Every night when he tucked her into bed at the end of another day he’d give his daughter a kiss then spread his arms, “I love you this much!” He’d say.


When she grew a little older she didn’t want to let another evening pass so just before he left the room, 

“How much is this much?” She asked.


Her father turned around and smiled, “How much is this much.” He said.

Then he walked back to his daughter and sat upon her bed.


“Love is kind of like a seed.” He said, “and, as odd as that may seem, it’s a seed that was planted long before you were born…when you were just a dream.”


“I’m not sure exactly how it works…I think there’s some kind of magic at play…but once that seed begins to grow…it grows a little more each day.”


“I guess the best way to explain ‘this much’ would be if you counted every star up in the sky and ever grain of sand along the shore…that’s how much I love you today." he said… 

“but tomorrow, I’ll love you even more.”


“It’s not an easy concept.” He said as he squeezed his daughter’s hand.

“Don’t worry if you’re confused…someday you’ll understand.”


Then he gave her a kiss and tucked her back into bed but just before he got to the door

She spread her arms and said, “I love you this much, Daddy.

and tomorrow…I’ll love you even more.”



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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Gianna’s father asked…

“A bird!” she said with glee.

I want to soar across the sky and play up in the trees…


“Well, come on,” he said grabbing her hand…

without ever wondering why...

“We have a lot of work to do…

if we’re going to teach you how to fly.”

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As they watched a field of flowers gently swaying in the breeze

sitting mesmerized and awed

A young girl looked at her dad and signed.

“Daddy, do you believe in God?”


Her father paused a moment

stroked the hairs upon her head

then looked into her eyes

“I do.” He signed and said.


“Do you ever wonder why,” she signed 

as from her eye he saw a tear

“why God would put me into a world

in which I cannot hear”?


“When I think of all the sounds I’m missing…

all the music…all the songs…

I wonder…did I do something to hurt God’s feelings?

Did I do something wrong?”


“Oh no honey.” Her dad signed softly with his hands.

“Some things in life we just don’t know…

we may never understand.”


“None of us are perfect…I don’t think we’re meant to me

but you don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful to me.”


“When it comes to your hearing…I don’t know…

though an answer you are owed…

Perhaps it’s so you wan’t take for granted 

the other gifts you’ve been bestowed.”


It’s true you have no hearing…

and that problem is severe

And you will never have the chance to hear 

the beautiful things I hear…


“But perhaps without your hearing 

you see the world with more clarity…

And there is a beauty in your silence that I will never see.”


“Someday, perhaps, we’ll have our answers…

Until then by however we view beauty may we be awed..

And know every time I see you…he signed


I see the hand of God.”

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Her father was a gardener his shoes were never clean

They were always brown and dirty…which helped his thumbs stay green.


She remembers watching him with his plants…she remembers being amused

Sometimes all she saw of him was the bottom of his shoes.


He could grow anything he put his mind to…flowers…vegetables…fruits…

and as each new growing season awakened he’d slip on his old boots.


She asked him once why wear those old shoes…why not get something new…

He smiled and said, “Their comfortable and I trust them.” 

and she thought…they’re just like you.


She was cleaning out his workroom the summer after he died… 

deciding what to keep and what to lose…

when in the corner where he always left them…

she saw her dad’s old shoes.


She smiled, picked them up, held them close…

and when she lifted them…some dirt

from the bottom of her father’s shoes

had rubbed off on her shirt.


She keeps his old shoes as a reminder…

of a father who was wise and gentle and kind

and every time she holds them 


she thinks of the footprints he left behind.

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I have been fortunate to witness many forms of love in my life

sometimes I feel as if I’m living in a storybook

because, like the pages in a fairy tale,

love is everywhere I look.


Take the other day in a restaurant

Love was there for me to see

In a father and his daughter…

who were sitting across from me.


I’m certainly no expert…

but when it comes to love…I have seen much…

enough to recognize it in a daughter’s hug…

and the gentleness of a father’s touch. 


