Monthly Archives: November 2012

The United States has been involved in many wars in our history. Our military personnel have placed themselves in harm’s way so many times for the rights of others and for freedom from tyranny. American soldiers and their allies around the globe stood up for what was right. They fought against those who would take away the rights of others, and steal the resources of other nations. They didn’t ask why they were being sent to these places, they knew. Human rights were being stomped on and the people being tourtured and killed could not stand up for themselves. They would either continue to be abused, or someone would come to their aid. That someone would be a soldier, because that is the job these brave men and women signed up to do.

My dad, aunts, and uncles either fought in World War II, or worked in the shipyards to help with the war effort. Others have fought in such wars as Viet Nam, Korea, Desert Storm, and others. Many have served during peace time. It doesn’t matter how they served, our veterans stood and still stand always at the ready…willing to lay down their lives for people they don’t know…willing to be away from their own family, because they knew that their job was important. Their job is still important today. Whether we are fighting in Iraq, Afganistan, Iran, Lybia, or wherever tyranny lives, and freedom is being oppressed. If that is where they are needed, then that is where they will go, and they will do their very best work…they will give it their very best, and some will give all they have. That is just what brave men and women do.

Today is Veteran’s Day. It is a day to honor those brave men and women, who have done so much for us and for so many other people and nations around the world. There is no way that we can ever repay you for all you have done for us. We will continue to pray for your safety every day. Thank you so much for your service to us, your country, and the world.

Every boy has the same dream at some point…to be as big as their daddy. Of course, it is the little boys who most want that to happen. And it seems like it will just take forever. That’s when most dads try to give their little guys a helping hand, by giving them a lift up. It might be up on their shoulders, or up on a chair, or as in the case of Bob and his dad, a lift up onto the hood of the truck. Bob was so excited, that he was telling his dad, “Look, I’m as big as you, Daddy!”

It something that has been going on for ages. Boys wanting to follow in the footsteps of their fathers…whether it be height, occupation, or just mannerisms. Boys look up to their daddies, and so they should. Daddies are the model that boys use to decide who they will become. It is a big responsibility, and one that should never be taken lightly. Every man wants his children to grow up to be successful, and it is important that children have a role model to follow that will show them how they can achieve success and good moral standards. A dad needs to aspire to be better than he thought he could be so that his children, and especially his sons, in that they tend to look more to their dads as their role models, have a good example to follow. The children of this generation will produce the next generation, so it is important to teach this generation how to teach the next. Many people don’t think about that, or they think that their children will somehow pick up on it…but they won’t unless it is taught.

Yes, it is fun to watch how little boys try so hard to be just like their daddies, but daddies must also take that very seriously, so that they do more than just nourish their son’s body to help him grow up big and strong, but also, nourish his mind and spirit, so he grows up brave, wise, and moral.In reality, it is those traits that will ultimately become the deciding factor in the making of the man their sons will become…and after all, isn’t that the most important thing…not how tall or muscular they are, but what a brave, good, wise, and moral man they are.

My Aunt Evelyn was a very social girl. She always had a great group of friends, and they had a club. There were 8 girls and 8 guys, and their parents used to take turns holding parties for the group. They were then envy of all the siblings, who secretly wished they were big enough to be a part of that group. When it was my grandmother’s turn to have the party, they all went to the North Casper Clubhouse, and had a Taffy Pulling Party.  There was a few parents there, but mostly it was the 8 girls and 8 boys at this party, and none of the younger kids were allowed to go, Although they did get a little bit of the taffy…when all the party goers were done, of course. The party was a huge success, and grandma was so proud of how it turned out. I’m quite certain that the younger kids wished they could have had friends like that when they were older, but the club and the group of friends my Aunt Evelyn had were a pretty unique group.

Aunt Evelyn had a special friend named Mabel. Her mother had passed away, and my grandmother welcomed her into the family as much as she wanted to be there. It was a kindness shown by my grandmother and my aunt to a girl who needed the company of women and especially a mother figure in her life. Aunt Evelyn was willing to share her mother with her dear friend. Mabel went on picnics and other family outings too. One day they all went out to Uncle Cliff’s place and the kids found a buggy. They had no horse, but the buggy looked like lots of fun too. There were about 15 kids there, and some rode while some pushed the buggy down a hill. It was great fun until one time they got all tangled up in the wheels and went over in a heap. Clothes were torn, skin was scratched, but nothing was broken. Aunt Evelyn’s and Mabel’s skirts were even torn, and they had to wear an apron backwards to cover up the back of their dresses. Grandpa asked them why they didn’t put the break on, but they said they didn’t know it had a break. that brought much laughter, and my mom says that story still lives on today.

