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.



I Love You Always

Sunday in Target I nudged close to the Mother’s Day card section, but just wasn’t ready to linger there. When you’re a member of the Mothers in Heaven Club, you feel torn between staying far away from the annual packed card aisle in early May and the old habit of buying a just right card for your mom. Ever since I can remember, I made a card for Mom or hand selected one from among hundreds at the store—that is until she died in the spring of 2001, two months before Mother’s Day. Since then for me, Mother’s Day is the most challenging of card seasons.

Yesterday in another store, with fewer shoppers around, I ventured to look and actually pick a card for a dear friend who has become a mother to me. I admit though, my heart wrenched a bit at all the card markers: You are Always Dear to Me, World’s Best Mom, We Love You, The Love of a Mother. As I quickly thumbed through the floral and sparkling paper creations, I didn’t shed a tear on the outside, but I think my heart needed a tissue.

If you’ve lost your mother or she is currently slipping away from this earth, perhaps you can relate to the emotional seesaw of the world celebrating Moms, while you can no longer pick up the phone or give her a hug. No matter how incredible or challenging your relationship with your mother was or is today, I encourage you to think of some of your favorite Mom memories, the little things that remind you of why she will never be just like anyone else’s mom.

ChristmasLakeMomandMe - Version 2Every Mother’s Day since my mama finished her brave fight against the ravages of cancer, I have tried to do something she loved doing—bowling, planting flowers, laughing, shooting photos, baking, making her killer mac and cheese with real American cheese (she was a cookin’ from scratch kind of gal and I am too).

The windblown look while speedboating on Christmas Lake in Minneapolis, Mom’s hometown.

So this Mother’s Day, I encourage you to pause and honor the character qualities, fun hobbies, or life lessons your mother has taught you. My mother was a conversationalist and loved to chuckle. When people say this about me, I smile and think of Mom. My mother, Bernice, endured several intensive medical treatments in her life and I never once heard her whine or wallow in self-pity. My mother was one of the most brave and resilient women who ever walked on this planet.

So Mom, even though I can no longer lick your famed homemade chocolate pudding from the saucepan or chuckle at your stories or chat with you early every Sunday morning, I can find a tissue for my heart and whisper the words you used to conclude your handwritten letters to me, “I love you always.”

Brave and Resilient Tip #26: Recognize and celebrate the good and the beautiful in everyone.