looking back on a life lived of doing something that you found no joy in- actually can be necessary sometimes to provide for yourself or a family, etc. If you have the option- do work that makes you fulfilled. ”   – Best, Uncle Paul
Always take the leftovers and always agree to meet your mom at Target so she can help pay for your cart.” – Auntie Michelle

My favorite memories with Becca generally revolve around how much we laugh together. During our years of sweet friendship, she has never ceased to make me laugh until we can’t breathe. She is a listener in the hard times, and the most fun and wonderful friend in the good times. When Becca and I first became good friends, I was fourteen and had just lost my closest friend of many years. I felt hurt and betrayed, and I felt like I would never have a close friend who I could trust. I wanted a new start, so I decided to go visit our family friends, the Tverberg’s, and my friend-by-association, Becca (we had only met once, at age 8 or 9) in Minne-snow-ta (ha, ha!). About the only thing I knew for sure was that Becca and I had a mutual love for horses.


After my first visit, I realized (though God’s working in my strange and crazy plans) that Becca was the friend I never thought I could find- hilarious, sarcastic, trustworthy, understanding, and as horse-obsessed as me. Through high school, I looked forward to seeing Becca and the Tverbergs every summer to ride and compete on the horses. It is crazy to look back at my 14-year-old self flying to Minnesota alone to meet a friend I hadn’t seen or spoken much to since,  Little did I know through the trials of a 14 year old that God would bring the most incredible friend when we were in grade school. I still am so thankful when I look back at God’s plans.

College Roomies

After two years together as college roommates (who says best friend’s shouldn’t room together?) we still like each other just as much, haha! We’ve been through a lot of life together, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. It’s been such a fun adventure!

Becca, I pray that 21 brings new adventures, a blessed year from God, and strength through our final few semesters of college. I am so thankful for your faithful friendship. I am so thankful to have a friend like you that I will never lose, and have to laugh with in my 80’s when we’re old and senile trying to ride horses without breaking our hips.
Love you!


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