Becoming Elissa…

Today my older daughter celebrated a birthday. This is my fourth year of blogging and although I wished Elissa a Happy Birthday through text, Facebook and in person, I wasn't going to do a birthday blog post this year, since I've done several in the years past.

So this is not a birthday post. This is a post about Elissa, that happens to be on her birthday.

As I left the house this morning to go show property, my thoughts were on my daughter, my firstborn. Memories flipped through my consciousness, like a movie of her life. She's always had a will and mind of her own, even as an infant. She hated to sleep, preferring instead to look around and study everything. Her petite size led people to believe she was younger than her actual age. They were shocked when she piped up in her high voice and spoke of things way beyond her years. She was, and still is, an old soul.

I have learned so much from Elissa. She taught me about being a mother and loving unconditionally. Because her personality is very different from mine, she expanded my perspectives, shattered old beliefs, and challenged me to grow. Elissa loves horses. Watching her as a teen, as she worked with yearlings, helped me to see that raising children was less about control and discipline and more about seeing the gifts a child is born with and creating an encouraging and supportive environment to develop in.

As my daughter entered adulthood, life presented both blessings and challenges, as it does for all of us. My bright, artistic, strong, empathic daughter feels the pains and griefs of the world keenly. She is a very real person in a very false society, to paraphrase a treasured children's story. My regret, as her mom, is that years ago, I didn't know how to listen deeply enough to the story Elissa was trying to tell me, through her words and her silences, her actions and her own pain.

She continued to grow and strive and seek. I learned to hear with different ears and a bigger perspective. I learned it was okay to struggle to find your place in the world. Elissa's survival skills turned into thriving and then peace and an acceptance of her own courageous heart. She is still learning how to offer out of that heart. I am proud to be a witness to her life.

Elissa has a good man who journeys with her and each of them brought a son into their blended family. My child has raised a child. And in watching my daughter be a parent, I have seen grace and deep love and openness and sacrifice. Next week my daughter will escort her son to a university several hours away, and drive home without him. Her tender tears and strong determination to launch him successfully onto his own path touches my own heart deeply.

Recently my 18 year grandson made public that he is bisexual. I am so proud of him for his openness and his desire to live authentically as the person he is. Elissa has raised her son to speak his mind and offer his heart. He is fearless. He is the future. As the time draws near for Dayan to leave for college, Elissa got a couple of tattoos, one on each of her forearms. One is the Italian phrase cogli l'attimo…pick up this moment…hold this moment. The other is a series of dots, rainbow dots, in honor of her son. She said if Dayan could be brave enough to live his story transparently, she could be courageous enough to wear the rainbow on her arm, for him. What love.

As I neared my destination this morning, I considered what tattoo I would get, in honor of my daughter and her story. I am not going to get an actual tattoo, not at this time, but I asked aloud, in the empty car, What symbol would be perfect for Elissa? Immediately the Velveteen Rabbit came to mind. Elissa loves this story of the stuffed rabbit who becomes real through the love of his boy. The rabbit becomes a bit tattered with the joys and pains of life and love. But he becomes Real. Authentic. He Becomes. He is. And he learns once you become Real, you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.

Elissa has become Real. My love, her dad's love, her sister's and her brother's, her whole family's love, her husband's and stepson's love…all have contributed to her becoming. Like the Rabbit's boy and his fierce love, her boy's love, that full of trust, unconditional, straight from a child's heart kind of love, opened a space around her and within her, so that she could become Real…so she could become fully Elissa.

I drew the Velveteen Rabbit for Elissa, with his scruffy fur and his soulful eyes and his hint of a smile, on his way to becoming Real. I inked him in and colored him with my pencils. He reminds me of Elissa's courage and her great mind and greater heart. He reminds me of her love for her sons and her husband and her family. And the Velveteen Rabbit reminds me of Elissa's love for me.

"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with but REALLY loves you, you become Real." The Velveteen Rabbit

Elissa, my child, my firstborn, the one whose birth on this date years ago made me a mom, has helped me to become Real too. My love overflows.

Happy Birthday Aunt June

This afternoon, members on the Lauderdale side of my family gathered to celebrate my Aunt June. She recently turned 82 years old. For the past five years, today’s party has been a joint celebration for Aunt June and her older brother, Rex, who both had July birthdays. Sadly, my uncle passed away earlier this year, making this afternoon’s gathering more poignant and even more precious. 

