Me, Calvin and Miss Wormwood

According to, the meaning of “diary” is: A daily record, usually private, especially of the writer’s own experiences, observations, feelings, attitudes, etc.  I must therefore confess that the Diaryofanut blog has fallen quite a bit short of this definition.  Not only, is my diary not private, but it certainly has not been daily, and with increasing frequency, it has fallen from its monthly status!!  It not that I struggle to actually speak about my experiences, feelings, or attitudes (just ask a member of my family…….any member!),  it is just that it becomes difficult to put into print a coherent chronology of all that transpires in the life of a “nut”!  Perhaps this video which presents a comedic analysis of the female/male brain will sufficiently explain my plight!

You see……..”everything” in my mind is connected to “everything” and the longer I procrastinate about sorting it all out in order to write a somewhat coherent blog, the easier it becomes to put off writing until another day, and so on, and so on………and now, here I sit, two months later with a kabillion words connecting to a kabillion events and I have no idea where to begin.  “Calvin, can you hear me???  Do you know what I am talking about??  Help!!  Help!!!”

calvin & homework

I knew that I could count on Calvin……….I am not a machine…….I take pride in my work…..I value craftsmanship!!!  No wonder I procrastinate………brilliantly explained by a six-year old cartoon character!!  Two days or two months….Calvin and I apparently need lots of time to develop and perfect our respective “crafts”!  LOL

And now, without further ado, I present the result of two months worth of procrastination beginning with my favorite winter diversion – basketball.  First of all, let me just say that our Ohio State Buckeyes were as frustrating to watch as the Ohio winter weather!!  It was a down year in terms of producing the sort of excitement that us diehard fans are used to experiencing, I guess I have been spoiled by so many successes.  That being said, I was fortunate to have “friends” in high places  (thanks to my brother, Bobby) who had season tickets down close to the court which he very generously shared with all of the family.

MM, Jo, doesn't get any better than that!!
MM, Jo, Tommy….center court… doesn’t get any better than that!!
Brutus “bowing” before the “dreamcrusher”!!!

At this particular game, Jo and I (for the second time this season) were privy to Bobby’s court side seats and as you can see, Brutus Buckeye paid our little VIP section a personal visit…..notice how he is even sort of bowing before us??   Okay, okay so he wasn’t even remotely aware that Jo and I existed..he  was actually leaning over to acknowledge one of the kids a few seats below us!  My youngest brother Tommy, (the sibling whom I swear was born with a silver spoon in his mouth!) sent us a text that he, being the beneficiary of a friend’s VIP tickets, was also at the game and was seated center court, directly above the student cheering section (see??…….I told you he is the “S.S.S”……silver spoon sibling!).  We decided to meet at half-time at which time we were graciously invited by Tommy and his friend to join their group for the remainder of the game.  And so it was, that Jo and I surrendered Bobby’s fabulous corner court-side seats for Tommy’s luxury front and center court-side seats.  Loved, loved, loved watching the Buckeyes up close and in person……….seeing D’Angelo Russell work his magic was especially awesome.  Hats off to the brothers!!!

Luke's periorbital hematoma, a.k.a. shiner,
Luke’s periorbital hematoma, a.k.a. shiner,
Sophia and teammates get last minute instructions from Chris and Meg
Sophia and teammates get last-minute instructions from Chris and Meg

Doesn’t Luke look a little bit like Harry Reid?? (for all of you non-political readers, you might want to google Harry Reid and his exercise bands “accident” LOL).  Poor Luke he was playing basketball for his 5th grade I.C. team when he was tripped up and fell flat on his face…..this picture was taken a couple of days later and shows the ugly aftermath.  That black eye stayed with him for a couple of weeks as it went from black and blue to a yellow, green and purple.  He won’t admit it, but I think he must have impressed a few 5th grade girls with his new “tough guy” look.  Of course, Luke wasn’t the only Schultheis playing some hoops…..Christopher and Megan doubled up as a coaching team for Sophia’s 4th grade I.C. team.  I believe that it took Chris and Megan several games to gradually lower what were initially some rather high expectations of their team, realizing that, even though many of the girls had played rec ball the year before, 4th grade is still pretty much a learning year:).  Over the course of several months, Sophia and her teammates gained increasing confidence as they improved their ball handling and shooting skills, I am not sure however, if they ever managed to grasp the significance of Christopher’s clipboard x’s and o’s!!! LOL

State Champs! Nate is first row, first left.

The family also had a chance to cheer on my nephew, Nate and his team, the Racers, as they battled their way through many hard-fought games to reach the finals of the State Division III Special Olympics Basketball Championship. They pulled out a victory and no one, absolutely no one, could have been more happy than Nate. That Nate….he never fails to amaze us with his self-assured confidence as he plows through guys taller and heavier, fighting for every stray ball, driving to the hoop for a lay-up or sinking a three pointer!!  What we all really love about Nate is that he always, always, always says exactly what is on his mind (Mmmmm…could that be an “aunt” inherited trait???)  For instance, right after the championship game, with his Dad standing well within hearing range, Nate walked up to his coach and told him that he was a better coach than his Dad (who had been the team’s coach for several years prior)!  Nate calls ’em as he sees ’em!!  In Nate’s world, even Lebron’s innate ability on the court can not measure up to his own……Nate assures us all that he could go one on one with Lebron and beat him……every….. single….. time!!

My new favorite
My new favorite “loser” casino machine!!
This was my mantra of the day!!
This was my mantra of the day!!

Basketball was not the only winter diversion……the Schultheis sisters graciously invited two of us “outlaws”, Rayne and myself, to meet up with them at The Hollywood Casino (a.k.a. Columbus’ local gambling establishment) a few weeks ago for an afternoon of literally hundreds of games of chance. “Games” and “chance” are two words that never translate into “fortune” and “victory” for me and this particular afternoon was no different.  Interestingly, Warren Buffet once said about gambling that, in general, it is a “tax on stupidity”,  thankfully, I did not remain “stupid” for long, although I certainly did pay a “tax” LOL!!  Finally, an hour before we were to leave, I discovered a real treasure………the roulette machine.  Way more fun for me than the coin eating slots.  I put $20 in and an hour later I was only down $10!!!!   That is how victory in a casino is measured for us Clarks…..not by how much $ we have won, but how little $ we have lost!!  Mom always claimed that she was waiting for her ship to come in… was just too bad that it happened to be the Titanic!  And Dad once famously told Bobby one year, that he should not worry about his employment situation….there was, after all, a light at the end of the tunnel….it was just too bad for Bobby that it was a train!!!!  And everyone wonders where my “glass half-empty” had its origins!!

The gallery above reflects a morning at the bookstore with the “dynamic duo”.  After Mayce and Josh had scoured through the rows and rows of books, they spied the stuffed animal display and began to move the animals from their shelves and gradually became lost in a world of make-believe!  I had been browsing in another aisle, and when I looked over I saw this strange alignment of stuffed dogs faced as though they were actually reading what was in front of them.  I asked what the dogs were doing on the floor and it was explained that the dogs had become sick and so Mayce and Josh had taken them to the vet and had placed the dogs in the “waiting room”.  LOL  Eventually, the “dynamic duo” retrieved the “healed” dogs and then ventured to remove practically every small stuffed animal from its respective shelf and proceeded to create a special “zoo” for them.  I have to say, that it does not take a very innovative individual to entertain these two……..they both have very elaborate imaginations and being around them makes me smile and reminds me to appreciate the simple joys of living!

I see that I am running over my self-imposed allotment of 1200 words/per post, but a lot happens in the life of a “nut”…….I am thinking that I need a Miss Wormwood (Calvin’s teacher) to keep me on track!!  There is still so much more that I want to document and share, and so I will try to condense the rest into a slideshow:

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Before I hit “publish” I would like to share an incident which Christopher encountered when he was leaving the adoration chapel a few weeks ago.  We have at Immaculate Conception a Eucharistic devotion (ours is a Perpetual Adoration, meaning twenty-four hours, seven days a week) whereby parishioners commit to taking a specific hour to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  The gentleman who takes the hour following Christopher’s is the father of a one of Chris’ former I.C. classmates.  We are casual acquaintances, but he is familiar with our family situation and knows Crick’s journey of four years ago.  Anyway, as Christopher was opening the door to the chapel to leave, this person, uncharacteristically, asked Chris, “Talking to your Dad, were you?”  When Christopher shared this with me, he told me that the really curious thing that got to him, was that he actually had been talking to Crick that night.  Peace and comfort come to each of us in many ways when we have endured the loss of a loved one……I have encountered many such incidents in the past few years, and each time my faith in a loving, compassionate, just and merciful God has grown deeper and stronger.  I read this a few days ago…it seems appropriate:

Heaven is both present and future.  As you walk along your life-path holding My hand, you are already in touch with the essence of heaven:  nearness to Me.  You can also find many hints of heaven along your pathway, because the earth is radiantly alive with My Presence.  Shimmering sunshine awakens your heart, gently reminding you of My brilliant Light.  Birds and flowers, trees and skies evoke praises to My holy Name.  Keep your eyes and ears fully open as you journey with Me.

