Dads Who Make a Way Through

DadHuntingoutfitI remember my Dad more for as his holding apart barbed wire fences for me more than his holding doors for me. Whenever I’d venture out with Dad to go quail or pheasant hunting or to our land to check the cattle, we’d inevitably encounter a barbed wire fence without a gate. No problem. My dad would heft his boot down on the lowest wire strung between posts and then lift the middle wire up so I could slip between the sharp-pronged strands of metal. Sure I snagged my coat or shirt a few times, but that only seemed to happen when I tried a fancy dip through the wired instead of just ducking through right where Dad had the fence secured for me. (We creative types, find our way of expressing our independent thoughts. Bless you, Dad, for flexing with my “I-do-it-myself” inventiveness.)

As Father’s Day approaches, I can think of a plethora of fond memories with my Dad and each one makes me grateful that I had a father who would go out of his way to help me not just go around problems and challenges, but through them.

If barbed wire stands in your way this week (or a health challenge or tight finances, orIMG_2589 - Version 2 anything really), take time to stop and think through your options. And don’t be afraid to make some necessary adjustments and precautions, then venture straight through. And the good thing to remind ourselves? Our heavenly Father is right there with us, already clearing the way for our next steps.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite verses of Scripture in which I count barbed wire fences as “rugged places.”

“And I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone” (Isaiah 42:16, NAS).

What is a favorite life lesson you have learned from your father or a father figure in your life?

Brave and Resilient Tip #111: Consider going through problems and not just around them.



Here’s to You, Dad

I am teetering between rich joy and tender sadness. Father’s Day is just a few days away and many of you are planning incredible surprises for your father, your husband, your grandfather. While I no longer have a father or grandfather to surprise, or a husband . . . just yet . . . I still can celebrate my dad by telling you a bit about him.

This photo is one of my all-time favorites of Dad who is holding his first grandchild, Stephanie, who is only two months old here. I love Dad’s little dip of the head and his proud grin. You see, Myron, was truly a manly man who grew up on a Nebraska farm, managed to join the Merchant Marines in World War II (a little underage), and went on to marry a Minnesota city gal. Dad started his successful career with Phillips 66 in 1955 and later he added Sinclair to his service station and petroleum distribution business throughout southeast Nebraska.

Mom&DadStephnie1985 - Version 3When I look at this photo of Dad, I see his dark, wavy hair and think of Andy Griffith. Come to think of it, my dad and Andy were much alike. Easy-going fathers and well-respected leaders in their Mayberry-small towns. A dry sense of humor with a love for fishing and down-home cooking. A dedication to family and faith. A generosity that often helped the underdog take another step forward. A profound wisdom not derived from education. And a friend gregariously patient with life’s jittery Barney Fife types.

Of course, no father is perfect, but I have a difficult time thinking of mistakes my dad made in life. I know your relationship with your own father may bring about more angst than fond memories. I am truly sorry. I’m writing this not to brush against any scars you bear in your relationship with your father, but hoping to nudge us all to honor the good in our dads. Not the perfect but the good.

So this weekend while you may be treating the dads in your life to favorite foods, a new power tool, or a baseball game, I may just head up to the mountains and take a drive on the curvy highway that made even my brave-hearted yet flatlander father squeal a bit with a “weeee…whoahhhh” when we edged a little too close to the drop-offs. Here’s to you, Dad!

Brave and Resilient Tip #30: Look for and celebrate the good, not the perfect in others.