Monday, June 16, 2014

Daddy's Girl

As a little girl I dreamed of my wedding day. I dreamed of a beautiful woman, glowing in an exquisite white gown, being escorted down an aisle by the most important man in her life... her dad. MY dad.

It's interesting how we come into our own as we grow older. As a kid I was much...MUCH shyer than I am today. Insecure and tentative, I clung to my mom. A mama's girl all the way. My mom's the one who held me and comforted me. She's the one I got homesick for when I was away. But while Mom held, Dad pushed. Pushed us kids out of the house to play outside and not come back in "until the sun went down." Pushed us to think independently, stand on our own, take on responsibility, never "half-ass" anything, pick ourselves back up and GO. Go after life, our dreams, our goals.

As I have gotten older, come into my own and discovered my voice, I have noticed that it often times sounds a lot like my dad. The dad that raised his girls like sons. And by that I mean, we played catch, mowed the lawn, shoveled the driveway, worked with power tools, got dirt under our nails, etc. etc., but most of all were encouraged to have a voice. Have an opinion. Stand for something. It's not about "being a man" but about "not needing a man" to be a strong woman. I have my dad to thank for that. 

He was present in his kids' lives. He wasn't perfect, but he was always present. He wasn't always lovable, but he always loved. 

As I sit here typing, I have image after image from memories of a dad that was there every step of the way. And as badly as I want to start typing each one out...I will spare you for now... 

Here's a memory of my dad that I'm not so fond of.

I was home for Christmas break my senior year of college. It was cold. My dad took us three kids to a Chief's game. We had to walk a long way to get to our seats in the stadium from where we had parked. When we got home, Dad couldn't get warm. He got sick. Real sick. Dad had diabetes and this kind of thing happened sometimes...but not this bad. This was really bad. Then during the middle of the night, I was frantically woken up to be told Mom was taking Dad to the hospital. To be honest, I don't remember the words...I'm never good at remembering words...but I remember visuals like they were yesterday, and I won't forget seeing my dad's blood all over the bathroom floor. It was so red. And I won't forget thinking, Is my dad about to die?

My dad had diabetes. An infection that had been in his legs moved into his blood stream causing septic shock and kidney failure. On top of that, he suffered from A-fib. So while in the hospital, his heart went out of rhythm and raced. The worse part was...I saw his face and he was giving up. I was pissed. I told him, You have to fight!

I almost lost my dad. 

We spent Christmas at the hospital that year. And while that should be super depressing, I just remember laughing a lot. Thankful to be spending it all together.

But here's what I realized after that incident... I had a plan B. For my wedding day. I had a plan B. My brother would walk me down the aisle if my dad was no longer here to do it. We all have a plan B for most situations, but we don't give them much thought because we don't expect to use them. But I found myself expecting to use mine. In fact, I think sometimes my plan B was becoming my plan A. I'm not getting married any time soon, and deep down I don't think I expected my dad to live long enough. 

Perk up! Here's where the story gets good.

One year later an overweight college graduate, living at home with her parents, feeling like the biggest failure ever had hit rock bottom. And there with a little bit of extra Christmas money she bought a book called "This is Why You're Fat. And how to Stay Thin Forever" Ridiculous maybe, but it worked. It wasn't the book... it was the resolve I had in my inner most being to change my life.

I decided to live. And the most beautiful thing to come from that selfish decision is that my dad decided to live too. It didn't happen right away... but it happened.

A year ago he decided to live and changed his life. It's not just about the weight loss but there is this vibrancy for life in him. We work out at the gym together sometimes, and he is like a kid in a candy store (excuse the metaphor) so excited to be pumping iron. He's got goals and drive and I love it. 

A year ago I told him we would do a Father's Day 5K together, something I had dreamt of... and guess what we did yesterday? We didn't finish first, but we didn't finish last. And we did it together.

So, guess what? I tore up my Plan B and threw it away.
My dad's gonna walk his little girl down the aisle. And I will proudly hold his muscled out arm all the way.

And random pictures. ;-)
I was a cheeze-ball. SO Happy!


Always adored him


My senior year of high school next to the Homecoming Mural for the Senior Class that my dad helped me with. A tradition of ours.

Dancing at my 18th Birthday

While I ran the KC half Dad did his first 5K!

sorry they're so random

Sunday, June 1, 2014

be great

This morning on my way to church, I was thinking about how most people are so caught up in being good that they miss out on being great. Satisfied with not being the bad guy, they settle into a safe zone. Okay with good enough, they forgo greatness.

Then at church the first thing our pastor did was read the first two pages out of the book, The Power of Hope by Dutch Sheets

"In 1965 During a family reunion in Florida, a grandmother woke everyone at 2:00 a.m., issuing orders to get empty Coke bottles, corks, and paper. 'I've received a message from God,' she said. 'People must hear His Word.' She wrote verses on the paper while the grandchildren bottled and corked them. Then everyone deposited over two hundred bottles into the surf at Cocoa Beach.

People contacted and thanked her for the scriptures throughout the years. She died November 1974. The next month the last letter arrived.

Dear Mrs. Gause,
I'm writing this letter by candlelight. We no longer have electricity on the farm. My husband was killed in the fall when the tractor overturned. He left eleven young children and myself behind. The bank is foreclosing, there's one loaf of bread left, there's snow on the ground, and Christmas is two weeks away. I prayed for forgiveness before I went to drown myself. The river has been frozen over for weeks, so I didn't think it would take long. When I broke the ice, a Coke bottle floated up. I opened it, and with tears and trembling hands, I read about hope.
Ecclesiastes 9:4
'But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.'
You went on to reference other scriptures: Hebrews 7:19; 6:18; John 3:3. I came home and read my Bible and now I'm thanking God for the message. We're going to make it now. Please pray for us, but we're all right. 
May God bless you and yours.
A Farm in Ohio

How did this life-saving Coke bottle make a nine-year journey all the way from Cocoa Beach, Florida, to a rive in Ohio? Not just any river, mind you, but the right rive, near the right farm, at the right time."

Greatness often looks like crazy. Like a crazy old grandma waking up at 2:00 a.m. and making her family help her deposit 200 messages of hope into the surf.

Greatness is crazy. It's not safe. Greatness is walking on water. Not because it's humanly possible, but because with God anything is possible. Because when we fix our eyes on Him and we stop trying to please the world and every person in it... He can use us to reach and touch and change the world.

Greatness is selfless. It's loving your neighbor as you love yourself. It's dying on a cross for all sins. I mean think about it. Jesus didn't come to earth concerned about what people would think of Him. Rather He literally became the ultimate bad guy. He took on all of our sins, was hated and crucified. Greatness is living The Crucified Life (which sidenote, is the name of an amazing book I highly recommend to ALL!).

Here's the deal, I don't want a good life. I want a great life. I don't want safe. I want adventure. I don't want comfort. I want radical. I don't want to be the most liked person. I want to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. I don't want to live a life about me. I want to live for Him, for His Glory.

It's always easier said than done. This I know. As a girl I was the ultimate "good girl." Utterly safe. But safe doesn't do much and as I grow older and more confident in my faith, I find myself with an unnatural courage that I can only credit God for. His voice, not mine. For His greatness, not mine.

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