Her Best Life…For Sixteen Years

Today, sometime around 4:30 or 5:30 P.M., this sweet girl who came to us with the faintest purple checkmark on her forehead will turn sixteen. My grandma said the angels checked her off before they sent her to us sixteen years ago. She has had many adventures in these sixteen years. I often say that parenting her is like having a tiger by the tail…I just hold on for the ride!

The photo above is from several nights ago. I went into her room to kiss her goodnight and noticed this handmade sign hanging up above her head:

With her permission, I took a photo that captures the essence of our girl Lillian. She made this sign to help her prepare for the upcoming track season.

She listed her current time in the 400…and the time she needs for NCAA’s.

She selected colleges that might be a good fit…LSU, Georgia, Texas A & M, Oregan, and Stanford.

She outlined test scores needed for academics.

Finally, she has a list of steps to help her achieve these goals:

  1. Train: build muscle
  2. Technique
  3. Sleep
  4. Swim: cardio
  5. Get a coach year round

It’s important to know that from time to time we talk sports and activities at the dinner table. We discuss upcoming events and methods and strategies. We’ve never said aloud to make a visual aid to help you. Lillian does this on her own…like a tiger…and we are hanging on for the ride!

Know of any good track coaches?


Lillian has been aggressive in all her endeavors. I’m reminded of the first sport she ever played…tee ball. The very first time she went up to bat she tapped the dust off her shiny pink shoes just like she saw them do in the movie The Sandlot:

I remember standing next to Jamie saying what is she doing as she stepped up to the tee and then laughing together when we realized that she was reenacting movie scenes. Thankfully, she didn’t reenact this one which she had memorized word-for-word at the time!

She rocked tee ball!

And she rocks nearly everything she does! She plays the cello and skis and swims and runs like no ones business. She reads more than anyone I know. She loves and laughs and learns and works hard! She will do her sixteenth year proud and continue to live her best life!


In June we are sending her on a new adventure. She will go with Global Leadership Adventures to Bali to “explore the intersection of modern medicine and indigenous wisdom as an assistant in community health projects” Other trip highlights include:

  • Shadow and assist health professionals during pop-up clinics in the community
  • Observe how public health systems are implemented in developing communities
  • Visit a natural birth clinic aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality
  • Design and deliver health education workshops for local youth
  • Surf with locals on world-renowned waves in Southern Bali
  • Snorkel over coral reefs and a historic shipwreck on a weekend excursion

We are so excited for Lillian and can hardly wait to hear about all she will learn and experience in Bali!


Happy Birthday Lillian Marie! We are proud to be your parents and thankful you let us hold on to your tiger tail!


  1. Wow, she has an amazing life ahead. A determined, hard working girl just like her momma. Can’t wait to hear about the mark she leaves on this world.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s