So, this man isn't my dad & the girl isn't me...BUT we did go on walks.
Today is a fantastic day. This is my dad's 60th birthday. The crowd of family just left my parents house & the dishwasher is cleaning up our feast. I sat at dinner looking at my dad. I really love him. He is a legend in his own right. Giving up a well paying job to live on support and lead medical mission trips into Central America. Leading a team for two years in Siberia to see a church planted. It is thriving still today because he bore fruit that remained. His job description has changed a number of times since then...but, the best job he has done is being a dad. My dad is the worlds greatest dad. Here are a few reasons why:
1. He always has plenty of time. As an adult, I now realize that he was quite busy. I never knew that as a kid. He slowed down and really spent time with us. Not just sitting in the same room, but tickling, playing, watching, cheering, talking...he was really there. Dad always made time. I am almost 30 and I still call him on bad days. "Dad, are you in a meeting? Do you have a few minutes?" The answer is always, "Sure sweetie." Dad always has time for me.
2. Dad is never boring. One time my parents decided that we should take a TWO week road trip to West Virginia when I was in 4th grade. We packed in the suburban and drove. A lot. We saw civil war battlefields, historic markers, scenic overlooks...but dad always made it fun. One time he created this game that involved us hiding from "Ukrainians". We laughed so hard our whole family was in tears. It is little things like that which build a family.
3. You are my sunshine. We sang this to each other every night before bed. It was the last thing he said when he had to leave on a trip. One day he brought me a fake flower in a fake pot that lit up and sang the song when you pushed a button. Cheesy, but I loved it! At my wedding reception he suprised me by having the band play it while we danced. It was the only time at my wedding that I cried.
4. He didn't lie to me. I love this about my dad. He is the most encouraging guy ever. And he always makes me feel loved, but he doesn't lie to me. If I was in an argument with a friend & it was my fault...he would let me know. I didn't have to be right to be loved. Dad didn't lie if I wasn't the best. He was loving and supportive and taught me that my value wasn't in excelling in a certain activity, but rather it was in my identity. I wasn't the best basketball player, but I was loved anyway. Some of my friends have spent their whole lives trying to be 'the best' in a certain field. But someone is always better. Thanks to dad, I am okay with that. My dad taught me to be secure, not a performer.
5. My dad has taught me things get better with time. Every year that goes by is a year my dad loves Jesus more. Loves my mom more. Loves us kids more. My dad is running harder, faster and more focused than ever for the things God has put in his heart. He isn't wrapping up, he is getting started. New dreams, new ideas, new projects...I love that he will charge the hill no matter what season of life he is in.
Okay, I could go on forever, but I won't. He is a legend. He is a fighter. He is generous with his heart. He has literally marked nations with the Gospel. I love you daddy. Happy Birthday!