Monthly Archives: August 2013

Matthew - nowMy grand nephew, Matthew is all boy, with a big heart. Over the years, I have watched him change in so many ways. As a really little boy, he loved to play games like super hero or karate expert. It was so cute to see him pretending to be able to fight any one of the adults…even though he would never have really had the heart to fight any of us, because he loved us. Little Matthew really only pretended to fight because his parents and family thought it was cute. He was acting.

When you think about it, all kids do a little bit of acting. They might start out accidently doing something that makes their parents laugh, but once they find out what kinds of things bring laughter to the people they love, they will do it over and over again…just because laughter is contageous, and it’s fun to laugh with their parents. Matthew is no exception to that rule. He loves to laugh and to make others laugh too.

Matthew is a very loving boy. While he is all boy, he reserves a place in his heart for the people he loves the most. His parents, grandparents, and sisters. He might pick on his sisters…unmercifully, as boys often do, but he loves them dearly and would fight anyone who tried to hurt any one of them. As I said, he might pick on them, but it’s just as likely he won’t, because he likes to be kind and helpful too.
Hangin' with the guys 
Of course, we can’t forget that, like all boys, hanging out with the guys is a top priority, and that is something Matthew really enjoys. Coming from a family where he is the only boy, having guy friends to hang out with is vital for sanity!! Thankfully, Matthew has three male cousins who love to hang out and do the guy things with him. There is nothing a guy likes more than to spend the night with his cousins and just be boys…awww, what a life. Today is Matthew’s 8th birthday, and I can’t believe he is 8 years old already. Happy birthday Matthew!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Unsung HeroThere are people out there, who go behind the scenes to do things for others, without ever taking credit for it. Most people never know of the kindness these people show, because they don’t ask for any recognition. Those people are unsung heroes to those they help…the kind of person who reaches into a dark hole of a situation, and pulls them to safety. That is the kind of person my nephew is. Dave is a computer technician. He can fix computers of all kinds, whether it is a hardware or software problem, it doesn’t matter, Dave can fix it.

I know that Dave will be embarrassed by the recognition that my story will give him, but sometimes people need to know of kindnesses shown. Recently, I got a new computer at work, and I asked my boss what he planned to do with the old one. His answer was that he was probably going to throw it away. I asked if my nephew could have it, because I knew Dave could refurbish it and sell it. Jim was happy to let him have it, and when Dave told me that he refurbished them and sold them to people who had little money for a computer, Jim said we have two other old ones downstairs that he can have as well.

When Dave came to pick them up on Thursday, he told me that the first one was going free to a family who needed it for their daughter to use for school work. When I heard that, I got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye, because it was just such a nice thing for Dave to do. I thought of that family, wondering how they were going to afford the old computercomputer their daughter needed. Then I thought about the look on their faces when Dave brought that computer over…the sheer overwhelming gratitude they would feel…well, in many ways, I would love to be a mouse in the corner of the room to see that, and yet that wouldn’t be right either. That is a private moment between that family and Dave…their unsung hero.

Today is Dave’s birthday. Dave, I hope you have the kind of birthday fitting for the hero you are to those who know you and have been blessed by you, especially your family. You do great things for people who need help, and that makes me very proud.  Happy birthday Dave!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

JDWhen we were moving things out of my in-laws’ house, so it could be sold, I noticed how lonely the house felt. A house needs people in it, creating memories, so that it can really have…life, so to speak. When its occupants are gone, taking with them all the memories that they made there, it just feels sad, somehow. Most times when that happens, the other people who spent time in the house never get to see it when new memories are being formed and the house is filled with people again. That is not to be the case with my in-laws house, however, because our nephew, JD is buying the house.

It will be a bachelor pad, at least for JD with Grandpanow, but that’s ok. The memories that still live within the walls will continue to echo for JD and for any of us who visit him. There were many good times had there, and because some of the things that belonged to my in-laws will remain in the home, we will often be reminded of their time in the home. I think especially for JD, the memories will remain strong, as he spends time in his new home, with the memories of his grandparents.

JD used to love to go over there and share talks and laughs with his grandpa. In fact, JD has never known a time when his grandparents lived anywhere else, since he was less than a year 93old when they moved there. All of his childhood memories of visits to his grandparents are centered there. I’m sure that JD will have many moments when he feels like his grandparents are right there with him. I know I would, but it will be a warm cozy feeling, like being wrapped in a warm blanket of memories.

It seems fitting that now, as JD is turning 25, and the house needs someone to live in it, that the two of them should come together. Both of them will be starting a new life…a new journey. Today is JD’s birthday. We are glad you are buying the house. Happy birthday JD!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Life's BeginningsWhen we are young, life’s possibilities seem to be endless…it’s places are ours to explore, and ours to decide what is for us and what is not. Of course, as we get older, we realize that we don’t always have the say in where life takes us, but we can decide how we will handle what life sends our way. My dad was always one of those people who took what life handed him and made the best of it with a smile on his face and kindness in his heart. Oh, I know there are many oher people out there who, like my dad were inspiring to their friends and families, but I can only speak to what I know. Dad was always such a positive influence on all of us. He inspired us to do what was right.

I have more of a tendency to be a little hot headed…difficult to believe, I know…or not, but my dad had the ability to settle me down pretty well. Yes, we debated…often called arguing by the average person…but whether I admitted it or not, I did hear the things he tried to teach me, and I think that it was probably those teachings, and the ones from my mom, that made me into the person I am today.

My parents came from humble beginnings, where money wasn’t the main focus in life. They were taught that hard work and a good attitude would always keep them on the right track. The Great Depression was a tough time for America, and they lived through those times, and their aftermath, and yet it never hindered them from doing the things they wanted to do. They saw where life was taking them, and they made that a better place. That is the kind of person I would like to be. Lifes roads are not always the easiest ones to travel, but I want to be able to make the places I pass through on that journey better than they were before I arrived.
The Last Dance
We all have to start somewhere and finish somewhere, and it isn’t about that beginning or even about the ending, but more about the in between that matters, except of course, where we will spend eternity, which I pray for all of you, will be in Heaven, where I’ll be going. Where we start is out of our control…where we finish is ours to decide, and what we do in the places that our journey takes us, is up to us. We should think about the kind of impression we will leave people with, because the things we say can have a lasting effect on the people who hear them. My dad made that in between and finish the very best, and taught his family to do the same. Missing you today, Dad. Love you!!

Love my big sisterEvery little kid looks up to their older sibling, and my sister-in-law, Debbie was no exception. Her big sister, Marlyce was just the greatest thing since sliced bread, as far as 6 month old Debbie was concerned. For her part, Marlyce was thrilled to have a baby sister. Marlyce has always loved babies, and I’m quite certain that the 3 year old Marlyce was no different. Soon she would have a playmate, and for now she had a baby to help out with.

While Marlyce and Debbie would not be the only children in the family for very long, since Bob was born just 17 months later, it was just the girls for a little while. Marlyce, being the oldest, had all the cool ideas about things to do and games to play. I’m sure they had great times. Marlyce was such a soft hearted person. She hated to see anyone hurt or in trouble. I remember hearing her telling my mother-in-law to leave this one or that one alone when they were getting in trouble. Of course, it didn’t help much, but she sure tried.

As you can imagine, it was a different thing if her siblings made Marlyce mad. Then they really got yelled at, but that was her right, and no one else had better be mean to her Kids stairstepsbrothers and sisters. She felt the same way about her nieces and nephews as they came along. Marlyce, being as soft hearted as she was, did put herself in a place of vulnerability to a degree. The nieces and nephews took quite a bit of pleasure in picking on Marlyce and unless she felt like they were really being mean, she mostly liked their playful teasing.

I miss the days when Marlyce was here with us. I’m sure her little sisters and brothers all feel the same way because although Marlyce ended up being the shortest of my in-laws six children, she will always be the big sister.

Playing with the cameraLooking through old photographs from a time when I didn’t even realize that cameras were something lots of people had, it occurred to me that when these pictures were taken, the people in them were still trying to figure them out. It was probably hard to figure out what pictures to take. I’m sure they felt funny posing in all the normal ways. I’m sure they were almost embarrassed when they first started posing for those pictures, and much like people were embarrassed about home movies when they came out. People used to run and hide, or even covering the lens to avoid being filmed.

I started thinking about the number of pictures I have seen in the past few years that were taken in the 1800’s. it seems that they finally warmed up to the idea of picture taking by posing like they were in a robbery situation. I suppose that a robbery picture was something they could laugh about, so they were able to relax and enjoy the whole picture taking process. It seems that pictures of robberies were what we in this day and age would have called now trending. It was the thing everyone did, like the Staged hold upshocked look photo, the exaggerated kiss photo, or the angry look photo. It was just something to make people laugh.

Acting goofy in the pictures probably broke the ice to a degree. It made the feeling of being embarrassed a little less noticeable to them. Many people are nervous about photos, in fact, I would say that most of us feel that way at some time or another. Maybe we should all try this trend that seemed to sweep the nation during those years. If nothing else, we would get a good laugh about it. I guess that’s why the latest fad in pictures come about…to laugh about something new that is now trending.

Caalab & the Johnny J's ChampsMy grandson, Caalab got back into softball this summer, when he was given the chance to play for his team at work. It was so much different from his years of playing when he was a little kid. I suppose that is normal, since little kids can get tired, bored, hot, and just plain done with a sport, but when they are older, and choose to play, it’s all different, somehow.

For us, as grandparents and parents, it doesn’t matter if he is a little boy or a grown man, we will be in attendance at as many games as possible. We love watching Caalab and our other grandchildren participating in any sport they might decide to participate in. I love watching them play, just like I loved watching my girls. I guess I’m just a born mom, grandma, cheerleader, sports fan…or whatever my kids or grandkids are into these days.

Monday night we went to watch Caalab and his team from Johnny J’s Diner play what turned out to be their final game of this tournament. If they lost, they would have played in the losers bracket on Tuesday, but if they won on Monday, they would be the champions for 2013. I’m sure you have already put two and two together, so needless to say, they won. We were so excited!! They played an amazing game, against a really good team. It could have gone either way, but no matter what they came up against, they all kept their heads together and in the game, and they won!!

After the game, they received their first place plaque and got their pictures taken, and then the team captain came out and personally thanked all of our family for being loyal fans. It was a great thing for him to do. He also told us that they have been playing for seven years now, and this is their first championship. That is very exciting!! I just want to congratulate the entire Johnny J’s team on an amazing championship win. We are very proud of all of you!!

MikeFor the last eleven years now, my brother-in-law, Mike has been a part of our family. When they married, Caryl moved to Rawlins, which was where he lived. They continue to live there…for now, but when they retire, they want to move to Casper again. Caryl was born and raised here, but has hardly lived here since her first marriage, so it is going to be quite a change to have her and Mike living here. We are all happy about that future plan.

Since they purchased their ranch on Poison Spider Road, Mike and Caryl have been working to tear down the sheep birthing barns and put up new fence around the property. Their plan is to rent the house out for the next 8 years, until they are ready to retire. In the mean time, they are planning to have their dream house built for them in about 5 years. The barn had an area in the back the they will turn into an apartment for them to stay in while they are working on the ranch. It is not going to be a fast process, since they can only work on the ranch on days off and vacations, but they have plenty of time, since that retirment is 8 to 10 years down the road.

Mike has done lots of construction projects for my parents, as well as carpentry, so any finishing touches he does on their own home will not be much of a stretch for him. He is very good at planning out a project and designing everything. I know their home will be great when it is all done. I’m sure their retirement ranch will be a place of refuge for them for many years to come.

