In Remembrance of a Life Well-Lived


The reality is that you will grieve forever.  You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.  You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.  You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same…….nor should you want to.  –Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Today our family will pause to remember Crick at a Mass said for him on this eighth anniversary of his death.   As I continue to feel this need to chronicle and preserve the story that was uniquely his, I am once again sharing this video I made seven years ago.  In addition, I have included several recollections from family and friends which speak volumes about how one “glass half-full” life has touched so many.

The heart, like the mind has a memory, and in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“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.”

“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.  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!!”

“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.”

And so it is that as another year passes, our family continues to honor Crick’s memory by drinking of the “glass half-full” and being “grateful that we are able to put two feet on the floor”.

May his soul, and the souls of all of the faithful departed on this All Souls Day, rest in peace.  Amen

TGW (the good wife)


The Absent-Minded “Loser”

As the Schultheis family once again begins the process of healing from our most recent loss,  I will attempt to refocus this blog on the more mundane aspects of the Clark/Schultheis saga which more often than not reads like a script from the sitcom, “The Middle”!!

Nate, Dylan
Nate, Dylan

Back-tracking several weeks, I must share these photos that I discovered had been taken on my camera “in secret” on Thanksgiving Day by niece, Chelsea (who shall one day pay

Jo, Tom
Jo, Tom

dearly for this infraction!!).  It seems that she seized an opportunity to borrow (a.k.a. steal LOL) my camera in order to pull a prank on me, aided by these quite willing accomplices, by providing a little “surprise” when I downloaded my pictures!!!!  The irony of the “loser” hand motion shown in these pictures is that after she had taken the pictures, and before I became aware of her mischief, several of the “co-conspirators” sat down with me to play a card game after Thanksgiving dinner.  Throughout the card game, I unwittingly used this very same gesture to  show my “superiority” to the other players when the cards happened to be falling my way.  It seems that just like Rodney Dangerfield………………”I don’t get no respect!!!”

Chelsea.............whose "dreams" shall henceforth be forever "crushed"
Chelsea………….whose “dreams” shall henceforth be forever “crushed”

Anyway, despite the fact that there are apparently some “losers” :) in this family………….the younger crowd sought to make up for them by embarking on their own card game…………………..5 card stud!!!!!!  They were aided and abetted in this by the Dads………..Chris, Jim and Joe.  We could hear shouts of I’ve got 2 pair………look at my hand – 3 of a kind……….I’ll raise you two………..all coming from the mouths of kids ranging in age from five to thirteen!!!  Whatever happened to Crazy 8’s and Old Maid??

2012-11-22 17.39.49

2012-11-22 17.39.35

The "pot"
The “pot”

The day after Thanksgiving dawned blustery, damp and cold for the 3rd Annual Clark Turkey Bowl leaving it to the hardiest Clarks to vie for the honor of winning the best

There is that dreamcrushed Chelsea again standing over time I see that girl I am going to have to tie her hands behind her back!!!
There is that dreamcrushed Chelsea again standing over me…… time I see that girl I am going to have to tie her hands behind her back!!!

of 4 games.  This year I begged (LOL) to be a “captain” putting me in charge of choosing the players for my team………………thus guaranteeing that I would not end up being one of the very last players to be selected (as I have been for each of the previous years…………..could it be because I am old and slow…………and………… because I notoriously duck whenever the football is thrown anywhere near me???????).  Anyway, the powers to be ended up granting “captain” status to the four Clark sisters……….me, Kathy, Jo and Christine.  I am proud to say that my team came in second, thanks in large part to my infamous propensity for staying out of the way of the ball!!!!   LOL.

