Kids

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My grand niece, Christina Masterson is a dental hygienist by trade, who has been promoted to assistant office manager. As most of us know, 2020 was a tough year on many businesses, and dentists were among the hardest hit. I can’t tell you how many times my own cleanings have had to be rescheduled throughout the year. Of course, I am one person who had to be rescheduled, but for people in the field, like Christina, it was a complete shutdown for 6 to 8 weeks in March, due to Covid-19. Thankfully, Christina’s skills allowed her to pick up a few hours at an emergency dental clinic during those weeks. When the lockdown was ended, Christina wasn’t sure where things would stand for her. She was working at another office because her old office had closed, but she wasn’t really happy there. When her old office opened up again, they asked her to come back, and she was delighted. She had been praying for another job to open up for her, and her old office was her answer to prayer.

The pandemic left many people wondering if they would have a job to come back to. Christina’s strong faith in God helped her to get through these very tough times. Tough times don’t necessarily build faith, but if you have faith, you can get through the tough times. I would hate to face the tough times without God, and I’m sure Christina feels the same way. I think there were a lot of people who found themselves in a make or break time with their faith. Churches were closed, and depression set in with a lot of people. I am so thankful that Christina had already begun to cement her relationship with God before the pandemic hit. It gave her a head-start on her faith in a time when she needed it most. Now that things are improving, she finds herself in a really good place.

Now that things are opening up again, Christina has decided to focus on herself a little bit. The Covid lockdowns put a lot of people in an over-eating-under-exercising mode for a time. Many people found that as things opened up, their clothes didn’t fit like they used too. Now I don’t know if Christina put on any weight, but like many of us, she needed to get back to working out. So, Christina set herself to becoming the new and improved Christina. She joined a gym, started working out on a regular basis, and she started eating healthier and juicing. Christina has always stayed in pretty good shape, but I’m sure she is feeling so much better these days. Things in her life are lining up again, and 2021 is going to be a great year. Today is Christina’s 25th birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It seems that no one is exempt from the effects of Covid-19. My grand nephew, Easton Moore is no exception. While he turned 16 a year ago, he didn’t get his driver’s license until July. Things just got put on hold. With the stay at home orders and such, having 50 daytime and 10 nighttime driving times. Then Easton just didn’t really let it bother him. Then, when he got a job at McDonald’s and found out that riding his bicycle to work all the time wasn’t so much fun. So, he made the decision, and before long he had his license.

Easton was at McDonald’s for about a month before he had saved up enough money to buy a car from a friend. He very quickly began to enjoy having his car so he could really express himself. At “Red, White, and Blue Day,” Easton went out and bought a flag to show his patriotism. That is how many people feel about their car. It is an extension of themselves. It displays their personality and values. I’m proud of Easton’s patriotism, as I know his parents are too. These days, he is saving money to get a better car. That’s a good goal. Most kids start out with a “beater” to drive at first. A “beater” isn’t necessarily a “piece of junk” car, but rather just an older car that doesn’t need full coverage, because it’s not worth very much.

Easton is very good at “techy” things, which is common in his generation. Recently, some of the batteries on a few of the family phones needed to be replaced. Easton went on YouTube and quickly learned how to do that. The first one he replaced was his mom, my niece Machelle Moore’s; then came Easton’s phone; then his dad, Steve’s. First mine then his then his dads. It didn’t take him long to get real good at it. It took him ten minutes to replace the second battery on his mom’s phone, plus she needed a new ear piece and Easton was able to do that at the same time. Now, she can hear when someone calls…it’s a nice perk.

Easton comes from a tall family. His dad is 6’2″ tall; his dad’s brother is 6’8″ tall; and his grandpa, LJ Cook, Machelle’s dad, is 6’6″ tall. Easton really can’t wait to be taller than his dad. It’s a fun goal for him, and he has a real possibility of making that goal. Time will tell, of course, but Easton is already close to that goal, if he hasn’t passed it already, and since he will be growing for a few years yet, I have no doubt of his success. Today is Easton’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock has always been a woman with a sweet, loving spirit. Many times, the youngest child is the most spoiled, but while Allyn received the least amount of discipline, it was not because she was spoiled. Our mom, Collene Spencer told us once that the reason Allyn got less spankings was because her spirit was just so grieved by a simple tongue lashing, even a couple of disciplinary words…that mom didn’t have the heart to spank her much. If Mom told her something as simple as “that was naughty,” Allyn was heartbroken. She felt so awful…about so small a transgression. Oh, to have that kind of a gentle spirit…that kind of a heart for God and doing what is right.

That spirit has never left Allyn. She is such a giver. She wants to do anything she can to help the people around her…whether she knows them, whether they are family, or not. She gives of her time, as well as her abilities. There is a softness in Allyn’s spirit that I just love. That little girl, who had such a soft heart, who always wanted to do what was right, the one that my sisters and I always said was always good, hasn’t changed one bit. She still does whatever she can to make life easier for those around her. She is a helper, as I’m sure those she works with will attest. She doesn’t quit until the job is done. Allyn has worked in medical administration for years now, and while her company name has changed, she has been at the same place for a long time. Today, she works for Wyoming Medical Center. She is well liked there, and well respected by her co-workers and subordinates alike. Her position is in supervision in the billing department, and she enjoys it very much. She likes the people she works with, and they all work well together.

As much as Allyn loves her job, her first love, after God that is, will always be her family. She is wife to Chris, mom to Jessi Sawdon, Ryan Hadlock, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock. She is a beloved mother-in-law to Jason Sawdon, Chelsea Hadlock, and Shannon Moore. She is also grandma to Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore, as well as Jonathan Sawdon and Hallie Moore who both live in Heaven. Allyn’s family is the most important thing on this earth to her. She loves each and every one with all her heart…and they love her. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Jake Harmon has grown into such an incredible husband, dad, and above all, an incredible man of God. As his great aunt, I have known Jake all his life. Like most kids, there were good times and bad times. The teenaged years are tough on most kids…and their parents, but like Jake, most kids get through those tough years and move on with their adult lives. That doesn’t always mean, however, that they become something great. Many kids go on to live a mediocre life. Jake was not one of those kids.

Jake has always been good with kids. I think it’s largely because he is one of the funniest guys I know. These days, Jake drives a school bus for a living, and I can see how that job is perfect for him. I have seen bus drivers who are grouchy, and who obviously wish they had a different job. Jake is not one of those drivers. I can totally imagine that his bus would be “the fun bus” to ride on. Jake has had other jobs before, but none of them really suited him as well as this one.

Jake has also become the youth pastor at the Mountain View Baptist Church, that he and his wife Melanie attend. Melanie tells me that Jake has grown so much more with the youth group at their church, and I have noticed that too. Spiritual and personal growth don’t only happen at the church. They spill over into everyday life too. The church’s teens have grown to love Jake so much and love being around him. Jake isn’t stuffy and serious, but rather fun-loving and silly. Jake is so funny, in fact, that the youth group can’t get enough of his silliness. While Jake is a funny man in most of his life, there is a serious side to him too.

Jake is a giver. He sees a need, and he strives to meet that need. Recently, he started a ministry through their church called “Christ-Like Neighbors.” The purpose of the ministry is to help anyone with things they need done…like moving, lawn work, cleaning, or anything really that they need. The ministry, which includes Jake’s wife, Melanie, has helped quite a few people so far. Jake has such a heart for God and trying to bring people to the Lord. In addition to having a heart for God, Jake has a big heart when it comes to his family. He is an amazing dad and husband, and his family is very blessed. Their kids, Alice, Izabella, and Jaxx are a full of fun as their dad…and just as ornery, too. Teasing is a fact of life, and they all love to play and pick on each other. It makes for a funny, noisy household, but that’s part of the fun. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Jenny Spethman has gone through many changes in her lifetime…some of them are happy and a few are sad, but Jenny is one of those people who chooses to be happy no matter what her circumstance. It’s a great way to be, although in the really sad times, it can be difficult too. Jenny has been a happy person all her life though, so I think it is a habit. Even as a kid, Jenny filled her life with the happy girly things. That hasn’t changed either. Jenny is very stylish, and she can make an outfit out of a couple of looks that most of us would never think to pair up, but once we see them, we wonder why we couldn’t see it.

