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March 3, 2008

Another Belated Birthday

Well once again I am very late at getting a birthday greeting out to our last birthday celebrator. Kerri had a birthday on February 11th. Every time I hear February 11 I have to smile because I can hear her little 2 yr. old voice when we would ask her when her birthday was. With a cute little grin and a baby voice she would say, Febuary Eleven. Because we have this on video and have listened to it and smiled at it over and over again, none of us will ever forget when Kerri’s birthday is. Good move Kerri!

We have now hit the milestone of 4 teenagers in our family. When our oldest four were younger I often thought about what these days would be like. I didn’t even dream at the time that when they were all teens we would have 6 other children in the picture. But I never dreaded these years; I always looked forward to them with anticipation.

We have never bought into the lie that it is normal for teenagers to rebel. Instead, we have trained and nurtured their relationship with God our relationship with them in hopes of having great years with them in their teens. And today I can say with confidence, ‘It is not normal for teens to rebel. It doesn’t have to be something to dread or fear.’ We have 4 of them, they are great, and we love the different level of relationship that we now share with them. And to those of you who have said, “You just wait until they are teens!” Here we are thank you for your concern, but YOU WERE WRONG!” And I say all this not to toot our own horn, because without the wisdom that comes from God, I know we would not be where we are today. It is only because of Him that we can enjoy these years and look forward to when our other children become teens. But I say this to those of you who are dreading these years. If you train their heart to love the Lord God and they desire to please Him, you will enjoy these years. They are a lot of fun! You don’t get any sleep, but they are a lot of fun!

Anyway, back to Kerri. When I think about Kerri and what she adds to our family I think of someone who doesn’t think of herself and is ready and willing to serve. When she was younger she often asked me if there was anything she could do to help me. Now that she is older she hardly has time to ask because I keep her quite busy :) But for the most part I know that if I need Kerri to do something, she will do it with a willing and cheerful heart. Another thing that I really appreciate about her is her heart to help her daddy. What 12 year old girl do you know that can drive a manure spreader as good as the rest of them? You will often find her beside her dad doing the ‘dirty’ jobs that come with the farm and she does it without a complaint on her lips. I could learn a thing or two from her!

It’s hard for me to believe that Kerri is just 13. She has been so responsible for so long that in my mind she is much more mature and older than what 13 is in our culture today. Because she was the youngest of our four stair steps, she kind of just went along with what they all did. So she got the privileges of her older siblings younger than they did, but with that she also had to pull the weight around the house as they did. By 11 she was taking her turn with the wash, baking bread, making meals and doing her fair share around the home. Sometimes I forgot how old she really was and had to give my head a shake to remind myself what she was capable of.

She has always had a soft spot in her heart for her little siblings. You can often find her playing games with them, making a treasure hunt for them, or just tickling and cuddling them. If there are little children around when we go somewhere, she will usually hunt them down and be found playing with them. She is also very giving and if she goes away for the day with dad and mom and her older sisters stay home to babysit, she will often get them a thank you gift.

She has always been very quick to make a wrong right. Ever since she was very little she would ask for forgiveness when she knew she was in the wrong. That is a very special trait that not many of us have and I believe is shows the humility that is in her heart.

She loves to play games and is often found with her sisters playing dutch blitz. Sometimes they humor me and I play too but…..let’s just say my reflexes are not what they used to be! She also likes to do word searches and play good ol’ fashioned solitaire when she can find no one who wants to play a game (quite rare around here!)

Some of her favorite things: Hot chocolate, goats, potatoe chips, cat collars (don’t ask), a good ol’ chicken meal with mashed potatoes, cream puffs, math (okay, maybe not her favorite thing!)

The verse that comes to my mind when I think of Kerri is from Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."

Kerri, we hope this will be a year that you will look back and say that you learned to love God more and grew closer to Him.

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