My friend, Susan, did this with her kids and told me about it years ago, and I do it with mine too.

From the time Ruby was little I have told her, "If I lined up all the girls in the whole wide world...all the short girls and tall girls, baby girls and older girls, girls with brown hair, girls with blue eyes, girls who make silly noises, girls who go to gym class, girls who are funny and make their moms laugh, girls who are quiet, girls who are great readers......" Then I would describe how I would walk up and down the rows. There would be some really, really wonderful girls in that lineup. She would grin, knowing what what coming and beat me to the punchline. "You'd choose ME!! But God already chose ME for YOU!!"

I really, really feel that way about my Ruby. She is just perfect for our family and fits me in a way I can't even describe.

Having her for my little girl, helps me to remember all the sweet and wonderful things about my childhood. How I would devour books by the dozen. How I would delight to craft away an afternoon. How I loved to snuggle with my mum and have special time with my Oma. How I wanted to help cook. How I wanted my ideas listened to.

When she was a baby, Ben and I would lay in bed at night and talk about her. Isn't she wonderful? We'd gush to each other about how perfect she was, each knowing that the other understood completely.

She's seven now and I love this age for the companionship and conversation that it affords. We like to do things together. We like to talk about things. It's neat for me to see her heart growing stronger and her faith to be more real. She is a smart cookie and seems to find learning to be pretty easy. I am so glad about that but I have told her that Daddy and I are the most concerned that she grows up not just to be smart and good at things, but to have a strong and loving heart, full of the Lord.

The other night we headed out into the sweet light of that hour or so before sunset to take her seven year pictures. She was thrilled to be able to wear her new ruby-red dress that we picked up on clearance at Macy's a couple years ago that's been tempting her in her closet for quite some time. A couple of shots and she seemed done, except when offered a dollar for her modeling efforts this one time. That turned on the charm.

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Mmmm. My girl.

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The kid has personality, what can I say?

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Then she did a little switcharoo in the car and we went to take a few more.

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Her new boots, found for a great price brand new on ebay and dearly loved.

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My pretty girlie.

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I gave her an out after another twenty minutes and she said, "Hang on, I have a few ideas of my own." She may become a little stylist! Great photo ideas, Rube!

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Yes, I would choose her every time. How glad I am that the Lord has given her to us.

(letters for her name made by Auntie Lenore for Ruby Lenore when she was born)

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Happy birthday, baby girl.

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