Dana, you won! Now we have another excuse to get together, so I can give you your prize :)
For those of you who don’t know Dana, let me tell you about this amazing woman and friend. First of all, lest you be saying her name incorrectly in your head, it’s pronounced like Diana without the i, not “Dayna”. I first got to know Dana at a youth retreat when I was in grade 7, she in grade 9. I heard her and her best friend Dana (Dayna) trying to get the boys to figure out how to pronounce their names correctly with the above explanation. I don’t know if they got it, but it obviously made sense to me if I remember it 14 years later. Dana amazed me with her coolness when we all were painting our nails in the cabin one evening. She came prepared, with Q-Tips to dip in nail polish remover to clean up the polish that accidentally got on skin beside the nail. Brilliant! Here was a girl I could look up to for wisdom :)
It is funny how two years can make someone seem so much older when you are young, but over the years Dana has become a close friend. We have shared major life experiences during similar times, which I think has drawn us together a lot. She and her husband were married a year before Clay and I. They had a really short engagement, and Dana, I remember being so impressed by your sureness and commitment. You guys knew what you wanted, and you went for it. I love that. Being some of the first in our circle of friends to get married, it was nice to know we were not the only crazy ones getting married young. It was also nice to know we weren’t the only crazy ones having babies young! Markus and Dana’s oldest son are only five months apart in age, and her daughter and Bailey are one month apart! Our kids get along so well, and it’s always a joy to get together for coffee. We share a lot of similar interests, so it’s always fun to chat about cooking, being green, how to raise our kids, and how to love Jesus without getting jaded by the crazies.
The thing I admire most about Dana is her strength. Dana, I’ve always seen you as a woman who knows who she is and what she believes. When you lost her dad unexpectedly last year, my heart absolutely broke for you and your family to have to walk such a difficult road. I know it has been more difficult than I could imagine, but through it all I have seen you, through the grace of Jesus, to be strong in your weakness. Your honesty was an immense encouragement to me as I sat by, not knowing what to say or do. The Lord is doing a good work in you, and I am blessed to be your friend and learn from you.