#5 is in an interesting phase where he idolizes his father, tries to be like his father, but is also developing his individual personality. He likes to run, and talk, and pop his pecs like his dad. He is comfortable being the center of attention and wearing his heart on his sleeve. For many years I've been grateful for the truth in the African proverb that says "It takes a village to raise a child." A few weeks ago in Church, I saw the fruits of that a little bit. Every first Sunday, the congregation holds a testimony meeting where anyone is welcome to come to the microphone and share their testimony of Jesus Christ, which usually accompanies a personal story. We've taught our children to wait until the age of eight to share their testimony at the stand. That was the highlight of #5's last birthday. Just about every month now, he waits impatiently for the sacrament to be put away so he can go to the front and share his thoughts. It is incredible to listen to him share a different impromptu message every month, and to see how comfortable he is in front of his ward family. This last meeting, he testified of the power of fasting and prayer as he saw our ward's combined faith heal his friend's legs. His friend had experienced complication with a virus that resulted in his legs being paralyzed. A month later, #5 was up at the microphone telling everyone that he know fasting and praying work because he and his friend were out playing Ghosts in the Graveyard just two nights previously. #5 looked over at his friend, gave him a wink and a thumbs up, and said, "Right Adren?" His testimony was so sincere and so funny and so HIM that I wiped away the tears that gushed out as I stifled my laughter. That kid cracks me up!
Sure, I'm a biased mother, but it seems the rest of his peers also find him quite likable. Recently, his school held a vote in each grade to select royalty for the elementary school's Family Valentine Dance. The children were told to vote for the boy and the girl who were the best leaders. I guess they all recognize #5's friendliness and integrity, too, because #5 was crowned the Third Grade Prince. He was pretty happy about it, but the title didn't go to his head. We left the dance a bit early to grab a late dinner. When #5 left his crown on a table at the burger place to go climb on the indoor playground, another child found the crown and claimed it. #5 was just happy that the other kid liked it, so he let the younger boy keep it. He has a very sweet heart.
Speaking of sweethearts, I'm pretty thankful for my own companion. Most of our marriage has been good. In the last two years, though, I've fallen more in love with Kent. He likes to say that he finally reached adulthood at the age of 37. As he turns 39 this week, I can attest that he's grown a lot recently as he discovered his purpose and has found ways to bring it about. Kent's purpose is to give validation through valediction. He wants people to know they are valuable, and why they are. He wants all people to look for the good in others and express it while we can. Kent spent the last three months writing a paper (which turned into a book) about the past four years of his life. He wrote about the depression he's been through, the difficulties of being an entrepreneur, and the risk of trusting others. He wrote about God showing up when Kent needed Him most, about receiving inspiration to make changes in his daily habits, and about creating a career that he finds fulfilling. (If you want to read this 100-page book, he is excited to share it with you. Just leave a comment and we'll figure out how to get it to you.)
Happy Birthday Kent!