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Bethany's fifteen year old poem:

Bethany is Fifteen

Dear Bethany, my beloved daughter
I'm so proud of you, here at fifteen
You have a quiet strength, and perseverance
Making your way through the Sophomore scene

I admire you so much for your sweet spirit, your hard work
For who you are inside
In this time - a time that's often tough
When childhood and growing up collide
And you are growing up, full of wisdom and smarts
And maturity, but some of the little girl remains
(All the best parts)
The little girl in you that still wants to hug her dad
Or build a bear, or sing and dance
As I watch you grow it makes me glad
To have been given this blessed, sweet chance
To be the father of such a wonderful girl

You are a thinker, a reader, a writer
So who's editing and writing the school newspaper?
Yes, that's my daughter!
And I believe you could be a published author
Someday, flowing from your willing pen
May be grand stories that will inspire future women and men

And smart, oh girl, you are sharp as a tack
It's hard for most people to even crack
The top quarter, but you are in the elite few
Quietly and diligently to come out of nowhere
and end up ranked way up at number TWO
Now that's amazing in such a huge class.
You have no idea how proud I am of you, my brilliant lass
Now I'll take some credit, my pretty study-buddy
There are some intense study times that we've had
And you know the secret, make it your motto
You can count on this, there's an "A" in "Dad"
(At least when he can read your notes
Those tiny scribblings of yours - gosh my eyesight's bad)

You serve at church, another Roberts in the band
Ten years ago when that started, I never could have planned
Or seen into the future, my own kids taking part
Leading out in worship, singing from the heart

And, can it be? Shall we pray?
That those braces will come off
One fine day
Maybe even before this year's out
Hey, could happen, and I have no doubt
On that day we will all scream and shout!

It won't be long till you're clamoring to drive
(A very normal desire for one who's ten plus five)
Who am I kidding? There's some clamoring already
But I am sure that you will be ready, and steady
When you get behind a wheel. Those skills you'll gain
To confidently pilot your craft lane to lane

And, of course, you are the Actress
Auditions and callbacks
Reciting lines, makeup, the stage
This is your place, and as each day's script turns a page
The world of the theater imbues you
It flows through you
And it's a joy to see you get to engage
This passion at school
No need to wait for you to make the scene
Whether small stage, large stage, or the silver screen
You've already shown what you can do
When you set your mind to it,
You've shown that you own (when your heart's set)
Most anything you want, if you know what I mean
My Pop-Star, there you were, your moment in a magazine
To me you're the celebrity, in every way
Because I celebrate knowing you every single day

Your love for the theater is not just an inclination
It's a passion, a drive, a deep inspiration
And my prayer is that God will grant you
The desires of your heart, as in Him you delight
To glorify Him with your art
When you stand in the spotlight

I have no doubt that you will do well
I have no doubt that your heart will be filled
No doubt in my mind that you will rise
Your heart gladdened and your fears stilled

Though there are so many things to seek, for better or worse
You can't go wrong if you seek the Lord first
His Kingdom, your home, good and perfect things offers
Against the little, shiny trinkets that this world proffers

While many spotlights and stages call and beckon
I pray that God will be your focused center
For He will make you to shine from within
Wherever you are, may He be your Guide and Mentor
Whether on a stage, or alone in a quiet place
May His light always shine on your face

Keep on acting, singing, playing with all you've got
For God has blessed you and given you gifts (a lot!)
I pray you will continue to gain joy from them
So do everything heartily, as to the Lord and not to men

You are a gift, a precious gift to us
And God has blessed me to be your dad
And all of it, smiles and tears, makes me glad
Because I get to watch you growing up into
a beautiful young lady
and to know you, and receive your hugs so sweet
My beautiful daughter with the future laid before her feet

Never forget that the Lord loves you beyond
What you can imagine
Always remember that, though the future seem unsure
He owns your future, plans each step,
To every sadness He is the heart's joyful cure
The sure answer to every question asked
The energy within for every effort tasked
In every moment of loss, the restoring touch
In every quiet time beats His heart that loves you so much
He walks with you through each day
With you - my sweet girl with the quiet spirit
Who's still not afraid to stand before the world
And be the lovely person she was created to be

Happy Birthday!
I love you,

Dad
October 31, 2008