February 1, 2008.  It’s a day that changed my life forever.  It’s the day my princess, Addison Lynn Bates, entered the world.  The day should have told us much about her personality…she didn’t come when everyone was there and ready, she took her sweet time and waited until everyone went to get some much-needed dinner.  And then commanded everyone’s return by her presence.

Over these last 4 years, she has blessed our family tremendously.  And she has changed me (and continues to change me) almost daily.  She has not only tested the limits of my patience, but stretched my capacity for patience.  She has taught me that not all battles are worth fighting.  She has helped me put structure in our lives.  She has taught me to not take life quite so seriously.  She drives me to do better, to be better.  She’s been a mirror for my bad habits and personality flaws and the inspiration to change them.

Her faith in God to answer a prayer immediately convicts me to the core and strengthens my prayer life.  Her fascination with the details in the seemingly mundane and everyday things has taught me to slow down and really see what’s around me.

She always has a plan.  She always has a story.  And she always has some sass.  Ok, she always has a LOT of sass!  She has a quick wit and she knows how to use it.  She doesn’t open up to everyone, but those she does open up to, she opens up to completely and with her whole heart.

She challenges me to grow as a mom, a wife, a person, a woman of God.  Her very existence causes me to want to elevate my standard of living.  At 4 years old, she’s already taught  me a lifetime of lessons.  And brought more laughter (and a few gray hairs) than a lot of people have in a lifetime.

Sweet Addi Lynn, you are an amazing blessing to this family.  Happy birthday, Baby Girl!

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