Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful For Another Day, November 26, 2015

Thank you for the breath to say
Thank you for another day.

On this Thanksgiving Day, 2015, as I think about our family, I am grateful for many things. Here are a few at the top of my Thanksgiving list.

I give thanks for the newest and the oldest family members among us: Finley Grace Shepard and her Great Grandmother Maida Shepard. Finley is the infant daughter of my nephew Christopher Shepard and Jessica Bell of Seattle, Washington. Maida is the proud Great Grandmother of 11, with Finley, at just 6 weeks old, being the youngest of them all. Thank God for Finley and all the babies in our family and for the hope they give us for the future! This first picture shows Maida holding her Great Granddaughter Finley with Maida's birthday cake in the foreground. Maida turned 91 on the first day of this month.

I am also very grateful for my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston, Maida's sister, who is in failing health. It was difficult for her to say goodbye to her husband Duke Johnston who died after a long illness this past summer in Oak Harbor, Washington. 

Vicki had been a resident of Whidbey Island in Washington since the mid 1970s when she moved there from San Diego. This second picture was taken in the early years of Vicki's time in Washington and shows her with Cindy Shepard, wife of my brother Gary.

Vicki was the first of our extended family to move to Washington when she and then-husband Al Perry relocated there. A few years later my parents Maida and Gene Shepard retired and moved from San Diego to Northwest Washington. Today at least 21 members of our Shepard and Gower families live in that area, and it all started with Vicki's decision to move there about 40 years ago. Last month Vicki moved to Sun Lakes, Arizona to live in a care facility near her daughter Paula Tuzzolino.

Happy Birthday this Sunday to Kim Boyd Clark and her grandson Damian Ortiz!

Damian will celebrate his 9th birthday in El Cajon, California where he lives with his family. Damian is one of the great great Grandchildren of Will and Bura Shepard and the third of the five children of Desiree and Jeremy Ortiz. Damian's grandmother Kim, born 45 years before Damian, lives in Blue Springs, Missouri with husband Jeff Clark. This picture shows Kim and grandson Damian in a picture taken last summer in San Diego.

Kim: Winter is beginning to set in here. I love my job at the high school cafeteria. It gives me a lot of joy working with the High School kids and I also love my free time to go places and enjoy life. We will be spending a few weeks in San Diego for Christmas. Jeff and I sold our house and are planning on getting a motor home within the next year to travel and spoil our grandkids even more!

Mom Desiree: Damian is doing wonderful and will be celebrating his 9th birthday on Saturday with friends and family cosmic bowling and playing laser tag. He is thriving in school and played baseball last season and made the All-Star team. Besides Baseball Damien enjoys skateboarding and building with Legos. I just can't believe my first baby boy will be nine years old! Jeremy and I are very proud of Damian and all that he accomplishes. It makes us very proud parents and we love him so much.

May your Thanksgiving Day be a happy one, filled with family joy, good food, and gratitude for all you have.
- - -
Steve Shepard

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