Dave’s dad turned 80 on Saturday.
It is a beautiful thing to examine a life well-lived.
Just look at this man:
He is so full of light and goodness.
And look at that good woman at his side.
They are intertwined, boosting and lifting and learning from each other for all these years together, making them who they are, together.
And this weekend as we pondered how grateful we are to have them, I was overcome with the ripple effects just one person can make.
One person who didn’t start out with perhaps the most ideal “soil” to grow in, but who knew where to turn in times of trouble and sorrow and heartbreak. One who knew how to cultivate a “broken heart and contrite spirit.”
That is not an easy process.
One gift Papa gave his nine children, and which is rippling out quite beautifully to his grandchildren, is the gift of skiing.
Now, I know that may not seem like a “parenting gift” per se, but it has linked his family together in so many ways it is one of the most incredible gifts in my opinion: anything process that can bond a family is (lots more about that HERE).
We figured the best way we could celebrate would be to do just what he has taught: SKI.
So we all met up in Utah to ski.
Eight of the nine kids were able to make it, along with spouses.
And even though Papa couldn’t ski this time around (just had a minor back surgery), he was pretty delighted to watch all those rippling skiers come like a pack down that mountain together.
But let’s back up before the skiing for a minute.
Because people trickled in little by little.
We had a smaller crowd the first night, and we got to talk and play some games:
Wait let’s get a better look at Papa:
There we go.
Next morning everyone was swooshing around in ski pants getting ready for a day on the hill:
It was such a good day thinking of Papa and enjoying even in the icy-turning-slushy conditions (what more can you expect at the end of March? ha!).
We skied in a pack pretty much all day, and oh! I sure love these people.
Dave and I even ran into our neighbors from the desert in all that skiing goodness:
After a little lunch break:
The support crew:
You can’t see it very well in this pic on the left below, but by the end we were for sure skiing in slushy water:
By the time we were done skiing Grace had arrived (lots of cousins were coming up that night for the party).
I’m so glad I was there in time to catch this sweet post-mission reunion with a couple of the cousins:
(outtakes from a video but oh the love! Just makes me happy)
We gathered for the party festivities:
As some March Madness was enjoyed:
I put up a bunch of pictures of Papa in the kitchen and then forgot to take pictures of that, but I may as well keep the pictures here in this post because I love them:
(Little known fact, you can get huge black and white prints at Kinkos on just regular paper and it’s so cheap!)
Everyone (including grandkids) also made one page to put in a page protector in a three-ring binder of a memory they had with Papa. (I forgot to take a picture of that too.)
But here’s Dave’s picture with his Dad that I love:
Ok, on to what I loved the most about celebrating Papa:
We gathered and sat in a huge circle on Friday night for the big celebration.
Everyone there (I think 37 of us made it to the party to celebrate…so many older cousins are living up in Provo), had an opportunity to talk for just a minute about a time when they have felt Papa’s love.
That room just filled right up with the thickest beautiful spirit.
The part I loved the most was at the end, after everyone had a chance to share these lovey things, my sister in law remarked that many of these qualities we had talked about had been cultivated and diligently worked on for so many years.
He has been so intentional about creating his soft heart and service-oriented spirit.
And that is so inspiring.
Here he is with the eight kids who were there (the one missing had just spent some good time with him the week before and wished he could have been here too…we missed you Bob!)
With spouses added in:
The college-age grandkids that were able to make it (and one great-grandchild):
Late-night shenanigans after the party:
Fun that we happened to be able to capture the junior national ski championship before the rest of us split up:
It was a few days filled up with some goodness.
So thankful for Dave’s dad and that legacy that is still reaching out to all of us.
More posts about Dave’s Dad:
(Dave’s Dad’s devotional address)