40 for 40.

Dalton fam photo033

My precious sister, Sarah Lee Dalton Dwelle, is 40 today.. Life is moving fast! Here are 40 thoughts about her that I celebrate.

  1. I find myself quoting my Mom when I tell my kids that they WILL be best friends one day – no matter what they think of each other right now. Mom was right about us, and there were days I thought that would be impossible.
  2. She has a spirit of adventure and has seen much more of the world than me.
  3. I can’t remember a time when she did not have an active friendship with someone NOT from the U.S.
  4. Her kids (all 4) usually say, “Yes, Ma’am”, and follow instructions the first time. Amazing.
  5. Banana bread.
  6. Chocolate chip cookies
  7. Blueberry muffins
  8. Did I say she is a wonderful baker?
  9. Great coffee from a French Press when I visit her house (with a tiny sprinkle of salt!)
  10. She calls on her darkest days (or at least after a good stretch of them).
  11. She also knows I will be almost as excited as her to hear a good report from teacher conferences.
  12. She can string words together with beauty and creativity.
  13. She appreciates it when other people can do the same thing.
  14. I love her singing voice – very pure and sweet – my favorite kind.
  15. She married a Dwelle.
  16. And because she married him, I claim a connection to an amazing clan of people.
  17. Her children are incredible – they fill this aunt’s heart with joy every time I’m around them.
  18. Cousin time when the whole slew of kids connect is filled with creativity, imagination, music, theater, and meaningful conversation.
  19. Her eyes crinkle up in different ways for different kinds of smiles – belly laughing, soft kindness, sarcasm, secret-sister-understanding smiles – the eyes say it all.
  20. She is caring for her friends in real and practical ways when there is trouble.
  21. She loves the outdoors and will even go camping with 4 children.
  22. The most beautiful photographs of her are when she is engaged with her children.
  23. She actually sees many great movies in the theater – where you buy tickets and don’t get interrupted 10 times by your kids.
  24. Because of #23, I have a much better Netflix Queue.
  25. I bet that the 2 of us (for sure if we had the 2 brothers) could still quote The Princess Bride from start to finish.
  26. People tell her their crazy stuff.
  27. They do that because she is a good listener.
  28. They also instinctively know that she will not judge them.
  29. She ran a race that is 10 miles long without stopping.  I’ve never run 10 miles in 1 day.
  30. Even when times are very difficult, she does not wallow in self-pity.
  31. She is an observant and caring daughter to our parents.
  32. She has a gorgeous head of hair that my daughter inherited.
  33. She has a fantastic and unique sense of style that I have tried to copy many times. I can’t pull it off.
  34. She has the ability to bring that style into her home through the eclectic use of bargain and hand-me-down accesories.
  35. She has it within her to be a great artist, potter, writer, probably all of the above. I hope I am around to see it when life opens up a bit of time for her to pursue it.
  36. I look forward to a day when we are free to go to the ocean every year together during the off-season.
  37. My children adore her.
  38. She has a wicked wit. She can keep up with the best of them (Aunt Lisa and Angie Anderson Ratterree). Really.
  39. She is genuinely humble
  40. Making this list was very easy. I don’t think I will have trouble when she turns 50.