i wish i had an emily in my life when i was 17

august 23. 1996. i brought sweet emi home from the hospital late that afternoon. she was born the evening prior – gregg was actually feeling pretty rough from his chemo, so the nurses gave him fluids & actually checked on him more frequently than on emily & me. that’s ok. we had scheduled her induction so that we could have a little family time on his one week a month off. i guess technically you’re supposed to stay in the hospital for 24 hours after the birth of a baby but we had things to do & i needed to be home. needed to have gregg home.  so we headed out and arrived to madison, she was 17 months old & sweet big sissy savannah was 3 1/2 going on 12.

gregg passed away 10 weeks later. the funny thing, emily looks & acts just like him.

emi has never met a stranger. she is as extroverted as they come. the thought of needing time to refuel, alone, is enough to make her break out in hives. she laughs. alot. she’s easy to love as she loves well. she forgives. not only is she a forgiver, i’ve watched her go through some hurtful times and she acts like there’s “nothing to forgive”. she’s loyal. if you’ve been around here for a few of her birthday posts, you’ve even heard me say she’s loyal to a fault. while she’d beg to differ, i’ve watched her this last year and been amazed how quick she forgives & forgets when someone hurts her. especially when it’s clear to her mama, that someone is intentionally hurting her or at least, not being kind and thoughtful.

a couple times i’ve talked with her about this & she’ll say, “mom i can’t be someone i’m not. i’m not mean like that”. while i’m sure this is hard to follow, i think some of you can surely understand trying to teach your kiddos how to love big & wide but yet be a careful too. who wants to scare them with words like boundaries and enabling.  but for teenage girl who has a good heart & sees the good in everyone learning discernment is a great quality too.

ok. so back to the birthday love fest.

emily turns 17 today and i’m mighty proud of her, the choices she’s making, the way she wants to spend her time and her sold-out-to-jesus attitude. she’s beautiful to watch when she’s loving on little children ( she’s wanted to be a school teacher since she was old enough to say school teacher). she’s truly in her element.

she spent some time this summer loving on refugee families in tennessee & also here in georgia. not too far from our community is the most diverse square mile in the united states. that’s where emi has been involved in loving on, playing with and leading small group time with these precious kiddos.

these are some priceless images to me, seeing emi in her element. loving well & being loved. when i was thinking about what images to post for her birthday, i knew immediately what truly shows our emi & her heart.

emily i pray you know how much dad & i love you. you were a happy baby and you’re a happy 17 year old and give us much laughter! we are beyond proud of you and the choices you make. we love watching you grow in your relationship with jesus and we love how you walk that out. you live your life as an example –i wish i had an emily in my life when i was 17! i think i would have been a better person. a person who loved jesus & people bigger & better. deep & wide, just like you emi.

He has big things ahead for you sweet emi and i can’t wait to watch & cheer you on!

happy happy birthday angel baby!

you are loved….


August 22, 2013 - 7:45 am

carrie - just perfect! happy birthday to your sweet, loving girl. may she celebrate, and be celebrated, BIG today!

August 22, 2013 - 9:08 am

Kelli - beautiful! Happy Birthday Emily!

August 22, 2013 - 9:34 am

Sara - As the mom of a 17 year old boy…the “Emilys” are who I pray the Lord will eventually bless my son with. At this age, being strong in your faith is never the most popular trait to have so kudos to her for following her heart and being a servant to those kiddos. Happy Birthday sweet girl!

August 22, 2013 - 9:42 am

Lynda Cantrell - Beautifully written Paige. I remember Greg and his love for people and his sweet spirit. Emily looks so much like him and loves like he did. What a blessed reminder of Greg and how God has worked in your life with your girls and with your precious Dan. You really should write a book, God is so good! Happy Birthday, beautiful Emily.

August 22, 2013 - 9:45 am

Kristin - Sweetness! Happy Birthday Beautiful Emi!

August 22, 2013 - 10:28 am

D'Nese - Awwww- I cried. Truly a beautiful post. What an amazing person this world has blessed us with. We all need to be more like Emi. Her heart is golden. Lead by example she is truly is an example of perfection.

