Seventeen years ago today, my dad, Robert Forrest Shrewsbury, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 51.

This day is a tough day every year. While my dad had a fulfilling life, it makes me sad to think that he never got to see or do so many of the things we all cherish.

He never experienced the satisfaction of retirement after working hard for so many years in the milling business. He never felt the pride of seeing his children own their first homes and he wasn’t here to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day or meet Steve. He didn’t have the honor of growing old with his wife, or the joy of seeing his grandchildren graduate high school and head off to college.

My dad and step-mom, Janna, and my siblings Christy, Robb, Laura, and Brendi.

My dad and step-mom, Janna, and my siblings Christy, Robb, Laura, and Brendi.

I wish he could have lived longer and experienced those things, but I’m also very grateful for memories I do have with my dad. Memories of family road trips to the Black Hills or the Ozarks where we’d go boating on Table Rock Lake.

My dad loved going boating on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks.

My dad loved going boating on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks.

Memories of eating Fritos with bean dip while watching Husker football games or cheering on Kevin Johnson the Phoenix Suns. Memories of him teaching me how to play golf, sitting on curbsides watching parades as a family, and singing karaoke. 

My dad was always willing to try something new, including karaoke.

My dad was always willing to try something new, including karaoke with his kids.

Those memories sustain me and remind me to be grateful for every day I have on this earth. My dad never seemed to take much of anything for granted. He lived his life with few regrets.

My aunt, Kristy Douglas, painted this picture of my dad walking home from the Fourth of July parade with his granddaughters.

My aunt, Kristy Douglas, painted this picture of my dad walking home from the Fourth of July parade with his granddaughters.

He took chances and vacations and he was quick to give away his money, time and talents to others. He rarely put things off and he said what he wanted to say. 

On this 17th anniversary of his death, my dad’s example reminds me that life is short and not all of us are given the privilege of old age.

His legacy is a reminder to do the things that matter most. Try something new. Travel. Help those in need. Laugh. Be still. Pray. Listen. Make the time to be with your family and friends. And most of all, never miss an opportunity to say, “I love you.”

I love you, dad.

  • We hosted a bridal shower at our house this weekend for Ann’s niece and this fruit and vegetable charcuterie tray was a big hit. We found the large tray at @pier1 and filled it with all kinds of colorful fruits and veggies from @wholefoods. #charcuterieboard #entertaining #bridalshower #fruits #vegetables #charcuterie #charcuteria #postcardjar #home #healthyfood #wholefoods #pier1
  • The Pea Cocktail is made of Hendricks gin, basil soup, Amontillado sherry, lime juice, blanched spring peas, virgin olive oil, and Aquafaba. It's available in the #edenbar aboard the @celebrityedge. One of things we love most about @celebritycruises is the quality cocktails they serve.  #cocktail #gin #travelblogger #postcardjar @cruisecelebrity @cruisecritic #cruising #travelblogs @bethanyatsea @that_traveling_man
  • Baked Alaska is always one of our favorite desserts when it is offered in the suites-only restaurant, Luminae, on Celebrity Cruises' ships. Under all that toasty merengue, you'll find delicious Neapolitan ice cream.
  • Villages in Santorini, Greece, are perched high up on hills overlooking the Aegean Sea. These dwellings, which have been here for centuries, enjoy a commanding view of the beauty that surrounds them.⁣
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  • The "Fat Elvis" dessert as prepared by Chef Kurtess Mortensen of the Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. This was the seventh and final course of the first ever Whole Hog Dinner at the Merc. ⁣
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  • The Elderflower Blush, made from Bombay Sapphire gin, St. Germain elflower liquour, Sprite, lemon juice, lemon juice, and strawberry. This delicious cocktail was available at the pool bar. #postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #travelblogger #travel #celebritycruises #cruising #seastheday #celebrityedge #endlesssummer #cruise #sea #beyondborders #humansatsea #cruiseaddict #cruisecritic #lifeisbetteratsea #lifeisbeautiful #cruiseship #cocktail #poolbar
  • Sometimes, on a road trip, it's good to just stop and appreicate the beauty. Ann saw this tree on the side of the road and was inspired to snap a photo. ⁣
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  • Fresh flowers in our room at the Pioneer Woman Boarding House in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Flowers like these are just one of the many wonderful touches that make any stay at the Boarding House a special experience to be remembered.

Making the most of midlife.