We have a new sixteen year old.

And there were some really fun things that happened on her birthday. Also, there were some pretty emotional things about this big milestone birthday and this girl who is trying to stay positive amidst some growing divides.

But let’s celebrate all the good things.

The biggest of which was that Dave and the kids had this idea to surprise the birthday girl.

They arrived after Lu was asleep on the eve of her birthday and were there to surprise her the next morning.

Hallelujah and so so thankful for that humongous blessing. She couldn’t have been happier to give them all the hugest bear hugs (and be so grateful, I think, that she didn’t have to spend the whole day with just her mom and dad!)

I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

We have done a surprise party for every one of our sixteen year olds. This one was different, and little trickier since it’s the beginning of Fall Break (and lots of kids were out of town), but actually that’s perfect for Lu because she doesn’t love big crowds.

These beautiful girls all showed up at allotted time and popped out from behind the kitchen island when Lucy and her siblings walked in the door.

We had a fun game night.

Sixteen things I adore about this girl of mine:

1) Takes notes at any meeting (always Carrie’s her red backpack with supplies on a trip, or just holds her notebooks under her arm “on the ready” when she knows she’s going somewhere where people are going to say something inspiring.

2) Bakes the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

3) Knows when she needs a little space, takes it, and emerges revived and glowing

4) Has the best smile that can fill up a whole room

5) Always says a heartfelt, “I’m so sorry” when she knows she’s in the wrong

6) Gives the most amazing hugs (on her terms when she’s ready for them, don’t try the hug if she’s not ready!;)

7) Is the most organized girl I know, keeps things situated beautifully.

8) She is such a conscientious student, always striving to do her very best. This has been difficult lately with her dwindling vision but she is plugging through it so valiantly!

9) Good at advocating for herself. Whether she needs to sit near the front to see or whether something is just not working, she is gaining some serious skills to make things happen. It takes lots of work, but she is doing it.

10) Fills up our house with incredibly beautiful piano music, makes me tear up sometimes she plays with such emotion.

11) She is determined not to take the “easy road” in life, which would be so easy considering her eyesight. But she holds herself to a high standard and pushes herself to learn and be better every day. Not only in learning new things but also in controlling emotions and the tough things that come her way.

12) Her spitfire feistiness that takes her new places but also helps her hold her own.

13) Book-devourer, she is always looking for a new book series to listen to and learn from.

14) Card shark gatherer. We would never gather for as many games as we do without lucy, the game master, pushing us through. And there is something so beautiful about how games gather. I’m so so grateful for this.

15) Conscientious sister. She adores her siblings and let’s them know it!

16) Loyal friend. She is always wanting to support friends, bring them treats, make sure they are happy, gather them whenever she possibly can.

17) So good at asking questions. She is always asking how my day was and what I’ve been doing. Through questions she is able to reach outside of herself and give so much love.

Ok, 17…sorry I couldn’t stop.

Love you forever Lucy!!


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  1. What a strong, amazing girl. Happy Birthday Lucy! I’ve been following your blog since 2007 Shawni and it’s wonderful to see this darling toddler now a beautiful 16 year old.

  2. I am SO excited to see this! I’m on the plane home from England and this made me so happy! Love you Lu! You are one determined young woman who is going to do amazing things in this life. You are working with things that none of us can understand and doing such a great job of plunging forward to conquer your fears and work through challenging obstacles like a champion! You are learning valuable things every day that will help you be on of the most amazing 16 year olds who ever lived!

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