Two of the fondest memories I have of my Dad were made in the early morning hours—when he didn’t know I was paying attention.

Dad would get up at 5:15 am each weekday to prepare for his commute to work. By going in early, he had more time to spend with us in the evening. The house was always dark and quiet at that hour of the day, and he would softly walk out of his room and close the door behind him.

Occasionally, for one reason or another, we would be half-asleep and could hear him quietly moving about in the other room. There in the still, quiet darkness of the early morning, when he thought no one was awake, we would hear him softly blow a kiss—one for mom, and then one for each of my siblings and me. To us, in that moment of semi-consciousness while snug in our beds, all was right in the world. Then he was gone, out to the garage where—if we strained hard enough—we could hear the old van crank up and drive down the road into the pre-dawn. Admittedly, I never gave it much thought. Didn’t everybody’s dad blow them kisses every morning?

Later, when the Lord provided our family with the opportunity to run a home-based business, Dad still got up before the rest of us. But this time he got up early for a different reason. Our house isn’t very big, and there are not a whole lot of places you can go to be alone in peace and quiet. So Dad got up early to read his Bible and spend time alone in prayer before the normal family noise made concentration difficult. What can I say? My family loves doing life together, and sometimes that can get a bit noisy!

He had finished a large recreational area in our basement and used part of it for his office. There were times that we went bounding down the stairs first thing in the morning and—without thinking—threw open the door to the rec room only to find Dad on his knees. Have you ever seen your dad on his knees? Do you know that your dad takes his relationship with God seriously and that he chooses to start his day praying for you? If you do, then you understand what I mean when I say that it makes a significant impact on you as you grow up.

Now if you have the impression that my dad is Paul Bunyan personified with a booming voice and a “do as I do because I said so” mentality, you are wrong. My dad is a Mr. Steady, and he has a gentle, humble spirit. To stand up and boldly take charge of something is not his natural inclination. Dad didn’t choose to do those things out of guilt or because he felt he “had to be a good example to the kids.” He wasn’t intentionally trying to imitate a picture of what a good dad is supposed to look like. He did it because that was his heart—and we knew it. Dad didn’t blow kisses because that’s what every good dad is supposed to do. Dad blew us kisses because he loved us.

I am now 25 years old, working for NGJ, and waiting for the man of my dreams. My dad is still praying for me and I am at peace, knowing I am cared for in heaven and earth. I would that everyone could be so blessed.