Fall Days

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Fall in the Alps, more specifically in Vizille, France, in 2015

It’s been a busy few months since I last wrote. I haven’t quite figured out how being a mom and a blogger work together particularly with a snuggle bug baby. 😉 I’m only writing now because she’s finally settled down for a nap in her bed. Although I hear it all the time to sleep when she does, I needed a little quiet on the couch alone doing some writing.

Motherhood seems to have settled in much as fall seems to finally be settling in here in Middle Tennessee. I often still feel in awe that I’m a mom. Other times, I’m sleepily trying to talk to my husband while we’re both sleep deprived from a fussy, hungry, growing, teething baby and understand somewhat what other moms call “the fog”. Our little darlin’ is as cute as she can be and quite attentive to all that’s going on around her. As several have noted, she has quite the observant, inquisitive stare, particularly when she meets a new person. She’s sitting up, trying to figure out how to crawl, and putting everything she can grab into her mouth. Her giggles and smiles bring us so much joy and light, I’ve begun to wonder how we ever lived without her.

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Playing with her teddy bear

Everyone tells me that it goes by so fast. They mention how theirs are all grown, and it feels like just yesterday when they were as small as our little one. I smile and nod and figure I’ll one day say the same when our little girl is grown and off on her own. My Granny told me on the phone about this time last year that you’re always a mom, it never leaves you, even when your oldest is in his sixties. She was referring to my dad and said that when he was a baby, she used to hold him up in the car window, so people they passed could see the cutest baby that ever was. I feel much the same way about our little girl and know I share that feeling with mothers before me and all around me.

Fall, in particular, brings back a lot of memories for me from times both abroad and in some of the other places I’ve lived. It’s this time of year when I miss seeing the trees changing in the Alps and miss strolls in Happy Hollow Park up in Indiana. I also think of a beautiful October walk with George when we were still dating. What will I remember from these days of early motherhood in the fall? Oh, I’m thinking of chilly, long walks with George pushing the stroller as leaves stick to the wheels on the paved trails in the park. I’m thinking of our baby staring in wonder up at the trees and turning her head to hear the birds singing and flying about. I’ll remember our trip to Lake Tahoe in early October where trying to count how many shades of blue, gray, and green one could see on the lake seemed nearly impossible and how sweet it was to have some walks hand in hand alone with my husband. Perhaps it’s the smells and colors of fall which make it so perfect for making memories.

I think I hear the baby stirring. I better end for now, but tell me, what things do you think of when you think of fall?

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A Little Nose and Little Fingers and Toes: Reflections on Becoming a Mother

It’s been a little over a month since our little one made her appearance. How does time pass by so quickly and so slowly at the same time? She’s growing and changing as little babies tend to do. She’s smiling more and trying to coo as we talk to her and make eye contact. How beautiful it is to have a baby.

Although the birth was much more challenging and difficult than George and I had anticipated even with all of our preparation, that moment of finally holding her and looking into her eyes for the first time was one of the most precious moments of my life. She was so alert and looking around like she was trying to take it all in. I felt so relieved to finally be holding her after 33 hours of labor. I had reached a point in labor after hearing a newborn cry down the hall that I began to wonder if my baby would ever come, if the pain would ever end. It was still a while until she finally came, but I’m thankful God gave me strength to endure. I’m also thankful for my wonderful husband who coached me through it all and helped me feel confident that I could do this. He’s continued to care for us both in the weeks which have followed. Our little girl sure does love her daddy and will often stop fussing as soon as he picks her up and starts talking to her.

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a mom. I even dressed up as a mom in kindergarten when we had a “Dress As What You Want to Be When You Grow Up” day. When I did grow up, I struggled with being single as I saw others around me getting married and starting families. I wasn’t sure if it would be God’s will to be a wife and mother, and I had to learn to trust He knew best. All along He was writing a beautiful story and continues to do so while teaching me through it all.

It’s been two years of such big though wonderful changes that sometimes it feels overwhelming. I remember feeling especially overwhelmed at the thought of becoming a mother knowing how important a parent’s role is in shaping a little person’s life as they grow up. I’d just become a wife and now, I was a mother-to-be. How would we know how to raise a little one? The grad student in me wanted to do all the research and read all of the books, but I knew that though I’d find good tips, none of them would tell me what I wanted to know because I need to know who my child is and how best to raise her. God knows best, and He’s given us a sweet little girl to love and raise. If we seek Him, He will show us the way.

