This is Liz. She is 13 going on 21. Been that way since she was 5 years old.
First, let me tell you just a little about Liz and her awesomeness. This is a girl who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and work...really hard. More than once, my parents have been called in to help do some major deep house cleaning help for struggling families in the ward. Liz has been right there with them every time. A few months ago, my mom sent me this email after one of these cleaning frenzies. She says it best:
"...Anyway, it was a very sad and overwhelming situation. The main part that I wanted to share was the sweet service that Lizzie gave. As you can imagine, I was very focused and concerned about those children being helped and order being restored to the home. It was exactly like our whole inner-city mission experience. Sometimes families get upside-down and they need help from people who won't judge them or criticize their unsuccessful efforts. When Lizzie came to the home I gave her exactly one sentence worth of instruction. HELP THE LITTLE GIRLS CLEAN THEIR ROOM. Beyond that, I never checked on her. Hours later one of the older daughters came running upstairs saying that her mother wouldn't believe how Nicole's room looked...and she wouldn't believe how Lizzie was getting her little sister to throw so much stuff away. Her enthusiasm honestly made me nervous (I joked that little Nicole may need a touch of therapy to recover from the cleaning blitz) but I was still scrubbing like a crazy woman on the main floor so I had to trust that Liz knew what she was doing in the basement. I guess that there were piles and piles of junk and papers covering every inch of the child's bedroom and Lizzie just rolled up her sleeves, and started to fill trash bags. When little Nicole said, "Oh, I love that ...." Lizzie would kindly (tough love) say, "Nicole you haven't seen it for months, and you didn't even know it was here, so let's just get rid of it". Ha ha...yikes. I don't know how many bags were filled but I saw one of the rooms and it was spotless and Nicole was really really happy! All the children were so amazed to see their home completely cleaned. It was sweet and also sad to think how they had been living.
But when I think of Lizzie's help that day it just makes me smile all the way down to my toes. Late in the afternoon, when we had gone home and showered, I told Lizzie how proud I was of her hard work, service, and efforts that day. I greatly admire people who know how to work really hard but I have the greatest respect and admiration for people who know how to work really hard for others (ie.the Lord) and when they're NOT getting paid for the job they do. SERVICE is absolutely the most important work any one of us can hope to do in this life. I loved that Lizzie didn't need me to tell her every single step of what and how she could help. She didn't need me to direct her. She used her own eyes and brain to figure out what was needed and she didn't stop until the job was totally finished. She required ZERO supervision! As a family we try to celebrate each and every accomplishment, and this type of service, where someone uses their talents to lift another without any type of earthly compensation is, as far as I'm concerned, THE BEST OF THE BEST!
I just wanted our whole family to know about the gifts that Lizzie shared, last Monday, on her day off."
That's only the beginning. This summer, Liz assertively called up families in the ward, letting them know she was ready and able to babysit for them. Then she made a calendar and slowly started scheduling in her days as the calls began coming in. Most days, she'd have multiple babysitting gigs in one day...like 3 different families...as in 12 hours of work...$5 an hour. By the end of the summer, she had earned well over $1000 for herself. Remember how she's 13 years old!? Like I said, total rockstar.
Liz is also one of those people who is good at basically everything she attempts. She's super athletic, a fantastic artist, creative writer, and beautiful dancer. She has a body most similar to my other sister, Rosie, who's been a real model. I know, I know, try not to hate her. So I don't think any of us were super surprised when we found out she had tried out for Ballet West's Nutcracker and...MADE IT! I told her she's following in my footsteps and just wants to be like me. (But that story's for another post.)
We can't wait to watch Liz tear it up in the Capitol Theater this winter.