Aunt Evelyn was always a very regal looking woman. She carried herself with grace and beauty. She was a friend to many, and a role model to most people. Today, Aunt Evelyn turns 84 years old. She is still a beautiful and well respected lady. She is still married to the love of her life, and together they have raised 5 children, and have been blessed with many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Happy birthday Aunt Evelyn!! We love you!!

Back in the late 1800’s, life in the United States was rugged, especially if you didn’t live in the East. The people who lived here had a pioneer spirit, and they were used to making their own way. That didn’t necessarily mean that they were poor, although some lost everything they had. The amazing thing about that is that even if they did lose everything, many of them found a way to start over, and didn’t move back to the East.

It was that pioneer spirit in those early settlers of this nation. They proved they had what it took to make a life in a rugged and sometimes brutal land, that they had the guts to turn this land into the great nation it is today. There are still people out there like that today. People like my cousin, Shirley and her family who live in the mountains of Washington state, and when I say they live there, I mean they live mostly off the land. They hunt and fish, and they grow a garden. That pioneer spirit still lives strong in them.

Our Great Grandpa And Grandma Spencer raised their 6 children in various places, but at this point in their lives, they were living near Rock Falls, Wisconsin, the old O’Dell place, which is another thing I find funny. It seems like once a family lives on a place, it always belongs to them, or at least their name always belongs to the place. So, no matter how many families followed the O’Dell’s, the house would always carry their name. That was a tradition I never could figure out, but it still seems to be the case.

Our great grandparents and great great grandparents built this country with their blood, sweat and tears, and most importantly with pure gut! They had what it takes to make it in a land that could be brutal enough to kill a man, much less a woman, if they weren’t strong enough.

As I was going through some old pictures, of some family members who I don’t know, I came across some very old style wedding dresses and veils. The thing I found rather odd is that while the dress seemed overly simple, the veil and especially the head piece were overly elaborate. It almost seemed to me that what cost they didn’t put into the dress, they instead put into the head piece.

When my girls got married, the wedding dress was the biggest part of the wedding planning. The veil carried a close second to that, but the dress was really what you noticed. Pearls and sequines, and satin and lace were the bling of choice. The head piece was floral, but not nearly as big as the ones from years gone by.

I have begun to wonder about the history of wedding attire, so I did a little research on it. I found that in the early 1800’s, Weddings were very simple. The dress was often just their best dress, and believe it or not, was often black, because that best dress also doubled as a funeral dress. The other thing about that dress was that it was not kept in pristeen condition, but rather, it went back to normal use right after the wedding.

The white wedding dress was not the normal attire until 1840, when the newly crowned Queen Victoria of Great Britain wed Prince Albert. Unlike the monarch before her, Victoria chose to be married in a splendid, white satin gown. In reaction, young women in England and America, fascinated by the newly married queen’s style, immediately began insisting on white wedding dresses of their own. A new style was born. Our fascination with royalty seems to affect style quite often. Personally, I like this style change, because I think a woman looks beautiful in a white wedding dress. Of course, I have also seen beautiful brides in other colors or in embellished white dresses too. I’m sure the joy of the day plays a huge part in the beauty of the bride.

The symbolism of the bridal veil is as varied as the culture it comes from, ranging from protection from wind and sun, to warding off evil spirits. The most common is to symbolize modesty and purity, indicating that only virgins should wear them, but that is probably not followed much these days. The one I like best is that the veil is lifted by the husband to symbolize his acceptance of his bride…like accepting a gift. He unwraps his bride as he takes her as his own. Of course, with women’s lib came equal rights, so many women lift their own veil to symbolize their equality. As for me, I personally like the idea of the groom unwrapping his bride like a gift, for that is really what she is to him, as he is to her. The gift of love.

Today is election day, and while I hope everyone will get out there and vote, this is not going to be a political push blog, but rather a way of looking back on our family’s past. Most of us have a politician or two in our history, and probably even a president or two in our past. Our family is no different. I have long been told by Bob’s grandmother that Bob is related to President James K Polk. I wasn’t sure at first how that relationship ran, but then she told me that his middle name was Knox, which was her married name. So in tracing the line, I have found that James K Polk is Bob’s second cousin 5 times removed. It’s funny how close some of those relationships seem.

