31 Flavors of MLEEEE
I am so fortunate that I get to call this girl mine. She is the most creative, thoughtful and silly girl I know.
People often ask what my favorite flavor of ice cream is – I have several. Like ice cream, my girl is full of sweetness and no matter what memory I have, I can count on a wonderful trip down memory lane. My favorite memories of Emily are just as yummy!
Remember the time?! This list of memories is like the taster spoons or sticks (nod to Mariannes) and they are in no particular order – just a flood of thoughts about my favorite girl on her birthday:
- When she turned 2 we had a Mad Hatter Tea Party for her birthday and Emily dressed as Alice. When asked who she was she said, “I’m A-ss!” She cracks me up.
- On a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago with 4 1/2 year old Emily, we were walking through the special exhibit and Em was pointing out how the paintings were done! She was noticing the way the paint was applied and how the faces and fingers were created, in addition to the overall painting theme. At that moment I realized I was in over my head with this budding artist!
- My independent girl has always been so. She liked to walk herself to her Sunday School class and check herself in (one of us went behind her at a distance). On one such occasion, 3 year old Emily was greeted by various adults along the way letting her know how cute she was. When she got to her class, her teacher, the amazing Miss Mary Lee, said, “Good Morning Emily! How are you today?” Her reply was, “I’m cute, thank you!”
- Our house was mostly a happy, playful one and some pranks began early! Emily came to church one day (April Fools Day) to find me outside with a crew of Junior High Students involved in a game. She walked up and said hello to everyone and then turned to me and remarked, “Mom you have a bug on your shoulder!” Though not uncommon in Arizona, I don’t want them crawling on me so I proceeded to frantically brush “it” away. Em shouted while giggling, “April Fool”! BTW – She was 18 months old!
- Creative problem solving skills and out of the box thinking is a high value for our family. Internally wired as a divergent thinker, Em has often been misunderstood, but it is part of her charm. Growing up we were part of Destination Imagination and it was a place where both of my kids could shine. Learning to apply imagination to everyday life is so good and Emily is super good at it!
- 5th grade changed Emily’s life. There is a well-researched thing that says the most important year in a person’s life is 4th grade but for Emily it was definitely 5th grade with Mrs. Nelson. She blossomed. She finally was affirmed for her creative thinking. Her intelligence was confirmed. (At the end of the year she was invited to take the SAT and she scored 1000 points on the SAT – better than many college freshmen). To this day I thank God for Project Discovery at Little Fort and Mrs. Nelson, Mrs. Fredbeck and Mrs. Booth.
- Emily learned to read early and she read everything! One of her favorite early reader book series was Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant and since he went to the library every Monday we went to the Waukegan Public library every Monday! He took his chapstick so Emily took her chapstick. He took a bag and so she carried one too. She loved the rewards given in different book club programs so it pushed her even further down the reading slope. Books and stories read and shared daily in our house are part of our family DNA.
- One of the first things Emily learned to bake were brownies. Even though it was a package mix she and Abi Reed or Kimberly Elam would come up with all kinds of add-ins and flavor combinations to change it up. Most of their inventions were good! And, I have such happy memories of their laughter and goofiness in the kitchen.
- What to say about drawing?! I could write a whole blog on the drawing that this girl has done. She would often have school assignments that needs a drawing with it but she would skip the assignment and spend way too much time with the art to go with it. She even would draw Clayton’s history notes because he hated that part!
- Mrs. Fredbeck took the time to teach the 4th grade Project Discovery class to play Kickball and that morphed into all the girls joining a softball league as a team. They went from not knowing anything about the sprot to winning the championship! This was Emily’s most successful and pretty much her only interest in sports until she took up running as an adult. Watching her run her first marathon in Long Beach was thrilling but watching her husband cheer her on was even better!
- Emily was so interested in all kinds of art that we went to great lengths to find art classes for her to try different art mediums. She and Abi took a pottery/ceramics class in Evanston. I think they had fun but most of the art never made it home due to an in house mix up. My home and my heart are cluttered with the unique and personal creations of my kids. Emily landed on fabric as a medium for quite a long time painting shirts and shoes. She worked for Tom’s shoes as an artist for awhile. Anyone who has something painted by Emily has a treasure!
