A girls first love will always be her daddy...

In honor of my Papa's Birthday last Saturday
I wanted to make a list of the top 10 things he has taught me.

Because, well I love him, A LOT 
And I love making lists!

Melissa Jill Photography

Top 10 Things My Daddy Taught Me:

10. Laugh at yourself. My dad is the best at this. He lets us make fun of the little things he does, but he can laugh at himself about it all too. My dad's laugh is infectious. Oh and he is probably the most ticklish person you will ever meet, and we have definitely had some fun times trying to corner him to tickle him! Or when he used to end his texts with ' Luv you big daddy'... he really meant 'Love you big, daddy' we had to talk about that one.  Or when I was having a meltdown at work and was crying about how selfless I was being, and dad couldn't keep a straight face so then we just laughed for a good hour together about that one.

9. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.  As a teenager I remember driving with my dad with Zig Zigler playing in his truck. Always some kind of motivation talk, some kind of words of wisdom; which as a kid I remember thinking it was so annoying. But I am so much like my dad, and I love that stuff now. He taught me that there is a bigger picture and you can't get so caught up in the small stuff and lose sight on what's really important.

8. You're never too old or busy for Cartoon movies. Or dad daughter dates. Or spending time with loved ones. I remember going on a dad daughter date to see the movie Robots in theaters. Robin Williams is the voice of the main robot. I remember being so excited to see a movie just Dad and I. We sat down next to this cute, lil toe head 6 year old boy with his buttery popcorn pack on his lap and blue slurpee covering his face. I sat next to the lil guy (His babysitter was next to him) and my dad sat on the other side of me. Literally, every time lil blue sticky face kid laughed at something, my dad was laughing at the same thing. They were like kindred spirits with each other.  I just remember that day so vividly because it was the day I learned you are never too old to be a kid and enjoy the simple things of life!

Marshmellow Guns we got for Christmas one year. We had a war. It was awesome.

7. Love with all your heart. I have never had to question my fathers love for me, or our family. Everything he does, he does with us in mind. He is not afraid to let his emotions show. He is the rock in our family. When things seem to be falling apart, he is there to pick up all the pieces. He loved me when I was going through my awful teenage girl phase (and still continues to when I revert back...) He loves us without condition. He loves all of us in our own way. He always protects. He always loves.

6. The difference is your choice. Anyone who has met my Dad knows he is different. He is a special kind of man, that I am so blessed to call my dad. I have learned that his reputation, his reaction, his happiness... they are all his choice. It isn't always easy to make the right decision. Its not easy to act with patience to someone who is constantly giving you attitude. He doesn't always wake up on the right side of the comfy bed. But he always CHOOSES to be better. He always chooses to have a good attitude. He always choose to put others before him and have a servant heart. This is definitely where my dad and I differ. This is just plain hard for me, but it is something I strive to do and wish I was more like my dad in this area.

5. Exercise is really important. My dad is a stud. I mean, he can do as many pushups as he is old! And lets just say, he can get a discount for an early bird special! He hikes South Mountain everyday, works outside to tear down palm trees- by himself. He has taught me that you have to take care of your body. And that exercise is important because I think it helps him with #6. He lets out the very little steam he has, and can clear his mind. And let just be honest, he looks good!

4. Work Hard. Play Hard. This kind of correlates with the last one. My dad has the most amazing work ethic ever. He works HARD everyday. Whether he is in the office, or outside pulling weeds around the shop. He does. not. stop. when he gets an idea or a task started. But he knows how to have fun. He does what he likes to do. He has a healthy balance of hard work and fun. I think he needs to have a little more fun though!

Proud Papa

3. Compassion, Honesty, Forgiveness. I have been hearing this one for years. If you have a problem with someone you need to a. go to them with compassion b. you need to be as honest as you possible can be c. you need to be willing to forgive. If you can't do all three of these you are not going to be able to get passed what is going on. You have to have all three parts. Once you do, you can talk to the person and be done with it. I have used this more times than I would admit, and it really does work! I think this is one of the reasons so many people respect my dad.

2. I am Beeeeautiful. I work for my dad, and everyday he tells me how pretty I look. Everyday. And I know he isn't just saying it either, well sometimes he might but he doesn't have too, but he always does. Growing up we had this little saying, he told me "Bug, if a guy ever tells you 'You are Beautiful' tell him... 'My daddy tells me that everyday, tell me something I don't already know!'" This kind of confidence is so important to a young girl growing up, especially through the awkward years, I don't think I knew how much it has impacted my life until now. I am so grateful my dad has always made me feel beautiful.  

Honorary mention:I am not spoiled. I am well taken care of. My dad takes care of us.

1. Love the one you are with.  gosh I can't even write this one without tears welling up in my eyes. My dad has always had one piece of advice for newly weds or young families: The best thing you can do for your family and your kids is to love their mother. There is NO question my dad loves my mom more everyday. He chooses to love her, but it is easy for him. The way he looks at her, slow dances with her in the kitchen all. the. time. He is her rock. Her lover. Her best friend. The love they have is rare, beautiful and on fire. I have been given the BEST example of the kind of love I desire and deserve. My dad has always put my mother on a pedestal. It is the most beautiful kind of love I can imagine.

Mother's Day 2008

There are tons of other things my dad has taught me: like how to drive, patience, dancing father daughter dances with me at recitals, etc. But these are just a few of the important lessons that I have taken from him and will always cherish. I love my dad so much.

I know I am extremely blessed to have a father like I do. I don't know how I got so lucky but I thank God every time I think of him!

Happy Birthday Papa! Love you Big, Daddy!

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