ode to olivia

My oldest turns NINE today. I distinctly remember being nine, and I’m not sure how in the WORLD I have a nine-year-old. But I checked her birth certificate against today’s date and sure enough, December 2, 2000 to December 2, 2009 equals nine whole years. Yowzers. Seems like just yesterday my water broke three weeks before my due date…

Livi’s middle name is Joy, and sure enough, she brings untold joy to our little fam. She reminds me much, much of me (which is both delightful and terrifying) but certainly isn’t a carbon copy of her mama. Lots of her daddy in there too.

She brought home a little paper from school today that made me smile. The teacher gave them some famous quotes about “being thankful” with some words missing and they had to fill in the blanks. (Livi’s writing is in bold, and the actual quote is in parentheses.)

And goodness knows, even though we’re only a few days removed from Thanksgiving Day, I could sure use a reminder to be thankful.

Being Thankful

Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without greediness. (forgetting) –Anonymous

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to love others. (live by them) –JFK

A family is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world. (contented mind) –Joseph Addison

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the most awesome. (parent of all the others) –Cicero

Nothing is more honorable than having a family. (a grateful heart) –Seneca

Be Thankful (A Poem)

Be thankful that you don’t have everything you desire. If you did, would you be spoiled? (what would there be to look forward to)

Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it will be a lesson. (gives you the opportunity to learn)

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you should ask for help. (grow)

Be thankful for your limitations because they give you advantages. (opportunities for improvement)

Be thankful for each new challenge because it could help you in your future. (will build your strength and character)

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you later on. (teach you valuable lessons)

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary because you could need rest. (it means you’ve made a difference)

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are nice to you. (also thankful for the setbacks)

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for school bullys (your troubles) and they can become your friends (blessings).

Livi picked Chili’s for her birthday dinner, so we’ll head there pretty much right after they get home from school to beat the crowds. Then back home for presents and singing and Strawberry Stuff (yum!).

Happy Birthday, beautiful Livi! We love you!

If you want to leave a birthday greeting for Livi in the comments, I’ll print them all out and give them to her with her gifts.

33 thoughts on “ode to olivia

  1. Stephanie your sister

    Happy 9th Birthday my precious Livi Joy! I love you more than you will ever know. I’ll never forget seeing you and holding you in the hospital the day you were born. I knew you were something special even then. I’m so proud to know you and be your aunt! You are so sensitive to others and beautiful and talented and all sorts of other wonderful things. I’ll always remember my first Christmas after moving away from home when it was time to leave and say goodbye to everyone – I was trying not to cry and you came across the room and wrapped your arms around me and hugged me for such a long time. It was as if you knew exactly how I was feeling and you wanted to make it all better. It meant the world to me in a way I can’t explain. You are such a precious girl and I can’t wait to see the woman God will form you to be in the future! I love you Livi!

  2. Carol Anne

    My daughter Emily will turn 9 on December 28. She was to be Olivia until my brother named his daughter that. She sends Happy Birthday to Liv and says “Mom, her eyes are so cute! She looks like a nice kid.” My sentiments as well. Enjoy your memories today.

  3. Bethy

    I love you my sweet Livi Joy! You are such a beautiful, tender-hearted, smart, precious young lady and I’m so proud to be your aunt! Thank you for loving Isabelle! I prayed for you this morning as I was writing in my prayer journal and remembered that I started keeping a prayer journal when I was 9 years old! May God bless your special day and may you continue to follow God, get to know Him more, and share the hope of Christ with everyone you come in contact with!

  4. Kelli

    Happy Birthday Sweet LIVI!!! You are such an amazing young lady!! I love your fiery spirit! I still pray that Caroline is as kind, passionate and sweet as you and your sisters!

  5. Chris Yoder

    Happy 9th birthday, Livi Joy!:) I will never forget where I was when I got the call that you were ready to be born. Your mom will tell you sometime.:) What a joy and blessing you have been to all of us! I see the love of Jesus shining out through your life, Livi, and I see my many prayers for you being answered in a wonderful way! I have a special verse that I like to quote to your folks and your aunts and uncles when I see them walking with Jesus and living for Him. I’m going to change the wording just a little:) I don’t make a habit of doing that, but in this case, I think it’s ok.:) The verse is III John 4: “I have no greater joy than to see that my GRANDCHILDREN are walking in the truth.”:) Papaw and I love you so much, Livi!:) Happy Birthday!:)

  6. Jen Griffin

    Happy birthday Livi! Noah turned 9 in October! It made me realize that he was half way to 18!!! NO way! You are such a sweet young lady and I’m glad we’ve met. I love your quotes from school. You nailed each one! I think you wrote the quotes better than the original author! Have a super birthday!

