He’s Eleven! And Boy was that Hard Won.


I know with each passing birthday I’m more and more in awe of just how quickly the years pass by, but especially so with Luke. For those new here, he’s our preemie. The one who shouldn’t have survived, but did. His story is one of grace, humility and profound surrender. But today isn’t really about me, it’s about how glorious it is that he gets to celebrate his eleventh birthday today (with a “the boy who lived” Harry Potter party next weekend!).

Enjoy this year’s birthday letter to Luke.

Dear Luke,

Kid, if you got any fiestier it would be one for the record books. But, it’s what makes you, YOU. And we love you for it.

This year the massively big news is that you learned to ride a bike. It was huge!! And we were so proud. Now, you want to ride it every day and nothing makes me happier than to see you crush another milestone.

Speaking of milestones, I think we might be turning a small corner in actually turning in homework. There are just so many more fun things to do, right?

You’re a voracious reader, especially Percy Jackson and Rick Riordan (with a healthy dose of Harry Potter) and I love how completely engrossed you get with a book. It’s especially sweet when I find you in Gianna’s room, reading to her. The two of you are precious together.

You definitely have’t lost your love of DudePerfect, though. Your giggle as they do something funny is the best sound in the world. The entire family agrees, nobody laughs better than you.

Here lately you’ve gotten awfully confident about all your sports trivia (is Will smiling in College Station, yet?). You put your hand near your face, crook your finger and say things like, “Actually, you’re wrong. This is what really happened.” And then you follow it up with, “Mom, you don’t know anything about sports.”


If Brawl Stars had a listing of its favorite fans, I think you’d be at the top. “I’m almost finished,” you say, as you hit the button for a new game. You’re such a stinker.

Your room is a complete disaster. You can remember Patrick Mahomes stats, but you fail to put up your dinner dishes. And you definitely have the loudest scream around here. But I know someday (very soon), you’ll be all grown up and asking for the car keys and filling out college applications. Perspective.

Medically speaking, it’s been your best year yet. We finally solved a huge riddle with some lingering prematurity issues, just before the pandemic hit. Oh God, he is so merciful.

Luke, it’s a joy to watch you grow up and thrive. When I sat in the hospital 11 years ago, wondering just how many challenges God was going to gift you, I never imagined that would change us. YOU would change us. To say that you and the Holy Spirit transformed our family is no small thing.

In truth, you – your spirit and tenacity – are the reason our family is thriving. We thank God for your life every single day.

How about we go eat a hamburger, with fries and ketchup, to celebrate?

Love you!


p.s. Your 10yo trip is now officially an 11yo trip and we’re hoping it happens *sometime* in 2021. Fix it, Jesus!


  1. Verda Redman on September 19, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I have no words… I was one of many who followed Luke’s story from the beginning. It makes my heart happy to “see” him now!
    Happy birthday, Luke!🎉 🎂

  2. Gina Holtzbauer on September 21, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Happy Birthday, Sweet Luke!

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