The Knox side of Bob’s family is also related to President Andrew Jackson. This relationship is a little more distant, in that it is by marriage. Andrew Jackson is the husband of the aunt of the wife of Bob’s first cousin 6 times removed. Now that one is a mouthful, and if your aren’t too sure just exactly how that whole relationship works, don’t worry, because you are not alone. That one is enough to throw anyone who isn’t able to look at it on a family history timeline.

Through Bob’s family on the Knox side, I have also found that we are shirttail relation to George HW Bush, and of course, George W Bush, but it would take me a while to break down the exact relationship there for you. Suffice it to say, that while I am very happy to be related to them, as most of you would be able to guess, we were, nevertheless, not invited to the White House for Christmas, because I’m quite sure that they have no idea who I am, much less that we are distantly related. That is a fact that I find to be a bit of a bummer, since I would love to spend just one Christmas at the White House. Can you just imagine!!

I’m quite sure there are other presidents, as well as other politicians, in our family tree, but so far I have not located them. What I have realized, however, is that some families tend to have politics running through their veins. That definitely appears to be the case in Bob’s family, or at least the Knox side of it. So, what about you? Do you have a president or two hiding in the woodwork of your family history?

A couple of years ago, when it was my family’s turn to host the annual family Christmas party, we decided to update the family phone book that we had made for everyone over ten years earlier. This was more than a phone book as it included names, addresses, phone numbers, names of children, and birthdays, anniversaries, and memorials for the family members who had gone home.

So much had changed in all those years, and we were faced with the monumental task of gathering all this information. We talked to the aunts and uncles, but there was still a lot of dates missing. The solution I found was to go out and friend every family member I could find on Facebook. So many wonderful relationships have come out of that single event.

One of those relationships was with Melodie and Brian Dobson. I love watching the comments that come from this lovely couple. They love God and their family. To me that says so much. Facebook is notorious for allowing the negative comments to prevail, and we have all done it, but when the majority of posts are loving, Christian, and beautiful, you have a friend that you want to follow. That is how this couple is.

Brian and Melodie were married seven years ago today. Their marriage has been blessed with 3 beautiful children, Parker Kinkade, Payton Kendall, and Pyper Kadence. I love that they can all go by PK, although my guess is that if that happens, it will be Parker who will do it, as it is more of a boy thing than a girl thing. Looking at the pictures taken of this beautiful family, I see a family that is full of love and laughter. The children are happy and secure in the love of their parents. A great way to live.

About a year and eight months ago, an event occurred that could have been a very sad moment in this marriage. Melodie lost her wedding rings, and with 3 children, there would not be money to replace it. They had splurged on the ring as a young couple, because they wanted it to be a lasting reminder of their unending love for each other. She mentioned the lost ring on Facebook, and the prayers began in earnest. Melodie and I spoke back and forth about the lost ring, and stood in faith together, and on March 29, 2011, Melodie and Brian got their miracle, when a woman found and returned her wedding rings to her. It was a blessed event, and I’m quite sure that their next anniversary was just a little bit more special, because of that miracle. Today is their 7th anniversary. Happy anniversary Melodie and Brian!! Have a wonderful day!!

The USCGC Spencer (WMEC-905) is a U S Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. It was named after my 5th cousin 5 times removed, John Canfield Spencer. He was born January 8, 1788 in Hudson, New York, and died May 18, 1855 in Albany, New York. During the War of 1812, he served in the U S Army where he was appointed the brigade judge advocate general for the northern frontier. John was the 17th Secretary of War from October 12, 1841 to March 4, 1843 and the 16th Secretary of the Treasurer from March 8, 1843 to May 2, 1844, under President John Tyler. As one of few northerners in an administration dominated by southern interests, John found it was becoming increasingly difficult to serve in his cabinet post, so he resigned as Treasury Secretary in May of 1844.

WMEC-905 is the third cutter to serve the United States bearing the name “Spencer”. The history of Spencer started in 1843 when the original Spencer was commissioned to serve in the Revenue Cutter Service. An Iron hulled steamer, she served as a lightship off Hampton Roads, Virginia until 1848. The second cutter to carry the name Spencer was hull number W-36, commissioned in 1937. At a length of 327 feet, she first started service as a search and rescue unit patrolling Alaska’s fishing grounds. After the United States entered WWII, the Coast Guard temporarily became part of the US Navy. Spencer saw significant combat action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. In the “Battle of the Atlantic”,  Spencer acted as a convoy escort and hunted German submarines, sinking the U-225 and the U-175 in 1944. In late 1944, Spencer reported to the Navy’s Seventh (Pacific) Fleet as a Communications Command Ship. There she was credited with taking part in numerous amphibious invasions including Luzon and Palawan in the Philippines.

