Last year when my brother Jonah and his family came to live in the desert, he and his wife had an idea. They kept mentioning to Lucy she should come work at the store they run in the San Juan Islands (Blakely Island to be exact) this summer.

Now, Lucy is a girl who has been yearning to get a job for a long time. But as you might imagine, jobs are tricky to come by when you can’t see well. Sure, you think there are ways to work around a vision impairment, and there are. But it is sure a challenging fit. With lots of dead ends. So I cornered Jonah and Aja one day and asked if they were serious about this opportunity. Honestly it sounded too good to be true, and I didn’t want Lucy (or us) to get hopes up about it if it couldn’t happen.

But do you know what? That brother of mine was serious. He and Aja are the best, and cultivated such a sweet relationship with Lucy while they were here. They know how to make things happen, and they do. (If you don’t believe me, watch Wagon and you’ll be amazed at how they just live life differently…and so uniquely).

This past year, even though they went back to Hawaii, Jonah has been on the short-list of people Lucy calls when she is bored or sad or needs a little pick-me-up. Jonah knows the “speed of going slow” and is never too busy to have a chat. He helps her take herself lightly, teases her just the right amount, and helps her realize she can do hard things.

So Lucy has been looking forward for this grand opportunity with stars in her eyes. She took her Food Handlers Permit test and passed with flying colors.

She has been practicing cookie baking for as long as I can remember, getting ready to help bake for the store (she can make a mean cookie!). Practicing doing the dishes, cleaning, whatever she could.

And then, after girls camp was over, we came home one night, unpacked, repacked and got that girl ready to go.

As we packed up I was so teary. And then when we talked to Jonah on the phone I fell apart with so much gratitude. Can he ever know how much this means to all of us?

The Journey to Blakely

Dave, Lu and I marched straight from our 8:30 church to the airport, Lucy’s solo flight to Blakely Island looming ahead of us. I loved our pep-talk, love filling the car as we drove, Dave reminding her that her cane is her superpower and I reminded her how great she is at asking questions and that people will want to help.

She was determined to leave us at security, wanting to get to her gate all by herself.

This is the look of her parents letting her go, pretty excited for her:

She did such a good job, (we watched until she got all the way through).

I was convinced she’d be just fine in that small airport…until she called with a shaky voice after security not knowing where her gate was. I cannot imagine maneuvering even a small airport not being able to see. My heart started really thumping at that, imagining her lost at the airport and missing her flight. So after I dropped Dave back off at church for his meetings I raced back to the airport to see if they’d let me through security to check on her. I know, a little protective, but man I didn’t want there to be any hangers-in-the-works with this grand opportunity awaiting (it is not so easy to get to the island where they stay!)

Just as I finally got to the front of the security line back at the airport my phone blinked a message from Lucy: all boarded and sitting by some nice people. I had her double and triple check she was on the right flight, just like a crazy mom would, and did get confirmation from the gate agents that she was boarded safe and sound.

And so the adventure began.

The Big Welcome

She called excited upon landing and our first picture of her from Jonah was actually a video…her dancing in the much-hoped-for rain awaiting her upon landing. (This girl is a rain lover if I ever saw one!)

Then beaming photos of the rest of the introduction. A boat ride to where the store is and a tour of that gorgeous spot with her cousin Ana (who is her boss):

Reunited with her cousin Elsie:

The Job

Baking cookies for the store, and frosting donuts too:

Learning from people who come in the store (there was a fellow vision impaired visitor she met, which was cool.)

She learned to use the cash register.

And helped Ana with a lot of organization.

News of her delight at their polar plunge…every day if she has anything to say about it.

Lucy living her best life.

So much gratitude surging through my heart.

She will only be there for two weeks since she has a choir tour coming up in Boston right after that, but what an incredible two weeks she is having up in all that beauty, carrying exciting responsibility.

Oh there are ups and downs, that’s for sure. Part of Lucy’s syndrome makes it really difficult to deal with emotions. And that can cause some hiccups for sure. But there are so many more ups than downs and we are all just so grateful for how that girl is learning and growing…and for the best mentors ever.

Dave and I are getting excited to be able to pick her up and experience that magic with Jo and his family…and our girl who they have helped make dreams come true this summer.

Similar Posts


  1. This is so absolutely beautiful. Siblings are such a good, good gift. Go Lucy! Her rain dance made me cry. So happy for her and it looks like she is perfect for the job…what amazing cookies and what a great smile.

  2. I loved this story so much! I am very familiar with Blakely and the store. We are up in the San Juans never miss and opportunity to boat to Blakely, usually for their ice cream. Go Lucy! You have so many cheer leaders!

  3. Oh my goodness, I have tears.
    As I sit here my daughter is on her first ever solo flight and she has to make a very short time connection in a very big airport and my heart has been pounding for an hour lol
    She’s 20! But she has an anxiety disorder so this big.
    I’m so proud of Lucy!!

  4. Oh my goodness!! What an amazing opportunity for your precious girl!!! My daughter is 17 and that letting go is tough (even with all her vision!!).

  5. That sounds like a good summer. I’m going to the MCO concert Thursday night — I hope I get to hear Lucy!

  6. I’d like to praise Elsie for wearing a life jacket. The airport should be able to provide assistance. I can imagine your heart fell when she didn’t want you past security. Hard to decide the right thing to do. Either decision could go either way.

  7. Only God knows how fulfilling it must have been to see her at work. This is the epitome of her efforts altogether with yours, plus the kindness of so many good angels around. Y’all have gone through such a beautiful path and the journey is just starting! God bless you all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *