Monthly Archives: October 2021
When the nations of North and South Korea were split, it was much like when Germany became East and West Germany…people were caught in the crossfire…so to speak. Despite being unified off and on for nearly 1,500 years, the Korean peninsula was divided into North and South as a result of the breakup of the Japanese empire at the end of World War II. The United States government knew that it would have to administer the Philippines, as well as Japan itself. It was a big job, so the United States was reluctant to also take trusteeship of Korea. Basically, Korea just wasn’t a very high priority for the United States. The Soviets, on the other hand, were more than willing to step in and take control of lands that the Tsar’s government had relinquished its claim to after the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05).
The Soviets wanted to set the country up as communist, and the United States wanted the country to be capitalist. The sad truth about the difference between communism and capitalism is that capitalism is about freedom, and communism is about slavery. The country was divided along the 38th parallel with a demilitarized zone along that line. The North Korean side of the 38th Parallel was ruled by communism, and the South was ruled by Capitalism. The economic impact was most unfortunate, in that two separate and “necessary to each other” industrial areas were now on opposite sides. The two countries were now both poor.
That was a sad state of affairs, but the worse state of affairs was what happened to the people. Communism being what is was, worried that if the people were allowed to cross the borders freely, they would not come back, and they were probably right. So the people who lived in North Korea and had family in South Korea were no separated from each other, and those in the south were equally separated from loved ones. It is a horrible situation, but there seemed to be no remedy for it. The separation went on for many years. Finally on October 31, 2010, the North Korean government relented to a degree. Four hundred and thirty-six South Koreans were allowed to spend three days in North Korea to meet their 97 North Korean relatives, whom they had been separated from since the 1950-1953 war. The three-day reunion was wonderful, but also bittersweet, because it was followed by a sad goodbye. The separation had been excruciating, and they had no recourse. They were at the mercy of the ruling government. Nevertheless, they were also thankful for the time to spend together, even if it meant a tearful goodbye following a luncheon meeting during inter-Korean temporary family reunions at Mount Kumgang resort.
When you look at the realities of Socialism, Marxism, and Communism, you cannot really be surprised by the many people who are trying to escape from it’s grip. Most are willing to give their life to get out in the hope of giving their children a better life than that. Many lessons could be learned from the situation between North and South Korea, if we will only pay attention.
My nephew, Matt Miller actually joined our family…officially, on August 14, 2021, when he married my niece, Michelle Stevens. While that was the official date, Matt has really been part of our family much longer. Matt and Michelle actually met in middle school. At that point, they became friends, but neither of them knew the future God had planned for this friendship. God planned for their friendship to grow into something so much deeper. As time went on, they knew that theirs was to be love and friendship, not just friendship. Their wedding this summer was the culmination of their years of loveship.
These days, Matt and Michelle are working hard and saving their money, because it is their dream to buy a house on a piece of land. Matt wants a large shop where he can work on things and just tinker around. He loves working on things like vehicles, and if they have land, I’m sure a riding lawnmower will follow. Michelle is so proud of her husband, because he visualizes a plan, and works hard to bring it to pass. The long shifts at the coal mines are not easy, and have sometimes meant that he and Michelle don’t see each other for two or three days, because of their shift differences. I get that too, because my own husband worked in the uranium mines. It tough of them and it makes it kind of lonely for them too. Nevertheless, Matt wants the very best for his wife and future kids, and their dream is land, so that is what he is going to do. Matt has recently really gotten into snowmobiling this year too, so I’m sure his shop will include tinkering on the snowmobiles that they will most likely own soon.
Of course, no man can work all the time, and hunting allows Matt to have fun and provide meat for the family table. Matt and his dad, love to go hunting, fishing, and they share a love of guns. Matt and his dad went bow hunting for elk this year, and both got their elk. That is so uncommon. Usually one or both will have to go hunt with a rifle in order to get their elk too. Game animals are elusive, you know. It was really fun for them to succeed in getting their elk with a bow. I have no idea how to shoot an arrow with a bow…much less have enough skill to actually bag an elk with a bow. That is really something to be super proud of. It’s really been a great year for Matt. Now, he and Michelle are really looking forward to all the good things God has in store for them in the future. Today is Matt’s birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I like lighthouses. That is just a fact. I am particularly fascinated with unusual lighthouse. There are many lighthouses all over the world. They are, of course, used to direct ships away from shallow waters or dangerous rocks that lurk below the surface of the water. Today, there are more than 21,600 lighthouses worldwide, and there are a few that are still in use. In pre-GPS days, they played a vital role in the shipping industry, but these days they are usually used as tourist attractions. Many are privately owned, and are only used in an extreme emergency, when the electronic guidance systems are down. Some lighthouses are simply abandoned. I have mixed feelings about those, because when abandoned, they usually fall into disrepair, but there is something about abandoned buildings that has always intrigued me…even when they have fallen into disrepair.
One such unusual, abandoned lighthouse is the Aniva Lighthouse in Sakhalin, Russia. The lighthouse is situated on a small rock called Sivuchya near the rocky Cape Aniva. It is difficult to reach, and can only be accessed by water. To make matters worse, the tides are strong there. Still, the breathtaking scenery makes the journey worth while. Construction started on Aniva Lighthouse in June 1937 and finished in October 1939, taking just over two years. Building this navigational structure was difficult: all of the construction materials had to be delivered by water. Severe weather conditions didn’t make the process any easier.
When I first saw a picture on the Aniva Lighthouse, it reminded me of the front of a ship. It almost looked like a shipwreck, except for the lighthouse part, of course. Upon closer inspection, the lighthouse really doesn’t look like a ship at all, but maybe it was designed to give that illusion. The concrete tower, is painted to match the surrounding rocks, its stroboscopic lamp located 131 above the ground. The structure is round in shape and equipped with a bay window, the 9-floor tower stands on an oval base, which looks like it is coming out of the coastal rocks. Maybe that’s why it looks like a ship.
The Aniva Lighthouse was well equipped for living, no matter what the weather conditions. The basement was equipped with diesel engines and batteries. The kitchen was located on the ground floor along with the food storage The radio room, equipment room, and watch room were situated on the second floor of the lighthouse. As many as 12 people could be accommodated in the living quarters, located on the third, fourth and fifth floors, with each floor having a separate room. The interior of the quarters was modest, housing two bunk beds and small alcoves for personal belongings. Much of the light came in through small porthole windows. The storeroom was on the sixth floor. The seventh floor housed the mechanisms of a pneumatic siren, with its horn installed directly on the roof of the bay window. The eighth floor was used for fuel storage. The ninth floor housed the lens rotation mechanism of the lighthouse. The lantern rotated inside a bowl with about 660 pounds of mercury. The stroboscopic lamp was set in motion by a mechanism similar to a clockwork. Running through the center of a spiral staircase leading to the very top of the tower, was a pipe with a suspended weight of 595 pounds inside. It took the weight three hours to reach the bottom, rotating the lamp in the process. After that, the lighthouse keeper had to rewind the system. The lighthouse had a range of 17.5 miles. That must have been a job.
It was decided to make the Aniva Lighthouse autonomous by re-equipping it to work from a nuclear power source in the 1990s. In 2006, the radioisotope generators were removed. The lighthouse has been abandoned ever since. These days it is a haven for the birds.
My niece, Siara Olsen had a really tough year two years ago, but God had a new plan for her life. Siara was unsure why God would send her a man who shared a birthday with her son Alec Olsen. Siara lost Alec just a little under two years ago, to RSV. Having a boyfriend who shared that birthday felt a little strange…at least until Siara got to know Chris Kirk’s heart. Today is Chris’ birthday, but he decided to give Siara and her mom, Chantel Balcerzak a spa day so that Siara wouldn’t spend the whole day thinking sad thoughts about Alec. What an incredibly kind thing to do for her…on his birthday. Siara can’t say enough about Chris’ kindness, and just how genuine guy he is.
