Thus shall the man be blessed…

June 19th, 2011

[I wrote the following about our children a couple of weeks ago as part of an exercise I did with some mom friends recently, thinking through what we enjoy most about each  of our children right now.  Joe expressed a desire to read it, so I thought I’d tidy it up a bit and give it to him as a gift for Father’s Day.]


Dear husband of mine, here are your children, as seen through my eyes~

Joseph, seventeen and a half, is bringing me so much joy as I see his relationship with the Lord blossom over this past year.  He is extremely academically gifted, and his intellect has often been his biggest hurdle, as he has never been satisfied with quick, surface answers.  We have spent many late nights with him as he wrestled through serious questioning.  Parenting him has not been easy, as he is also a type A, driven personality, but it has stretched us in a very good way.  I am seeing him settle in his faith, and can see that it is genuine because it is showing up as more sacrificial love and serving of those around him.  But also, once he has come to a conclusion, it has been thought through to an extreme of thoroughness.  He loves the truth.  He cares very much about the spiritual well-being of the others in our family.  He is excellent at getting right to the point, but he is showing much more graciousness and patience than he ever has before.  He always comes back to make things right after he has offended someone.  He delights me by his strong sense of responsibility (including not making excuses for himself), by working very hard at whatever he puts his mind to do, and by being a self-motivated learner.  I am proud to send him to work, as I know he is an asset to his boss’s business.  He is pleasant to be around, and his giftedness on the piano delights me in many ways, for many reasons.


Daniel, fifteen and a half, is a pure delight to my soul.  He has a maturity of wisdom far beyond his years, as well as also being extremely academically gifted.  He has a true servant’s heart, cares very much about the people around him, and is endlessly tender with and available to the little ones.  He has a strong core of Biblical understanding, and is memorizing his way through the book of Proverbs.  He stands up firmly but winsomely for what is right, and loves the truth.  He has an amazing memory for details, and is the official record-keeper of the family.  He is a self-disciplined, motivated reader, and an excellent writer.  He sets high goals for himself, and disciplines himself to work toward them, being open with us about his faults and failures, and humbly asking for help when he needs it.  He is very proficient in the kitchen, and easily knocked off four batches of strawberry jam one morning recently, with the kitchen left neat as a pin when he was finished.  He is just a pleasant and competent young man.  I am so proud to drop him off to work for Joe’s CPA brother during tax season, because I know that he is a joy for everyone he comes in contact with there; they love him.  I can hardly wait to watch him be a daddy.  He has hardly caused me a moment’s sorrow since his strong-willed toddler days.


Joshua is fourteen.  He and I have butted heads more often than I have with any of my other children, but we are getting to be better friends as he matures into a young man.  He is a very independent person, after the manner of the traditional third-born, although he has never read the birth order book, haha.  He has a genuinely funny dry humor, and doesn’t like to see anyone take themselves too seriously.  He is a stolid, unflappable young giant who loves the outdoors and hates school.  He did much better after he realized that if he got it over with quickly, and got it right the first time, he wouldn’t have to spend his days indoors looking at his schoolwork, or his evenings indoors correcting his schoolwork.  He is extremely motivated by what interests him, however, and that is plants.  He knows an impressive amount about plants, and is constantly learning more, both from reading and from studying them himself.  He does well with his little brothers if he can take them outdoors and teach them what he knows.  I am so proud of his excellent work in our family’s vegetable gardens, and he has also landscaped/is landscaping his own corner of our property in a stunning way.  He has a strong eye for design, balance and beauty.  He did the decorative design and painting of our family’s playgarden room.  Everyone who knows us in real life knows his interest in plants, and many have given him plants they no longer want, as well as books on plants they no longer want.  He reads voraciously every book he can get his hands on that has to do with gardening, plants, pruning, natural farming, etc, etc.  We hear a lot of, “Joel Salatin says ______, and Joel Salatin does ______.”  He is also strongly entrepreneurial.  He has cultivated plants that grow wild in our woods and sold them to people.  He delighted my soul recently with a certain significant bowl of strawberries, although he has never read the love language book, haha.  I am eager to see where God takes him, with his strong and unique gifting.


Laura is turning twelve this month.  We are watching her slowly turn into a young lady.  She never, and I do mean never complains about the work she has to do.  Not schoolwork or housework or any work.  She just enjoys everything she does, and is invariably pleasant.  She and I have very similar interests and skills.  She loves beauty, and she loves to make things more beautiful.  She is gifted in drawing, especially in drawing people’s faces.  She loves to sing and read and write and take care of children.  She wants to take piano lessons, and she has learned a nice amount already.  She loves to gather the little ones around her and teach them, or get them all taking part in some creative story.  She loves being outdoors in good weather.  She likes to make things in the kitchen.  She is absolutely wonderful with Verity, and adds lots of energy and enthusiasm to the therapy or other teaching she does with her.  She’s very smart, and is picking up sign language quickly, and cares very much about Verity being the best little Verity she can be.  Verity loves Laura, and it is a delight to see how she lights up when Laura comes to get her.  She has a tender heart toward the Lord.  I am proud of the young lady she is, and I’m eager to see her gifts blossom even more in the next eight or so years, and beyond.


