My nephew, Rob Masterson, says of his wife, Dustie, “This is our 22nd year together. We will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in January, but we have been together 22 years. She remains the love of my life. She is a remarkable woman at home and at work. Her boss has put her on the fast track as far as her advancement in the company. She loves her children…even when she wants to strangle them. Then again, I suspect that’s true of all mothers. I am prouder now than I was the day I married her, to be allowed to be her husband.” Such a beautiful tribute. It made me cry. Words of love from a husband to a wife. Some things simply cannot be improved upon by summarizing them.
Dustie has a way of taking things in stride, even when that isn’t the easiest thing to do. The family had a cat, named Scratch. The cat was so loved, but one day Scratch went missing. It was such a sad day for the whole family, but Scratch was Dustie’s cat, so it was especially sad for her, but Dustie persevered. Sadly, Scratch didn’t come back, and after waiting for a few months, Dustie decided that the time had come to get a new cat. So, they got a sweet little kitten and named him Moxie. Like Scratch, Moxie is very much a momma’s boy. Moxie loves to cuddle and be loved on, and Dustie coddles him. I think she must have a magnetic personality…especially for kitties.
Dustie has been working at Walgreen’s for a couple of years now, and she was recently promoted to ESM (Emerging Store Manager). That is second in command, and person in charge when the manager is off duty. She has worked very hard to be the best she can be. In order to receive this promotion, Dustie had to know every part of the store operations, including the Pharmacy, so she has taken a pharmacy tech training course. Dustie works very hard, and she has been learning many things pertaining to her job and possible promotions. She has a lot of responsibility now, but she loves it. As, her daughter, Raelynn said, “She’s been taking her life and making it great.” Dustie is also learning German and doing quite well. My only question is, why didn’t she learn it when I was learning it (in high school)? I needed someone to practice with. Her mother-in-law, my sister, Cheryl says she was too young. I say that is no excuse!!! Of course, the reality is that Dustie wasn’t born yet when I was in high school. Still no excuse, Dustie!!
Daughter, Taylor says, “Mom has always listened to our needs and wants. She has always been there for Rae, Matt, and me, especially right now and she is always checking in with Dad on how he’s feeling. Mom just amazing.” Raelynn says, “I really look up to mom. She doesn’t let things hold her down for very long.” No, she doesn’t. Dustie has always been a happy person, and that’s why we have all loved her since she and Rob started dating 22 years ago. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Jolene Thompson is my niece, Kellie Hadlock’s boyfriend, Tim Thompson’s daughter, and she is such a little sweetheart. She always has a smile on her face, and she is totally fearless. She is a totally tough little girl. She is an amazing big sister to her siblings, and helps take care of them, but this summer, she got to spend with her dad, and they had the best summer. Jolene is in 1st grade this year, and she spent the summer learning to ride her bike and learning how to swim. She excelled at both new skills and can’t get enough of them. Her dad is a great teacher, and he guided his little girl to the level of expert in no time. She even jumped off of the high dive in Thermopolis without hesitation…multiple times!! She is totally fearless in all aspects of her life.
Jolene loves to draw and color. She has that creative gene, I think. She also loves to brush and style Kellie’s hair, which if you know my family at all, is like the greatest blessing ever. Some people hate to have their hair touched, but our family…can’t get enough of having our hair brushed, styles, or just touched. Some people might call that weird, but if you like having your hair brushed and such…well, you just know what I mean. With Kellie, Jolene gets to do all the girly things that she doesn’t get to do normally, because at home, either with her dad or her mom, there is no doing the girly things. Not everyone likes the dress-up, fix the hair, girly things. That is a blessing for both Jolene and Kellie. They are best friends, and they love each other very much.
During her summer with her dad, Jolene got to do a lot of camping, hiking, and shooting. She also got to go fishing, and of course bicycling and swimming. She had a totally blissful summer. Her and her dad had a great summer…and they did all the things!! They went to a rock-climbing wall place, and Jolene climbed like an expert there too. She also showed off her climbing skills on the trees in the campgrounds she and her dad stayed in. Jolene got her first bow this year too and learned archery. Tim is a total outdoorsman, and Jolene wants to do everything her dad does, so she is eager to learn and to reach expert level. Today is Jolene’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Jolene!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Quite likely one of the most brutal kinds of bombs was the mine. These mostly submerged orbs could take out an unsuspecting ship the minute it made contact with it, usually with no warning at all. So great was the danger to ships in the area, that the nations started building ships for the express purpose of seeking out these mines and destroying them before they were able to destroy a ship in the area. One such ship, the USS Perry was built by Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Mare Island. It was laid down September 15, 1920 and launched October 29, 1921. Named in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry and sponsored by Miss Anne R Scudder, it was commissioned August 7, 1922, with Lieutenant Richard H Booth in command, but it wasn’t initially designed to be a minesweeper.
Nearly 20 years after the ship was commissioned, the ship was converted to a minesweeper and redesignated DMS-17 on November 19, 1940. This particular ship was the third of eight ships that would be named after Oliver Hazard Perry, which seems to me, rather unheard of, but maybe not. After becoming a minesweeper, the USS Perry (DMS-17) had an illustrious career for almost four years. Veteran Lieutenant JG Charles L Ennis told of his time on the ship, saying, “My battle station was on the Flying Bridge and I saw mines. The proximity of these deadly orbs certainly prevented any rescue ship from effective aid particularly since many of the crew were in the water and would been killed had another mine been exploded.” It was his job to see the danger before it could take down the ship. Of course, they captain knew that it was just as likely that the ship would find the mine when it hit the mine as it was to see it beforehand.
That was exactly the case, when on September 14, 1944 (one day short of the 24th anniversary of the ship being laid down on September 15, 1920), the USS Perry hit a mine at 2:07pm, and sank to the bottom roughly 700 yards south of Angaur Island in less than two hours. Larry Tunks was firing anti-aircraft guns aboard the USS Perry when it scraped a mine off Angaur Island, exploding a boiler and killing eight crewmen. One of those killed was his closest ship buddy, a fellow Nebraskan. Another 146 men were plucked from the ocean by US warships in the area. The USS Perry lay undiscovered at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean until it was found on May 1, 2000 by Fish ‘n Fins, owner Navot Bornovski on a 240’ bottom. Navot and Padi Owdi, Jeff Wonnenberg were the first to dive the wreck.
Alli Simpson, who is my grandnephew, Xander Spethman’s girlfriend is a sweet girl who has capture Xander’s heart, and everyone in his family loves her very much. Alli is a quiet girl, at least when I have been around her, but maybe she is just shy because she doesn’t know me too well. Xanders family has pretty much “adopted” her, for now…a situation that will change as their relationship deepens. It’s not every day that a person fits so perfectly in a family, but Alli is one of those precious few who really do.
Alli is a smart girl, who worked hard and graduated from high school one semester early. I know she has great things ahead of her. She had considered becoming a nurse at one point, but like many people who were considering nursing, plans changed following Covid-19. While her plans may have taken a setback, I know that this ambitious girl did not. Whatever she decides to do, I know that she will land on her feet. Right now, she is just working and enjoying spending time with Xander and his family.
Alli loves plants. If you look at her Facebook profile page, you will pick up on that fact immediately. I must say that I have to give a lot of credit to anyone who can raise plants, because there are lots of us out there who definitely can’t. I can kill a plant in record time, so I am in awe of anyone who can keep one alive for more than a month. Alli’s sense of humor even extends to her plants. While I don’t know if she would actually take a plant out for a walk, the fact that she sees humor in the idea makes me smile. Maybe she would do that, simply because it would be something new and different. I think that if Xander is looking for a birthday present for her, a plant stroller might be just the ticket.
It seems that Alli has always been a bit of a princess and really, a fashionista. That makes her a good friend for Xander’s little sister, Aleesia, who is a fashionista too, and as the only girl in the Spethman family, she and Alli and Xander’s mom, Jenny Spethman, of course, can all share in their fashion/princess world together. Alli and Xander have also decided that they want to help an animal in need, so recently, they adopted a dog that they named Rocky. Rocky loves his new mommy and daddy, and since the kids just moved into their first place together, they now have a nice little family. Today is Alli’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Alli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandniece, Mackenzie Moore is a bundle of energy, and this summer has been no exception. Even without her beloved ballet, Mackenzie has been very busy. Her ballet class takes a break over the summer, and she has really missed it. She has been spending lots of time hanging out with her cousins, Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Khloe Briggs. Mackenzie and Adelaide get to see each other the most, because they only live an hour away from each other. That has been a special blessing for both of these girls. This summer in particular, they have been pulling all sorts of shenanigans. In particular, they have been perfecting their look with makeup. From what I hear, they get better at it every day.
Mackenzie started Pre-K2 this year, and she absolutely loves school. She has also been happy to be back in ballet, because she really loves her ballet. She is so excited about her birthday coming, that she has, in fact, been talking about it since December. She loves to tell her mom, my niece Lindsay Moore, that she is “growing up” and reminds her of it often by doing “big girl things.” Mackenzie loves to socialize with all her friends…kids and adults alike!! That is so much like her mom. I remember Lindsay going all around the church before services to greet everyone, and I found myself wondering how this little girl managed to know all these adults!! Mackenzie, like her mom, is in her element at church and football games alike!! Her daddy, Shannon Moore is a coach for the Wyoming Cowboys, so she has the chance to get to know all the players, cheerleaders, and other coaches. Mackenzie is friends with the Cowboys cheerleading coach, so she gets to stay with the cheerleaders all through the games. She is friends with so many people and is totally in her element talking football with them, and of course, being the Cowboys’ littlest cheerleader!!
Mackenzie is a good girl, and she loves her Jesus more than anything else. She is a blessing to all who know her. She knows she is a child of God and has many questions. This past weekend she felt led to lay hands on her grandma, Allyn Hadlock, over a splinter and it made her mom’s heart very happy!! It is such a sweet thing to have a heart of compassion for other people. I think God may have a special calling for this little girl. Her mom says, “I have no greater joy than to know she walks in the truth!!” That is the best place to be. Today in Mackenzie’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
For the first time in about a decade, my niece, Lindsay Moore and her sister, Jessi Sawdon live close enough to each other to get together often. Lindsay has lived in a number of different places over the years, Brookings, South Dakota; Miami Florida; Greenville, North Carolina; and now Laramie, Wyoming. Her husband, Shannon Moore is a football coach and is currently the Tight Ends / Fullbacks Coach University of Wyoming. Jessi’s husband, Jason Sawdon has had a long and successful career with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and was recently promotion to Sergeant of Equipment and Technology, as the next step in his decorated career. The promotion came with a move to Cheyenne, Wyoming. That was sad for all of us, but it put the girls about 45 minutes from each other and made frequent visits possible. In fact, the visits feel like popping over to a friend’s house. Their play dates are as much for Lindsay and Jessie as they are for their daughters, Adelaide Sawdon and Mackenzie Moore. Jessie tells me that she finds Lindsay to be very funny, and that it is so much fun to “mom” with her. Lindsay loves the kids, hers as well as her nieces and nephew. Sometimes she decides to take the kids for a day or even a week, and they all have a wonderful time.
Lindsay is such a faithful daughter of God, and she is developing into quite the inspirational speaker too. She has spoken at two Women’s Conferences at her church, and everyone has learned so much from her…especially her own family. They have come to really rely on her if they need encouragement. Lindsay has been really digging deeper in the The Word this year, and she is really starting to see the vision that the Lord has in her life. Jessi tells me that “it’s so exciting and fun as an outsider to see that relationship in action.” As a family of Christians (Lindsay and Jessi’s as well as our whole family) watching any of our members grow more and more in the Lord is something that we all rejoice over. In fact, we all strive to grow deeper and deeper in the Lord, so it is a real joy to see it happening. Lindsay has always been a joyful person, and each new step makes her more and more joyful, and what a blessing it is to watch that growth.
Lindsay has lived far away from her family for a long time, so she knew that daily phone conversations and texting were always going to be very important. She is so good about calling all of her family and taking time from her day to make sure she knows what’s happening in their lives and to support them when needed. Lindsay is more than just a daughter or sister. She is their good friend. In fact, we could all take a lesson from her caring nature, and her continued relationship with her family. I know that her family is so thankful that she doesn’t let her busy life keep her from keeping in touch with them every day. They are all really thankful for her friendship. She’s such a good sister and friend.
