Monthly Archives: July 2014

Practice SessionAs a kid, I was probably…different than lots of other kids. While most of my friends were listening to rock and roll, I was too, but I also liked things that were different, like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach. When Neil Diamond did his narration, I found the story line very fascinating. Here was a seagull that wanted something different from life. He didn’t want the boring everyday existence, but the extraordinary. That was how I felt. It was quite easy to relate to Jonathan’s desire for excellence and yes, even greatness. He wanted to be remembered for doing something different, and like most pioneers, he was not appreciated for his efforts. The flock was disgusted with him, and threatened to throw him out. His parents were humiliated…horrified even, that their son wanted to be so different. That could sound like lots of parents today, but thankfully not my own, who wanted their daughters to be whatever they chose to be.

I have always loved to watch seagulls. Most of the ones I could watch…around the fast food joints in Casper, Wyoming, were of the same old boring race for food variety, but when you get out on the ocean…and watch them from a ship, it’s a very different thing indeed. Those The Food Huntbirds, much like Jonathan Livingston Seagull enjoy flying for the pure enjoyment of flight. I love watching them soar and glide across the sky and swoop down to glide just above the face of the water. As we sailed along, they keep the pace with the ship, almost like they are trying to stay close to the people on board. These were gulls who were doing un-gull-like things. Now, I know that none of these gulls was the famous Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but I have to think that one or two of them might be aspiring to be the next Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Maybe even a modern day Jonathan Livingston Seagull, who maybe goes by John Seagull, because those full names are so stuffy anyway.

There were lots of seagulls on our trip…the kind who went out by the fishing boats hoping for scraps of food, of course. There were also the ones who hunted for their own food, gliding low over the water, and then swooping down into the water hoping to catch their prey. They even hung out around the whales, although I have no idea what they were hoping to gain by that. Perhaps they thought the whales might stir up the fish, bringing them to the surface for easier hunting. While these gulls were doing what normal gulls do…hunting for food. They were not extraordinary and they were certainly not unique.
John Seagull
The gulls that loved flight were something so different, however. Yes, they swooped into the water for food too, but it did not seem to be the only thing they cared about. Watching them soar across the sky, or try to keep up with the ship, holding their position so they could look into the windows at the passengers, was so interesting. You would think that the ship, or at least the passengers would scare the birds, but they seem drawn to them. It’s almost like they are showing off. Like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, they seem to be shooting for something outside the norm. And that is what draws my attention to them too.

imageMost men try to come up with a special way to ask their girl to marry them, but my nephew, Allen Beach takes the prize as far as I’m concerned. Allen and his girl, Gabriela Arizola have been dating for a year and a half now, and both are stationed in Yokosuka, Japan in the Navy. Allen will be finished in October of this year, while Gabby will have another year. She will relocate to Washington DC in November. For now though, they have been taking advantage of the opportunity to see some areas of the world that would not be so easy to see if they weren’t in the military…such as Bali, Indonesia, which Allen took advantage of a couple of days ago, when he and Gabby were taking an elephant ride.

Now I’ve heard of proposals in restaurants, balloons, and even in the rain, but this is the first one that I’ve heard of that took place on the back of an elephant. Allen has known for some time now that he was going to ask Gabby to marry him…since Christmastime to be exact. He even told his mom about his plans, and immediately swore her to secrecy. Caryl said it was the hardest thing she had to do in a long time.

Allen and Gabby are both fitness buffs. They love jogging and lots of other forms of exercise. Maybe that was part of what attracted them to each other. I’m not sure, but having things in common is what keeps relationships together. Whatever the attraction was, their love has blossomed, and now it has gone to the next level…because Allen asked and Gabby said yes.

I don’t know where their lives will take them. They like Washington DC, so maybe that’s where they will stay, or maybe the west coast which is where they are both from originally. It really doesn’t matter where you land I guess, it who you take the journey with. I can tell you that these two kids have been in love with each other practically from the moment they met. I know their lives will be amazing. Congratulations Gabby and Allen on your engagement. Now, let the journey begin. We love you both.