At the end of your life-path is an entrance to heaven.  Only I know when you will reach that destination, but I am preparing you for it each step of the way.  The absolute certainty of your heavenly home gives you Peace and Joy, to help you along your journey.  You know that you will reach your home in My perfect timing; not one moment too soon or too late.  Let the hope of heaven encourage you, as you walk along the path of Life with Me.                                    Jesus Calling  

Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life; but all of them in their proper order:  Christ the first-fruits, and next, at His coming, those who belong to Him.                                  1 Corinthians 15:22-23

That. Really. Is. All.



Channeling from Beyond????

calvin and politics

As you might imagine, when I am not preoccupied with a varying array of family matters, I  have been quite busy filling these dreary, cold, endless Ohio winter days poring over an assortment of political articles.  The truly annoying part of being somewhat of an OCD personality, is that even when I am fully aware that the more that I learn about the problems in our government and in our culture the more distressed I become…….I still feel compelled to know more of that which makes me anxious!  LOL……clearly, I am a certifiable “nut”!!    Now why am I envisioning Crick peeking through the Ohio clouds with a huge grin on his face???!!!


10922613_10204719570562800_6393564702639818612_nSpeaking of the devil :)……the grandchildren celebrated his birthday by once again writing messages to Crick on individual balloons and then, at nightfall, sending them up into the sky.  They all seem to look forward to this now annual birthday remembrance as a comforting acknowledgement of his presence still among us. Their messages called to mind not only a mutual love, but also the teasing brand of humor he foisted upon them, as well as an appreciation of the moon, the stars and the planets which he, via his telescope, so often shared with them.  I often wonder what life would be like around this house on TGIFriday afternoons if Crick were here to add to the chaos (somewhat of a terrifying image……picturing him lying on the floor in the middle of the living room while he has a slew of grandkids walking on his back, giggling and screaming, falling all over each other while I watch and wait for the inevitable injury to take place!!!).  I must admit that I have witnessed some of his rambunctious, teasing, provocative nature in more than one of his grandchildren, so perhaps, he has been channeling them from beyond just to keep ME on my toes!!  It has been a challenge, at times, this winter to find indoor activities that will entertain such a diverse age group.  Therefore, in an attempt to tap into the creative side of a couple of the grandkids who have shown a particular aptitude for resourcefulness, I handed them a camera and a tripod and sent them down to the TV room (better known around here as the “basement” (which I consider one step up from being designated a “cellar” for it does contain a carpet, a sofa and a TV!!) and challenged them to produce a video.  This met with resounding success as they spent the better part of two Friday afternoons pulling it all together.  I was invited to a preview this past week as Luke was preparing to edit some scenes and I have to give them credit….a few of those scenes showed some interesting creativity!!!  LOL

On another Friday, when things were starting to “heat up” (if you catch my drift), I separated a few of them by sitting them down with papers and pencils and proposed that they draw blueprints of their dream home.  From these few samples, you can see which amenities figured most prominently in their design features!

While the sports enthusiasts among us are currently engrossed in my most favorite of all sports’ seasons…… basketball………we here in Ohio are still savoring the ever so sweet victory of the football Bucks over the Ducks in the NCAA National Championship Play-Off.  Bobby put together an impromptu play-off pool for the family for which there was no entry fee (he probably figured he would never see the money anyway!!  ha, ha).  He did, moreover, generously offer to supply the first, second, and third prize winners with OSU sportswear, and he even awarded a “booby” prize (courtesy of Clark cousin, Mary) to the last place “winner”….. Christine!!!!  (As publisher of this blog, I hereby grant myself bragging rights to note that my entry came in second, narrowly missing the first place prize to niece, Tori!!)

I was recently asked to join our Immaculate Conception Parish’s Centennial Committee in preparation for the 100 anniversary of the Consecration of the church which will be celebrated in 2016.  I suppose they were looking for “older” parishioners who had a long history at I.C.  I qualified on both counts!!!  Since Jimmy began 1st grade at I.C. in the fall of  1953 through today, the Clark family has had an unbroken succession of family members attending the school. And so, in pursuit of memorabilia to provide the committee, I have been delving back into the “archives” of photos which are currently stored haphazardly in numerous unmarked plastic containers (my one concession a few years ago to “organizing” pictures was to move them from cardboard shoe boxes to plastic containers!!!).  I am slowly scanning some of these photos, but I have simply transferred the disorganization to my laptop…..the only concession I made to organizing on the computer is that they are uploaded into folders according to the month that I scanned them……..I know, I know…….a very poor system.  The reason I am giving you this back story is to showcase this gem I discovered from my kindergarten days at Glenmont Elementary.  I discovered that I have saved every report card from kindergarten through my junior year in high school…..for some reason, I have not found the one from my senior year……not sure why it would be missing as that should have been a “good” year for me as I didn’t have to take a math course!!!  Anyway, it was my kindergarten report card that really caught my eye, particularly the “days absent” report.  Newly enlightened, I now realize that truly the apple does not fall far from the tree!!   To further explain……as pre-school was not prevalent back in the 70’s, kindergarten was for many children, a brand new away from home experience.  Of our four kids, Megan and Stephanie were the most resistant (a.k.a terrified/willful LOL) to the idea of being away from home for even a few hours…..I remember chasing Megan around an old air hockey table we once owned and just when I thought I had her in my grasp, she broke away and scrambled underneath and sat in the middle of the table until I got down on all fours and crawled after her.  Having observed the trauma of watching Megan’s failure to elude going to school, Stephanie tried a different tactic………she waited until it was time to get out of the car (in front of countless Moms whose children were all sweetness and smiles as they waited patiently in line!) and then she would begin to cry profusely and endlessly, her eyes spewing huge crocodile tears, her face turning ever-changing colors of pink and red as she clung with death-like tenacity to my hand/arm/leg/jacket.  All the while, I am struggling to get her to steps of the school so that her long-suffering teacher could help to pry her away from me and proceed with the “well parented” children into the classroom.  Now I suppose Jenn, Meg, Steph and Chris will read this and swear that their real fear of school came only from a sense of panic and dread that when the school bell rang at the end of the day, they would be left standing in the school yard as the last, lone, forgotten student.  I will therefore confess that on a few occasions, I was just a wee bit late in returning to school to pick them up.  But sheesh……their teachers always managed to persuade them (often with a reassuring lollipop) that their Mom always, always, always came back to get them!!

This past month the Schultheis card group managed to get together for another fun-filled evening of poker and…… family favorite……..”pass the trash”.  Judy and Bill came up from Cincinnati for the evening and per usual, they cleaned us all out and then left for home!!  Bill’s presence certainly helps to fill the void that our little card group feels without the “Hardy Boys” (Crick and Mark) around…….poor Jay……those two left him stuck with all the women!!


There is definitely nothing quite like family and friends to soothe our weary minds and souls…….whenever I am feeling tired, down, stressed or out-of-sorts, I know I am only a phone call or a card game (LOL) away from those who are always ready to fill my “glass half-empty” to overflowing with their laughter, their encouragement, and most of all, their love.

This curiously ties right into one of the readings at Mass today and the homily given by our good friend, Bud who happens to be the Deacon of our parish.   I couldn’t help but feel a sense of unanimity with the Scripture passage of Job 7: 3-7

 I have months of futility assigned to me, nights of suffering to be my lot.  Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’ No sooner up than, ‘When will evening come?’ And crazy thoughts obsess me till twilight falls.  Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, and vanished, leaving no hope behind.  Remember that my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never again see joy.

Obviously, Job did not have the benefit of Crick shaking him out of his despair by his single pronouncement to, “Just be glad that you were able to wake up and put two feet on the floor”! Job did however, and more importantly, have his faith and while it was constantly and severely tested by Satan as the 42 chapters of Job reveal; Job eventually learned to continue to trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses.  This kind of trusting, however, did not come naturally to Job.  It was for him a spiritual crisis of the will in which Job had to consciously choose to exercise his faith.  Bud explained that in the exercise of our faith, we can choose either the almost despairing attitude of Job reflected in this chapter, or we can choose to embrace the philosophy championed in a poem from which he read the following:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.                                                       Charles R Swindoll 

Do you suppose that Crick felt that he had been living, for all of our married years, with a modern-day Job????  Do you suppose he is wondering when he is going to be proclaimed a saint????  Was he channeling Bud from beyond today to read the poem, Attitude????  Is that why I had the feeling at Mass that “someone’s” eyes were burning a hole in my head????  Was he channeling me from beyond and that is that why I had a dream about him last night????  Uummmmmmmm

Questions to ponder…………TNT


Sweet Remembrance of You

Over the past three years, the months of November through January 6th have become significantly bittersweet as memories of Crick flood our family’s hearts with a curious blend of  joy and sadness.  As today marks what would have been his 67th birthday, I would like to once again, as in previous years, plead for the reader’s indulgence as I share two short videos in celebration of this consequential day.

