Yesterday our tiny bundle of joy who came into the world weighing 5 lbs. 14 oz. turned 45 years old, a fact that is astounding to her daddy and me. How in the world have this many years passed since that life-changing event occurred and this beautiful person came into our lives??
We brought Laura Katherine home to Moss Chapel Road in early November of 1973. She attended Carol Jane White’s preschool class, Burleson kindergarten, Crestline for grades 1-5, Hartselle Junior High for 6th-8th, and Hartselle High School for 9th-12th, graduating 4th in her class in 1992. She was dedicated, saved and baptized at First Baptist Hartselle with too many Sunday School teachers, GA leaders, choir teachers, VBS leaders, Bible drill coaches and preachers to name. She had 2 piano teachers in her life — her mother and Mrs. Janet Varner.
Suffice it to say, that Laura is a product of Hartselle, AL and proudly calls it her home town, but she has lived, gotten driver’s licenses and become a registered voter in the states of Washington, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia, in addition to Alabama.
Laura was offered scholarships to several colleges, notably Mississippi State and Vandy, but accepted the President’s Scholarship to Auburn — for which we were immensely grateful. She got a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in mathematics from Auburn, then went on to Georgia Tech for her master’s. She is now an adjunct teacher of mathematics for Purdue University Global, their online degree program. Although she is happy when Tech or Purdue have success, she is an Auburn Tiger win, lose or tie. Thank heavens!!
Laura now lives in Rome, Georgia with her husband David Baggett, who is certified in prosthetics and orthotics, and is the homeschooling mom to their children, Nathan (12) and Megan (10). They met at Auburn when they both signed up to take a course at Lakeview Baptist Church designed to help them know how to share the Gospel. She teaches a Tuesday morning Bible study at their church (West Rome Baptist) and fills in at the keyboard when she’s invited to do so.
Throughout Laura’s years in Hartselle, she was known for 3 things in particular: making very high grades, behaving herself (praise the Lord!) and playing the piano.
Here are some things you might not know about Laura:
- The summer after she graduated from HHS she spent 10 weeks touring with the Celebrant Singers — from the Pacific to the Atlantic, across the Atlantic to Bulgaria, and then back across the country to California. She slept in 72 different beds that summer and logged a zillion miles in a bus seat.
- During one of her college summers, she participated in an extended mission project working with Asian students in Seattle.
- Laura is the only one, so far, to have been a member of the HHS Performers for all 4 years of high school.
- Laura is an amazing analyzer of people and situations. She can make a spreadsheet or a pros/cons list with the best of them.
- Laura is fascinated by Enneagrams — a way of assessing personality types — and has every member of her family “pegged to a T.” She has studied this in such depth that she now teaches classes on the subject.
- Laura has written a book, “Making Room for Jesus,” which is available on Amazon, and we’re hoping she has a few more in the works.
- When Laura turned 40, she started experimenting with various hair colors. So far, we’ve enjoyed pink, red, purple, and blue. For a few months, it was back to its highlighted blonde default setting, but just in time for this birthday, a fresh pink streak was added. If this is as rebellious as she ever gets, we’ll be extremely grateful.
- She may be quiet, but she is ALWAYS thinking. And, if she gets the opportunity and wants to share a thought or two, it will be worth hearing. In that way, she is very much like her daddy.
- She has a gift for selecting greeting cards. When you receive one from her, you know that she has deliberated and chosen one that is perfectly suited.
Here are some things Laura probably doesn’t know (deeply enough) about herself:
- How funny she is. Her humor may be less flamboyant than her brother’s, but it’s quick and hysterical.
- How valuable she is to her family and her friends. She enriches our lives immeasurably.
- How much she is admired by those who know her.
- How much I smile inwardly (and outwardly) when someone says she’s my “clone.” For most of her life, people have said she was “the spitten image of Steve Pearson,” but as she’s grown into adulthood, she looks more like me — a fact that probably causes her some consternation but makes me happy.
- How proud her daddy and I have ALWAYS been of her. She is our daughter “in whom we are well-pleased.”
6. The Bible describes a woman named Abigail like this in 1 Samuel 25:3: “Abigail, who was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance.” I think those words apply to our Laura, as well.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FIRSTBORN!! We love you and pray you’ll have many, many more great years to impact the world.