Today is the day that Olivia Grace turns 17 years old! OH MY!! To think that I was married at 17... She was born at 3 something (HA) in the afternoon but I do know she was 8lbs 14oz. - for some reason I can remember all of the kids weights but really nothing else, stat wise. I do remember their birthday even though I pause often to think about it. It's funny because Liv told me a few weeks ago - Mom, i was 8/14 on 8-14 - WOW, numbers are something that I usually think about when I see them like that but in 17 years, it had never dawned on me. Anyway, she is #4 and the baby of the girls. She held the "baby of the family" (which she use to say so fast and cute) for 8 years. Since her and Hannah are only 14 1/2 mths apart they both kinda shared the baby spot. We actually called them "the babies" for years - like till they were pre-teens. It was way easier to say "where are the babies" or "go get the babies" - so it stuck. Ray still every now and then will call them the babies. So, graciously Liv gave that spot up when Grant came along. She was the CUTEST little girl that you ever did see. Oddly enough she was VERY blond as a little girl (now it ain't so natural). I thought it was crazy that Ray and I would have a blondie when we both have/had such dark hair. Her and Hannah looked absolutely nothing alike. Hannah had the DARKEST hair and the blackest eyes and she is very fair skinned - Liv was the opposite. NOBODY ever believed me that they were sisters but OH YES they are.
I have wrote blogs about Olivia a few times before and I could repeat everything I said - X's a million so I thought, what could I say different today, on her birthday... It is early evening and I haven't wanted to start this because I just didn't know how I wanted to write it. I thought of a few things but nothing would do her justice. You see, she is special - I know, no shock for me to say that but she REALLY is special!! Some of the things I may write she may not even remember or I may not have shared them with her so I am going to begin to share with you and her, and see if I can do her justice.
Hannah was 5 1/2 mths. old when I became pregnant with Olivia. Some could say she was a SURPRISE but she wasn't. For the years that we had gotten pregnant WE had always taken control of when we would have another child. Well after Ms. Hannah was born I began to search the word and search my heart and discuss with Ray about this area of our life. We started to talk about ALL the blessings that we GLADLY will take from the Lord, anytime - financial blessing, health, wisdom, marital prosperity - but when it came to THE MOST amazing, beautiful & incredible blessing of all - we say when, why, how and WHEN! Let me just say I am NOT against birth control, in the least. But for that time the LORD had a plan for Ms. Olivia to come into this world and so He began to show us a different plan. Well we decided that we would trust Him because He was always for us, He always had our VERY best future plan - so we did. SO, 1 mth. later guess who is pregnant? YEP, ME! I was like - what, excuse me!? I would have dialogue with the Lord, "Umm, we had a deal here God - umm, NOW? REALLY?" So I began to question that I had heard from the Lord on this 1 - Ray didn't care if I had or hadn't, he LOVES his children and the more was ok with him. So would you say, "she wasn't planned"? or "she was an oops" but I would have to TOTALLY disagree! God Almighty in His perfect wisdom knew SO MUCH MORE perfectly then I (that isn't a shock to any, I know). He knocked my socks off with just how PERFECT a plan it was. For all of us "planners" this is tough but HE is THE PLANNER and I couldn't imagine Hannah without her Liv...
So now I will explain and ponder through tears I am sure what our family and life would have been without our Olivia. If I would have kept control - this is what WE all would have missed out on. We wouldn't have 2 precious babies in a crib, in the same room. Sarah wouldn't have had "HER baby" (because Hannah was Rachel's). Hannah wouldn't have someone to sleep with in a little twin bed, for YEARS. I wouldn't have had a blonde haired child. We wouldn't have pairs - Rach & Sarah - Han & Liv. Hannah wouldn't have someone to play dolls with. Sarah wouldn't have a few week old baby to hoist over the side of a crib and bring to me. She also wouldn't be as amazing with babies/children as she is. Rachel wouldn't have 1 on each hip. Ray wouldn't have someone to call liv, liv. I wouldn't have someone to match clothes with, like they were twins. Hannah wouldn't have someone to clean up after her - neither would Sarah or the rest of us. Grant wouldn't have "the prettiest sister", sshh, he's partial to blondes. Grant also wouldn't have someone to help him read. I wouldn't have 1 of the best organizers around. Hannah wouldn't have someone to tell ALL her hopes & dreams to. Sarah wouldn't have someone to tease. We wouldn't have someone to make cookies & brownies. Austin wouldn't have someone to cut his hair. Rachel wouldn't have someone that can clean as well as her to work for her. Casey, Ali, Kim and countless other people wouldn't have a bestfriend named Olivia. I wouldn't have someone to do my hair and eye makeup when we are dressing up. I wouldn't have a child that NEVER questions a request, NEVER! Ray wouldn't have an outfielder in softball. We all wouldn't have someone to laugh at till we cry. We all wouldn't have someone to laugh at when she sings every song so passionately (sorry, it's funny). SO many people, girls and guy alike wouldn't have Liv to help them pick out clothes at the store. Forever 21 would not be as successful. The local theaters would not be as successful. I think you get the picture...