The first video is one I have shared several times before and the second video is the result of another recent photo search which produced a few long forgotten pictures.  Keep in mind that capturing, in still shots or in video, the always elusive, mischievous and cagey DH required persistent pleading (nagging, to be more precise!!!), coercion and/or bribery.  And when that failed, as it often did, we were forced to resort to deception and treachery to seek the element of “surprise”……you will see from the slideshow how that effort turned out!!!

It has been said,  “No matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.”  But I have learned that there is truth in the following quote: “When someone dies, you don’t get over your grief by forgetting.  You get through your grief by remembering.”  It is up to us the “rememberers”, the people left behind, to keep the one who is gone from us alive in heart, in mind, in soul.  (Note: The music score to the second video just happens to be titled, “Sweet Remembrance of You”)

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Crick,
Happy Birthday to you!



Back in the Saddle

Well…….I am “back in the saddle again”!!!  For all of you post baby-boomers….this  phrase was from the signature song of American cowboy entertainer, Gene Autry, who not only had his own TV show in the early 50’s, but is also famous for writing “Here Comes Santa Claus”, Frosty the Snowman”, and Rudolph, the Red- Nosed Reindeer”.   Ahhhhh…….the wealth of information that is dispensed via my “diary”…….keeps one coming back for more and more!!! Bahahhahaha!

Well, I suppose you are all wondering why I was “out of the saddle”.   Mostly, it has to do with my family’s penchant for sharing everything, including nasty flu germs.  I don’t mind having to share an occasional head cold as the price for spending lots of time with the grandchildren, but I prefer to draw the line at strep throat, a 4 day fever/cough/congestion, the Type A and Type B flu (please tell me there is not a Type C !!) and a 24 hour stomach virus!!!  All of these descended upon the family the week before and during and after Thanksgiving… we are well-known for our rather bizarre paranoia of any and all illnesses, but the truth of it is, that it didn’t seem to matter how diligently we tried to “isolate” the “pariahs” among us…..most of us eventually fell victim to at least one bug.  Homes have now been re-sanitized and meticulous hand washing methods have been reinforced :)…….soooooo bring on the holidays………we are ready to celebrate the season!

Eight days later:

I interrupt this post to bring news that since I began writing (I am rather not in to “finishing” tasks these days!) eight days ago, the family has had four more unfortunate members come down with the flu…….it really doesn’t matter which one anymore, but we are now thinking that perhaps an exorcism might be in order!!

Okay, enough sick talk……..I will proceed to call upon my feeble memory to find what lurks there in the dark, dangerous recesses of my diminishing brain cells for some entertaining moments of the past five weeks.  Well, first of all you have to hear what my dear youngest sister, Christine did the other day!!!!  Ooooo….. this story is just so rich………….. I absolutely love, love, love it and mostly because she just happens to have had a birthday and is fifteen years younger than me!!  I began texting her (mine is the green) after I happened upon the Charlie Brown Christmas special which most of my family knows is one of my least favorite of all times……I find most of the Charlie Brown specials rather depressing………I blame it on the jazzy music (can’t stand jazz or the saxophone music of Kenny G!!):

IMG_1592 IMG_1593 IMG_1600 IMG_1594 IMG_1596

And, the Christine “bloopers” got even better.   The next day she called me from Costco’s in a bit of a quandary about what meat selection she should purchase for the Clark family Christmas day gathering.  She was deciding on a ham, but questioned whether she should buy the bone-in or the boneless.  Then the topic switched over to Christmas Eve dinner and Costco’s choices of  roast beef, etc. and so I would guess that it was the combination of the changing of topics, and, the fact that she called upon the “pot of boiling water” cook in the family (for that choice alone, her sanity should be in question!) that this would not end well for the “aging” Christine!!  LOL Here then is her text to me:

IMG_1599How Mom must be smiling now………a couple of us were just recently reminiscing about how in the world Mom ever got ready for Christmas, especially after the births of Christine and Tommy #’s 10 and 11 who were born respectively, on the 15th and 17th of December.  Is it any wonder presents were occasionally misplaced or that she was still writing out Christmas cards in the corner of the living room on the 26th of December???  Who did the grocery and Christmas shopping, the laundry, the ironing (yes, she still ironed clothes in the 60’s), the wrapping, the cleaning, the cooking, the baking?????  Even as a teen-ager, I don’t recall ever being aware of how stressed she must have felt because I don’t remember ever hearing her complain…………she and Crick were so alike in that regard, handling all of life’s ups and downs with a smile in their heart.  They both drank from the glass half-full, and woke up happy they were “able to put two feet on the floor”!  How greatly they both are missed!

Pay no attention to the tree behind us....actually, this may have been the year of 3 scrawny Christmas trees..why tinsel was necessary!!  LOL
Pay no attention to the tree behind us….actually, this may have been the year of 3 scrawny Christmas trees..why tinsel was necessary!! LOL
Kathy and Jo heading back to the "Safe House"!!
Kathy and Jo heading back to the “Safe House”!!
A few of the "Pariahs"!!!
A few of the “Pariahs”!!!

Well, if I am ever going to get this blog posted in the month of December, I am going to have to step up the pace and gloss over many of the family activities of the past six weeks. For example……the Thanksgiving Day dinner that became a mini catastrophe due to 13 of us becoming carriers of germs that no one wanted and so our original group of 26 dwindled by half at almost the last hour.  Therefore, the turkey and all of its fixings were ever so cautiously exchanged with Bobby, Jo and Tom, Kathy and Bob and their families with a hope and a prayer that it was only the food that was shared and nothing more sinister!!  I will only briefly mention here the fire in the oven as Jennifer and I were checking on the potatoes.  As I have no oven mitts or pot holders (after all I do have a plaque in my kitchen that reads: Kitchen for Display Only!) we were using a kitchen towel to move one of the casserole dishes which then came in contact with the burner on the floor of the oven and quickly caught fire!!  Jennifer pulled a “Mary Margaret” and yelled out “What do we do, what do we do?” while I unthinkingly grabbed for another nearby dish towel and beat the fire to death!!  Where was the firefighter son??  I believe he was in the living room watching football!

Jo and I watching the BB Buckeyes
Jo and I watching the BB Buckeyes
Jo & I watching the BB Buckeyes
The “Adult” (a.ka. old folks) Gag Gift Christmas Party 2014

Between Thanksgiving and now, the Clark and Schultheis extended families have been busy (besides passing around various flu germs) celebrating birthdays (just to name them all would add another thousand words to this blog!!), celebrating engagements (congrats to Erin and Casey), attending bridal showers (congrats to Sean and Emily who will be married on New Years Eve), attending Christmas pageants and concerts,  OSU basketball games, and always, always, always congregating to watch the younger offspring participate in any number of sporting or musical events.  But no matter how busy the families are nor how large our numbers grow………..we never, ever fail to gather during the holiday season to share chaos, laughter, love, joy, hope and the memories of all of those past Christmases, and the family members who now remain with us only in spirit.

A few of the almost 100 Schultheis clan who welcomed Santa as an honored guest!!
A few of the 90 Schultheis clan who welcomed Santa as an honored guest!!

As we all finish our preparations for the holiday, I would like to share a thought from a homily which was given a few weeks ago during our Sunday Mass.  This particular sermon touched on a matter that I had never contemplated before and its message has continued to intrigue me.  The congregation was asked to consider the fact that each and every one of us, in our own moment in time and beginning thousands of years ago, was called into existence by our Creator.  We know from Sacred Scripture that there will come a day when this earth shall pass away.  And so, we were asked to ponder the fact that once that day arrives, there will be no other human being created, for there will be no earth to inhabit.  How blessed are we then, no matter what our present circumstances, that you and I have been uniquely and lovingly thought of, and created, for the glories of heaven……..for all eternity.

I speak to you from the depths of eternity.  Before the world was formed, I AM!  You hear Me in the depths of your being, where I have taken up residence.  I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory.  I, your Lord and Savior, am alive within you.  Learn to tune in to My living Presence by seeking Me in silence.

As you celebrate the wonder of My birth in Bethlehem, celebrate also your rebirth into eternal life.  This everlasting gift was the sole purpose of My entering your sin-stained world.  Receive My gift with awe and humility.  Take time to explore the vast dimensions of My Love.  Allow thankfulness to flow freely from your heart in response to My glorious gift.  Let My Peace rule in your heart and be thankful.                                                From Jesus Calling

Lord, you have been our refuge through all generations.  Before the mountains were born, the earth and the world brought forth, from eternity to eternity you are God…….A thousand years in your eyes are merely a day gone by.”                                                                            Psalm 90:1-2, 4

Christmas is indeed a wondrous season, an opportunity to remember all the ways that God has touched our lives and our world.  I will close with just a very short video of seven of the grandchildren who at the request of, and through the generosity of my employers…..Drs. Ira and Lori…..presented a “random act of Christmas kindness” to several Target shoppers.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and blessed Christmas.



