“What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

Or her on this occasion.  Today my 3rd oldest turns 27.  Happy Birthday Cecilia Bernice.  Cecilia loves, when she is home from LA, to pull out the family videos and watch them endlessly.  She arrived back in St. Louis late Saturday night and by yesterday afternoon had them out and watching them.  I was down in my room counting my money that I was going to win in a football pool my brothers and I had gotten into.  The money was a lock – Seattle needed to beat my hapless Arizona Cardinals (yes, I still follow them).  Seattle was at home – they never lose at home.  That money was going to be used to buy Cecilia the best birthday gift that $30 bucks could buy.  But alas, Seattle lost (jerks) and now this post this morning will have to suffice for her birthday present cuz I done spent all my available cash on family Christmas gifts.

So today I am going to share with you something I’ve kept rather private with her since I wrote her this note back in August of 2014.  It came after one of my shortest vacations, but one of my most meaningful.  Cecilia left for CA back in August of 2014 to pursue of dream of becoming an actress, following her fiance’ (and now husband) Garrett out to Los Angeles, where he was already working pursuing his career in the entertainment industry.  5+ years later, they are both thriving and from all they’ve told me, love the challenge of living in California.  Back to our little trip(p).  I believe we left for LA on a Wednesday morning, stopping off in Midland Texas to see Sarah’s cousin Judy and arriving in Redondo Beach early Friday afternoon. I will always cherish that time alone with Cecilia.  We had a chance to laugh with each other, bond with each other, cry with each other.  I would strongly recommend to any father out there to do this with each of your children at least once; I have and now only have seven more children to experience this with…who wants to volunteer to be next?

Anyway, I’ve never really shared this letter with anyone but Cecilia until this morning.  With us about the celebrate the birth of our Savior, I thought it was most appropriate to share with you my love not just for my daughter Cecilia, but my love for all of the children, and now their spouses and grandchildren that God has blessed me with.  It is my hope that this letter inspires all who read it to reach out to someone they love this Christmas season and thank them for the wonderful, beautiful person that they are.  Cecilia – I love you and I’m awed by all that you’ve become in your 27 years.  You bring a light to our tiny little nation.  I know in my heart that your light that shines forth is a mere reflection of the light that Christ brought into this world so many years ago.

Aug 24, 2014
Dear Cecilia,
This wasn’t the format I was hoping to write this note to you but the fact that it is typed and not hand-written won’t change the meaning or purpose of this letter. The simple meaning of this letter is to tell you how much your Mom and I love you and how proud we are of you. You have spent your entire life making us proud of you and now the true testament of your hard work begins. I hope you will always remember the example we have tried to set for you as to what our true purpose in life is. The success of your life may never truly be known by anyone but yourself. God has put us here because of His of love for us and it should be our mission in life to honor Him for that. So before I leave you to head back home, I offer these last few thoughts.

In all you do, praise God.
For all good gifts, thank God.
In times of doubt and fear, seek God.
For all you need, ask God.
And most importantly, make sure you take the weekend bulletin to prove to your Mother you went to church Sunday.

Mom and I have given our lives to God and I hope by our example, you will do the same.

These past few days with you I have cherished and loved. I only wish we could have all made this journey here with you. But the time has come for you to take flight. Embrace the challenge before you; I remember 25 years ago when Mom and left the comforts of the city we had always called home. I recall the sense of excitement and the sense of fear of the start of that new journey. You’ve worked hard to get yourself to this point, work harder now to achieve your dreams.

I love you,
Dad ( and Mom)

P.S. grab me a bulletin. I forgot to get one on the way out and I’ve got nothing to show your mother when I get home.

Do something great for our Lord today – tell your children you love them.  And while you’re doing that, tell God you love Him…and Jesus…and the Holy Spirit.  Tis the season for love…go out and love.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

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