Jenny and her husband, Steve have three sons, Xander, Zack, and Isaac; as well as two daughters, Laila (who lives in Heaven) and Aleesia. The kids are getting older now, and all are in school full time, so about a year and a half ago, Jenny, who had been a stay-at-home mom, decided that she would like to get a part-time job, just to have a little mad money. Jenny had been telling her mom and my sister, Cheryl Masterson for a while that she wanted to get a job. The job of office runner at the legal firm where Cheryl works came up, and Cheryl had been going to mention it to Jenny for a few days, but hadn’t remembered to do it until a week or so later. The morning Cheryl called Jenny, she was literally just getting into her SUV to go look for a job! So, she came in and was hired on the spot…and the rest is history…sort of.

The job was and is perfect for Jenny, because Jenny is a helper, and always has been. She loves to help people, animals, and really every living creature! She doesn’t even step on a spider inside her house. She helps it get outside! Seriously! I would have to draw the line at spiders, so any spiders who don’t want to get squished should probably choose Jenny’s house over mine. Jenny had a specific type of job in mind, and the job of office runner was perfect. She wanted something part-time that would keep her busy and on her feet and moving continually for exercise and to stay in shape. Jenny did expand on the job of office runner in ways that the firm didn’t expect. She has made herself available for whatever anyone needs help doing. An office runner normally just takes documents to the courts or wherever anyone in the office needs work product delivered. They also relieve the front desk receptionist for her break and lunch. That was really all Jenny was required to do, but Jenny changed all that! Her willingness to help, and her desire to keep moving has endeared her to everyone in the office. She has expanded her own job description, without being asked. She is a go-getter, and she also has a listening ear. She listens to the people she works with, and learns their needs and their working style. That makes her a better assistant.

Jenny likes to spread sunshine. She likes to help anyone and everyone have a happy day. She is very sensitive to how people are feeling at any given time. If she senses they need a good word spoken to them, she chooses to be the one who gives it! She brings different thoughts and different ideas to those around her and that makes people like her. The firm really likes Jenny, and has offered her multiple other positions since she started working there, because of her personality and her willingness to work, but she has turned them down. She really likes her current job. The other positions would change everything for her…and for everyone else in the office. While they would like to see her advance, they would hate to lose her in the position she is currently in.

Something Jenny has never changed on is that her family comes first, and for her, the job isn’t about money. It’s about doing a little something extra with her time, and still being there for Steve and their kids. She likes being the runner, the helper! She doesn’t want to sit at a desk all the time, and she knows it! The job is made for her, and so are the hours. She’s truly the best office runner the firm ever had. She does a great job! Jenny brings happiness with her wherever she goes. She is a blessing to everyone who knows her, and in that office, they are grateful to have her. Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Dave Chase has been such a blessing to our family since he married my niece, Toni. Dave always goes above and beyond just being Toni’s husband. Dave treats Toni like a queen. She feels his love in everything he said says, and that is a beautiful kind of love to have. Dave is devoted to his family. He and Toni’s son, James are good friends, and Dave never tries to take the place of James’ dad, but he is always there for him too. As a family, they have taken many trips, and seen many places. Dave likes to travel, and so do Toni and James, so it works out well for all. Of course, 2020 was…very different, for all of us.

With Covid-19, everyone spent most of the year doing a new activity…social distancing. It is a phrase we have all learned to hate. We were stuck at home, not travel, no restaurants, no movies, even no camping…in the woods, away from people, for Pete’s sake. Some of that is behinds us now, or at least for now, but during the year, it was pretty awful. For the average person the problems were truly annoying, but for lots of people the problems were much worse. One of the biggest problems was depression. But other serious problems include loneliness, fear, and helplessness.

