Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Father's Day Tribute

I am certainly counting my blessings this week. As the weekend draws near and Father’s Day is rapidly approaching, I feel very grateful that I have both my father and my father in law in my life here to honor on that special day.

I have always been close to my dad. Growing up a bit of a tomboy, I could be found outside as soon as my inside chores were done. I’d stay out until I was forced back into the house in the late evening.

As kids we played baseball, did balancing acts and cartwheels along the top of the fences, ran around barefoot (until my mother would catch us and then I’d slip shoes on but only until she wasn’t looking again) I loved following my dad around driving him crazy with millions of senseless questions.

He was always involved with some project or another whether it was building barns, planting gardens, landscaping, taking care of all kinds of animals, building fish ponds and water falls. As a child, I thought he did the coolest things. Years later, at the age of 81, he is still doing most of those things and I have come to appreciate those talents of his even more. My dad may have an incredibly creative side to him, but there is so much more to admire.

When my mother passed away, it was pretty tough on him, as I know it is on everyone who loses a loved one. But after losing my mother, his wife, my dad, stepped in and tried to take over where my mother had left off. This was no easy task. She was like wonder woman and my dad was dealing with a broken heart. Still, each year, because Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday, he has a big open house for neighbors and friends during the holidays. He serves refreshments and does it on a Monday night so people can come for Family Home Evening. The kids can see his Christmas village, that takes him over a week to set up, that comes complete with two running trains.

He keeps a calendar of family events so he won’t forget birthdays, anniversaries, and always makes sure he sends Mother’s Day cards and Valentine’s Day cards to his daughter’s and their families.

He is truly a man with a good heart. I love my dad for teaching me that when I serve others. I am serving my savior. Those are not just words he taught, he taught by example. He himself would give the shirt off his back if he knew someone was in need. I can’t tell you how many times he has helped me when I was in need.

I could go on and on but the one thing that strikes me is that for his 80th birthday, we made a DVD of his life. At the end of it, we recorded my dad giving a message to his family. The one message he wanted us to always remember if wewere to remember one thing, it would be, “To keep the faith. No matter what, just hang in there and keep the faith.” Throughout my life, when I have had struggles or trials my dad has given me much needed help and advice. He would talk to me, help me, tell me to pray, and, “Jeri, keep the faith.” One thing is for certain, my father has always kept the faith. His testimony makes him the honorable man that he is.

I am very grateful for the role my father plays in my life and in the life of my family. I can’t begin to find the words to tell you how blessed I feel to have him with us this Father’s Day. I am also thankful for the example he is to us.

I feel so wonderfully blessed to have my father in law in our lives as well. He too is such an amazing man. He has fought a battle with cancer with incredible courage. Steve is a man with charm and humor. He has wisdom and is full of wit and an inner strength and testimony that has had a great influence on his family. My husband is the tremendous man he is, I believe, because of the example his father is to him.

I love and admire my husband for so, so, many reasons but one big reason is the kind of father he has been to our sons. He is an honorable man and has tried hard to establish a good relationship with his sons. He has tried to teach them to make good choices and to live in righteousness. Through his example he has tried to teach them to honor their Priesthood as he, himself does. Now my oldest son will enjoy his first official Father’s Day with his own son.

What more can a girl ask for? Is it any wonder that as Father’s Day rolls around, my heart is very full for the wonderful blessings I enjoy? I have some wonderful men in my life. I’m thrilled to celebrate this day, to try to express my gratitude for the great fathers in my life.

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