There have been some rough times when baby blues have crept in, and I’ve not been sure if I could do this. This especially happens when she’s fussing, and I don’t know what’s wrong. Then, she looks up at me and grins and coos showing her love in her little baby way, and I relax and realize I need to just take it one day at a time. She’s growing and changing and experiencing a lot of firsts, and I know she’ll grow up fast. It’s a sweet though challenging time, and I do cherish her littleness though I often yawn wishing I could also get more sleep.

I can’t say I know much yet about being a mom, but I’ve realized, at the moment, a lot of it just involves love as we care for our little newborn. I began life with George with a new last name to get used to, and now, we have the sweet blessing of getting used to our new names: “Mommy and Daddy”.

The New Chapter: Wedding Day & Beyond

Two years ago, I had no idea that my life was about to change in so many ways. My last post from nearly a year ago also spoke of coming change as I prepared for this new chapter. It’s mainly because of those big and wonderful changes and the resulting adjustments that I ended up taking a break from blogging. George and I just passed our engagement anniversary on New Year’s Eve and also our six month anniversary was just a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on our wedding day and all the prayers that were answered as we planned last year. I wish to share some details and pics from that blessed sunny summer day in July when George and I became husband and wife.

The Planning

We decided fairly early on that we wanted something simple but elegant that would, most importantly, bring glory to God. We wanted the focus to be on Him and not on ourselves. This desire affected every decision and also kept the stress level down for the most part. George was a tremendous help in this area since we worked as a team planning, and he helped me especially relax when some details and decisions became stressful. It still amazes me to look back and see how God helped us through all the details and provided answers and solutions when we ran into unexpected problems or complications.

So many of our dear friends and family stepped in to help make our day the special blessing that it was. I’m especially grateful to the dear ladies who helped us with the flowers! We didn’t realize that we ordered a completely DIY package from Bouqs that was quite literally do it yourself. We had originally thought it was DIY in the sense of picking out colors and flowers. I watched so many videos on how to make corsages and boutonnières that I was dreaming of flowers and ribbons in the couple of weeks leading up to the wedding. However, these ladies came in and helped us get it all put together the day before the wedding!

I think it’s true of many brides though that there reaches a point during wedding week when you’re just ready for the day to be here. Sometimes this point comes because of a certain level of feeling frazzled and exhausted with last minute details or the unexpected situations which tend to come up. I reached that point the afternoon before the wedding about the time we finished with the flowers. It was time, I was ready, George was ready, let’s get married. Just a few more hours I told myself as I sipped tension tamer tea under orders from my maid of honor and younger brother to relax the night before the wedding.

The Big Day

The morning of the wedding wasn’t nearly the flurry that one might have expected. We were a pretty laid back bunch. Several of us in the wedding party shared an Airbnb house since we thought that it would be more fun (and less expensive) than getting hotel rooms. Sure, there were a few downsides like an astonishing lack of coffee mugs O_O, but most of the issues we ran into were easily handled or fixed. There was quite a bit of laughter, some hugs, and a few statements of disbelief that the day was finally here. I did have some bride nerves when I first got up, but those quickly diminished especially after exchanging a few texts with George. This helped me stop and realize that all the rest was just details compared to the vows we were about to take. Everyone knew what to do and where to be. It was all going to be fine.

untitled-4115As we started getting ready, I felt so much peace come over me that I just felt relaxed as a friend did my hair and makeup. Then, the moment came to get into my dress and veil. As my maid of honor helped me, I thought about how I just couldn’t wait to see George at the end of the aisle. We all laughed and hugged as we finished getting ready. untitled-4168These are the moments I remember sweetly from just before the wedding: the contagious joy all around as we all smiled and hugged while standing in a large bathroom finishing up those last touches on makeup and hair. I had some wonderful bridesmaids who helped with last details and helped me relax. One of our biggest wishes and prayers for our wedding day was that stress would be minimal and that all of us would feel calm and joyful. God answered that prayer abundantly. When Mom and Dad came to see me after I was ready, I could see love and joy in their faces. The day was really here, and it was just about time to leave for the church.untitled-4194

Meanwhile, over at the church, George and the groomsmen were finishing up getting ready, and our guitarist Jimmy was setting up to play for the entrance of the wedding party. I found out later that as they stood outside waiting, George asked the ministers to pray before the ceremony began. This meant a lot to me, and I’m glad George asked them to do so.