Happy Birthday Aunt June
My aunt is, in fact, the last surviving sibling in her family that at one time included my father and her twin sister, Jean. They were the six Lauderdales, children of my grandparents Dennis and Grace. One sister died in a tragic accident, as a toddler. I don’t think the family ever quite recovered from little Margaret’s death. My grandmother could not speak of her youngest child and my uncle always referred to her as “poor little feller”. My father was deeply impacted by the loss of his baby sister and carried a misplaced sense of guilt over her death his entire life. 

There was no sadness in my aunt today however, as we loved on her and sang happy birthday. This kind and sweet woman lives very much in the present moment. With age, her recent memories have begun to slip away or get tangled in her mind. And yet her spirit remains bright and pure, like a child’s. She is gracious and grateful, responding to affection with sweet hugs and kisses. 

Happy Birthday Aunt June
Happy Birthday Aunt June
I appreciate her children, my cousins Pam and Alan, continuing what has become a treasured family tradition. We decided years ago, as we gathered at another family member’s funeral to say goodbye, that we needed to honor the living while they yet lived. 

I am so glad that we put actions with that intention. Saying goodbye to Uncle Rex a few months ago, there were no regrets, no we should haves. I hope we have Aunt June here with us for many more years, to love and honor and celebrate. She is our beautiful Lauderdale matriarch. Her very presence inspires me to seize each moment and live it fully. 

Happy birthday, dear one. I love you! 

Happy Birthday Aunt June

Family Celebrations

What a fun afternoon, as family members gathered in Oklahoma to celebrate two birthdays and an early Mother’s Day. Surprised today, was my brother Bryan, whose actual birthday is Tuesday. He was suspicious when he arrived at his mom’s house, and found too many cars parked around it. And genuinely surprised, I think, to find his sisters, sons, mother-in-law and other family waiting for him on the back patio. He arrived kind of quietly, so we almost muffed up the shout of “Happy birthday!” 

Family Celebrations

Also surprised today was my sister Debbie, whose birthday is tomorrow. She thought she was attending a surprise party for our brother. My stepmom prepared birthday cakes for Bryan and Debbie and we all brought celebratory cards for both. 

Family Celebrations
And, because tomorrow is also Mother’s Day, we honored my stepmom, Jerri. She received her own stack of cards and loving hugs. 

Family Celebrations

It was an all out party. Steve grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and Jerri made her famous crockpot beans. Bryan’s wife Christel brought yummy hummus and I supplied organic non GMO tortilla chips and plant based dishes…potato and herb salad and colorful chopped salad. I passed on the burgers and hotdogs. And while everyone else enjoyed chocolate cake and ice cream, I had a delicious bowl of fresh chopped fruit. 

Family Celebrations
Family Celebrations
I appreciated that Jerri gathered us all together. There was much laughter and an easy flow of conversation. The four younger kids present had a big yard to run and play in and the covered patio offered protection from the sun while allowing the breeze to cool us. 

We chatted about life and summer plans, sang happy birthday, told stories and loved on each other. My family does many things well, and near the top of the list is celebrating each other. 

Family Celebrations
Family Celebrations
These are precious times, as we create joy filled memories. The hours spent together are made more poignant by the keenly felt absence of my father, who passed away seven years ago. I still hear the echo of his voice, and his infectious laughter, in this place, the house he shared with my stepmother. I know he was with us in Spirit this afternoon, celebrating Bryan and Debbie. And I know he must feel proud of his wife who walked so valiantly with him through his illness, and now lives life to the fullest, for both of them. 

Family Celebrations
As so often happens, after a fun day of being with each other, we vowed to get together again soon…for another celebration, or just because. 

Happy birthday Bryan. I love you brother and I am proud of the amazing man you have become. I look forward to many more adventures together, including a shared trip to Scotland! Let’s plan that journey soon. 

Happy birthday Debbie. I love you sister and appreciate your creativity and your compassionate heart. We have shared many adventures, with more just on the horizon. Thank you for walking with me. 

Happy Mother’s Day Jerri. I love you, my second mom, and I am grateful to have you in my life. Thank you for your gracious hospitality today and for your courageous and generous heart. 

I am so blessed with the beautiful souls that I call family.   

Family Celebrations

Being Weston

Today my great-nephew Weston turned four years old! There will be a family gathering at a Joplin bounce house later this month, with cake and gifts. However, I chose to celebrate this little charmer today. 

Happy Birthday Weston
I started looking up family members’ names during the April birthdays last year. Weston is the last person in my family to have the meaning of his name included in a celebratory post. As a four year old, he wouldn’t be happy about being last in anything! I’m glad he’s too young to realize that he completes this series of posts. 

