Advice To My Youngest On Turning 13

Dearest Cayley,

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I can never say I Love You enough nor will I stop ūüėČ It’s crazy you are now thirteen. What would I be doing once your sisters left home if you had not come along? How blessed I am to be given a second chance at mothering. In some ways I have grown and often times I feel green. ¬†You are very unique and so different from your sisters. ¬†A decade later I have found that technology has changed the parenting dilemma. ¬†Regardless, I know God choose to bless us with you for such a time as this. ¬†Together we sharpen one another. So I complied 10 thoughts I desire for you to remember as you continue your life journey.


1) Never forget you are fearfully and wonderfully made, yes made in the imagine of Christ who delights over you as He is a masterful creator.   (Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 2:10 ) Comparison is the joy killer of being content with your many beautiful features. Never allow the media or others to dictate what true beauty should look like.

Baptism Cayley and Riley's 54

2) Love the Lord with all your heart and get into the habit of beginning your days by putting Him first.¬†You will often feel that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Time is something we all treasure, something we wish we had more of, but it just seems to slip so quickly through our fingers. We think if only I had more time I would spend it praying or reading the Bible, helping people, or making a difference. ¬†(Proverbs 16:3; Luke 4:42, Matthew 14:13) ¬†The poem The Difference¬†is a good reminder of keeping God first.

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3) Remember to love and listen to your sisters as they are two of the wisest women I know. ¬†Support one another. Talk to one another regularly by being the initiator as you have more free time. Be there when they need you and they’ll be there for you. They really do love you that is why they both flew in to surprise you for your 13th birthday. Sisters are forever friends.P1050675

4) Be bold, take chances as those who don’t take chances don’t make advances. Dream big because you serve a BIG God. Strive to reach the full potential of your calling in life. (Jeremiah 29:11). ¬†¬†Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to everyone through your speech, ¬†by the way you live your life, in your authentic love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)


5) Continue to travel while you are young. We hope that through our various family excursions we have given you a love for adventure, exposed you to various cultures, taken you out of your comfort zone, and shown you how big and yet small the world is. May you bring the good news to those wherever you go in the future. Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15


6) Enjoy life! Gather often with your friends, have fun, laugh a lot and enjoy the relationships God has given you. Also your best friends will be those who bring out the best in you. Never substitute face-to-face interaction with that of the internet or social media. According to a study, people are happier and laugh 50% more when talking face-to-face with friends or via webcam than when they use social networking sites.


Cari, Cayley, & Laurena

7) Cherish your human connections with friends and mentors who invest deeply into your life and you will grow wiser and richer.  Appreciate and remember those who have poured richly into your life (your sisters, grandparents, teachers, Sarah T. Danielle A., Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Teresa, Ritz, Mrs. Cheryl D., Grandma Coleen). Allow them to speak truth into your life so you can learn something new. Proverbs 13:20


8) We love you unconditionally, always, and forever. No one will ever love you like your dad and I love you.

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9) Be humble, teachable, and enjoy the learning process. Be a lover of learning as you gain the education needed to carry out the tasks for which God has designed you.  (Proverbs 9:9; 12:15; 11:14; 19:20-21; 15:22; Psalm 1:1-5).

Some of my greatest lessons have been learned through the pages of books. I have gained incredible insight, knowledge, and experience of various authors.  Reading exposes you to a world of imagination, showing you nothing is impossible.

‚ÄúBooks are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.‚ÄĚ Charles William Eliot


10) Smile a lot and keep singing God’s praises. A smile draws others to you. The joy and love of the Lord are yours – so smile! Aim for joy found when putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last which creates true JOY. Being happy and enthusiastic is always a good choice and the joy of the Lord is your strength. ¬† (Psalm 28:7; Nehemiah 8:10)


In conclusion, do all things with Love. Love is so important to God that is is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. Love is referred to as the greatest commandment of all. Christ is love. John 13: 34-35 As we learn to love God’s way we provide the world with a tangible picture of Christ to the world.