- Emily was not blessed with a sister as I was BUT my sister’s daughters are more than cousins to Emily. They are her best friends as well. Vanessa and Sarah are able to speak truth to Emily the way a sister does. The memories with these two are too many to fit in this space. I love how the three of them bring out the best in each other (most of the time). From American Girl to Barbie to tea parties to weddings these 3 always make me smile. They have stood by her and stood up for her and she for them.
- Emily started off at Fullerton High School in the Academy of the Arts for obvious reasons. Up to this point in time she had taken piano lessons, played the clarinet in bands, and acted in plays. She had mastered all kinds of art, had her own camera and her creative genius was sparkling. At FUHS she tried out for Jazz Choir and made it. This started her down a new road of voice lessons and worship teams. She is quite talented vocally. She even cut a CD. She began writing songs and collaborated often with Alex Tuten. She even recorded an original song at a sound studio in Hollywood.
- In a digital photography class Emily had an assignment that she threw together at the last minute and it was so spectacular it ended up as a finalist in a national art contest. The name of her piece is Joy, which defines the delight she gives me every day.
- We love the Muppets. There was a special exhibit at the Skirball Museum that Em and Vanessa and I went to and the whole day was WockaWockaWonderful. Shortly after Jim died we went with the Vosburgs to see the Muppets Most Wanted, which he had been hoping to see. Emily mentioned that she was sad that her dad was missing the movie, but we all know he wasn’t missing anything – we were! Muppets remind us of dad.
- Emily’s wedding day was beautiful and honored the memory of her father. He would have loved Connor and I can only imagine what the day would have been like with both ministry dads at the helm.
- Biola was where Emily began her college experience and I remember all the hopes and joy when we first moved her in to her dorm. Although it turned out to not be a good fit or good timing or whatever, she was walking down the sidewalk and DBC was nearby. Since we were neighbors and friends she knew him, but she cracked me up when she walked up to him and rubbed her elbow intentionally into his elbow. When he asked what she was doing Emily responded with, “Just wanted to rub elbows with such a great man!”
- Both of our kids seem to have followed us down the path of our chosen careers – at least for part of their journeys. Emily has a compassionate and generous heart. She grew up in a junior high group so when she said she wanted to be in ministry I was excited but cautious. Excited because I could see her there. Cautious because I know the hard road it is for a woman. We told her, because we knew of the possible risks, that she needed a “fall-back” plan. She did not like it but she had so many other skills and talents to hone that we told her she could do ministry but to study something else for her undergrad, knowing that a seminary degree is really important for women. For now she has been burnt by the church and is not pursuing ministry or even church attendance but the brief time that she spent in the trenches was a gift for which I was glad to have a front row seat! She really could rock the world and I pray that she and Connor find their way back to it one day- even from a key volunteer position.
- When Emily was in first grade we had her tested for ADD because Aunt Janie was sure she had it. Aunt Janie worked was a special education teacher. While the tests at that time were inconclusive, many teachers did not feel she had this divergent way of thinking. But she does have ADD. When her dad got sick and died and her world of coping with ADD came undone. She started college at Biola but could not push through all the grief and her own learning differences. It still breaks my heart that she has adult ADD and that we didn’t acknowledge or “treat” it before she was an adult.
- When we lived in Scottsdale Jim and Emily went to the zoo every week where he would talk to the elephants and the kookaburra. They would stand on one foot in front of the flamingos and imitate other critters there. She would wave at Ruby, the painting pachyderm, and once said she hoped she could paint with her. Can you picture the sweetness of this memory?
- While I am not, nor was Jim, a tattoo person, Emily the artist has joined the “club” of tattoo enthusiasts and has more than one. I do appreciate that they are tastefully done and meaningful.
