Words of the Fathers

I have been blessed with a lovable dad, a example of excellence in a step father, an adoring father-in-law, and many wise mentor-fathers in my life. Their words have collided inside of me to bring about a treasure trove of wisdom and phrases to live by. I would like to commemorate the Fathers in my life by sharing some of the quotes and stories they have spoken and lived before me.

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Reverend Donald Ray Brothers

Daddy and Me

My daddy is one of the most lovable and fun people I have ever known. His jolly nature and passion for the Word draws people. He loves sharing jokes and pranks. I get my happy from my daddy.

That is so good, it would make a minnow slap a whale!

Another phrase that I heard him repeat often…

You are a Brothers!

I wasn’t sure what that meant, growing up, but the way he said it made me believe it was something awesome to strive to live up to.

The Brothers Family

The Brothers Family

You’ve gotta hold your mouth just right.

Those were his words of wisdom when teaching me how to fish. I can still see him jiggle the line and stick out his tongue. He taught me to hunt, fish, pray and love people.

My favorite daddy story is about the time he heard the audible voice of God. Here it is in his point of view.

“My daddy and I were hunting for deer in Colorado and I walked up the side of a mountain, over it into another valley and back up the next mountain. I was looking for tracks and signs and ended up farther away from camp than I had planned and got turned around a bit. So I tromped back up the mountain and spotted the road and headed toward it.  I finally got back to the camp site and realized I had lost my wallet out in the wilderness. My hunting license, deer tags, my driver’s license and all my money, gone!

I got mad at God. Everything that had gone wrong in my life crashed in that moment. All my regrets and all my failures bubbled up into a ball of rage and feelings of being rejected by God. I knew he had turned his back on me.

“You’d do it for my dad, but you won’t do it for me!” (Referring to the year before when his dad lost his wallet and God told him right where to go to find it.)  

So, I set out retracing my steps the next day, hoping I could find it. I walked and walked and knew it was a hopeless situation. I had covered miles and miles the day before. But, I was so mad that I wasn’t any good to anyone back at the camp anyway. I finally gave up and sat down and leaned my back against a tree.

With my head low and my shoulders drooped, I grumbled and mumbled to God about how worthless I was and what a failure I had been.  I felt I would be better off dead and buried than to live a life out of God’s favor. I squeezed the gun in my hands and thought real hard about what to do with it next.

Suddenly, I heard a deep voice as clear as I am talking to you.

“As I did for your father, so will I do for you!”  

I was startled and raised my head. My eyes landed on a dark object just down the hill in front of me. Upside down in the position of a tent, was my wallet. I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Or my ears!  I jumped up and started whooping and hollering and praising God. Tears ran down my cheeks. I rushed back to the campsite and told my daddy the story and we both danced around, embraced, and bawled our eyes out thanking God for his love, forgiveness, and provision.”

Papa and Dayla

Thank you, Daddy, for giving me a legacy of faith and a heritage and foundation based on God.

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Harry Lee Gordon, RPh

Harry and Mimi

Perhaps the most intelligent person I know is my step father, Harry.  More than just an appreciation of intelligence, he has given me a sense of integrity, a mentality to strive for excellence, and the love of the endless pursuit of knowledge.

Early in our relationship when things were not going so well, he took me to my room and sat on the edge of the bed and told me. “We are a family now, your mom, your sister, my girls and I. We are going to make it through this transition. Everything is going to be okay.”

At the time I did not value or even believe his words, (angsty teenager), but time and consistency won me over. He was right. We were okay. He wanted me to know that he was not going anywhere. He was going to stay. That is just what I needed to hear in a time when everything had been turned upside down in my world. I didn’t want to hear it, but I needed to hear it and he knew that intuitively.Lighthouse viewing

Through the years he lived in front of me a life of integrity, success, and provision and is one of the people in the world I admire the most. He has claimed my kids as his own grand kids and has loved us and taken care of us in so many precious ways. His generous heart and goodness bind me to him as a daughter.

I see how he adores my mom and it is good for my soul.

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Mom and Harry stroll along Tybee beach.

My favorite Harry story is about a Christmas Carol and a curse.

Every year it is a tradition to go to the Christmas Eve service at First Christian in Wichita Falls, Texas. They put on a pageant, the choir sings and it ends in a candle light service. This year the choir sang Carol of the Bells and it seemed to go on and on and on and we were all hungry and ready to get to the party foods that mom had prepared. We finally left and started back to the car for the traditional party.

I mumbled under my breath, “I thought they would never stop Harkin’ those Bells.” Then realized I had said it a bit too loud. I cut my eyes up to Harry.

Instead of a lecture on good manners, he replied. “Yeah, enough of those damn bells.”

I threw my head back and laughed so hard that tears sprinkled. To this day we can’t hear that song without thinking of that statement.

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Larry Dean Cole

Pa and Dayla

Oh my, if there was ever a man in this world who knew how to show me love it was my father-in-law, Larry Cole.  He claimed me as his daughter-in-law before his son and I were anything more than friends. He has lavished love on me and my children from the beginning and no one in my life has ever accepted me the way Dad did.  There was never any doubt that I was his. He loved to call me “Daughter-in-Law.” It was his way of claiming me in the family and holding me there.

Larry

He worked harder than any one I know. He was always about the business of providing for “my bride” and making sure everything was just so. He loved to give gifts, but hated taking them. He loved the holidays and wanted all of us to

His favorite gift ever? We put a snow man in a bottle with instructions. He loved it!

His favorite gift ever? We put a snow man in a bottle with instructions to dump the water into the yard at the first sign of freezing temperatures. He loved it!

be together.

Family was everything to him and he instilled in me a sense of family loyalty and showed me how to be a loving and affectionate mom.  By embracing me into his fold, he showed me the importance of a close knit bond between family. His passing was unbelievably hard. I cherish the moments, the years, the holidays and the love that we shared.  Pa, you aren’t here to read this blog, so I will heart-mail a copy to heaven so you can read it there.  But I know these words are not new to you. We have spoken and shared our bond out loud through the years. No regrets, no love withheld.

Just let it seek its level.

Anytime we went to him with a problem, those were his words of patience and advice.

I just want to hear LaDonna sing, I don’t care about all those other people up there.

He was my biggest fan.  I got to sing at his bedside the night he passed away. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was singing along in his heart and so very proud.

You have done an incredible job with those babies.

He told me often how proud he was of me for raising his grand babies to be good people who love Jesus.

He was the strength and glue of the Cole Clan. It was in his embrace that we found shelter, family, and home.

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The words of the Fathers resound in my full spirit tonight. I have been blessed to have such amazing men raise me.

My Pawpaw, and my daddy as a boy.

My Pawpaw, and my daddy as a boy.

My Pawpaw and Grandma Choate

My Pawpaw and Grandma Choate

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4 thoughts on “Words of the Fathers

  1. This is an awesome tribute! Made me very teary eyed! I can relate to some of those times you talked about! I am so proud of the strong godly woman you have become! You are an awesome niece and I love you dearly! Aunt Nancy

    Like

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