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Turning 13 - Emma

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S: Thirteen - To Emma with Love on Your 13th Birthday

FC: Thirteen | A book of encouragement, advice, and blessings. With love from your family and friends on your 13th birthday

1: For Emma Marion Reimer March 30th, 2001 Happy 13th Birthday! | Turning Thirteen

2: Emma, It was back in 2010 that I first heard about the idea of creating a birthday book like this, full of encouragement, advice, and blessings from your family and friends. Mrs. Doerksen was creating one of these for Kiandra's 13th birthday, and she had emailed me asking to contribute to her book. As soon as I heard the idea, I knew that I wanted to do the same thing for the four of you for your 13th birthdays. I know it's also an idea you loved and that you were really hoping to get this book - so here it is! The following pages are filled with advice. Listening to the advice of others is always a good idea, but the best idea is to filter that advice through the lens of God's Word. Now these [Berean} Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the scriptures day after day to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11 The Bereans didn't just believe everything Paul said - they checked to make sure it lined up with God's Word, because He is the ultimate authority. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25 Things have changed a lot since I was a teenager. The lines between right and wrong seem to be blurred more than ever before. But one thing has not changed - God is the same: yesterday, today, and forever. God alone will never let you done. He is the only One that always has the right answer to every question you could ever have. He created you, and He purchased you with the shedding of Jesus' blood on the cross - you are His, and no one loves you more than He does. No matter what you face in the years ahead - through your teenage years and beyond - if you keep Christ as your compass, you will be able to navigate through any and every situation. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 This verse doesn't mean that God is some mystical genie waiting to grant your every wish. It means that as you delight in Him, He will place His desires within your heart, your will will align with His, and you will never go unfulfilled. The world can never satisfy your deepest longings, no matter what it promises. When we choose to delight in God and His ways, it is then that we are blessed beyond what we could imagine. Enjoy your teens, and enjoy looking through this book! Happy 13th birthday Emma! Love Mom | 2

3: It’s your Birthday Emma and in true Auntie style, we are giving you a treasure hunt and it may take you a while. | There are 13 clues Till you are finished this Pay close attention Not a number you will miss. *turn to the page that represents a number from the clue* | 3

5: 5 | Add up all of your siblings ages, including yourself too. If you can add correctly, You will get to your next clue.

6: My first memory of you was when you were first born and the nurses took you away for a few moments to give you your first bath, and measure and weigh you. I looked at you and saw how beautiful you were, then thought of some of the things in life you would have to go through that can at times can be difficult, like the teen years. I even thought how am I going to keep you safe always, you're bound to grow up and be independent someday! Haha Your years leading up to your thirteenth birthday were all fun years. You were always a leader both at home with siblings and at church or school. You've always enjoyed having friends over or going to friend's houses. I think a quiet evening at home with just our family was boring, haha. The teen years are fun years mostly, but they can also be awkward at times. By this I mean that for some things you're too old and some things you're too young. It sometimes feels like it's always one or the other. I'm very proud of where you're at in your life, both spiritually and personally, and how you're handling the things you come across, like relationships with us and with your friends. We can also tell that your relationship with God is important to you. It's important that you keep working at getting to know God more, and applying all He says to you in your life. Fight all battles you face using prayer and strength provided by God, He will always provide and loves you unconditionally. We look forward to all that the future holds for you, and look forward to experiencing many firsts with you. Every first for you, is also a first for mom and me. I am extremely proud to call you my daughter, and am thankful for 13 great years. You are a total pleasure to be with, and talk to. Keep God first, and things will turn out good in the end Love you always, Dad

7: To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. ~Barbara Bush | 7 | The year you came to visit A long drive to do Having lots of fun Except for the flu!

9: We hope you liked this hunt It was fun for us too You are so very special Happy Birthday to you! | 9

10: Emma, you are our first grandchild therefore our first experience at being grandpa and grandma. We have loved watching you grow from a baby into a beautiful young woman. I have really enjoyed the many sleepovers you have had at our house, especially watching movies together. (we seem to have the same sense of humour) We want to encourage you to continue your walk in faith with God, and remind you, as you grow into your teen years, that God is always with you, even in times when it may not seem like it. We pray for you daily, and will always be there for you. We love you very much! Happy 13th Birthday Emma! Love, Grandpa and Grandma Reimer | 10 | Add up your Mom and your Dad’s ages, But do not tell them that they’re old. Now subtract your two younger Aunties’ ages, and your next clue you will be told.

11: Your name may have been stolen, but we loved you anyway. From the moment that we met you in the hospital on that day. | 11

13: The year you started kindergarten You were just this old So sweet and so pretty A sight to behold | 13

14: Dear Emma, You're a teenager now. That's kind of like being upgraded from "PRINCESS" to "QUEEN"' so don"t waste your wish on small stuff. Today WISH BIG,WISH ALL OUT, make it count. Seriously, I wish you all the best things in life,however as life goes, things aren't always what we perceive as best; then trust your Jesus. He will be your best friend and get you through anything that comes your way. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Love from auntie Marian.

15: 15 | The month that you were born Plus the months of L and D Turn to that page The next clue you will see

16: The Fellowship of the Unashamed by Dr. Bob Moorehead I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. I have Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear for "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.." (Romans 1:16)

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18: Emma In Kindergarten you were an inquisitive child with a love for learning. I loved how you were able to listen carefully, apply what you had learned and help others. Have a wonderful birthday and enjoy your exciting teen years by just being yourself. Mrs. Hickman Kindergarten | 18 | Colter, Baret, Hayden Taylor and Sydney Add up their ages Plus another three

19: Dear Emma, I remember our year together in Grade 1. It was an honour to be your teacher. You were a pleasure to teach because you were so eager to learn. You will only be a teenager for a few years. Enjoy this special time in your life with your family and friends. The activities and events of your teenage years will be your "Remember when" moments in the future. Happy 13th Birthday, Emma! Love, Mrs. Melodie Ritchie Grade One | The 13 Most Important Things To Know 1. Do your best 2. Learn from your mistakes 3. Study and learn one new thing each day 4. Read and write 5. Eat healthy food and exercise 6. Sing and dance 7. Help others 8. Enjoy being a teenager 9. Smile and laugh 10. Play 11. Pray 12. Love 13. Listen to your parents

20: Emma, A very happy 13th birthday to you! I remember the sweet kid I taught in grade 2 who was always polite, always worked her hardest and always wrote the longest and most creative stories. I see you in the halls at school, growing up, but you are still that polite girl who stops to say hello. That is very special to see in a junior high student. Keep following your dreams, follow your gut and keep God close. He will help guide you through the next chapter of your life which is when you may need him most as you make many big decisions. I know he was there for me as my friends were doing things that I had doubts about, I stuck with what I believed and what felt right to me. You're a smart girl who has strong beliefs and I know you will do well making big decisions that are to come. It was truly a pleasure teaching you and I wish you a joyous and memorable 13th birthday! From Mrs. Funk Grade Two

21: Happy 13th Birthday Emma! I will always remember how much you loved Little House on the Prairie (in grade 3). It was one of my favourite books and TV shows when I was little! The series taught good values and important life lessons. It was nice to see that you appreciated classic literature at such a young age! Enjoy your "teens"! From Mrs. McLure Grade Three | 21

23: Emma, There are too many things to say to someone at this young point in their life. It has been very difficult for me to decide on one piece of advice or lesson for you. You're on a great path and I see wonderful things for your future. With this being said I've decided to share with you my family's chocolate chip cookie recipe. These cookies have been a staple in my life, they are great for; sleepovers, babysitting, first dates (because the way to a man's heart is through his stomach), break-ups, all night study sessions, bake exchanges, your children and grandchildren and everything in between. Enjoy! Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Ingredients 2 sticks of butter 2 teaspoons of vanilla 2 eggs 1 teaspoon of salt 1/2 cup of sugar 1 cup of brown sugar 2 1/4 cups of flour 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda 2 cups chocolate chips 1) Preheat oven to 350 2) Mix wet ingredients - butter, vanilla, eggs 3) Mix in salt, sugar, and brown sugar 4) Add flour and baking soda 5) Stir in chocolate chips 6) Drop spoon sized amounts on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes Happy Birthday! From, Mrs. Kerbrat Grade 5 | 23

24: A Letter to Emma I can’t believe little Emma Reimer is going to be a teenager! This is a time where little girls start trading in their Barbie dolls for cell phones and boys no longer have “cooties.” Turning 13 is a very special age and I bet you are probably thrilled that you are no longer considered a “tween.” You are about to experience some of the best years of your life, but also some of the most difficult. In order to prepare you for some of the most exciting moments of your life, I’ve created a short list of reminders to help you survive, I mean “guide” your way through these special years. 1.“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” -Walt Disney Don’t grow up too fast. You have an amazing imagination. So, don’t lose it, nurture it. 2.In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. Although it might seem like the end of the world sometimes, please remember to be strong; you will get through it! 3.Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. Sometimes it’s hard to see the positive in situations, but you can find beauty in anything if you look hard enough. 4.Follow your heart, but remember to take your brain with you. Trust me, this is a good one. I’ve forgotten my brain a few times in life. 5.Be thankful of the difficult people in your life. They will show you exactly who you do not want to be. 6.Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. This one is tough for everyone, but especially for teenagers. 7.Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening, it just stops you from enjoying the good. Honestly, I’m still trying to live my life by this one. Life is precious, try to enjoy every minute of it. 8.Being a girl can be tough. Gossip hurts. Be nice. Be classy. Be confident. Be positive. Be supportive. Be patient. Be empathetic. Be beautiful. Be strong. Be the woman you want others to see you as. 9.If you’re feeling blue, try painting yourself a new colour. You have the power to change the way you think and feel. 10.Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you. 11.Your beliefs don’t make you a better person; your behaviour does. 12.There is no such thing as Prince Charming. What is important is that you find someone who respects you in every sense of the word. However, there is a lot of time for that later, much later!! 13.Finally, the most important reminder is to never forget the toothpaste. Someone’s self-worth depends on it. Well Emma, I hope these reminders will help you on your journey to adulthood. You are an intelligent young lady and I have confidence that you will choose the right path in life. I have always said I would be extremely proud if my daughter grew up to become as lovely as you, Emma. You have a very bright future ahead of you and I see you accomplishing great things in life. Please remember to keep in touch with your old DTS teachers, as we will always be thinking of you and hoping you are doing well. Happy 13th Birthday Emma!!! Mrs. Harder Grade 6

25: Here is a prayer that I think may come in handy for you, Emma. It is from a Trappist Monk by the name of Thomas Merton. This prayer is special to me because it helped with my discerning process of choosing the teaching profession as a new career path when my existing career at that time in my life was not fulfilling. The prayer would be best suited for the young adult years in your life when you face some tough challenges regarding relationships, careers, or day to day situations. Jeff LeSage Grade Seven | My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does, in fact, please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. | 24

