Art, Family, and 90th Birthdays

My grandma is turning 90 on Valentine’s Day. This weekend I am headed to Michigan with some of my family to celebrate with a party on Saturday. There’s something very familiar about all this. When I was growing up we would visit my family in Michigan. We would stay with my mom’s sister in Ann Arbor, where we are staying this weekend. I played and watched sports with my cousin Ben, with whom I will watch the Super Bowl on Sunday (sadly missing my first Village Super Bowl in 8 years). But of course things are different now too. There are a lot more of us now. There are great-grandchildren to take care of, so of course not everyone can get there, including my wife and daughter.

The other person who won’t be there is my grandfather, affectionately known as Papa, who passed away 10 years ago this October. I’ve been thinking about him a lot recently. We went to the Desert Museum in December and I was reminded that he helped design plans for its development back in the 80s. When you visit you can see his fingerprints all over it, mostly in that you can’t see it! When you stand at the main building and look down it’s hard to tell the paths and enclosures are even there. He nestled the landscape design right in with the desert. His appreciation for nature and God’s design was something he longed to pass on through his work. His love of art, especially his own skill with watercolors and pen, was evident throughout his life.

I’ve been impacted by that love of art and beauty, as well as its intersection with my relationship with God, and I will think about it a lot as I travel this weekend.

Show 2 Comments


  1. Susan Cepin

    Thanks for sharing this, Mark!
    I love that we get to enjoy something your grandfather had a hand in making.
    I hope you have a great time celebrating your grandmother and enjoying your family this weekend!

  2. Rod

    Thanks, Mark. What a joy to celebrate your grandma. Sadly, not all can do that.

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