Today is a red-letter day in our family…my oldest daughter turns 16.

And while that makes me feel old, after all, there were only 20 candles in the box and only FOUR left when I was done making her cake, I have thought long and hard about the words I want to put on paper and hand to her to tuck away somewhere.

four candles

I wish someone had said some of these things to me when I was that age, because it may somewhere, somehow, down the road, made my life a little less stumbling, and I might have avoided the pitfalls awaiting me in the years coming ahead.

Anyhow, because I want her to have it, and because you might have someone you want to pass it on to, here are the words that I have to say to her.


Dearest Child,

I cant believe when I peeked in this morning to watch you sleeping on your pillow that you really WERE 16. Your blonde hair was barely visible beneath the pillows you had piled on your head to shut out the sunlight…the same crazy thing you have been giving me heart attacks over since you were 2, and the first night in a toddler bed.

happy birthday cake

I closed the door quietly, determined that this morning, such a special morning, you would get to sleep in. I forgot, honestly, that your twin sisters were still upstairs, and solid in their belief that if THEY have to get up and get breakfast, well, that means YOU need to get up as well. I know their bouncing morning routine drives you crazy, but hey, you prayed for sisters for 8 years, so I guess now you understand those smiles Daddy and I always gave you when you said you wanted two at least.


Today I have a couple things I want to say to you and hope that you take them deep into your heart and treasure them there.

You have an amazing story. An amazing history. An amazing future.

You were created for a PURPOSE, and God has a PLAN for your life. You say you know this, but I want to REMIND you of this. Especially on a day like today.

You are on the cusp of the biggest adventure of your life….only a few more short years with us, and then you are on your own, so let me say these things while I have time.

Believe in yourself, even when no one else does.

Trust that God loves you, even when He feels absent.

Do what is right, even when you really really REALLY want to do what is wrong.

Don’t be afraid of hard work, because an easy path can lead to serious consequences that can wreck a life. 

Learn that hard work often brings the biggest rewards, and that when you are working, and other people are playing, you are the one that will eventually end up with the reward.

Never, ever, ever stop dancing. Or laughing. We treasure that about you.

Remember there is a difference between choosing friends wisely and choosing pets. Good friends are ones that take care of you back, instead of always needing to be cared for.

Cling to what is good, and discard what is bad. As fast as you can. Dont let the bad grow roots in your life.

Please, never move so far away that I cant come and hug you when I want to.  I promise I wont ask for a key to your house, but I hope you still want me near you when I grow old, and you are so busy with life. Family is important.

Love Jesus. Passionately. Determinedly. Unceasingly.

Even when you want to roll your eyes, don’t. Choose grace instead. Eye rolls hurt you, and me. 😀

Find what sparks your curiosity and learn as much as you can about it. Just don’t talk about it to everyone because some folks might drool and their eyes glaze over. But you can talk to me. And Dad.

Never think that anything you do could ever change one breath of how much your father and I love you. Or how much God loves you. The love we feel for you goes so far beyond that.

When you don’t feel like talking, well, that is when you need to pray. And when you cant find the words to pray, just lay down on the floor and cry. God hears you, and will comfort you. I promise. I have been there.

Never ever do anything with a date (no matter how crazy he makes you) that you would do with a husband. Imagine that paper heart you tell me about all the time and picture that instead. And no, hitting someone with a frying pan is just totally unacceptable behavior, even from a wife to a husband. So don’t go there. 😉

Make sure to leave room in your life for God to make plans for you too. After all, that is part of your life verse. And somehow I dont think he wants you living in a little shack in the woods avoiding people he wants you to interact with. Even if you think so. So leave room for His plans and seek them with all your heart.

Finally, when you have a good friend, hang on to them. Make time for them. Don’t lose their phone number. Call them up and ask them to hang out. Spend time with them. And don’t count the number of friends you have as important. Count the quality. THAT is what is important.

I am still astonished that I have a teenager, let alone one as beautiful, amazing, and sweet-natured as you are. I hope you know how much we love you, and how proud we are of you.

You mean the world to us

Happy Sweet 16, babe.


anna and mom