Happy Sweet Sixteen

From China to the Ozarks: A Girl, A Dream, and Sweet Sixteen

Cynthia Herron Family 8 Comments

Happy Sweet Sixteen

Happy Sweet Sixteen to our niece who (truly) came from another world away!

When Emily* joined our family she was such a little nugget.

Like her parents, we loved her immediately.

Miss Personality had flawless, brown skin and dark, expressive eyes. Silky, black hair framed a ready smile and a button nose.

From China to the Ozarks, this precious girl came. And in a heartbeat we were smitten.

For a while, we communicated in gestures and nods. Then her parents taught us the phrase Wo ai ni. (I love you.) And that—my friends—is universal.

Fast-forward ten years.

It’s been a fun ride. So. Much. Joy!

Emily has a tender heart and an inquisitive spirit. She wants to know what makes things tick.

She’s interested in science, medicine, and anatomy, but she adores astronomy, too. One of her favorite television shows is Nova.

Emily also has an affinity for planets and all things space. Maybe it’s because she understands she’s in this old world, but not of it. She dreams of life as an astronaut. And who knows? It could be possible.

Emily is a Christian and is awed by God’s marvelous creation. She keeps us on our toes with astounding facts and trivia about things the average person wouldn’t even know. But she does.

And it tickles us. We’re smarter for it!

For her recent birthday, Emily’s mama and daddy celebrated her Sweet Sixteen with a space-related theme. (Yes. The birthday cake resembles Star Wars, but there’s a story there. The bakery did a beautiful job, but the correct implements/decorations didn’t make it on the cake. However, the folks were very apologetic and charged only half-price for the cake. Emily’s daddy then made a mad dash to town and saved the day! And WHO doesn’t love Star Wars, right?)

And as we so often do in our neck of the woods, just like the weather, we go with the flow.


*Emily chose baby blue and black as her theme colors for her Sweet Sixteen birthday party. So pretty!

Emily* chose baby blue and black as her theme colors for her Sweet Sixteen birthday party. So pretty!


Emily matched her party colors!

Emily matched her party colors!


As all girls know---coordinating fingernails are a MUST.

As all girls know—coordinating fingernails are a MUST.


What's dinner in the Ozarks without garden green beans?

What’s dinner in the Ozarks without garden green beans?


Delicious tri-tip grilled to perfection! (Emily's fave!)

Delicious tri-tip grilled to perfection! (Emily’s fave!)


Easy-peasy lime punch! (Lime sherbet and ginger ale poured over crushed ice.)

Easy-peasy lime punch! (Lime sherbet and ginger ale poured over crushed ice.)


What would a celebration be without a few presents?

What would a celebration be without a few presents?


AND... of course, Sadie had to get in on the action. Isn't she adorable?!

AND… of course, Sadie had to get in on the action. Isn’t she adorable?!


As you might have guessed, we’re pretty proud of our 16-year-old niece. (And proud of her older sis, too!)

My sister—their mama—and I have shared a few laughs over the years when we’ve gone places with our three girls in tow. When they were younger, folks thought her two dark-headed cuties were mine, and my blondie was hers. (I suppose because my sis is blond and I’m… well… not. ha!) And I don’t really look Asian either, but I’ve taken it as a compliment.

Happy Happy Birthday, dear Emily*!

Aunt Cindy loves you!

Painted by Emily some years ago. Emily is legally blind. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Painted by Emily some years ago. Emily is legally blind. (Jeremiah 29:11)


*Because of privacy, not my niece’s real name.

Do you remember your Sweet Sixteen birthday party or a special celebration when you were a child?

What are some favorite events your family has recently celebrated?


Have a great day, friends!

Much love and blessings always,

Comments 8

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it.

    I had some special birthdays; the ones I remember best were not celebrations, but marked by sorrow that was somehow transcended and brought into God’s light.

  2. Crystal Eutsler

    How can this be??? I can’t believe she’s 16. Time goes by so fast. Who would have thought when I met those girls when they first became part of your family that my daughter would someday go to China to live. Happy Birthday to her.

  3. Post
    Cynthia Herron

    Crystal, thanks for the birthday wishes! And oh, my goodness—isn’t it wonderful how God’s love spans the globe?! (I’ve been praying for your daughter.) 🙂

  4. Post
    Cynthia Herron

    Andrew, I’m so sorry for your sorrow. That grieves my heart.

    To know you’ve been through the fire and have risen above the flames is a testament to victory! God’s working, my friend!

  5. Melissa Tagg

    Loved this, Cynthia, and how your love for your niece shines through! One of my greatest birthday moments as a kid was when I turned six and not only did I get the My Little Pony I’d been dreaming of, but a cake with a picture of the pony in frosting. I was so excited about it that I remember thinking “How can this be my life? It’s so amazing! My parents must really love me!” I was quite easily pleased as a kid. LOL! And really, we’ve always been a pretty modest family income and spending-wise, so getting the VERY gift that I’d dreamed of was a huge deal to me. Good times…good memories.

  6. Shelli Littleton

    From China to the Ozarks … I love it! Beautiful story. And we would have loved the Star Wars cake, too!

    My oldest has two students from China here for a year in her Sunday school class … she is loving that. She’s always had a passion for China (thanks to my dear friend who grew up in Taiwan)so when she becomes a missionary there one day, it won’t surprise me.

  7. Post
    Cynthia Herron

    Shelli, a missionary! I could easily see that knowing you’re her mama. I’m thankful one so young recognizes the need to spread God’s message in a hurting world.

    Thank you for sharing your passion for Christ on your wonderful blog.

  8. Post
    Cynthia Herron

    Melissa, how I love your beautiful memory! Thank you so much for sharing that! It made me weepy—in a good way.

    I was raised much like you were. What might seem like the simplest or most mundane things to some, I reveled in as a child. My sister and I knew our parents worked hard to make our house a home. We never took for granted those special moments.

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