30 People, Day 13: Penny

Shout-Out to Penny, the first adult friend who treated me like an adult. I was a young teenager in a very small church, the only girl my own age and uncomfortably stuck between the kids and the grown-ups. Feeling too old and mature to be with the children, and seen by the adults as a…

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30 People, Day 12: The Mean Girls

Shout-Out to the mean girls sprinkled throughout my years. We all encounter them from time to time; we’ve all suffered their cattiness; we can all remember how they made us feel — those who teased us, ridiculed us, left us out. A shout-out to you because you were a necessary part of growing up. Because…

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30 People, Day 11: My First Real Friend

Shout-Out to Lindsey, who I consider my first “real friend.” By real, I don’t mean that my prior friends were imaginary, but that you were the first friend with whom I talked about real life stuff, where our friendship went beyond playdates and childish things. I struggled, through the middle school years, with wanting what…

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30 People, Day 10: My Sisters

Shout-Out to my sisters: Briana, Marissa, Daniella – the three girls I grew up with, the three I share more memories and inside jokes with than anyone else in the world! I bring you in later to this in-order-of-appearance series because, though one of you was in my life from almost the beginning, two of…

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30 People, Day 9: The Kenya Missionary

Shout-Out to Cyndy, the missionary who introduced me to Kenya. I’ll bet you never expected that your slideshow presentation to a Wednesday night church class of 4th grade girls would birth – in one of those girls – a life calling and passion for missions. But it did. I went home that night and told…

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30 People, Day 8: My Ballet Heroine

Shout-Out to my ballet heroine — the older Ashley, under whom I became known to the whole dance studio as “Little Ashley.” I didn’t mind the nickname, though, because you were the role model I looked up to. Thank you for being so kind, as a high school junior, to a ten-year-old little girl who…

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30 People, Day 7: Miss Elizabeth

Shout-Out to my ballet teacher, “Miss Elizabeth.” Outside of family, you were one of the earliest and longest-term influences in my young life. From once-a-week lessons starting at age 3, to being invited to join the competition team at age 9, to countless hours spent at the studio until age 19 — you were absolutely…

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30 People, Day 6: My Grandparents

Shout-Out to my grandparents: Pop and Gram, PawPaw and MawMaw. You are an integral part of my childhood, family identity, memories, and my life still today. Here are some of the memories that make me smile and things I appreciate: Countless hours of babysitting, time together, and listening to a young me chatter stories about…

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30 People, Day 5: Granny

Shout-Out to Granny, the great-grandparent I got to know the longest. I loved your hairdresser chair, your cuckoo clock, your fancy couch, and your stories of growing up during the Great Depression. But I think what I’m most grateful for from you is your gift of cooking. The love of cooking skipped a couple of…

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30 People, Day 4: Aunt Lara

Shout-Out to my Aunt Lara, my role model as an aunt. Thanks for all the memories that make me smile. You used your eyeliner to paint my face like a kitty. You played Barbies with me and always seemed to actually have fun doing it. You sent me mail all the time – pictures that…

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