Abigail turned seventeen yesterday. Does that make me old? I remember being seventeen, so it couldn't have been all that long ago, right?
Being the oldest has given Abby certain privileges. It also means she gets to be the guinea pig of the family. We have always told her that she is the one that we will make all the mistakes with. She's our test subject for parenting. She hasn't always enjoyed that role, but we have learned how to say "I'm sorry," when we make a mistake, to forgive, and to try again.
Abby has grown into a young woman in the last year. For her birthday gift she chose a fancy dinner out at the Latitude 41 Restaurant with just Mom and Dad, over a party with her friends. She is making a fancy dress to enter into a sewing competition. She picked out a satin-y, jewel tone blue fabric for the dress and a sparkly fabric for the shawl. Very girl-y. She also enjoys teaching the four and five year olds at church. She has a calm, relaxed way about her when she is with them and they absolutely adore her. She is considering going to college to be an elementary school teacher.
She still manages to shock us at times with some of her "tomboy" antics, but those moments are getting fewer. She hasn't gotten stuck in a tree in over a year now! She still loves tractors, especially the red ones (She's an IH/Farmall girl through and through). She hopes that someday her Grandpa Smith will let her work their farm to its full potential. She dreams of someday making it a working dairy goat farm, with educational events, and a small restaurant or bed and breakfast.
Abby is a hard worker and is very strong. She can carry 100 pounds of grain from the truck to the barn effortlessly. (and that's quite a distance!) She spent the morning of her birthday hauling hay with her dad. It was nearly 95 degrees with super high humidity. After they loaded the 135 bales of hay onto the truck and trailer and brought it home, the hay had to be moved from the trailer to the truck bed, the truck was driven to the hay shed, and then the hay was off loaded and stacked. She figured she touched each bale at least three times, and had fun doing it!
Abigail loves her goats. She has been showing and breeding goats since she was nine years old. She is enjoying competing at the bigger and more competitive shows this year. For the last four years Abby has taken the time to really improve her herd through breeding and purchasing quality animals. She has developed a very good eye for judging the quality of an animal and it shows in how well her animals perform in the ring. She has worked hard to improve her showmanship skills and has taken the top position at many of the competitions. With the ADGA Nationals coming to Springfield, Massachusetts this July, she is excited about competing at the highest level possible.
Abigail through the years has taught me forgiveness; both giving and receiving it. I've had to forgive her; she's had to forgive me. Abby's faith in God is so strong and at times I have envied her because she has always known God's salvation. In last year or so she has worked out her own relationship with God, and it has been beautiful (and painful, at times) to witness her grow in faith. Her sincere, and often fervent, desire to follow God's will has put me to shame on more than one occasion. My prayer is that she will continue to grow and follow God with her whole heart.