Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lordy, Lordy, NOW Look Who's Forty!

My best friend in the whole world, posing with her birthday cake. It was a German chocolate cake, which she made from scratch. She does this because her homemade cakes are much better than cakes from a mix and WAY better than 90% of bakery cakes. This was the best German chocolate cake I have ever had!

Every year, for about 4 months and a few days, I am older than my wife Jennifer. Then, every July 24, she catches up to me. As you all know, I turned 40 last March. Now Jennifer has caught up to me once again and has hit the big 4 - 0.

I can't say enough good things about this wonderful lady. For 18 years now, she has put up with me and blessed my life in more ways than I can count. Last year, I wrote a tribute to her. I am going to re-print it here. For those of you who have already read it, I apologize for the repetition.

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; he is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
(Proverbs 31:10-20)

On this date forty years ago, a beautiful person was born into this world--my wife, Jennifer. She is truly the best wife in the world. Now, some of you men who are reading this may disagree, but we will just have to agree to disagree!

Few men are blessed to have a woman that comes anywhere close to the ideal wife described in the 31st chapter of Proverbs. I thank God that I have been so blessed for 18 years. My wife has worn a variety of hats over the years: wife to me, mother to four children, homemaker, missionary, full-time student, Sunday School teacher, and occasionally, breadwinner (I am probably leaving some out!). She has done all of these jobs exceptionally well.

Most importantly, she truly loves the Lord Jesus and her family. Jennifer has been a full-time stay-at-home mom for most of our years together. This summer, however, she has been working toward her Masters' and has been incredibly busy. Since I have had most of July off, I stepped in and took over most of her household chores. Yes, I have been “Mr. Mom” for most of the summer! In doing so, I gained a new appreciation for all that she has had to do over the years. Now I know from experience that being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker is one of the hardest, perhaps THE hardest, career paths that one can follow!

She has followed me through thick and thin, through good times and some very hard times. She married an engineer, but soon had a Baptist preacher, then a missionary, then, finally, an Orthodox priest! She has followed me halfway around the world and back. She is truly a “wife of noble character,” and every day I “arise and call her blessed…and praise her.” May God grant her many years, and may he also grant me many more years with her.


Clint said...

That was good.

charlene said...

Fr. James,
Please wish Jennifer a happy 40th for me, and tell her the best is yet to come. If you two think parenting is good, wait until you hit the grandparenting years! May you have many years together. As a matter of fact, the National Vital Statistics Reports of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention tells us a man between the ages of 40 and 41 will live to the ripe old age of 77 on the average, and a woman between 40 - 41 will live to be 81.4 years. I will live 5.4 more years than Bob will according to these tables, so he plans on leaving me enough insurance to hire a driver to take me to church and the grocery store. A deacon we know will be outlived by his wonderful wife by 1.5 years. He plans on leaving her a top-of-the -line GPS system. Think about it and let us know what you plan to leave Jennifer for those 4.4 years after you are gone. As Orthodox Christians, we certainly know the virtues of planning ahead.

Molly Sabourin said...

There is little I appreciate more than a grateful husband making a heart-felt tribute to his wise, industrious, and beautiful wife. Happy Birthday Jennifer! Many Years!

I really enjoyed your two most recent posts on "Finishing the Race." Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration!