Growing Girl{s}

There were many signs of aging around here last week.  Here are a few examples: 
1. I received a prescription for bifocals. {Sigh…}
2. Robert and I paid our first of many Baylor tuition bills. {Only by God’s provision.}
3. I bought a MacBook {Another amazing provision.}, and registered for a class at the Apple store, just like my almost-75-year-old Dad who loves to tote his DESKTOP to the store on a regular basis.
4. Our youngest child became a teenager!

 And since my aging is not nearly as exciting and certainly not as CUTE as my new 13 year-old daughter’s, the rest of this post will be about her.

We began the day like all birthdays around here with a special breakfast-to-order on the red plate and gift opening.  She got her much desired typewriter and two new pairs of shoes to add to her already-rather-large shoe collection. Oh, and not-real-nerd-glasses ~ a must have for typewriting.  For several days I’ve been hearing what I thought to be light hammering coming from her room, but it is only Kayla pecking away at the manual keys of her new gift ~ writing letters, stories, and more.

This birthday marks the end of Kayla’s “Quest.”  When she turned 12 she was given a list of challenges to complete before turning 13. She is almost finished!  One of the requirements was to hike the Seven Sisters in the Mt. Holyoke range, and so last Thursday we did just that.

It was the perfect day for hiking ~ cool and a bit overcast, but clear for scenic views.  We packed a lunch, and a couple of the books she’s working on, and made the trek to the peak in about 3 hours stopping along the way to eat and read and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  I think Beautiful Girlhood is such a wonderful book for girls this age.  We read two chapters during our time together: “The Strength of Obedience” and “Making Herself Beautiful.” Originally published in 1922, I’m astonished at how timeless are the unique struggles of women.  You can read it for free here, and here’s an excerpt from one of the chapters we read on our hike:
“A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly.  A woman who is not beautiful cannot properly fill her place.  But, mark you, true beauty is not of the face, but of the soul.  There is a beauty so deep and lasting that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it comely. This is the beauty to be first sought and admired.  It is a quality of the mind and heart that is manifested in word and deed.  A happy heart, a smiling face, loving words, and kind deeds, and a desire to be of service will make any girl beautiful.”
Robert met us at the top and drove us home after taking this picture. 3 hours of semi-steep hiking is challenge enough.  We were thankful for the lift home!

 We’ll be celebrating the completion of Kayla’s Quest with a few special older women as well as a few of Kayla’s closest friends in a couple of weeks.  Until then, she’s working hard to complete a few last requirements, and evidently having quite a lot of fun this summer…

Attending youth camp with friends and hanging out at the beach {and Starbucks, and Pinkberry…}

Being treated to dinner and silliness by a long-time friend…

 Performing in two numbers at a dance recital ~ acrobatics and hip hop. She did great!

Really proud of the young woman this little girl is becoming.

Came across this verse a few weeks back, and have been praying it for my now BIG kiddos:

For I will pour out water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants; and they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water. This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,” and that one will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, “Belonging to the Lord,” and will name Israel’s name with honor.

Isaiah 44: 3-5

Yes, growing girls here for sure.  Praying that this new teenager and blossoming young woman will be “like a poplar by streams of water…belonging to the Lord.”

Carefree & Cruisin’ {I wish.}

Yesterday, for almost an hour and many miles, this was our view.

If only it had been our reality!

Actually, driving ALONE TOGETHER, even though it was after some extreme packing and house-cleaning, and was also on the way to a crazy week of always-amazing-but-always-exhausting youth camp, did offer a bit of the carefree cruisin’ that I’ve been longing for. I can’t even remember the last time Robert and I were alone for any amount of time or able to talk, uninterrupted by tasks or needs or deadlines or obligations or meetings.

I felt like I could finally take a deep breath as we followed this seemingly unburdened, pleasure-crusin’ couple.

Summer is always crazy, and most of my friends seem to experience the same reality.  But this summer?  This summer takes the cake for craziest, and it may just be making me a little crazy, too. Every week is booked.  I can count the days on one hand that have no appointment, party, meeting, travel…you name it. And I don’t like for  life to be that way, but it IS that way for now.

And really, it’s all good stuff ~ things I’m very thankful for and trying to “treasure and ponder in my heart” as they come and go…

a homeschool graduate!
trips to Texas
family visits
college orientations
parties to celebrate Kory and many other graduates
thank you notes
graduation gifts
mission trips
summer camps
small groups
conferences and practicums
tag sales
dinner parties

…but I’m exhausted.

We arrived at Gordon College yesterday for a weekend of staff preparation, but I can hardly think straight to prepare. I gave it a try today, but made no real progress. Hopefully the morning run, the mid-day nap, the Real Simple perusal, the iced-coffee, and the amazing Brazilian dinner and flan dessert we all had tonight will give me the energy and nourishment I need to start working on the Bible study I need to lead this week.

Really, though, I know it was the Lord forcing me calling me to rest today, and it will also be Him who sustains and carries me through the week.  I read this passage out of Isaiah earlier in the week, and know that is is so true.  The Lord has carried and sustained me from my birth, and He will continue to no matter the circumstances.

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne by Me from birth and have been carried from the womb;

Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you.
Isaiah 46: 3-4

I haven’t blogged in over a month. Last time this happened, which wasn’t that long ago, Romy, my dear Swiss friend, checked in to see if all was well. I was blessed that she noticed that my blog, or the appearance of posts on my blog, is truly a temperature reading for my life.  I love this space, and can usually squeeze in some time to share my life here, but not lately.  And SO much has happened that I want to tell you, but I just can’t get to it…yet.

And tonight? Tonight I’m just blogging because I can’t make logical sense out of the open Bible and notes sitting over there on my Gordon College dorm room desk.  What better time to update my blog template after my free design disappeared? What better time to write about what I always seem to write about ~ life’s overwhelming pace and God’s overwhelming goodness?

Looking forward to a couple of carefree and cruisin’ days after camp, but enjoying the crazy ride this week as well.  Camp and the camp family(staff) is always a highlight of the year for us ~ even with it’s fast pace and sleep deprivation!

Pray for us ~ kids arrive on Monday!