Those of you who grew up in Clintonville in the 60’s & 70’s are sure to appreciate this conversation which took place between granddaughter Natalie (age 9) and me on Thanksgiving morning.  About ten years ago, Crick and I began another one of our rituals………………….attending Mass on Thanksgiving morning and then going to breakfast at the only restaurant open in the neighborhood on Thanksgiving Day………………..Tee Jayes Country Place.  In recent years, Jennifer, Jim and their kids joined us, and so it was again that this year, as we were placing our orders for breakfast, I mentioned to Olivia, Sam and Natalie that “back in the day” when Crick tee jayesand I were at Watterson, after many of the football and basketball games, there would be a mass migration of students from the school to this exact location which at the time was known as Jerry’s Drive-In.  I related how we used to “walk” up the alley way from Cooke Rd. to the Morse Rd. location in small and large groups (note: small groups would be the “couples” who happened to be dating at the time) (additional note:  I was always part of the large group……………..Crick was more often than not in one of small groups LOL!!!!!).   Anyway, I was telling them all about how it was back in the day, and also sharing my memories of the old pizza restaurant, “Riccardi’s, which sat on the opposite corner of Jerry’s Drive-In.   Riccardi’s was rather small and the wait for a table could be quite long …….your group just might be asked to leave (a.k.a “thrown out”) for taking up a big table and only ordering colas and no pizza!!!!  I think eventually Olivia and Sam lost interest in the story, but I still had Natalie’s attention and I soon found out why.  When I had finished reminiscing, she chimed in that their third grade class had just recently learned about Jerry’s Drive-In during a history lesson on Clintonville…………………………..oooohhhh nnnnoooo………………… high school memories are now incorporated into my grandchildren’s history class!!!!  How did this happen?????  (the following you-tube video was taken in 1985 at one of the occasional “cruise-ins” just before Jerry’s closed forever, and gives a pretty vivid explanation of how “historical” those days have become!! )

Actually, this all should come as no surprise to me……………I prove my age every day by my forgetfulness!!!  Case in point………………..a couple of weeks ago I was over at Jay and Rayne’s and we were discussing how we all seem to be experiencing more and more frequent occasions of misplacing items or stopping mid-sentence to search for a name or a word, or, in my case……….showing up for work at the wrong office, or on the wrong day!!!!  Well, after I had said good-bye and had driven home, I walked into my house and saw that my phone was blinking, indicating that someone had left a message.  My ears perked up when I heard the voice…………………it was Rayne trying unsuccessfully to control her laughter……………….it seems that I had left my cell phone on their table!!!!!!!! :).  What can I say??  I have no defense!!!!  And to make matters even worse………….. the very next day, I woke up late and so I called Dr. Lori to leave a message that I was running a few minutes late and also phoned the office leaving a message there as well.  As I was driving (a.k.a “speeding”) up I-71 towards Sunbury, my cell phone rings and it is one of the front desk staff………………………………………….. “Mary Margaret??  We listened to your message…………………………………………………………………….. do you think you are working today??!”  Oooohhhh nnnnoooo!!!  Yep!!  I did it again, I was one week early, and as the next freeway exit was still ten miles up the road, I had to continue all the way to Sunbury, thirty miles from my house.  One might think that incidents such as this would be cause for some embarrassment on my part, however, these days, pride has given way to humility!!  LOL   That surrender came some years ago when I called to schedule a check-up with my dentist.  Priding myself (darn that pride!) on having committed the phone number to my memory, I heard the voice on the other end ask if they could help me (oh, if they only knew!) and so I said that I had wanted to schedule my cleaning appointment.  There was a bit of a pause, and then the scheduler began suggesting certain dates and times.  I chose one, and then as she repeated the date and time back to me, she stated that this appointment would be with Dr. Harmon.  Suddenly, a little tiny light went on and I repeated back to her, “Dr. Harmon??” ” Didn’t I just dial 885-@#@?”  She said that yes I had dialed that number, and then I began to explain that I thought that I was calling my dentist’s office…………..from the other end of the phone all I could hear was her laughter.  She proceeded to tell me that in all of the years that she had worked at the front desk, she had never had anyone call their office asking for a “cleaning” appointment……………and further stated that I had just made her day and she could not wait to share this moment with the other staff!!  If you are family and you have heard this story before, you know very well that Dr. Harmon happens to be my doctor………………………………………………and………………………………………. an OB/GYN!!!!!