All that is the norm for the Covid-19 Lockdowns, but not if you’re Dave Chase. I would have expected Dave to be going stir-crazy…especially since Dave, Toni, and James did not catch Covid-19. Dave is very sports oriented. He always has been, but he did not let the lack of sports, gyms, and any other form of activities get him down. Dave just shifted gears and embraced the lockdowns by learning how to do indoor golf, online fantasy football, baseball, golf, and college basketball. Lots of guys go in for that, but I don’t think it would be for me. Once people could go outside much, Dave was out there fishing, and having good success at it too. As things finally started opening up, at least in Wyoming, Dave has been able to go back to playing live basketball, recently. You might think that after not playing for a long time, Dave might be a bit rusty, but not so. He is still the champ, even among his 30-year younger teammates. Dave has also enjoyed being able to have friends come over, like his buddy, Ron Birks. So, even with the Covid-19 Lockdown, Dave has stayed pretty sane. Not bad!! Not bad at all!! Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Chris Iverson is an avid outdoorsman. He loves camping, fishing, and guns. That is pretty typical of people who live in Wyoming. If Chris and my niece, Cassie could live totally off the grid, I think they would, and if the someday move off the grid, I won’t be one bit surprised. Sometimes, living in town just gets to bee too much for them, and they will load up their camper trailer, and head for the mountains. It is wonderful for their kids, Lucas and Zoey too. They love being in the mountains, especially with family and friends.

When Chris and Cassie had Lucas, there were some challenges. Lucas was born with Down Syndrome, and many parents would have considered other possible avenues of dealing with a known birth defect, but for Chris and Cassie, that was not an option. Lucas with their precious baby, and he was who he was. They loved him and cherished him, and he has grown into a wonderful little boy. Chris and Cassie, are great parents, and they have trained both of their children to be wonderful, caring children who love and respect their siblings

Chris loves his family with all his heart, and always tries to do whatever he can to life better for them. He has the ability to fix his cars, so that saves him money, that can be better used in support of his family. Life isn’t always easy for the Iverson family. Medical bills have plagued them from time to time, but they have continued to persevere, and I know they will do so in the future. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Lacey Stevens is a super successful cosmetologist. She is probably the youngest store manager for Ulta Beauty, as well as their top seller and earns a good amount of money in commissions. If you want an appointment with Lacey, you had better plan ahead. Lacey is booked out a month or more for hair and makeup. Lacey is a role model for all of the employees in the salon and store, and they come to her for advice on what products to use for which hair problem or facial problem or for make up tips. Of course, one look at her and you can see why. Lacey is an expert a both hair and makeup. She always looks stunning…model quality. She always looks the part of a beautiful woman that people want to copy. She is the epitome of success and beauty.

Lacey has been in a relationship with Chris Killinger for about a year and a half now, and he brought with him the blessing of his two children, Brooklyn and Jaxon. The kids have been a great addition to the family, and Lacey’s niece, Elliott loves them very much, as does the rest of the family. Brooklyn loves to sit at Lacey’s vanity table and watch her do her makeup. She find that process intriguing. Lacey is so good with her, and sometimes she puts a little makeup on Brooklyn. Every little girl needs that, I say, and what better person to help Brooklyn with a little dress-up, than Lacey. She has been a blessing to Chris and to his kids, just as they have been to her.