Pretty Young Lady RaelynnMy grand niece, Raelynn is becoming a young lady, right before our eyes. As she heads into 5th grade, so much in her world is changing. This past year she ran for class secretary, and during the course of the campaign, she earned the nickname Rapper Rae. I’m sure you can guess how that came about. She is really spreading her wings and flying into new experiences. I can’t say I ever thought of Raelynn as a politician, but since she seems to be, I guess she is a girl after my heart. Now I just have to make sure she gets on the right side of the political arena…but I guess there is a little bit of time for that.
Lego Girl
This past school year, Raelynn was finally old enough to get into Legorobotics, which is a club in which the kids build a vehicle with Legos that can perform several maneuvers. They work on these through the course of the year and then there is a competition that the teams are entered in to represent their school. It is a really cool thing for the kids to do, and very much enjoyed by all who participate. Raelynn and her team had a great time. She told her mom, my niece Dustie Masterson, that she had no idea you could build so many things with Legos. Raelynn has always loved art, but now she has discovered science and loves doing experiments. She has always loved school, because learning is awesome.
Christmas Cheer
Raelynn loves riding around with her favorite cousin, Jake Harman, and yelling out to random people things like “Will you be my friend?” or “Where are all the pretty butterflies?”, because those are the random things Jake likes to do. Raelynn is coming into her own in the humor department too, and says lots of funny things if her own. She loves to hum with her dad, my nephew, Rob Masterson, or dance and sing down the isles of stores with her mom. But, for Raelynn, her favorite place to be is church. She loves Jesus and worship. She has a beautiful soul, and to know Raelynn is to love Raelynn. Today is Raelynn’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!

100_0531I will never forget the first time I saw the ocean. I can’t tell you the exact spot, unfortunately, but it was along the coast of Maine. Our family had taken a trip to visit my sister, Cheryl Masterson whose husband was stationed in Plattsburgh, New York at the time. While we were there, the whole family took a trip down the east coast. It was amazing. That first ocean view was one of the most awe inspiring views I have ever seen, as I’m sure anyone who has seen the ocean would agree. It is difficult to comprehend such a vast expanse of water, with no visible land on the other side. There are the great lakes too, of course, and they do give a feel of an ocean, but you know they are just lakes, and as quickly as it appeared, that feeling of unbelievable vastness passes. But, the ocean…that view is one that will always have a place in my memory files.

I remember too, that it was in Maine that I hade my first taste of lobster. Oh my gosh…it was 0331011550heavenly. Many people say that the experience of eating lobster on the coast probably ruined lobster for me, because it just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else. That may be true, but lobster is still heavenly, and all I can say if that I wish the price for it wasn’t so far out of this world. There are so many experiences that are only enhanced by their natural habitat, and while lobster eating is one of them, I’ll do my best to struggle through it, anytime I get the chance.

While my husband, Bob and I have seen the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and now, the Gulf of Alaska, and each of those experiences have been awesome, they couldn’t compare to the way I felt at my first ocean view. Obviously I was a younger girl then, and while I was pretty well traveled as a child, there are simply some sights that tower over others in your mind. I wasn’t so young at that first ocean view, IMG_2103exactly, at 15 years of age, but somehow the view of the ocean made me feel like I was younger and smaller. Its vastness was so much to take in. I wondered what things were on the other side, and how many desert islands were in between this side and that side. I wondered about the shipwrecks there might be from days of pirates and hurricanes, and about the fish that lived in the ocean. All were things I would probably never know about…or would I? Perhaps with a little research, the events of the ocean’s past could open up and I could be privy to the secrets that lie beneath those vast expanses of beautiful blue water too.

imageOur 1st cousin once removed, Nathan Avey, who is Bob’s cousin Sandi Kountz’ middle child finished college this past year, and landed a job in Lewiston, Montana working for Spika Welding and Manufacturing Inc doing drafting and design work. He is somewhat lonely living so far away from his family, especially since the passing of his brother, Brian on June 21, 2014, just four days after Nathan…who we have always known as Kyler..moved to Lewiston. Nevertheless, he is adjusting.

Kyler was a swimmer in school, and loved the hard work and practice. It made him strong and kept him in shape. And he loved the competition. Sometimes people find release in the competition, and I think that is how it was with Kyler. Swimming kept him focused, as well as keeping him in shape. I believe it will be that focus that Brian, Destreyia, & Kylerwill give him the strength and wisdom to help his family through the coming months and years. He has already begun, by keeping close tabs on his mom. As a kid we don’t understand how important that is, but now that so much has happened Kyler is stepping up and taking on the responsibilities of the man of the family.

As the middle brother, Kyler was often in on the teasing that he and Brian used to do to Destreyia, but now that Brian is gone, Kyler feels not only terrible loss, but the very real need to step up and be a good big brother to Destreyia and also the man of the family for his mom, Sandi. It is a big responsibility for anyone to take on, and Kyler is just 20 years old, and still dealing with his own feelings of grief.

