FC: CELEBRATING MELISSA
1: Dear Melissa, We wanted to do something special to honor you at this special time. Not only are you now 16 years old, it is the anniversary of your adoption and being sealed into our family forever. It is also Valentine's Day, such an appropriate day to celebrate these very special events. We hope that you enjoy this book full of memories and with some messages of love from you family and friends that love you so very much.*We feel so blessed that Heavenly Father opened the way for you to join our family. You have brought much joy and laughter to our family. You have so much ability and we hope you have a wonderful life as you continue to learn and grow. With all our Love, Mom and Dad February, 2011
2: TO OUR BEAUTIFUL MELISSA, Always remember that True Beauty starts from the inside. Here are some some tips to live by: AUDREY HEPBURN'S BEAUTY SECRETS (shared with her family just weeks before she died) For attractive lips, speak works of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you never walk alone. We leave you a tradition of the future. The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, redeemed and redeemed and redeemed. Never throw anyone away. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand you'll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you'll discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the second for helping others. You've great days still ahead of you. May there be many of them!
3: We celebrate the Birth of Melissa Michelle Sommer | August 10, 1994
4: September, 1996 we welcomed Melissa into our home! | Melissa was a ray of Sunshine in our Home. I would often sing "You are my Sunshine" to her. | Trina and "Pat pat" | Our neighbors gave us a "baby shower" for Melissa. | Look where we found Melissa at a family gathering ta Grandma & Grandpa Cline's!
5: Melissa quickly became a "Daddy's Girl, as you can see!" | First Day home, Melissa was rocking big sister Natalie
6: Melissa became legally adopted as our Daughter and Sister on February 12, 1998 | We took the family to Nauvoo when Melissa was almost 3. I love the symbolism of her standing in with the sculptures of the family.
7: Melissa was Sealed in the Temple to be part of our Family Forever on February 14, 1998 | When Melissa was 2, her favorite song was "I Love to See the Temple." She could spot the spires often when we were driving and would immediately start singing.
8: Here is our Home in Riverton, where Melissa lived until she was 10 years old in 2004. As you can see, we never knew where we would find her! She was an adventurous and creative girl from the start!
9: Memories from Grade School Years | Friends from Riverton | Melissa & Brooke | Friends from Sunshine Camp | Would you like to be served?
10: spring is here! | More Memories
11: spring | Moving to East Millcreek August 31, 2004 | Melissa's new Kitten for her Birthday a year later. | Building our new home on Millstream Lane | Melissa and Tiger.... Ain't he cute!!
12: Having Fun with New Friends and Family! | "Water Ballet" with Heather | Melissa and Jefferson | "Hanging" around with Mariana on the rope swing! | Kaley and Melissa
13: The Adventures Continue.... | Paintball Wars at Zion Ponderosa | Quickwater Family Camp | "Sevies" are the Best!
14: Traveling to Exotic Thailand Picking up Heather from her Mission, July 2006
15: Fun Times
16: A Very Eventful Time of Melissa's Life! | Knee Surgery after being hit by a car while walking to school | Photo Shoot | "Drama Queen" | Dance Concert
17: Going to Texas for Zarissa's Wedding | Bridesmaid at Natalie's Wedding | SPECIAL MEMORIES | Crazy Sisters! | I want my Mummy!
18: We Are Family!!
19: F A M I L I E S | ARE | F O R E V E R
20: Dear Melissa, I wanted to write you a short note to tell you how much I love you. Even though I'm not your biological father, I believe you might have chosen me before you were born, as the father to love and raise you; and I thank you. You have so much potential that you can achieve if you so desire. I look forward to continue to have some great times with you in the future. Again, thanks for letting me be part of your life. Love, Dad | Dear Melissa, It's hard to express how much I Love you. I Love your infectious Laugh and the Twinkle in your Eyes when you are spouting off an outrageous remark. My life has been so much more because of you. You are an amazing girl, if only you will learn to know the Goodness we see in you. I know God loves you so very much. There are so many that Love you and see what you have to offer the world. You have a kind heart. You have your own special flair that you add to whatever you do. I will treasure the many joyful memories I have of you as I've seen you learn and grow from a curly headed moppet into a beautiful young woman. I hope you will always Listen to and Follow the BEST that is inside of you and know that I BELIEVE in you. BELIEVE in your ability to overcome Life's Challenges. Love you Forever, Mom | "Not Flesh of my flesh Nor bone of my bone But still miraculously My own. Never forget For a single minute You didn't grow under my heart But in it."
