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Bethany's sixteen year old poem:

Bethany is Sixteen

Bethany, my sweet daughter
I'm so proud of you
Sixteen years old - that's hard to believe
And yet you've always been older, I perceive
and more mature than your years
You have such a quiet spirit, strong yet calm
A steady focus, and such cool aplomb
a drive
Toward your astonishing destination
a quiet determination to arrive

You have a big heart
And big dreams
Shining in your thoughts,
like bright, golden beams
Thoughtfulness and insight behind those pretty eyes green
Lovely, long beautiful dark hair,
a pretty smile,
And good friends, people who love you
A family that thinks you're the tops
And the deep love of your heavenly Father above you

And though you desire the leading roles
The center spotlight is not your demand
You have a humbleness about you
You take the part placed in your hand

It's true that all the world's a stage
we live in a very "me first" age
But you're a rarity among theater students,
You bring the opposite of drama
to your day to day
Yours is a quiet muse
Though one not given to conformance
Of course, given a choice you would choose
the very best roles for each performance
But large or small, on stage or off, you approach each part
With your very best, with all your heart
You're the best darn seahorse, Mets-loving Irish nun
And bitter, Russian piano playing star pupil of Colin Jensky
we've ever seen
You're destined for far more than the Winter Garden (ptooey)
No part is too small
And I think you'll find
That your part is big after all

You are growing musically, becoming so skilled
While you practice piano, unphased
Blocking out all of the noise,
The TV blasting Blake's SportsCenter,
the howls of our mutt so crazed
All 'round you enveloping
You are able, incredibly, to continue
Focused
In such a lovely way, your music is developing
Strumming your guitar, singing sweetly
A beautiful sound, heartfelt and true
And I can hardly express how completely
proud I am of you

Sixteen brings with it changes to the normal scenery
New privileges, for instance
the operating of heavy machinery
When it comes to driving, you've been so patient with us
As opposed, I might add, to a certain older sister
Who was a little less patient . . .
She clamored and groused when we tried to resist her
But slow and steady wins the race
You have your checklist, your plans, marking each step complete
It won't be long until you'll find your place
where you belong, in the driver's seat

You're smart, so smart
where do I start?
You are thoughtful, introspective
You are calm waters, running very deep
With such potential
to make the leap
into adulthood
To be an actor, a writer, an editor, a leader
You've got all that is essential
To do well at these or any other
A high powered career woman, actress, you name it
or a superb wife and mother

And this is why I don't worry about you arriving
As you walk your road, just cling to your Father above
My prayer is that whatever happens, wherever you end up
You'll be in a place of great joy, doing what you love
And in your creativity, your spontaneity
you will be glorifying the One
Who's workmanship you are
By the grace of His Son

It is tempting to attempt to script the acts of your life
Into a production that meets your wildest dreams
But I've found that it's far better to let God do so
Though His ways often don't match our preconceived notions
driven by our untrustworthy emotions
His ways are always best
And His path is the path that leads to His glory
And your glorification in Him, growing into His likeness
Finding your place in His great story

You will play the role your loving Father has cast
On His stage, where the last is first and the first is last
Moving through life, blessed and held in His hand
And He will bring you into the Promised land
He is the divine Playwright who loves you dearly
Who has created your part, His workmanship, clearly
And designed you for good works
To be the beautiful work of art He has made
And the beautiful artist that you are
Because He is

So remain focused on the prize
With those beautiful emerald eyes
Fixed on Jesus
Who has gone before you
And has known every hurt
And stores away every tear
May the cup of your joys overflow this year
In worship to the One who is the author of joy
For this is the Year of Bethany
I want to make it so
As parents, we love all our kids equally, of course
But I want you to know
if love were a cake, we do our best to be precise
And cut each piece the same size
But today you'd get the first slice

So have a great year sixteen
Sometimes life can feel like taking on
the best team in the world
And hopes can be downgraded, in an age so cynical and satirical
But great moments are born from great opportunity
and, for you, sweetie, I believe in Miracles
Regardless of the obstacles
This year, you'll skate with them, you'll stay with them
You are meant to be where you are. This is your time
By God's grace, and filled with His courage
I know you're going to make it
The stage is set. You know your lines
Now go out there
and take it!

Happy Birthday!
I love you,

Dad
November 2, 2009