Enough to know its grandeur…

its shape, 

its charm…

the beauty of its style

as I saw it carved upon their faces 

and etched upon their smiles.


Enough to see when a father and daughter sat together…

how delightfully they synthesized

Enough to watch their love rise up

and rest within their eyes


And though I did not listen in

(It was not for me to hear)

I saw love pass between them

When she whispered in his ear.


Once again I was in the presence of love.

It never fails to astound me…

It seems wherever I am…if I open my eyes

love…is all around me.


For when she whispered in her father’s ear

when I watched a beautiful moment shared

As I sat there…in that restaurant

I knew



is everywhere.

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She crawled into her father’s lap...her lips were quivering...

there were teardrops in her eyes

“Some kids say they don’t believe in Santa...

they say it’s all a pack of lies.”


She looked at him with innocent eyes...

that snowy Christmas Eve...

and asked him quite directly...

“Daddy! What do you believe?”


“Oh, I believe in Santa.” he answered,

“As sure as I believe in you.

I believe in miracles and Karma

I believe fairy tales do come true.”


“I believe in love and friendship.

I believe in kindness and family.

I believe in God and fairies and angels

I believe in wonder and destiny.”


“I believe a higher power created the planets...

the stars, the sky, the sun.

I believe in the spirit of love

I believe there’s good in everyone.”


“I believe we should listen to the animals

I believe there’s magic in moonbeams

I believe that art is all around us

I believe in the beauty of our dreams...”


“As he looked down she was sleeping in his arms

which gave him some relief.

“And when I look at you.” he whispered...


I believe I’m blessed...beyond belief.”


As they walked together, missing her, the daughter asked the dad

“How can the sunrise be so beautiful when I’m feeling so sad?”


How can I find beauty anywhere…in the trees, the birds…the butterflies

when everything is blurry…when tears fill up my eyes?”


“when my world has lost its color…when everything is grey…

when nothing that I see or hear makes my sadness go away?


“This sadness we are feeling,” Dad said…

there is no remedy…

no cure

but the trees, the birds, the butterflies and the sunrise

make it easier to endure.”


We cannot stop sadness from reaching into our lives…

but eventually we learn

If we have love, sunrises and butterflies

our happiness returns.


Her dad is no longer with her

and when she feels sad she smiles as she closes her eyes …

and she thinks of walking with him in the morning…

of sunrises 


and butterflies.




While on the shore watching a sunset the other day a father and his daughter were standing next to me

when the daughter said, “Daddy, pick me up…pick me up so I can see.”


“What do you mean?” the father asked…(like me he seemed a little stunned),

“Because,” she said as only a child can…”I want to be closer to the sun!”


“You’re so tall and I’m so short…it really isn’t fair.

I can’t see as much from down here…as you see from way up there.”


Now he could have taken a moment and to her innocent mind explain

that no matter what their perspectives the views were quite the same.


But he immediately picked her up and as she joined him in his space

her body shook with excitement and a smile lit up her face.


Her mouth fell open and her eyes grew wide as she looked left, right…all around

“The view is so much better here,” she said, “than it was down on the ground.”


They stood this way for a while…eyes focused straight ahead

until the father looked at his daughter, “This isn’t fair.” he said.


“You’ve seen what the sunset looks like from up here…but I’ve suddenly become aware

I have no idea what it looks like from your spot on the sand…way down there.”


So with her still in his arms he slowly and deliberately sat down on the ground…

And his mouth fell open and his eyes grew wide as he looked left, right…all around.


They spent the rest of that sunset standing up and sitting down 

and before the sunset was through

I couldn’t resist…I found myself standing up and sitting down too…


I had to smile as darkness descended heralding the end of another day

as they wandered off together…and I silently walked away…


We tend to lose our innocence…as we grow older 

we tend to think both views are the same…

but there on the shore watching the sunset…

I saw innocence reclaimed.