Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Celebrating an Inspiration

A 21st birthday party and graduation are milestones in and of themselves.

But when both of those milestones happen to occur at the same time, a party is in order.

And when, 21 years ago, it was unclear whether or not either could have been achieved by this person, the celebration is that much more critical...not to mention emotional.

Because when you're born prematurely, only to discover holes have ravaged your heart and a life-threatening open heart surgery is the only thing on the agenda - during which your heart stops for two and a half whole minutes - no one ever expected you to live to 21 years of age, let alone celebrate a graduation from your hospital internship program, despite your mental disability. 

My little sister, Amber, was the hero at the center of Saturday's celebration, held at my parents house. Tears were shed (mainly by me), cheers were whooped, and plenty of food was enjoyed - all the while not forgetting the hard-working miracle we were honoring that day. 

Amber even planned the menu for her party. Despite having heart complications at birth, her food choices aren't always the healthiest - but no one judged her at her own party.

I even made this Spicy Roasted Salsa (I got the recipe from Michelle's blog), which was a hit with the party guests. Just be warned: This is one spicy salsa. I only used two jalapenos and seeded them, too - but it still had a wild (albeit awesome) kick. 

Why must Blogger do this to my photos?

As if Saturday's celebrations weren't enough, Amber has since discovered that - thanks to a wonderful organization called Project Search - she just landed her first "real" job at a hospital in New Hampshire, right by my parents' home. 

On a daily basis, my little sister amazes and inspires me. She is living proof that hard work, dedication and hard-earned independence can be achieved, no matter what. 

Who inspires you on a daily basis?


  1. Aw - congrats to your sister and all that she has accomplished!

  2. I got so choked up yesterday morning while reading this, I accidentally deleted my comment. Great story. Amber is amazing and much of her success is due to her fantastic support system; two strong parents and incredible siblings that are always there for her.

  3. Awww, thanks Aunt Nancy! And so true. :)

  4. I love that the salsa was a big hit! I'm going to make it again for a party next weekend...and I'm going to definitely use just two jalapenos instead of three!

  5. What a wonderful post Michelle! Congrats to your sister!