One of the things I loved most about Jae was her imagination.
She could take a mundane moment and transform it into one which was amusing and playful.
For instance, as a child, she loved "My Little Ponys". They were not a very expensive toy so we easily acquired a great deal of them, each with a different color of mane, tail or eyes. She and her sisters would brush the pony's "hair' for hours!
I can recall a hundred moments in WalMart when she acted like one of her Ponys.
She pranced beside the cart, her hands drawn up in front of her tiny chest.
She whinnied, snorted and pawed the ground whenever the buggy stopped.
She would toss her head as if she had a "mane".
She nuzzled and sniffed.
Another time when her imagination drew us all in was at bath time.
When the plastic yellow shower cap went on her head, Jae instantly became an impersonator!
She would pull the cap forward and call herself a golfer.
She would push it to the side where it hung off one side of her head, and da da! she was a painter! Holding the palette and swishing the brush...
If she hung it off the back of her head that meant she was a hippie.
If I fluffed it all around the top of her head then she would suck in her lips, scrunch up her face and bend over as if she were an old lady walking with a cane.
Casey and I were thoroughly entertained.
Piano practices became concerts for her stuffed animals. She'd arrange them in a circle on the floor, formally introduce a song to them, crack her fingers and throw her imaginary coat tails over the back of the piano bench.
With great seriousness she would bend over the keys and play chop sticks, peter-peter-pumpkin-eater or funny little song.
Every bedtime shower became a concert.
Occasionally we read a fairy tale, but most of our bedtime stories were made from scratch.
Tooth fairies had to untie the tooth from her finger.
She wanted a "collection" that no one else could duplicate. That's why there is a plastic butter dish full of her toenails in her closet. For years she clipped 'em and picked 'em up.
(To identify hazardous waste and protect the public, she drew a skull and crossbones on the butter-dish).
She loved pigs. It's the only animal that her daddy said "No" to.
She gave her diary a name and poured her heart out often to "Dear Petey".
She ended her entries with achingly sweet sayings such as "Goodnight to me!", or "Til tomorrow" or "Sweet 16 dreams". One of her last entries was signed off with the saying "Love, Peace and chicken grease".
She always signed her name Jae, and then put a tiny heart nearby.
As she grew up, much of the imaginary play-times went away. However, to our enjoyment, Jae's optimism in life continued.
She was quick to laugh, quick to love and quick to forgive.
She was a little bit shy, a little bit confident and had a huge desire to make and keep friends.
She was a follower of Jesus and was really just coming into a better knowledge of Him when she went to meet Him face-to-face.