In Memory of a Life Well Spent

“The life given us by nature is short, but the memory of a life well spent is eternal.” Cicero

Over the course of the past few days, I have been deeply touched by the comforting gestures and messages of remembrance from friends and relatives as our family paused to remember the third anniversary of Crick’s death.  It speaks volumes about how one “glass half-full” life has touched so many.  Not long ago, I removed a large yellow bag from a closet containing hundreds of handmade cards which were presented to Crick upon his retirement, again during his cancer treatment, and yet again following his death, from the students at Glacier Ridge Elementary where Crick had been a custodian since his return from Kosovo in 2005.  I had not looked at them for some time, and as I reached into the bag and began pulling a few out to re-read, I was struck anew by the simplistic poignancy and heartfelt emotion from these six to eleven year old children whom Crick had befriended.  I smiled as I saw note after note adorned with the mints like the ones that Crick kept in his pockets to hand out to the kids as he passed by them in the hallways or as he said goodbye as he watched them get onto their respective buses.  Because Crick worked the afternoon and evening shift, he developed a special bond with the latchkey kids whom he saw more frequently. He delighted in playing little pranks on them and they happily reciprocated by hiding his keys or dropping something on a floor he had just recently swept.  Crick was, as Aunt Judy described him so aptly……a “kid’s kid”……he could relate to kids because he instinctively knew how to come down to their level (I am seriously biting my tongue to hold back from commenting on that!!!  LOL).  In order to help you to appreciate the friendship the GRE kids and Crick shared, I have selected a handful of their lovingly crafted “Mr. Jim” notes and have showcased them in the following video:

In the hope of keeping Crick’s memory alive in the hearts of all those who loved him, I am also sharing a portion of last year’s post which contained these insightful and touching reflections from our family and friends who shared them with us via the CaringBridge guest book:

Jim is a remarkable man who brought a smile to my face and always brought smiles to the faces of the children at Glacier Ridge Elementary. He has touched my heart just like he does with everyone he meets.

I once thought “Crick could turn a turnip into an apple.”

60th birthday
60th birthday

The first two years I thought Crick was crazy.  I just wasn’t used to him and the way he was always goofing off and pushing everyone’s buttons.  Over the years I have come to consider him a really good friend and more like a brother than a father-in-law.  What I have realized the last few years is that he always did understand me.  We could talk and nothing was ever forced, it was always real and he always listened when I needed him to.  He would always take my side when the women would gang up on us, and of course, we would instigate everything.

He is a man’s man.  Well, he has not only championed that sentiment, but has done one BETTER………he is a kid’s kid!

Crick & grandkids & parachute
Always in the middle of the Grandkids’ play

I remember when Crick took us outside one winter to build, not just a typical snowman, but our very own igloo!!  We built it so big it lasted until almost spring!  He also helped me to buy my very first car, it was a stick shift and he helped me learn how to drive it and, after many hours of practice, he suggested that we take the car for a test drive up Cooke Rd. to see if I could handle it on a hill.  Well…..I couldn’t make it up the first hill and we kept drifting backwards toward the car behind us.  Finally, Crick put his foot over mine on the accelerator and away we went.  I think his exact words to me were, “Well, you can always sell this car to someone else!”.  He would always beg me to walk on his back and promise to give me all of the change in his pocket.  Boy, was I naive, thinking I was going to make a lot of money.  But……..he did teach me the value of a quarter!!!  Over the years, Crick would put a lot on his back for our family.

Crick was fortunate to have many of his teenage family and friends as his employees during his management days at Friendly’s (or I should say, we were lucky enough to have him employ us!).  As a freshman in college, Crick gave me the confidence to become a supervisor and while I didn’t believe that I could handle the responsibility, he put me right out there and trusted that I could!  He saw a potential in me at that age that I had didn’t even know existed.  When we were younger he would take all of us kids hiking during our “Clark cabin trips” and using his army “skills” would take us on quite an adventure down some incredible hills.  He would also hand out to us his army rations to sample…………yuk!!

Getting ready to “feed” the fish!!

I started thinking about how long I have known Crick…………it has been basically my whole life!!  I remember sitting in our living room on Oakland Park and talking into a reel to reel tape recorder to say “hi” to him when he was stationed in Korea and then he would send the tape back to us so that we could hear his voice.  I remember Mom making me clean the basement before his wedding to MM in order to display all of the priceless wedding gifts (wonder if they have any left!).   Funny to think now, that I was one of the altar servers at their wedding!!  Crick was also there for Jimmy……there was the day that Jimmy was hiding in the bushes in front of our house and Crick went out to gently remind Jimmy that he was at home and not back in Viet Nam.  Who else but a veteran like Crick could have known what Jimmy was going through. Crick was also there when I was going to enlist in the Army Reserves and he was going to make sure that I ended up in his unit so that he could watch over me………..he even went to the commander to make sure this would happen.  For some reason I never did enlist, but I always knew that Crick was going to be there for me.  Crick has been and always will be one of my brothers!!

I developed a friendship with “Mr. Jim” at Glacier Ridge Elementary.  Our relationship was always  of a fun nature!  I tutored students after school and of course, Jim made us regular visits.   In return, we would pull his vacuum cleaner plug, toss candy wrappers on his tidied floor and turn lights out, to name a few of the things we did to get him to react.  Jim and I quickly became friends and always had fun with our antics.  Yet, we could also have wonderful discussions on life.  He became a real friend to me as we both shared in common the closeness of our own families.  Jim will be missed by more people that we can fathom and I know that Jim will be meeting my Mom in heaven and making her laugh like he always made me!

Crick drew kids to him wherever he went....even to Korea and Kosovo
Crick drew kids to him wherever he went….even to Korea and Kosovo

It seems like a long time ago that Crick and I were standing on the field at St. Michael’s in our wildly unprotective football gear……paper thin shoulder pads, helmets with no face guards or chin straps, and for me,…………fearing the fact that I would have to tackle his older brother, John as he came blasting through the line.  Life seems to warp into hyper-speed as we grow older.  I must say that although Crick and I were never terribly close growing up, I have fond memories of him: caddying with him at York Temple, the fact that he seemed to instinctively know how car engines worked, and how he always exuded this sort of Gary Cooper type…….tall, dependable, good-hearted vibe, even as a kid.  And if his presence is still felt by someone as distant as I am to him, I can only imagine what his presence means to all of those who are truly close to him.  It speaks volumes about how Crick has journeyed through this life.

You were loved….you are loved……you will always, always, always be loved.

As the anniversary date falls on the Feast of All Souls, I would like to offer this reflection from the book of Wisdom 3:1-9 which was read at Mass:

But the souls of the upright are in the hands of God and no torment can touch them.  To the unenlightened, they appeared to die, their departure was regarded as disaster, their leaving us like annihilation; but they are at peace.  If, as it seemed to us, they suffered punishment, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their correction, great will their blessings be.  God was putting them to the test and has proved them worthy to be with Him……Those who trust in Him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with Him in love; for grace and mercy await His holy ones, and He intervenes on behalf of His chosen.

And so it is, that our family drinks of the “glass half-full”, each morning, “putting two feet on the floor” and being ever grateful for all of God’s many, many blessings.

Message to Crick…………………….while God has you in His keeping, be assured that your family has you in their hearts…………………..Always, Always, Always :)

In Memory Video:



A Roller Coaster Month

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!!

When I grow up I want to be a Priest be cus its fun to help people lrn abat God.  He is the only one who can trn the wine and bred into Jesus body and blud.  the ucurist (Eucharist) is vary speshl.  He visits the sick.  He prais for us.
When I grow up I want to be a Priest be cus its fun to help people lrn abat God. He is the only one who can trn the wine and bred into Jesus body and blud. the ucurist (Eucharist) is vary speshl. He visits the sick. He prais for us.

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

They just about emptied the garage.....what do you think the OCD Nana was thinking??  LOL
They just about emptied the garage…..what do you think the OCD Nana was thinking?? 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… 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.



Pessimist or ISFJ??

optimists and pessimists I believe Christine and Mike were trying to deliver a not so subtle message to me when I discovered this picture text sent to my phone one evening. It seems they were out browsing the dozens of galleries and non-traditional exhibit spaces during the monthly Short North Gallery Hop which is Columbus’ favorite night of the month to spotlight the best of established and emerging Ohio-based artists.  They thought that perhaps I might want them to purchase it for me given it’s very appropriate message, to say nothing of the fact that it was done in black and white… favorite color scheme!!!  Perhaps, you may be wondering how in the world I can get up every morning and “put two feet on the floor” when I must carry this burden of being the ‘”glass half-empty”, pessimistic “dreamcrusher”!!!!  I admit that it is an onerous responsibility that I joyously bear to ensure that my very large extended family are never without “the other side of the story”.  Several recent photos may reveal exactly how I am called into service on their behalf.

Annie, Erin & Maddie before they prepare to "crash-dive"
Annie, Erin & Maddie before they prepare to “crash-dive”
Katie in Cusco, Peru ......I pleaded with her on FB to not jump.....she has no parachute!!!
Katie in Cusco, Peru ……I pleaded with her on FB to not jump…..she has no parachute!!!