After the war, Spencer returned to her Coast Guard duties serving at an Atlantic Ocean Station. Here she provided navigational assistance for the fledgling trans-Atlantic air industry and more importantly, acted as a search and rescue platform for both airplanes and ships. In January 1969, Spencer returned to combat duty off the Coast of Vietnam. For ten months, she provided surveillance to prevent troops and supplies from getting into South Vietnam. In November 1969, Spencer returned to the United States to continue her peace time mission of ocean station keeping. The second Spencer served the nation for more then 37 years and when decommissioned in 1974, she was the most decorated cutter in the Coast Guard’s fleet.

The Spencer of today was commissioned into service on 28th of June 1986. She is credited for confiscating over 46,000 pounds of marijuana and 8800 pounds of cocaine. In 1991 she towed a disabled U.S. Navy frigate, twice her size, to safety, and participated in the search for a missing Air National Guard paratrooper during the “Perfect Storm”. In early 1996, she responded to the Alas Nacionales plane crash off the coastal waters of the Dominican Republic in which 189 people were killed. When the fishing vessel Lady of Grace became disabled during a severe storm in November 1997, Spencer was there to save the crew and tow the vessel to safety. In 1999, Spencer was the on-scene commander for the crash of Egypt Air Flight 990 off Nantucket, controlling both U S Navy and Coast Guard assets in search and recovery efforts. In 2005, Spencer was an initial responder during Hurricane Katrina.


I would like to thank TxHwy105 and Len Eagleburger on Ancestry.com for providing the Spencer historical information and the US Coast Guard site for photos of the Spencer.

Today, our Princess Laila Elizabeth Spethman would have been 2 years old. She was born on this day in 2010 in Denver, Colorado at Presbyterian St Luke’s Hospital to my niece and nephew, Jenny and Steve Spethman. Her big brothers Xander, Zack, and Isaac waited to welcome their little sister home. But that was not to be.

Laila went home to be with the Lord on November 22, 2010, where she rests in the arms of her Savior, Jesus. In addition to her parents and her brothers, she is survived by grandparents, Cheryl Masterson, Rob Masterson, Marie Spethman, and Steve and Lily Spethman. She is also survived by several great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who love and miss her very much.

We know we will see you again Princess Laila, when we all join you in Heaven. We know that you are getting to know all those who also wait in Heaven for our coming to join you. We look forward to that wonderful day when we will all be together again for all of eternity. And you can meet your little sister, Aleesia then too. Until then, sweet baby, we wish you Happy Birthday in Heaven!! We all love you Princess Laila Elizabeth Spethman!!

Couples have a way of showing their true feelings of love for each other with their eyes. When couples have been married for a long time, there just seems to be a look, or even a tilt of the head that shows the deepness of their feelings for each other. They know each other better than anyone else in the entire world possibly could. They have been down the road together, through good and bad times, through sickness and health, through happy and sad, through arguments and solidarity…they have been there. They know how their spouse will react to different situations. They know they can count on that person being with them until death they do part. Their love has withstood the test of time, and come out victorious. It is a place every young couple hopes to arrive at someday, but many don’t. So when you see a little old couple still holding hands and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, it is impossible not to be affected by it.

Sometimes, you can find a young couple who has that same look of love. No, that isn’t a guarantee of lasting love, but sometimes, you just know they will beat the odds. They will become that little old couple holding hands and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes…you just know they will. They have that look of, “My life was so empty, before you came into it.” or “My love for you is so strong that I can’t begin to express it in words.” It is a look that goes beyond physical attraction and into the realm of two hearts/one person…soul mates. It is a look that warms your heart, and touches you deeply. It’s a look that, while we love to catch it on film, almost makes you feel like you are intruding on a moment that should have only been between the two people involved, and yet it’s a look you want to see, because it shows just how much they love each other.

That look of love is something we all long to receive. We pray for our children to receive it someday. We are thrilled by it when we see it in our parents and grandparents. Love is the hope of the future and the promise of the past. Love is something that no one can live without…not really. We need love in our lives, and so when we see couples expressing it with their eyes, we walk away with that feeling of everything is right in the world, no matter how messed up things in this world are, my parents, my children, my nieces and nephews, my grandparents love each other. Yes, everything is right…at least in my world.

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