Unfortunately, one cannot just make this stuff up!!!  LOL

On a much more somber note, in closing this post, I would like to share an excerpt from an article I read as I  know how everyone’s minds and hearts are with the families and children of Newtown, Connecticut:

This is not a time for political noise. It’s a time for compassion and introspection. There’s nothing more to be offered than heartfelt prayer for all of the families and the innocent school staff and children who were murdered, injured, and traumatized by a madman devoid of respect for life.

One of the most moving stories of heroism involved the music teacher who hid her students in a closet and prayed with them in whispers to keep them calm.  Faith has come under fire so frequently in the schools.  Yet, under fire, it is faith that sustains eternally.

We as individuals, and as a nation, will always have moments of darkness, when everything seems hopeless and life events seem overwhelming, but the Scriptures are a reassuring source to remind us of God’s presence.  God is always, always, always with us in our joy and in our sorrow.  His steadfast love and faithfulness are promises to which we can cling.  God alone will never let us down.  He promises His strength, His peace, and His comfort.  All we need to do is to trust, to believe, to hope and to depend on Him.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them……….the Lord, who remains faithful forever.                                                            Psalm 146: 5-6



P.S.  One day I will figure out how to correctly add pictures to my blog without all of the irregular spacing which seems to occur between some of the sentences, but for now……………. what you see is what you get :)!


I am temporarily (as in the next few hours!) leaving behind the political world of the “right-wing nut” (although I guess I do have Neil Cavuto on my television screen right now :) ) so that I may focus on the day-to-day life of just a “regular nut”!!  As my poor, weary, harassed family and a few “lucky” friends are all too well aware, the looming election has me revved up and stuck in overdrive!!!!  LOL  So, I am forsaking politics for the moment to pull out of my hat some hopefully entertaining topics to take all of our minds away from the seriousness that surrounds us.  I was asked recently how I remember from one blog to the next what went on in my life a week, two weeks or even a month ago, and the fact is,  that I can’t remember.   For instance, I might have forgotten all about Tommy, Stephanie and the “shark tooth incident” if I hadn’t put a “note to self” in a word document that I keep on my computer desktop.

One thing that I can quite vividly remember is that I celebrated my 64th (oh!! that kinda hurt to write that) birthday on the 19th, a date which I now share with Mayce who was born on my birthday two years ago.  Josh turned two on the 12th and so the three of us celebrated several times with cake and ice cream over the course of the week.  By the time we had arrived at my celebration, the candles (minus about 54!!!) were placed on a half eaten birthday cake which was what was all that remained from the day before when Dr. Lori and Dr. Ira had thoughtfully surprised me with the cake at the office.  Jenn, Meg, Steph, Chris, Jim, Joe, Jess and all of the grand-kids made certain that my birthday was a joyous one.  I received a pair of much-needed shoes (athletic, tennis, walking, aerobic…………..not sure what to call them…………………I just know not to call them “running” shoes!!!!!), a “Go Bucks” Pandora charm, and a Jewel Kade necklace (JK is a  Party Plan vintage jewelry company that Jennifer began selling for part-time).  As you can see the two-sided charm has the S monogram on one side and our wedding photograph on the other.  Now I can always have Crick’s  “goofy”, but always engaging smile close at hand :).  My grandchildren also honored my birthday by restraining themselves from commenting on my “short, poofy” hair, my boring “black and white” wardrobe and my “wrinkled” face!!!!! (each of these telling observations have been highlighted in previous blogs).  And………………..speaking of grandchildren …….they continue to prove to be quite an entertaining group.  Since the beginning of the new school year I have added a couple more TGIFriday kids and now have to switch cars with Jessica or Stephanie as my Altima cannot safely accommodate eight of them.  I actually only have six of the grand-kids at I.C., but Tori (my niece and Christine’s daughter) is in Sam’s class and Tommy (the “shark tooth in the head” almost five-year old) didn’t want to miss out on the action.  Given their varying ages (from 13 down to 5) and their very different personalities (Sam, the “teaser/instigator”, Natalie, the “actress”, Olivia, the “unflappable”, Sophia, the “director”, Tori, the “commander”, Luke the “mastermind”, Sydney, the “informer”, and Tommy the “rookie instigator”) it usually isn’t too long before battle lines are drawn!!  LOL  The other day when they were all here, they found any number of plastic baseball bats and a few badminton rackets in the garage and were seen circling the outside of the house with bats and rackets raised…………………… one was crying and I saw no blood……………………..and so I remained inside to enjoy the temporary peace and quiet.  I later learned that they had been playing “Hunger Games” (??????????)………………..and yes, in case you are wondering, I was puzzled as to the purpose of their “game”, but I decided, for once, to remain blissfully ignorant and asked no further questions. LOL!!!