You see, it is just not in my DNA to even contemplate the notion of actually paying money to go up in a small plane, 10,000 to 14,000 feet above terra firma, with the sole purpose of intentionally standing near an open door in order to willfully jump from a plane, free-falling for sixty seconds…….hoping……and praying……..that your parachute will indeed open so that you can canopy safely back to earth!!  It is this incredulous and pragmatic fear (some other “pessimists”, I do believe, would also concur) of such a risky adventure that compelled me to at least make an attempt to “crush” Erin and Maddie’s (two of my dear nieces) “dream” of soaring through the sky like the birds (my own well-documented antagonistic relationship with birds not withstanding!).  Obviously they chose to disregard my “dreamcrushing” counsel and in fact, lived to tell all about their thrilling “crash-dive”! LOL  And then there is Katie (another of my dear, tenacious nieces) who researched, planned and funded a solo, six-week excursion to Cusco, Peru.  Please keep in mind, that her particular “dream” was the direct antithesis to the dream from my youth of one day travelling “all the way” to New York city.  A “dream” that was left unfulfilled until I celebrated my 60th birthday!!  Earlier in the year, quiet, unassuming Katie delivered the news to her family that she had made arrangements to travel 3,761 miles to Peru for the summer to volunteer at one of Mother Teresa’s medical clinics to assist the nuns with caring for developmentally challenged children.  The pictures she has put up on Facebook of the sites she has visited in her free time are absolutely stunning.  She is definitely encountering a culture far removed from her own, and while I and her parents, were concerned about a young woman travelling so far away to such an unfamiliar destination, we have all come to embrace her selfless and gutsy decision.  We are anxiously and excitedly awaiting her return this weekend…………I just hope and pray that her plane is well fueled and thoroughly inspected!!  (refer to the introductory picture……remember…..I am represented on the right side!!). It suddenly occurred to me as I re-read this paragraph that in many of my blogs,  I am frequently explaining/defending my ISFJ personality!!  Now that could be a topic for an entire blog, but I am not quite sure that I want to open that Pandora’s box!  LOL   Suffice it to say, years ago while working in a dental office, the staff was introduced to a survey by Kiersey and Bates (similar to Jung/Myers theory) in order to help us better understand our individual behavior traits, particularly as they related to our work environment.  Well, mine was so spot on, that for eighteen years I saved the explanation/evaluation so as to better defend myself in any future “discussions” with DH (dear husband)!  As I just recently came across the evaluation while in search of a document, I will briefly highlight a few of the behaviors which I am certain that all who know me will be nodding vehemently in agreement.

 Portrait of an ISFJ …… “Six out of every one hundred people are ISFJ’s (gosh…I am practically in a class all by myself!!)……..ISFJ’s carry a sense of history, continuity with past events and relationships (must be why I love #TBT – ThrowBack Thursday – photos from the past, for those who don’t use Facebook)………….ISFJ’s highly value traditions ……….ISFJ’s believe work is good, play must be earned (ahem!)………they are seldom happy where rules are constantly changing (ahem #2!)……………. ISFJ’s prefer routines which call for repeated, sequential procedures (could that be OCD??)………….speculation and theory do not intrigue them (is that a put-down??? ha, ha, ha),…………… they prefer to leave the less practical matters to others, while remaining themselves practical and down-to-earth (can you say “dreamcrusher’??!!)

I will let you digest that for a moment, while I move on to share some family highlights of the past month. IMG_1341 This motley crew of twenty-five siblings/in-laws, nieces/nephews and even great-niece/great-nephew hit the links for our 4th or 5th annual/once or twice skipped (it’s the Clark family, for crying out loud!!) golf tournament.  And for once it was not played in 95 degree/100% humidity!!!  Our partners for the scramble were “randomly” selected…….someone in the family must have a vendetta against Dave (nephew-n-law) as he got stuck with “moi” as his golfing partner!!!! He was truly a great sport……..I never saw him once roll his eyes or duck behind a tree or hide under the cart or put a bag over his head!!  He proved to be a really good golfer who deserved a better partner, especially as I had not played since last year and hadn’t even gotten myself to the driving range at all this summer.  Usually, the best part of my haphazard golf game is teeing off, but after the first couple of holes, even that one bright spot faded away so that it was I who was searching for a bag to cover my head!!!  I desperately needed motivation to lift me out of my slump.  Some inspiration to rise up out of the ashes……….who would I call upon???  No, not Crick…….this moment cried out for an amazing amount of animosity, not just mild irritation!!  ha, ha, ha.  And then, in a moment of clarity, it came to me.  As we approached the eighth hole, I grabbed my driver from my bag, approached the tee box, stuck the tee into the ground, placed the ball purposefully on the tee, stood up and declared to my fellow golfers, “This ball represents Harry Reid.”  After which I put my head down, eyed the ball, reviewed in my mind Harry’s political pranks,  drew my club back, took a full, smooth swing and…………….SMACK!!!!!!!!!!!………………….that little ball sailed off the tee and took flight high into the sky and landed 250 yards right in the middle of the fairway!!!!!!  (okay, okay, I got carried away for a second……..the ball only went about 150 yards, but it felt like a hundred more!!! ). Each hole thereafter, I continued to use my arsenal of political foes to better my golf game and you .know what???  It worked!  So, I will give credit where credit is due…..thank you to Nancy Pelosi, Valerie Jarrett, Arne Duncan, Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, Chris Mathews, Eric Holder, Chuck Hagel…………you made my day :) (Please note that I purposefully left out the President – out of respect for the office!)

Bake sale for Bobby
Sydney, Tommy, Josh, Olivia, Sam, Tori, Connor, Grace, Luke, Natalie, Ryan, Sophia, Mayce

This past month has also concluded my brother, Bobby’s treatments for his cancer which was diagnosed ten months ago.  Through the many prayers of family and friends, and God’s infinite grace and mercy, he has finished a six-week round of combination radiation/chemotherapy, followed two months later by a six-hour surgery, followed by an additional eight rounds of chemotherapy……..all while continuing to hold down his full-time job at the OSU golf course.  He has one more surgery to go at the end of August, and then he can finally echo St. Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7…….. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.”  His journey has truly been inspiring to all of us for he has rarely, if ever complained.  Early on in his treatment, he made a conscious decision to allow himself an occasional brief period of time to feel sorry about his situation, and then he would give himself a pep talk (or has Crick would say he, “would be glad he was able to put his two feet on the floor”)  and begin again to embrace life, one day, one moment, at a time.  Bobby has an infectious and self-deprecating sense of humor that lifts up everyone around him………even his oncology surgeon has marveled at how his “optimistic” attitude has enabled him to rise above the physical challenges of the past year.  A case in point, is that just three weeks after his 8th chemo treatment, Bobby is planning a twenty-five mile bike ride to raise money for the annual Pelatonia race to cure cancer.  The picture above is of his great-nieces and great-nephews as they conducted a bake sale/lemonade stand following the end of their vacation bible school week in which they raised $300.00 to donate toward Bobby’s Pelatonia goal.  The riders commit to riding a certain number of miles and agree to fund-raise a specific amount of which 100% goes directly to fund Ohio State researchers whose goal is to cure all cancers.  Bobby has raised $1900.00 so far which is $700.00 over his stated goal.  Way to go Bobby…… are our hero ♥!!  The Schultheis family has their cancer hero also…………my notorious brother-in-law, Mark who has been undergoing treatment since January for non-small cell lung cancer.  He too has just finished a rigorous radiation/chemotherapy regimen while also having had to battle back from two different bouts of pneumonia.  Mark has always adopted a rather deceptively quiet and reserved persona which completely belies his mischievous propensity for picking on such a sweet, charming, demure, sister-in-law as myself!  It has been well documented in previous blogs his gleeful delight in watching my reactions as I come upon the disgusting plastic roaches that he sneaks into rooms I am about to occupy or creeping up behind me with wispy branches to brush across my neck so that I scream and jump as if I am being attacked by some vile, furry insect or animal.  He also has this uncanny knack for jinxing my beloved Ohio State basketball team.  It often happens that whenever Mark watches the Bucks play, they end up losing!!!   In spite of all his brother-in-law failings LOL, I have to confess that I kinda’ ♥ the guy…………..I feel that I can safely say that, because he never, ever reads this blog!!  LOL

Marty (great-nephew) imitating Bobby.....a future Pelatonian??)
Marty (great-nephew) imitating Bobby…..a future Pelatonian??)
Bobby imitating Marty....don't forget your bike streamers, your bike horn & your cards with the clothespins to place in the spokes
Bobby imitating Marty….don’t forget your bike streamers, your bike horn & your cards with the clothespins to place in the spokes
















Now for the pièce de résistance of this post (LOL).   While looking for my lipstick in a small make-up bag which I keep in my purse, I discovered what I at first thought must be a quarter.  When I pulled it out and looked at it, I saw that it was one of those pocket coins that usually has some scripture verse or inspiration quote on one side.  I looked down to see the insignia of a rose petal on the one side and when I flipped it over, I saw the inscription “Dear Husband”. Now what makes this so remarkable to me is that a few hours earlier I had been out running a few errands and had experienced one of my wistful moments when I felt this strong need for Crick’s presence.  Any way, what is curious about the pocket coin is the fact that I have no recollection of where it came from or how it got into my cosmetic bag, of all places.  Now I am not intimating that there was something magical about its appearance (I may be a “nut”, but I am not a lunatic!!), but, I have been racking my old brain trying to remember the circumstance for when I would have purchased such a coin. Perhaps I bought it to give to Crick when he left for Kosovo and only recently rediscovered it as I was searching for something and then just tossed it in………my cosmetic bag????  I am quite sure there is a logical explanation for its appearance, however, the timing of my finding it and the significance of “Dear Husband”, my Caringbridge acronym for Crick, is what is so astonishing to me.  For in that moment that I turned the coin over to read “Dear Husband”…….Crick was present to me in a way that I can not explain.  It is in rare moments such as this that I remember what someone once told me shortly after Crick’s death……..that it is when, through our prayer life, we become open to the very real Presence of God in our lives, that we can truly see how God, who knows our every need, sends us that grace (in a variety of “messages”) in which we find His peace and hope.

