I am very blessed to be from a family of seven. My parents worked tirelessly to provide for us, and to give us many of the things they couldn’t afford growing up. That work ethic has led to my siblings going on to become successful in many different professions. We have a doctor, a lawyer, a carpenter, and an architect. I am always proud to tell others about my family. Then I come to myself…I’m a father. During the last few months I have taken a lot of time to reflect on life, and all of the good things I have. My last post marked a low point, and there wasn’t much of anywhere to go but up. Three weeks ago we welcomed our fourth child, and of course we haven’t slept much since then, but she is a daily reminder of my true vocation: Fatherhood. When the day comes for me to leave this earth, I hope that I won’t have much holding me back. I doubt I will ever find myself with an excess of worldly possessions. However, I do hope that when I stand before God for my judgment I will be able to point to my children as my magnum opus. Whether or not I was successful as a farmer in the past, or whether I am successful in whatever I do to provide financially for my family, I know that the greatest way I provide for my family is through my gift of self. Whatever my job ultimately isn’t all that important when compared to the eternal weight of the souls in my care. Through the past few years of hardships and struggles I slowly forgot why I originally went back to the land. My goal was to be able to be with my family as much as possible, and to teach them to follow Christ through my daily leadership in work and prayer. I admit that at times I failed abysmally at this, yet I know that I must have done some things right. I know this because every time I leave to go somewhere I have to sneak away, and I am always greeted with jubilant “Daddy, Daddy!” and children running out the front door when I return. Thus, I know somewhere along the way I must have done something right. It is in light of this that now, looking back on the past few years I can say it was worth it all. It was worth the grasshoppers, hailstorms, and droughts. It was worth the anxiety and sadness and loss. It was worth it all because of the relationship I have built with my children. They are a reminder of what Christ means when He exhorts us to “Be like children.” It has always been my hope that my children would far exceed me in virtue and goodness. As I watch them grow I see that my hope is not unfounded. I am a farmer, but I am a father first. Whether my crops in the fields grow or die is of much less significance than whether my children wither or prosper. So, though many of our original dreams blew away in the hot southern Kansas wind, I am now ready for the next phase of life.