Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Blessings

On this Father's Day, I am privileged to have my Dad still around and to be around myself to enjoy my three gorgeous girls and seven wonderful grandchildren (with an eighth one due in July!).

Happy Father's Day, Pappy! I love you very much and appreciate the faith and character you have modeled for me. And thank you, Heavenly Father, for all the blessings of this life!

Speaking of blessings, imagine my joy in receiving the kind of love expressed by my offspring as reflected in this earlier posting by our middle daughter, Beth, shortly after the news of my cancer...
Sunday, February 3, 2008

Daddy's Little Girls

My dad is currently fighting the biggest physical and spiritual battle of his life. The physical battle is against stage IV melanoma skin cancer. The spiritual battle is against powers and principalities unseen and which I do not fully understand, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” I am fervently praying for a miracle for my dad. I am preparing for a heart break. In the midst of this waiting place that I am wading in, I am blessed with friends and family who love me and stand beside me as I tread through my grief.

Knowing that my dad might not be part of my current life-story for very much longer, I want to share with you some "Daddy Facts & Stories" that I hold dear.

1. Dad asks great questions: Who is the Boss of your life?
When I was four years old, I hated this question. You see, I really wanted to take part in communion at church along with my big sister and everyone else. My parents felt that I should fully understand the meaning behind being part of the body of Christ before I took part in the Eucharist. My dad sat me down and asked me, "Beth, who is the boss of your life?" I told him that he and my mom were the bosses of me. This was the wrong answer and it disappointed and frustrated me to no end! Even then, I hated to get things wrong. One day, it finally clicked. Jesus was the boss of my life. Jesus was the boss of my parents' lives. I finally knew the truth about the Truth. My dad led me towards a knowledge, acceptance, and love of Jesus at the tender age of four. Over the past 29 yrs of being a Christian, this faith of mine has become fortified as my own and it all started with this simple question. Dad, for this I am eternally grateful!

2. Dad is a good provider.
My father is a Family Practitioner and has always excelled in his career. Dad works very long, hard hours to ensure that his patients are cared for and to ensure that his family is too. My dad's hard work enabled my sisters and I the chance to live in beautiful homes, travel to wonderful places, develop our interests and talents, and generally live a very comfortable, secure life. My parents' financial sacrifices enabled me to go into my adult life well-rounded and debt free. I couldn't have asked for more.

3. Dad cares deeply for others.
When my family lived in Michigan, my dad had a private practice in a small town where he was deeply loved and respected by all of his patients. I'm not sure if it was because some of them were unable to pay for their medical bills, or if it was just out of a love for my dad, perhaps a bit of both, but patients would lavish gifts upon my father---especially at Christmas-time. Now I don't know about you, but I have never even considered giving a gift to one of my healthcare providers! But Dad gave his patients the kind of wholistic care and attention that motivated an outpouring of gifts. At times it really felt like my parents were celebrities. We couldn't go anywhere as a family without patients stopping us to greet our family. We couldn't go to church and just leave afterwards without myriads of people asking if my dad could just quickly take a look at this or that ailment. We couldn't go out to dinner without being interrupted several times by people wanting to speak with my dad. Personally resenting unwanted social attention and resenting having to always share my dad, I remember snottily asking him, "Why do all your patients love you so much?" His sincere and humble response has always stuck with me..."I think my patients know that I genuinely care about them and their total wellbeing. That's why." Dad, you have always been a role model to me on how to graciously care for others.

4. Dad loves Mom.
My father adores my mother. He's always thought she was hot, and over the years that passion has not waned. Growing up, this would get a bit embarrassing. I would want to show friends some pictures or video from our recent family vacation and there would inevitably be some picture of my mom in her bikini or some video snippet of my dad sweet-talking & hitting on my mom. My dad is very creative and enjoys writing rhyming riddles and poems for my mom. Many Christmases my Dad would write these little riddles in order to make my mom search for her Christmas gift. After going from clue to clue, my mom would eventually find some fantastic piece of jewelry hanging somewhere on the Christmas tree. It has always been so romantic to watch. As a little girl, this love and passion between my parents set the standard for what I'd hoped to obtain for myself. Dad, your adoration for Mom has always touched & inspired me!

