Today’s the day! Not only is it general conference, but after lots of anticipation, it’s finally here: the day to {continue} celebrating a birthday girl who has lots of grit.

Yep, this girl right here, my baby, is turning SEVENTEEN YEARS OLD.

Dave and I can’t quite wrap our minds around this one!

Anyway I said “continue” celebrating up above because it feels like she gets a birthday week rather than a birthday day. This girl is big into birthday celebrations I tell you!

I’ll have to write all about all the celebrations of her soon, but for today I’m just going to write a little love note of seventeen things I love about her. Almost enough to fill her fingers AND toes with. Ha! (A little tradition we started following my Dad’s lead.) There is so much to love about this Lucy girl. I’m combining these things into a little story about what happened over the last few weeks. Because it involves so many of the things I love about Lu.

  1. She is determined. She’s determined in many aspects, but the one I want to highlight today is that she decided a few weeks ago that she was going to have straight A’s at the end of the term. That was last Friday. Then she got to work. Keep in mind, it is not an easy task to stay at grade level with your peers let alone get straight A’s when you have significant vision loss.
  2. She doesn’t make excuses. All of us, including teachers, try to encourage her average grades are incredible since she’s dealing with some pretty big obstacles. Just the fact that she can even maneuver her computer enough to find assignments is pretty awe-inspiring to me.
  3. She is organized. Her organization paid off because she was able to write up lists of everything she needed to do with little check-boxes. She knew exactly what needed to be done and how.
  4. She is a communicator. She talked to each one of her teachers to outline that list. She wanted to know exactly how to get those grades up and exactly when to meet for re-takes, etc.
  5. She is a very hard worker. Because her vision is so horrible, she often has to take tests and then re-take them with someone who can read them to her. This takes a significant amount of extra work. She works on homework and studying for hours each day and rarely complains.
  6. She has the best smile. When she is happy, everyone is happy. Below this list is the face of that happy girl when she came home from school on Friday with that goal she had made accomplished. WOOHOO LUCY!!!
  7. She is a celebrator. Not only does she love to celebrate her special days (her birthday is a big one), she loves to celebrate others. She is always texting people to cheer them on.
  8. She is conscientious of the needs and feelings of others. Lucy is always asking if we’re ok. How we’re feeling. She is so quick to say she’s sorry if she is in the wrong.
  9. She is a good friend. She is always asking if she can bring over a treat or gift for those who might need a little lift. I also love that she has nicknames for everyone and just loves them so much.
  10. She is honest. She doesn’t sugar-coat things or put on false airs. This is mostly a good thing 🙂 I love that she is honest about how she is feeling. I love that she doesn’t take answers, especially about the gospel, that just try to wrap up nicely with a bow. She wants to delve in and really find answers.
  11. You know where you stand with Lucy. This is tricky sometimes if she’s mad at you, ha! But I I love that she says it like it is.
  12. The piano calms Lucy…and all the rest of us. She fills our house with the most beautiful music.
  13. She wants and craves “hard.” This is good when you want to push your way through challenging things. She’s not afraid of a learning curve. She wants the hardest piano pieces. She doesn’t want things to make things “easier” just because she has vision loss. She doesn’t want to take any shortcuts. She’s got some serious grit.
  14. You can count on Lucy. If she says she’ll do something, she’ll do it.
  15. Lu is particular. She knows exactly what she wants. This is awesome with skills she wants to learn and things she wants to do (she is currently making a recipe book and knows exactly how she wants it). This particularity is a little tricky too in finding clothes she’ll wear, and getting her to branch out on hairstyles. Yow! She has a vice-grip on that braid I tell you!
  16. She has a pretty beautiful brand of love. I LOVE her snuggles. The way she tells me what she loves about me. The way she’s so thoughtful.
  17. Despite her struggles, she knows she is a daughter of God. You can see it in how she lives her life. And the light she shines.

The straight “A” girl:

(That’s a “17” she’s making with her fingers:)

Love you forever and ever Lucy girl! HAPPY BIRTHDAY with all my love.

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  1. Happy 17th to a very inspiring young lady. It’s been exciting to see the maturity that keeps getting stronger and stronger with someone this age. I love how she refuses to allow the obstacles in her life to crush her dreams. She demands a lot from herself and I think that is part of the reason she is so determined and successful in reaching her goals. I also admire and envy her knowledge and strong relationship with God. I wish there was such a thing as “on-line missionaries” where a person who wants to do a mission, but maybe is unable to do so in the same way Grace and Claire have, could do a kind of mission of guiding and teaching someone who wants very much to learn about the Mormon religion. I’ll bet Lucy would excel as a guide/missionary for someone with a desire to learn and explore this spiritual path. Wouldn’t that be a neat thing? With her love of God and her organization skills, I can just picture her planning and guiding someone (hint hint) in this way. And of course without the hassle of using zoom or whatever people use for on-line type teaching, she could just create what she thinks this person/student would benefit from reading or discussing through e-mail. Anyway, just thought I’d throw that idea out there! Happy Birthday Lucy!

  2. Happy birthday Lucy!!! You are amazing!!

    I wonder about this: “Because her vision is so horrible, she often has to take tests and then re-take them with someone who can read them to her. This takes a significant amount of extra work.”

    Does her school not provide accommodations for her test-taking?! Surely there is assistance that she’s legally entitled to have?! I *do not* mean to be “correcting” how you’re doing it, I’m just genuinely curious. 💕

    1. I’m not sure what Lucy’s accommodations are specifically, but I have a few kids with accommodations and they prefer to take tests and do class work with their class and then redo it on their own, privately, with accommodations. It’s more work for them but they prefer to blend in with their pees. My kids’ accommodations allow for them to test and learn in a separate and private room but they don’t like this and want to be with their peers. We did find that scheduling a class during their day as an aid to a teacher who actually provided the accommodation (per their IEP) allowed them to feel like they had a schedule more like their peers while still getting the necessary accommodations. Hope that makes sense.

      1. Oh, that’s really nice that it can work out in such a way that they don’t feel *different* … your kids are so lucky to have teachers who are willing to work with them in that way!!

  3. IEP’s should be very individual as each person learns & uses their “tools” differently.
    My daughter lost her vision at 15 (due to a virus that attacked her retinas) advocated for herself, primarily because she had been a sighted person up to that age.
    I’m not sure if Lucy realizes how many “tools” are available to assist her, but it sounds like she has extended testing time, but she can also take tests in a quiet space with a live reader to assist her by reading questions to her?

    Shawni, you mention her computer skills…. Does she use a computer program that reads to her? JAWS is widely used!
    Here are some programs that might be useful for Lucy to check out!,read%20text%20on%20the%20screen.
    My daughter works for American Foundation for the Blind if you are interested in talking to her?

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