Cultivating a Life of Gratitude

I am committing myself, during 2010, to attempt to cultivate a greater awareness of how much I have to be thankful and grateful for by sharing my daily findings and musings with you. It is my hope that by blogging about gratitude, I will be more aware of what is going on around me in my life, my family, my friends' lives and our world.

June 20, 2010

My Dad

[Preface to my readers] I know Father's Day can be painful.  If you have lost your father, it is a time of missing your dad, recalling memories - I'm sure today is a bittersweet kind of day.  If you are estranged from your dad for any reason I realize today is a tough day.  If you are walking alongside of your dad through illness or any tough situation today, I realize the day we celebrate Dad's can be painful.  My thoughts and prayers are with you as you reflect on your relationship with your earthly father. [END PREFACE]

Gifts My Dad Has Given Me ... (THANK YOU DAD!) 

My Dad has always made time for me.  Whether it was practicing piano with his melt-down prone perfectionist daughter before school or brainstorming with me about my thesis and 3 main ideas for an English paper, Dad was there to help.  Dad was there to catch and give tips while I practiced my pitching in the backyard and Dad spent time with me helping me learn how to drive in the high school parking lot.  Dad spent time singing over my shoulder while I was learning how to play 'chords' for church worship team or while we were rehearsing for him to sing a solo for choir.    Dad spent time writing lyrics to songs we composed together.  Dad was at all of my marching band events and wind ensemble concerts.  Even while shouldering the burdens of his congregation, Dad was present with our family and I always new I could count on him to be there for me.

Dad took me on 'dates with dad' and what I remember the most about those times was the joy I received from having some great one on one conversations with him.  I treasure those precious memories and times with my Dad.  He also was good about talking with me on the phone when I went away to college and he helped me process a lot the summer I was trying to figure out how I felt about Ross.  As I became a working woman, Dad has talked me through various 'times of transition' in ministry and he has given me great advice and words of wisdom that helped keep me sane.   Thanks for always making time to help me process life, Dad!

There are not enough words to express how my Dad has influenced and guided my faith journey.  Thank you, Dad, for teaching me through practical, everyday living what it means to 'love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength'.  Thank you for talking about God's commands in His Word with me along the way and teaching me what it looks like to live in obedience to God.  Thank you for helping me understand that the word of God is living and active and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness!  Thank you for spending time discussing theological truth and for helping me keep the 'main thing the main thing' and somehow helping me understand I don't have to have 'all the answers' this side of heaven but I do need to love and extend grace to people as Christ loves us and extends grace to us.

When my parents moved to Newtown, PA I know it was the prayer for their heart to be able to raise their family in one place - not moving all the time as some pastor's do.  The Lord answered their prayer and all three of us kids went through the Council Rock School District and were spiritually raised by the same church family.  What a gift!  I have deep roots in PA and a lot of that is because Dad was obedient to God's call and the work God placed before him and Mom in Newtown.  I am thankful I know the value of staying in one place long enough to be really KNOWN by a town/community/church.  There is something really beautiful about being known in that way and I'm thankful for the 22+ years my parents grew their roots in Newtown.  :)

I am also thankful for their obedience to God's call to pull up their roots and move to Minnesota.  The gift of having my parents living close to us as Ross and I became parents has been priceless.  I know they came to Minnesota out of obedience to God's call and I know it was not and is not easy to leave behind the 'roots' but I am so thankful for their example that pulling up the roots and starting over can be done when God's leading and it's been a neat journey to watch them growing new roots a bit in Minnesota.

My Dad has helped shape my appreciation for things like baseball (if I hadn't learned how to understand the game I wouldn't have much appreciation for the Sox, Phillies or Twins) and reading books to E-man with silly voices and the shore and the symphony/orchesta and healthy leadership and skilled preaching and intentional worship services.

Thank you for these gifts, Dad!  Thank you for modeling a marriage that is a partnership, a deep friendship and a loving example of serving one another.  Without that kind of marriage, a lot of the above gifts would have been near impossible to give to me - so thank you (Mom and Dad :))!

Happy Father's Day!


  1. You have an incredible dad! I feel incredibly blessed to have him at our church!

  2. What a nice tribute to your father, Em.