To Be Eighteen

Jacquelyn Joy has entered upon the World of Eighteen. According to her, this age is at the height of her childhood dreams, for she never really went beyond that mountaintop of imagination. Funny how that works!

Eighteen years ago, she was the birth of MY dreams! How I had longed for my very own darling little girl to love and mother, now here she was, a gift from God. I love motherhood to this day!

These are a few snapshots of days gone by, happy days of childhood and friends and family. 

Cousins are some of the best playmates! 

Jacquelyn, MarLisa, Jessica, Chloe'

Jacquelyn, Amanda

Fast forward to this week...Jacki loves baking and has made her own birthday cakes for several years! There have been times the cakes have flopped and I've caught her stuffing them down the garbage disposal! Thankfully, she has not given up. This year she made a tasty (and slightly complicated) Winnie-the-Pooh cake, also known as Russian Honey Cake. 

I glanced into the kitchen to find a whirl of activity and counters covered with baking accessories. It seemed a good idea to catch her in action in case this cake turned out a success.

Her efforts paid off. Echoes of approval came from all sides. Her father says she need only make it twice a week!

Last year we had plans to celebrate her birthday with lunch at Rebecca's Bistro but got deterred by snowfall. At the time we never dreamed Jacki might be working there in less than a year, but that is just what happened. We are delighted with her new job, new friends, and new experiences at the bistro. God has provided the perfect workplace for her.

Today I took her in to work early and we had a lovely lunch together by the fireplace before she clocked in for the day. 

My plate was the Apple Blue Salad and a Turkey Berry Sandwich, both bursting with delicious flavors!

To top it off, we shared Chocolate Spoon Cake. It was a great way to celebrate. 

We give thanks to God for the joy, laughter, singing, and enthusiasm Jacquelyn adds to our home.

There is a beautiful bond between father and daughter. It makes my heart nearly burst with gratitude and joy when I see and hear these two discussing tough questions, laughing together, and enjoying each other's company.

She is my walking companion, decorating assistant, in-house artist, baker, fellow lover of simple pleasures, and best of all, my friend!

I read these verses a few days ago, and find they sum up the pattern of life quite appropriately. I will not pretend all is pleasure when in truth there is plenty of pain, but God says,

"Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest."
Psalm 126:5,6

I believe this is a promise and also a principle for life. There are cycles of weeping and singing, planting and harvesting. We need not be discouraged in times of weeping, for the songs of joy and triumph will follow. It is not all sorrow, but it is not all shouts of joy either. The blessing of God is in walking with grace and peace within the seasons, not reaching for the past or the future. We have this moment today!