21: Dear Melissa, What a lucky Grandma I am to have Janice and Richard choose you for a daughter! This all happened while I was serving a mission in England, so I missed out on all the fun and celebration of your adoption. So this is very special for me to be a part of celebrating fourteen years of you being Melissa Sommer---What a wonderful, special occasion to celebrate!! I remember what a darling, curly headed little girl you were! You were so full of an energy and love of life. It was as though, even at that young age, you felt and appreciated all the love and kindness you were receiving from everyone. It touched my heart to feel the love and joy you so openly expressed. So I honor you....it's been a challenging journey for you. Heavenly Father loves you with an endless love as has been evidenced with all the blessings you have been blessed with. You could not have received a more dedicated and loving mother and father that would love you any more than Janice and Richard have, plus two sisters that give love endlessly. I have had a number of people comment to me: "Does Melissa realize how lucky, (and blessed) she is?! And we ALL feel lucky and blessed to have YOU! WE LOVE YOU!!! With Love, Grandma | This is Grand Dad Cline speaking, and I'd like to endorse everything that Grandma Cline has said in her letter to you. The years have slid by so fast it's hard to believe you are a grown up teen-ager. In fact, to me, you look like a lovely young woman. Your eyes are bright and clear. We just pray for the best for you in your coming years...in your schooling, in your finding employment which would permit you to earn a good income. The truth is, you are surrounded by loving family and if there's anything we can do for you, let us know. Love, Grand Dad
22: Melissa, you have a great sense of humor and a great smile. Bobby really likes you and you are going to be the Awesome, Sassy and Funny Aunt every nephew wants. It's been amusing going on various vacations with you as well. I remember how much you enjoyed Yellowstone. I remember how you didn't want to leave. LOL. I'm looking forward to more enjoyable times to come. Yours Very Truly, Kyle | Melissa, you are so amazing. I love singing to the radio together and bouncing up and down in the car with the windows rolled down. I love our pizza and movie nights. Remember when we watched "She's the Man" and were laughing so hard we were crying? You are fabulous and have a great future ahead of you. I will be able to brag to everyone about my cool CI sister. Thank you for everything and keep up the good work. I love you! Heather | "Thank you for being my kleenex and letting me wipe my snot on you Melissa. You are the best Aunt ever!." Love, Bobby | Kyle's Favorite Melissa Quotes: "Your baby drools like a golden retriever!" Yellowstone Vacation "OK, that dolg is freaking me out, Like, it keeps staring at me!" Jiffy Lube
23: Dear Melissa, I hope you are having a wonderful birthday party! I missed seeing you at Thanksgiving and I hope I will see you next time I come to Utah. As I think about growing up, I remember all the times we played together as kids. I remember playing with your dog Lucy in your old house and the rabbits in your back yard. We would also watch movies in your basement, and play on that small trampoline you had. We would have sleepovers, and play till midnight, it was so fun. I also remember when I would go up with your family to the condo and we would go swimming, and we watched "The Sand Lot" and ate tons of food. Haha I remember when we went ice skating and you were holding onto your dad the whole time! :) We have gone through some pretty crazy things together no doubt. You are such a unique girl with so many different talents. I remember Christmas one year when I learned "A Thousand Miles" and you sang it with me. That was awesome! Keep smiling and being you, and when I come back to Utah we will make more memories together :) I love you and miss you and I hope you are having a most fantastic birthday! Love, Brooke | Dear Melissa, Happy Birthday! I hope you are enjoying this special birthday. What a great time of life. You have always enjoyed life--I always remember you with a big smile on your face. Brooke and I had fun talking about some of the things we did while you guys were growing up. I remember your tie dye birthday party when we tie dyed all of those shirts. They turned out so cute!! It was always a party when you came to sleep over at our house. It seemed like you and Brooke always stayed up late talking (or at least that is the story you told me). Your sisters and family always had so much fun with you--you added a bright spark to your family. I hope we get to see you next time we visit Utah....we miss all of you and hope you are happy and doing well! Have a great day.... Love, Julie
24: Melissa, I love you and Happy 16th Birthday! Happy Valentine's Day, Happy Sealing Day...Wow!! Lots to be happy for! So, you can say that you achieved famosity (is that a word?) at West Ridge! it's crazy how many national articles were written about you guys! And Glenn Beck talked about it for almost his whole show. Wow! I'm proud of you and all that you've accomplished!! Keep at it; it's worth it! I have a lot of fun memories with you. I remember when you first came to live with us. With your vivacious smile, sweet personality and curly blond locks, we couldn't help but love you! I remember jumping with you on the tramp and laying by you and counting the stars. I also remember you made breakfast in bed for me a few times. You even did eggs once. They weren't quite cooked all the way but I ate it all because it was extra delicious because you had made it and gone through the trouble to make it. And I am still here to tell about it. You are so creative and full of life. I remember you could find a purpose for anything (like making an egg carton into a boat). Even now you think outside the box. That's my kind of thinking! You are not just creative with objects, but now you are creative with words. Not only do you do a good job, but writing poems and stories are a good way to get out what you're feeling. Good job! The best poems are written about things that are close to the heart of the author and stuff that the author really knows about and feels. | Hmmm.this is starting to be an essay. Well, I love you and pray for you always! Please 'keep your head in the game' (remind you of anything?) and keep doing what you need to , to progress and get to a healthy way of living life. My kids love you and I really want you in their lives! There is so much they can learn from you! Love you lots! --Nat | SISTERS
