Happy Almost Birthday to my Dad!

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Dad……I know you don’t relish turning 87 and I can hardly believe the number myself.

This is you leading the pack in Yosemite. We always called you the Mountain Goat…….Thank you for handing down to me a wonderful legacy of loving nature and animals and a deep respect for all living things.

I hope the cake got there in one piece, I thought 87 deserved a homemade cake from me however it looks when it gets there.

Thank you for all the laughter we have shared and are still sharing. One of the most important things you and Mom have mastered is to never forget how to laugh no matter what life throws your way.

And it has thrown you quite a bit over the years.

Thank you for all your calls and letters……I always love seeing those white oblong envelopes in the mail. You should have a new book on your Kindle as soon as you can get to the library to download it from it’s place out in the wireless world. It is hovering there waiting for you.

When I saw the title, I couldn’t resist. Please let me know how you like it.

I wish you God’s richest blessings and peace for tomorrow. I will call, because I want to hear your voice on your special day.

I love you……Your daughter.

As always, right behind you on the trail.

Things I remember…….

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Here are some things I remember. Waiting in the car while you ran in to the store, and you always brought a treat. Usually M&Ms, peanuts or a plain Hershey bar. And falling asleep in the theater when I was very small, usually to a James Bond movie. You bought me Flicks candy in the big dark lobby…….I remember the game we always had, the one where I put my hand on the side of your face a certain way and you’d make a growling noise, like you might bite.

I remember stopping at that little roadside store where they had those little “grab bags” in a bin. You always brought us one. I remember begging for stories, the ones you tell Lauryn now. You told wonderful stories you made up about a green light in the dark and a little black kitten. I remember you always complimenting me, whatever I did you were proud.

I remember the fishing trips…..

I remember days at the public pool, the spit pool you called it, and me clinging to the side and you holding your arms out…….you never failed to catch me. I remember how we always used to get in trouble at church for laughing. Mom would give us the glare like you were the kid too. I remember you always the leader on the hiking trail, encouraging us all forward because the view from the top was worth it.

It always was, it still is.

Thank you for filling our home with love and jazz and art and for introducing me to the joys of writing and poetry and haiku. Thank you for years and years worth of  walks, and talks.

You will always be our fearless leader, Dad. It’s this guy I still see.

Happy Father’s Day…….From your girl.

Needed: Good men, and not just a few

On autism, and painting the garage with mustard

Do not rebuke an older man sharply, but appeal to him as you would to a father; treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers and younger women like sisters, with absolute purity. 1 Timothy 5:1,2

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5: 1,2

The other night a memory came to me as I had just settled myself on the couch to watch some TV. I was trying to arrange my head on the square, hard couch pillow which was obviously meant for decoration and not for comfort. I remembered how my Dad would arrange beds for us on the floor by the fire. He loved doing that for us and it always bothered him to see me laying on the floor without a pillow.

I can’t count the times I would feel his hands under my head…..”Here, I brought you a pillow, he’d say.” The thought almost brought me to tears. I don’t think anyone ever did that for him, but he did it for me. And my brother. And I have seen him do it still even at 85. Some things never change.

I was thinking about how our whole society would benefit from good men. We need you, guys. So much more than you know. There’s a vast ocean of kids that are being raised without Dad’s. And a vast ocean of grown-ups who never had the benefit of being protected, feeling safe, being loved by a Dad.

Men, we need you. The church needs you too.

We need you to be strong and lead your families, not with an iron fist of authority, but with an open hand ready to give……..to show love. A hand that is not afraid to grasp the hand of his child and lead with affection, with kindness, with the leadership and example of our Father in Heaven.

We need you to get up on Sundays and lead your family into church.

We need you to not be afraid to show emotion and to be quick to apologize when you are wrong……..to talk about nothing in particular, just talk.

To spend time with your kids doing the little things that are important to them and make an effort to find out what those little things are. Find out what they like, what interests them. And don’t think you must have a big grand plan. Just be willing to do nothing with them. Jump into the middle of their life.

Wear a tiara if you have to. Jump rope. Help with a science experiment. And don’t worry if you aren’t any good at the activity, they don’t care. They just want you to do it with them. In fact, they might like it if you aren’t any good. That way they can feel good about teaching you something.

Be humble, men. Be kind. Be strong enough to answer with a soft voice.

And you men of faith? You have an even bigger responsibility, because your real Dad is God. And He is watching how you treat children, women, other men, boys. What a wonderful opportunity you have. To be a kind man…….there seem to be so few now. But I know you’re out there. You never know who you might reach.

There is a child out there, a woman out there, a boy out there who never had a Dad. Maybe never had a man in their life they could trust.

Be that man to them.

Be a representative to them of Your Abba, Father.

Don’t you know that your love can send a much more powerful message than telling them what they need to hear?

You have a unique opportunity and it’s up to you to show the love of God by demonstration, not by words.

There are a few men I work with whom I really respect. Those men would never let a door slam in my face. Those men, always hold a hand out and let me go down the stairs first. Those men let me enter a door first, because they know that God is watching what they do.

Don’t be afraid if women look at you funny. I think inside they really respect that, I know I do. Do the right thing no matter what someone else says.

Teachers, Bus drivers, Uncles, Fathers, Cousins, Brothers, Sunday School teachers, Bosses, Garbage collectors. Step up.

Because we all need you, good men and not just a few.

We appreciate you!

photo taken by me: My brother and his girl, Lauryn