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All was in place and the guests would be arriving soon. The time came for us to leave for the church. Dad and I sat in the car and watched the last of the guests go in and through the windows, we saw the wedding party begin going down the aisle. My nephew Chase, one of our ushers, soon signaled that it was time for us to come stand at the doors. As Dad and I stood alone outside of the church, we were both feeling rather emotional as we waited for the church doors to open for us to go in. We only stood out there for a short couple of minutes, but time seemed to pause as through those doors held a beautiful and wonderful new beginning. Dad is not one to usually get emotional, but this was the precious moment we had both been waiting for for a long time.untitled-4274 I’m so thankful for moments like these which you hold onto for a lifetime, the ones when feeling and love speak louder than words. The doors opened as the congregation stood and began singing “Alleluia,” one of the four hymns we picked out for the ceremony. It was beautiful hearing the singing and seeing the faces of all our friends and family who were gathered to witness this special moment.
untitled-4271-2My favorite moment came as we rounded the corner to the aisle! There he was at the end of the aisle, my dear groom! I’d always wondered if I would be nervous walking down the aisle, but no, I wasn’t, my eyes were fixed on George the entire time. When we reached the front of the church, I thought of just how handsome he was and saw joy and love in his face. At the end of the hymn, Brother Shannon, one of our officiants and our pastor, asked Dad the traditional question of who gives this woman to marry, and Dad answered that he and my mother did. George then reached for my hand and the two of us held hands in front of Brother Shannon and Brother Tom as Brother Shannon said the opening prayer. Afterwards, the second hymn we had chosen was sung. This particular hymn entitled Lloyd is one of my favorite Sacred Harp songs, and one I had always wanted sung at my wedding one day. Call me biased, but the singing of Lloyd on this particular day was the most beautiful I had ever heard in all my years of singing Sacred Harp. The acoustics of the old wooden church coupled with the blending of the congregation’s voices in harmony created the feeling that we were catching a tiny glimpse of what the singing will sound like in heaven. It almost seemed as if the angels were joining in with us!

untitled-4299Brother Shannon delivered the charge reminding us of our duties to one another as husband and wife and to serve God together. He exhorted us to remember our romance as well as our Redeemer. His charge was, I felt, to the point and what we needed to hear and be reminded of before taking our vows. Another hymn “My Soul with Joy Attend” was sung next. This hymn speaks of the beauty of when Jesus speaks, and His care and sovereignty over His sheep. Brother Tom, while holding a small rope, began explaining how the rope of three strands is not easily broken. In a marriage, the wife holds onto the husband and the husband holds onto the wife and the two are held together by Christ. On this day, we were being united together as one with Christ as our center. He gently bound our wrists together and had each of us hold one strand of the knot he had just loosely tied for us to tighten. He then smiled and said to the congregation that we had just tied the knot. untitled-4319

He untied our wrists and began the introduction to the vows and the importance of them. He asked for George to face me and repeat after him as he began with the first vows, and then in turn asked for me to do the same. We had read through our vows beforehand and each of us knew the gravity and importance of the vows we were taking before each other and God.untitled-4331-2

As we exchanged rings, I felt a small catch in my throat because of just how sweet and important this moment was. The rings being a symbol of our love and commitment were now on our fingers as we finished the last part of our vows. All I could see was love on George’s face as I finished putting his ring on his finger and saying my vows.

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untitled-4343Brother Tom said the closing prayer and after he said “Amen,” he told George that he could kiss his wife. My heart leapt! His wife–I was now his wife!

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The new Mr. and Mrs.!

untitled-2621As we walked back down the aisle, the congregation stood and sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” a hymn we had both wanted sung. God had truly been faithful to us throughout both of our lives up to that point and had richly blessed us in bringing us together. The love story He wrote in our lives is truly more amazing than anything I could have even tried to conjure up on my own. That’s how God often works though, and it is a lesson to me to not question His ways. He always knows better. I pray that as we continue our lives together through all the adjustments, challenges, joys, trials, and changes that we will always keep Him at the center of our marriage.

What followed after we exited the church? Euphoria, of course!

untitled-4389Well, that and plenty of laughs too!