“Weston, you follow the divine law of love. Charming and magnetic, intuitive and spiritual, you are a people person and enjoy gatherings and celebrations. You will have an eventful and exciting life. Learning new information comes easily for you and you remember what you’ve learned. You have great persistence and do not give up easily on anyone or anything. 

In life you are most content when you are with your family and loved ones. You have a great sense of responsibility and duty and want to provide for those you care about. You are comforting, appreciative and affectionate. To be treated fairly and in turn be fair with others is important to you. Because of your loving nature, you will find great happiness and satisfaction.”

Happy Birthday Weston


The first truth that stood out to me, reading those words about Weston, is that love is at the center of his life. This bright eyed, curly haired boy is so loved. And he so loves others. He has wonderfully supportive and encouraging parents, my nephew Scott and his wife Nicole. And he has an adoring little sister, Lola. His grandmother is my sister Linda. He calls her Gigi and he knows she loves him to Jupiter and back and that she would do anything for him. 

In fact, this boy has a large extended family around him…grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins…who cherish him and walk alongside him, committed to helping Weston learn and grow and have fun. He may not fully realize the depths of the love that surrounds him. But he thrives in that environment. 

Happy Birthday Weston
Happy Birthday Weston
All of this love allows this handsome child to do the things that he does best: Have fun. Figure things out by trying things out. Learn. Grow. Be Weston. 

Being Weston is the most important task he has. I’ve watched Weston this past year, as he moved from being a toddler to being a kid. He likes lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners and power tools and blow dryers…in short, anything that moves and makes noise while it moves. He likes to help, whether it’s in the kitchen or vacuuming the floor for Gigi or helping his papa remodel a bathroom. 

Happy Birthday Weston
Happy Birthday Weston
Weston is very smart, articulating well his ideas and desires. He reasons things out and thinks things through. He is persistent. Just ask his parents or his Gigi. Persistence is a powerful quality to carry though life. Weston has a strong sense of responsibility and the desire to care for others. He wants to make sure everyone is treated fairly. And being four, it is extremely crucial that he feels that same fairness extended toward him. 

Weston exudes charm. And he can be polite even when he is asking you to leave. When his mother told him he couldn’t vacuum at Gigi’s anymore until after I left, he immediately came to me and with a serious look in his big brown eyes, said with great sincerity, “Good bye Yaya”. 

He is affectionate and loves to cuddle. He is learning and growing. He is discovering the world and how he impacts it. He is being Weston. And what an amazing Weston he is. 

Happy Birthday Weston

Happy Birthday Linda

Today is my younger sister’s birthday. Linda’s birth created the bond of sisterhood that has sustained and nurtured us, and later included our baby sister Debbie, throughout our lives. We all have our own families and our circles of friends…and yet my sisters and I have a “got your back and I’ll walk with you through it” kind of love for each other that is fierce. 

Happy Birthday Linda
I looked up my sister’s birth name, Lindel, a name she shared with my paternal grandmother. 

“Lindel, you are a wonderful person, generous and loyal. You tend to over-think things and sometimes worry too much, but you are thoughtful and extremely loving. An original thinker, you are always coming up with brilliant new ideas which others don’t quite understand. Your thoughts can appear to be vague, but this is a misconception. You are usually just off on another plane of thought. You are highly intelligent and articulate, with a gift for communication. You have an intuitive nature and the arts, drama or sciences may draw your interests.

You want to enjoy life, have fun, go places and do things. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive fairness and honesty from other people. Look to your own personal growth, and live a big beautiful life, and others will be drawn to you.” 

Happy Birthday Linda

I see the truth in these words about Linda. She is wonderful, loyal and generous, with what she has and with her time. She cares about others, human kind and animal kind. And she is one of the most loving people that I know. 

Just watch her with her loved ones…her large extended family and her children and grandchildren. She is a supportive and giving mom to her sons Scott and Eric, and her daughter-in-law Nicole, and a wildly fun Gigi to her grandson and three granddaughters. 

Happy Birthday Linda
Happy Birthday Linda

I appreciate Linda’s ability to think big and come up with fresh ideas. She is a free thinker and loves a lively discussion. An encourager and an includer, my sister excels at walking alongside another, offering a listening ear or a sincere hug. 

I especially love the very last sentence in the description about Linda, urging attention to personal growth. 

Linda has just experienced her biggest year yet of personal growth. It is her story to share. However, I am so intensely proud of my sister. She has learned about her heart this past year, and how to focus on what she can offer. Linda found hope in pain and uncovered her own self worth, discovering that the only person she can change is herself.  