You know, my wise, very wise Mother once told me when I was probably “whining and complaining” too much about the frustrations of motherhood that you can try to mold your child’s personality, but you will never change that personality.  Oh my gosh, she was dead-on!!  I have been an over-anxious, OCD  “nut” my entire life…………………..I have told this story on myself more than once………………….when I was about eight or nine years old we were living on Chatham Rd. in Clintonville and I was walking with some of the older neighborhood kids to the rec center which was just down the street.  We were waiting to cross High Street and when the traffic cleared, they all started to cross, but I wouldn’t budge.  They came back to get me, but I said that I wasn’t allowed to cross there because there was a sign that read “Presbyterian Crossing” and I, of course, was a Catholic.  Now I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I am quite certain it was something like, “Ma-ry Mar-ga-ret…… are…………. a “n-u-t”……………………. a “nut“!!!  That sign reads Pedestrian Crossing, not Presbyterian!!!”  I don’t think I was even embarrassed, more like…………relieved………imagine what my life might have been like if I would have had to become a Presbyterian just to get across that road!!!!!!!

Another little observation about the “from birth” differences of my entertaining grand-kids concerns the communication skills of Mayce vs Josh (there are, of course, exceptions to this but you know the saying…………………………basically, men are from Mars and women are from Venus!!!)  Mayce and Josh are the youngest of three in each of their respective families……………Josh started walking at eight and a half months, was running by his first birthday and climbing all over everything in sight shortly thereafter. Mayce on the other hand didn’t start taking steps until she was beyond her first birthday and running came quite a bit after that, as for climbing….well, let’s just say she is still very cautious.  However, when it comes to verbalizing……………Mayce was all over that milestone………………..she was talking in coherent sentences at just about the time Josh had figured out how to climb out of his crib!!  Meanwhile we were all left wondering when Josh would finally begin to let us know what exactly was going on inside that head of his.  Until a couple of months ago, he spoke in some foreign language known only to himself but now, he is slowly revealing those innermost thoughts to all of us (hint………it’s short and swe………………well, it’s short!!!)

After watching that video if you are curious as to whether Josh has any words other than “Dad” in his vocabulary, I can assure you he has acquired quite a few now.  Just last week Jessica picked up Josh after I had been watching him for a short period and she said that when they returned home, Josh blurted out this entire sentence to Christopher…………………………………”I had fun with Nana……………………..I cleaned” (ya’ gotta’ get them when they’re young………………after age seven, they’ve learned that “cleaning” is no longer any fun!!!!! LOL).

One last reference about my age……………………………….. I was given a survey from Bob Evans this week to receive a free coffee, and when I got to the end of the survey, one of the last questions you are asked is what age group you are in………………I was appalled to learn that I am teetering on the very edge of the last and oldest group!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously though, when you are fortunate to live over sixty years in this world, you discover that God blesses you the most with lasting personal relationships which impact you all throughout your earthly life.  As I have stated many, many times over the course of the past two years, I have indeed been richly blessed!!!   And as my life continues to unfold in unexpected ways, I have grown more attuned to seeing how God works in the world each and every day to reveal Himself to us through the kindness and goodness of those around us.

I am perpetually with you, taking care of you.  That is the most important fact of your existence.  I am not limited by time or space; My Presence with you is a forever-promise.  You need not fear the future, for I am already there.  When you make that quantum leap into eternity, you will find Me awaiting you in heaven.  Your future is in My hands;  I release it to you day by day, moment by moment.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.

