Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Children by Jenna Vick Silliman

Silliman Family at Daniel and Beth's Wedding, March 21, 2009
One of the accomplishments of which I am the most happy about is home birthing, breastfeeding, nurturing, and mothering my eight children. My desire was to give them the best start in life that I could. Though there are many things I would do differently now, I have no regrets because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I’m thankful we were able to have eight—we wanted a dozen, my husband, Cliff and I. I guess God thought “Eight is Enough”. Hahaha!
From personal experience I can testify that God’s Word is true. “Children are a blessing and a heritage of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is the Lord’s reward. They are likened to the arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are his many children in the gates of his land. Happy is the man who has his quiver full.” See Psalm 127. If you were going into battle with only a bow and a quiver with arrows, how many arrows would you want? We wanted as many as God would give us!
Though their lives are their own accomplishments, and a product of their own choices, hard work, and God’s blessing on their lives, I have you as my captive audience so I’d like to tell you about each one of them.
Peter Stanford is nine-years-old. He is sweet, loving, funny, tall, freckled, fun, smart, and good at math. He likes basketball and playing sports. He loves his kitten, Gus. He is a helpful son. He is a Christian and likes to speak and share what he is learning. Peter is not shy a bit. Sometimes he goes with me to the nursing homes when we do sing-a-longs. Today we will dress up in cowboy hats and vests and he will go with me.
Luke Thomas is twelve, but he’s wise and thoughtful and knows stuff intuitively. He is tuned in to how people are feeling, how God sees them, and what potential they have in life. Luke is smart and does very well in school, but it comes easily to him. Luke is a writer and would make an amazing journalist. He has lots of friends and enjoys being a kid, but he can get in serious discussions with adults too. Luke is a talented artist. He has already entered art shows, has a portfolio of his art, and has tried all different forms of artistic expression from photography to origami paper folding. Right now he’s painting his room black and white!
Stephen is fifteen. He is extremely smart and knows something about everything. He collects facts and loves to share them. He has a talent for math and he’s also an athlete. He’s excelled at basketball and soccer, but his favorite right now is track. He throws the javelin, runs fast, and pole vaults over nine feet into the air. He is a leader on his track team and naturally spurs them on to do their best. He’d make an awesome coach. He’s an all-around great guy and will do well at whatever he decides to do in life.
Joshua is nineteen. He is living at home right now, but he is a naturalist and lived in a debris shelter he made himself for six months over last fall and winter. He studies, enjoys, and lives in harmony with nature. He has grown to love our area, the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of the far Northwestern U.S.A. Joshua works very hard, and enjoys serious and deep discussions, but he has an amazing wit and is so hilarious sometimes. He makes me laugh! He is also a poet, an artist, and a good friend. He has a tender heart and intuitiveness and loves deeply. Joshua is extremely strong and is into health and fitness. He works as foreman in my husband’s business, Father and Sons’ Lawn Service, but he’s also in training with Tribal Edge. He naturally passes on what he knows and I can see him training boys for Tribal Edge, or being a life coach/personal trainer.
Michael is twenty-two. He is heading into his senior year at Simpson University and was elected class president. He is leaderful and has a natural ability to see what is important for people’s lives. He is a smart, articulate, and deeply spiritual man. He had training with Youth With A Mission and has traveled to many countries already. He works very hard. He worked for our family business, Father & Sons’ Lawn Service, and in the summers at college he is a groundskeeper. He is pursuing a degree in cross-cultural studies and then will work towards a Masters in Public Administration as he hopes to be involved in community development. He is also will get his teacher’s credential and would like to teach and coach children and will be an awesome role model. Right now he’s getting ready to go to Uganda and has worked hard to earn the funds, raise support and prepare for this trip where he will work at a school there.
David is twenty-five and he’s married to Charisa and they live next door in our mother-in-law cottage. He has a dream of becoming a fireman. He’s worked and is working very hard towards that goal. He is a volunteer fireman in Port Angeles and is also in a training program and serves as a “Residential Firefighter” for the city of Port Townsend. David has completed EMT training, lots of other training and passed many testings to qualify as a firefighter. Right now he is pursuing some college classes to make him more eligible for a position next time he applies. He and Charisa are also a dynamic duo with the company Advocare and they are mentors, coaches, and a support team for those pursuing better health and fitness. David is extremely fit and athletic and enjoys many outdoor activities.  He takes along his dog Charlie and has a blast. He also enjoys fixing things, has been rebuilding a VW bug, he loves antique cars, and riding his motorcycle. David is also a leader and has coached a softball team in Sequim for several years. They were in first place last year!
Valerie Joy, our one and only daughter, is twenty-seven and lives in Portland. Her name means “strong, valiant joy” and she definitely lives up to her name. She is smart, wise, and practical at the same time. Valerie is an awesome writer and communicator and is an excellent counselor/support person as well. She is leaderful and a good friend. She has many friends all over the country. She is musical and enjoys going to concerts, many different types of music, playing the piano, and singing (though she hasn't had much time for singing in choirs or playing piano while getting her Masters). She’s very good with her hands, enjoys making things, types fast, and is a hands-on kinesthetic type. She is also an awesome chef and an amazing hostess. She loves to plan events and cook for a dinner party and pulls recipes off the Internet or gets them from friends, to try new recipes. She's growing a little kitchen garden on her deck this summer. She went to college at University of Portland in Oregon and graduated with her BA in Literature. She amazes me how she bicycles everywhere in the city! She lives there in Portland with her partner, Val. She just finished getting her Masters in Social Work, or MSW, at University of Chicago. She’s applying for jobs now and has a bright future before her.
Daniel, our first-born, is now thirty years old. (How can that be?!) He is brilliant. He is a writer. He has been published many times and continues to write his blog several times a week. My Danny is fun to be with. He turns on awesome music and is a terrific conversationalist and also a story teller. He's also an extraordinary artist, photographer, and woodcarver. He plays Scrabble and is impossible to beat. I think he’ll be a world champion at that game some day soon. He is a deep thinker and a philosopher. He graduated with his BA from Hillsdale in Michigan in Philosophy. He also studied Journalism and worked at several newspapers while in college and then worked as a crime reporter for two years on a newspaper in a city near Atlanta, Georgia. He now lives in Tuebingen, Germany with his wife, Beth. Beth is leading a missionary team at Tuebingen University and works with the students there. Daniel is now working towards his PhD in American Studies while he’s in Germany studying under a professor at Heidelberg University.
Crescent Lake, WA, Summer 2007 when Daniel brought home Beth to meet us.
All of our children have a living faith in the Lord Jesus and are loving, awesome people! I have to give the glory to God because I surely can’t take the credit for who they are today. However, I can tell you I am thankful and I am blessed to be their mother. 
One of my favorite photos! All my children in my kitchen, Summer 2003.

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