26: Congratulations on turning 13! I remember when I first met you in Grade 2, just a quiet little thing until it was time to sing, and what a voice you had, or should I say have! Here is a little word of wisdom that you may not understand until your 30. “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.” Frank Zappa, Real Frank Zappa Book As you grow older and become the lovely person that you are, don’t forget to enjoy the scenery and dance to the music along the way. You may be surprised to know that I am a Musical Lover (shocking but true). Here is a list of the 13 musicals you must see in your lifetime, in no particular order (as of 2014) 1. My Fair Lady 2. Wicked 3. West Side Story 4. The Phantom of the Opera 5. Little Shop of Horrors 6. The Sound of Music 7. Les Miserables 8. Cats 9. Anything Goes 10. Annie 11. The Wizard of Oz 12. Guys and Dolls 13. The Lion King Happy 13th Birthday Emma! Deborah Eismendi (your Grade 2 – 8 music/band teacher)

27: Emma I have had the opportunity to watch you grow both physically and as a person through the years. You have developed into a kind, smart and responsible young woman. In honour of your 13th birthday here are 13 thoughts or sayings that mean something to me and which I would like to share with you. 1. We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes 2. Live Simply. Dream Big. Be Grateful. Give Love. Laugh lots. 3. When things are tough you must be tougher. 4. True friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like leaves and found everywhere. 5. Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. ~Confucious 6. Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others. 7. It's not a problem to make mistakes, everyone does, but it is a problem if you don't learn from them. 8. Everyone you meet has something to teach you. 9. Every time you smile at some one, it is an action of love, a gift to that person,a beautiful thing. ~Mother Teresa 10. God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers. 11. When you really care about someone their happiness matters more than yours. 12. You can't change the past but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future. ~Ruth Buzzi 13. Life isn't about waiting for the storm to be over. It's about learning to dance in the rain. Emma, have a great birthday. Ms. Perreault Physical Education | 27

28: Mr. Liss' 13 Favorite Quotes 1. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt 2. 'Mean to' don't pick no cotton. ~Anonymous 3. Many people lose their temper merely from seeing you keep yours. ~Frank Moore Colby 4. Children need love, especially when they don't deserve it. ~Harold S. Hulbert 5. Life is like playing a violin solo in public, and learning the instrument as one goes on. ~Samuel Butler 6. There are some people that if they don't know, you can't tell them. ~Louis Armstrong 7. Whoever gossips to you will gossip of you. ~Spanish Proverb 8. One loses too many laughs by not laughing at oneself. ~Sarah Jeanette Duncan 9. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt 10. In extreme youth, in our most humiliating sorrow, we think we are alone. When we are older we find that others have suffered too. `Suzanne Moarny 11. If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything. ~Mark Twain 12. Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit. ~Elbert Hubbard 13. When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. ~Mark Twain Mr. Liss Guidance Counsellor | This is how old Grandma was, On the day that you turned three. She was born in 1950, That’s a hint to a clue you see.

29: “If you find someone who makes you smile, Who checks up on you often to see if you’re okay Who watches out for you and wants the very best for you, Don’t let them go. Keep them close and don’t take them for granted. People like that are hard to find.” ~unkown~ Happy 13th Birthday Emma. Mrs. Rudy Principal | Happy 13th Birthday Emma. One of my favourite verses.....the only thing '13' about it is the 'verse address' Jeremiah 29:11 (there are 13 characters in the 'address' if you count the numbers and the semicolon!!! Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Mrs. Obirek Secretary | 29

30: 30 | You will be an adult In just five more years Moving away from home Your dad will be in tears!

31: Teenagers today face so many pressures. Sex is being pushed on our kids in elementary school. So is drinking. So are drugs. So is joining a gang. So are filthy language, pornography, and homosexuality. More than ever before, we need a generation of children and teenagers with the courage to say No and to say it in a loud voice. To say No to sex and Yes to abstinence. To say No to alcohol and Yes to sobriety. To say No to drugs and Yes to clean living. To say No to gangs and Yes to healthy friendships. To say No to moral filth and Yes to the Word of God. To say No to sin and Yes to Jesus Christ. To say No to going along with the crowd and Yes to standing alone. To say No to temptation and Yes to God. To say No to cowardice and Yes to bold witness for Christ. To say No to sexual compromise and Yes to waiting until marriage. To say No to rebellion and Yes to obedience. To say No to the chains of sin and Yes to freedom in Christ. ~Ray Pritchard | The Cadet Prayer "Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong and never to be contented with half truth when whole truth can be one. Endow us with courage that is borne of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy. Amen."

32: “We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?" asked Piglet. "Even longer," Pooh answered.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh “If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.” A.A. Milne Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Sandy | 32

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35: Today a new file is being created in your brain. No, not one about what you ate for dinner last night, or that pretty dress at the mall that you're saving up for. This file is special. Somewhere deep in your thoughts, probably in the corner hidden by a few other trillion files, this file is being crafted, thanks to our personal free labor workers called 'Brain Cells.' Yes, they're up there hammering and welding and drilling away. They're not stopping anytime soon for coffee breaks, but instead chatting away while they work, talking about how proud they are of you, and how beautiful this file is going to be. Because you've sure come a long ways. Now lets just stop, and open a couple other files. Go back to the time when you first learned to ride a bike, or the time spaghetti night turned into disaster night. Back to the time when you wrote your very own novel, or performed in your first play. Maybe even the time your heart broke, but you stood up and walked along bravely, not letting anything get in the way of a wonderful life. All the files in your brain are either good or bad memories, but they're all special and important. Ok, let's bring you back to right now. Just look around you. Maybe you're watching t.v with your family, maybe you're at a friends house chatting about your dream wedding, or possibly you're by yourself in your room. Now simply think about how lucky you are, to be here in this moment. Age thirteen, the beginning of a new amazing time of your life. Also think how awesome it is to be you. No one is you, and it's impossible for you to be someone else. Your unique and beautiful existence is such a miracle. So all I really need to say is Happy Birthday Emma!! I hope you enjoy the time that the file named 'Greatest Birthday' is being made!! Luv ya ;) Your friend, Naomi

36: EAEABFFPSS BlueAngel, First of all HAPPY 13TH BIRTHDAY! We’re finally teens after all our dreaming and planning this day. I remember my 1st year at camp with you. I was so nervous and so jumpy but it turned out to be the best week ever! That’s the week we came up with Elma! Elma isn’t the only creative thing we’ve done, we made our scrapbook. My Best Friend Life without a friend is like a corner that has no bends. My friend blossoms with me like a flower. We grow up together and love each other every hour. I fight her fight; I catch her when she falls. I’m with her through the night; I come running when she calls. You’re the alli, I’m the gator. You’re the now, I’m the later. I love to see your smile, it’s like a soft river running a million miles. I love the tune to your wonderful voice. When I see you coming, I am simply overjoyed. Your creativity Is bigger than any school of minnows. You’re my prayer angel, my grace, | You may not remember my wedding as you were only 5 months old. But you were there on this day in September, smiling for the camera when told. | 36

37: the reason I’m still in this human race. Soul sisters forever. Feeling good, never better. You’re my bosom buddy, my best friend. You’re better than plum pudding, and I’ll love you till the end. I love you better than my best clothes. You help me with my sorrows and that’s how our life goes. We’ll be friends young and old. Always together, always bold. Tell me how you do it. You’re the best friend ever. Tell me your secret. Me? Tell? Will I never! If I wake up to your voice, I’ll have the best day. And if I don’t, my day will be, well okay. How can I repay the love you’ve given me? You have the kindest heart as far as I can see. You’re my hopes and my dreams. You’re the perfect friend it seems. In life there’s no end, to you, my best friend. The funniest time we’ve had together was with the time where you “pansed Elora and her pantigitches came too! Two birds with one stone” That was a great time! You’re a wonderful friend! Stay you Smileyellow (Elora) | 37

38: You are the oldest and Sydney the youngest of the cousins in our family tree. Count how many years between the two of you and your next clue you will get to see. | 38

39: Some people are worth melting for. ~Olaf

40: 5 Reasons Conservative Girls Should Get an Education by Tanya Bethany In recent years, there’s been a push back in conservative circles against girls getting lots of book learning or higher education. Does the phrase “Stay at Home Daughter” ring a bell? “We want to raise them to be wives and mothers and embrace their highest calling.” Because, obviously, any good Christian girl in her right mind will jump on the first offer she receives and get married when she’s 19. If, heaven help her, she is still an “old maid” at the ripe old age of 27, she can serve her father in his home business or ministry. She will be more fulfilled in this way than any other path she could choose, because God wants women to remain at home. If you’re not gagging by now, I sure am. Now, granted, there’s been a reason for the start of all this. It’s a backlash against the feminist movement and the idea that a woman is more fulfilled as a career woman than as a mother. And, there’s truth behind it. Women should value the opportunity to raise a family and care for a husband. Furthermore, it’s a backlash against the cultural idea that everyone has to go to college and have a job to be worth something. There’s truth in this backlash too–a lot of people go to college for the wrong reasons and waste a lot of time and money. Thankfully, my parents didn’t buy into all the “Stay at home daughter” nonsense. When I dreamed, they dreamed with me. They sure taught me about taking care of a home too, don’t worry about that. But more importantly, they taught me to learn and grow and seek God. They taught me that my highest calling is not marriage, but serving God to the fullest of my potential, whether that be as a Mom, a missionary, a business woman, or all three. So now I’m passionate about girls learning. So many young girls that I run into have no interests, no idea what’s going on in the world, and no idea on how to hold a conversation about anything but their novels, weekends, or dress patterns. I think there’s something wrong with this. If the answer to, “What do you want to do when you’re twenty?” is “Hopefully get married!”, there is a problem. Sweetheart girls and parents of young girls, you can’t just plan on something like that. Wanting to be married is a good thing, hanging your life on it is not. Young women need to have purpose and drive in their lives. So my proposal? LEARN. GET EDUCATED. GO. DO. Find out what God put in you that makes you tick. Explore the world! I’m not saying you have to go to 5 months of Bible school and go to college like me, although you should consider it. Just open your mind to the world around you! Find out what’s happening in the world. Read, read, read! Learn skills and gain knowledge. Take a course in geometry to expand your mind and help you see the logical nature of God. Learn to talk about more than your little life. Originally I was thinking about writing this article as “5 reasons Mennonite girls should go to college,” but the more I thought about it the more I strayed from that. I realize college is not for everyone, and can be a big time waster if it doesn’t fit in with the life purpose God has made you with. So I’m not saying you should go to college. What I am saying is that you should be growing and expanding your mind and finding out what God wants you to do and be. And, if college fits into that, than what I want you to do is to feel free to go for it. If college would be a bad choice for you, that’s okay. I’m going to college, but my sister’s not. We’re different and we need different things. However, don’t let not going to college be an excuse to not learn. You still need to expand your mind and learn new skills and broaden your horizons. Still not convinced? Read on for 5 reasons you should be. 1. Educate a woman and you educate a family. Should God bless you with a family, your education will not be wasted. What you learn now is what you will teach your children. If you plan to homeschool, this is even more

