Monday, April 25, 2011

Cloud of Witnesses, April 25, 2011

Since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us run with perseverance
the race set before us.
~Paul the Apostle

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Birthday on this Easter Monday to Amanda Clark Farrell and Susan Clark Cox, twin daughters of Jane Brock and Jerry Clark of Lubbock, Texas. The first picture shows Susan on the left and Amanda on the right right with dad Jerry in the middle.

I once tried to explain that Amanda and Susan are my late sister's first husband's and his second wife's second and third (or possibly third and second) children. But people started throwing things at me when I said that. So I'll just say that they are long time family friends. They were born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, where Susan and husband Andrew, with their children, still live. Amanda and Chris live in Fort Worth.

Susan: 31 is definitely easier than my transition into 30. At my ripe old age, I have discovered a few things. I get all wrapped up in birthdays. I love everything about birthdays the phone calls, the cards, the meals. But mostly I just like spending time with the people that mean so much to me. I hope they feel as blessed by my friendship as I do by theirs. And that includes my family. I am truly grateful for where God continues to place me and for the relationships he has allowed me to participate in. What a blessing each day is!

Amanda: Things here in North Texas are wonderful! We're both staying busy with work and enjoying every second! Chris recently joined the staff at Fellowship of the Metroplex in Mansfield! My work in the cubicle world continues to be fun and challenging! I love what I do and the people I do it with! Our new location allows us to split the commute from my job to the church. We are getting to know a new area of the DFW metroplex. We leave on May 18th for a week with friends in Belgium and are hoping to make a trip to Mexico in the fall. The last year has been one of transitions but God has continued to be faithful and has blessed us with a new place to further his Kingdom! The past two birthdays have flown by at a crazy pace - I keep reminding myself to soak it all in!

Cloud of Witnesses. This is also a week to remember the birthdays of 3 other wonderful people in our family whose memories will always hold a special place in the hearts of many of us. These three are, for me, among those who will forever be part of  "the great cloud of witnesses" who surround us and inspire our living. Ironically, the last born of these three died first, and the first born of these three died last.

The last born was my cousin Beverly Russell Wilk, daughter of Bill and Pauline Shepard Russell, and mother of Shannon Wilk of Atchison, Kansas. She was born April 27, 1939 in Two Buttes, Colorado. She died in a San Diego hospital in December of 1974 at the tender age of 35. Click here to see a picture of Bev with her daughter, mother and grandmother.

My grandmother Nola Shannon Gower was born in Mountain View, Arkansas April 28, 1902 or 03 (depending on which historical record you're reading). The oldest person I ever knew, she died in Anacortes, Washington in the summer of 2004 at the tender age of 101 (or 102). See second picture of her and husband Leroy taken in 1972.

My father Eugene Shepard was also born on April 28 (18 years after his mother-in-law Nola), but in Logan, Oklahoma in 1921. He died 8 years ago in Anacortes. Wednesday of this week marks the 90th anniversary of his birth. The second picture shows 33 year old Eugene, with 5 year old me, on what appears to be Easter Sunday, 1954, in front of our home on Ulric Street in San Diego.
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