Happy Birthday Linda
Happy Birthday Linda
From this place of strength and tenderness, Linda is exploring who she is. It will be an exciting journey for her. And one that will indeed draw others to her. 

Thank you Linda, for being my cheerleader, my confidante and my fellow traveler. I am so looking forward to journeying with you to Ireland, Scotland and England this fall, and through life. Thank you for displaying hope and courage in challenging circumstances and knowing how to have fun. Thank you for sharing your heart and your love so freely. 

Happiest of birthdays Linda, and many more as you live your big, beautiful life. I love you! 

Happy Birthday Linda

London’s Birthday Party 

The family gathered this afternoon, to celebrate London Kate Miller, who will be seven years old on Monday. London is my great niece, daughter of my nephew Eric, granddaughter of my sister Linda. 

I call all the younger children in my extended family the “grands”. The kids interact a lot, and consider each other cousins and friends. Linda is Gigi, my sister Debbie is Meem, and I am Yaya to this group of sweethearts, with the exception of little Kaleb, who has always called me by my name. 

London's Birthday Party
I looked up London’s name:

“London, you bring to completion anything that you start. You are generous and like to see returns from your giving. You possess leadership abilities. You are moral, balanced, honest and intellectual, and you may choose a spiritual path through life. You are wise and practical with an appreciation of beauty. You are direct in your communication style, methodical, and believe in law, system and order.

 Keeping the peace is important to you, and you want those you love to live in harmony. You desire to balance your life with those around you and you may feel incomplete without someone to share your love, ideals, wealth or work with. You can be very sensitive and appear a bit shy. You are developing your intuition. Compassion and empathy enable you to nurture others well. 

London's Birthday Party

Such powerful words, for a seven year old. And yet I see London already exhibiting many of those characteristics. She is generous, with strong leadership abilities, honest and direct, with a sense of justice, law and order. 

London is a peacemaker. The eldest of Linda’s grandchildren, she desires harmony among the cousins and helps with one while entertaining another. Watching her, I see how much London already values peace and love within her family. 

London's Birthday Party
London's Birthday Party
This loving child knows how to have fun, too, and that’s what today was about. London kicked off the party by opening presents, expressing gratitude for her gifts, allowing her younger cousins to help open a couple of them. 

London's Birthday Party
London's Birthday Party
Happy birthday was sung…with the large group present, it took a couple of attempts to get us singing in harmony…and London’s cute birthday cake served up. I passed on cake and ice cream, and enjoyed instead the closeness of family, the joy and laughter, as I chatted my way around the room. 

London's Birthday Party
London's Birthday Party
It was a fun afternoon, celebrating this precious girl. No matter what paths she chooses, as she journeys through life, I look forward to watching her continue to grow, in body, in spirit, in wisdom, grace and beauty. I choose to walk beside her, encouraging her along with her parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, sister, brother and cousins, as London offers her compassion, peace and harmony to the world. 

Happy birthday, London. I love you!

London's Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Josh

Today is the birthday of my son-in-law Josh. Married to my older daughter, Elissa, Josh officially joined our family a couple of years ago, when these two first borns said I do during their November wedding. However, I’ve known Josh his entire life. I was thrilled by Elissa’s and Josh’s union, and also by the journey of the Adams and the Moores, beyond friendship to family. 

Happy Birthday Josh
Celebrating my son-in-law, I am happy for the opportunity to look up his name. I began this practice as part of the birthday blog posts last April, missing the family members born in January, February and March. 

“Joshua, you are honest, benevolent, brilliant and often inventive. You are courageous, honest, determined, original and creative. You have leadership characteristics, especially when you feel passionately about a cause. Sometimes you do not care to finish what you start, or may leave details to others. You do well in positions of authority, and prosper when you take charge. You are dependable, methodical and believe in law, system and order.

You look for opportunities to achieve financial and emotional security for yourself and others. You are a peacemaker. You understand the law of harmony and desire balance in your life and with those around you. You may feel incomplete without someone to share your love, ideals, wealth or work with. You can be sensitive and may appear a bit reserved to those who don’t know you well. You have developed intuition, patience and the ability to nurture others. Contentment is yours as you accept who you are and live in harmonious relationships with others.” 

Happy Birthday Josh

Happy Birthday Josh

I recognize and appreciate these characteristics about Josh. He has an amazing heart, full of patience, kindness and love for others. He is a wonderful husband to Elissa, and a fun and attentive dad to Jonathan and Dayan. Family is important to him, and his quiet wisdom and strength are vital. 

