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Blessings From My “Fun Dad”

This Monday, the man who I affectionately referred to as my “Fun Dad” left this world to be with his Lord. Lyle was so many things to so many people and as I’ve spent this week reflecting on the blessings I came to know from his presence in my life, I decided to honor his memory by sharing a few of them.

Lyle was a man of great faith. We say that about a lot of people and while I’m sure that’s true, what I loved the most about him is he actually lived that faith out loud. In particular, the following Bible verses are the ones I believe he reflected in his daily life.

Ephesians 6:2 – “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

Lyle set an incredible example of what it means to honor his parents. Raising his own family right next door to his parents, I really think this had a huge influence on his own boys. His kids and eventually, his grandchildren. saw the reverence he had for his own parents and in turn, respected him the same.

Matthew 19: 5-6 – “For this reason a man shall leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

As much as Lyle was devoted to his parents, his first devotion after being married was to his wife. For me, this is probably one of the greatest blessings the two of them bestowed on the world. They had the most connected, holy and sacred relationship I’d ever had the privilege to witness. I’m sure they still had their moments like every couple does, but the deep love they shared was evident to everyone that knew them.

Some of my favorite things about them as a couple were simple things, like the fact that he liked it when they outfits matched. (My husband has actually changed his shirt before church if it was in the same color family as mine.) He liked to shop for her. He liked picking things out for her to wear, including shoes. And the best part was how proud she was to wear them because she knew her man had chosen them special for her.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Hard work is something that was a way of life to Lyle and his family. While raising animals and taking care of a farm is certainly hard work, he also knew how to relax and enjoy small moments with people he loved. Lyle had the single best sense of humor of anyone I’ve known or will likely know again. He could be serious when the moment called for it, but luckily for us, most moments didn’t and we got to experience the bizarre humor only he could bring. He worked hard, played hard and just lived hard.

1 Corinthians 6:19 – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

Honoring the Lord with our bodies is not something that we see too much of today. Lyle was an advocate for health and took pride in caring for the gift of his physical body. His commitment to his health didn’t stem from vanity but rather from a respect that this body is the only one we’re given.

Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

When things were tough for their family, Lyle turned to God in prayer. Their home was a household of faith and together, they served the Lord in good times and in bad. This is also the verse that continues to grant us peace as we mourn the loss of this great man. We won’t always understand why things happen the way they do, but we trust that God has a plan and through that plan, we will be blessed.

Because Lyle lived his life in such lockstep with God’s plan for us as people, it’s easy to see the blessings that I, and others, received from having him in our lives.

What’s not so easy to remember, until of course, something like this happens, are the simple things we can do to make the most of life. Here is a quick list of to-do items that I’ve been reflecting on lately:

  • Be grateful for your health. And do what you can to preserve it.
  • Quit waiting for “someday”. Whether its a trip you want to take or a memory you want to make, don’t make excuses. Make it happen. As it’s said, “There are 7 days in a week, and someday is not one of them.”
  • Hold your loved ones close and say what you need to say. If there’s someone you need to forgive, get on with it already. If there’s someone deserving of an apology, don’t waste another minute hesitating. Say the ‘I love yous’ and give the hugs freely.
  • Quit worrying about what others think about you and be the person you want to be. You know the people who love you and will support you unconditionally. They matter. Everyone else are just bystanders and don’t deserve a role in your life.
  • Laugh more. Life is funnier than you realize. And if you’re not laughing enough, take stock of who you’re spending time with and find some uplifting people to be around.

There’s no post I could ever write that would sum up how I feel about Lyle. I called him my “Fun Dad” because he was as important to me as a dad, but he didn’t have to deal with raising me so he didn’t get frustrated with me like my actual parents did. I was a dramatic and rambunctious girl and he thought it was great. He always made me feel valued and loved and that’s the memory I’ll cherish.

My hope is that this post will serve as a gentle reminder to us all that as we live, others are being influenced by our actions. It’s up to each of us what that influence will be so choose to be a good one. Focus on what matters. Live as if there is no tomorrow.

Until we meet again, Fun Dad…

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