Chris has three siblings, one brother and two sisters. He is an amazing uncle to all of his nephews and nieces, as well as to Siara’s nieces and nephew. He bought his one nephew brand new wrestling shoes and takes him to the gym with him. Chris is a wrestler and is competing in a wrestling tournament in Denver next weekend, so his nephew is “helping” him prepare. It’s an exciting event, and even Siara’s parents are going to watch. Chris and Siara also work out together, and I can tell that he is very athletic. They love to go hiking and have seen many cool places this summer. One of their favorites is the Bridle Trail, which happen to be one of my favorite trails too. Such a beautiful hike.
Chris and Siara have many things in common. One is football. Chris loves football, and Siara, who was a cheerleader loves it too. So, they have gone to some Wyoming games, and Chris knows that he doesn’t have to worry about his girl hating that he watches football. They are also two very fun people, who love goofing off and having a good time.
Not all of Chris’ life was just perfect. Chris spent much of his childhood in foster care, and as we all know, that is not always a recipe for a child turning out well, but Chris was determined to become a good person. He wanted to be proud of himself, and so he worked to become a good man. While he did come out of foster care, he turned into a beautiful person in spite of it. As far as we, Siara’s family, are concerned, the fact that Chris is such a loving person, who treats Siara the way she deserves to be treated. And Chris is just that man. He is loving and even doting when it comes to Siara. He makes her feel spoiled and very special, and that makes us like Chris a lot. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Susan Griffith is a health insurance agent for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and as such she does travel in the state of Wyoming. Recently, she got a chance to travel for pleasure with work, which is a new deal for Susan. Her company paid for the employees to attend a Wyoming Cowboys football game. Susan is not really a fan of football, but she went, because i she was going to support a team, it would be the Wyoming Cowboys, and while he had to leave early to make the long drive home, she said it was ok. Who knows, maybe she will become a football fan, and those free games will be fun for her.
This year has been bittersweet for Susan and her husband, Josh Griffith. Their oldest daughter, Jala Satterwhite graduated from high school this past year, and during the summer, took a job as a guide near Yellowstone National Park. Nevertheless, while she was away from home, it felt like she would be coming home after the season ended. That isn’t what happened, however. When Jala came back to Powell, she moved into an apartment with some friends. Of course, a parent like to see the adult their child has become, but most wish it hadn’t gone by so fast. Every parent who has adult children can certainly understand how Susan and Josh feel.
Susan has also re-taken up cross stitch, and has been turning our lots of cool stuff, so of which has been gifted to her friends. They all feel very blessed by the beautiful gifts she has made. Susan has also started making cakes and decorating them, so every party is amazing. The cake for Jala’s graduation was one of Susan’s cakes, and everyone said it was amazing.
With everything going on, somehow, Susan and Josh found more time to go camping…a bit surprising, but nevertheless, it did happen. They even found a new campsite with a fire ring that allowed him to have a fire, when some camp sites couldn’t have a fire due to bans and dry weather. Susan is very much an outdoor girl. Every year on free fishing day, which is the first Saturday in June, and also falls on Susan and Josh’s anniversary weekend, a group of family members and friend have gone out to the causeway between Lovell and the mountain to fish. This has been for probably the last 3 or 4 years and has become a fun way to celebrate their anniversary with friends.