I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do.  Don’t be distracted by future concerns.  Leave them to Me!  Each day of life is a glorious gift, but so few people know how to live within the confines of today.  Much of their energy for abundant living spills over the time line into tomorrow’s worries or past regrets.  Their remaining energy is sufficient only for limping through the day, not for living it to the full.  I am training you to keep your focus on My Presence in the present.  This is how to receive abundant Life, which flows freely from My throne of grace.               from Jesus Calling

So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.                         Matthew 6:34



P.S.   The narrow Buckeye win not withstanding…………it has been a very good sports week…………………I am 3-1 in my FFFL league and in second place!!!  The Yankees have at least clinched a play-off berth and still lead by one game over the Orioles!!!   If the Reds and the Yankees end up, by some miracle, in the World Series, I am going to have to re-mortgage my home to get tickets…………….Crick against me…………..what could be more of a contest?????!!!!!  LOL

Oh Where, Oh Where Did “Mare” Go?

Having been absent from my blog for almost three weeks, I was thinking (danger, danger!!) about how to begin this entry.  Then from out of nowhere, this childhood tune entered into my head and I began to play around with the lyrics just a tiny bit and it came out like this  :

Oh where, oh where has Crick’s crazy “nut” gone?

Oh where, oh where has she been?

When the power went out and the family moved in

Oh where, oh where did she go?

If, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, then these few pics tell the whole story of the past several weeks.

A day after the last post, we had a thirty minute violent storm pass through central Ohio bringing with it 70-80 mph winds which toppled hordes of trees and brought down power lines all over the area.  Within minutes, nearly every single family member with the exception of my brother Tommy & my sister Kathy had lost all power.   Up until the “great” snow/ice storm and power outage of Christmas, 2004 in which power was out for days, and in some cases, weeks; we had never worried too much about losing electricity as the power was usually restored in a matter of hours.  Then, in September, 2008 we had the effects of Hurricane Ike bring hurricane force winds into Columbus and all electricity was again lost for up to seven days.  When we lost power at that time, Crick had gone on craigslist and purchased a generator, because I moaned and complained that I just had to have my hair dryer!!!! (Heaven knows I could have cared less about not being able to “boil” that pot of water LOL).  Now here is the great question I have been pondering, was Crick pleading with God on my behalf so that I was spared the loss of electricity and the use of my precious hair dryer, or, was there some serious bargaining going on between him and God, so as to make sure that each one of our adult children, as well as Christine and Mike, lost their power, thus making my house the “go to” place for refrigeration, laundry, showers,  electronic charging station, television & video viewing, eating a hot meal and hanging out (Stephanie, Joe and the 3 grandkids……..were there really only 3…..were here for five days………..was it really only five……..Joe, I am just kidding!! ????).   Is Crick really getting the “last laugh”????!!!!  It remains a great question :).

