Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ellie is 11

Hi Friends,

Last Saturday (June 10th) we celebrated Ellie turning 11!  Last year was special because it was her "golden birthday" and because it was the start of double digits.  This year though, seems special in a whole new way - not just because she can no longer count her age on both hands, but this one seems to really mark her emergence into "older".  We measured her on our board that we have measured the kids on since forever, and she has grown at least 6" since last year.  She is showing signs of growing up, not just physically, but also in her attitudes towards her siblings, responsibilities, and a closer walk with God too. 

Birthday waffles

Her birthday fell on a Saturday this year.  That's kind of nice as the morning traditions aren't rushed, but Matthew and Hannah are currently away on holiday together visiting family on the East Coast, which added to the "feeling different" vibe. Caleb was here with us, though, which is always nice to have him home and able to be part of family celebrations.  And Sarah was able to join us later in the day too - so we lost two usuals, and gained two unusuals.  That sounds wrong, but you know what I mean.  😊

This year I really encouraged Abbie and Mary to think of something they could make to give Ellie.
Something that wouldn't cost them anything except effort from themselves.
Abbie drew a picture and framed it using a frame we had on hand.

Mary drew her best turtle giving a chicken a ride on its back.   She also made a little chick out of perler beads.

Some gifts from far away family...

This year in school, with much persistence and perseverance, Ellie's reading is improving.  She was able to read her birthday cards, with only a little help with personal cursive messages.

Sometimes a willingness to meet the challenge head on with courage results in a reward.
Ha ha, in this case - the willingness to read cards (though not always easy) resulted in a surprise inside.

. . . . .

Early in the afternoon we headed over to the Children's Museum in Everett.
Everything is hands-on which makes it a very fun place to visit.

A rooftop playground.

A giant checker game (Dan won.)

. . . . .

Back at home...
Birthday dinner was burgers

and banana splits

. . . . .

Afterwards Caleb took her on a special date to the local store to buy Lego of her choice (his gift to her.)

She built one of the sets just before bedtime, attempting to squeeze out every minute of celebration.
Can't say as I blame her.

. . . . .

What I see emerging from Ellie is a kind, thoughtful, and sensitive young lady.  She is beginning to take on more of a big sister role (rather than peer) in encouraging/instructing her younger sisters to do the right thing (pick up, not argue, etc.) While she may struggle with academics, she is bright.  She watches the world around her (both people and nature) and she is so observant.  I think because of that she is also very creative and imaginative, and those qualities are so very important and valuable.

On the morning of her birthday we witnessed a mama deer with her very young fawn following her - walking down our driveway.  After a moment or two, they jumped into the foliage between us and our neighbors.  About a minute later, we saw a black bear coming from a different path, but soon following where the deer headed.  While wildlife is fun to watch from the safety of inside our home, it is a little unsettling to know that there could be a bear outside - when you must go and tend to your beloved chickens.
So - I pray for courage for Miss Ellie.  Courage to stand up to the fears (and doubts) that come from within, as well as the fears and insecurities that bombard from the outside.  The kind of courage that is a result from strong faith and a deep-seeded joy in knowing the God who keeps her.

. . . . .

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Psalm 27:1,3, 14
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?
Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

- Carol

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