I recently spoke in church and I shared the story about Hallie as a baby. How, by no fault of her own, she caused me to shed so many tears. (Read the whole story here and here).

And yet I look at her now and I’m amazed we’ve come so far. She is beauty and light and it’s hard to believe I ever wanted to give her back!

Here’s a birthday snapshot of 17 years:

She loves wearing jewelry. She’s excited for next semester when she can return to a jewelry making class at school.

She is social and we don’t see much of her on Friday and Saturday nights.

Because she drives herself, I’ve been missing out on drivetime with her. Just the other day I showed up at her tennis practice after dropping off soccer because I don’t get to see her play nearly as often as I used to.

She has a surprisingly clean car for a teenager.

Although her car is clean – her room is not. Ever. Ever.

She loves to wakesurf and she can hold her own behind the boat. If asked, Lake Powell is her favorite vacation.

If given the chance she will sleep until noon on Saturday and come home after church on Sunday and sleep some more.

She’s been working for her aunt using inDesign, laying out photo books. She’s also worked on my blog books which is amazingly helpful.

She’s chatty at midnight and she’ll sit in the chair in my office and talk about her night. Some of my very favorite hours.

She’s thoughtful and I have received many random texts of gratitude or admiration and they always make my day.

She is not confrontational, even when she probably should be. She is tender and kind hearted.

Her phone screen time is minimal and we have to remind her to text friends back.

Being raised with four brothers, she’s learning how to be adventurous when maybe it isn’t what she would prefer.

She loves watching sports – especially the Suns.

She participates when a lot of girls back away. If people are jumping in a cold lake, she’s in. Game of spikeball, she’s in. Don’t challenge her in ping-pong, she just may beat you.

She’s loyal. She looks out for friends and helps the underdog – and sometimes she is the underdog and someone looks out for her.

Her problem solving skills could use some work, something we’re working on before she leaves for college! 🙂

She always has her nails painted and usually wears earrings – even when she’s wakesurfing.

She’s 17. Not sure where all the days went in all those years, but she is a delight. So glad we didn’t end up giving her back when she was a baby. 😉 I would have missed out on a beautiful human being. The older she gets, the closer I am to her and the harder its going to be to let her leave our home. Life is better with Hallie.