Jackson: Papa plays fun games with us. He taught us how to play chess. He teaches us wonderful things about the gospel. He knows church history really well. Every time we come to see him, he gives us a big hug. He's athletic. He teaches me piano sometimes. He is a hard worker. Every time we visit him, he cleans our van. He inspires me to love Jesus. He always makes sure that everybody has what they need. I love you Papa!
Tyson: Papa is very active. Every time we come to his house, he plays kickball with us. I've never gone to his house and not had fun with him. We play board games. We watch TV together. We roasted marshmallows together. When I go to his house, he shows me more about the trumpet. He goes on walks with me to the park. Papa inspires me to be like him. I want to be healthy like him when I grow up. I love him soooo much!!
Jordan: I love that Papa stays up for us no matter how late we come to his house. He always helps us, and he plays kickball with us. He's really nice, and he always plays games with us. He reads stories about Joseph Smith to us. He's always very funny. He always helps us… he fixes the things we break. I love Papa. He inspires me to be a missionary. Papa is awesome!
Mariah: I love Papa because he plays good games with us like kickball and other board games. I like to play chess with him. He reads us stories. The other reason why I love Papa is because he gives big hugs and kisses. When we come, right away he runs outside, and he helps us bring our stuff in. Papa inspires me to do amazing things like serving my mission great. I love you soooo much!!
Juliana: Ummm…. Jesus…. He loves Jesus. He likes food. He likes Cheetos. I like to laugh with Papa (as she giggles hysterically trying to talk about him). I love Papa!!!
Jayden: Jayden loves Papa! Papa makes him laugh a lot!
Abe: Papa is amazing. Here are a few reasons why:
I wanted to take the opportunity to write just a few thoughts and funny moments that have been running through my mind to add to my story about him in October.
*As Abe and the children mentioned, Papa likes Kickball. A couple of months ago, we visited my parents in Missouri. We all went outside to play kickball, and my dad divided up the teams so that all the little kids were with him against Abe and me and couple of the smaller kids. We kept telling my dad that the teams didn't seem too evenly matched because Abe and I are pretty good at kickball… and young! (My dad is 76, but you would never know it!!)
The game commenced, and my dad was on fire! He ran the bases like a champ! Then it was our turn to kick...
My parents have a huge front yard; but almost every time Abe kicked the ball, it went past their yard and well into the neighbor's yard. My dad sprinted after that ball thinking he might still get Abe out before he ran around all the bases. He was organizing the boys to get to the bases so they could get Abe out. We just laughed and laughed and asked Dad if we could change the teams to make it more fair. He refused. My dad's most competitive player- Tyson- also suggested that maybe their team could get some more help. My dad was determined to finish with the teams as they were and fight to the end.
They didn't win, but they played like champs! My dad NEVER GIVES UP, and he was teaching my boys to do the same!!! They learned to be true champions like Papa out there on the kickball field.
*Over 20 years ago, my oldest sister's husband used to work for my dad in his office in his garage. Everyday they would take breaks to go play ping pong. I'm sure my dad still has the exact numbers on this, but I believe my brother-in-law won about 1200 games and my dad won about 20. Despite his losing record, he kept playing, kept tracking his rare wins, and he continued to declare that he was getting better! My brother-in-law was sincerely surprised that my dad was the one who wanted to keep playing! Most of us would have quit the game of ping pong after the first 20 losses!
I LOVE that determination in my father. Who would have thought that at 76, his fighting, lively spirit wouldn't have died down even one iota. Gosh my dad makes life a lot of fun!! Most people his age are considered "elderly." The word doesn't even make sense around my father. He's fit and trim and full of life.
*My dad LOVES scouting!! He has helped so many young boys earn their Eagle scout award! He helps lots of boys who don't have any support from home, and he helps them believe in themselves. Just this past year, my father received the Silver Beaver Award in scouting. This award cannot be sought after because it has to be awarded to you by a higher committee who submits your name after recognizing many years of sacrifice and service to the scouting program. My father received the award at a special banquet held in another city. He felt shy about receiving the award, but I was overjoyed that he was recognized for his years of service… as a hero to countless young boys in the scouting program.
*When I was a young girl, I used to travel with my dad all over the East coast for weeks at a time selling my mom's cornhusk dolls. We slept in the van and washed up in gas station bathrooms. I would go into the bathroom, wait until everyone else left, stick my head in the sink, squirt some hand soap into my hair, and wash away. I would also bring a wash cloth into the bathroom to wash up the rest of my body. We did stay in hotels too… just not every night. :-) My dad kept me down-to-earth for sure!! Those trips with my dad shaped who I am! We had amazing talks about the gospel, and we played rhyming games and word games for hours.
*I always loved running. I remember wanting to go on a run at nighttime when I was home from college. I was used to doing that while I was away at college, and I felt safe in our small hometown. My dad was worried about me, so he insisted on going with me. At first I thought it was unnecessary, as I ran laps on the track for about an hour, I will never forget looking over at my dad thinking how much he loved me and would do anything for me. I'm sure he had better things to do with his time, and I'm sure he probably wished I could have just gone running in the morning instead; but instead, he supported me and helped me achieve my crazy desires. My father made me feel secure in his love for me. I have never questioned that love.
There have been times in my life when I have felt undeserving of love and pretty rotten inside. It is my father's testimony of Christ and his sensitivity to the Spirit that has brought peace and love deep into my heart when I've needed it the most. I have never known a person to be as nonjudgmental as my father is. He lives so righteously, yet he doesn't judge anybody else's choices in life. He gives them the benefit of the doubt, and he goes to their aid over and over and over again. His love continues to change me and inspire me… and all of us.
He is our hero… no doubt about it! What a shining light he is in our lives!! We are inspired to be better and to do better because of the way my father lives his life. That makes him our hero.
He is AMAZING and FUNNY and VERY LOVEABLE!! Please, please read the link below on him… (I also have more pictures of my GREAT DAD included in that link.)
Below is the link to a recent story from Mother's Day about my dear mother… his sweet companion. I love how my father looks at her. It doesn't matter if she's angry or happy, my dad will turn to me and say, "Isn't she cute?" :-)