Tag Archives: Dad

HELP! Tell your stories! #unleashoptimism

Friends, great Big YES on Instagram and Facebook will be running stories of hope and optimism. Please share yours!! Tag with #unleashoptimism and @greatbigyes and I will repost on Great Big YES! I know there are MANY amazing stories. They don’t have to be long or perfect just real. Why do you have hope?  Let’s talk about the good stuff! There is so much good in the world!  We can share stories of hope and possibility and faith and optimism. Please join me!  (If you want to just share a story in the comments or email me, I will format and share on social media (mom 🙂 ) also if you don’t understand what I’m talking about let me know and I’ll help you.  All you need is the story.

Where do you find hope? What lessons have you learned from your parents? What do you dream and hope for your kids? What are your favorite parts of this beautiful country? Did you have military family? Are you military? Who was your favorite teacher? What’s your greatest lesson learned? Why are you powerful?  Where do you find God? What brings you joy? What creative pursuits do you love? Why do you fly the flag? What’s your favorite poem? Who is your favorite American author? What American stories do you love? Where do you vacation in America? What do you remember about history and government being taught in school? What lights you up about our freedoms? What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? Who has helped you in your life?

I posted one of mine today on Instagram and Facebook:


Claim your freedom. Celebrate! Feeling so grateful for parents who told me I can do anything I want, be anything I want…no limits. And then they showed me what hard work looks like. They taught me manners and discipline and kindness. More than once it was said, “There’s no free lunch” and “be part of the solution” and “be grateful” and “be kind”. We laughed and celebrated and enjoyed each other. Because life is good and God is good and America is the best country on earth. My dad fought in World War 2 and he didn’t have time or patience for disrespect of flag or country. He was an intelligent, kind man who loved God and loved me completely. When I told him that I wanted to marry someone like him because he knew everything, he said “No, you want someone to marry you because YOU know everything.” I never felt limits or fear or anger. Just joy and humility and gratitude and possibility. I had a voice in my family. They believe(d) in me. This will never leave me. I will choose it every day. Darkness has no hold on me. I am the daughter of the King of Kings and the daughter of an earthly father who loved me well. I am free.  #unleashoptimism @greatbigyes

Love you people of light and goodness.  I believe in us. And in the US.

Day 11: Thank you to our Veterans

grandpa marines 3


That’s my dad on the right.  He was a Marine in World War II.  This must have been a picture of him on a break, hanging out with his friends.  It’s good to see the smiles.  I wish I could ask him about the picture and more about the war.  He’s gone now but he never really talked about it.  I know it wasn’t easy.

I’ve always been proud of my dad for so many reasons and his being a Marine and a Veteran always made me feel extra proud.  To me, it meant he was brave and strong and disciplined and honorable.

I’m thankful to all the U.S. Veterans today and everyday.

Here’s what I want to say to them.

Thank you for fighting for my freedom. Thank  you for sacrificing and sweating and missing home and saying good-bye to your family and being brave.  Thank you for putting yourself in danger so I can live in comfort.  It’s incredible what you’ve done.  Thank you for knowing there is something bigger than you and me and us and it is worth defending.

Thank you to your families too – the wives and kids and parents and siblings who send you off not knowing if you will come back.  Thank you to them for sending you letters and love and prayers.  Thank you to them for welcoming you home with signs and letters and love and prayers and hugs.  Thank you to the military communities that support veterans when they come home and support their families when they are in waiting.

Thank you for your tough skins and your soft hearts.

I pray that we remember your soft hearts.

I pray that we can provide a safe place for you to come home to.

I pray that you will never feel alone.

We are grateful.


©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved


“Good writing is always about things that are important to you,
things that are scary to you,
things that eat you up.”
—John Edgar Wideman


It’s Father’s Day.  It’s a tough one for me.  My dad died 13 years ago.

I woke up and read my email from the Writer’s Almanac.  There was a poem called “Yesterday” by W.S. Merwin.  I cried.  It was 6:45 am.

I made coffee.  Got the paper.  Read the article by John Kass “A Father’s Day Gift to Dream About”.  I cried again.  It was 8:28 am.

I miss my Dad.

I want to make this day special for my husband but I guess when it boils down to it, I just want my Dad.

In the end, when we are in our 90s, do we still just want our Dads?

Am I always going to feel like a little girl, dying to sit on his lap one more time?

Am I ever going to love this day?  Am I ever going to be able to just remember, without tears?

Maybe if I hadn’t read the poem…or the paper.

Then I read the quote above and I was reminded.  Reading the poem or the book or the paper is always a frightening proposition.  If the writing is good, when I’m done reading, I will be different.  I will remember or discover or realize or awaken.  If the writing is good, I will be changed.  This is why I read.  This is why I write.

Some of you never knew your Dads.  Some of you had Dads that were mean or absent or drunk or troubled or angry or philandering or violent.  I’m sorry.  This day is probably not easy for you either.

When my Dad passed away, my mom told me and my brothers, “We are not going to feel sorry for ourselves.  God gave us this beautiful man and we are blessed.”

I told myself that then and I tell myself that today and every Father’s Day.  It’s true.  I am blessed.  But then why can’t I stop crying?

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved