Since my last post in early September, my days have resembled something of the ups and downs of a roller-coaster. On the few occasions that I have thought about sitting down to type out a beginning sentence, my fingers would tap, tap, tap the keyboard without a single sentence appearing on the screen; it was as though the words were trapped inside my head…….always, always, always a dangerous place for words, political or other types, to lay dormant.
Perhaps the only way to get this post out of the gate is to begin by the sharing of photos in place of “wordy words” (which continue to escape me), and to begin with the ascent of the roller-coaster month which provided much of the lighter, celebratory family moments. (Note to readers, having no formal instruction on blogging, I have just discovered a feature which, had I been smart enough to educate myself earlier, could have saved me much frustration while posting pictures to the blog. Having now learned how to create a photo gallery, clicking on one picture in a series will automatically take you to an enlarged slide show!)
September 12th-19th was a week-long celebration of birthdays………..Josh, Ryan, Mayce and Moi!!
For my birthday I was blessed to receive many thoughtful gifts, but these remarkable handmade cards which the TGIFriday grandkids’ presented to me warmed my heart. When I opened up Luke’s, a little note fell out on which he had written that he would do any chore I chose, whenever I wanted!!……….look-out Luke, Nana has a rake and a slew of lawn/leaf bags waiting for you!!!!! Also, take note of why Natalie wished that her Papa was here!! :
I just love the way these kids use their creativity…….speaking of which…….Tommy wrote a most interesting paragraph for school. Apparently, his 1st grade class was asked to write a couple of sentences about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Tommy’s teacher showed it to Stephanie while she was helping out in the classroom one day this week and explained to Steph that this was the very first time in all of her fifteen plus years of teaching that any student had chosen this particular profession. In fact, she was so surprised that she decided to share it with the principal and several other fellow teachers!!
Tommy…….the same child who sat shirtless at a table in his front yard, wearing his Yankee ball cap, prepared with papers and a pen to “sell” his autograph to the first unsuspecting pedestrian. The very same child who was observed sitting yoga-like, under a tree with his arms raised in “meditation”!!! I ask you, could the future of the Church be in better hands?? LOL
The TGIFriday grandkids’ imagination and resourcefulness were on display in the above photo which I snapped not long after I had sent them outside to run off some of their boundless energy, thinking that they would play a game of soccer or dodge-ball. When I checked on them sometime later, I saw that they had found some badminton rackets, and in lieu of a badminton net, devised something rather unusual to take its place. Worked like a charm!!
The series of pictures above reveal a bit of the desperate “creativity” of the TGIFriday Nana, who after what seemed like the hundredth complaint that there was nothing to do, stumbled upon a couple of ideas!!! I remembered the container of Legos that had been long forgotten and issued a challenge to each of the kids. They were to select the Lego pieces of their choosing and I would set the kitchen timer for ten minutes, when the timer went off, they were to bring their “creations” to me. A little “cousin-ly” competition produced some pretty clever results, don’t you think? On another Friday, I decided to use the camera as a source of entertainment…….we even managed to figure out the self-timer…..no small feat when you are as technologically challenged as I am!!! (I am going to have to keep my eyes on Luke…….he looks quite possessed!!) LOL
The entire Clark family was excited to learn that my nephew, Dylan who is a freshman at OSU, was deemed talented enough to be chosen as a member of The Best Damn Band in the Land. With all of the band’s innovative moving formations, they are rivaling the football team in terms of their increasing popularity (one of the band’s half-time performances last year has had 11 million hits on You-Tube!!).
I couldn’t resist posting these pictures of the cup half-full (a birthday gift from my sister, Christine) juxtaposed against a snapshot of a Wall Street Journal article which reads: “A Negative Outlook at Times Can Help You Manage Anxiety and Stay Healthy” and begins with this sentence: “Listen up Pollyannas of the world: A dose of pessimism may do you good.” Music to my ears!!! Do you hear that Crick?? I hear by declare to the entire blogosphere that I have been half-right all along!! LOL
Transitioning now into the downward spiral of my roller-coaster month, which while fraught with some of those ordinary annoyances of life, tragically culminated in yet another devastating loss for the Schultheis family.
At the end of September, we said an unexpected good-bye to a beloved, kind, gentle and unassuming giant of a man, my brother-in-law, Mark. He was Crick’s camping and fishing buddy (I thank you, Mark, for taking that onerous duty off my plate :)!), and he always inspired me to come up with a better prank than the ones he delighted in playing on me………..a task in which I regret to have never fully succeeded………..but oh, how I tried. Mark loved to hunt, and he mounted many of his prized catches, proudly displaying them on the walls of his home for all to see. I would constantly bemoan the plight of the deer or the fish that didn’t get away, and would complain to Mark that their eyes always seemed to be following me. From that revelation, I did learn one bit of wisdom from Mark……….never, ever declare your weakness to certain persons or you just may open your Christmas gift and have a pair of giant antlers fall into your lap!!!!!! With Mark around you just never knew if you would find fake roaches in your bedroom or feel the tickle of a blade of tall grass against the back of your bared legs as you walked along a dark, beach path……..a girlish shriek was his sought after reward. His laughter was infectious and his mischievous smile said he cared about you.
What I have learned, and continue to learn with each new sorrow that I encounter, and that I now share with you, is this……….we must remember to listen closely to God’s voice within us, reminding us and reassuring us of His continual Presence in our lives. Sorrow can easily cause us to doubt God’s plan for us, and so when the agonies of this life begin to crush us, we need to return to Him in faith and call on Him for His strength. We can take great comfort in knowing that no sorrow is too deep that God cannot feel it with us and, as our Father, wants to bring us His divine comfort and His peace. I know this because I have experienced it. There is a passage in Jesus Calling which reads:
People tend to think their circumstances determine the quality of their lives so they pour their energy into trying to control those situations. They feel happy when things are going well, and sad or frustrated when things don’t turn out as they’d hoped. They rarely question this correlation between their circumstances and feelings, yet it is possible to be content in any and every situation,
Put more energy into trusting Me and enjoying My Presence. Don’t let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to My precious promises:
No trial is so great that God cannot deliver us. No pain is so great that He does not bring us comfort. And no situation is ever without God’s Presence; “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
We love you Mark………may the Perpetual Light shine upon you, and may you rest in peace.