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Today’s Inspired post is an extra special one for me. It’s extra special because it’s about the girl who is, in-fact, the inspiration behind Courtney Lively Photography {INSPIRED}. You see, I’ve known this young girl for awhile, actually, she’s my neighbor, and I’ve always known she was great. She is sweet, and well-mannered, and funny, and mature. I’ve always liked Addi, and I can only hope that one day my daughter will have a heart similar to hers. But that’s all stuff I already knew about Addi. There was however, an exact day, or maybe a week, or maybe it was a month that Addi, literally inspired me to be a better human. A harder working human. A less prideful human. You see, I can see Addi’s front yard from the window I sit behind when I work. And I could see Addi get home from school, grab her soccer ball and go outside and play. And I could see her get home from soccer practice, throw her bags down and continue to work on her shot — until it got too dark to play any longer. And I could see her at the early hours of the morning kicking that soccer ball around by herself, and in the evenings with her family, playing with her mom, dad, her brother and using her little sister as a cone. Watching Addi’s passion for her sport was inspiring in itself, but it made me want to learn more about her and her love for soccer — And that’s where the real inspiration came in.

You see, it turns out that Addi made the “B” team last year. And it turns out that Addi was a bit disappointed when she found out this news. And while some kids might let this get them down, might get angry, might think it’s not fair, maybe even quit. Addi did the exact opposite. Addi pushed her pride aside, and became determined. Isn’t it beautiful how in disappointment, we are given the wonderful opportunity to truly define ourselves? Addi knew that if she kept practicing, and kept a positive attitude that she could be just as good as the best players on the “A” team. She told me that. You see, Addi, by the general public’s definition may not be the “superstar”. But from what I have learned about Addi, it’s clear she is so much more then that. Addi is the player that shows up to every event with a positive attitude. She works her butt off at practice for her teammates and coach’s, but even more importantly, at home when nobody else is watching. She listens with respect when her coaches speak. She encourages her teammates to do better, to work harder. She is a clear leader, and she is the glue that keeps a team together. Addi, by my definition, is the best kind-of superstar there is.

Addi is raising the bar. Not just for her teammates, not just for her classmates, but for all of us. Sometimes we forget that a little hard work goes a long way. That a little less pride mixed in with some good old fashioned determination, can quickly turn disappointment into success. And sometimes, we need a 9-year-old to remind us of that. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that by mid-season Addi was already being asked to play up with “A” team again. Now, Addi, be proud, be so very proud because this is an honor that you truly earned.

When Addi grows up she would like to play for the Women’s National Soccer Team. She would also like to start a rescue shelter for golden retrievers and pit bulls. Addi believes that when treated properly with love and care, all dogs have the ability to be good dogs. She’s wise beyond her years.

Phoenix, let’s celebrate Addi! She is one of us — She is our future. And we are so lucky to have her!

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