    Jen Griffin

  7. Mary

    Happy Birthday from Texas, Livi! We had so much fun meeting you back in April (March??). Hope you have the best day ever and a great dinner at Chilis! Hope to see you again one day.

  8. Uncle Tug

    Happy Birthday Pal! My life would not be as much fun and enjoyable as it is without a niece like you. I know I told you this last week, but I can still remember leaving straight from work to drive down to see you at the hospital, and how amazing it has been to see you grow up. I particularly am fond of the ability that you showed on Thanksgiving, in helping beat Andrew and your mama at EUCHRE!! I love you sooooooooo much, and you will probably never know how much you mean to me!
    Happy 9th birthday, oh and by the way, Morgan, Reesey and Tanner, think you are amazing as well!

    Uncle Tug (i have to refrain from saying your favorite uncle, because you got 3 other great ones as well!)

  9. Denise N.

    Happy Birthday Livi!

    You have the brightest smile and I just love seeing it while you are singing in the choir! You are such a blessed child with the parent’s that God gave you! Never forget that! You are growing up to be quite a special young lady!

    Thankful to know you! – Denise, Drew and Parker 🙂

  10. Gail

    Sweet Livi, happy birthday! I’m so glad that God allowed me to meet your mom and, therefore, meet you! You are such a blessing to your family and all those you meet. Come back and see us soon!

  11. Liz

    Happy Birthday Livi!!! I’m sure if Cole and Aidan were home from school right now… they would want to wish you a happy birthday too!! Tell your mom that you miss us and we need to get together! 🙂 Have a VERY VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Love you and your WHOLE family!

  12. Crissy

    Happy Birthday Livi!!! 9 is such a BIG birthday! I simply LOVE seeing your beautiful, sweet smile! I hope your day is full of fun, love, and blessings!!

  13. Kaye

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIVI! Hope you have a wonderfully blessed day and we are thankful to have had the opportunity to meet you earlier this year.
    Blessings today and every day,
    Matthew 21:22

  14. Tonia

    Happy Birthday, Livi! I know you don’t know me but I know your parents. I happen to think they are pretty terrific people and I know I would love you too!! Happy 9th birthday to you, precious girl!!

  15. Kim

    Happy Birthday Olivia! We hope you have a wonderful 9th birthday and pray that the Lord continues to bless your life as you grow into a beautiful young women. Love your friends in NJ, Kim, John, Breanna and Conner

  16. Ali

    Olivia! You have such a special spot in my heart. The day I went to your house to do crafts, I watched you perfect your tiny craft, taking your time and delicately adding color and flair.
    We are so much alike in that way.
    And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told your mom that you and your sisters are absolutely beautiful. You are a precious daughter, big sister, and friend.
    Happy Birthday to YOU!

  17. Aunt Jess


    I still remember when you were a tiny baby and everyone was so excited that you were here! We love you lots, and I appreciate what a GREAT big-kid cousin you are to my kids. I love to watch you help them and play with them. You are a great example to your little cousins! We love you!

  18. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Happy Birthday, beautiful girl! You are such a blessing and a treasure to your mama and daddy and entire family. You were a blessing to my own family when you visited us last spring and were so thoughtful and kind to my girls.

    I am praying today that you the coming year is full of wonderful things for you, and that you might grow to know and love the Lord even more with each passing day.

    Hugs and kisses from Oklahoma! XOXO

  19. Holly B.

    Happy Birthday from Paris, Livi! Perhaps one day you will travel here! God has big plans for your life–there is no one just like you–that’s something to celebrate!
    Have a great day,
    Holly B.

  20. janelle taviano

    Livi, you were our introduction to “grandparenting”….you opened our heart to a whole new love ….and our hearts …Livi….you have filled so full. You are so caring and you have always put others before yourself. I remember when you were very little, I took only you to Grandma Marilyn’s and all the way there…you were worried about Ava not getting to come….that is your heart. JESUS LOVES YOU MORE THAN all of us ! that is ALOT ! Happy Birthday from Papaw too… !

  21. Elizabeth

    Livi, Happy 9th Birthday! I loved being nine, and I know you will too. It really is the coolest age. Then you get to be double digits and that is so fun too!

    We loved meeting you back in April and Isabelle and Jake still talk about how much fun they had with you. You are a precious girl and you’re so much fun to be around! I hope Chili’s is yummy and the Strawberry Stuff is the best ever!

    Elizabeth and the rest of us

  22. Peter P

    Happy Birthday, Livi.

    I don’t know anyone else who got to visit 52 zoos while they were 8. I wonder what amazing adventures you’ll have now you’re nine?

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