Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Solemn Oath

As some of you may know, I was admitted to the Florida Bar this past week.  After law school and the bar exam, the professional responsibility test and passing character & fitness, I was deemed a worthy candidate for the practice of law in the State of Florida.  While I may or may not actively practice, the Oath of Admittance is a solemn one:

I do solemnly swear:
I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida.
I will maintain the respect due to Courts of Justice and Judicial Officers.
I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceedings which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land.
I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the Judge or Jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law.
I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my clients, and will accept no compensation in connection with their business except from from them or with their knowledge and approval.
To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications.
I will abstain from all offensive personality and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged.
I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay anyone's cause for lucre or malice.  So help me God.
Reading through it again gives me chills . . . the good kind.  It's a weighty task with which lawyers are charged.  And yes, there are definitely those of the profession who serve less than satisfactorily.  But this oath embodies the ideal to which we should strive.  And the conduct which it prescribes has a broader application - to all aspects of our lives and all interactions.  We should act with truth and honor.  We should keep the secrets entrusted to us (with exceptions).  We should act fairly and civilly with integrity and strength of conviction.  We should be kind and refrain from offensive personality.  And we should champion the defenseless and oppressed!  So help me God!  

Just ponder the words and think for a moment about how they could apply in your life.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Oh the Places You'll Go

Look at that sass - age 4.
This coming weekend is bittersweet.  My baby sister (ok, not the baby . . . actually, 2nd oldest in our family, but still) is graduating from college!  And my middle sister is about to graduate from high school and start college in the fall.  And the next two aren't far behind.  With my sister's graduation from college comes her moving back home, 1000+ miles away from me.  It has been amazing to have her down here, and I'm going to miss her terribly!  But I know God has great plans in store for her, and I can't wait to see where He leads her next!  So this post is for her.  
Rachel & Rebekah - 1995

Rachel, I have watched you grow up from the moment you were born.  I was so excited to finally have a little sister!  And I also thought your baby clothes were particularly adorable . . . and was rather adamant that they still fit me . . . even though I was almost 5 years old when you were born.  Over the years, I know I haven't been the bestest friend big sister I could have been . . . I distinctly remember many years of "playing" where I was more interested in setting up the Playmobile than in actually playing with it . . . sorry about that.


Summer 2009 - the middle one is starting college this fall!
And then I went to college, and you were suddenly the eldest at home.  And how I missed you all so much!  I didn't get to see you grow up and blossom into a beautiful young lady.  I didn't get to see our younger sisters grow from toddlers to teenagers.  But I got to see you on holidays and hopefully make up for some of the lost time.


Mackinac Island, 4th of July, 2011
And then I graduated from college and moved away from home . . . a good growing experience for me, but still too far from you.  And then I moved even farther away when God called me to law school in Florida.  And I went . . . no idea about what He was planning or where I was going.


Fall 2013 - your 1st semester
Which is why I was so incredibly happy that you decided to come to Florida for college . . . because it meant that you were only a short drive away instead of thousands of miles!  I got to see you!  And get to know you again!  And see what an amazing young woman you were becoming.  A woman of grace and faith, with that beautiful and warm smile and all the enthusiasm of a new college student.  And I know I didn't visit as often as I should have, but I loved every moment I got to spend with you!


Don't mess with Skiba Girls.
And we had fun.  Lots of outings and adventures, just you and me.  Exploring all that Naples had to offer.  I still want to go back to the Botanical Gardens some day with you for another awesome photo shoot.  You have no idea how much spending time with you helped ME get through law school and life in general.  You were there whenever I needed my sister, even though I'm the big sister.  The past four years have been incredible.


St. Augustine, FL - May 2015
And then it was my turn to graduate (again).  I graduated from law school, but thankfully I got to stay in Florida near you!  Enjoying the sunshine when we could and working through your last two years of college together.  And yes, by this time you were dating . . . an incredible young man.  :)  And I was dating.  And we were dating together.  And it was ALL the drama and ALL the fun and ALL the planning and dreaming.  And then you'd go home for the summer, and I'd miss you terribly.  


But then there was that one summer you stayed in Florida, and I got to see you more!  And we had more photo shoots.  :)  And I got to see you grow up into the amazing, beautiful, and talented young woman you are today!


SeaWorld November 2015
And I am forever grateful that I got to celebrate at least some of the hallmarks in your life thus far - like your 21st birthday!  Skiba girl style, of course.  That trip to SeaWorld with you was one of the best trips I've ever had!  I hope you look back on it with as much fondness as I do.  And the next time you're in Florida, maybe we can go again?


Orlando, FL - April 2016
And we continued to grow together.  There was that trip to the financial conference (and SeaWorld) where we saw in action everything our father has striven to teach us regarding finances and the future.  And more than I thought had stuck . . . and still sticks.


The Best Sisters EVER!
Wedding September 2016
And then you were there for me as I went through my engagement and preparing for my wedding and marriage.  You were the absolute BEST Maid of Honor I could have asked for.  You talked me through all my fears and frustrations.  You helped me find the perfect dress.  You kept everything running smoothly so that I didn't have to worry.  I want you to know how much I appreciate that!  I couldn't have done it without you.


And now, over the past 8 months, you've finished college.  You are taking the next steps in your adult life, and I know you're scared and excited and nervous and relieved.  You're ALL the things.  Just remember, sangria is best with a friend, phone calls are life lines, and I will ALWAYS be here for you . . . no matter what!  I love you so much, and I can't wait to see where God takes you next!