5. Dad is a very patient man.
It is often said that if you pray for patience God will give you circumstances in life to cultivate that patience. Well Dad, I'm not sure if you asked for it, but the Lord granted you the cultivating experience of raising three high-strung, drama queens! My sisters and I tried and tested my Dad's patience with our continual squabbling, frequent outbursts of emotion, and (very rarely) sassy back-talk. My Dad took it all in stride. Whether it was helping me with my math homework (which always led to tears and fatalistic comments about never getting it) or helping me nurse a broken heart from a jerky-guy, Dad was there to be level-headed, calm, and patient. Thank you Dad for teaching me what patience looks like. I'm still working on emulating this one in my day to day life.

6. Dad likes adventure (and he likes to fly through the air).
Whether it was dune-buggying over the sand dunes in Michigan, white-water rafting in Colorado, or "flying the hull" of his catamaran on the Chesapeake Bay, Dad loved to take us along on his adventures. Although we haven't yet located the picture to proove this (and Dad totally denies it happening), my sister and I swear that my dad had us stand by the open jaws of a crocodile at Everglades National Park. Ah yes, my father's love of adventure has created many-a-family-memory over the years....most of which end in my mother screaming "Daaaniellllll!!!!!" Let's see...there was the time that Dad was confident we could get over the snow and ice covered hill in his little Eagle Talon and we spun out mid-hill and almost fell over a cliff. There was the time that Dad just had to take that last-ride on his catamaran before the storm and the boat flipped trapping him out at sea. And if this were an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos and I could take all of the moments my dad has flown off of moving things it would look something like this:
4While manning the boat with clueless kids aboard, Dad gets bumped off the catamaran by a huge wave and flies through the air into Lake Michigan. Renegade boat almost crashes into a fallen tree on the beach but is saved by my then 12 yr old big sister, Kim.
4While running alongside my little sister's bike in an attempt to teach her to ride it, Dad gets a bit carried away with his speed and Chrissy begins to crash. Not wanting to fall on his 5 yr old, he flies through the air into a bunch of bushes and cracks a rib.
4While horseback riding with me, we decide to take our horses on a back trail at a full gallop. Dad's horse hits some gopher holes guessed it...Dad AND the horse go rolling, tumbling, and it finally ends with Dad flying into the air and landing on a patch of grass. Scared that the horse would run away, I leave my Dad injured in the grass to go after the horse. (My family still won't let me live that one down. Sorry Dad!)
4While skiing in West Virginia, Dad and I decide to try an Intermediate slope that somehow turns into Mogul Hell. I had just completed an entire month of lessons and was able to safely maneuver my way down but Dad...well...he did quite a bit of flying through the air. It was painful to watch.

Yes, my dad has had many adventures and we have been privileged enough to be a part of some of them! Thanks Dad for your passion for life and your willingness to take risks. I have been enriched (and amused) by all of our adventures together :).

7. Dad loves me.
When he helped me put baby blue-jays back in a tree....When he helped me learn gymnastics by flipping over the couch in the basement....When he helped me look after a sick and dying seagull...When he hugged me and told me never to hold my feelings in...When he took care of me all the times I was sick....When he listened to me ramble on about boys...When he video-taped all of my school concerts and plays...When he marveled at my beauty and dad told me he loved me. I have never doubted my father's love for me. His passion for Christ and his example as a Godly man has enriched and blessed my life beyond measure.

Dad, I love you. Please fight.

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

Posted by Beth Crabtree Hunter


  1. Hey, I was just going to hack into your blog and post this myself but you beat me to it! I love you Dad and we're all praying for you.

  2. Dr. Dan, It was good to see you "out on the town" last week strolling the VB boardwalk. You and Linda are in our continued prayers.

    Jon Hunter

  3. Dr. Crabtree, you probably will not remember me; I was 24 years old and you were my first real doctor. I was getting married and very scared but you were very caring and kind. You cared for me during my first 2 babies. I cried when you left Muskegon, but I've never forgotten my first doctor. John and I celebrate 31 years of marriage and five children. Our oldest got married on June 22, Adanya. Garrick is now 26 and is studying culinary arts. Rebkeah teaches Biology and Spanish, Gabriel is a junior At GVSU majoring in political science and Michael (adopted) is 10 years old. I wrote you a letter as you were leaving and said I'd probably see you in heaven and we would tell you how we all grew. John is a pastor in Muskegon. I retired as a probation officer but I still work at various jobs. I'm so glad your family shared with us. We are all praying and will continue to do so. Thank you for your care. Thank you for your patience. I'm praying also for your wife and family. Blessings, Cynthia M. Shyne and Pastor John Shyne, Jr. in Muskegon