DH Dear Husband  Crick on beach favorite

As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you.  I speak to you continually:  through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures.  There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you.  Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come.  When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence.  You can find Me not only in beauty and bird-calls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief.  I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good.

Search for Me and My messages, as you go through this day.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole being.                                 from Jesus Calling

When you call to me and come and pray to me, I shall listen to you.  When you search for me, you will find me; when you search wholeheartedly for me.             Jeremiah 29:12-13



P.S.  I must remind myself to stop reading news articles before going to bed……the other night I had a dream about Al Sharpton!!!!!

P.P.S.  That was no dream……………..that was a nightmare!!!!!!

Family and Politics

calvin & afterlife bad day in persepctiveWhenever I am struggling to find a way to begin my blog, I know that I can always count on Calvin to provide me with an opening!!!  Ah yes, I have been coming a bit too close to Calvin’s philosophy this past week as I have begun my yearly proclamation to various family and friends about the fact that while the weather is getting a bit sunnier and warmer here in the Buckeye state, in another seventeen days, the days will start getting shorter…….and shorter……..and shorter!!!!  Why, oh why, am I the glass half-empty, OCD, worrier extraordinaire???  Why, when I was standing in the personality traits line before my birth, did I not realize that there was another personality line that I should have been in…… know, the one where God was handing out the glass half-full, I don’t give a care, “whatever”, life is a beach traits??????

Well, well, well……………here it is twenty days later and I am just now returning to my blog!!!   And, as of today, you can shave six minutes from your daylight schedule!!!  Hey!  I simply refer you back to the opening paragraph……… Popeye was want to say, “I am what I am”!!!!

So, just in case you may be wondering what has kept me away so long, I can sum it up in two words… and politics!!!  (fair warning!!!)


It seems like we wait with such anticipation for the lazy, hazy days of summer, that when they finally arrive, they fly by in a flurry of graduations, birthday, anniversary, and wedding celebrations.  Throw in vacations (for some of us that simply means no grocery shopping/no cooking, hence no “pot of boiling water”!), outdoor activities (for some of us that means, mowing, mulching, weeding!), baseball/softball leagues (for some of us that means…….a fair-weather spectator!!), and just effortlessly hanging out at the swimming pool (for some of us that truly means “hanging out”…….. ha, ha, ha!!). What I am attempting to convey is a longing for the “good old days” where paradise was sitting on the front porch, sipping on a glass of ice-cold lemonade with not a thing in the world to do…………….just the lost art of “being still”!!

In a large family such as ours, one’s “being” is hardly ever permitted to be “still”!  This month alone we celebrated Luke’s 10th birthday, Olivia’s 8th grade graduation, Kathy and Bob’s 30th wedding anniversary, Dylan and Nick’s high school graduations (sorry to have had to miss Nick’s party), and Erin’s college graduation.  Kathy and Bob’s surprise party was attended by aunts, uncles and cousins from hither and yon and from the ages of 7 months old to 90 years young.  The very youngest generation was having a difficult time distinguishing between a first cousin, second cousin, or a first cousin once removed; also between an aunt/uncle, great-aunt/uncle, or great-great aunt/uncle!!!!  I was quite disappointed that I, myself, was never confused with anyone in the millennial generation!!  LOL  The celebration was held outside at a small park which showed great potential for lots of outdoor summer games…, badminton, frisbee, croquet, wiffle ball…….but just as the party was to begin, the Ohio weather turned ugly………and I do mean ugly!!!  The rain came down, the wind picked up……fortunately we had a wonderful shelter house to protect us from the rain, but instead of looking for ways to cool off as one expects in June, everyone was looking for ways to stay warm.  We were grateful that my cousin, Greg (California) had been visiting his Mom and so he drove her to Columbus from her home in North Carolina.  Aunt Jeanne hadn’t seen anyone for a couple of years so she had plenty of catching up to do.  Another Clark/Scully/Heubel get-together is planned for this weekend……….guess that about sums up the definition of never-ending!!

Olivia's graduation
Olivia’s graduation


Bob and Kathy - 35 years ♥
Bob and Kathy – 30 years♥

The biggest gathering of all occurred on June 14th at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in our nation’s capital where my brother, Jimmy’s service and sacrifice were finally honored at the 16th annual “In Memory Day Tribute”.  Our family is so very grateful to our nephew, Eric (U.S. Air Force, active member) whose dedication to honoring Jimmy’s memory made this tribute possible.  To provide some important background on this special honor……..Jimmy  stepped on a land mine while out on a search and destroy mission with the 1st Air Cavalry three months after arriving in Vietnam in 1967. He suffered shrapnel wounds all over his body, but particularly his head, brain and legs. He lost one eye and was left with very limited vision in the other. He spent two months in a hospital in Japan and then another year at Walter Reed. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1968 with 100% disability. Through the years he learned to accept and to overcome many of his debilitating injuries. In March, 1984 (the same month in which he was born and injured) he suffered a brain aneurysm and died within hours at the age of thirty-seven. The military and the medical community could never agree that his aneurysm was a direct result of the injuries he sustained in Vietnam and therefore his name was rejected for inscription on the Wall. This ceremony is for all of those Vietnam Vets who have passed away since the end of the war with inconclusive or questionable causes of their death. For example, many of those honored this year had died recently of certain cancers which in some medical circles have been attributed to Agent Orange. Eric discovered the “In Memory Day” tribute on a website and submitted the necessary paperwork to have Jimmy’s name placed with these other Vets whose sacrifice is finally being recognized.  We are so appreciative of the Vietnam Memorial Fund organizers whose efforts are bringing peace and closure to so many deserving families.  And so, with a “small” contingent of Clarks (48) and our Scully cousins; Dennis, David, Dick, Bernadette and Kate, along with life-long family friend, Anne we descended upon D.C. to not only participate in the “In Memory Day”, but to tour the national museums, Arlington National Cemetery and the many memorials.  All in all, it was an unforgettable weekend despite the sometimes chaotic, impromptu plans, and the occasional miscommunication which caused some minor distress.   What?????  The Clark family is chaotic????  Flies by the seats of their pants??????????? Communicates by “word of mouth”, much like the old game of “telephone” whereby the ending message is nothing like the beginning???????  LOL!!  Oh yes……………..the D.C. cab drivers and bus drivers will never, ever, ever be quite the same again!!!!

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 And you know what became the real wonder of the D.C. trip????? That this “right-wing nut”   managed to spend an entire three nights in our nation’s capital, walk past the IRS building, the Capital and the White House and never once pulled out her soapbox!!!! Which conveniently brings me to       …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see the expressions on the faces of all my dear family, who have read this far!!!!!!!!  I ventured into this topic only to share that my four half-days/month job and the myriad of family responsibilities and activities are not the only reasons for my six week absence.  The world often appears to be spinning out of control and over the past six years I have watched as many forces have been colluding to bring that same instability to our country.  And so, in my OCD need to understand and to know, I spend incredible amounts of time reading and researching everything from Common Core, Obamacare and illegal immigration to the IRS, NSA, VA, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious scandals.  I know that many of us share differing political views on a wide range of issues, but I would hope that there is agreement among us all that the Constitution which delineates the national frame of our government must be protected.  To quote Patrick Henry, ” the Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”   And now my dear family, you may all relax, I will hereby honor this quote which was presented to me by………….now I can’t even remember who wanted me to have this so much that they actually paid for it………….or………..maybe in a rare moment of self-awareness, I bought it for myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep your arm around my shoulder


I must say one last thing in my defense :), and that is that Crick must share part of the blame for my over zealous judgements……………….politics, religion, the culture………… I have always, always, always been a most opinionated person (are your jaws dropping right now?? :) ), and now he is not here to “put his hand over my mouth” !!!!  What I mean is that he had a way……… (infuriating to me as it was at the time)…. of presenting that glass half-full attitude to me that prevented me from taking myself, and events swirling around me, too seriously.  How I would love to ask him what he thinks about the events in the Middle East, the VA scandal or our Commander-In-Chief !!  As it is, some nights, I will find myself in a one way “discussion” with him, and then I will think about the fact that he is in a place where he already knows the answers!!  He has one-upped me yet again!!!  I take consolation, however, in the knowledge that one day we are going to meet again, and this I promise everyone……… if there is a Main Street in heaven…………………………………………there will be a “discussion”!!!!!  LOL

Once again, while searching my devotional for a spiritual message with which to close this post, I just happened upon this particular reading.  Coincidence??  I think rather that God and Crick lovingly conspired to bring me some peace tonight :)!