Lindsay has always been “Lindsay” and that means she is herself. She is very real, and she doesn’t worry about how she might look to others. Lindsay has a lot of funny and awkward stories about interactions during the week. It’s not that they happen all the time, but that she is a just a funny storyteller, so they always seem awkward and funny. She is never afraid to be herself, even if “herself” is silly. That is an endearing quality for sure. Most of us are afraid to look silly, and while Lindsay doesn’t always “look silly,” she doesn’t mind if she does. It’s all a part of her charm. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Ever since my grandniece, Aleesia Spethman was little, she has loved owls…all kinds of owls. I don’t know if she still does or not, but her interest in owls sparked an interest in owls for me. It was almost surprising to think of a little girl loving owls, but Aleesia did. She loved all kinds of owls. Suddenly, I wanted to know more about owls too. I find that I really like owls too…all kinds of owls. They are just so different. Normally, owls are nocturnal birds, and so spotting them isn’t so easy. I’m always amazed that photographers manage to get pictures of them, but then I’m sure it’s only after hours of sitting and waiting.
One of my favorite owl pictures is of an owl that had its head sideways, looking at the photographer like it was wondering what they were doing. I found that to be even funnier when my grandniece, Mackenzie Moore did that exact same thing when she was little. The fact that I found that picture, really piqued my interest in the burrowing owls, and the things I have found out about them has really made them my favorite owl, I think.
The burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), is a small, long-legged owl, which is also called the Shoco. It is mostly found in the open landscape areas of North and South America. Burrowing owls prefer grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, and deserts. They actually nest and roost in burrows, often using those that have been excavated by prairie dogs. While Burrowing Owls don’t like the midday heat, they are often found out during the day, unlike their fellow owls of the nocturnal type. Still, they do most of their hunting at dusk and dawn, like many other kinds of owls, when they can use their night vision and hearing to their advantage. On strange thing about the Burrowing Owl is its longer legs. These allow the Burrowing Owl to sprint, as well as fly, when hunting, something that is a great advantage, since it lives in open grasslands as opposed to forests.
I particularly like some of the antics of the burrowing owls. In addition to the funny head positioning, they like to stand on one leg, stretch to their full height, and even kiss and hold hands…er feet. They are so cute, and they seem like such a loving owl, at least toward their mate. I don’t suppose their prey would see them that way, but when they aren’t hunting, they really are just as cute as they can possibly be…and funny too.
My great grandniece, Alice Green is growing up “so darned fast” as her mom tells me. Her parents, Melanie and Jake Harman really wish she would just slow down. Today, Alice is turning 10 and that just seems so impossible!! This coming school year will be her last year of elementary school. That seems impossible to me. I mean, she is only in 5th grade, but these days 6th grade is middle school, so there you go. Alice is a good student and works hard at her studies. I know that middle school is going to be a wonderful new experience for her, and I am so excited for the future changes that will bring, but for now, I know she will enjoy being one of the big kids on campus, and that will be fun for her too. It’s very strange that the older your kids get, the faster the years go by. The old song, “Don’t Blink” comes to my mind, with its big hint of sadness. Parents have to stay focused on every milestone, every event, and every little moment, because they will be gone before we know it, and the kids will be all grown up.
Alice is still a great big sister and growing into a beautiful young lady. Still, while her love for her family remains the same, many of her opinions and attitudes are changing. She is, after all, a teenager in a 10-year-old’s body!! Like the “terrible twos,” the teenage years creep up on you when you aren’t looking, and they often begin around ten or so. It’s not that Alice is sassy or anything, just getting so mature. She is a very sweet natured girl, and I really love how she interacts with her family, and especially her siblings. Isabella and Jaxx look up to their big sister, and she is always very good to them. It is a great blessing to their parents, and I love to see it too.