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We also, of course, had so many sweet moments of staring into each other’s eyes feeling so very thankful for each other and so very happy for this special day! We even had a sweet little dance just the two of us, our first as husband and wife.

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I will say also, we had quite a fantastic wedding party! They were relaxed, fun, and ready to help in any way they could through it all. We asked each of them to be part of our day because of how much they have meant to us in our lives thus far. I treasure the memories we made that day and in the days leading up to the wedding. Plus, I know for a fact we had some of the cutest flower girls and quite a dapper ring bearer, all of whom did a wonderful job doing as they were asked and looking  incredibly adorable while doing it.

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We both have also been blessed with sweet, loving families who were a blessing throughout the planning and the day itself. I’m particularly thankful that all of my siblings were able to be at the wedding because it’s never easy to get us all together with our being scattered across a few states. We’ve mentioned to each other more than once since we first began talking how thankful we are for our families! Our families were such an important part of our day, and we’re thankful for each member who was there and each one who willingly took on a role when asked whether it was to be an usher, a bridesmaid, a groomsmen, a flower girl, a ring bearer, or to help with the timing or the host of other duties that go into a wedding.

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God has been so good to both of us, and I am thankful to have a new family to also call my own. I am also thankful that my family has welcomed George with open arms. It is always so much better to have both families behind you filled with joy and prayers supporting you in a marriage. George also won approval from all four of my brothers which was no easy feat. I think a round or two of around the world ping-pong and some good laughs helped in that endeavor. 😉 The time soon came to leave for the reception because as you can imagine by this point, we’d all worked up quite an appetite.

Our reception took place at a French restaurant just about ten minutes away from the church. We were both amazed that we were able to find this place so nearby since our ceremony venue could not host a reception. Monsieur Cadot, the chef, is from France, and was a pleasure to work with.We had both wanted there to be some element of France involved with our wedding, and I’d say we definitely succeeded on that score. One of my requests was for the song “La Vie en Rose” sung by Edith Piaf to be played as we walked into the reception, and he made sure it happened. The lyrics of this song so often makes me think of our story which was why I chose it. You can listen to it here, if you’d like to.

The food was delicious and in my opinion, some of the best I’ve ever had at a reception. This was partly because the food was amazing and also because as we began eating, I realized just how hungry I was. Monsieur Cadot did an amazing job on the lunch, the service, and the cake! Plus, you can’t beat hearing French spoken by some of the waiters. It was all such a scrumptious blessing!

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I’m thankful for each of our guests who were able to make it on a very hot day to join in our celebration and also pray with and for us as we began this big step together. The only downside, I thought, after we left was that I was not able to sit down and have a long conversation with all of our dear friends who had come many from a long distance to be with us. We left amongst cheers, clapping, laughter, colorful ribbons, and smiles from all of our sweet friends and family. As our photographer mentioned later, these are some of her favorite moments to photograph–the “finally” moments. Finally, the planning is over, the vows have been said and rings exchanged, the cake cut, and the bouquet tossed. Finally, it is time to embark on this new journey with all of the love and joy from those around us to give us a good sendoff.

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What comes next? God knows for sure, but I can tell you from the six months we’ve had already together that we’ve had plenty of adventures, some big changes and adjustments, and many laughs and memories made. I have a strong suspicion our biggest adventure is yet to come though. May He ever guide us every step of the way as we journey through life together with all of its up and downs.

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Special Note: All photos in this post were taken by Rebecca Grimmer Photography – Copyright 2017.

Thankful for My Siblings!!!

There are few people in this world who know you like your siblings do.

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Hard to get us all together, but this was 5 of the 6 a few years ago…

I was recently asked by some classmates what it was like growing up with so many siblings. The question came as a result of my mentioning more than one brother in the course of one conversation. I smiled and told them that I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without having grown up in the family I did and added that I meant that in a good way. They all laughed and started talking about their own experiences in their families.

It’s true though as you’re around siblings during your formative years and see them and they see you at the best and the worst times. Sure, not all of us got along perfectly as kids if we got along at all. However, there’s a certain beauty to growing up and realizing that most if not all that stuff that came between us as kids was so silly and juvenile. By each of us being uniquely who we were, we affected each other as we grew up. Yes, this did often mean there were conflicts, but that was where we learned to state our opinions and defend ourselves though indeed, the frequent use of my parents’ rod of correction taught us quite a bit about being respectful in our manner of stating and demonstrating those opinions. We learned that there were consequences to what we did and said that often went beyond being punished as we could hurt others with our words and actions. We learned to give forgiveness when wronged and learned to ask for forgiveness as hard as it often was after the heat of an argument.

