A BILLION THANKS
for your kind, loving and compassionate support over Christi's 4th Angelversary! We are so blessed. I would not say it was easy at all, but knowing others were keeping us in their thoughts and prayers during such difficult days was heartwarming to say the least - THANK YOU!
We started the weekend off with Shayne's dad arriving at our home. It was FABULOUS to see him! Shayne was flying back from Canada, where he had been for his company, so I suggested we go to a pumpkin patch to get some fall decorations. We had a blast!
Unfortunately, Grandpa only makes it to Ohio about once a year so it was awesome to get to spend some time with him - not enough time however.
This beautiful little kitten came up to Shayla while she was picking out her pumpkins. Ironically, a similar gray cat showed up at our home. Shayla was LOVING IT! She really felt like it was Christi's spirit with us. Some may remember, in August, before Christi died in September the three of us gals were talking about what we would try to send back to earth, if we died and were able to send messages to loved ones from Heaven. Christi said something like, "If I die and you ever find a stray cat on the porch or something, that would be my sign." Shayla came bursting in the house one afternoon upon finding a gray cat under a bush. "Mom! This is the fourth time since Christi died that a stray cat showed up for a few days! Do you think it's Christi letting us know she's ok?"
At one point during mass on Sunday (September 19th - our dreaded day) I thought I saw tears welting up in Shayla's eyes. After church she did not feel well and just wanted to go home. that was totally out of character. Thankfully, she felt much better after I fixed lunch so we grabbed some sweet neighbor kids and took them to the Heritage Festival. They enjoyed the Living History and we enjoyed visiting with many friends who were there.
It was very interesting to hear from a friend that when asked to name a wish Shayla's was to have Christi back.
I was very blessed to spend some time outdoors this week enjoying the incredibly lovely weather. One day Shayne called me and said, "What are you doing?" "Grading papers," I replied. "Oh, I wanted you to meet me and some friends out on the deck at the Pioneer Mill for drinks and snacks, but if you have to grade papers now, I understand." "Ha!" I said, "I will meet you there in 10 minutes. I can finish grading later."
On Thursday I went to the shrine in Carey with mom and dad. I had never been there and really wanted to explore it. After mass we had a picnic. The weather has been absolutely amazing!
I had two items that were personally exciting (ok, downright thrilling) for me this week. #1: Throughout the summer, I had been emailing with and talking with an impressive superintendent regarding some literacy consulting they were interested in having me do this year if they received one of the $100,000 "Race to the Top" grants. They got the grant so I sat down and met with them, and shared proposals, etc. recently. I'm happy to say that I will be working, through my consulting business I established with the state last February, with this school district one day a week throughout the year. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity and I think I will do a really good job for them. Both BGSU and this school district are on board to allow me to conduct research as part of my research agenda as well. My teaching schedule in the spring is just to teach two classes like I did last fall. (Since I'm Junior Faculty - first three years, I'm only allowed to teach two classes one semester and three classes the other seemster. I asked to teach a third class for more money, but I was told that was against BGSU policies and I couldn't do it.) So I'm teaching two classes with one of them being an online class I taught last summer. I was afraid I was going to be bored, but God is good and this consulting and researching opportunity fits the ticket! (There will be no boredom now! Whew!)
#2: My boss boss is incredibly awesome. We have totally different personalities, but I totally respect how hard she works, what she accomplishes, etc. she's just not the bubby, warm and fuzzy type. One day this week she said, "Dr. Thomas, how much time do you have? We need to talk." (Oh, yikes! Was she really going to change my whole teaching schedule or something.) I told her I had 12 minutes. She said, "Let's go for a little walk." (Oh, again, I couldn't imagine what she had up her sleeve and what I was going to be asked to take on!) She led me down the hall, keyed into this room that was stacked with boxes and furniture. I thought, "This is odd. This is really, really odd, what is this room?" Then she said, "Welcome to your new office." For half of a second I thought, "What? I love my office. It's the cutest one on campus. I'm not moving." THEN I SAW IT
- a floor to ceiling window with a gorgeous view of one of the older lovely buildings on campus, one with beautiful ivy growing up it - amazing! I said, "I was told someone has to die around here before you can get an office with a window!" She laughed and suggested some different places I could place my desk, etc. Like I wasn't already blown away, then she said I needed to see my secretary to pick out what colors I wanted it painted, to select whatever carpet I wanted and to order my new furniture. They will have it ready for me over winter break and I can take my time moving in. I just need to be out of my current office by summer - April 30th. Yipee! She said, "Any problems?" I said, "Yes, I'm floating now and I have to teach in 30 minutes. It's going to be a little hard for me to do that since my feet aren't touching the floor." She laughed and I said, "Don't worry. I will make it really nice!" She said, "I know you will," and walked away. God is good! (No one died and I got a window!)
(PIC: September 23, 2005) In a short while I will pick Shayla up from school and head to the great Heidelberg University where they are so kindly having their annual pediatric cancer research fundraiser (Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund) in Christi's memory. Because I've always had to work during the day, or last year because I was defending my dissertation right now (So grateful that is behind me!), this will be the first year I will really get to go and partake. I'm so very happy! One year my principal let me quickly run over on my lunch break so I got to see Christi "in action" but this is the first year I can really go and savor, help and share my deepest thanks. I know I will be in tears. I'm tearing up just thinking about it all. God is good! Thanks, Dr. Lori Grine and the Berg!