“A happy heart makes the face cheerful” Proverbs 15:13a
It is amazing to watch how different our three daughters are. Our youngest daughter Caryn Elaine, (known by all of us as Ellie, or Ellie Belle because she is secretly a Disney Princess), is probably our most laid back, chilled, child. She’s on board for any fun, isn’t bothered surrounded by clutter, and is satisfied with passing grades in school. Not much ruffles her feathers, except for her younger brother. (He’s talented that way!) She’s always loved twirly-dresses and has a gift with Humming Birds.
Ellie came to us with a smile on her face that shined from ear to ear. She was always cheerful and her eyes twinkled. She never muttered a word in her first two weeks, but there was always that smile. Not a cry, whine, not a syllable, a grunt, a murmur! I was slightly worried, but really just enjoying getting to know her. Ellie loved to snuggle and I was one of the lucky recipients. She didn’t know a stranger and would just watch you until you picked her up. Then, on August 9, 14 days after she came to us, while I was setting the table for her 2nd birthday, she asked, “Can I have cake too?” So! She does have words! And she does like cake!
She learned quickly that she could make us laugh, and she still does to this day! If the mood is heavy, she’s quick to make a comment in her strange “Miranda Sing’s” voice. She can get her daddy laughing with one of her quick-witted remarks. If I want a quick picture, she is quicker to throw her leg up or contort into a strange shape. Really? Just one picture, please. She listens to everything and is extremely discerning. She hovers around conversations in a quiet pleasant manner, keeping us unaware that she is hanging on every word! And, we learned expeditiously that her bedroom directly above Clint’s office prevented any discussion of Christmas gifts or private conversations. We call her “noisy”, she says she just likes to be “in the know”! However, she would rather have you happy and ignorant of the facts, than upset and “in the know” of trouble when it comes to herself. Because she likes lighter moods, she hates conflict. Any sort of disagreement can turn her sparkling eyes to glistening tear-filled, ready to spill over in a tidal wave. She is extremely tender hearted.
Ellie was born with a servant’s heart. She is my first to ask what she can do to help and the best about volunteering for jobs in church or her homeschool group. She likes to joke that sometimes she’s “volun-told” for things, but she really is the one I know I can count on. She loves just being with her dad and I and will choose going with us over her own pleasures. She is also very tender and good with her special needs Aunt. When Aunt V is having a bad day, Ellie is around to find out what she can do to serve her and make her day brighter. Sometimes just tenderly hugging her until Aunt V is happy again.
These past few months she has taken over the responsibility of our meals. She makes the menus, including her dad’s and my crazy diets! She inventories what we have and makes the grocery list. Her meals have been fun and new and great recipes. She has taken her role as family cook to a much higher level than I ever taught her. It’s fun to see the other kids look forward to repeats of some of her new recipes. They already have their favorites! Known as our gagger, when it comes to food she doesn’t like, it’s enjoyable to see how bold she is with her culinary creations! Maybe her new passion will lead to less food aversion.
Her name Caryn (Pure) and Elaine (Light) was chosen because of the light she brought into our lives. However, her name has grown to mean more than we ever expected. We have needed to learn how to instill in Ellie an “above reproach”, “in the light”, kind of life. Sometimes omitting truth in an effort to maintain a conflict free life has been her struggle. With Ellie, we’ve had to really learn how to guide her with truth. Being truthful isn’t something I thought I struggled with, until I started realizing how much conflict I would like to avoid. I don’t want to hurt feelings and I definitely don’t want people mad at me. Even welcoming people to “come on over” when it was the most inopportune time, or acting thrilled to hear from someone who really irked me , Ellie quietly watched, evaluated, learned. I quickly saw how easily I could get defensive and make excuses. Ellie’s desire to have peace, please others, and avoid trouble at any cost was easy to see; and God used it to pull out of me, my misleading deceitful bent. “Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.” Proverbs 8:6-8 It has been awesome to watch her develop the confidence to speak truth, confess wrong and grow in grace. It is hard for this charming funny girl, but the Holy Spirit has been so faithful to encourage her heart and soul. Jesus is becoming more and more her confidence and the approval of others is becoming more of a bonus to her than a need of hers!
Ellie turns 17 today! i love this tender hearted, beautiful girl. She will always bring fun to our lives, lighten our days, and a smile to our face. But, more than that, she makes her Father smile.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness.” Zephaniah 3:17