Handsome, aren't they? :)

Handsome bros!!! From L to R: The Big Bro :), Justin (pronounced with a French accent or “Jutin”…it varies) bro, Stephen (pronounced Steefen) bro, and little Bruva. What would families be without a plethora of nicknames anyway? 😀

In my case, I have four brothers who are all my best guy friends and laughing buddies each in their own way. I don’t always get a chance to see or talk to all of them, but whenever we’re together, we pretty much pick up where we left off the last time we were together. They’re also my protection crew as I always feel perfectly safe with them no matter where we go. I also have a sister who was my absolute favorite when I was a little kid. I wanted to be JUST like Julie when I was little, and as a result, I was absolutely devastated when my hair turned brown because I wanted my hair to be just like hers, long and blonde. She and I ended up on very different paths and are usually both quite busy, but it’s nice to sit down and have a chat whenever I’m down for a visit.

Above all, I’m thankful my parents taught us to love each other and to seek the Lord first in our lives. Our family wasn’t perfect because we’re all sinners and frankly, what family is perfect? Yet, we were blessed beyond measure and as the Lord shaped each of us, He also showed us more fully the blessing of each other.

I thank the Lord for each of my siblings. They’ve been a blessing to me in more ways than I can even begin to mention here. I thank Him for our many happy memories and our inside jokes, that we love each other and love being together (as infrequent as that is since we’re scattered all over the place), that we all love the Lord, that we encourage each other, that for me they’re all just a phone call away if “lil sis” or “sistah” (depends on the sib I’m talking to) needs a chat and/or advice, and that we love to laugh together and change mom’s poor WELCOME/COUNTRY block sign to all sorts of variations {I think she inwardly loves it when we do that as much as she sounds exasperated to walk into the living room and see her blocks on the wall mysteriously changed to “MEOW NET” or “ELLEN WOO”}.

Thank you, Lord, for my siblings: Joseph, Julie, Stephen, Justin, and Jesse!!!!

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To My Big Brother

Dear Justin,

Today is your birthday. I have to confess that I’m woefully behind on mailing out a card, but I wanted to do something special on your special day since too many miles separate me from being able to celebrate with you.

It’s been too long since I saw you last! Nearly two years! It seems rather odd because as kids, we saw each other every single day and many, many times we could hardly stand each other. Well do I remember us putting our cereal boxes in such a way that we didn’t have to see each other at the breakfast table because of yet another argument. I wish now we had learned to get along a little better, but sometimes I think it’s just part of being siblings.

But, I love you, big bro!

My Pictures 037We seemed to be constantly together as small children. As a little sister, I looked up to you and learned from you. I remember all of the games we invented to play together, all of the car cities built out of books and blocks, all of the cowboys and Indians games we played, and all of the stuffed animal wars we had. You taught me how to play with a yo-yo, how to draw funny pictures, how to make silly voices and imitations, how to play baseball (sort of), how to skip rocks on a lake, how to play hard outside, and how to take a hard fall off of a bike….and not cry because, you know, only a big baby cries after falling off of a bike. 😉

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I remember those late night thunderstorms when I wasn’t the only one running to mom and dad’s bedroom. Later on, you taught me how not to be afraid of thunderstorms.

You made me feel safe when I came home crying once because some bullies had threatened to beat me up, but you said that no one was going to hurt me because you’d defend me. No one could make me quite so angry as you could. But then, you had a special way of making me laugh so hard too. Yes, we didn’t always get along and admittedly, we weren’t as close when those teenage years hit, but I still looked up to you and felt that I could confide in you.

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You were definitely never afraid to tell me when I was wrong, and many times you were right even if it did make me angry. Later on, when we were a little older, you taught me about courage when you stood up for what was right in high school and didn’t waiver even when it seemed like nearly an entire town stood against you.

I know after we grew up, difficult, fearful years followed, but none of us ever stopped loving you, and we never stopped praying for you. We believed that God could work a miracle, and He did. Your life is proof of that!