In this past year, he has stepped into a leadership role, and an entrepreneurial one, starting his own pest control company. He is diligent, and methodical, about building his business and offering exceptional customer service. 

Happy Birthday Josh

Happy Birthday Josh

Josh is most definitely a peacemaker. He listens. He offers sincere and heartfelt advice after considering options. I believe Josh does desire harmony with others and seeks benevolent ways to accomplish that in all of his relationships…with his wife and family, with friends, and with clients. Josh is the kind of person whose presence brings peace and the sense that all is well. 

His steady and consistent nature includes a delightful sense of humor. Josh knows how to have fun and laughs easily. I love watching my children and grandchildren interact. Josh is typically there in the midst of them, joking or striking a humorous pose.

Happy Birthday Josh
Happy Birthday Josh

Thank you, Josh, for all that you contribute to our family…for showing such love and devotion to Elissa, Jonathan and Dayan…for giving so selflessly from your heart. Thank you for joining in wholeheartedly at family gatherings and getting your license so you could officiate at Adriel and Nate’s wedding and being a peacemaker. Thank you for listening and sharing and going above and beyond in carrying out your responsibilities to your family. Thank you for making us laugh. 

I am grateful for you, who you are and who you are becoming. Happy birthday, Josh! I love you. 

Happy Birthday Josh

Happy Birthday Scott

Today my nephew Scott turned 34 years old. Older son of my sister, Linda, Scott’s birth made me an aunt for the first time. I’ve watched that baby boy grow into a fine young man, with a wife and children of his own. 


Following the tradition for this year, I looked up Scott’s name:

“Scott, you are spiritually aware and you can wound or charm. You welcome love and new beginnings into your life. In business, you are a promoter of original ideas and can enjoy financial success, especially when you listen to your creative side. You are frank, methodical and believe in law, system and order.

You seek freedom to be who you are, and look for opportunities to enjoy life. You have an adventurous nature and you are often willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New ways of doing things and new experiences appeal to you and soothe your restless nature. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Personal growth is vital to you, and it is difficult to be tied down by too many rules and obligations. 

There is depth of character in my nephew, and definite charm in that gorgeous smile. He is laid back and easy to get along with. That casual air conceals at first a mind that thinks deeply and a bent toward creativity. I love listening to Scott share about his desire to write and tell stories. I hope to encourage him to pursue that dream of writing and to find his unique voice. Scott has gifts to share with the world. We need what only he can offer. 


Scott and his wife Nicole have a strong and loving relationship, and a mutual respect for each other born out of honesty. They have been blessed with two adorable children, Weston and Lola. Scott is an active dad, sharing in the day to day responsibilities of caring for them. His devotion to his family is so evident and one of his greatest strengths. 

I happened to be in Oklahoma tonight and I got to see Scott on his birthday. Nicole and the kids put up banners and decorations and Nicole baked him a strawberry triangular cake. Why? Because he had never had one before. 

We sang happy birthday and cheered as Scott blew out candles, much to the delight of his toddler daughter, who shares November as a birthday month. While I didn’t eat cake, I was glad to have the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful man on his special day. 

Happy birthday, Scott! Keep enjoying life. I love you! 




Tim Burton Halloween Party Part II

I shared images yesterday of our family’s annual Halloween party, created and hosted by sister Debbie, niece Ashley and her husband Jon. They set the stage dramatically, using Tim Burton movies as the theme for this year’s party. And then the guests arrived, dressed as characters from Burton’s films. 

Meet those who came to Halloween House! 


I thought it would be fun to showcase the attendees, and include pics of the characters they dressed up as also. 

Aubrey as Kim Boggs, from Edward Scissorhands. 


Dee as Edward Scissorhands, from Edward Scissorhands. 


Dee and Allison, who portrayed a female version of Beetlejuice, from the film Beetlejuice. 


Ethan as Beetlejuice and Debbie as Juno, from Beetlejuice. 


Jon and Ashley as Jack and Sally, from Nightmare Before Christmas.


Ashley’s friends, Josh and Lisa, made her fall to the floor laughing when they showed up as Sally also! 

Scott as Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, from Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. 

Justin and Jeffrey as Penguin and Batman, from Batman. 



Laura and Drew, as Poison Ivy and Two Face, from Batman. 

Linda and Weston as Mrs. Gloop and Augustus, from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. 



Nicole and Lola, as Oompa Loompa, from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. 

