Eighteen years seems like an eternity ago, and seems like yesterday at the same time. How can that be?

I felt like I had waited my entire life to be a mom and then the nurse who delivered you put you in my arms and in an instant, I was.

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We walked through hard things those first few years.
Is that what shaped you into a young woman who isn’t afraid of challenges and does hard thing with tenacity?

I know that one of our best decisions was to marry Daddy.

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Daddy saying his vows to you.

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Admiring the necklace Daddy had made for you.

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Our new family

I’ve prayed many times that when you make the decision to marry the one whom your soul loves, he will be someone like Daddy – that he loves Jesus most of all, that he is kind, gracious, giving, faithful, loving, and has a pure heart. (And I really pray he is good at math, because you need a bookkeeper/accountant.) In fact, I don’t think it’s too presumptuous to say that I pray that God’s husband for you is perfect, because God described perfect/blameless men in His Word and every good and perfect thing is from Him …

Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” Genesis 6:9

“There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” Job 1:1

Mark the blameless man and behold the upright, for there is a happy end for the man of peace. Psalm 37:37

Asa’s heart remained completely faithful to the Lord throughout his life. 1 Kings 15:14

“Remember, O Lord, how I (Hezekiah) have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” 2 Kings 20:3

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. James 1:17

 

Though I will always be your mom, I treasure how we’ve also become friends.

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You’re the kind of friend everyone should have.
You are one of the most loyal and forgiving people I know.
You absolutely know how to MAKE fun out of almost anything. Look at all the wild and crazy things you’ve dreamed up for your friends.

You figured out early that to have a friend you had to be a friend.

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Pool party with your first friend “Nat- a- EE” and other friends

Kadi prom

You and The Girlz at Prom 2013

You will have many friends in your lifetime. Remember that God gives you some friends to get you through a certain stretch of the road
and others He intends to be as close as a sister.

Your creativity and artist’s eye leaves me speechless. I’m so thankful that God gifted you as He did, but even more, that He let you in on the secret while you are so young. He has given you the ability to see into the hearts of people through your camera lens and the ability to capture memories that are priceless and fleeting.

Kadi's work

 

One of K's Best

 

You are an incredibly hard worker. Who starts a business at 14?
Seriously! Who does something like that?
I don’t think anyone (except Dad and I) can even fathom the number of hours you invest in studying and perfecting your craft,
researching best business practices, editing pictures to your high standard, evaluating and improving your work, and dreaming.

Sweetheart, you are simply one of the best people I know. You care about others more than yourself.

You quietly love Jesus and are faithful and true without being flashy about it.

I think you feel things bigger than most people and when you say, “This is the best day of my life!” – you mean it.
And though your retelling of  life experiences might seem exaggerated to those who have the great pleasure of hearing them,
I think they are an honest reflection of the great capacity with which you feel and experience life. Don’t lose that.

You are an amazing sister to your brothers, and though I run the risk of sounding like a broken record (as if that’s ever stopped me from saying something),
it makes my heart swell to watch the three of you becoming life-long friends.

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Keep dreaming BIG, girl, because God has big plans for you and He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that you ask or imagine.

Today you are 18. You are officially a “dult.” [You said that once when you were little … “When I’m a dult, I’m going to …”]

Now that this Dult thing is happening, my prayer is that you would keep laughing, keep loving, keep dreaming, and keep being the person God is shaping you to be. He’s not done. (For crying out loud, I’m 46 and He’s certainly not done with me,
so I believe He gets a lifetime to sculpt you into the woman He’s going to use for years to come.)

Happy birthday, Kadi.

Love, Mom