Friday, August 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is a special day for my family. Today my Dad celebrates his birthday.

And in honor of my dad's birthday today, I want to share with you what my dad means to me.

My dad was born in Casa Grande, Arizona but as a child, he moved to Arkansas. He grew up in Benton and was a catcher on his baseball teams.

My dad taught me how to play baseball. He taught me how to water ski. He taught me the value of a strong work ethic. And he taught me through his own example how to be a diligent student of God's Word and how to convey that study through teaching to bless the lives of others.

It was through watching my dad teach, be it at a Nursing Home as was our custom during my childhood and later in classes, that greatly impacted my own life.

Some of my most precious memories in life involve turkey hunting with my dad. When I bagged my first ever gobbler, it was my dad who celebrated with greater fervor than I did. He called it in and that Saturday morning in 1999 is still crystal clear in my mind. From that morning on, we celebrated many more successful hunts on the Howard Mountain Hunting Lease in the Ouachita Mountains west of Hot Springs Village. But it wasn't just the hunting success but the countless hours spent in nature, talking and sharing. Several years ago, my mom and dad gave to me three framed pictures that are among the most treasured pictures in my office. The first is of my grandfather with his first turkey; the second of my dad with his first turkey; and the third of me with my first turkey. Those pictures capture a heritage that gives me identity and helps me to stay rooted regardless of where God leads us.

Without a doubt, my love for baseball, my love for turkey hunting, and my love for God all find their source in my dad's example and influence over my life.

I am eternally indebted to God for giving me my dad. His language of relationship has caused him to work exceedingly hard throughout his life to provide for his family. Through his countless sacrifices, my life and the life of my family are immeasurably blessed.

Dad, Happy Birthday to you today! Mandy, Trae, Tori and I thank God for you and appreciate everything you are and everything you've done for us. Thanks for supporting us emotionally even when the leading of God has taken us far away from home. Knowing we have your complete and total support is invaluable! We wish we could be there today to share your special day with you but know that you are in our thoughts and hearts today.