Dayan as the male version of Alice (Alic), Josh as the March Hare, Elissa as a female version of the Mad Hatter, and Mom as the Queen of Hearts, all from Alice in Wonderland/Alice Through the Looking Glass. 

Christel and Bryan as the Queen’s guards, from Alice in Wonderland. 


Adam and Zoey as Wonderland Hares and Mason as a baby Jabberwocky, with Christel and Bryan, all from Alice in Wonderland. 

Wonderland had the most representation! 

Greg as the Mayor from Sweeney Todd. 

Me as Mrs. Lovett, from Sweeney Todd. 


London as Audrey Hepburn. While not a character from a Tim Burton movie, I did find a Burton drawing of this classy lady. 


Kaleb as TDM, a young YouTuber with a huge following.


Roy as the Miller Man “super hero”!

And Jake, Samantha and baby Abbie, who fell asleep! 

What a fun evening! There was a buffet and Ashley made sure there were vegan options and fresh veggies. I appreciated her thoughtfulness. A fire was lit in the firepit in “Sleepy Hollow” and photo opportunities abounded. 

Here are a few more pics of people enjoying a great party:

 


The wigs came off! Aubrey thought they looked like  lunch helpers from school. 




Annual sibling photo – Bryan, Debbie, me, Linda

Golden Tickets redeemed for prizes. 



I am already looking forward to next year’s Halloween Party! 



Happy Birthday Aubrey

Today is Halloween…a big, festive holiday in the US, and in my family…and it is also the birthday of my youngest grandchild and only granddaughter. Aubrey arrived eight years ago today, and my son, her daddy, couldn’t have been more delighted that his daughter was a Halloween baby. 


I looked up Aubrey’s name: 

“Aubrey, you are a powerful person, with a strong connection to the spiritual world. You are intelligent, curious, bold, independent and interested in many things. You are very creative and like to have several projects going at once. You know what you know, even though you can’t always explain how you know, giving you confidence and an air of mystery. You have psychic abilities that help you see the world in fresh ways. 

You desire to inspire and lead others. You are giving, courageous, action oriented, energetic and strong willed. You want to make a difference in the world, and this attitude often attracts you to cultural interests, politics, social issues, and the cultivation of your creative talents. There are many paths through life that appeal to you. Whatever path you choose, others will follow. 


Those are powerful words for a child who has yet to fully realize their truth. However, true they are. I recognize these characteristics of Aubrey’s, whose name literally means “ruler of the elves”. With my love of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I have been enchanted by this elf princess since her birth. 



Aubrey does have a strong connection to the spiritual realm and she is, indeed, intuitive. Rather than being fearful, or trying to hide that side of her, as I did, she fully embraces who she is. To Aubrey, to know things beyond her five senses and act on them is natural. I continue to learn from Aubrey’s journey and the once fearful little girl who dwells within me has received much healing. 

This bright, energetic girl has shifted considerably in the last year. Always a great observer of people and life, she shares thought provoking insights. Our conversations have deepened while branching out at the same time. She expresses her creativity through drawing, coloring and story-telling. Just recently, she declared an interest in cooking and being a chef. 



Aubrey loves her big blended family and her extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Aubrey considers her second cousin London to be her sister/BFF. My sister Linda and I get these girls together as often as possible. The girls still love to play, and also chat, dance and go for walks. 


This inquisitive girl is in second grade this year. She does well in school, and received a SOAR award at the first assembly of the year along with a Talon award which was given to Aubrey by her classmates. She’s a friendly, outgoing child who watches out for other kids and converses easily with adults. 



Aubrey and I continue to share many interests. We love a good movie. A well done animated film can still entertain her, but Aubrey leans more toward live action films now. I enjoy watching movies with Aubrey, whose intuition and perceptions allow her to pick up deeper messages within the story, creating meaningful discussions after the credits roll. She became a Doctor Who fan during the last year and our conversations are peppered with fun Doctor Who references. 


She loves Scotland and wants to visit someday. She climbs trees and yet also likes wearing dresses. She prefers to wear her hair long and free and desires for her heart to be just as free to pursue her many interests. Bold and often unconventional, funny and wise, Aubrey has strong leadership abilities that she’s only just becoming aware of. 


Whatever path she chooses, whether a single path that she focuses all of her attention on, or multiple paths that allow her to explore her full range of creativity, I will be walking alongside, cheering her on, letting her set the pace and direction. 

Happy birthday Aubrey! Keep shining bright. I love you!

Sporting a birthday mustache.