I know that right now, things seem impossibly hard for Kyler and for his family, but with time it will get a little easier…or rather, will become normal…if losing your imagebrother can ever be normal. I guess it is just a matter of moving forward, because that is all you can do.

The future is bright for Kyler, even if things seem grim right now. It won’t be easy, but this family will rebuild itself, and I think Kyler will be a big part of that. He is stronger than he knows. Today is kyler’s 20th birthday. Happy birthday Kyler!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

scan0002I find it amusing when little kids are, for lack of a better word, attracted to each other. It isn’t a sexual thing, but rather a friendship. Nevertheless, they know who they like and they aren’t afraid to show it. You might see two little kids kissing or holding hands. They don’t feel self conscious, they just know that they like each other.

That’s the way it was when my sister-in-law, Jennifer was babysitting a couple of kids the summer she was 15 and since we lived next door at the time, my daughters, Corrie and Amy were over there a lot too. Jay Dee, the little boy Jennifer was babysitting took a shine to Corrie. He decided that she was his girlfriend…sorry Kevin, this was before your time, and I don’t think Jay Dee cared anyway.

The kids played together all the time that summer, and got to be really good friends. I don’t recall if they did any kissing or not, but they did hold hands, and as you can see, Jay Dee put his arm around Corrie. Ahh…young romance.

Of course, Corrie’s young romance didn’t turn out the way her Grandma and Grandpa Schulenberg’s did. They met when he was 4 and she was 2 and theirs ended up being a forever kind of love. Corrie would go on to meet Kevin before deciding that he was the one, and I have no idea who Jay Dee married. Theirs was just a passing kid kind of young romance.

Whatever happens in those little kid or even baby young romance situations, it’s not really about any kind of real romance, it’s just about learning to express their feelings. It’s about them making their own decisions on who they like and don’t like. Kids are brutally honest about their feelings…good or bad, and sometimes that can be problematic, because while they are very willing to show how much they like other kids, they are also very willing to show that they don’t, and as I recall there was just as much fighting between those two kids as there was romance. Maybe that’s why Corrie married Kevin instead.

Tiny Mom 2My mom always wanted to hear nothing but happiness in her home. Really, what parent doesn’t? The biggest problem was that she had five daughters who were all very capable of being drama queens, and we didn’t mind a good argument or even a big fight either. That situation made for a house that could, on occasion, be…a little less than happy. I’m sure we pretty much drove her crazy at times. Mom tried a lot of things to restore her preferred mood, like singing “You Are My Sunshine” or doing other goofy things.

Of course, Mom’s cheerfulness wasn’t just during times when we were fighting, and she could get grouchy if she needed too, but then who can’t? The funny thing about some of the things Mom used to do is how totally random they were. Take the Cha-Cha for instance. Most people would never imagine that my mom would do the Cha-Cha…and do it often, but she did. It was all a part of her love for life style. Sometimes, that happiness would just burst out of her, and she had to do something with it. It was like a nervous energy of sorts. You never knew when to expect it. It was totally random, but you had a pretty good idea that this would not be the last time your would see it.

Of course, she did other things with that happy energy, and as kids, and even sometimes as adults, we were a bit embarrassed about some of them. The parade is a prime example. Mom just can’t help but let out a big “Woo Hoo” when the floats go by. She hates for anyone not to be cheered on for their efforts. She stands out in the crowd too, because she always wears her Woo Hoocowboy hat. I used to think that was how everyone knew just who it was doing all the “woo hooing”, but then I realized that lots of people had cowboy hats on…Mom was just the one with the loud voice that happened to be “woo hooing”…and by the way, everyone else was “woo hooing” too, so I seriously doubt that anyone even noticed my mom’s “woo hooing”…except maybe her kids. I used to think, “Oh my gosh!! Do you have to do that?” But these days, it doesn’t bother me. I guess that as we get older, we don’t worry so much about what other people think, and we are finally able to just enjoy the moment. That’s what my mom was always able to do…enjoy the moment. Maybe more of us should be like that.

Etha Pearl Spencer Fellon Hedstrom and kidsEvery year or so, my dad’s 1st cousin once removed, Arlouine (Bunny) Probasco and her husband, Marvin come to Casper for a visit as they travel from their home in Buhl, Idaho back to visit family in the Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota areas. It is always a pleasant visit, giving us a chance to talk about the family history and, in general, what is going on in each other’s lives. Arlouine is the granddaughter of my dad’s Aunt Etha Pearl Spencer Fellon Hedstrom. Etha’s first marriage to Arloine’s grandfather did not work out so well, but through that marriage came Arlouine’s mother…also named Arlouine and her Uncle Harold. I found this picture of Arlouine’s grandmother, her mother, her uncle, and I hope it is something she does not have, because it will be great to give her something she has never seen before. I also found several others I think she might like.

