Sweet Baby J, who came into this loud, laughing, yelling, opinionated family and made us all gasp with his knowing smile and twinkly eyes. We've been such a tight group, it was hard to imagine another large-spirited person making his way in. But he did and now our hearts have just grown bigger.
My friend Elizabeth. We met at camp a gazillion years ago, as counselors leading children in spiritual, esteem-building songs about the sinking Titanic and bloody, dead squirrels (those were the banned songs...shhh) around campfires and flagpoles, in canoes and on hikes through the pine forest. We met again as adults making our way through this big city and, for more than the fact that she has seen me flash my sequined cheers before many naive, young Christian campers, I feel so lucky to count her among my friends. She's done work in Rwanda that leaves me in awe and founded the amazing organzation Every Child Is My Child. Elizabeth makes me want to keep singing bad camp songs off-key as loud as I can and to be better at doing good in this world.
The very best teenager I know, Cailey. I interviewed Cailey when I wrote profiles of courageous people surviving devastating illnesses and injuries at CarePages.com. Cailey's energy lit up my room, even though we were thousands of miles apart and shared one simple phone call. We talked so much on that call that it seemed like the profile just wrote itself. She's got an astounding brain, a wicked sense of humor, and the most incredible heart. This girl who had heart surgery at 13 has become a woman who is centered, hilarious, and full of gratitude and joy. She teaches me a lotthrough her advocacy for other children with congenital heart defects, sends me pictures of shoes, leaves comments on Sassafrass just when I wonder if anyone is listening. I'm cheering her on in her first year in college and hopefully, will be there to tear up and woohoo! for all of the adventures that await her. This kid has miles to go. (Encourage Cailey to blog by leaving your comment here.)