Count it all joy, my brethren,
when you meet various trials,
for you know that the testing
of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing.
* * *
Be not discouraged, keep on,
there are divine things well envelop’d,
I swear to you there are divine things
more beautiful than words can tell.
Wow – sixteen! I am filled with wonder and pride when I think about the person that you have become, Lillia. From that tiny baby that was placed in my arms sixteen years ago to the talented, kind-hearted, creative, and hilarious person you’ve become . . . it’s been a wild ride but one I feel blessed to be on with you. I appreciate so much that you live your life as you define it, despite the challenges that presents. We see the world very differently – that has become abundantly clear the older you get. I don’t always understand your perspective, but if you are patient with me, maybe someday I will. Now that you are sixteen you can get your driver’s license, which will give you something you’ve never had before: FREEDOM. As you spend the next couple of years preparing to make your own way in the world, I will do everything I can to support you. Lillia, you are so loved. Happy Birthday!