If you haven't had the privilege of meeting my Dad, then you're missing out. :) He's a quiet but very friendly and fun guy to be around. As a father, he's very patient and understanding (which if you know me, my Mom, or my sister, you know that's very important).
Before I was in school, my Dad owned a home-building business... I knew him as the guy who could build or fix anything... he still can. :) But his business went bankrupt and he was without work for a couple years. I was young, so I don't remember much about that time, but I know now it wasn't very easy for my parents. However I remember very well how much I prayed that my Dad would get a job. My parents taught me the power of prayer at a very young age, and I vividly remember the day they told me God answered our prayers and my Dad found a job. It was about 26 years ago, and the same job God provided is the one he's retiring from now.
A few months ago when we were in the states, my Dad and I were talking about this. One thing I love about my Dad is throughout my life, he consistently stops and remembers how God has guided, provided for, and blessed our family. He tells us the stories so we won't forget. During his time of unemployment he had a job interview with another company that looked very promising. They were about to hire him but didn't at the last minute. While that was incredibly difficult at the time, my Dad loves to talk about how different and better things have been because of the job he did get. It's a great example of how we can't see the big picture, but God knows and provided for our family in amazing ways.
My parents were both biology majors in college, and for most of his career my Dad has worked for the San Antonio Water System. I've never known what to say when people ask me about his job. :) I know he helped me with a pretty cool middle school science fair project about water conservation, and I know he does stuff with water.... obviously, the science gene was not passed down to me. ;) I never heard a ton of details about his job (or maybe I just wasn't listening), but I remember very well the stories of people my Dad worked with. He's had incredible friends over the years, and he's been an incredible friend to countless people. If I listen long enough, stories come out about co-workers coming to his office, asking for advice, grieving together, laughing together, and just sharing life. My Dad is not a very outgoing person, but I don't know if we'll ever know how many people he has shown the love of Christ to, simply by listening and sharing life together. He's an amazing example to me, and I know he will be dearly missed.
My Dad has been an example to me in so many ways... my parents have now been married for 43 years, and they have taught us so much about commitment, trusting God together, and laughing together... a lot. :) My Dad taught me to seek God's plans and guidance for my life, showing me that His plans for me are so much better than my own... and he has continued to support us unconditionally even when God led us halfway across the world for the last ten years. I grew up just a mile away from my grandparents, and I know my Dad never dreamed his own grandchildren would live so far away. But he continues to pray for us, encourage us, and travel to wherever we are. :)
There's so much more I could say about how great my Dad is, but I'm wandering away from the topic at hand, and I think I've cried enough for one blog post. ;) Dad, I hope you know how proud we are and how excited we are for you to enjoy a slower pace of life for a while... until the next time we visit, of course. Love you so much, and congratulations!!!