25: Dear Auntie Em - we mean, Aunt Melissa, We love you and talk about you all the time to mommy and daddy! Well Addie does, I (Alex) can't talk yet. But if I could I would. Thank you for playing with us and running and jumping with us. It's so much fun! We can't wait to see you and play with you again! Toodles! Love, Addie the Crazy and Alex the Hulk | Melissa, Good Luck with the rest of West Ridge Academy. Stay focused with it. You'll be happy that you did' BTW, I heard a thing about your team on the Glenn Beck radio show. I guess that makes you a star! Happy Birthday! Love, Zach
26: My first memory of Melissa is going to girl's rough out camp. She was still a beehive but just a couple months from turning 14. We were unloading the cars and she was upset about no cell phone coverage. "'I will never last 4 days up here without my phone.' "'I am going to die up here, I can't believe I have no phone.' We laughed with her and told her it would be ok. After we had unloaded, set up camp and were able to relax a bit, Melissa admitted a phenomenal thing. You must realize it had only been a couple of hours. She said, 'It is kind of nice not to have to worry about who is texting me and checking my phone all the time.' We all smiled, refraining from the 'I told you so's.' We were able to laugh and have a great time the entire 4 days without distraction. My next memory is probably my favorite. | Melissa is a very beautiful and bright girl. Although she doesn't tend to highlight her intelligence when she is around others, she is quite smart and knows how to think through things. Melissa is also a fairly gifted writer and picks out details that other people may miss in a given everyday situation. Of course, everyone knows that Melissa is accepting and generous towards different people who are around her. She doesn't think twice about helping someone who may be in need of something. Probably my favorite thing about Melissa lately is that she is willing to leave her comfort zones, try new things, and has the desire to better herself. She has put forth a lot of effort, and still has some things to work through, but she is still trying to become her best self and that is impressive. I am thankful for my friendship with Melissa, and I am glad that I know her. I expect that she is one of those people I will always keep tabs on the rest of my life. I smile when I think about it, because I believe she has a happy and fulfilling future if she chooses. I hope you do it Big hugs and smiles, Sue Astle | Melissa came to my house after school one day and we colored her hair. She was so excited and looking forward to not having to 'color' her hair with markers :) We started the process and all the while we laughed, talked and had a great time. Melissa was very patient with me as I had never done this before. The color looked good but I did not do a very thorough job. She didn't complain and was very thankful and kind. We styled her hair, did her makeup and then went to Young Womens that night. She had so many compliments on her hair and makeup, she was sparkling. Every memory with Melissa has laughter involved. She is always smiling and has something funny to say. I love my time and memories with her. During those years while I was in Young Women, I learned so much from her. She probably doesn't realize the positive impact she has had on my life but I am a better person because of her influence. All my love, Lisa Barnett
27: Melissa, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I can't tell you how excited I am to have you in the Laurel class. Your fun loving attitude and unique experiences and perspective on life are going to open so many doors for the gospel to take a unique role in your life --and I know they're going to teach me a lot. But more than that, I'm just excited that I get to hang out with you and get to know you more. I already love you from the few times that we've been together and I'm looking forward to many more times. Your 16th year is going to be great and I'm so excited to have the chance to share in it in a small way. Love, E (Elizabeth Vincent) | Dear Melissa, I looked up your basketball game on-line and you and your team are famous for your efforts and good attitude. It reminds me of the day at Shivers getting locked out of the car and what we had to do to get in. Your sense of humor and laughter was so needed and my two little grandkids remember you painting fingernails with them on a nice sunny day on the back porch. We need to make another trip to Shivers when you are home-- any shake flavor and any size. We have missed you in YW and are anxious for you to be back every week and we will have more great times. Thank you for your friendship- we love you and your family. Hope you have a great 16th year-good times ahead. A Friend Always, Shellee Neff | Melissa, Oh how I miss your cute smile. You always make me laugh and I miss our little chats. I hope you are doing well and learning so much about yourself and life. You have grown up so much over the past few years that I've gotten to know you. You are an amazing person and I can't wait to see what you will do with all your energy and determination. Remember always that I love you and that you are in my prayers and thoughts often. Love, Lisa Blanck