So here's something not a lot of people get to say:
Last weekend I met my older sister for the first time.

First of all, a huge apology to pretty much everyone I’ve ever met. When I told you I was the youngest of 4 siblings and the only girl, I was lying. If it makes you feel any better… I didn’t know either.

Confused? Me too! Let’s take a few steps back.

Last October, my mom sent out a mass text to my siblings and me, urgently asking us to Skype with her and my dad. This was uncharacteristic, and I immediately began to expect the worst. When we connected later that day, she told Breck, “I need you to be supportive of Brielle through all of this.”

Pause. WHO SAYS THAT!? Tears immediately sprang to my eyes because obviously she was about to tell me she was terminally ill.  So when the next words out of her mouth were, “When I was 18, gave a baby up for adoption.” I started bawling uncontrollably because:
1. Wait, WHAT!???!?
2. I was pretty dang relieved my mom didn’t have cancer.

Obviously, I had a million questions! But here is the gist of the story :
My mom had given birth to a baby girl. She decided to give her up for adoption and was able to choose the couple would be her parents. Years later, she joined the church, met and married my dad, and had 4 more kids, but she never forgot the first baby. When Brant, my oldest brother, was five, my mom told him about this other baby. His dramatic reaction stopped her from telling anyone else. She locked the secret up and never said another word.

But Brant remembered.

This past summer, he finally confronted my mom about it and she was able to confide in him and let go of this private story she had held kept from us for all these years. Excited, Brant immediately wanted to locate where the mystery girl was, but my mom was hesitant. All these years, she felt an extreme sense of guilt, worrying over if she had chosen the right thing for this little girl. She imagined finding a resentful woman who's life as an adopted child had been miserable & lonely. Even the thought of that overwhelmed my sensitive mother with self-condemnation. 

Brant, unwilling to give up, volunteered to be a buffer and go out and find her first. After about an hour of searching, he was able to find a girl who matched the details on an adoption website. Her name is Sarah. 

After a little bit of Facebook stalking, he found her! A beautiful, smart, confident woman,  an Air force wife with 4 children… and RED hair!  My mom carefully and excitedly crafted a message and sent it to her on Facebook. And… no reply.

A week later?
No reply.

A month after that?

And then…

Oh my gosh, I am just seeing this now...thought on a whim to peek in my other folder, which is why I didn't see it earlier. You do indeed have the right person. Wow. Sorry, I'm typing as I'm processing this so I'm still in shock a bit.
It's been quite the experience to see this story unravel. Seeing my mom forge this connection has been very emotional and almost a sacred experience to me. For my part, there is no book called, "Guide to Introducing Yourself to Your Long Lost Sibling." I looked. But thankfully, Sarah is the COOLEST. She's made the whole process a breeze on us and we've all been able to build on this series of events that has made us family.

My mom and her were able to reunite last December, and I was the first of the kids to have the privilege. We met for the first time in Oklahoma City and spent the day bonding over steak, stories, and Justin Timberlake. She has my mom's hands, and their eye's are the exact same shade of blue. She is very special to me. 
And that's where we are. In Sarah's words, "Things are going the best they could possibly go."

As today is the first time anyone in my family has made this news public, I'm sure many of you are in shock trying to imagine Cindy Ellsworth as a girl from "16 and Pregnant."  And to me, that's the beauty of it.

Today, she is a perfectly, proper woman. She runs youth camps, makes care packages for girls in Africa, works in a quilt shop, has been in the leadership of our Church for decades, runs a flawless household, and makes a mean cinnamon roll. But once upon a time she was alone and scared with a bulging belly. She decided to move into a home for pregnant teens so she wouldn't have to abort the child inside of her. If nothing else, this is the story of how having courage to make just one selfless decision, has the power to change the trajectory of our future. 


Two, Five, & Sixteen

Three more checks for my 25 before 25!

Over Memorial Day weekend we got a group of friends together for a camping trip at Turner Falls! Hikes, campfires, games, swimming, s'mores... a.k.a. the perfect weekend. (Minus being woken up by our neighbors Mariachi music and one very drunk lady.)

Other than stuffing my face with as many marshmallows as possible, my big goal for the weekend was to experiment with talking video. I'm sure I seriously annoyed some of the guys, but everyone was a good sport about letting me get close and personal. So here it is! My first ever home video (I know, it's on YouTube not Vimeo... sue me):

Thanks to the Ayaches and Gametts for adventuring with us!

Bonus points if you can find Josie and Matt:

Last thing! I gave my blog a little refresh! It's a hand drawn header, but that's about all I know about blog design. If you have a talent for blogger layout, please let me know. I'd love to do more drawings for custom buttons but I don't know where to start.