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.  This planet you inhabit is in such a big mess that sometimes you feel overwhelmed.  Just watching the news on television can make you anxious.  World events and economies seem to be spinning out of control more and more.  This is why it’s so very important to focus on Me and consider who I am:  the Beginning and the End.  I – the Creator of this planet – transcend time.  I know the end of this world’s story just as well as I know its beginning.

I not only know how everything will turn out, but I am absolutely Sovereign.  I am the Almighty; nothing is beyond My control.  The more helpless you feel as you face the challenges in your life, the more comforting it is to trust that I am all-powerful.  Remember that I am also compassionate.  I am the Lord who comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.  You can transcend your troubles because I am both powerful and compassionate.  So you have good reason to rejoice; sometimes you may even burst into song!                                            from Jesus Today

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”              Psalm 91:1-2






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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words………..And Then Some!!!

What better way to begin this new post than with a slideshow and video presentation of the grandchildren acting and posing as their alter-egos!  Actually, I didn’t intend to include all of these photos, but then as I was preparing to “spill the beans” (that is kind of what I sometimes feel I do when I write about me and the family…..ha, ha, ha) for this month’s post, I just couldn’t resist a bit of tattle-telling, so to speak.  As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and these particular pictures sort of ring true in matching up with a grandchild’s particular personality profile.

For instance, the very first picture is of Mayce in her “curtain dress”.  The story behind this dress is that Mayce recently became enchanted with the Sound of Music and particularly with the Do-Re-Mi song where the children in the movie are relieved from their  military style attire by their new nanny (Julie Andrews) who dresses them in clothing made from her bedroom curtains (hard to believe the Von Trapp children felt that idea was a step in the right direction…..LOL).  At any rate, while Stephanie and Mayce were shopping (a pasttime they both enjoy, by the way!!) at Old Navy a couple of weeks ago Mayce suggested that they look for a”curtain dress” just like the ones worn by the girls in the movie.  Stephanie, in an attempt to ward off a potential Mayce melt-down, cautioned Mayce that “curtain” dresses were not exactly a staple of Old Navy’s inventory!!  Well, wouldn’t you know…………..there, on a rack of discounted children’s clothing, was the pièce de résistance…………the one and only……….. “curtain” dress!!  Mayce was thrilled………..Do-Re-Mi’s 2014  “curtain dress” rendition by Mayce “Von Trapp” Baird is now not only endearing, but also quite authentic!  .

The next photo in the gallery is of Josh and Mayce taken one random day as they showed up wearing their version of “Nana” fashion……… and white!!!  (You see, I dress just like my mind thinks…………… and white!!  LOL).  Actually Josh doesn’t normally mimic my style, he typically models himself after his Great-Uncle Mike…………… Josh will choose from his closet each day a very narrow selection of short-sleeved tees paired with knee-length gym shorts that he (like Mike) has worn all through the winter, much to the dismay of his parents.  Chris and Jessica have done battle with Josh every single day of this long, harsh winter, fighting him tooth and nail, finally arriving  at a compromise……………Josh had to put on a long-sleeved shirt and gym pants over top of his “Uncle Mike” attire whenever he had to leave the house!!

I am not quite sure what to say about the next picture in the gallery!!!!!!!!!!!…………….it seems as though whenever Tommy and Sydney are together, they never fail to give me a reason to smile :)  This particular photo was snapped after Tommy and Sydney “disappeared” one evening while we were all over at Chris and Jessica’s for a recent Sunday dinner.  They had gone upstairs, rummaged through Sydney’s “dress-up” clothing and then apparently searched Christopher’s closet and when they reappeared…………voila!!!……….Little Bo Peep and Buckeye Guy!!!!!!!  I am saving this one for their high school graduation………there could just be a little blackmail lurking in their futures LOL!!!

The next two characters in the slide-show are of Sam and Sophia which were taken this past Halloween.  Sam, unsurprisingly, stepped right into his role as a mafia kingpin, thus fulfilling Jennifer’s once upon a long time ago fear that Sam would end up as a juvenile delinquent!!  LOL  You see, Sam like many red-blooded American boys (and yes, I am stereo-typing!!) could sneak a forbidden candy treat or provoke his little sister Natalie into endless bouts of hysterical crying, and yet profess, quite convincingly, that he was oh so innocent.  Every now and then Jennifer would confess to me wondering, in the deep recesses of her mind, if Sam possessed any conscience at all as the punishments and reprimands seemed to seldom phase him.  Having grown up with five brothers, I continually reassured her that if my brothers had not become jailbirds (well……….not permanent ones anyway……………just kidding, brothers!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL)…………Sam”s conscience would eventually find him and, along with his kind-hearted nature, both would serve to keep him on the right path.

Sophia, interestingly, also exhibits a personality that is somewhat reflected in this choice of costume. She has this deep-rooted sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust (some might say that she inherited a few of her Nana’s genes!!).  She can be “Little Miss Sunshine” or she can be “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” :).  One might also say that she has a bit of a “Catholic” conscience…………with the proverbial angel on her right shoulder and the devil on her left shoulder………..her guilt usually will lead her to the telling of the truth eventually………..even when she has not been found out!  I can remember when she was only four or five years old, I had given her some chocolate candy which she happily took from me and went on her merry way.  A short time later she came back into the kitchen to find me to confide that she had been told earlier by her Mom that she was not to have any dessert that night.  Sadly and sheepishly she returned one of the uneaten pieces of candy explaining that she didn’t want her Mom to be mad at her :).  I love that kind of honesty!

Olivia’s photo showcases a small milestone of sorts for her, in that in preparation for her Confirmation, she actually had to go dress shopping for what may have been the first time since her First Communion (okay, okay…… I guess she has actually worn a dress or two since then, but she is definitely not what one would call a fashion diva!!!).  I can remember when I went along with Olivia and Jennifer to look for the First Communion dress, Olivia was content to sit in the dressing room while Jennifer and I scoured the store bringing dress after dress back for Olivia to try on.  Because Olivia seemed so nonchalant with the entire process, Jennifer and I narrowed the selection down to three and then, satisfied with our choices, asked Olivia which one she preferred.  With little hesitation she happened to choose my personal favorite, and when pressed for the reason for her decision, Olivia simply said that it was the one dress that had scratched her the least!!!!!!!!!!   Olivia…………… are a chip off the old block……….your Papa is definitely smiling down on you :).

I decided to add the above video so as not to let Natalie and Luke off the hook when they both realize that Nana has been busy “showcasing” their cousins on her blog (or to put it another way…….. “spilling the beans”)!!  One of the favorite cousins’ activity, when they are not outside playing soccer or dodge-ball , is making up a play or putting on a self-made musical performance.  This video was taken one TGIFriday afternoon after Natalie and Luke had put their collaborative heads together and asked me to review their “innovative” routine. Obviously, they are not yet ready for prime time, but if “Tiny TIm” & his song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” could become a one hit wonder, you never can tell!!As long as I am sharing pictures of the grandchildren.

I may as well share a few pictures of myself to let you in on some of what I have been up to in the past few weeks.  To keep it short and sweet I will simply add that the photos will reveal an increase in my political activism and that I have finally, (thanks to my brother Tommy and my niece, Melanie). made good on a challenge (involving the 2nd Amendment) that I had presented to myself shortly after Crick’s death.

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When I get to this point in my post, I usually pause to consider what, over the past few weeks, has brought me a measure of comfort, peace, hope, courage or inspiration that I can share with others.  As I reflected on this today, I recalled that one Saturday morning last year, as I was driving to one of the grandkids’ baseball games, I happened to tune in to our local Catholic radio station and heard the most inspiring priest delivering a talk on prayer.  I actually drove out of my way just so I could hear the talk all the way through to the end and on Monday morning I called the radio station to find out how I could obtain a recording.  Long story short, I discovered that the priest was Father Larry Richards, the pastor of a parish in Erie, Pa.  He has established A Reason for Our Hope Foundation in answer to 1 Peter 3:15,  “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”  The mission of the foundation is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Church through multimedia resources.  I have since ordered several of his CD’s as well as MP3s and have rarely been so spiritually moved as I have been by the message Fr. Larry brings to his listeners regarding the truth of God’s love.  How fitting then as we approach the three most holy days in the Catholic church’s liturgical observances—the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday) — that I should discover this particular you-tube video presentation of Fr. Larry which reflects on the words Jesus spoke on the Cross just prior to his Last Words,  “I thirst”.  I believe that you will find the video very worthy of your time.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!