The most important thing you taught me through those hard years was about forgiveness and God’s amazing conquering love. I’ve seen God’s power and His grace in your life. I see a humble and compassionate spirit in you, and bro, I want to be more like you.

I hope you have a very blessed, restful birthday, bro! I’m proud of you!

I miss you and love you!

Your lil’ sis,

Stacey

Why I Love My Dad…

I’ve been wrestling the last few days about how to exactly put this into words. I even missed getting it posted by Father’s Day because of a trip, and well, I’m still narrowing down my thoughts. So, here goes!

In today’s society it is not uncommon to see fathers put down or made fun of as dumb and always failing. One only has to simply flip on the TV to one of today’s popular sitcoms to see classic examples of this. We so often get caught up in what is wrong with fathers that we forget to encourage and honor those who are truly trying to be a good husband and father to their wife and children.

I know of some who have lost their daddy. They talk about the things that really meant something to them that their dad did and who he was. Amazingly, it wasn’t always those big events he went to like graduations or weddings, the things that meant the most were the everyday things. I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little about who my dad is often through everyday things. He is a special, quiet man. Well, that is, he’s rather quiet until you begin talking about cars… 🙂

His name is Samuel though everyone calls him Sam, and those who’ve known him for a long time call him Sammy. He’s not as outgoing as some are, but he’s Dad. It’s amazing how those three letters can come together to mean so much. Here’s a few things that those three special letters put together mean to me:

My dad is a hard worker.

Before I could really remember, my dad lost his job. He had lost jobs before I was born too, but that particular time it was hard from what mom told me. He had six kids still at home and mom had to work for a while until he found another job. It was a tough time for my parents that I didn’t really understand until I grew up. The thing about dad was that he was willing to work any job and do it well in order to earn money to support his family. He delivered pizzas, tiled floors, did repair jobs, any work he could find. He never complained either. Both mom and he taught all of us kids how to work hard and how to do a good job although their tool was household chores and a summer garden.

My dad loves my mom.

Mom and Dad

My mom and dad married really young. Mom was 18 and Dad was 19. I know some speak negatively of marrying young, and in many cases they’re right, but it was not so with my parents. How did I know as a young child that my dad loved my mom? Well, for one, my dad always came in from work and kissed my mom as soon as he walked inside the kitchen where she was usually preparing dinner. He loves to tease her and make her laugh. Usually you know he’s succeeding when you hear a half-laughing, half-exasperated “Sam!?” from mom.

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Aren’t they cute?

He honors her and takes care of her. He’s a handy man around the house, so he fixes things and makes improvements on the house as part of taking care of her and providing her with a comfortable home. He’s provided an excellent example of what a husband and father should be for all of us.

My dad is the “Tickle Monster”

You see, my dad loves to laugh. He tells corny jokes and LOVES it if he can find a pun in a sentence. However, one of his favorite ways to laugh when we were kids was to make us laugh. Hence, he would keep us laughing until we could hardly breathe in his role as the Tickle Monster. Even some of my little cousins and nieces and nephews came to call him this. Being a chiropractor, he especially knew the perfect ticklish places in particular about squeezing a place just above the knee which nearly makes you collapse in giggles because it tickles so much. Oh, the little games we invented some Sundays after church waiting for lunch to be ready just playing and laughing with dad as he sat on the couch!

I think my favorite memory of him as the Tickle Monster was one time when my older brother was about 11, I was around 8, and my little brother was probably 5. Dad had been chasing us through the house tickling us, but as he ran down the hall, he knocked a picture off the wall which made a loud *WHACK!* . Mom was instantly at the door of the kitchen wanting to know what just happened. When we were in trouble, we always ran behind this pink recliner that was next to a wall in the living room. The difference this time was that dad was standing with us three kids behind it looking like he knew he was in trouble but was struggling to contain his laughter. Mom thought it was one of us, but Dad just looked at her and grinned.

What was priceless was her change of expression from rather severe to surprise as it became clear who was the real guilty one, and she responded, “Well, Sam! That beats all I’ve ever seen? It was you? You’re like one of the kids! Well! I sure hope it’s not broken!” Thankfully, the picture was unharmed and put back on the wall, and we were off the hook as long as we agreed to not play that game again that day. So, Dad sat on the couch and thus ensued the next game of seeing how close we could get to the Tickle Monster without succumbing to the giggles of being tickled.