Arlouine is a crafty person, and she makes butterfly fridge magnets and towels to hang on the stove that are very pretty. Every time she comes she brings us something, which is so sweet of her. She is also interested in the family history, so that gives us a lot to talk about. Here again, it took me a little while to place her accurately in the family history, so for a time, I just didn’t realize what a treasure her knowledge would be. This year, unfortunately, I missed her visit, because Bob and I were out of town. That frustrates me a little, because I wanted to see her reaction to the pictures and talk to her about any stories her mother and grandmother might have told her about.

Arlouine is an unusual name, and I have often wondered where it came from. I know her name was passed to her from her mother, but where did Great Aunt Etha get that name. It was not passed down from her Spencer side that I am aware of, so I have to assume it was from the Fellon side. Names that are passed down from generation to generation are really a cool thing, even if the name is something unusual or old fashioned. It is just the fact that you were named after a beloved ancestor that makes it cool. I’m sure that for Arlouine it is that fact that the name was her mother’s, even if she uses a nickname, that makes it special…at least it would to me.

imageAs I read through the posts of my various friends and family members on Facebook, I see mostly happy people who deal with occasional down days or irritated thoughts, but among those people, one person stands out as being always positive, always happy, and always uplifting. That person is my niece, Kellie Hadlock. You might say that anyone can post positive things, but still have negative thoughts and such, but I have known Kellie all of her life, and I have never met anyone as genuinely happy as she is. I believe she is truly filled with the joy of The Lord.

Kellie’s passion is music ministry, and she is amazing at it. She has a beautiful voice and her songs come from her heart. I think that to sing such beautiful songs about the love of our God, you have to have such a deep relationship with Him, that His joy simply flows out of you. That’s what happens with Kellie when she sings.

But, Kellie’s joy doesn’t stop there. Every aspect of her life is accompanied with a huge smile. Most people don’t smile for even a quarter of their lives, but I think Kellie probably smiles for 90% of hers…at least. There doesn’t seem to be anything that upsets her happy nature. Kellie puts the joy of The Lord first on her to do list every day, and her posts on Facebook show that. She never posts image Continue reading

Prince George 3It’s been a fast year in the royal family. Little Prince George has wowed everyone he met. He is a sweet little boy who’s parents’ hands on style has proven to be pretty perfect for bringing up a happy and well mannered little prince. Every time I see his little smile I have to smile too. He is just so cute. We all knew that his handsome parents would produce a handsome little boy, and we were not disappointed. Prince George did not come home to the palace after his birth, but rather went to visit he mother’s family for a time…a very unusual event, and one that the royals really didn’t like. I suppose that like all grandparents, they worried, but this family worried about Prince George’s safety. He was, after all, a very famous boy…even before he was born, and that makes for possible threats to his safety. Nevertheless, while security was high outside, the family had their privacy inside.

Prince George is already a world traveler, having traveled to New Zealand and Australia with Prince George 2his parents at just 9 months of age…one of the youngest princes to travel abroad. Something that not everyone can say they did in their first year, but then Prince George is a special boy. He is the future king of England, behind his grandfather and his dad. He has many things to learn, and there is no time like the present to begin. He will be expected to act in a certain way, and smile even when he doesn’t feel like it. He will be expected to be at least tolerant of
the press, and if he is like his parents, he will do so with winning style. He will host many events himself, such as the opportunity he had recently, to have a play dates with some children at the residence of the Queen…who was away at the time. Not everyone could get away with that, but then Prince George holds a special place in the heart of the Queen. I don’t say he could get away with just anything with her, but maybe more than most kids could.

While he is still a baby, Prince George will soon have royal obligations like all the other royal SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 20:  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds Prince George of Cambridge as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge looks on whilst meeting a Bilby called George at Taronga Zoo on April 20, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)family members. When you are a royal, people expect you to make appearances at different has a lot learn, but he has a while for that yet. Right now, all Prince George needs to do is show us the cute little faces he makes, and we’ll be satisfied. It’s always a bit sad to realize that before we know it Prince George…like all babies with grow up and those baby days will be long gone, but for now, we can enjoy his smiley face for a little while longer. In the years to come, Prince George will be an integral part of the royal family and their face to the world, but for now, he is very much a little boy, and I hope he gets some time to be just a little boy. Happy 1st birthday Prince George…my 18th cousin twice removed!!