Wow, it’s hard to believe our little Emily has grown up so fast. You’ve matured into such a beautiful young lady. It seems like almost yesterday God blessed us and graced our home with you. Emily Joy, you were well named. You’ve truly been a joy to us over these last seventeen years.
We are extremely pleased with your undertakings and accomplishments. Over three years ago, you ambitiously and responsibly started milking cows. They didn’t think you’d last more than a month or two, and you’re still there. You have a special talent with animals. You learned to feed and care for the cows and seemed to like it. After a long day at school, you enjoyed this time being alone, having peace and quiet, and relaxing and thinking. It was a time to breathe in the fresh country air, definitely fresh and certainly country, right?
The additional benefit of getting paid was welcomed. This new income allowed you to get a Sheltie pup that you had dreamed about for some time. You took great pride in your puppy. We watched you care for her, train her, and love her. Chelsea brought a lot of joy, and she loved you.
Before you were sixteen, you had the money to buy your own car. You can also buy your own clothes, a computer, Ipod, and whatever else you want. You have become more self-reliant, and we are proud of you. You are a hard worker, excel in school, and overcome challenges with courage. You are a dependable and trusted daughter. We continue to watch you grow and progress.
You have artistic talent. After looking at your parents’ artwork, it doesn’t appear that you inherited the gift from your Mom or Dad. It was fun going to Logan today to buy art supplies and go out to eat together. You’ve decided to develop this emerging talent, and we can see improvements in your drawings each day. Keep up the good work.
As our paradigms have shifted over the last several years, you have thoughtfully and prayerfully taken your questions to the Lord. You have a lot of great questions and insights. Keep the questions coming. Your quiet strength, common sense, gentle power, and loving kindness have been comforting and encouraging to our entire family. We appreciate your happy smile and the support and love we feel from you. Thanks for being such a delightful daughter.
We thought you might enjoy this short story:
During the waning years of the Great Depression in a small southeastern Kansas community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used extensively.
One particular day, Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today?"
"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas...sure look good."
"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"
"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."
"Good. Anything I can help you with?"
"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."
"Would you like to take some home?"
"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."
"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"
"All I got's my prize marble here."
"Is that right? Let me see it."
"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."
"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"
"Not 'zackley .....but, almost."
"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble."
"Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."
I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died.
They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon our arrival at the mortuary, we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts - very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket. "Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last when Jim could not change his mind about color or size - they came to pay their debt. "
"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho." With loving gentleness, she lifted her husband's lifeless fingers. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined, red marbles!