Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Birthday and a Giveaway!

She's eighteen. One of life's milestones has been reached. We celebrated our daughter, Riley's, birthday yesterday. In spite of a heavenly deluge of rain, our spirits refused to be dampened. My husband and I picked up lunch and headed over to her school. We enjoyed spending the lunch-hour together, savoring our food and talking about the plans for the evening.

The birthday parties at McDonalds from days gone by have been traded in for dinners at 'real' restaurants with waiters and waitresses. The frosting covered cake exchanged for an Edible Arrangement. These days, yummy, calorie-laden desserts take a back seat to healthy choices. No doubt about it, our girl is growing up.

A bittersweet time. Wanting to cling to the little girl of the past, yet eager to see how our faithful God will use the beautiful young lady of the present. Our role as parents is changing. Our 'arrow' has been honed and shaped and is snugly fit into the bow, awaiting the moment when she will be launched forth toward the bulls-eye.

A thousand questions fill our minds. Is she ready for the responsibility that adulthood brings? Did we place enough emphasis on seeking God's direction for her life? Will she be prepared for the challenges that she will face? Will she stay anchored to her Lord in spite of life's inevitable storms?

Were we the perfect parents? Of course not. We made our fair share of mistakes. But I am encouraged by the promise of God's Word. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6, KJV). Our God is faithful! Where we fell short, He is able to go the distance.

Ultimately, our children are a gift from God. He entrusts us with their care for a brief period of time. We are privileged to train them with His help, and once again release them to fulfill His purpose. The majority of them will one day marry. Marriage is an institution of God. The book of Genesis records His stamp of approval on this institution, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). In the vast majority of cases, marriages are blessed with children and the process begins all over again.

Although the future holds many unanswered questions, I'm grateful to know the God who holds the future! Although our daughter will be leaving for college in the fall, I'm eager to see how God will continue to mold and shape her as she submits to His will.

Over the coming years, our relationship will shift from one of primarily guidance and direction to one of friendship. Change isn't always easy, but it is necessary in order for us to become who God created us to be. We can cling to a Savior who never changes, with the assurance that His goal is for us to become more and more like Him on this journey called life!

*A special thanks to all who entered the giveaway! Drum roll please! And the winners are:

First Place: Cheri Bunch from over at Seven Branches wins a copy of Julie Ferwerda's, One Million Arrows

Runner Up: Dorothy Adamek from over at Ink Dots wins a beautiful, hand-crafted, paper bead necklace from Uganda

A hearty congratulations, ladies!! I'll be sending your gifts out shortly!!


  1. Congrats to the winners! And wow! I can definitely see a resemblance. She IS your daughter!

  2. Hi Maria -

    Your daughter is lovely! I also did a double-take, at first thinking she was you.

    Congrats to the winners.

    Susan :)

  3. You have a beautiful daughter Maria. Congratulations to her and to you for taking a stand for Christ not only in your life but as a parent which is one of the hardest things to do. I pray for God's continual blessings on her as she go forward and that you have pleasure in knowing you didn't just leave her to chances but that you helped to deliberately mold and shape her in the image of Jesus.


  4. Congratulations to the winner! I know one of them!!!
    Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter Riley! Many happy blessings!
    Those fruits look absolutely delicious.
    Blessings. Big hug (((♥)))

  5. What a beautiful girl Riley is! Best wishes for a wonderful birthday for her:)
    I am so excited to be a winner! First time for me... ever!!!
    God bless your gorgeous family

  6. She's so pretty! And she sounds like she blesses your life immeasurably:)) Makes me think back a few years ago when mine was that age. It goes so fast!

  7. Your daughter looks a lot like you--very beautiful! And it's so bittersweet watching them grow into adults. Sigh...

    Beautiful post!

  8. Val - It's funny, because if you saw my husband, you'd definitely say she has the Morgan look. But she IS a good combo of us!! Thanks for entering my contest! God bless!

  9. Happy Birthday to your daughter. She is beautiful! It is an interesting time for us parents, watching our children come to this stage. Mine are all in their 20's, and doing well, but I've spent a lot of time in prayer - probably more for me than them! :)

    Congrats to the giveaway winners, too.

  10. Susan - How sweet that you thought the picture might be me!! You made my day! For a forty-something Mom, I'll take all the compliments I can get! Seriously, I appreciate your words of encouragement, Susan! God bless! ;)

    Vickie - Thanks so much for your prayers for my girl!! It means a lot to me! Your kind words are such an encouragement! I'm thankful that God can accomplish His work in spite of my shortcomings as a parent. Praying for His continued blessings on your writing!

    Raymonde - I'll pass along your compliment to Riley! The fruit from the arrangement WAS delicious! I have to admit, there were some chocolate covered strawberries, so it wasn't 100% healthy! Thanks for entering the contest! God bless!

  11. Dorothy - So glad you won a prize in my giveaway!! I'll pass along your well-wishes to Riley! We usually stretch out b-day celebrations for at least a week. My husband began that tradition several years ago...Your necklace will be sent out tomorrow! God bless you!!

    Terri - You're so right that time flies!! Are any of your children married yet? All of these major milestones! Thank you for the sweet compliment - I'll be sure to pass it on to Riley! Have a great day and God bless!

    Jill - You're so sweet! Thanks for your kind words! I know it will be challenging in the fall when we drop her off at college. She's going to a college that is about 10 hours away! Talk about Riley-withdrawal!! But I know God is good and He gave me writing for a reason!! God bless you!

    Karen - You're a dear! I'll be sure to pass along your compliment! I can't believe we'll be empty-nesters in just a few months...Any words of wisdom?! I can totally relate that in addition to praying for her, I also pray for the big transition for me and my husband! God bless you bunches, Karen!

  12. Karen~ I still can't get over it! My name followed by a drum roll!

    My son is 18 too ... hmmm ... just a passing thought!

    Blessings for many smiles today!