- Miss Independent.I.can.take.care.of.myself “ran away” at Disneyland when we went as an extended family when she was 3. She wanted to go to It’s a Small World when we were over in Critter Country ordering dinner. So she took it upon herself to go. She ended up in the lost and found and didn’t want to leave because they had movies, popsicles and Disney art projects available. While the security is excellent at Disneyland, so is my strong willed daughter who has always been so determined and has a hard time with the word “no”!
- My Aunt Janie was not married and did not have kids but she and Emily were quite the pair and functioned as a grandparent: granddaughter role. They made cookies. They shopped. They fed the ducks. They worked on art projects. They watched movies and loved using their imaginations. The love and special relationship they had is one of my all time favorite memories. Hedgehogs and buttons are some of our winks from her memory!
- Vanessa, Emily and Sarah loved Disney. They still do. One of their key play activities was to reenact the movies with the dialogues and songs sometimes with their dolls but mostly in real time. vanessa was always the princess and Sarah was always the sidekick animal friend, leaving the male protagonist to Emily. She liked that role but her favorite was based on her favorite movie Pocahontas. She wore her black rain boots, had a spanish helmet and carried a messenger bag full of crackers (hardtack) which she fed to Meeko (aka Sarah). I still giggle to think of the 3 of them acting out their favorite movies.
- When Emily was 4 1/2 years old she asked Jesus into her heart. We were in the bathroom at 415 Ridgeland and she was asking questions about God and Jesus. She just figured it out and then looked upward and asked Him to come into her heart and life. She even remarked that the bath was a good place to wash away her sins. It was Feb. 8, 1997. This is probably one of my all time best memories in my life as God answered my prayers from before the day she was born.
- Speaking of bath time, there was another bath time incident when Emily and her 9 month old brother were in the bath together. He was standing up along the edge “talking happily” when, all of a sudden, he burst into tears. Emily sheepishly looked at me and I knowingly realized that she was part of the reason he was crying. I asked her what she did and she said, “His butt looked like a marshmallow so I bit it.” Needless to say, her butt also got a “bite” so she could know what if felt like.
- One of the best memory collections I have had in the past 10 years are visits to Starbucks and Teavana. Watching Emily at work is fun and I have loved the “mark-outs” and the test drinks! My favorite barista.
- From Dinah to Gene & Louise Emily has always been a cat person.
- Emily has always had an amazing gift of music. She was found in the bathroom at PreK by Mrs. Wright singing to herself “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie. The acoustics were captivating. She went on to play Molly in the musical at Little Fort, only because her mother was too anxious for her to carry the lead role. The following year she was Peter Pan. Wow! She soared! Em is one of my best happy thoughts!
- Saving money for Emily is hard due to her ADD because long term goals are so quickly forgotten and we live in a culture of instant gratification. However, when we moved to CA Emily found a beach cruiser that she wanted enough that she really was able to save for and buy. I was so proud!
- My girl has compassion and deep empathy. She cares and feels in profound ways. Often I have not understood this part of her but because of this many people have pushed her to tears, myself included. She makes friends and keeps them. But this tender quality also creates heartbreak when people bully her, crush her spirit or marginalize her. I am not proud of these memories but I am blessed by the ways God has wired her to soften my edges and make me a better person.
I could go on and on and on about all the ways this girl has made my world a better and happier place. But for now, I thank the good Lord for giving her life and putting her in mine. Happy Birthday 31 to Emily Ruth Mohler Osborn. I love you more than ice cream!
There are a few Pssss
- One of the things Arizona is known for are the beautiful sunsets. One night as we were driving home from Aunt Janie’s house, from her carseat, Emily declared, “God is painting the sky!”. Another beautiful attraction of the desert is the night sky, because there is so little light pollution. We used to look for shooting stars and Emily considered them God blowing us a kiss goodnight.
- One night when we lived Scottsdale and we were outside looking at the stars, Emily, who was 3 or 4 at the time looked at the night sky and quietly said that the bottom side of heaven was super pretty and she wondered how beautiful the right side must look. Pretty insightful for a little one and I personally can’t wait until we see the other side!