I look forward to finishing the book Love As A Way of Life by Dr. Gary Chapman who writes,¬†‚ÄúLove is an attitude, that says, ‚ÄúI choose to focus my life on helping others.‚ÄĚ ¬†I appreciate those who use the following seven characteristics to define a loving person providing so much room to grow:

  • Kindness: Discovering the Joy of Helping Others
  • Patience: Accepting the Imperfections of Others
  • Forgiveness: Finding Freedom from the Grip of Anger.¬†Life’s way too short to constantly be mad at someone.
  • Courtesy: Treating Others as Friends
  • Humility: Stepping Down So Someone Else Can¬†Step Up
  • Generosity: Giving Yourself to Others
  • Honesty: Revealing Who You Really Are

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Happy 25th Birthday Caryn


It seems like only yesterday that I (mom) anxiously welcomed my bundle of joy into this world.  I was unprepared, scared, and excited all at the same time.  She arrived at 7:09am and her dad, instead of saying push, was encouraging me to wait another three minutes so her delivery time would be 7:12am as we were married at 7:12pm on 6/1/85 and his fraternity number was 712.  However you made a grand entrance beating your own drum and you were a born to be a leader.

The visions I had for you back then gradually but drastically changed as we aligned our will to His ways. Your dad and I were only eleven months into our faith so we had a steep learning curve. One of our first bible studies was on biblical parenting ūüôā ¬†I wanted to be the perfect mom.¬†¬† I know that was such an unattainable and lofty goal.¬† I recall us writing in your baby book “that you would fear the Lord.”¬† Looking back I can see how God truly answered the desires of heart.

It is with great joy that we, your family, find ourselves here in Detroit to honor you on your birthday.  Part of our mission statement has been that as Werner’s, regardless of how old we were, we would enjoy being with each other. There are so many fond memories that we have cultivated over the years.

Today you are 25, in May I turned 50 and in six months ago your grandfather became 75 thus this called for a Werner celebration. Life is about making the most of every opportunity as no one knows what tomorrow holds.

So SURPRISE!!! ¬†Yep the past few days have been full of surprises ūüôā as we all decided to join you in Detroit for the big 25. ¬† I do hope that when you look back on this birthday, you will realize the incredible love we (family and friends) all have for you. It truly does my heart good to see you surrounded by such a great community of friends. ¬†I feel more connected to you and team Detroit now that I have seen where you all live and have visited some of your favorite places.


Below are 25 ways that we have seen you love others well and more importantly how we have seen you love Christ. Of course this is not an exhaustive list as it’s impossible to encapsulate ones life into a list.

  1. Love begins in the home and we so appreciate how you have loved and honored us, your family, well.
  2. It means the world to us that you and your sisters are best friends.
  3. You light up a room when you enter it and more importantly it’s amazing how so many are drawn not to you but to our Creator because you shine brightly.
  4. Your smile is warm and your joy contagious.
  5. You have always enjoyed pouring into the lives of others.
  6. You assume the best of others and don’t take up an offense.  I love how quickly you forgive and move on.
  7. You are a hard worker and give 100% to whatever job you are doing. While working at Rudy’s and Chuy’s you showed Jesus’ love for your co-workers. Even today when we go to Rudy’s folks ask about you.
  8. Amazing how your passion for photography began at 14 and quickly blossomed into a successful business that continues today. ¬†Your talents capture the beauty in people and God’s creation.
  9. You are adventurous and fearless. At 18 you flew alone to South Africa to spend six months working and being trained by Operation Mobilization. You were with folks you didn’t know and in a foreign place, however, no one is a stranger to you.
  10. You have such incredible humor which brings laughter wherever you go.
  11. God has granted you lots and lots of favor. When raising support to travel with Operation Mobilization you collected twice as much needed allowing you to return to Namibia to take photos for OM promotional use.
  12. God’s favor follows you and has been seen most recently in collecting all funding needed for your upcoming mission trip on December 26.
  13. You have such incredible faith in regards to trusting God to provide for your needs.  I love how you share the various ways He has provided.
  14. Adventurous nicely sums you up.  There are so so many places you have been.
  15. Not many people can say they have started a church. You and others pioneered a home church on the UT campus to reach those who would never step foot in a Church.
  16. You have incredible faith allowing you to travel everywhere/anywhere knowing it’s safer to be in God’s will than any other place.
  17. You have made countless friends internationally and locally allowing you to sofa surf when you get the itch to travel.
  18. Traveling alone with Courtney on two ‚Äúsister trips‚ÄĚ in Europe in 2007 and 2013.
  19. Living life fully and with so much zeal.
  20. Seeking to give God all glory.
  21. Assuming a leadership role within the home church.
  22. You are a counselor to many.  Because of how well you listen and the wisdom you have, many turn to you, including me.
  23. Graduating from UT December 2011. Hook em’ Horns!
  24. Moving to Detroit to be part of what God is doing there. So many stories surrounding this God adventure.
  25. You speak life into others as you search for the good in others seeking to excite them in their God given identity. ¬† And the list goes on and on…