41: true. You might not want to be a pilot or a doctor or an engineer, but your child might. It doesn’t have to be big things. My Mom learned to decorate cakes when she was my age. Now, 3 out of 4 of her girls know how to decorate cakes. One, my 18 year old sister, does gourmet baking and decorating for benefits, church events, and banquets. She is skilled enough that she could do it for hire. All that because my Mom took the time to learn something new. Furthermore, what you learn will be a benefit to your husband. For instance, my Mom learned administrative skills in college. She now manages the computer work side of our family business–something that otherwise would have been a burden to my Dad. Don’t view education as a stand-by in case you don’t have a family of your own. It is simply another form of preparation! 2. You can not share the gospel effectively if you stay inside a Christian bubble all your days. By this, I mean that if you have Christian friends, Christian coworkers, and Christian neighbors, and never come in contact with the outside world, ahem, you are not fulfilling the Great Commission. Broaden your horizons and reach out to the people around you–and I don’t mean by handing them a tract. Furthermore, studying and learning will help you know what the rest of the world is like and how you can best reach them. It’ll give you common ground for conversations, and teach you how to step into someone else’s world. 3. You will be better equipped to defend your faith. This is two fold. If you learn and grow your mind you will learn mentally how to defend your faith, and if you get out of your bubble and meet new people, you will learn by experience. 4. You will have purpose in your days. Granted, the process doesn’t always feel like it. I think I may need to put a sign on my wall that says, ” God made you to teach and love children and music and that is why you are doing this!” Some days learning seems useless, but when you compare learning to a life consisting of a dead-end job and hanging out with friends on weekends, it seems like a good idea. 5. God created you to use and grow your talents, not waste them. I’m not speaking to the girl that’s pouring her heart out on the mission field. I’m not talking to the girl that holds a dead-end job just so she can pour her heart into the kids in her church and neighborhood, or the one that pours over books at night, learning. I’m talking to the girl that goes to work because she has nothing better to do, and hangs out with her friends as often as she can cause she has nothing better to do. You were made for more. Don’t listen to the lie that you don’t need to do anything except get married and have babies. Some women are called to do only that. If you’re single today, then you’re not. You’re called to grow and serve right now. I know you wanna have babies. Me too girl. But right now, that’s not where we’re at. When we are, it won’t be a waste, this education we’ve gotten. (See #1.) (And #2.) (Also, #’s 3,4, and 5.) | 41

42: Getting educated, whether that be through studying on your own, apprenticing under someone, or going to college, will serve you well young lady. No matter where you are in life you will never be sorry that you spent your life learning and growing. Learning becomes a lifestyle that propels you forward and gives meaning to your days. Also, it makes the skies bluer, and birds sing sweeter, and an angel gets it wings every time you turn a page. Ok, maybe not that, but it will enable you to become all that God intends you to be. And that, my friend, is a very good thing to be. Pursuing God Above an Education by Tanya Bethany The pursuit of knowledge can be dangerous. J.I Packer says in his book, Knowing God, “If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited.” There is a chance that if we pursue knowledge and an education and dreams, that we begin to pursue those things instead of God. And so I offer a caveat to my last post–dear girls of my conservative world, do hunger for knowledge and dream your dreams and live a worthwhile life. But hunger for God first. It’s what my Uncle Lester said at my graduation, speaking from Psalms 37. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Too often we find the desires of our heart and we go chasing after them. I desire to be educated and to teach, and so I go chasing my dreams. Another girl dreams of starting a business or catching the perfect Christian guy and she chases those dreams. Our dreams can be good. They can also be misleading. Too often we say, “Here is my dream and I’m delighting in you Lord, so bless me now and give me this desire!” It can be like that with getting an education. If I pursue knowledge just so I can have knowledge, I have missed the point. If my heart is captivated by God, and delighting in Him, the dreams and desires will follow. Not MY dreams, but His. If I delight in learning and growing as an individual more than I delight in God, then a very good thing has been turned on its head. It all comes down to the purpose behind living. Are you living for yourself or for God? If I live for myself it doesn’t matter whether I become an educated woman that does all kinds of good things or whether I just hang out with friends all my days. The end result is still the same–wasted time. If I live to follow God’s path and pursue what He wants, not what I want, then how I spend my time and my life really matters. Only when I pursue God first can I truly get a worthwhile education that will become an asset. So pursue knowledge. Pursue worthwhile things and become a well rounded woman. But always remember–pursue God first.

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44: Hey Emma! Wow I can't believe you are 13 already! Here is six of my top things to remember: 1. Pray and read your Bible a lot...even when God doesn't seem to make sense...keep the conversation with Him open. 2. Laugh a lot....don't be too serious! Take yourself lightly and have fun every chance you get. 3. Love family deeply... though you may be annoyed at times, family sticks with you your whole life long...stick with them 4. Don't follow the crowd... Don't just follow what everyone else is doing...make sure you consider consequences of all your choices. 5. Don't give away your heart too quickly... I know boys are still kinda gross right now but soon they won't be...guard your heart carefully. 6. It has been proven that those with great friends tend to live longer! Seek to make deep friendships and always offer your friendship to anyone who asks...you never know who just might be your BFF! Lots of love Pastor Curtis Children's Ministry

45: You're 13!! That rocks! I was thinking because you're 13, you'll be entering into a phase life when you'll butt heads with your parents. In order to help smooth out those rough times I came up with 13 magic sayings you can use whenever you're in trouble. You're parents will be so floored you said it they will totally forget what they were mad about ! 1. Who needs to eat out? Let me make something. 2. Dad, I sure could use a little advice. 3. We won’t need the car—we’re walking. 4. There’s nothing to eat around here. I’ll go buy something. 5. You relax, I’ll do the dishes. 6. New movies aren’t cool. Let’s watch something old. 7. Hey, I’ve been on the phone a lot. Why don’t I pay the phone bill this month? 8. Is my music bothering you? 9. This is my room, but it’s your house. 10. Well, lookie there! It’s ten p.m.! I better go to bed. 11. I don't need my allowance it can go to charity 12. I don't need your money I will get a job 13 I love homework. Emma being 13 rocks! And I want to say I am very proud of you. I know we don't know each other super well, but I am totally looking forward to connect with you over the years at youth. You are a lot further along in your maturity than I was at 14. I see you serve at clubs and I am just floored at all you do to pump out for Jesus! Happy Birthday!! Pastor Dan Youth | 45

46: Happy 13th Birthday Emma! I have very little knowledge of what it means to be a 13 year old girl so I don't have much in the way of inspiring advice to offer in helping you navigate the perilous waters of teenage "girldom". I do know that you will be making a lot of decisions over the next several years that affect your future. Ask God for wisdom in helping you make good choices. James 1:5 says" "If any of you lacks wisdom, he (she) should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (her)." I know that sometimes it will seem like your parents don't know or understand anything but do your best to communicate with them as they do have your best interest at heart. You will also be amazed to find that as you get older, your parents will get quite a bit smarter. Pastor Dwight Worship Arts | 46

47: Emma Thirteen! ... and your driver's license is just around the corner (well, maybe not the first corner). Happy birthday on the momentous occasion of becoming a teenager. It has been good to see you grow over the years and to see a church. We pastors may see people from a slightly different angle. It is good to see you walking God's path and may you continue to do so in the years ahead. May I encourage you to "know Jesus" ... the smartest, most in-tune individual, ... who also rose from the dead and is God. No one comes close to Him and that's why we call him our Lord and Savior. Follow Him ... and He will direct your paths. Again, may your birthday and the years ahead be joyful, adventurous and wise investments for eternity. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Ron Koleba Pastor

48: Don't wish the years away, I promise, you will look back and wonder where they went. Make Jesus your best friend. your mom will become another best friend you can't do without. If you are pretty on the inside and stand confident in the love you have from your family and God you will be the most radiant. ~Sarah | Know that your value as a woman doesn't have anything to do with the clothes you wear, the size or shape of your body, or which boy "likes" you. Don't attach your sense of worth to those things, and don't let anybody else do it either. Remember that God made you, and you are precious to him. He loves you and he has a plan for you! All those other things are distractions--often very hurtful ones--from the blessings He has for you and the things he He has for you to do with the life he gave you. ~Margaret | Don't settle. Waiting for the right one is infinitely worth it. Even if it's a long wait. ~Bethany | We all fall short of the glory of God. Aim high, but if/when you mess up, repent and move forward. There is never, ever anything so terrible that God won't forgive and love you. And...never be afraid to talk to your parents, no matter what the trouble. They love you and want you, always. ~Donna | Don't stress the teen years. The things that seem most important now will seem so trivial later. Be yourself, stick to your values, don't rush adulthood, enjoy this season. ~Erin | Emma, Happy Birthday dear sister in Christ. May The Lord walk with you every step of your life. Stay true to yourself and always look to Christ for every decision you make. Like the bible says, first seek the kingdom of God and all other things will be handed on to you. God Bless You! And have lots of fun in this life here on Earth!!! ~Nicole | Tough situations will come, and when they do, remember to always respond and not react. ~Tina

49: Ladies, wait for a good, strong, Christ following man who will protect and encourage you, don't just settle for some boy. Gentlemen, wait for a woman with a pure heart and honest passion for God who will build you up, don't just settle for some girl. ~Nicole's favourite quote | "Only one life, twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last." When I was a young teenager I heard this catchy little saying and wrote it in the front of my Bible and it has been a delight to grow to see the truth of it. The teenage years seem to d.r.a.g on, but one day you will look back and wonder where all those mundane, terrifying, wonderful, challenging and exciting moments went to. These are precious years you are entering into and you will be faced with many new opportunities and choices and there is nothing better to guide you through these years than the word of God. Cement yourself in the word of God. To know it is to know Him. And to know Him is to love Him, for He is good. Always. "...Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31 ~Jessica | As a teen, you will feel a lot of things- very strong things. Sadly, feelings are not always true and they can guide you into wrong thinking. It is important to learn early to test your feelings against reality and always go to your mom no matter what. She loves you and no matter how embarrassing, scary, controversial, or crazy your feelings might be- go to her because she will always help you find the truth. ~Jennifer | Don't get angry at or hide from criticism. Evaluate it and learn from it in the light of godliness; there is always something valuable to take from it. The value may be that you need to change, you should find a way to share Christ with the criticizer, or something between. Be discerning. ~Elisa | Birthday blessings and advice from godly women | 49

50: 13 Quotes from Disney Characters Live every moment as not to regret what you are about to do. ~Mickey Mouse The colder the winter, the warmer the spring. The deeper the sorrow the more our hearts sing. ~Bambi You must learn to choose between right and wrong. ~Blue Fairy, Pinnochio Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts. ~Merchant, Aladdin Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one. ~Grandmother WIllow, Pocahontas Go ahead, make a fool of yourself, then maybe you'll listen to your conscience. ~Jiminey Cricket, Pinnochio The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. ~Emperor, Mulan Oh, yes the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it. ~Rafiki, The Lion King Life’s not a spectator sport. If watching is all you’re going to do, then you’re going to watch your life go by without you. ~Laverne, The Hunchback of Notre Dame A single grain of rice can tip the scale. One man may be the difference between victory and defeat. ~Emperor of China, Mulan Trust. It’s what friends do. ~Dory, Finding Nemo She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. ~Narrator, Beauty and the Beast A hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart. ~Zeus, Hercules | 50

51: 13 Quotes by Walt Disney I dream, I test by dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Why worry? If you've done the very best you can, worrying won't make it better. All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me. All you've got to do it own up to your ignorance honestly, and you'll find people who are eager to fill your head with information. Everyone falls down. Getting back up is how you learn how to walk. Cinderella believed in dreams, all right, but she also believed in doing something about them. When Prince Charming didn't come along, she went over to the palace and got him. It's a mistake not to give people a chance to learn to depend on themselves while they are young. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. Do a good job. You don't have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work - they try to trump it. You'll be a poorer person all your life if you don't know some of the great stories and great poems. People often ask me if I know the secret of success and if I could tell others how to make their dreams come true. My answer is, you do it by working. The difference in winning and losing is most often..... not quitting.

52: Hey, Emma!!! I knew u wanted a book, cause u told me that recently at kids club!! SURPRISE!!! LoL Hope u like all that is said about you cause you are 1 special young lady and I can't believe you are 13 already!!! I'm so impressed with the person you are becoming. So responsible at kids club..( and I'm sure bbsitting your siblings) yet I know u know how to have fun and be CRAZY!!!!! You are a beautiful girl and talented with piano, singing, acting, and so much more! I want to encourage you to always use the talents God has given you and use them to honor him! You are very special to me, and I am happy to share these to memories from a while back that I have! ( though u have grown up so much since the pictures! ) The 2 pic are of when in 2011 I had you, Sophia and Richelle Dewitt over for a pj/bead making/popcorn party!!! And boy, Emma..did u seem to like the sweets and salt!!!! Can u get ANY closer to that popcorn bucket???? (and popcorn all over my floor!! thx for that!!!! :) I loved having you over! And I loved coming over to your house for weekends! It was always busy, but fun! You are such a help to me when i'm over! And I loved (as shown in picture) when we would have a makeover party.. (poor Jacob!! lol) do our nails, play some crazy game you'd help create or our fav thing to do - Watch Full House!!! " any more ouse-cream??? " I love hanging out with you Emma, and am happy you've joined the kids club team where I can see u more often!! You are a bright, creative, fun and loving girl and am blessed to have you as my friend! I pray that u will always keep Jesus a priority in your life, Emma. Through good or bad..he will be with you. Keep reading the Bible and growing in him.... and have a VERY happy 13th birthday!!!!!!! 2nd Peter 3:18 - Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Miss Kerilyn

53: Dear Emma, I pray that your thirteenth birthday will be a special reminder of how much you are treasured in heaven and on earth. I loved getting to know you in clubs, and I value you and your questions. I pray that God will always help you remember Who He is. "...Two things I have heard: that You O God are strong, and that You O God are loving" (Psalm 62:11-12.) I also pray that God will help you remember who you are in Christ - a dearly loved, forgiven, beautiful, blessed, redeemed, free, holy daughter with an incredible, eternal future! Rely on God both to will and work His work in you (Philippians 2:13.) God can handle any questions we ask; He promised that if we seek Him with all our heart, He will be found by us! (Jer. 29:12-13.) May God continue to strengthen your faith, and may you know that He walks every step of the future with you! Love Danielle Dewitt | 53 | This is the house you were born in, and you have moved around Lorette a lot, Flip to the page of this house number, and the next clue on this hunt you will spot.

54: Happy 13th Birthday Emma!! That was a very special day when you arrived in the home of Nathan & Tammy!! God knew just which family you should grow up in – a family where knowing and loving Jesus was most important!! It has been a joy to watch you grow up to be the lovely young lady you are today and we pray that God will continue to bless you with His love and care!! Gerald & Mavis Reimer

55: Happy Birthday Emma! So exciting that you are becoming a teenager, it is a big step and a fun one. I wanted to give you two verses that have meant a lot to me over the years. You hear Jeremiah 29:11 often, about the plans God has for us, and this is true, but the verses after this are equally important. "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord." Jeremiah 29:12-13 Continue to seek the Lord our God with all your heart, Emma, as you have been, and He will be found by you. Pray to Him all the time, about everything, big or small, and He will listen to you because you are His daughter. Happy Birthday and blessings for a new year! Jaclyn Loewen | 55

56: Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. My advice to you, Emma, as you become a young adult and step into a world of worry, is to read these verses and breathe easy. I have been the queen of worry since I turned 13 and started grade 8. I worried so much I got sick frequently and missed out on quite a bit! I recently came to Thailand fully trusting God to lead me and use me. I was worried. I worried so much the first few months I was here I caused an ulcer in my stomach. What I've realized through my life is that worrying does not help anything, it makes it much worse! If we live our lives for God and try to continue to grow closer to Him, He will always be there and we can rely on Him through all things. God can give us such a fantastic, worry-free life! Love in Christ, Mallory Christian

57: Emma, It’s been great having you in my group for youth and also being a leader with me for clubs. When you come into a room you light it up with your energy and personality. Keep that up! May God continue to guide and use you to impact others. Happy 13th Birthday! From, Christina | 57

58: Dear Emma, Happy Birthday from the Grand Canyon in Arizona. (we are on a vacation and enjoyed seeing this amazing example of God's handiwork!) Your mom asked me to send you a birthday message as you turn 13...and I am pleased to do that....for one reason I think your mom is an amazing woman whose love for God shows in her words and actions......another reason is that I love to encourage young girls and remind them how special God has made them. I have heard you sing with your sisters and I think you have a wonderful low voice that has a very rich tone! I pray that you will always use it to honor God with your words and singing. I would like to remind you of a few favorite verses to come back to one day when you need them. They have helped and encouraged me and I hope they will do the same for you. Psalm 121......I love the whole chapter but especially the promise at the end....."He will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 91:11....reminds us that "God will command His angels to guard us in all our ways." Psalm 46:1..... "God is our refuge and strength...a very present help in trouble." Karoline Lohse

59: Happy 13th Birthday, Emma! We wish you every blessing as you travel the road to becoming the woman God has designed you to be. We would like to share with you the verse found in Matthew 5:16. "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Never be afraid to let your light shine, Emma! Love and Blessings! Scott, Teresa, Elora and Clara Gibbons | 59

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62: Happy 13th Birthday Emma! Here are the 13 most important words to remember: The Greatest Commandment: Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, strength! Have the greatest 13th year ever! Mrs. Barkwell

63: Dear Emma, On this special day, we wish you all the very best, all the joy you can ever have and may you be blessed abundantly today, tomorrow and the days to come. May you have a fantastic birthday and continue to enjoy your parents' loving guidance. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your neighbours, Annette and Gerald Fouasse | 63

64: Emma, I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to say to you on your 13th Birthday. And one day one of my favourite songs came on called “The Words I Would Say” by Sidewalk Prophets. If you are like me songs often speak the strongest to my heart and I think the chorus of this verse says so clearly the things I would like to tell you to remember to do in your life. | Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope. You're gonna do great things I already know God's got his hand on you so don't live life in fear forgive and forget but don't forget why you're here Take your time and pray Thank God for each day His love will find a way These are the words I would say. Now that you’ve read the words get your mom to play it for you or put it on your iPod if you don’t already have it. I’ve sent a copy to your mom I will leave you with a prayer that I have often prayed for my children and others | Phillipians 1:9-11 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Happy 13th Birthday Emma! I hope you have a wonderful year! Jeannine Funk

65: Dear Emma, Since I know you like drawing here are thirteen things you should draw: 1.Something that represents you 2. Your favourite animal 3. A place you want to visit 4.Your favourite word 5.Your dream house 6.A portrait 7.Your favourite view 8.Symbols 9.Comic strips 10.Landscapes 11.Constellations 12.Favourite person 13.Illusions Oh and I wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Sincerely, Your Friend Micah | 65

66: Emma - this is what we, the Fox family, want you to remember as you go through life..... People are often unreasonable and self-centered FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives BE KIND ANYWAY If you are honest, people may cheat you BE HONEST ANYWAY If you find happiness, people may be jealous BE HAPPY ANYWAY The good you do today may be forgotten by tomorrow DO GOOD ANYWAY Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. ~Mother Theresa Alison & Cam Emma, Hannah, Rylan, & Brennan

67: Emma, the first time I met you, I could see that you are a strong young lady with a powerful conviction for the things of God. Continue to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and always search His Word for wisdom and knowledge and you will be blessed. Happy birthday! Mrs. Simmons | 67

68: Dearest Emma, Emma Marion Reimer. Our first grandchild. What a precious gift. When you were born, our hearts overflowed with love and gratitude. You immediately had a very special place in our hearts, and always will have. The pictures of you in our photo albums bring back many wonderful memories of your childhood. You loved getting into Grandma’s cupboards, strumming Grandpa’s guitar and crawling into the guitar case, playing piano, playing dress-up, having tea parties, riding the exercise bike, exploring everything around you. You loved life and were happy and content. When your siblings and cousins joined the family, you were a natural leader and initiator. They loved imitating you and being introduced to new and exciting activities. You were their hero. You all loved to sing and dance, make up skits, and perform routines. On a nice warm day, when the family was gathered, all of you enjoyed painting the hot tub, deck, and sidewalk with water. You even did manicures and pedicures with just water and a paintbrush. Playing on the water slide, in the kiddie pool, and at the splash park were other fun family activities.

