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Today being Father's Day, I thought I'd share some thoughts on my father and the father characters in my books. I grew up a daddy's girl, and the fact that he is my stepfather (who officially adopted me) indicates that he's something special. Keith, my husband, is in fact stepfather to my three kids, and another one of those super-special men who willingly took-on a challenging dad role and did so with excellence.

Growing up, my dad was my "coach." I ran track and did cheer leading so part of my workout was pushing up hills at the zoo. See, he's been a paraplegic since he was 19. He played wheelchair basketball and I became adept at zipping around in his chair any chance I got. I also discovered that when I woke up scared from a nightmare, I could crawl under the wheelchair in my parents' room and sleep soundly without fear (and usually without waking them up). I'm jumping around to different ages because so many memories flood my mind when I stop to think about Dad. Like the time we used too much cooking sherry in the beef burgundy or the countless times we almost ran over people at the mall whizzing down ramps (I'd ride in his lap). Yeah,...those were good times.

Maybe my strong connection with my dad is the reason I tend to create positive male characters for my stories. Granted, there is the much-needed "bad guy" who appears in certain story lines, but overall, the men in my books are full of compassion, charm, integrity and kindness. Even Normando from The Lion Tamer's Daughter, who wasn't a father but was certainly father-like, was given those same positive qualities and a beautiful relationship with Ruth that endured time and distances apart.

Being a good father is a spiritual gift, a God-given ability that I am grateful was given to men in my life. My husband, the brave and maybe somewhat crazy, man that he is, took on this spunky redhead and three kids (two of them special needs). I mean, if that's not brave, what is? If that doesn't require divine intervention, what does?

I think it's important, especially in this day and age, to write stories with good fathers. We see too many instances of lack of fathers, abusive fathers, and such. We need more that shows fatherhood in a positive light. This is a way to testify to readers of the goodness of our heavenly Father. Through parables, of sorts, we can demonstrate not only how wonderful a good relationship between father and child can be, but also how amazing it is to have a relationship with God.

May we each take time today to be grateful for the good men in our lives, and to commit to modeling those character traits that they instilled in us and modeled before us. Thank you, fathers.

And, thank You, Father, for loving us and guiding us. Happy Father's Day.

Me and my dad (around 1990-91?)

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