keep on the sunny side
They never would have known, way back there in elementary school, but my grandson, Josh Petersen and his girlfriend, Athena Ramirez were going to be life-long friends, and now much more. Athena is a name of Greek origin meaning “Wise.” I like that. Years later, they found themselves working together, and they renewed their friendship, and before long that friendship grew into love. I can totally see why Josh is taken with Athena. She has a wonderful, bubbly personality, and a beautiful smile. She is such a happy person, so that smile shows up all the time.
In perfect Athena-style, her favorite flower is the sunflower. She also likes roses, and the two of them together, while not something you would expect to see, are beautiful. The sunflower totally fits Athena’s sunny disposition, so it makes the perfect favorite flower. Athena loves plants in general, so I know their apartment will be filled with beautiful plants. They even went to “Rock the Block” in downtown Casper earlier this month and got to paint so really cute planters. That made Athena very happy, because now she has more planters for the plants she wants in the apartment.
Athena not only loves plants, but she likes to get out in nature and see lots of them. One of her favorite activities is hiking, which my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I love to do as well. She loves spending time at the lake with her family and friends, and swimming and soaking up the sun. Being outdoors makes her feel happy and she spreads that happiness to those around her. Plus, it’s healthy to be out in the fresh air, hiking and enjoying nature. God made a beautiful world for us. Athena really loves to be out in it.
Athena is all about family. She loves her nieces and nephews, and loves spending time with her family. She has also enjoys hanging out with our family, because for her family is number one, and we have become her family too. No matter which family she is with, Athena brings the sunshine with her. I know my mom, Collene Spencer would love that too, because her favorite saying was “Keep of the Sunny Side.” One day Athena can meet her and my dad, Allen Spencer in Heaven, and they will just love her. I think Josh really needed a sunny person in his life. He can be a little too serious sometimes. He forgets to have fun, and Athena has taught him to have fun again. I love the saying they have about each other. Josh is her always, and she is his forever. Just beautiful!! Today is Athena’s birthday. Happy birthday Athena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Life in the home of my youth had many facets, as I’m sure most homes do. There was work to be done, and rules to be followed, but there was also lots of joy and goofiness. My mother, Collene Byer Spencer, was the type of person who might do just about anything. We sometimes simply didn’t know what to expect. I’m sure part of it was from her own upbringing, because she would try to get us to sing songs with her, such as “Keep on the Sunny Side” which was designed to start our day in a happy way, or to ease the tension in a stressful one. If we just couldn’t be made to laugh, “Keep on the Sunny Side” was her first line of defense, usually followed by something goofy she said or did that would make us laugh in spite of ourselves and our sour mood. I suppose she had to come up with something, because life with five teenaged girls and the drama that went with it could be a challenge. Mom just wanted her girls to be happy and to know the joy that simply being alive brings. I can’t say that her plans always worked, because some of us could be a stubborn lot…ok, mostly me, but my sisters too. Still, I think of the five of us, I was probably the most bull headed. You can ask my sisters, and I think they will agree with me…possibly to remove any stigma of stubbornness from themselves, but in realty, I do think I was probably the most stubborn of us all.
I remember Mom sometimes making goofy faces, or acting in some outlandish way just to make the moment less stressful. Sometimes I think I should have taken note of that plan more in my life. I find that I have a tendency to be rather serious…possibly because I am a thinker, and usually deep in thought about one thing or another. Maybe cutting loose and doing something outlandishly funny would be good for me. It always seemed to make Mom a happy person. It’s not that I’m not happy either, just that I don’t usually show it in a big way…and sometimes I wish I could cut loose that way. Sometimes, I think my life is too serious in nature, too often.
I think my parents tried to do things that would make us laugh. Things like a bottoms up picture on a bridge to get a giggle out of everyone. Yes, that’s how they labeled it. Often times it worked, and continues to work now, whenever we look at the picture. It’s like a way of continuing their goofing off into the time of our lives when they are no longer with us. Who knew that those funny memories would serve to bring so much joy and happiness in our later years. I think we sometimes let our lives get far to serious. We all need to take a page out of my parents book, and cut loose sometimes. The longer my parents are gone, the more I truly understand just how very wise they were. It is my hope that I can grow to be as wise as they were. I love you Mom and Dad.