A Prayer on My Birthday

Rockford, Illinois © LISA S CLARK 2022

Dear God, Thank You so much for guiding, supporting, protecting, and loving me for another year. I couldn’t do Life without You. 

Thank You so much for my wonderful husband Terry, who sang to me moments after waking, and my dear 88 year old mother Ulla, who called and sang me a Swedish birthday song. My heart is so full.

In the midst of my blessings, God, I think about all those suffering in the world right now. I pray that You give strength, support, and healing to all those in need. AMEN.

💜 My Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 23:1-6 💜

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”

“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.”

“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” 

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” 

“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.”

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” AMEN.

My Parents

San Diego, California © LISA S CLARK 2022

This is one of my favorite photos of my parents. They were visiting me at my home in San Diego, California in 1998. I was working on my Ph.D. and hadn’t yet decided which state I would seek licensure as a Psychologist. 

After completing my postdoctoral internship in 2001, I decided to move back to the Midwest. I proceeded to get my Psychologist License in Wisconsin. 

My parents were still able to enjoy the San Diego house during the winter months after my dad retired full-time in 2002. They were very happy to get a break from Northern Illinois winters.

In this photo, they are sitting on my back patio, which could not look more different than my current back patio here in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Young at Heart

Green Bay, Wisconsin © LISA S CLARK 2022

This is 55. When you stay young at heart, it shows. My husband has true love, peace, and happiness in his life, and for a man, that is everything. He loves his job, and his health has never been better. Most importantly, he knows how to play and not take life too seriously. I turn 55 myself next month, and try to follow his example as much as possible.

Aging is a Blessing

Boston, Massachusetts  © LISA S CLARK 2022

This is me the Summer of ’89 at 22 years old. I was lost and confused, but kept hearing people say, “college will be the best years of your life!” As I reached my late twenties, I heard how I was going to be “old” once I turned 30 – how ridiculous is that?! 

By the time I reached 40, there was talk of being “middle aged”, and never in a flattering way. Luckily by then, I’d figured a few things out, like not caring about “they” and “them”. When I reached 50, I felt my best yet, even as people were welcoming me to the “over-the-hill” club. 

It’s all just nonsense. I wouldn’t trade who I am now at 54 for myself at 22 for a million dollars. Because aging, if you let it, brings immeasurable wisdom, peace, confidence, and focus. I truly believe – life before 50 is simply research.

A Mother’s Love

New Orleans, Louisiana © LISA S CLARK 2022

I just enjoyed an hourlong phone call with my mom. She’s at that age when you realize that each conversation could be your last.

We’ve had a lot of adventures and fun together over the years, and I will always cherish those memories. This is a souvenir photo from a riverboat trip we took when we visited New Orleans in March 1990. We were celebrating my 23rd birthday.

During our call today, I was talking about my life with my husband, the home we’ve created, and how I am managing my MS. She suddenly became emotional and said, “I’m really proud of you, Lisa … everything you’ve done.” 

Well, that beam of sunshine just filled my whole heart and spirit. There’s just nothing like a Mother’s Love.

Holidays are Bittersweet

Rockford, Illinois © LISA S CLARK 2021

Many of us struggle with loss during the holidays, especially now during the pandemic. This is notably true when it’s a parent that has passed on. This is my husband and his mother, Ann Clark, who died on Thanksgiving Day in 2017. My own father, Edward Kercher, died in 2011, a few days before Father’s Day. It doesn’t get any easier as the years pass, as much as you wish it did.

Me & My Mom

Rockford, Illinois © LISA S CLARK 2021

My mom, Ulla Kercher, is an amazing woman. At 88 years old, she just moved to a small home in a senior living community in my hometown, Rockford, IL. She has been a widow for 10+ years and had maintained two houses after my dad passed away, one in Rockford and one in San Diego, CA. My dad would be so proud of her and delighted that she is doing well with an abundance of support from family and friends. 

I was with my dad when he had hospice care at home in 2011. One special moment I will never forget … my dad was lying in the hospital bed, with my mom and I by his side. He had been failing quickly since his terminal cancer diagnosis the week prior. Suddenly, he spoke softly, saying to my mom, “There are no words to describe how much I love you.” He passed away a few days later. They had just celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary three weeks prior.

Proud Wife

Green Bay, Wisconsin © LISA S CLARK 2021

My husband Terry Clark just had his best sales year ever. He absolutely loves his job which draws on his natural talents and abilities. At 55 years old, he has definitely hit his stride. We are forever grateful to God for giving him this work opportunity 7 years ago, which brought him to Madison, WI where I was living at the time. We moved to Green Bay, WI 4 years ago so that he could help build an office and service area here.

Growing Bolder

Green Bay, Wisconsin © LISA S CLARK 2020

One of my favorite PBS shows is called Growing Bolder. 

It is “a team of award-winning journalists, broadcasters and creatives all focused on sharing the inspirational stories of ordinary people living extraordinary lives – men and women who are redefining the possibilities of life after 50.” 

When I turned 50, I decided to stop coloring my hair. I had been covering white and silver hair since my late twenties. Stopping was the best decision I ever made. I only wish I’d done it sooner. 

Ageism is alive and well in our society, so going natural feels like a rebellious act. And that fits me perfectly.

Be Yourself

Lund, Sweden © LISA S CLARK 2019

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

This is one of my favorite quotes because it delivers a very important truth. If you want to live a peaceful, joyful, and powerful life, you must embrace your authentic self.

What is your authentic self, you ask? It is simply who you were created to be in this world.

The process of discovering your authentic self is not so simple. This is because most of us have been influenced by our families, schools, and communities since a very early age. As we grow up, there are pressures to fit in. We receive strong signals that it’s not okay to be ourselves.

So over the years, we become someone that makes others happy, while we ourselves feel empty and lost. We feel like we’re faking it all.

If you do decide to embark on a journey of self-discovery, know that it will take work. But as the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy.

Once you discover your authentic self, you begin to see that what makes you unique in this world is where your value lies.