Eventually, Stephanie, Joe and kids moved out (LOL) as the AEP crews, having worked long hours in incredible heat, restored power and returned everyone back to the 21st century.  We were then able to celebrate the birthdays of Olivia, Katie and the USA before heading to Kure Beach, North Carolina on July 7th with a contingent of 27 family members  (unfortunately, Steph, Joe and the kids had to pass this trip up as Stephanie is in her next to last quarter of nursing school………..I do believe Joe was silently breathing a sigh of relief………having spent five days living under the same roof as his “nutty” mother-in-law, another seven days may have sent him over the edge!!  LOL).  We were fortunate to find an affordable 12 bedroom duplex which accommodated our large group very nicely.  There was access to both sides off of the upper deck and so all of the younger kids found great pleasure in playing hide and seek between the two sides when they had had enough of the sun and surf.  The pier was just up the road from the house where the kids could get an ice cream cone and play arcade games in the evening.  Everyone was free to come and go as they pleased and sort of “do their own thing”.   No matter the time of day, there always seemed to be someone who was ready to ride the waves, search for seashells, play some beach volleyball or a game of wiffle ball, sit down for a game of euchre, “pass the trash” or catch-phrase.   On Tuesday, Todd, Tom, Mike, Leah and Erin got up early to embark on a four-hour fishing trip during which time they caught over 50 Spanish mackerel, some of which then became our dinner for that evening.  As they were all discussing the events of the morning, I couldn’t help but remember how Crick loved to fish, although “catching” fish was something that often eluded him.  I used to say that it was a holiday for all sea life whenever Crick headed out somewhere with his tackle box and fishing pole :).  He did manage to bring back a little “surprise” for me when we were at North Topsail Beach a couple of years ago.  He had apparently been waiting very patiently for me this particular day to come up the stairs, and then when he heard me open the door. he presented me with his “catch” of the day (someone (Jessica) just happened to have her camera ready)…………….it was only a little old sand shark, but it was still alive and wiggling, and as you can tell from the picture, I wanted nothing to do with it!   You see, sand sharks are but one reason why I don’t venture very far out into the ocean water…….squishy, gritty sand under my feet, sand in my suit and in my hair, and salt water on my lips are several others.  My bird phobia also served to provide a bit of family entertainment as I tried to relax in my comfy beach chair while gazing out at the beautiful blue and aqua water, for I was continually startled and tormented by low flying sea gulls.  This may seem quite inconsequential to more seasoned beach goers, but I nearly fell out of my chair ducking and weaving  to avoid being in their flight path.  Not only did these sea gulls seem to single me out on the beach, they also targeted me while we were dining out on a pier one night in Wrightsville Beach.   The particular sea-gull in the picture seemed to delight in circling our table as we were eating, occasionally landing precariously close to us on one of the umbrella tops or wooden posts, and at other times vigorously flapping his wings as he hovered over a nearby railing.  He did this so many times that I would have sworn Crick had come back reincarnated as the pesky, annoying sea-gull :).   I admit that I really am a big beach sissy, but perhaps a few more trips to the ocean and I may actually conquer my fears and wade all the way into the ocean up to my waist and bring along a picnic lunch for the birds!   I do, after all, consider myself to be still a work in progress!!  Wait…………………..did I just say p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s…….. that  sets off a little bell in my brain, as in p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e, which leads to the dreaded “p” word!  I will apologize right now for continuing on this hazardous path, but while I had “Oscar” (laptop) with me and internet access, there was always too much going on to devote any time to keeping up with the “outside” world.  Now that I am home and have re-engaged with the blogoshpere……I find my “obsession” has reignited.  I just want to let you all know, that as I was quite innocently walking down to the pier one evening with the grandkids, I was taking note of all of the various beach homes and as I came to this particular house what do you suppose stared right back at me?????  Not just one, not just two, not just three, but 5 Barack Obama posters and signs strategically placed in the windows on all three levels of the house…………….they could hear my “ranting” all the way back to our duplex LOL!!

I do have a little confession to make…………I donated to Obama’s campaign……………G-A-S-P!!  Better make that a double G-A-S-P!!  I think the devil made me do it.  You see, I received an e-mail from the Obama campaign stating that if I donated to the campaign, I would be entered into a raffle and if selected, I would be invited to have dinner with the President as well as select his dinner partner.   I just could not pass up this opportunity and so I clicked on the donate icon and entered in my $1.00 donation………………….it was rejected!!!!  Apparently, the minimum donation is $3.00, and so I mulled that over for a moment, held my breath, waited for lightening to strike, and then clicked “donate”.  The “deed” was done, but then the fun part came as I was directed to a page with an insert designated for typing in the name of the person being chosen for the President’s dinner partner.  Very carefully I began to type in…………………………..G-L-E-N-N  B-E-C-K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh yes, that $3.00 was a very small price to pay for the momentary pleasure that one act provided to me!!  And now, that I have managed to sneak that name into my blog, this seems to be a great opportunity to give a “shout out” to Chris, Jessica, Sophia & Sydney who decided to take part in Beck’s National Lemonade Stand & Bake Sale Day in June which raised almost $400.00 and was split between two charities (Mercury One, provided 600 pounds of food to feed the needy and the Peletonia/One Goal, a bike tour which raises funds to fight cancer).  It was so encouraging to witness so many people willing to give generously on behalf of those in need – one gentleman handed Christopher a  crisp $100 bill!!