Spring Is Coming………..Spring Is Coming………..Spring Is Coming!

calvin ocdStrangely, reading the Calvin & Hobbes comics makes me feel more normal, and less of a “nut”…………..I knew all along that there must have been an underlying reason for my purchase years ago of every Calvin & Hobbes book ever published.  Little did I know how much I would come, at this stage of my life, to appreciate the similarities in some of our thought patterns and approach to life’s puzzling questions!!!    Before I dragged myself outside to shovel the three inches of snow last weekend, I paused to consider if it was even worth my effort.  But………………the thought of even more snow (which was scheduled to fall …and never did) piling up on my very long driveway coursed through my OCD mind and before I knew it, I was shoveling away.  I pause as I consider divulging this next little nugget of information, and I only do so in the interests of future generations of OCD minds (LOL)……………………………………….are you ready for it??????????  Here it comes…………………………………………….as I shoveled, I noticed little pieces of the driveway’s crumbling black top, along with the pesky oak leaves which somehow have continued to fall throughout this interminable winter, mixed in with the pure white snow   I eventually began to chuckle a little to myself as I controlled my “need” to dump a shovel full of pure white snow on top of the ugly mixture.  Perhaps I should submit this issue to the Dr. Keith Ablow segment on Fox & Friends………..”Am I normal or am I nuts?”!!!  

elmer fuddAs I looked back over this blog, I realize that it has, once again, been almost a month since my last post.  February has come and gone………and while I have been working hard on my PMA (positive mental attitude), Punxsutawney Phil has not made it easy.  His pronouncement of six more weeks of winter means that we still have, in theory, another week or two to go, (to say nothing of the three snows after the forsythia bloom!). but in keeping with Crick’s “glass half-full” mantra……….daylight savings arrived on Sunday!!!  An extra hour of daylight and some snow-free/ice-free sidewalks may be just what I need to kick myself out of my cozy home to resume what used to be a daily walk. February proved to be yet another very busy month…………the good mixed in with the not-so-good.  Besides all of the non-stop shoveling and shivering, we basketball fans who can usually count on the Buckeyes to brighten up the dreary months of winter, have been mostly frustrated and disappointed in how this season has evolved.   What is it about shooting free throws that seems to elude the Buckeyes?  Oh, and what is it about players who are nearly seven feet tall, but can’t put the ball in the basket when they are standing right underneath it, or worse yet, miss the dunk????  Well……… least I won’t feel compelled to fill out an NCAA tournament bracket with Ohio State going beyond the first round!!  Gee…………I hope I don’t sound too sarcastic!!   LOL  What has been more entertaining for me this season has been watching the grandchildren play for my old grade school alma mater, the I.C. Rams. (“I.C.’s got a real team……a team that’s really on the beam…….we’re gonna win…….we’re gonna fight……I.C.’s gonna win tonight!!”…………….yep, those were the days……………and here is a “throwback” picture to prove it!!!!!).

We even had to make our own pom-poms!!!!!!
We even had to make our own pom-poms!!!!!!

And while I did not see ALL of their games, I did get to see each one of them play at least once.  I must admit that getting up at 7 AM on a freezing cold/snowy Saturday morning to drive across the city for an 8:00 game did not hold much appeal to me, and so I was, I admit, rather selective about when and where I would show up.   Grandparents, I have learned, must be careful of this tactic, however, because some grandchildren like to keep “score”.   Let me explain.  Sophia, Sydney and Tommy all played rec center ball as I.C. does not have basketball for K-3 grades.  Because Sydney and Tommy both played at a convenient time and for the same team, I ended up going to watch them play several times, but because Sophia played on Friday evenings when the TGIFriday after-school-care chaos reigns in my home, I did not get to any of her games until the end of the season.  On one of those Fridays as I was telling her that I would be coming to her game the following week, she looked at me and said that she was glad to hear that, because I had been to three of Sydney and Tommy’s games and none of hers!!!!  Whew!!!  I really did not think that it was such a big deal to the younger ones to have me in the bleachers, but I am very relieved to know that as their seasons came to an end, I did not disappoint anyone!!!

Sydney & Tommy What a hoot their games were!!!
Sydney & Tommy
What a hoot their games were!!!
Shannon & Evie
Shannon & Evie

In addition to basketball, we celebrated yet another Clark family Baptism……..Shannon and Dave’s daughter, Evelyn Juanita, who was named after our beloved Aunt Evie and Shannon’s Grandma Downey.  From what the Clark and Downey families know of these two infamous namesakes, little Evie has some pretty big shoes to fill, and if she inherits any of their character traits, there are sure to be some fireworks in her future!  LOL.

1234873_297761880374314_1250940698_nI was honored by Olivia (oldest grandchild) to stand as her sponsor for her Confirmation which took place a couple of weeks ago.  When we attended the practice session a few days ahead of the Sunday that the Bishop was to come to administer the Sacrament, the eighth-graders were being given some final instructions,by their teachers, one of which was that when the Bishop began to question them about the specifics of the sacrament of Confirmation, they were told to politely raise their hands, stand up to give their response, and then wait for the Bishop to signal to them to be seated.  Well, Confirmation day arrived, and after the Gospel was read, the Bishop stepped down from the altar and proceeded to address the students by posing this very first question to them,  “What is the meaning of the word, ‘confirm’?”   OMGosh…………………….for a good two minutes (or so it seemed) not one single, solitary hand went up…………..there was only complete and total silence…………………I looked back to where the eighth-grade teachers were sitting and saw looks of sheer horror on their collective faces :)!!  The Bishop graciously “saved” the moment for them by providing a little assist and gradually Olivia and her classmates rose to the occasion and proved that they were in fact, well prepared and ready to become “soldiers of Christ”.

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2014-02-27 16.52.57

Are you wondering about the insertion of these next two photos ??  I shall explain.  As I noted in the last post, my very funny brother, Bobby, has been undergoing treatment at the James Cancer Clinic at OSU since October.  He had a five and a half hour surgery on February 20th as part of his overall treatment plan and while the surgery was successful, he developed post-surgical complications which kept him in the hospital for almost two weeks (we attribute this to the “Clark curse” as in, “if anything can go wrong, it will”…….. as in, “if you see a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s probably an oncoming train” {my Dad}…………as in, when “our ship comes in”, it will probably be the Titanic {my Mom}…………see my “glass half-empty” attitude has been fostered all along by my family upbringing….. ha, ha ha!).  At any rate, navigating the vast complex that is The Ohio State University Hospitals requires that one come supplied with a bag full of bread crumbs to be strategically dropped along the endless hallways to enable one to retrace their steps back to the outside world.  And then, once you find your way back to the parking garage (provided that you can remember which garage you parked in!!!) you also need to arm yourself with cell phone pictures depicting the exact location of your car.  Thinking that I was quite clever in coming up with this idea, late in the evening on one of Bobby’s first nights in the hospital, Christine and I smugly headed back to my car.  Now, I knew that I had parked on level #2, but there is a #2 north and a #2 south and apparently, we must have been initially searching for my car in the wrong direction or had unwittingly walked right past my car because as we perused the cars, my car seemed to be M.I.A.!!!  Armed with my key fob, I hit the panic button and we could hear the extremely loud beeping as the sound echoed off the walls of the indoor garage.  We could also hear a voice calling out for someone to stop the beeping, but I couldn’t figure out which of the four buttons to hit and the beeping continued until Christine grabbed the fob and miraculously found the button to bring forth silence.  We then headed off in the direction from which we “thought” we had heard the beeps, but upon walking up the ramp, the car was no where in sight.  As we were now wary of hitting the panic button again, we felt that we could for sure find the illusive car by simply hitting the unlock button to hear the single beep.  This we did……………..again…………….and again………….and again for close to fifteen minutes, all the while passing other hospital visitors who amazingly had no trouble at all finding their vehicles!!!  We would walk a little ways, hit the button, hear the beep and then look at each other and ask, “Didn’t you hear the beep coming from over there????”  After which we would walk in that direction, only to discover that when hearing the beep again, the sound seemed to mysteriously come from where we had just been!!!  I believe that perhaps the only reason we finally found the car was that our Guardian Angels felt obligated to rescue us given the amount of entertainment our dilemma was providing them!   Once we stumbled upon the car, the only challenge left was discovering how to navigate the whole exit process with its confounding protocol on how to pay for your escape!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (But that is a whole other story!!!).  

Perhaps not coincidentally, as we await the beauty and new “life” of spring, bringing forth all of its comforting warmth and colors, we Christians, who have just recently entered into the fasting, reflection and prayer of the somber Lenten season, are also awaiting the promise of a new life, a life that Jesus brings us by leaving His tomb on Easter Sunday.   Instead of closing with a devotional reading and Scripture passage, I would like to share a song that I first heard last March while on a retreat with Jessica as she prepared to enter into the Catholic Church.  It touched my soul in a way that music often does for me, but with a  much deeper element of  reflection, comfort and peace.  I often listen to it before I fall asleep at night as it never fails to bring me to that place where I feel connected to the spiritual side of myself that is often lost in this hyperactive world in which we all live.  When it was presented to our group, and after listening to a beautiful lecture about the significance of “light” and “darkness” both in the Scriptures and in the rituals of our Catholic faith,  the lights in the room were turned off and we were asked to close our eyes as the music began.  I hope that you too will be blessed with the peace that permeates this beautiful hymn.



P.S.  The Yankees are coming………………….the Yankees are coming……………………the Yankees are coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!