Give me my best wishes and I hope she has a wonderful birthday.

August 22, 2013 - 10:52 am

Sarah L - Wow! So tender & sweet & beautifully written. I have tears sliding down my face. I wish I thought my kids had even a cupful of what Emi has. She is a blessing for sure.

Happy Birthday Emi…and Blessing to you all!!!

August 22, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Ella - Happy Birthday Emily!
Paige, this is such a beautiful post. I love this tribute to your girl on her birthday.
Emily sounds like an amazing girl.
Happy 17! (sounds big)

August 22, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Kelly - Beautiful tribute. In every image I saw her being the hands and feet of our precious Savior. God God and Go Emily! Happy Birthday.

August 22, 2013 - 1:13 pm

dantheman - Perfect description of a fabulous girl about whom I can proudly say, “That’s my daughter!” Happy Birthday sweet girl, I love you so much!! Dad

August 22, 2013 - 1:52 pm

LLH Designs - I always love your birthday posts. So honoring and sweet. (I bet your girls look forward to them now.) xo!

August 22, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Kim from 3 peanuts - I feel so blessed to have Emily in my life at 40–something. She is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. She is sweet and loving and open and wise beyond her years. I love her and there is nothing more to it. It must be a honor to be her Mom too. Happy Birthday Emily. Keep being the beautiful God loving young woman you are. You change hearts every single day!!!


August 22, 2013 - 2:45 pm

Alecia - PRECIOUS!!!! What a sweet sweet post about a sweet sweet girl. I love all the pics…they really do show her heart. Thanks for sharing such a sweet post.

August 22, 2013 - 2:51 pm

Anuradha - Happy Birthday Emily and my deepest respect and congratulations to you, Ms. Paige. These photographs touched me deep down in my heart; what could a mother want more than children who understand love, truth and forgiveness? May blessings continue to shower upon your family now and always, and may your pictures and words continue to reach out and encourage mothers like me from around the world. Namaste, Anuradha, from India. (2 sons, 13 and 15 years old.)

August 22, 2013 - 3:00 pm

Kelly - What an incredible daughter you have raised! What an honor to be her mommy! Happy Birthday Emily!

August 22, 2013 - 3:09 pm

Jennifer Pighini - I just LOVE these pics! I love how you captured Emily’s JOY. She just seems so happy to be right where she is loving on those kids. Once again I’m blown away by your amazing daughters and I know your heart must just be bursting. Happy Birthday to your sweet girl!

August 22, 2013 - 3:30 pm

Mimi - Beautiful girl : )

August 22, 2013 - 6:44 pm

Jen@thecottagenest - Her beauty shines from within! Happy birthday to your girl!

August 22, 2013 - 7:25 pm

Angie Williams - I’m really speechless! So sweet and such wonderful traits to celebrate. Pics are awesome too. Love you!!

August 22, 2013 - 11:05 pm

jodi - Happy Birthday, sweet Emi!! She is a beautiful girl inside and out! I can’t imagine how proud you are of her, what a lovely!!

I hope she has a wonderful, happy birthday!

take care!

ps…my beka turns 16 on the 24th. 🙂 How our girls grow up so fast!

August 23, 2013 - 9:45 pm

patty - happy birthday to sweet emi, and happy Birth Day to you, too… i love the images, her smile is sweet and contagious, and she looks SO happy here.

August 24, 2013 - 4:31 pm

tara - Happy Birthday, Emily!
What a precious girl you’re raising, friend.

I always love your birthday posts for your girls.
You are such a blessing to me because you love your kids so much and so well. You enjoy them, as you should!

August 24, 2013 - 7:21 pm

Lori H - Beautiful girl, inside and out! I hope she had a lovely day.

August 24, 2013 - 8:54 pm

Destiny - I wish I was Emily at 17…

December 7, 2013 - 10:15 pm

Lucy m - Just now reading this after having it sit in my emails for months. What a beautiful story and what a beautiful girl. Love just shines through her face she will be a wonderful teacher some day.

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