Leave a legacy

Leaving a legacy ~ Crystal Gornto w Rod Masteller | HeartStories

When I was a little girl, growing up mostly at a church, I have a lot of memories of one secret room.  If you went upstairs, all the way to the back of the church and down the long hallway, there was a very nondescript door on the left.  You could have easily passed by it without knowing.

But I never did.

That was Dad’s “secret” study.  It wasn’t his office that was easily found.  It didn’t have any windows so it was dimly lit, and it only had that one door.  (Now that I’m saying it out loud, it sounds a little creepy, but it wasn’t.) It was where Dad went to read, study, write and pray.  It’s where he went when he needed to connect with God and prepare the hundreds of messages he shared in the sixteen years our family was at that church.

Do you know what I remember most about that room?  

I had access to it.  Not only did I know where it was, I knew the secret knock that would open the door, no matter what.  I was the VIP of all VIPs when I used that knock.  See, my Dad wasn’t perfect.  He’s human and as the great ones always do, he failed and got back up again over and over again.  But something he always intended to get right was family.  He knew that it wasn’t only the words of his sermons he would one day leave behind.  It was the time he spent investing in us.

It was the availability of his heart. 

He always made it clear that no matter where he was, no matter who he was with, if we needed him, we could knock and come in.   In fact, I remember the look on one particular secretary’s face when I would pop around the corner to his office requesting to see Daddy.  If he was in a meeting with someone, she would walk over to the small square window of his office door and make eye contact with him.  (They must have had a secret signal too) Then she’d return to her desk and I would sit in her chair and wait until he emerged with his concerned look wondering what in the world I needed (this time).

But he never changed the rule.  

If I needed him, he was there.  Because here’s the thing:  Dad wasn’t just working a job.  He wasn’t just fulfilling a duty.  He was in the business of leaving a legacy.   He was very clear that the things of this earth would fade away.  So he’s spent his entire life loving people and pointing them to a purpose so much bigger than themselves.

Even, and especially, me.  

So today on his 71st birthday, I thought you might join me to celebrate by taking a moment to pause.   Take a second to look at this picture we took over the weekend (keeping in mind 5 of us are not pictured & dearly missed! – Love you Gages!) and think about this:

The way you spend your life, the way you choose to invest in people, especially the ones with VIP access  ;-). . . It will long outlast you.

It will leave a legacy for generations to come.

It’s your HeartStory. 

When you turn 71, what will your VIPs remember?

You’re deciding today.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

Thank you for leaving a legacy.

to more love,


P.S.  This is my heart with our local Girl’s Night’s Out.  We are thinking about, talking about and sharing stories about, the important things that remind us we get to choose the legacy we will leave.  And we can do it better, together.  Come join us.


  1. Crystal,
    Happy Birthday to your Daddy. I loved him dearly. Thank you for sharing him with all of us. I love you!

  2. Best Ive ever read and he is deserving off it.
    So proud he is my Son in-law and you my Granddaughter.Love to both.
    G Mah H.

    1. Thank you Grandma! Love you too!

  3. I teared up as I read your tribute to your father. I’ve only known him two short years, but have such a deep respect and admiration for him. You are a blessed daughter to have had such a relationship with him. I know I am richer because of his impact on my life. I dread the day we say goodby.

    1. Yes, Bob. I am blessed beyond belief! He’s made so many lives richer. Thank you for sharing!

  4. what a beautiful birthday card this will be for your Dad

    1. He deserves this and even more! Thank you Glenna!

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