Happy 60th Birthday Dad!!!
My dad would always pick me up from dances and attend each and every sporting event my brothers and I participated in. He loved coaching our teams and helping us practice. He was the loudest cheerleader and one of my biggest encouragers during the five years I ran track, the four years I was a cheerleader, the two years I played basketball and volleyball, the two years I ran cross country, the two years I played the french horn, the two years I played tennis, and the one year I participated in speech tournaments! As far as I can remember, he never missed a meet, a game, or an event of any of his kids.
He and my mom loved to take us on yearly family vacations, and they made sure we always made the best memories. We were blessed to experience Disney World, Mackinac Island, Kings Island, Indiana Beach, Niagara Falls, and many other fun places together. When they owned the Christian bookstore, he always let me sit in the 'kid section' and read as many books as I could devour. Then, when I would sweetly ask him if I could keep the book I just couldn't put down, he could never manage to say no. My dad is a kid at heart in the way that he loves to laugh and even to this day enjoys playing games and having fun with his kids. He used to play basketball and soccer with my brothers, and would run with me during cross country. He taught me how to play tennis, and still loves teaching me today. Even this weekend he has big plans to 'do it all,' including tennis and swimming at the Y, playing frisbee golf at the park, and golfing with my husband and my brothers.
My dad has supported every crazy dream I've ever had, and has told me he believes in me when I've felt like no one else did. My dad hates to see me sad, and he feels great joy when his family is joyful. He loves when we are all together, and wishes we could be more often. Some of my favorite memories with my dad are the times when it's just been he and I, out together for a meal, sharing conversations about life. We have a special relationship, and I treasure being his only daughter. I used to love it when he would pick me up from school just to take me to lunch at "The Sweet Shop" in our small town. We always shared the best milkshakes! My dad loves a good meal, and especially loves to follow it up with a good bowl of ice cream.
He loves telling people about his kids, and how proud he is of us. He was so excited when I met Kevin, and loved him from the start. It was so sweet and meaningful to me when he was so intentional about talking to each of us about the way we desired to love and commit to the other before he gave Kevin the okay to ask me to marry him. Now he loves whenever he gets to spend time with his only son-in-law, and I love that my dad so respects and admires my husband. I know how very much he loves to see his daughter loved well.
The heart of my dad loves, worships, and follows the God he raised us to know and obey. He has faithfully served at our church for over 30 years, and he is a friend to many there. We used to love going to Kroger with him early on Sunday mornings to pick up the donuts he would take to church to set out with the coffee he would make in the church's kitchen. (We loved getting the free cookie!) Then we would help him set up the communion trays for the services that morning, which he prepared for over 20 years. He set the standard for us at home when we were growing up that we respect God and his word, and obey all that we are called to be as Christ followers. He models a life that submits to God's word, and deeply knows our Savior. My dad also loves his community and is always willing to help and serve where he is needed. He works very hard, and strives to do his very best at what he does. Many people have enjoyed the fruits of his labor, and we are so proud of him for his commitment.
I am so thankful as a daughter to know in my heart and soul how deeply my father here on earth loves me. I know that directly correlates to my knowledge and grasp of how deeply my Father in heaven loves me. There is no greater gift my dad could give me than to love God and love our family as he has been called to. It gives me confidence and courage to be built up, prayed for, and believed in by my dad. He is a great man in my eyes, and I can't wait one day for my children to get to experience his love and kind heart as well.
Dad, thank you that you are willing to love us like you do, and that you delight in the family God gave you. We are so proud of you, we believe in you, and we love you so much. I praise God for giving you the gracious gift of 60 years, and I pray that we get to enjoy you for many more. Thank you for loving Him, and teaching us to as well. You are so much fun, and we have made some great memories. Happy birthday!!! We love you!