As an unusual type of travel destination…for them anyway, in March Susan and Josh took their girls Jala Satterwhite and Kaytlyn Griffith to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a vacation. It’s possible that it might be the last family vacation they get to take as a whole family. They had such a great time relaxing on the beach and enjoying the nice weather. They also visiting the local shops and of course, collected sea shells. Like any vacation, they were excited to go, but happy to come home, because there is no place like home, and spring break in Fort Lauderdale was probably a zoo. The trip was a total shock really. They had won a free trip when they went to California, and had planned a trip last year, but then Covid happened and this was their last chance to catch this vacation. So now they can say that they have been to both oceans with the kids, and in addition, when they got married they went to Cabo San Lucas, so they have had some pretty great vacations soaking up the sun. Today is Susan’s birthday. Happy birthday Susan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Dustie Masterson works as a shift manager at Walgreen’s in Casper, Wyoming, and in the time she has been there, she has become an indispensable asset to the store. You never know were you will find her when you walk in, because she seems to be everywhere at once, and the places she isn’t will be calling for her help before you know it. It’s not that the store is out of control, but rather that under Dustie’s leadership, it is a well-oiled machine. She seems to be everywhere at once, because Dustie is a mover and a shaker. A mover and a shaker is defined as “a powerful person who initiates events and influences people” and that is much like what Dustie is. She stays busy, helps out where needed, and keeps things running smoothly, but she also inspires the people she works with to excel in their jobs too.
Dustie is just as much an inspiration in her home. She inspires her kids to do well in school and her husband, Rob Masterson to do well in his job too. Being managers is something they share, although at different places. I think that the leadership qualities that Dustie and Rob have are already showing up in their children. Some things are inherited too, and these kids will do well in life.
Dustie is a great leader, but that is not all that Dustie is about. Dustie has a great sense of humor, and she likes being very silly, especially with her kids. She shows them that they don’t have to spend their whole life working feverishly, or being serious as the contemplate their lives, or even hidden away with their noses in a book. Of course, those things are necessary at the proper times, but there is also a time to be…silly, and to laugh about their silliness. Life can sometimes get far too serious, and like the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.” Dustie loves the Bible, and I love that she does, and that she knows there is a time to laugh. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My Aunt Sandy Pattan is the family history guru in the Byer family. As a child, she was sickly, and so spent a lot of time in bed. Being home from school, just Aunt Sandy and her mom, my grandma, Hattie Byer, gave them much time to sit and talk. Remember that while television did exist, it was not common in most homes, and I don’t believe that my grandparents had one when the kids were growing up. There were too many other things that the family needed in the home, like food, for example. Video games were not invented yet, so Aunt Sandy was left with books, and Grandma’s stories to entertain her through the hours over recuperating from this cold or that flu, which seemed to attack her often.
My grandmother grew up in the early 1900s, and by the time Aunt Sandy came along in 1945, Grandma and Grandpa had eight other children. Aunt Sandy would be their last child. While Grandma and Grandpa disagreed on her name, Grandpa honored their decision to let the older kids decide between Sonya and Sandra. He was an honorable man. Grandma told her youngest child about a time when the Indians being around, wasn’t all that unusual. Many of her stories might have come from her parents and in-laws tales, but she remembered them all, and passed them on to her daughter, who absorbed them like a sponge. I recall my history classes in school, filled with dry boring date memorization, but when history is told like the story it is, it is amazingly interesting. That’s how Aunt Sandy got to learn history…or shall I say really learn history. When you think about an Indian who spends hours sitting on his horse looking at the wife of a respected friend, because he thought she was beautiful, and still never disrespecting her, because she was the wife of his friend, and you know that the woman was your grandmother, you can begin to relate to history as a story.
Aunt Sandy has never lost her love of history, and especially family history. Her parents came from large families and then went on to have a large family, so there was a lot of interesting activities. From the days of gunslingers to the first planes, cars, television, and so many other inventions, her parents had seen it all…or at least heard all about it. The events of history are so amazing, that the current days seem to pale in comparison. I now that my Aunt Sandy loved hearing all the family stories as they were passed down from mother to daughter, and I’m sure that she thought her family was the most amazing on in history, but the reality is that they were probably just a normal, every day, run of the mill families, living their life in the normal way for the times. It’s just that to the hearer of the story of history, it is so far back in time, and so unusual compared to today’s world, that it seems almost far-fetched, except that it isn’t. It’s the true story of history, and like Aunt Sandy, I will always be grateful to be the one the stories are told to. Today is Aunt Sandy’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg has had a rough year, due to the loss of his mother, Rachel Schulenberg on January 19, 2021. Still, Tucker is a good boy, who always made his parents proud. He has a good heart and a loving way about him. When the family gets together for our monthly dinners, Tucker is always willing to hang out and play with his girl cousins, and his boy cousin too. They are all much younger than he is, but that doesn’t make any difference. He never shuns them.