Alice and her stepdad, Jake have a unique relationship. It is really very little like a stepdad/stepdaughter relationship, and very much like a goofy kind of daddy/daughter relationship. They love to play random acts of rudeness on each other, both knowing that it’s a joke and all in good fun. Her mom thinks that’s what keeps the relationship so close. Alice is also very close with her mom too and very much Melanie’s mini-me…in looks and in personality. She is also a big help to Melanie with the younger children. Today is Alice’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Alice!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My dad’s mom, Anna Spencer was such a strong woman. My grandfather, Allen Spencer worked on the Great Northern Railway, and so Grandma was in charge of the kids, including her two rambunctious boys, my Uncle Bill and my dad, Allen. Now that doesn’t say that her two girls weren’t a handful too, but my Aunt Laura and my Aunt Ruth, likely caused her a little bit less trouble than her mischievous boys…especially when it came to their use of dynamite. Being farm boys, they used dynamite to remove tree stumps, for their wake-up call on Independence Day, as well as the occasional gatepost (which then had to be raised two inches before their mom came home from town). Nevertheless, Grandma was loved and respected by her children.
Grandma and the kids ran the farm, and that meant putting the hay up into stacks by hand, taking care of the animals and the garden. When they were working, Grandma was all business, but that didn’t mean the kids followed suit. My Aunt Ruth loved horses and dogs too, and goofing off for my Uncle Bill, so he could take a picture of her. Somehow, it once caught my grandma in the picture looking at her mischievous children, goofing off instead of working. Somehow, she was not very amused, but while Grandma didn’t think it was funny, the picture is one that always makes me laugh. I don’t know if my Aunt Ruth got in trouble for “shirking” her responsibilities or not, but I’ll bet she at least heard about it. Grandma was not really a pushover, after all. In those days, when it was time to work, the kids had better toe the line.
During the time when my grandma was raising kids, the country was going through the Great Depression years, and time were tough anyway, so the people also had to be tough. The men were often working somewhere also, and the women had to take on the role of both parents, and even businesswomen. My grandmother ran a hotel for a time, and my Aunt Laura, who was just ten years old when my Uncle Bill was born, was responsible for his day-to-day care. My Uncle Bill actually remembered that time fondly. He and his big sister were very close at that time. I’m sure it was not the ideal situation for my grandmother, who must have felt like she was missing out on the baby years, but she persevered, and the family did well. Grandma was a tough lady, because she had to be, and the family needed her to be. I’m very proud of the strong woman she was. Today, Grandma is in Heaven, but this is the 135th anniversary of that great lady’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma. We love and miss you very much.
My grandniece, Siara Olsen met Chris Kirk in early September of 2021, when she boldly went up to him in the local Loaf and Jug convenience store in Casper, and told him that she liked his freckles. She started calling him her “Loaf and Jug Boyfriend” that very day. How could he resist that?? The year prior had been the hardest year Siara had ever faced, and when she met Chris, her joy returned. She once again became the happy girl we had always known and missed very much. I won’t go into the sadness of the prior year, because this story has a happy ending, and I will focus on that. Chris has the ability to put a smile on my grandniece’s face, and in my book that makes him a great guy. Chris fits well into Siara’s family, and she fits well into his. Theirs is going to be a wonderful and exciting future.
Siara and Chris have so much in common. They are both very athletic, and love doing te same activities. The first pictures I saw of them together, believe it or not, they were doing a couple’s workout, and it was obvious that they were “head over heels” in love with each other. You never saw a picture of them where they weren’t smiling…unless they were making a face for the camera. They love to joke around, and their happiness just flows out of both of them.
Siara has long been a fitness buff, and Chris either is too, or he has become one since meeting her. They like to go hiking with Siara’s brother, Jake Harman, his wife, Melanie, and their kids, Alice, Izabella, and Jax. A favorite spot is the Bridle Trail on Casper Mountain. I like to say that families should work toward staying fit together, because it makes for a long and happy life. Hiking and hanging out with her brother’s family also gave everyone a chance to get to know Chris, and they all liked him too. Siara is close to her brother and his family, so that was important.
Chris surprised Siara when she had her back to him and he dropped to one knee, just as she turned around. His proposal was sweet and beautiful, and Siara was swept off her feet. I couldn’t say it better than she did, in her own words, “Turning around to you down on one knee asking me if I trust you with my life and my heart it was so easily a yes, but you asking me if I would marry you was the easiest yes of all! Our souls are so deeply connected through God already, but this makes it mean so much more. I love you more than anything, Chris Kirk!” It makes everyone in Siara’s family so happy to see these two tie the knot today. I wish you both all the love and happiness in the world. Congratulations Siara and Chris!! We love you both!!