Yesterday was my dad's birthday. Since he's not a woman, I'm sure he wouldn't mind me sharing his age: he is now 62 years old. He is now enjoying some of the Senior discounts that come with (ahem) old age...
My dad grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with his parents and 3 sisters. He liked hunting with his dog(s) and blowing things up in his chemistry shack. He eventually went on to Michigan Tech University to study organic chemistry. After graduating and getting a job at DOW chemical near Flint, Michigan, he met a Baptist pastor who challenged his thinking. He had grown up Lutheran and had been saved as a boy in the Lutheran church. While in Flint he attended a Lutheran church for Sunday mornings, but they didn't have an evening service, so he went to a small Baptist church (Baptists are generally known for having MULTIPLE services a week)! I'm not sure of the whole story, but I believe he was baptized and eventually joined the Baptist church. The pastor was a big influence on him and encouraged him to attend Bible college. He decided to get more schooling at Faith Baptist Bible College (in Iowa), and there met my mother. They got married and decided God was leading them into missions here in America by planting churches. So they joined what is now Continental Baptist Missions and set out to raise support. After deputation they moved to the Upper Peninsula to start a church in Marquette, ended up in Ishpeming...and that was a little more than 30 years ago. They are no longer church planting as the church "graduated" about 5 years ago, but they are still pastoring the "flock" there in the U.P.--a place I'd go back to in a heartbeat if I felt God was leading me back.
My Dad and I are pretty similar in that we have the same even-keeled personalities and like to do a lot of the same kinds of outdoor activities. Dad is pretty musical too in that he has a great ear for music and plays the trombone and guitar very well. My Dad was my age when he got married, and it is true that your perspective changes as you get older. I am so thankful that Dad made the choices he did and that he has been faithful to be obedient to God's working in his life. While he is of course not a perfect man I am thankful that God has given us to each other. Some of my memories of growing up with Dad are all the things he taught me: playing football or catch with my brother and me, teaching me how to fish, teaching me how to drive (and drive a stick shift), teaching me how to mow the lawn, garden, wash the car, hang pictures--he's the REAL handyman around the house. (He can fix ANYTHING!) Thankfully I learned a few of those tips which have come in extremely handy in having my own house.
However, I am glad that Dad is still around to fix stuff for me and give me advice. I don't know what I'd do without him! And, by the way, Dad, I do have a SMALL list of stuff to look at when you are here next week...I love you!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DADDY!