Sometimes I look at a beautiful piece of art and think, How did they do that? How did they create something so emotional from a flat piece of paper and a few shades of blue?

Or I’ll stand in the shadow of a building that was constructed hundreds of years ago and wonder, How did they get those heavy bricks way up there without using a modern-day crane?

I had the same experience with my daughter earlier this year when she brought home something she had written for her ELA class. How did she create this image in her mind and then mold it into words?

Pretty much every day of this past seventh grade year we had the same conversation.

“What do you have for homework?”


(Slight pause while I try to remember what ELA is again… Oh yeah, English!)

The teacher of this ELA class assigned an insane amount of homework. Nightly reading and writing like nothing we had seen before in the Phillips’ household.

I’m sure every kid in the middle school wanted to go on strike at some point. It was awesome!


It was awesome.

Because in the midst of the groaning and complaining, I saw something amazing being built. Jordan was becoming a writer. She was gaining her footing and finding confidence in something that will serve her well for years to come.

Sure, she may never want to write for a living, but she will have to write for the next 9 years of her life as a student. And then after that, she will want to apply for jobs and write beautiful love letters and perhaps sit and sort her heart out in a journal when her world gets a little too confusing.

I may be biased, but I think writing is pretty important. And so is creating. And so is standing in awe of something wonderful that has been created.

So, I’m gonna be a mom for a minute and brag up on my girl by letting you read something she wrote this year. I hope you feel the wind lifting your hair as you stand next to Jordan on that mountain top.

She Stands Strong by Jordan Phillips, age 12

She stands on the mountain top,

Hair blowing,

Face glowing from the rising sun’s rays;

Inside, she feels warm in an icy cold world;

She smiles,

A smile that stretches a mile,

A smile that says so much;

I am fierce, it screams,

I am strong,

I am kind;

She has found her purpose,

There on the mountain,

And she is not afraid to help others find theirs,

She has joy and hope;

A joy and a hope that is so warm that it melts away the icy cold,

She stands strong,

And many others are encouraged to stand strong beside her.