Today is Mike’s birthday, and while he is celebrating in in Japan this year, and I’m really jealous, I do hope it’s great. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Matt GrosvenorThey say you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. That is a true statement in many ways, but none is more evident than when your family member wants to debate you on everything…or at least everything political. When I began trying to hook up with as many of my family members and extended family members as I could, I thought maybe I had stumbled into just such a situation. We had a rocky start, because we do have differing opinions on some things, but after I figured out that Matt does like to debate, but isn’t afraid to learn something new. I decided that maybe I was going to be glad that he was my cousin…or cousin once removed, since he is my cousin, Tina and her husband Glen’s son.

Matt isn’t one of those people who picks a political party, but rather looks at each situation, and decides how he feels about it. That makes for a well informed person, and someone who might tend to disagree on many points with his friends and family who are more set on a specific party line. Matt and I have…crossed paths, and split hairs on several occasions, but in the end, it occurred to me that while he didn’t change my opinion on my beliefs, he made me think about the other side of some of the issues. Some things just aren’t cut and dried, and even when you just can’t change your view because of a debate, I don’t feel like the debate was a wasted effort on the part of either debater.

One of the things I have learned from Matt…yes, I have learned from him, even though he is years younger than I am…is that if you are going to talk about an issue, you had better have your facts straight. Don’t just form your opinion on the things people tell you about something…but, rather read, study, and ask questions about it before you decide how you feel about it…and consequently, to discuss it. I don’t think Matt set out to teach me or anyone else anything, he just wasn’t a person who could accept someone’s view on face value. He had to know more about it before he could accept it.

The thing I discovered about Matt is that he isn’t afraid to say that he really doesn’t know enough about a situation to effectively discuss it. I like that. So many people just spout off about issues they know nothing about, and really, all they want to do is irritate and try to pick a fight. Other people get mad if you don’t agree with their views. We are never all going to agree on every issue.

Today is Matt’s birthday. Matt and I are definitely in two different places politically, and I’m sure there will be quite a few debates in the future, but Matt…I have finally found something you cannot debate…today is your birthday…no doubt about it. Hahahaha!! So, happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! Debater or not, we love you.

Marie BurgessWhen you have a family member in a nursing home, and you visit them often, the other residents of the nursing home soon become…almost like your family members too. You get to a place where you know their names, their personalities, and their funny little quirks. Of course, I’m not going to tell their names, even though I know them, but there are the two old ladies that didn’t know each other until they went to the nursing home and became roommates. Now everyone calls them the twins, because they are inseparable. They may not know where they are going, but they will be going there together…and together, they wander the hallways, always smiling and totally happy.

There is the little old lady who is often the first one to tell you hello when you walk in the door, and she doesn’t mind giving medical advice if you have a cough or some other simple ailment, because “she raised 7 children, so she knows what to do for a cough” and for just about any other ailment. She isn’t pushy though, she just wants to be helpful. There is the little old lady that walks down the halls and out of the blue, she just starts dancing a jig, and can even click her heals. While her mind doesn’t work as good as her body, she is perfectly happy and content in her surroundings. Of course, every nursing home has the sad ones and the grouchy ones, but many of them are happy and cheerful, and they always put a smile on my face.

The one that really surprised me the most though, was my mother-in-law’s roommate. She is a happy little lady and quite talkative when you get to know her. She will tell you that she was “born in Oklahoma 94 years ago, and that is the place where the tornadoes are…you know”. It wasn’t the things she said or the way she acted that surprised me, but rather…the way she looked. I mean, who would have guessed in a million years that my Grandma Hein as we knew hermother-in-law would end up sharing a room in a nursing home with a woman who looks so much like her mother-in-law. Yes, grandma was 10 years older than mom’s roommate, and Grandma never made it to 94, but I can easily imagine that she might have look just like her if Grandma had made it to 94. It makes me feel kind of good about mom’s roommate, because when she talks to her, it seems like she knows her, and maybe she thinks she is her mother-in-law. The other day she told her, “I was wondering if you were coming in.” It was just like something she might have said to her mother-in-law…like she thought her roommate was her mother-in-law, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she did.

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