69: We always look forward to seeing you at our yearly family events as well. The sleepover birthday parties are a very special highlight. We love to go bowling or have a game of mini-golf, go for supper, and then come to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a sleepover, which includes more fun and games, and ends with a movie and popcorn night before it’s time for sleep. The annual family weekends at the cabin at West Hawk Lake are also a lot of fun. Swimming in the pool, playing mini-golf at Falcon Lake, and going for ice cream are some of the highlights there. You have been a part of many of these activities from the very beginning, because you are our oldest grandchild. Emma, you’ve grown into a beautiful young teenager. You continue to bring so much happiness into our lives. You are very special and unique. Your athletic, artistic, and musical talents have brought us much joy. When you participated in hockey, ringette, and dance, we enjoyed watching the games and performances. Your participation in school concerts, Sunday school concerts, and church drama have been fun to watch as well. We continue to enjoy your piano playing and your singing. We also proudly display your art projects. It was fun to watch you play volleyball and basketball for the first time this year. We love spending time with you and are very proud of you. You are a loving, considerate, talented, and precious granddaughter, Emma. We look forward to your teenage years and the many milestones ahead for you. We want you to know that you are deeply loved for who you are. We will always love you, support you, and pray for you. We’d like to share a very special Psalm with you. Whenever you need extra affirmation, encouragement, or love, read or recite Psalm 139. May it be a great blessing to you in the years to come. | 69

70: Psalm 139 O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

71: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversities misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Happy 13th Birthday Emma! We love you very much. Grandma and Grandpa Friesen | 71

72: 13 Randoms for Emma 1.Travel, travel, travel. It’s a big world out there and it would be a shame not to experience it. Once a year, go someplace new you’ve never been before. 2.Don’t stress over what you think people are thinking about you. More often than not it’s usually not about you. 3.Learn to cook. Not for a man but for yourself. 4.Learn to live your life with gratitude and not an attitude. 5.Don’t forget to communicate with people face to face. In a world of social networking it’s too easy to hide behind a screen and forget it’s about making real connections. 6.Exercise your body, mind and soul. 7.Pursue your passion and calling. You were given a gift, live it! 8.Remember your words matter. So speak kindly, in front and behind your friend’s back. Make sure your words line up with your actions. 9.Laugh and have fun. You will never be too young or too old to simply stop and have fun on this journey of life. Laugh until your stomach hurts! 10.Know that “This too shall pass”. Life will be both sweet and bitter. Savour the sweet and stay faithful during the bitter. This is where you will develop character. 11.Build strong and lasting relationships with your girl friends. Don’t ditch them for any boy or man. They will be the ones whom you can turn to throughout your life. 12.Be bold, be strong and be courageous and be confident in everything you do. 13.Remember everyday that you are beautiful, you are unique, and you are an original. God only made one you!! Happy 13th Birthday Emma!! We love you and are blessed to have you as our niece! Love, Auntie Michelle (Uncle Jean-Guy, Elliott, Max and Sawyer)

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74: 13 Pieces of Random Advice 1. Find friends with whom you can laugh until your sides hurt. Unless the laughter is directed at other people – then find new friends. 2. Learn to laugh at yourself – but do it respectfully. 3. Believe that God has a plan for your life – just know that it might be different from the plan YOU have for your life. 4. Take care of your body by being active and eating healthy – but don’t let the number on the scale consume you. You are worth so much more than whatever the digits on the scale tell you. 5. Don’t let anyone make you feel anything less than beautiful and amazing. You are made in GOD’S image, so walk with your head held high as a daughter of The King. 6. Make decisions that you know are right. They may not always be the popular decisions – but popularity isn’t everything. 7. Let your Mom & Dad hug you, even as a teenager. You are NEVER too old to need affection from your parents. 8. Admit when you need help. You don’t need to walk alone – there will always be someone to take the journey alongside you. 9. Your first kiss is special. Don’t be in a hurry to give it away too soon to just anybody. 10. Pray for those who are unkind to you. 11. And of course, pray for those you love – including your future husband, even though you may not have met him yet. 12. Tell people that you love them. Often. Everybody loves to hear those words! 13. Don’t be in a hurry to reach adulthood. Enjoy the teenage years – even the difficult times – for as long as you can. Once you reach adulthood, there’s no going back! Happy 13th Birthday, Emma! You are the sweet child who made me an Auntie for the first time and it has been a pleasure watching you grow up into the beautiful, kind and caring young lady that you are! Love, Auntie Andrea

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77: Uncle Jamie's Biggest Regret My biggest regret was that I ever started smoking cigarettes when I was 13 years old. cigarettes owned every bit of me for almost 15 years and cost me well over $25,000!!! Not only that, the possible Health implications are insane!! Looking cool, fitting in, none of that really matters..... You matter........your Health matters. Unless the "cool" kids change their ways.... They usually don't end up being half as successful and happy as those who refused to conform and stayed true to themselves, their own beliefs and morals throughout the ever so crucial teenage years. Best piece of advice from uncle Jamie: Follow your dreams and passions wherever they may take you. YOU are capable of anything you want to be capable of!! the human mind and soul is more powerful than we can ever imagine.....never stop training your brain and question EVERY single thing you read and learn. Always decide for yourself what is right or wrong. Meditate/pray everyday. Love unconditionally however watch out for those that take advantage of your kindness and generosity. They still deserve your love but only at arms length. Educate yourself as much as possible, for knowledge is worth more than any precious metal or stone. Know what's in the food you eat so you can decide for yourself what you want to put in your body. Exercise....... Run, walk, sports, Situps and pushups during commercials while watching tv all night..... However you got to do it...... Just make sure you do. Good Health is truly the secret to being happy...... Trust me.... It improves EVERYTHING in your life. Oh, and almost forgot...... Don't forget to smell the roses!! :-) Much love Namaste Uncle Jamie (Auntie Jenny, Oliver & Scarlett) | 77

78: ONE OF THE WORST VERSES IN THE BIBLE by Steven Furtick Let me introduce you to one of the worst verses in the Bible: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 If you’ve been in or around a church for more than two weeks you’re probably tempted to label me a heretic right now. Because that verse is the golden child of the Christian universe. It’s the place we go to in the midst of chaos to reassure ourselves that God has our back. It’s the promise we claim when we’re worried about the future. In fact, it’s probably the most popular promise of God in the entire Bible. But it’s not the promise found in the verse that makes it so bad. It’s our response to what the promise is predicated upon. Before Jeremiah 29:11 comes Jeremiah 29:10. And there we find the context of God’s promise: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.” God had plans for Israel. Plans of prosperity. Plans of giving them a hope and a future. But first came 70 years of exile in a foreign land, waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. 70 years of poverty preceded plans of prosperity. 70 years of pain and danger preceded plans of no harm. 70 years of seemingly hopeless present circumstances preceded plans of a hopeful future. This is the reality we don’t like to talk about when we quote Jeremiah 29:11. Yes, God does have plans for us. That’s an incredible promise we should cling to. A promise that’s true. A promise that’s more than a pipe dream. But it’s also a promise that doesn’t always find its completion now. Sometimes it’s later. And later is usually always later than we want it to be. What makes Jeremiah 29:11 one of the worst verses in the Bible has nothing to do with the verse itself. It’s the imposition of our timetable onto it. We expect the utterance of this verse to calm the chaos now. To get God to reveal our future now. But that’s not the purpose of this verse. It’s supposed to give us something to cling onto in the midst of chaos. In the midst of an uncertain future. In the midst of circumstances that scream the very opposite of what God is telling us He has for us. It reminds us that regardless of what our present reality and waiting might tempt us to believe, God has not forgotten about us. We are still His people. He is still our God. And while we might have to wait in a place we don’t want to be to see them come to fruition, He still has plans for us. And it’s when we can embrace this that Jeremiah 29:11 becomes one of the best verses in the Bible.

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80: 13 Reasons to Take Music Lessons 1) Develop a Musical Talent. Develop a talent that will become a valuable and cherished asset of the student for a lifetime. A medium for satisfying personal achievement and entertainment. 2) Build Self-Esteem. In addition to the morale that the student gains from working hard at a skill and succeeding, the positive individual attention given in one-on-one lessons fosters self-esteem and self-worth in the student by showing them that they are worthy of personal attention and that others believe in their success. 3) Learn Study Skills. Develop general study and memorization skills and discover the student’s own individual learning styles that will immediately transfer to other areas of education. 4) Learn Focus. Develop concentration, determination, self-discipline and responsibility to regularly practice and work at skills to reach near and far-distant goals—the rare personality traits that more than any else will ensure success in all other areas of life. 5) Increase Brain Function. Many studies have shown that music instruction helps students develop advanced complex hand-eye, hand-to-hand and right-left brain coordination that greatly increases their ability for multi-task and complex brain activity, spatial cognition and fine motor skilled activities such as typing and writing. (Many of the world’s greatest minds—Plato and Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, René Descartes, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Stephen Hawkin, etc.—were honed by their classical music playing and education.) 6) Increase Mathematical Skills. Many studies have shown that music instruction helps students develop and increase real-life science and mathematical skills such as counting, pattern recognition and recall, geometry, ratios and proportions, fractions, sequences, time keeping and pacing, acoustics, etc. 7) Build Character. Studies have shown that students who study classical music develop stronger moral character, are much more likely to score high in their classes and standardized tests, and much less likely to engage in substance abuse or criminal behavior. 8) Increase Intelligence. Studies have shown that children who take private piano or voice lessons develop higher IQ scores than those who do not.

81: 9) Increase Listening Skills. Studies have shown that trained musicians are much better at discerning subtle speech inflections and thereby “reading between the lines” of what a person says than those without musical training. 10) Develop Creativity and Artistic Awareness. Allows children to retain (and adults to rediscover) much of their open and creative outlook on life as other areas of education and society push them towards conformance. 11) Connect with Others Through Music. Learn and become “fluent” in understanding and even contributing to the “language” of fine music. Open the door to an endless library of musical stories, portraits, essays, manifestos and poetry that has provided inspiration for centuries to our world’s greatest minds. Music is a universal language that transcends all other media in communicating to and touching the souls of men and women and is a manifestation of humanity’s collective conscience and social heritage. 12) Express Yourself. Develop a new and deeply powerful medium of emotional education and expression through “playing” the emotions of the composers and creating pieces of the student’s own. When the student participates in the production of quality music and really understands and connects with it, the intellect and the emotion are profoundly stimulated and the student comes away from the experience with an enriched and more meaningful life. 13) Improve Speaking and Communication. Voice lessons add to the education such real-life skills as: significant improvement of speaking voice quality, diction/accent and mannerism improvement, facial and body expression, posture and movement, social awareness and grace, healthy breathing, foreign languages, confident presentation with eye contact in front of large and small groups, stress management, etc. I hope you continue to enjoy music for the rest of your life! Happy birthday Emma! Arlene Schultz Voice Teacher | 81

82: Hey Emma! I always had lots of fun babysitting you! I still remember when you were two years old. It's so cool to watch you grow up and become a very godly woman! Happy Birthday!! Dana Enns

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84: Here are 11 passages that God has used tremendously in my life over the years and 2 valuable life lessons He's taught me. Some I have given a bit of an explanation to share what specifically God has spoken to me through them 1. 1 John 3:18 - Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. 2. Revelation 3:20 - Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me. God is talking to believers in this passage! He is gently knocking, asking for permission to enter into the very depths of our hearts. If we let Him in, He will fellowship with us in the core of our being! It can be scary to surrender our deepest thoughts, dreams, hurts, and emotions to Him but He is a good and gentle Father who has the best in mind for us and brings true healing and joy when we let Him enter in! 3. Psalm 51 - ...Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place... The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. 4. Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 5. Psalm 18 - ...He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. 6. Proverbs 11:25 - ...He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. 7. Ecclesiastes 3:11,14 - He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of me; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know...I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him. We always have to remember that God is FAR bigger than we are and life is all about Him! When we realize that then we can trust Him completely because nothing is too big for Him and then it also causes us to realize that life is not about us! That is the most freeing concept to grasp!