Jane is nine years old.  I think the kitchen is where we are really going to see her shine, as she is drawn to all kitchen work, has a natural ability there, and doesn’t shy away from any part of it, even working with raw meat.  She cooks like I do–very hands-on.  I would say that she is determined to be competent in the kitchen.  She came into the world with an agenda, and we have often said that she was named very well (she is Susannah Jane), as I can see her struggle with many of the same things I struggle(d) with, and she has many of the same personality strengths also.  She is very competent at seeing what needs to be done, and figuring out a good way to do it, including delegating.  She is a very passionate person with a strong sense of justice, a trait that God can definitely use for good.  It does my heart good to see how much she loves her sisters, and loves to be with them both.  I love how she can get dirty outside with everyone else, but she also likes to look pretty and feminine at appropriate times.  She is a smart girl with a lot of common sense, and it is fun to look forward to who she will be as she blossoms into a young woman over the years ahead.


John Michael is five and a half, and a very bright and serious child.  From the time he was a few days old, his typical facial expression is a thoughtful furrowed brow.  I love how he is between growing bigger/older, and still wanting to snuggle up to me.  He is a unique and interesting little person, and is usually my first choice of companion if I’m running out on a quick errand.  He noticeably thrives on plenty of one-on-one time.  He likes to follow Joshua around outdoors and learn things.  He really loves seatwork and workbooks, and enjoys being creative with craft materials.  He began reading very early, and picks up all the math we can teach him very quickly.  I have often been grateful for a scholarly child right where he is in the family, between a learner who needs more help, and four younger siblings close in age who have kept me busy.  He is typical little-boy in his love of filling his pockets with small objects.  He makes us laugh by falling off his chair at least once at every mealtime!  He is so expressive, it gives me pleasure to look at his Jonamac apple face, especially when he’s been sniffing dandelions!


Peter is four and a half, and the firstborn and bigger of the twindlers.  He is soft and cuddly and affectionate, and loves to kiss and hug me.  He is a plodder, and will spend a long period of time at one task, for instance, meticulously coloring one whole page in a coloring book without being instructed to do so.  So that stands him in good stead when he is working on his school book, and helps him learn what might otherwise go over his head.  He makes me laugh right now when he tries to be emphatic, because it’s not really in his nature, and it comes off very cute, especially when he’s trying not to smile.  He always sees ways he can help without being told, and I am very proud of him for serving and helping others.  It isn’t hard to enjoy Peter, because he is so undemanding and gives so many squishy kisses and melts into my lap so nicely!   He has been trying his hand at teasing lately, which provides him with endless amusement!  I love seeing his smile, too!


James is also four and a half, interestingly enough.  He is like a bright little sparrow that chatters and chatters away all day long.  He picks up knowledge very quickly, including how to read.  He pays close attention to details that others sometimes miss.  He reads people very well, and is sensitive to others’ emotions.  I have seen greater emotional stability in him over the past few months, and am very proud of how he has bravely handled some situations that would previously have been too much for him.  I love how he will lean into me and pat me and say, “Mama, you’re nice,” in a murmuring voice.  He gives tiny, fluttering bird kisses.  He also needs one-on-one attention in order to really feel secure.  I enjoy teaching him, because he pays such earnest, close attention to everything I tell him, and he takes it and tries to fit it in with what he already knows.  It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean, but it is sweetly rewarding. I am grateful for another quick learner in our busy little bunch.


Stephen is two and a half.  He is another strong-minded character!  He definitely has some firm opinions, and does not hesitate to look up, up, up to his big brothers’ faces and tell them how it is and what they should do about it.  Of course we correct this in him, as we want him to be a wise boy, but it really is hilarious to hear and see.  He is very bright, and talks most precociously, even when his diction is not clear.  We never know what he will say next!  He talks all day long, and nearly always has a deep, dimpled smile on his face.  At the rare times he is not talking, you can look at his face and see the wheels turning in his mind.  He was born too busy to cuddle, and ate as a chore that had to be crossed off his to-do list!  So I enjoy every moment of cuddling that I can get from him!  He is slowly catching on to the potty concept, and I am so proud of him for that, but I also enjoy his baby powder scent.   Mostly, he trots through life on his little short legs and delights us all with his cuteness.  Just to see his deep dimples and hear his throaty chuckle makes me laugh out loud!


Oh, my little Verity!  Brings such a fierce and profound joy into my soul, I cannot describe!  She is best enjoyed slowly, and up close, as her charms are subtle and easily missed by the busy and distracted quick glance.  She is soft and squishy and has such affectionate little ways.  When I stand her on my lap to face me, she will reach up her two hands and put one on each side of my face, and lean in to put her face against mine and suck her thumb–so sweet!  She has such yummy cheeks to kiss and smells so delicious!  She is such a trooper to work so hard at all the things we require of her.  Recently we spent some of our morning at the playground with some friends and she did not nap, but she still worked hard for her therapist when we got home.  Despite her challenges and delays, she makes me so proud by doing some things she “shouldn’t” be able to do yet!  It looks like we have another verbal, expressive child in the mix!  I am so blessed to have been gifted this child, and I feel sorry for all those who don’t have a little person with Down syndrome in their own life!  I can hardly believe that she will be one year old in just a week!


Dear husband, I am so privileged to be heirs with you of the grace of life.  It hasn’t been easy, has it?  There’s something about combining a large family with a desire for godliness that has a way of breaking up the fallow ground.

This year I admire you for more reasons than ever.  But I think right now I love and respect you most for working long and hard to become the father of a little orphan girl that a majority of men would run from.

I am grateful to be alongside you as we continue to learn what grace means in real life.

Happy Father’s Day 2011!

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

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One Response to “Thus shall the man be blessed…”

  1. Stephanie says:

    You choked me up yet again.  ((HUGS))  And Happy Father’s Day, Joe! 

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