We pray that God will grant you many more decades.  We are so proud of the beautiful God fearing Woman you have become.

Happy Birthday Courtney

Happy birthday Courtney, I hope to one day be able to find the right words to express how much you mean to me.  Until that time I hope you know that having you as my daughter is a gift I cherish. I thank God for how He created you. Below are a few descriptive words that came to mind.

C – You are creative as you have so many talents. ¬†You write music, sing, play various musical¬†instruments (piano, violin, guitar)¬†by ear, paint, write, etc. ¬†It’s a joy to hear you sing and play the¬†piano¬†when you are home. You’ve recently created a blog to bring other creative minds together and showcase your works at¬†Paint & Parcel¬†One can also she your creatively at Confessions of an X Introvert.

O – As a child you were always obedient¬†being quick to obey and cheerful to follow directions of those over you. ¬†I’m sure this is why your employers value you. I’d also say you are an¬†original¬†one of a kind making you¬†interesting and fun.

U – You have the¬†special¬†gift of truly understanding people as you listen and hear beyond mere words. As Albert¬†Einstein¬†said, “any fool can know. ¬†The point is to understand.” You understand people and are also unbiased.

R – Finishing school two years earlier than your peers, moving to CA at 20, serving on staff for a campus¬†ministry, etc… would¬†qualify¬†you as being responsible.

T – You learn from your mistakes as well as those of others ūüėČ making you not only smart but teachable. ¬†“give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” If you want to know something you will teach yourself or find someone to help.

N – You have a sensitive and caring¬†demeanor¬†allowing you to¬†perceive¬†the needs of others quickly making you a¬†nurturer. ¬†It’s no surprise why pouring love and life into others comes¬†naturally¬†for you.

E РYou are such an encourager as you inspire, give hope, and confidence to those who know you. I feel you have grown as an encourager because you have had to endure many hardships in your own life giving you that sensitivity to cheer others on.

Y – You yearn to love Jesus and people better. You yearn for more wisdom, understanding, knowledge, etc.

You are a beautiful person not just outside, but inside too… it means a lot to me that you are my daughter and I will love you forever. A daughter like you is one of the greatest gifts in the world.



If the eyes are the window to the soul, this girl is warm hearted, trust worthy, deep, wise, and full of love. Blessed are those who know her.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  I wonder what she is think?

A recent photo of her taken by her suster during Christmas.  

Flew to San Francisco with dad on business to celebrate Courtney's 10th birthday.  Her birthday dinner choice, prime rib at the Stinky Rose.

Flew to San Francisco with dad on business to celebrate Courtney’s 10th birthday. Her birthday dinner choice, prime rib at the Stinking Rose garlic restaurant.

You celebrated your 5th birthday in Oceanside, CA with the neighborhood crew at a McDonalds. Such a happy girl.

Celebrating her 5th birthday in Oceanside, CA with the neighborhood crew at a McDonalds. Such a happy girl. Your 5th, 6th and 7th birthday were all in CA.

Courtney age 4 before her ballet recital.  She loved being all dressed up.

Courtney age 4 before her ballet recital. She loved being all dressed up in pink.

She was born during an ice & snow storm in Fairfax, VA. She was 5 weeks early, weighing 5lbs 5oz, at 10:23am

Born during an ice & snow storm in Fairfax, VA, She was 5 weeks early, weighing 5lbs 5oz, at 10:23am