85: 8. John 15 - ...Remain in Me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me...As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete...You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. This is My command: Love each other. Our job is to seek Jesus through the Living Word, prayer and obedience. As we do we are filled with joy, purpose, love, humility, grace, strength, patience, etc. 9. Matthew 11:28-30 - "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Yes, there is a yoke, a responsibility, that we have to take on but His yoke is easy and His burden is light when we do things His way! 10. Matthew 9:37 - "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.: 11. Exodus 15:13 - In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. God has always been a loving and redeeming God, restoring His people to Himself. Both the old and new testaments prove this very clearly! 12. First and foremost pursue discovering who you are in Christ before worrying about finding a man. It is SO exciting and fun when a godly man begins pursuing you with the utmost respect and care for the depths of your heart! When you start dating a man inside of God's will and you've both established a deep rooted relationship with Christ then you don't have to second guess it all the time. Another benefit is that then you aren't depending on each other to fulfill you're deepest hearts desires and needs and then that pressure is off! 13. The way to true peace, life and joy, no matter the circumstance, comes from living a life of obedience step by step. God is gracious and bigger than our mistakes. Its about having a soft heart, desiring to do His will no matter the cost. We can ask Jesus to give us a desire for Him, the strength to obey, the desire to obey and pretty much anything else! A big key is that we're honest with how we're feeling and thinking and then ask God for the strength to do whats right! Jesus loves you and delights in you SO much Emma! You are the apple of His eye! Its true! I pray that you may have the power to grasp how long and wide and high and deep is His great love for you! And that you might know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14-21) God bless you richly on this AMAZING journey of life with Him! It is SO worth it! Nicole Andres | 85

86: Random advice from Mom's Facebook Friends | Your studies are more important now then ever. Even if you plan on being a SAHM, it's a good idea to be able to provide for yourself and any future kids. Also, you don't have to get your degree before the kids come along, but it's a lot easier if you do. ~Jennifer | Follow your passion. When you love what you do you never "work" a day in your life. ~Experienced human | I probably wouldn't have agreed with Jennifer 10 years ago, but I sure do now! Yes. Even if you want to marry young, you can get most of all of your school done first. And it may prove useful later on. ~Margaret | 13 is tough. And Mom knows it. She was 13 once too. If you question anything don't ever question your mother's love for you and her ability to understand even when you think she couldn't possibly do so. Your education is crucial! Don't waste a single moment! But have fun too! Dream big young lady and reach for the stars! Find your passion and hold on tight! ~Garsy | Don't be ashamed of any aids/help you may need, whether its glasses, braces, tutoring or something else. Take care of yourself, yes, but don't let your vanity be fruitless (I'm very near sighted & have had glasses since 4th grade, & didn't wear them in 7th/8th, & I still regret that----at age 41). Use study hall time wisely, don't pester your neighbor, & pay attention to the teacher. Be more concerned with having compassion on classmates who may need it than with fitting in with the cool kids. I know being a teenager can be tough, but adults have their own set of troubles so enjoy where you are in life for now. Oh, & happy birthday. ~Rebekah

87: My mother again would say to me, "You can't eat beauty, it doesn't feed you." And these words played and bothered me, I didn't really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume. It was something I just had to be. And what my mother meant when she said "You can't eat beauty" was that you can't rely on how you look to sustain you. What actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion - for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul.... And, so, I hope that my presence on your screens and in magazines, will lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you would feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty. Lupita Nyong'o Actress | 87

88: Dear Emma, Happy 13th birthday! Thirteen is such an exciting time as you start to become more independent and begin planning for what you want to do with your life. There will be many trials and tests along the way to stretch you and make you lean on God to bring you through. Some tests, like the ones in school, are much easier to prepare for. For your birthday book I would like to share with you 13 test taking tips to help you. 13 Test Taking Tips 1. Start studying for a test early. Ask for an explanation for things you do not understand at that time and do not wait until test time to try to make sense of things that you are unsure of. Index cards are great for writing out vocabulary terms and other study notes. They are easy to carry with you in your pocket to review while riding in a car or waiting for a bus. Writing your study nots on index cards also make it very easy for others to test you by asking you to explain the concepts that are on each card. 2.Bring at least two pens/pencils with good erasers and a watch or a clock (NEVER a cell phone) so that you can better pace yourself. 3. Sometimes bringing a hard candy (nothing with a stick!) or a piece of gum can be a nice way to reward yourself at the half way point and give you a little extra sugar burst to get you through the last half. This is especially useful during those 3 hour university exams!! 4. When you first receive your test, do a quick survey of the entire test so that you know how to efficiently use your time. 5. Don’t stay on a problem that you are stuck on especially when time is a factor. If you don’t know an answer, put a star in the margin, and move on. Work on what you do know on the rest of the test and come back to it later. Often other parts of the test will have some information that you can use to help you with that question. 6. Ask the instructor for clarification if you don’t understand what they are asking. They won’t tell you the answer, but they may be able to guide you in the way the question should be answered. 7. Write legibly. If the grader can’t read what you wrote, they’ll likely mark it wrong. 8. Always read the whole question carefully. Don’t make assumptions about what the question might be. Underline key words to help you make sense of the answer that is required.

89: 9. Keep your eyes on your own paper. You don’t want to appear cheating and cause unnecessary trouble for yourself. 10. Don’t worry if others finish before you. Focus on the test in front of you. It doesn't matter what others are doing. 11. If you have time left after you have finished, look over your test. Check to see if you have answered all the questions (especially ones marked with a star that you wanted to come back to). Only change an answer if you have misread the question because often the first answer you put is the right one. Watch out for careless mistakes and proofread your essay or short answer questions. 12.Double check to make sure your first and last name is on your test. 13.This is important...ALWAYS write something even when you come across a question and you don’t know the answer.The person who is marking your test cannot give you marks for a blank page, but they may be able to give you part marks for writing something that you do know. I once wrote a History exam and one of the essay questions was a hard one and I couldn’t remember anything that was discussed on that topic. I decided that writing something was better than leaving out that essay (1/3 of my final exam mark!). I finished that course with a B+ and I was thrilled when I think I could have failed that exam if I had not written anything. ALWAYS write something! Pamela Doerksen Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 | 89

90: Happy 13th birthday Emma! I hope that as you enter the teenage years you always remember to put God first. I have come up of a list of 13 things to keep in your purse! 1. Money, you never know when you might need to buy something! 2 .Chapstick, I would recommend the light pink EOS it works great and smells delicious :) 3. Hair tie, it’s so annoying when your hair is in your face and don’t have anything to tie your hair back. 4. Kleenex, to blow your nose. You can even get decorative ones to brighten up your purse. 5. Note pad, in case you have to write something important down. 6. Pen, to write important stuff down. 7. Camera, to take pictures when you and your friends are hanging out. 8. Hand sanitizer, Bath & Body Works has awesome scents and you can even get a case you hang on your purse for those times when a sink isn't around. 9. Gum/Mints, to freshen your breath. 10. Mirror, to make sure you don’t have any food in your teeth. 11. Bandaids, in case if you get a cut. 12. Body spray, you never know when you’ll need it. 13. Lotion, for when your hands are dry. Love Kiandra Doerksen | 90

91: Happy Birthday, Emma! Welcome to the teens! Here are some words that I think best describes you: E- enthusiastic. You were a great lead role in the series of 'Charlie Baby' and you showed a lot of expression which helped make our little 'movie' awesome! M- mature. Most girls your age wouldn't be found volunteering on their free time. You are a great leader at KUC on Wednesday nights, and it's great to have your help! I can tell that the kids love you, and I think it's because you are very good with them. M- mail writing master. It seems like whenever my family comes over to your house to visit, all the kids end up playing the 'mail writing game.' This is when a very unlucky person would be nominated for the mailman, and he/she would have to deliver the thousands of notes we would write to each other. There really is no point to this game, but for whatever reason, we thought it was fun. You were great at making sure everyone was getting lots of mail and you seemed to respond to letters very quickly, which makes you the mail writing master! A- artistic. You have an artist eye for many things. Your hair is always done up in a different kind of braid, and each one is unique and beautiful! I have also seen some very cool nail art you have done! I loved the snowman nails you did! I also loved seeing all of your drawings and other artwork you posted on Instagram! God has really blessed you with so many great talents! Enjoy your teenager years ahead of you and remember that God loves you and he has an amazing future planned for you! Love, Kezia Doerksen

92: Emma 13 things that should be on your bucket list Go skydiving Drive a fast car Invent a phone Invent a word Get a pet Live in a big house Cliff diving Bungee jumping Play minecraft Get on the popular page on Instagram Be famous Make a new meal Have fun Kaden Doerksen

93: Emma, You're finally 13. Actually a teenager! I can't believe how much you've grown up and matured since I've known you and I so blessed to have been able to watch you grow up. A few things you should know: -you can never have too many shoes -chocolate is always a need -have fun while you're a teenager -you are beautiful no matter what Honey, have a wonderful birthday and may God bless you so so much this year. Halle | 93

94: The most important thing that I wish I had known when I was 13. Life is an incredible journey predestined by God. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Imprint these words on your heart. This is an amazing promise from God. It is a solid foundation on which to land when things don’t seem to work out. Trust God. His plan for your life is much bigger and better then you could ever imagine. Enjoy the journey. You will always feel young enough to accomplish your dreams and goals. Auntie Candace

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98: Dear Emma, Laugh. This is my advice to you on your 13th birthday. Laugh. There will be many times and many moments in the days, months, and years to come that will warrant tears, a serious outlook, and a resolve to persevere through tough times, tough exams, tough choices, and tough moments, but if you can remember to laugh through all of these times life will be lighter to bear and more joy-filled than filled with hardship. So laugh Emma. Laugh when things don't turn out quite like you thought they would. Laugh at yourself when you do something silly or you are silly. Laugh when you feel embarrassed, when someone embarrasses you (yes, even your parents and siblings). Laugh with your friends (and not at them, though that is tempting, I must admit!) Laugh with your family (again, not at them ;) Laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine and it really is. Some of the most difficult illness issues laughter has made facing it so much lighter. I am not saying to hide behind laughter or to minimize the pain. What I am saying is to allow yourself to not take life too seriously, but serious enough that you know you need to laugh. To enjoy the many wonderful things, friends, family, and experience God has granted you and to express it with the beautiful sound of laughter. Life moves quickly (really it does, you may not believe me, but it does) so enjoy all of it. The ups, the downs, and the in-betweens, and let yourself laugh until you pee yourself, until your sides hurt, until you can't breath, until tears roll down your face like big, bright balloons. Laugh. I pray for you, Emma, a life dedicated to Jesus' service and a life full of belly aching laughter. May the joy of the Lord be yours! With much love, Kelly Reimer

