With my Dad Payne
 My father-in-law, the man I am honored to call “Dad”, was born before the Titanic sank.
Earlier this month we celebrated his 100th birthday.
The amazing thing about Dad is how he lives, with gentle zest and quiet enthusiasm.
Here are a few things I’ve learned from him in the years since we met.

Use Your Brain

Some might feel they’ve learned enough by age 100. Not Dad. He reads, researches and even Googles.

Once I asked what he was currently reading.

He answered, “I’ve been doing a theological study…” and went on to show me stacks of research books, his open Bible, and notes he’d typed up on his computer.

Use Your Body

Dad grew up in an age where physical activity was a part of daily life. These days it’s a challenge to get exercise, you have to decide to do so. 

When Dad was about 96, he felt a bit tired using the stairs in his house.

Am I getting old? he wondered. No, that isn’t the problem.

He put himself on a weight lifting routine using plastic milk bottles half filled with water. Arm raises, bicep curls, leg lunges. Pretty soon he felt stronger, filled the bottles all the way, and kept exercising. 

Enjoy Some Hobbies

My husband holds painting for presentation

You name it, Dad can probably do it. Artist, gardener, architect, musician, electrician…the list goes on. He’s used his years and curiosity to develop skills and talents.

Dad’s most recent oil painting is a favorite of all his admirers. At his 100th birthday celebration, he presented it to the Mayor of his town for everyone to enjoy.

        
Painted at age 99-1/2
Accept Life’s Changes
Dad has seen a lot of changes, yet he doesn’t seem to fight change or live in the past.
He’ll tell you of winters when snow was so deep, U.S. mail was delivered on cross country skis.

But this week he checks email on his computer.

He lives on his own in the house he helped build about 70 years ago.

And on his 99th birthday he signed up for high speed Internet.

Yet Dad did admit he missed the feel of a horse drawn wagon and the reigns in his hands. I arranged for him enjoy that feel once more. It was a very happy day!

Humor Helps

Dad loves a good story or joke to enjoy a good laugh. But his humor is gentle, never sarcastic or putting anyone down.

Be Faithful to Loved Ones
At age 96, Dad drove an hour and a half round trip to visit his dear bride who spent her last years in a nursing home. He did this several times a week.
He made sure she knew she was loved.

They were married for 72 years.

And Hold on to Your Faith

Dad would be the first to admit there is much in life he doesn’t understand, like his wife’s dementia or the death of an infant great-grandson.

But through all the ups and downs, he’s held on to Jesus, trusting in His goodness and love.

A seminary trained, ordained preacher, Dad has yet to fully retire.

He was the guest preacher at a local church the Sunday after his 100th birthday.

As long as the Lord gives Dad breath, I know he will be an honorable example to all his family and friends.

And we are very grateful.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

With love,
Leslie

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”   
 Psalm 23: 6