Oh man I love having a kid who will pose for me. It is so refreshing. Is this going to happen when all my girls hit this age? I sure hope so. (I say “girls” because I’m well aware the willing compliance for picture-posing is NOT coming any time soon from my dear Max.)Anyway, this week we had our Evening in Excellence program for our Young Women in our ward (for anyone who doesn’t speak Mormon lingo, it’s an annual program in our church for all the girls ages 12-18 to talk about the projects they’ve been involved in to work on various values like individual worth, faith, choice & accountability, etc).

I sat there in awe. You want to know why? Two main reasons:

1) I’m not exaggerating when I say this, but there are 40 some girls in our congregation and they are all phenomenal in their own unique, individual ways. Seriously. The projects they are doing are going to change their lives, and the lives of others. The stories of service and hard work and developing talents were quite outstanding.

and 2) My daughter gets to be among them. She gets to look up to all those poised, well-adjusted girls who look out for her like a little sister. She has all those examples to draw from, not only for something like how to speak in front of people and how to stand up for what’s right at school, but how to gather deep strength relying on her faith in God.

And that is powerful.

I can tell her those things ’til I’m blue in the face, but somehow hearing it and watching it exemplified from peers and other adult leaders makes it more real. And for that I am forever grateful, because there’s nothing like having extra help in this motherhood gig.

But the all-encompassing reason I loved that night is that I got to watch this girl: I got to watch her interact with others and even through her slight shyness she inherited from her mother, she stands tall and is confident in what she does. It made me think of all the things she does in life to help me and to be an example to her own little sisters (and parents and brother). She is kind. She is thoughtful. She’s always willing to help, always has a good come-back for Dave’s sarcasm, tries her darnedest in school, and is well aware of the spirit in her life.

And that night with all those other girls surrounding her made me realize that some day she’ll be the older one, shining light to those younger girls because she has been shined upon by others.

And to me that circle of building each other up is a beautiful thing.

Love you Elle Belle.

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  1. I walked into my daughter's room this morning and was struck by photo of her with her brother on his wedding day, when she was a Beehive. Now she's a Laurel, and we're looking forward to another Young Women in Excellence program next week. That circle really is a beautiful thing, and examples are so important. It's a blessing to be able to watch these wonderful girls grow and mature. Thanks for sharing.

  2. As their leaders, we are always commenting on what a group of girls they all are. Each one of them have so many talents and are all beautiful, inside and out. And that definitely includes Elle!

  3. Forty girls?! I think we have 10 or 12 total. My daughter will be 12 in February. I might just be more excited for her to go to YW's than she is! 🙂

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