Today is my amazing Dad's 80th birthday! This is the year that he and my Mom turn 80. To celebrate they took all 7 of their children and spouses on a Mexican cruise last month.
It was fabulous! Seriously everything about it was so fun. But the very very best part was being with my family. I am the youngest of 7 children, there is a 16 year age gap between me and my oldest sister. You might think we wouldn't have much in common or be very good friends. However, my siblings are amazing, they are some of my favorite people to be with and are some of my closest friends. We are very different in personalities, we all have strong opinions, it might be easy to disagree and have squabbles and hold grudges, but we don't have any of that.
The longer I am a parent, the more I realize that didn't happen by chance. My parents created an atmosphere where we developed friendships and did things together. We worked together, we played together, we did LONG road trips together, we prayed together, we worshiped together. Yes we bickered and fought like all siblings do, but we were taught that our family mattered more than anyone else and we were taught to have forgiving hearts toward one another.
When I was young, I had a deep love for BYU football. I knew all the stats and I probably knew more about football than many boys my age.(I also had big time crushes on several players...Steve Young, Mark and Matt Bellini to name a few) My goal was to become a sportscaster when I grew up (that obviously changed, but I still do love sports). My Dad and I loved to watch together, I begged to be the one taken to the BYU football games. So in 1986 my Dad and I took a trip to Colorado Springs, CO to watch BYU play the Air Force Academy. We flew to Colorado and took the train home. I don't remember who won the game, but I do remember spending time with my Dad and am so grateful he and I have that memory and both had the love of BYU sports to share together.
My Dad is a man of great integrity. He taught me that sacrifice means giving up something good for something better. He taught me that being obedient to God's commandments brings happiness and serving in the church brings blessings. He taught me through his example that my Father in Heaven is loving and kind but has high expectations and knows my potential. He didn't put up with laziness or second best. He is such a good example of taking good care of his physical body through diet and exercise. He taught me to work hard but he also taught me that playing hard is good too. We used to go to Lake Powell every year where we had a houseboat and ski boat. We then bought a cabin at Brighton ski resort in Utah. We spent lots of time in the mountains hiking and skiing. In fact both of my parents STILL hike and they STILL ski! They are amazing.
I am so blessed to have such a Father, he is such a blessing in my life and because of him and my Mom I had such a great foundation for a happy, healthy life. I love you Dad!