Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This is Julianna.

She is one of my Brave Girls. Julianna is tough. She is hilariously funny. And she is bold--she is not afraid of too much and will try anything. She loves to hula hoop. I believe someday she’ll break the world record if she wants to. She is petite, but that belies her strength. She doesn’t back down. She knows who she is and she’s proud of herself. She has a gleam in her eye and a spring in her step and she loves to laugh, and dance. When I turn on the music in the studio on Saturday mornings, she starts bouncing. She’ll sing out loud with me, too. And if you know me, singing out loud is a passion of mine! Who cares what we sound like?!

The thing about Julianna that you might not be able to tell right away is she was born with arthrogyposis, which is a fancy way of saying that some of her joints fused together in the womb. In Julianna’s case her arms are affected: her elbow joints mainly, but it affects her wrists and her shoulders too. She works with a physical therapist at school. There is a chance someday she will have to have surgery. But she’s gaining strength and mobility every day so the doctors think she’ll be fine without it. It’s invasive and there are no guarantees it will correct the problem for sure. So for now, they watch and wait.

She doesn’t often ask me for help even though I know things aren’t always easy for her. It’s more difficult for her to open a jar of paint, hold a brush, use a stamp or a can of spray paint. But let me tell you something: She is brave with her art. No inhibitions. Not one. She might ask me a question or two, but then she goes for it and she makes it look easy.

I loved loved loved her self portrait. Her wild and wavy hair, the arch of the eyebrows, her long long neck. And best of all, her “I Am” poem. Not just a line or two like I asked the girls to write, but the whole poem. She wrote it all over the page, some of it on the right, some of it on the left. Some of it at the top. Layered over pieces of her portrait. SInce I know that writing can be a difficult task for Julianna, and she was “writing” with a paint pen no less, I watched to see if she would get frustrated or ask me to do it. When her mom walked in at the end of class she assumed that I had done it. But I didn’t. Julianna did it all herself.

It was beautiful.

And bold.

And incredibly inspiring.

Just like Julianna.


  1. what a beautiful little girl and you are such a gift to bring her into our world! xoxo

  2. i love coming here, seeing all the fun and goodness.
    ...hey julianna. i love your spt.

  3. she is the BEST hula hooper EVER!!!