99: Dear Emma, Happy 13th Birthday! The best part of this birthday is that you can officially say that you are a teenager! Yup, no more kids menus. No more kiddie pricing at the movie (this makes moms and dads sad, but they’ll get over it). And if you are really lucky you can begin to wear a little make up! I mostly wear mine for skating competitions but my mom did get me some coloured lip-gloss and I can wear some mascara. So enjoy the start of being a teenager. Happy 13th! Royan Reimer | 99

100: Emma Don't ever think you can't do something. Do it to the best of your ability and things will work out the way they are meant to. "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are" E. E. Cummings Michelle Roukema

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102: HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMMA! I wish you the very best on this special birthday and all the days to come! "Your birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of 'you' to the world." Miss Carmelle

103: 13 Quotes from Winnie the Pooh Home is the comfiest place to be. ~Pooh A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference. ~Pooh Love is taking a few steps backward maybe even more... to give way to the happiness of the person you love. ~Pooh I was so upset, I forgot to be happy. ~Eeyore | You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~Christopher Robin The only way to fix a friendship is to try. ~Pooh DId you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? ~Pooh Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So, today is my new favorite day. ~Pooh With you here, I know that life is much more fun. ~Pooh | That's the story of you and me, the way we've always been and we'll always be friends until the end. ~Piglet You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. ~Pooh A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside. ~Pooh If you have a little problem, I could try to lend a hand. And if you're feeling sad, just tell me and I'll try to understand. ~Piglet | 103

104: If I can’t accept you at your worst, then maybe you should stop being so horrible by Matt Walsh I remember the first time I was awarded the “game ball” in my Little League. I don’t recall the details exactly, but I’m pretty sure my stat sheet looked something like this: Zero RBIs, zero home runs, zero hits, zero stolen bases, zero plays made on the field, seven errors, four innings spent sitting on the bench. Most of my team probably performed similarly, but I know we put a few runs on the board, so SOMEONE must have done something notable. Alas, that kid — whoever he was — got jobbed this tragic afternoon. They gave the game ball to me. You can only imagine how I felt. That is, confused. We capped off the season with a trophy ceremony in the local middle school auditorium. One by one, they called every team up to receive their participation awards. You played a game for a few weeks and achieved no amount of success at all! Congratulations on your mediocrity, kid! It was a plastic gold-colored figurine of a guy hitting a baseball. Ironic, really, considering I hadn’t actually made contact with a ball all season. I still have my pity-trophy, it’s right up there on my pity-mantle, next to my pity-game ball and the mandatory Valentine’s cards I only received because elementary school rules required every child to give one to every other child. When visitors come by, I show it to them and proudly say, “Look at all of the mandatory recognition showered upon me as a matter of routine policy!” Then my guests will often cringe and weep, and the evening ends early and uncomfortably. See, I think all of this nonsense – this “everybody is special, everybody gets to have a trophy, everybody gets a card, everybody gets recognition” idiocy – can produce only two possible results, neither desirable. One, it can make perceptive, self-aware children even more embarrassed and insecure. They know that they are undeserving of these accolades, and they’d rather not be patronized. If a severely impoverished child wore a burlap sack to school, he would be utterly humiliated if his teacher, with all good intentions, decided to award him the honor of “best dressed.” That’s how many kids feel when their mediocrity is put on a pedestal and treated like it’s something exceptional. They aren’t fooled, as much as they’d like to be. Then there’s category 2. These kids, perhaps not equipped with the same critical thinking capacities as the first type, will eventually buy into the hype. They will look at those trophies and gold stars, unearned and undeserved, and begin to develop an inflated image of themselves. What is born from this is not confidence, but narcissism and arrogance. These are the kids in possession of the much-heralded “self-esteem.” Indeed, they hold themselves in high esteem. Why? Because they are themselves. They are spectacular, beautiful, athletic, and brilliant, all by their very nature. Whatever they do is the best thing anyone has ever done, simply because it was done by them. Whoever comes in contact with them ought to be grateful for the privilege. Success and happiness is what they are due, and the entire universe is in their debt. They are the people who expect the Lord to descend from heaven and hand them a game ball and a participation trophy every day.

105: I’m sure you’ve met this type. Maybe you’ve voted for this type. Maybe you work with, or under, this type. Maybe, God help you, they are in your family. Maybe you’ve been in a relationship with them. In fact, it seems statistically likely that you have been in a relationship with them. The divorce rate speaks for itself. Beyond that, although there aren’t any statistics (as far as I’m aware) for non-married break ups, it appears obvious that we are experiencing a crisis of failed relationships at every level and in every form. People don’t know how to be in relationships anymore, and I think this epidemic can be traced, at least in part, to the delusions of grandeur we instill in our little snowflakes from an early age. Shielded from failure, insulated from criticism, covered in emotional bubble wrap, our kids are venturing out into the world with little discipline and even less humility. You can see this manifest in many arenas, but I think it’s most pronounced in the way we approach relationships. Here’s one example. It’s minor, probably insignificant, but it represents something quite serious. I was perusing my Facebook Newsfeed today and I came across a status that said this: “Yea I’m a b*tch but deal with it. I wont be with anyone who cant accept all of who I am!!!” This was a grown woman. Apparently college educated. Older than me. It reminded me of a meme we’ve all seen a thousand times. It has a few variations, but it usually goes something like this: If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best. This is such a popular sentiment that it has its own Facebook fan page with over 150 thousand “likes.”... Of course, the original quote is from Marilyn Monroe. It’s even more vapid and nauseating when taken in its full context: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Out of all the profundities ever uttered, what does it say about our society that THIS is the quote we’ve decided to take to heart? It says that we need to read more books. Also, it says that we are horrible at relationships. Yes, it’s true that, in a marriage, we must love our spouses in spite of their flaws. It’s also true that we all have flaws. But it’s ALSO true that only an infantile, spoiled, egotistical brat would ever treat a loved one with “her worst” and expect them to deal with it because her “best” will somehow compensate for it. Newsflash: It’s not OK to be selfish, impatient, and out of control. These traits, while common, are UNacceptable. They should not be accepted, least of all by the people you claim to love. The onus is on YOU to change your behavior and your attitude, not on them to “handle it.” Are you such a gem that they should thank God for the opportunity to be | 105

106: emotionally abused by you, if only it earns them a chance to bask in the glow of your superiority? Perhaps that’s how you see it, but I’ve never met anyone quite that charming. This philosophy is poison, and it stretches beyond one offensive quote from a 20th century Playboy Bunny. Often I read or hear people whine that they ‘just want to find someone who will accept them, no matter what.’ But being “accepted” should not be our relationship goal. Healthy relationships are loving, but also challenging, edifying, and even occasionally painful. Accept. Definition: to receive with approval or favor, to agree or consent to. Should our selfishness, impatience, and weakness preclude us from being loved? No. But should these traits be “accepted”? Should they be “received with approval or favor”? Should our loved ones “consent” to them? No. Big no. Enormous, loud, screaming no. Should we scoff at our husbands or wives or boyfriends or girlfriends and flippantly tell them to “handle it,” as we behave in ways that will hurt and offend them? No. And if you think that — if you REALLY think that — then you shouldn’t be getting into relationships at all. You aren’t ready. Further, does our “best” (which probably isn’t as great as we imagine it to be) make up for, or negate, our “worst”? No. Your worst is your worst. Fix it. Be better. Nobody should have to put up with it. Least of all the people you love. Love is a transformative force, and if you want to experience it you better be ready to change in every way imaginable. My wife does not “accept me”, and thank God for that. She challenges me. She makes me better. In other words, she loves me. What kind of a pathetic and dreary goal is that, anyway — just wanting to be “accepted”, tolerated, put up with? That’s not why we’re put on this planet. Life is not about gaining “acceptance.” Life is change. It is not static and stagnant, do you really want your relationships to be? We don’t emerge into the world as eternally entitled princes and princesses. We come into it as naked, crying, helpless babies. Our job is to grow out of that condition. And that will take a lot of changing and a lot of learning about what parts of us are unsuitable and insufficient and unacceptable. Sadly, some of us are unwilling to endure that process, so we never grow, and in failing to grow we fail to live. It’s a tragedy. Don’t ask anyone to “accept” the bad parts of you. Instead, strive to improve those parts. Put in the effort. Make yourself worthy of the love they’ve offered you. Forget what you learned in elementary school. The only “participation trophy” you’re awarded from life is death. That’s the one thing we all get just for showing up. In the meantime, if you want something better, you have to earn it. That means if you want better relationships, you have to earn them, too.

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110: Since Mrs. Doerksen was the one to give me the idea for this book, I thought I would share with you the advice I shared with Kiandra & Kezia in their books. I've edited it slightly to make more sense coming from me (and #2 might seem a little strange for the same reason) but otherwise I've left it the same. I thought I would share with you 13 things to look for in choosing your future husband. Other than your choice to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, choosing your husband is the most important decision you will ever make. With that in mind, only date someone you would seriously consider marrying. The purpose of dating is to find a suitable husband. “Falling in love” causes you to ignore red flags, to ignore advice from concerned family and friends, and to excuse inappropriate behavior because you are looking through rose-coloured glasses. Keeping things at a friendship level is vitally important until you are sure he possesses all the qualities you are looking for. With that in mind, here are 13 things to look for in a future husband. 1) He must be passionate about continuing to grow in his personal relationship with Jesus. Do not assume that just because he goes to church that he is a Christian. Do not assume that because he is a Christian that he is committed to continuing to grow in his faith. The only way you can discern this is by getting to know him on a friendship level, watching how he interacts with those around him (especially his family – as we are most likely to act like our true selves in front of the people who know us best), listening to the advice of your parents and other wise (older) friends and family and other people whose opinion you respect (youth leader, pastor, etc). The Bible is clear that we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers – choosing to do so will only result in heartache. He needs to be passionate about his relationship with God, willing to challenge you to grow in your own faith, and to be the spiritual leader of your home. This does not mean that he has to be outgoing. But he cannot use a shy personality as an excuse not to lead. 2) Make sure your parents approve of your choice. I know that sounds old fashioned. But your parents are wise people. They love you more than anyone else in the world does, and they have loved you before you were even born. They have prayed for you and your future spouse, they have poured into your life and invested in you like no one else has. No other people in this world want you to succeed in life and to have a godly and fulfilling marriage more than your parents do. They are older and wiser than you and will be able to see red flags much easier than you will be able to. Respect your parents and seek their blessing in your choice of a marriage partner. 3) A sense of humour goes a long way. Though this isn’t necessarily a high priority and is really more of a personal preference, having a sense of humour certainly makes life easier and a lot more fun! Marriage is not always easy, life is not always easy. Being able to look at things with a sense of humour, being able to laugh at yourself, being able to joke around together and have fun together is important. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but laugh or cry – and laughing is so much more fun! Of course, there is a line here as well – the sense of humour should not be at someone else’s expense. People can hide a lot of insecurities by insulting other people and masking it in a joke. Virtually everyone makes fun of other people at some point – but it should never be cruel or crude. An appropriate sense of humour is a great asset in a future husband!