      The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.          Mahatma Gandhi

Looking back, as I am want to do these days, over the past few weeks especially, thinking of all of the recent family moments………….the birthdays, graduations, showers, weddings, the lemonade stand, t-ball, baseball & softball games, the beach vacation and even the power outage…… gives me pause to reflect yet once again, how very blessed I have been and how very grateful I am for all of the wonderful people in my life, be they family or friends.  When I close my eyes at night, I can truly say that I am at peace knowing that I have my Faith, I have my Family, I have my Friends and I have Hope :).

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.  God is awake.                          Victor Hugo



P.S.  I owe a great, big thank you to Jay for insisting that I bring my car into his shop to have the oil changed (one of those jobs Crick always took care of and one that I definitely will not be taking on), and while checking over the tires, he found a large bulge in one of the rear tires.  He set me up with a brand new tire which made the journey a safe one :)………..if you are looking for a trustworthy mechanic, I highly recommend Jay’s NASCAR Garage!!

P.P.S.  Another first for me was that I drove the entire way home from North Carolina, something I would never have needed to do with Crick around……it was always much more fun for me to be the “backseat driver”………… and I could sure “drive” him crazy without ever touching the wheel!!! LOL

You Would All Be Right

Guess to whom this saying refers!!!

I was sitting here pondering over the gazillion thoughts darting back and forth inside my head, searching for a way to begin this blog, and then I remembered the mug I had removed from the dishwasher earlier today.   A daily reminder that “the jig is up” as, apparently, over many years,  I have been revealing way too much of my strong-willed, somewhat stubborn, some might even say, “controlling” personality (LOL…….you are laughing about that controlling part, aren’t you?? ) to way too many family members  (it may have begun unraveling around the time of the highly touted King’s Island Main Street “incident” …….a not so quiet, very public stand-off that Caringbridge followers may remember occurred between Crick and me on a corner of a street in the amusement park on a blistering hot summer’s day over where to eat lunch……….outside of Restaurant #1 at a picnic table sitting on hard wooden seats with the sun beating down on us in the company of several different kinds of pesky insects…………..ooooorrrrrr…………….inside of Restaurant #2 sitting on soft padded chairs to be “waited on” in air-conditioned luxury and comfort!!!!!).  Now perhaps you are wondering who in the world  would feel a relationship with me to be so secure that he/she felt this sort of mug gift would not prove to be offensive??  Well, besides Crick (who secretly may have been wishing he had thought of it first…..LOL!).   Think sibling, think youngest female, think “Clark Culinary Queen ” (I taught her everything she knows about boiling water!!!!!!!), think person who is married to “Crick Jr.” (a brother-in-law who bears that title proudly)……………………………………………………………………..

Christine,………………………………………. you may take a bow as I am sure all family members are now applauding the Lucy likeness to moi :).  However, I would like everyone to remember that, regarding the “Great Pumpkin”, Lucy was right!!!!!!!!

As the previous blog was taken up with the details of my “heaven” encounter  (and, by the way, I have now read the book and, having many years ago read of others’ NDE’s (near death experiences), I can attest to the comfort and hope provided by these revelations),  I will detail just a few of the highlights of the activities of the past month.:

  •  In late May, I paid a visit to Glacier Ridge Elementary to return a book that was presented to me at the funeral home which the Glacier Ridge library had decided to dedicate in Crick’s memory.  It was a touching story of a Grandpa who was just the sort of character and mentor that Crick had been to all of the school kids.  Ann, one of the school’s secretaries gave me a copy of the 2011/2012 yearbook which had a touching memorial dedication on the first page.   I took with me two small gifts for Lauren and Maureen, teachers at GRE whom Crick had teased mercilessly about their politics (imagine that!!).  Back in October they had brought a huge bag of handmade Get Well wishes from students from each grade to the hospital along with a gift from Maureen of a red “Beanie Baby” elephant and some of Crick’s favorite “mints”.  She told Crick there was a companion blue donkey, but that she had kept that one for herself!  LOL  Anyway, I returned the elephant to Maureen so that she could remember which way to vote in November (jjjjjjjjjuuuuuuuussssstttt kidding!) and I gave a Barack Obama bell with a  tiny GOP flag to Lauren!!  (If only the election were not such a deadly serious topic)…………………….don’t worry, I am not going there :)
  • I have been most fortunate to have been visited by a couple of very dear high school friends in the past couple of weeks……………………I was treated to breakfast at Bob Evans with Tim Lavelle who was on his way, via motorcycle, from Florida, crossing the USA all by his lonesome…………quite an adventure and one Crick would have been quite envious of.  (oops, there’s that darn preposition again!).  Tim was encouraged by his son to write a blog of his journey ( and, as Tim is a funny guy, his blog is quite entertaining and filled with some amazing pictures of the beauty that is the USA.  While at breakfast, Tim had mentioned to me that he was thinking about heading to the Grand Canyon.   I immediately thought of Crick who, because of his “dreamcrusher” wife, missed out on, according to Crick, “the opportunity of a lifetime”!  Fifteen years ago, Crick and I had an occasion to visit Arizona for four days, compliments of the dental practice I was working for at the time.  We had a rental car, and there was a discussion among the small group of us, about taking a day and driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon.  Now, not only am I afraid of heights, but it was also the thought of driving hours to get some place just to see a “bunch of rocks” (I know, I know, I know…… I have seen magnificent pictures of the grandeur that is this national treasure, but at the time………………..the lure of the resort’s swimming pool just seem way more relaxing!!!).  Anyway, forever after that trip, whenever there was any mention of the Grand Canyon, I would get an earful of how I had deprived DH (dear husband) (who had only this one chance to travel West to God’s country…… his definition of Arizona and Colorado) of seeing “up close and in person” THE GRAND CANYON!!!  Therefore, I suggested to Tim that if he did choose the Grand Canyon route, maybe he could give a shout out in Crick’s memory……………………..well, Tim did one better than that………………….he made it his “mission” to go to the Grand Canyon taking a memento of Crick’s that I had given to Tim and placed it on the rocks in the south rim of the canyon overlooking some magnificent scenery :)  Hats off to Tim!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The other visit was from Beth who stayed overnight coming and going from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis to visit family.  We were able to catch up on our families and had long, long discussions about religion and politics……………………..the perfect combo LOL!!!!!  I nominate her to defend me in a court of law should I ever happen to be impugned for my writings as a “right wing nut”!!!!
  • The Clark family gathered in Granville for Shannon and Dave’s wedding on the 16th of June.  Nephews Jake, Sean and Matt came home for their sister’s big day.  Matt drove up from New Orleans, Jake flew in from California, but Sean topped them both…………..he surprised Shannon at the rehearsal dinner flying all the way from South Korea where he is teaching English!!  Now that is true brotherly love, don’t you think???   And what a great time we all had dancing to Shout, Sweet Caroline, YMCA, etc., and the little kids all loved the rendition of the Chicken Song.  Thank goodness, my left foot was completely healed so I could stay out on the dance floor till the very end (and no, it wasn’t pretty, but it was great fun!!).   The one song that has become a Clark tradition since Jennifer and Jim’s wedding 15 years ago is The Piano Man………………..from youngest to oldest this gets them all out on the floor forming a gigantic circle singing and swaying to the music of Billy Joel.

My word counter is telling me that it is time to wrap this up, besides I have a lot of “homework” to do now that the Supreme Court has made my life more difficult……………..sorry, I can only hold it in for soooooooo long :).  That being said, this is a good time to reflect on a reading from a few days ago.

“Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what.  Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day.  Nothing takes Me by surprise.  I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me.  I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents.  Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh all your troubles.  Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities.”                                    from  Jesus Calling

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths For His Name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
For you are with me;
Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord My whole life long.”
[Psalm 23:1-6; ]



P.S.  Did you notice the new blog style????