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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Celebrating 17 jeweled years

Julia Kathleen Myhre, age 3, wearing the cowgirl birthday outfit my mom saved from one of my early birthdays, in our yard in Bundibugyo.  14 years later, her joy, her unselfconscious style, her friendly readiness for a party still blessed our October 4.  Julia turned 17 last Friday, and we had a lovely celebration.

The day started with cinnamon rolls at 6:30 so we could all get to work and school.  And just what every 17 year old girl wants:  new flip flops. 

Julia about age 7?  A trip to Mombasa, resulting in braids.
Back to 2013, hugging dear friend Savvy as they make pizza with the Koinonia leadership team and a few other friends.  An amazing group of kids solid in faith and carefree in fun, cooking and laughing and eating together.

We made a tree cake this year, because Julia has always had a special love for trees.  And it symbolized her roots in the Spirit and  her growth in grace, her shade and fruit that bless us all.  Plus she was born in October, and the lovely fake leaves were bought to decorate her 4th Birthday (one we spent on sabbatical in America).  Somehow they are still in our closet in Kenya.  I made the basic shapes and colors but the actual artistry belongs to Acacia who is the best birthday-partner ever, always super enthusiastic and creative.

After pizza and cake, we asked each kid of the 15 or so there plus a handful of adult sponsors and friends, to speak a word of blessing to Julia or share how she had blessed them.  And this was the greatest Birthday gift of all, the gift of seeing yourself in others' eyes, of hearing truth.  They spoke of her joy, her compassion, her prayerfulness, her leadership, her determination, her concern for others, her friendship.  It was truly inspiring to these kids affirm the gifts God has given Julia.

The party ended with us giving her three fruit tree seedlings to plant here at Kijabe:  peach, plum, and ribena (not sure what that is yet).  And we had bought flowers for each kid to take and plant around campus, by their dorms and classes, symbolizing the way Julia's life makes this place more beautiful.  Pictured below she is planting the trees with Scott the next day.

 This is a girl who would rather get a tree seedling than a new dress.  Who would rather dress ready for action than ready to impress. Who can make anyone feel welcome, who is disciplined in her spirituality, who has her heart in absolutely the right place.  Who can hold her own with the boys (including beating most of the boys on her tennis team) but who defers to the needs of others.  Who glows in the love of her distant older brothers, and has a unique symbiotic relationship with her younger one.  Who gets Acacia, and Acacia gets her, in a way that few other almost-sister pairs ever well.  Who loves to eat, loves to sing, loves to plant, loves to read, loves to be with us.  Who is the perfect combination of spunk and piety, of grit and laughter.  She has made all our lives sweeter for these 17 years.  And the hard sinking reality that this is possibly her last birthday at home for a long time, maybe for ever, hit me hard.  Launching a daughter is going to be even more excruciating than launching sons I'm afraid.  But we know she is ready, and we celebrate the girl God gave us for this time.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Oh my goodness I was all rejoicing and then you made me cry! Now I'm willing my own children to grow more slowly. Happy Birthday Julia!