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Bethany's seven year old poem:

Bethany is Seven

They tell me that seven is the number of completeness
And that may be so, but I'll tell you, sweetness
That you've really just begun your beginning
In these past seven years, you've continually been winning
        My heart and my admiration
For your natural energy, smarts, and contagious jubilation

You were born just seven short years ago
When I was young and spry
and your Mom and I
Were just done with our penultimate preggo
And you've had me figured out right from the start
Like you've had most everything - girl you're so smart
And right behind those twinkling, beautiful greens
Is a quick mind and a sharp wit, scoping out each scene

Mischievous? Well, maybe just a bit
Outgoing? At every party, you are the hit
Coy? You certainly know how to play "hard to get"
And it usually involves a cross-country race
Just to catch you and hug you and kiss your sweet face
"No DAD!" you'll declare, with just a slight air
of desperation -
And a rolling of the eyes - "You didn't shave - go away!"
And I'll walk away dejected
Yes once again - dratted whiskers! - rejected
Well, at least for five seconds
Until you run up with a flourish and a grin
And giggle "Daddy! Daddy! Chase me again!"

Athletic? In soccer you were the coach's fave
"This one - she's a killah" he would rave
In an accent from Liverpool (pretty cool)
And a wink and a nudge at you out on the wing
Dribbling the ball, it should be no surprise, sweet thing
That you were our favorite too

Athletic endeavors just fit you well
You've got the heart, you've got the moves, and I can tell
That if you want, you will have your way
In just about any sport you choose to play

Smart? Oh wow - where do I start
Street-wise and canny, sharp as a tack
Lost as I can get in the car, and yet Bethany's keeping track
Of where we are and where we're going - "Daddy, this isn't the way"
(gosh, I was hoping no one noticed… but what the hey)
"You're right, dear - I missed a turn or two (or ten) back yonder"
You got your sense from your Mom - no need to wonder
about that
And in school - as an experienced 1st grader you knew the plays
Making good grades, obeying miss Mace
And making us proud - just like always
(and did I mention? I've never seen a lobster with a cuter face)

You're a leader, and a jokester, and a friend so true
And attracting attention - well that's another thing you do
Quite well, as a matter of fact, as you act out
An amazingly involved and elongated story
Or sing in all your very loud glory
God has gifted you with volume, an amazing amount
A restaurant filled with 100 talking people? No prob
Just crank it up some more - and feel my eardrums throb
I can always hear Bethany!

Beth-Beth, you are so fun, little goose
Taking you to the mall, as you run around loose
You're selling, selling, selling, a dealmaker so shrewd
No matter my wallet, no matter my mood
A Barbie she'll have before we're done
'Cause gettin' stuff at the mall is just so much fun!

You drive a hard bargain, my little negotiator
"No" means "Next Opportunity"
        and you hear "Now" when I say "Later"
        (or even "Never" for that matter)
But I admire that persistent streak that's all your own
And I pray that it will serve you well when you're grown
When what's at stake isn't a Barbie or a dress
But your good heart, or the faith you confess
May you stand your ground then, as you now do
And be a leader for good, and show others how to
Stand firm, or flee, but never give in
To the enemies of the grace that now you live in

Yes - what a change we've seen in you this year
From that night when, after a stirring message in KidZone
When you got home you took Mom aside
And prayed and opened your heart so wide
For Jesus to come in - yes you'd been taking steps
Towards Him for quite some time, but now you were ready
To walk over the threshold and into a new day
Of trusting in Jesus and letting Him guide your way
It was a privilege like few I'll ever know
To baptize you, sweetie, so that you could show
The world that you love Jesus and are following Him

And may He bless you and keep you
Protect you and sweep you
Off of your feet as you enter this year
May His voice be the loudest voice that you hear
As you grow in Him and grow up yourself
May treasures in heaven be your wealth
For - on the ball as you may be
My prayer is that you will clearly see
That for guidance and direction
The only One you can truly trust in is He
who now holds your heart

So - my prayer for you is for a blessed year 8
I love you, my sweet
        It's gonna be great!

I love you
Daddy
August 29th, 2000