My dad plays HORSE!

Dad didn’t always play games with us outside since he didn’t always get off in time to do so and was often tired. But,there were plenty of Saturday afternoons when we’d get a basketball out and play HORSE at the basketball goal. Except for one time as a teenager when I actually beat him just barely, Dad ALWAYS won! This usually had the reaction of:

Me to a brother who’s already out: “Great, now I have H-O-R-S? And, it’s Dad’s turn to shoot…again.”

Dad: *chuckle*

Me: “Do you think he can make it from there?”

Brother: “He did last time.”

Me: “Well, maybe he won’t this time? Maybe?”

Dad throws the ball, and it bounces around and then goes right in the hoop.

Dad grins.

I grab the ball and try to shoot it, and it bounces off of the hoop and out of bounds.

Me: HORSE….again….

Me and bro: “We call for a rematch! This time let’s shoot from over there…”

I don’t have a picture of us playing HORSE mostly because we were so busy playing, we didn’t always take pictures of such games, but it never ceased to amaze me how Dad could shoot those hoops so well when he rarely ever practiced. As a kid, I just figured that was just one of those things dads just inherently learn to do much like cutting grass and working on cars or some of those other dad jobs.

100_5493Actually, Dad’s pretty much good at any game he plays. Most of our family get-togethers involve large card or domino games around the table. This particular picture is of dad and my oldest brother during one of our traditional domino games at Thanksgiving a couple of years ago (My brother’s a dad too, and well, as you can see in the picture, there’s a whole other story there). Well do I remember the many Saturday evenings spent playing cards or Parcheesi. Dad loved Parcheesi and seemed to consistently win that game too.

My dad is there!

The other thing I love about my Dad is that he’s there. If I have a question, a car problem, something I don’t understand, etc, I can always ask Dad. It’s his way of taking care of me. For example, right now, I’m getting ready to move away for graduate school. He’s pretty much taken over planning the road trip, looking up costs of moving vans, and giving me an estimate of how much the gas and truck are going to cost. He started working on this before I’d really completely figured out exactly where I was going to school although by that time, I figured it would very possibly be Indiana.

Sometimes we didn’t have to necessarily talk. When I was a teen still in high school, he and I would often sit in silence in the den just watching a crime investigation show or football game. We’d make comments now and then or laugh at something. Sometimes he’d have to explain some of the rules of football, but we’d usually watch games in which we didn’t particularly care which team won. This was because we were often more just interested in relaxing and seeing how a game would unfold. At other times we just sat at the island in the kitchen sipping coffee on Sunday evenings while he snacked on cereal and cinnamon bread. He always has his one sweetener and ice cube in his coffee. I think I get my like for not too much sugar in my coffee from him actually. By the way, Dad makes the best cinnamon bread a kid could ever want! At least, it’s always been the best to me.

Aside from those practical issues though, Dad is calm. If I’ve ever had a question about something Biblical, he’ll think a minute and then tell me what he knows or what he has studied. He’ll also bring up what he’s heard in sermons, from preachers, or Bible studies to help answer the question. Dad seems quiet, but he has quite a deep understanding of the things of God. It’s good to have him there to answer questions and provide solid advice.

My dad loves my siblings and me!

Being a dad takes time as any good father will tell you. Dad was often busy working, but as I mentioned above, he took time to play games with us as he could. One often hears about love languages and what kind of love language one uses and what kind the other dear ones in your life use. Based on how I know my dad, his way of telling you he loves you is not necessarily verbally but through his actions. I can’t even begin to name the many things he’s fixed around the house, on our cars, or just that little thing that broke that I couldn’t figure out how to fix. I still take things to dad to see if he can fix them, and if he can’t fix it, it probably means you either need a new one or you don’t really need it anyway. In sum, Dad’s way of expressing love to us has been through his acts of service to us. He even was brave and taught the younger three in my family how to drive. :/

So, maybe I didn’t cover everything I wish I had time to about my dad. I’ve thought of so many things to write over the last few days of working on this post! However, I suppose, the best way to wrap up is to say that I am very thankful for the blessing of having my dad in my life. Each child is given to each parent by God for a reason and a purpose, and I’m so thankful to be able to look back on my young life and see where God has so often molded me and made me who I am to serve Him through my parents.

Thanks, Dad!

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