Tucker has his own ideas on most things, and he doesn’t mind telling what they are, but he is also ok with other people having other ideas, something that is somewhat rare in these days of everyone getting offended so easily. Tucker is a Conservative, and he doesn’t mind telling you so. He has a mind of his own, and he makes sure he is informed about the things going on around him. Now, I call that one wise kid.
Tucker came to our family at two years old, when his mom married my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg. Tucker had a. pretty much, absent dad, and he knew that Ron, who was his step-dad then, was going to be a better dad to him. It was Tucker who approached the adoption idea with Ron. Ron was so pleased, because he wanted nothing more than to truly be Tucker’s daddy. That couldn’t happen until Tucker’s real dad decided to allow his parental rights to be terminated. It took a while, but finally the day came, when he said ok. They all went straight to the court house, and signed the paperwork to get everything started. Soon after, on June 27, 2019, it was official, and Tucker was so happy, as were his parents. As it turned out, that adoption was so much more important than any one could have known. Tucker would really need his daddy just 19 months later. Tucker and his dad are doing better these days, but they went through some really hard times. There have been a few things that helped Tucker, mainly the grief camp he went to this past summer. The day camp involved horses, and Tucker, like most of the other campers, really thrived under the program. Tucker even thinks he might want to have a horse of his own. While they are pricey, I think his mom would love that idea. Time will tell if it can be done, but I think someday, he might just make that dream come true. No matter what, things will get better. Today is Tucker’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand-niece, Reagan Parmely is in the third grade, but she has a very different kind of school day from the kind when I was a kid in the third grade. Reagan and her sister, Hattie are homeschooled, so their day is structured quite differently from a public school. They spend pretty much the same amount of time in class and studies as the public school, but the recess and lunch breaks are very different. I don’t know of any public school where the students can go out for recess and jump on the trampoline, ride a horse, or play with the kittens and baby goats. Nevertheless, that is the kind of things that Reagan and Hattie can do. They also might spend part of their classroom breaks doing a few chores, like feeding the animals or mucking out the stalls and beds of the animals.
When Reagan’s mom, Ashley Parmely decided to homeschool her children, I thought it might be fun to have a play on words with the kids. I asked them, “How do you like your teacher this year?” After giving my an odd look, Reagan and Hattie (who is in 1st grade) have both said, “My mom is my teacher.” That opened up a conversation. I told them I knew that, so how did they like her. Well, they were still confused, because, of course, they “love” her. They said that she was good, and I said that I figured they liked her. They began to catch on, and then laughed a bit. As I said, their schooling is different from pubic school, and it is, in more ways than one. What public school allows the children to hug their teacher, much less tell their teacher they “love” her these days. It is just not done anymore, because everyone is afraid of a lawsuit. I find that really sad.
Life on a farm, being homeschooled has been really good for Reagan and her siblings, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. They love the freedom they have to relax in the schooling situation, and even to sleep in, because if they had to catch a bus for school, they would have to get up much earlier. The kids are also getting an education that is much more expanded than other children. Growing up around animals, watching them give birth, learning to milk a cow or a goat, and even learning about death, because that happens on the farm too. Some animals are raised for food, and that is just a part of life. Reagan is growing up so fast. In so many ways, she is wise beyond her years. She is a good big sister, a good farm girl, and we are all very proud of her. Today is Reagan’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!