111: 4) He needs to be respectful. You can tell a lot about someone by the way they treat others – especially their family and their elders. I mentioned this in a previous point, but people are the most themselves around their family or other people who know them best. They have nothing to hide – these people know their every character flaw. It is especially important to see how he treats his mother, as this is a pretty good indicator of how he will treat you. He needs to have respect for all people – no matter their gender, race, social status, age or anything else. He needs to see all people as the image bearers of God that they are and treat them that way. 5) He needs to handle anger and disagreements appropriately. Everyone gets angry at some point. But we need to be slow to anger - having a quick and fiery temper can be a recipe for trouble. The emotion of anger is not necessarily a sin. What we do with that anger is important. Does he lash out in hurtful words? Does he become violent in any way? Does he simply not deal with his anger at all? Does he withdraw or bottle up his anger? All of those are major red flags! Rather he should try to calmly talk it through, he should pray for the person/situation. He should try to resolve the situation and seek a solution to the problem. He should be willing to compromise his own desires in order to resolve issues, but he should not be willing to compromise his values or beliefs. 6) He needs to take responsibility for his own actions. Everyone makes mistakes. An immature and selfish man will tend to blame someone else for his mistakes and avoid taking ownership of his choices. A mature man, a man you want to be married to, will be able to admit when he has done wrong, take personal responsibility for his wrong choice, ask for forgiveness and make restitution when necessary. 7) He needs to have a servant heart in order to be a servant leader. Marriage is a big adjustment. You can no longer make decisions based on what is best for you alone, you now have to make decisions based on what is best for both of you. And nothing reveals selfishness more than having children! The man you choose to marry needs to have a servant heart. He needs to be able to set aside his own desires if that is what’s best for his family. You want a man who will want to do whatever he can for you out of love for you. How can you tell before you marry him if he will have this servant heart? By observing how he is with other people. He should be empathetic towards people and their troubles, willing to offer a helping hand when he can. He should be generous with his time and money. In short, he needs to be unselfish, willing to put other’s needs ahead of his own. 8) He needs to have things in common with you. The saying opposites attract is not always true. It depends what you’re opposite about! This doesn’t mean that you need to enjoy all the same hobbies – but you need to be ok with the ones he has, because that’s not going to change when you get married. It’s ok for married couples to do some things separately, but more often than not, you want to do things together. This also doesn’t mean that you have to have the same views on everything – but you definitely need to agree on your core values and beliefs and any other issues you consider to be major ones. 9) He needs to be willing to change, but you cannot expect him to change. Everyone has weaknesses and you can’t expect him to be perfect. You have to decide if his weaknesses are ones you’re willing to live with forever. Yes, he could | 111

112: change, and he should change if he is desiring to grow in his walk with God. But you cannot marry someone with the expectation that he will change a specific weakness or character flaw after you get married. Marriage never solves problems – in fact it usually makes the problems worse. And becoming parents makes the problems worse yet. He does need to be willing to change. Similar to #8 – he needs to recognize his own flaws, be willing to take responsibility for them, and then be willing to do the work necessary to change them. However, you cannot make him change and there’s no guarantee that he will. 10) He needs to be able to communicate and he needs to be honest. Men, stereotypically, are not as good at communicating as women. But they can communicate and they need to know how to. You want to marry a man who is able to verbalize his wants and expectations. He needs to be able to hear your wants and expectations. And then you both need to be able to come to a compromise if those wants and expectations are different. Compromise does not mean one person has to give in. Often true compromise is both people giving slightly and meeting in the middle. Sometimes one person has to give in entirely, but it should not be that way very often, and when it is, it should not always be the same person doing the giving in. Both of you will be coming into the marriage with different backgrounds and therefore, different expectations. This is ok as long as you are both able to communicate your expectations honestly and then adjust them accordingly to make your relationship work for you. Honesty is always the best policy. You cannot trust someone who is dishonest. Be honest about your expectations. You cannot read each other’s minds and you can only work with what you know. Being shy and not talking are two different things. Even shy people are able to talk to those they are close to. It is essential that he is able to honestly communicate with you. 11) He needs to have a good work ethic. You want to marry a man who will be willing to work hard to provide for you. It doesn’t particularly matter what type of job he has (as long as it’s ethical of course!), it matters that he is self-motivated and a hard worker. This is especially true if you are desiring to be a stay at home mom when you have children. Again, this doesn’t mean that he has to have a high paying job, but that he is not going to shirk his responsibilities, and that he will work hard to provide for you and your children. 12) He needs to be self-controlled. Self-control is important for so many things – managing anger, avoiding addictive behaviours and especially overcoming temptation in regards to sexual purity. You both need to determine ahead of time where to draw the line in regards to sexual purity. If he does not respect and value you enough to do this, then you deserve someone better. If sexual purity in regards to pornography is a struggle for him, he needs to be willing to have an accountability partner to help him fight this temptation – that is not something he will be able to do alone. You don’t need to find someone who is never tempted (that would be impossible!), you need to find someone who chooses to do the right thing despite the temptation. 13) He needs to be the man God wants for you. There are so many more qualities I could list, but the most important thing is to be willing to wait for the man God has for you. You are far better off waiting for the right man, no matter how long that takes, than marrying the first guy that comes along and being miserable for the rest of your life. And sometimes it’s not that there is anything wrong with a particular

113: guy, but he still may not be the one God intends for you to be with. For ex – if you feel called to the mission field, and the man you want to marry is not, then that is not the man God wants for you. Waiting for God’s timing can be difficult, but it is always worth it! Emma, my prayer for you is that you will continue to grow into a woman after God’s own heart. I pray that you will seek God when determining who your future husband will be and that you will have the patience to wait for His timing. Keep in mind, that even when you marry the one that God has for you, marriage is not always easy. The first year or so is often the most difficult as you are getting used to living with someone else 24/7, sorting through your different expectations of how your household should run, and just figuring out how the whole marriage thing works. A good marriage does take effort. But that effort is so worth it! If you are both focused on God, if you are focused on serving Him through your marriage, if you are focused on serving each other – your marriage will be blessed more than you could ask or imagine! I would encourage you to pray for your future husband now already. Pray that God will mold him into the man he wants him to be. Pray that God will put people in his life to draw him to Jesus and to strengthen his relationship with God. Pray for his parents. Pray for his friends and for his teachers. Pray for him. Through the amazing power of prayer, you can bless his life before you even meet him. What a priviledge! Now for some thoughts specifically for you, Emma. Thirteen years ago my life changed forever as I became a Mom for the very first time. There is no way to describe all the thoughts and emotions that flood through you when you hold your firstborn for the very first time. Love so powerful it's impossible to describe. And what's so mind boggling to me is that Jesus loves you even more than we do. It doesn't seem possible to love even more than that, and yet we know it's true. I remember feeling overwhelmed and a bit at a lost when we brought you home from the hospital, thinking "What do we do now?" We had never been parents before and we just had to figure it out, day by day. Every moment was a new adventure and a learning process, all wrapped up in one. You've always been a social butterfly, always asking me "Mom, what are we doing now?" even if we had just gotten home from an outing. I've loved watching your imagination flourish, from the way you played to your artwork to your writing - all the ideas you've come up with!

114: You've always been a natural leader, though tending to the bossy side when it comes to your siblings - which is pretty normal for a firstborn. I should know. :) Continue to develop your leadership skills for kingdom use. Every personality type has strengths and weaknesses. The key is to be humble about both your strengths and weaknesses. Your strengths are gifts from God to be used for His glory and for the good of those around you, while Your weaknesses are a reminder of your need for a Saviour and that you need to find your strength in God alone. We are all a work in progress. He will continue to work in you throughout your life - molding you to become more like Him through both the good and bad. Unfortunately for us, His greatest work is usually performed during the bad as it is then that we cling to Him and Him alone. Always remember that your worth is found in Him. You have every blessing in Christ at your disposal - as Christians, we all do (read Ephesians). The problem is, we often don't make use of the resources He's given us. Above all, desire Jesus. When we truly love Him, everything else falls into place. If we truly love Him we will pursue holiness. If we truly love Him we will want to get to know Him more through prayer as well as reading, studying, and memorizing His Word. If we truly love Him we will love those around us. If we truly love Him we will focus on Him instead of on ourselves. If we truly love Him our desires will gradually come to mirror His desires and we will become like Him. So, love Jesus with all your heart! He loves you so much. Not because of anything you've done (or not done), but because He chose you, He created you, He died for you. Nothing can separate you from that love! I am so proud of you and the woman you are becoming. I look forward to seeing you grow more and more into the woman God has designed you to be, as you fulfill the purposes He's had planned for you, even before the beginning of time! Happy 13th birthday Emma! I love you so much. Mom

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118: Top 5 insiders 1) green jacket 2) tiger 3) purple sweater 4) pinky up 5) electrocuted face Emma, you are a great person to be around and are totes funny when it's just me and you hanging out! You love to make constipated faces as well as farting in my face. Emma, you are my inspiration in life (besides Jocelyne Larocque), and I hope I become a non-dramatic teenager just like you when I grow up! Emma, if you weren't my older sister I don't know what I would do. Btw I am only doing this because mom told me I had to. =^^= (I hope you know I'm joking) DUDE YOU ARE TOTALLY A BODACIOUS DUDE AND ARE 2ND BEST IN THE WHOLE WORLD! (I'm 1st obviously) Love Soph dude!

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120: 13 Awesome things about you 1) You're cool 2) You're funny 3) You're fun to be with 4) You're not too sensitive 5) You watch people play hockey 6) You're really good at singing 7) You're good at drawing 8) You babysit us, even when you don't want to 9) You're hair is very pretty 10) You play games with us 11) You love Jesus - most important thing 12) You're a good sister 13) You're good at being bossy Love Olivia

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122: I like it when you play with me and when you watch me play hockey. Happy birthday Emma! Love Jacob

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  • Title: Turning 13 - Emma
  • Emma's 13th birthday book
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  • Published: over 5 years ago