Oh life without her would have been, not so amazing. Because those are some of the silly things but the things that I could share all day are the things that MAKE her the rarest of ALL GEMS!!! Olivia is truly the glue that keeps our little family unit together. If you asked Rachel, Sarah and Hannah who they are closest to - it would be Olivia. She has this ability to LOVE, SERVE and GIVE like very few can. I have said before and they would ALL agree, if I was to pick the very best qualities from Rach, Sarah & Hannah and roll it up into 1 person - it's Olivia. She is a JOY and a DELIGHT to parent. She brings JOY to our family like only she can. She lights up a room with her amazing personality and she is always the life of the party! Her humor is SO contagious. Liv is much like her other 3 sisters have been - far older then their age. If I was to name her friends that are her age on 1 hand it would be 2. All of her friends are much older then herself and they are all amazing people to boot. She has learned some AMAZING qualities from the people in her life and I am thankful to God for that. I could never explain to someone what I feel in my heart for her. She is NOT perfect and I would never want to pin perfection on anyone because that fall is devastating but she is practically perfect, HA - just kidding. I think of all the parents that have 17 somethings and I am SO BEYOND grateful for God's AMAZING "Grace" for all my children. Speaking of Grace - if she has any regrets about the day of her birth - it's that I didn't name her Grace!! She is quite partial to that name and I wish I would have to. It's really impossible to have people stop calling you what they always have. But her name is what she is - gracious. It also mean unmerited favor which is what she walks in. Ray and I are SO glad that God gave us our AMAZING "Grace"!! She is our SUNSHINE.
She has GREATNESS and destiny inside her! She will be and is an endtime warrior for the glory of God's KINGDOM!! She started rough with her walk. Liv was my only 1 out of the 4 that wasn't quite so sure about this dude, Jesus. I would talk to her about Him, just like I did the others - when she was 5 and under. I would ask her, "Liv, do you love Jesus"? she would say, "NO - I don't even see Him". HA!! What a spitfire she was and is. She warmed up to Him and began to read the Bible for herself, she asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior around 7. Always in our home the children were learning Godly principles and Godly character - that was a norm, way before WWJD. She started to search out HER own real relationship with the Lord when she was about 12. I have seen her grow in her walk so much in these 5 years. She is truly an awesome woman of God. She passionately pursues Christ - she shares her love for Him, wherever she goes - she LOVES His people and is running a race that will never stop! I have wrote before about the servant that she is. She humbles me at her willingness to serve!!
SO Ms. Olivia Grace - the BEST is yet to come!! Your fella will come looking and find a PRIZE, 1 day. I have an awesome picture that the Lord dropped into my spirit about your future. It is bright, it is SO bright and WONDERFUL! I look forward to seeing your future unfold. I am SO GRATEFUL that I got picked to be your Momma! If I could pick from ALL the 4th children in heaven - I would pick YOU! I know my time is short to have you here with me and Dad but we will have such INCREDIBLE memories of this little blonde bombshell that will shake nations for the glory of our KING! I love you Liv - I am so proud of the standards you have, you will have a GREAT reward. Happy Birthday Shugar!
Here are a few pics of the Birthday girl!! Here is a RECENT 1 of her in ISRAEL!
Pretty as a picture!
Her and Rach - #1 sis
Liv and Grant - ahhh!
Liv and Austin - her other guy (Hannah's bf)
A sidenote to my girls - if you have a burning in your spirit and soul & you know it is the leading of the Lord - pray, seek God - talk to your husband, pray with him. Because you may just be in the beginning stages of birthing out a princess or a prince that will not be an accident - far from it - she or he could bring you more joy then you could EVER, EVER, EVER imagine. I am once again - thankful that Dad and I can hear the Lord's voice and heard it about our Olivia!!