Lacey’s family loves to spend time at the lake in the summer. Pathfinder Reservoir is their favorite place to go. She and Chris took the kids there for the annual summer gathering, and everyone had an absolute blast. Children always add a special touch to any family gathering. Brooklyn and Jaxon are no exception. Life’s journey always has its twists and turns, but the turn that let Lacey to meet Chris is considered a wonderful one. Lacey is so happy, and that, in my book, makes Chris a great guy. We will see where the future leads them, but for now, they are just enjoying the time together. It is the same in much of Lacey’s life. Things are going so well, and Lacey is very happy and content….just enjoying the ride. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Gaby Beach completed her nursing degree with the December 2020 class, and has been hired by Wyoming Medical Center to work in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU). She has wanted to be a nurse for some time now, and once she left the US Navy, has used her GI Bill to realize that dream. Following her graduation, Gaby applied for a job at Wyoming Medical Center, and was quickly hired in the Progressive Care Unit(PCU), which is just a step below ICU. Gaby was hired on the day shift, which is a bit unusual, since many new nurses have to accept the night shift. She starts her new adventure on January 25th.

Gaby and Allen have been renting a loft apartment out in the country while she was not working, but now that they both work at Wyoming Medical Center, it makes more sense for them to live in town. Their next plan is to buy a house in town, but that will have to wait until Gaby is established at the hospital, besides when you think about it, moving in the winter is the pits anyway. For now, Gaby is enjoying being out of school for a while. She will need to go back, because nurses really need to have a Bachelors Degree, and the program she took gives an Associates Degree. Right now, she is looking at her options, because there are requirements the college must have in order to qualify for the GI Bill, and Casper College doesn’t offer the Bachelors Degree for nursing (BSN). Gaby is a person who isn’t likely to put off that part of her training, because she is highly motivated. My guess is that she will be back at it by fall.

For now, she is relaxing, free of her studies, and enjoying her dogs and her plants. Gaby has a definite green thumb when it comes to house plants. She likes the unusual plants, and posts about her success on social media. Her posts have actually turned her hobby into a bit of a business, because people love her posts and her plants so much that she has been able to sell plant shoots for astonishing amounts of money. Her mother-in-law, my sister, Caryl Reed can’t believe anyone would pay that much for a plant clipping. I guess the value of something like that comes from the person selling and the person buying the item. Unusual plants would likely bring more money. However she managed it, Gaby is very talented in nursing and horticulture. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

While many people had a terrible 2020, my niece, Toni Chace and her husband, Dave continued to work, and really ended the year in good shape. They didn’t get Covid-19, like so many in the family and hope they don’t. Normally they would do a lot of traveling, but like most people, that was curtailed this year. The only trip they took was to Centennial, Wyoming, to visit Dave’s parents, Jim and Nancy Chase. The trip was a blessing to all, and like most of us, much needed to keep us from getting cabin fever…no pun intended, because they were in Dave’s parents cabin, in Centennial. I’m sure it all felt rather confining for them, but sometimes, a nice quiet vacation can be very nice too.

As I have talked to Toni’s family members, I am told that she loves her dogs. In fact I’m told that in her family, the dogs, Biscuit and Cricket, are her first loves, with Dave, and her son, James coming in second and third. According to Dave he is the third position. I can’t really decide how “true” that statement is, because I know that Toni dearly loves her husband and son, but in the interest of telling the story as it was told to me, I’ll say that Toni really loves her dogs. James says that his mom loves her dogs more than him and Dave combined. As happens in most owner/pet relationship sources, especially when there are multiple people in the family, pets often choose one owner as their “own” human. That is the case with Biscuit and Toni. Biscuit loves his human…Toni. In fact, Biscuit actually gets separation anxiety when Toni is gone for work. Toni’s sister, Liz Masterson figures that Biscuit sits at the window all day, until Toni gets home. Life (for Biscuit) begins again when Toni (his human) gets home. While loving her dogs more than her husband and son, is a funny thought, it does go to show Toni’s heart for her pets and her family. She also love buying them treats and toys. I think maybe her dogs just like being treated like babies.

While her home is filled with mostly men (Cricked is a girl), her son, James brought home a girl who is in the United States on a work visa, named Manuela. She is from Columbia, and Toni likes her very much. The whole family does. She is bubbly and fun, and most of all, she loves Toni’s pride and joy…her son. Time will tell where that is going, but they are enjoying the journey. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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