A life well lived: 3 ways my Dad was my role model for healthy, positive living

This will be a different post than the norm.  I typically write about ways to love our body, practice mindful eating, and work on self-care.  This time, I want to pay a special tribute to my Dad, who was a wonderful example of loving life and thriving, even during the midst of trying times. To me, he was a healthy example of mind, body and spirit.

It is with a heavy heart that I share that my Dad died on August 8, 2014.  He was 65 years old.  He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease yet always kept up a positive attitude about him. (read more about Parkinson’s Disease here) .  He was a wonderful Dad and I will miss him so much.    I first want to outline some nuggets of wisdom I learned from my Dad, and I will conclude this blog with my tribute to my Dad that I read at his funeral.

 

Carey car GA

 

 

3 ways my Dad cultivated a healthy attitude toward life

 

1.   He was disciplined and not a quitter.  He loved to exercise but he never did it out of punishment– it was out of pure enjoyment.  He loved to run and after his knee surgery, he turned to swimming, which he excelled at. My Dad was my example for setting up a consistent exercise routine.  I remember going with him to the Fire Department where he worked as a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT and he taught me how to lift weights using a weight machine.  Even after getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he kept right on swimming.  He told my brother that he didn’t want a “woe is me attitude.”  In fact, he died doing something he loved (swimming).  My exercise of choice now a days is yoga and I strive to be just as disciplined– not out of duty, but because I enjoy it.

 

2.   He always had a wonderful sense of humor.  Yes, my mom and I used to roll our eyes a lot, but never the less, I admired his ability to see the positive side of life.  His strength never wavered.  I know many times we take our life too seriously.  Laughing and telling jokes seems like a rarity these days.  I believe that I did inherit my Dad’s sense of humor and luckily, married someone who is a lot like my Dad when it comes to telling jokes, yet we tend to stifle that side of us.   I strive to let go and not be afraid to laugh, even during the hard times.

 

3.  He enjoyed serving others but also knew how to have healthy boundaries and put family first.  I believe that healthy eating is not enough in order to be healthy, mind and body.  We also need to cultivate a spirit of compassion toward not only ourselves, but also others.  At the same time, we need to prioritize ourselves and our family so we do not burn ourselves out.  My Dad was a great example of that healthy balance.   He was a pastor of a thriving church for many years while I was a child, yet he was always home for dinner and he went to every single piano recital, band concert, chorus concert, etc.  He also helped to serve the poor and homeless in our area, as well as tirelessly served the community as a volunteer firefighter/EMT.    My goal is to serve out of a pure love and compassion, not  for fame or recognition but out of a sincere desire to help others.  At the same time,  I will not waver on my commitment to put my family first.

 

Thank you, Dad, for your great example.   Kellie, Carey

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My Tribute to my Dad (read at his funeral):

 

I have so many special memories of my Dad. I could be here all day but instead I will highlight a few.

My Dad had the great honor of officiating my wedding, in December of 2000. As he talked and encouraged both Charles and I during the ceremony, one thing he said stood out to me. He said, “ I always wanted to be your hero.”

Well, Dad, you are my hero and you always will be. From my bossy child hood years, to my moody teenage years, to my college years when I struggled with an eating disorder, you were always there for me. I will always be grateful for the time in college you drove two hours to take me to the hospital and have my heart checked out while I was struggling with anorexia.  I may not have shown my gratitude at the time, but I am so thankful you were by my side.

Speaking of my bossy childhood, you were such a good sport, playing along with the silly games that I made up. You often reminded me about the time we played Circus Club in the backyard and I made you be a clown. The perfectionist that I was, you never quite did your role exactly how I wanted you to, but you never gave up. It was the same way with our Family Christmas Skits. Patience was definitely one of your virtues.

You were at every single piano recital, cheering me on… even when I was in college here in Phoenix, you and Mom would drive down from [northern az] . You even battled a blizzard once just to see me perform.

Your compassion always shown through, as well as your humor. You had an ability to make us laugh at even the lamest joke— okay, well maybe there was more than one occasion that Mom and I rolled our eyes. Thankfully, I married someone who shared your same sense of humor.

You were such a fun Grandfather to [J and B] . I will never forget the time that you and Mom visited us in CA and went to [J and B’s] classroom for Grandparent’s Day. “B’s”  kindergarten class was doing the Tooty Ta dance and you got right in there and danced along with the other kids as they all shook their little booties. They also enjoyed when they were little and you put them on your back and sang doo-doo-doo (only my family will understand that part) — which is something you did when my brothers and I were kids too.

You and Mom were always my biggest fans with whatever new adventure I found myself in. I appreciated your support as I tried to build my business as a Health Coach. I knew I could count on you to cheer me on.

I know you are still cheering me on and I will always feel your loving presence. One thing you always said to me as we would say good-bye was, “You will always be my little girl.”

Dad, you are the best Dad I could ever ask for. I’ll always be your little girl and I love you so much.

 

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Read about my story of eating disorder recovery and work on ways to love your own body using the 4 week guide.  Purchase my book, Beautiful Freedom, HERE.

 

Love and Blessings,

Kellie

Body Image Coach

www.nourishedandnew.com

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8 thoughts on “A life well lived: 3 ways my Dad was my role model for healthy, positive living

  1. This is a beautiful and touching tribute to your dad. Sounds like you were very lucky to have such a wonderful role model, and how generous of you to share his values and positivity with the rest of us. So sorry for your loss.

  2. Great job, Kellie, well written and all true! I was able to access without a password from the link you gave me in my e- mail but not from the one via Facebook? Weird! But just letting you know…. Oxox Love Aunt Jill

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