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Bethany's eleven year old poem:

Bethany Is Eleven

Bethany, oh Bethany
My eleven year old delight
My birthday girl,
Facing the world
with pretty green eyes alight
A bright smile and a knowing glance
Or, if good fortune smiles - oh blessed chance!
Maybe even a kiss on the cheek for her dad
An event that always makes me glad

Reflecting back on your years
Ten plus one
I see my little girl growing up
Your elementary years are done
Perhaps not ready for Junior High?
Well, I would never think that
Of a girl who looks so cool
going to school
In a pink skirt with matching pink hat
Rocking out in 249,
assimilating just fine
Though there appear to be bus-ride rules
That I don't quite get
Eighth graders own the back
And that regulation appears quite set
in stone, well, they better watch out
Because Bethany's on board
And this girl's got clout
If I were them, I'd let you sit
Wherever you choose
Though they may think you haven't paid your dues
Yes, it's a post-elementary world
And there's Daring Bethany, junior high flag unfurled

And "daring" is the right word
As all your life you've been the one
Who thought being safe was somewhat absurd
(And we have a string
of doctor visits, fractures and stitches
To prove it :-)
Because never was a mountain in your way
That didn't make you want to move it
You bring it, girl, in whatever you do
From volleyball games on a Saturday
the determination in the way you play
To summer swim meets, battling through the water
To reach the goal faster than the last time
My determined little daughter

I'm so proud of who you are
And of who I see you becoming, dear
As you grow in wisdom and stature
And beauty year by year
And my heart's desire
Is for your heart's fire
To be lit by your Lord more and more
For the junior high days
Can be challenging in ways
That the times before were not
Full of fun, but also rife with things that can trouble you
And hopefully times of rest between battles fought
And - I pray - much laughter and many joys too

Drama is your love
But you've been careful thus far
To avoid becoming a drama queen
A trait perhaps for later years?
By then your life might tend
Toward a series of
Epic Tragedies
And bed-flopped soliloquys
And that will be okay
For every young girl must have her day
When emotions get their fullest play
But all that being said
I'm glad that,
for the most part,
at least for awhile
You have a mostly unflopped bed
And a relatively untroubled hairstyle.

You continue to lead
And I see that blessed trait
picking up speed
As the years go by
You are unafraid to step out, to make a friend,
to take a stand
Unwilling, regardless of the pressure
To compromise from the way that God has planned
for you to go
And I feel that you are helped in this
By your desire for God, as I see you
Spending time each morning seeking Him
Or going to ABS, in the back of the car
With a friend or two
Excitedly talking, as only sixth grade girls can do
With a new topic
every three seconds
But with the underlying theme
Fulfilling my deepest dreams
that God has a hold of you

You are shrewd, my dear
In a beautiful way
Both spiritually, and in the day to day
For your whole life you've always
Been driven to pursue
You have always known
What you want, and what's best
and begone with the rest
But also, you have always loved to be pursued
You've played hard-to-get
though that can be misconstrued
Because truly you love to be chased
Many times round the sofa we've raced
Your peals of laughter ringing
With Blake as your defender, his lightsaber singing
For the catch and tickle or catch and kiss game
And in this pursuit I find a deeper truth
About you, Bethany

Because in your love for the chase
More and more I see
That it is God who you are chasing
And He also chases thee
He is your soon coming Prince
And He has already caught you
and kissed you
And filled you, and blessed you
And, trust me on this, He will be the one
Who will take you
successfully through
The sixth grade, and on into the years beyond
Because He is far more than just fond
of you
You are His beloved, His great prize
When you're happy He's the one
who sparkles in those pretty green eyes
And when your sad and the tears flow
You can always run to the One who will go
Before you in all things, to battle for you
For He is the one who is faithful and true
And will fight for the loveliness He sees in you

And I will too
For you are my beloved Bethany
Junior High is a new world, and here you are at the start
But no matter what, you will always be my sweetheart
As I live for the chase
To catch and kiss my prize
To see the smile on your pretty face
And the sparkle in those emerald eyes

Happy Birthday!

I love you
Daddy
October 4, 2004