Love

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Most of the time, Christmas is a time filled with tradition. Many families celebrate it in exactly the same way every year. Of course, the most important thing about Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. When I think of where this world would be if Jesus had never come down from Heaven to save us from our own sins, I feel such thankfulness. We needed Him, and He came. No one really knows what day Jesus was born, but in reality, that part doesn’t really matter, but rather the fact that he was born.

This Christmas, for many people has been different than any other Christmas we have had before. Most us us weren’t alive in 1918 when the Spanish Flu Pandemic brought quarantine to many places in the world. I don’t know if things were as locked down as they are this year, but those who were ill, could not be with other people, and so their families were separated, as many are now. It makes for a Christmas that doesn’t feel like Christmas. Still, we have to remember the reason for the season, and not the things we have lost. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Without Jesus, we were doomed. With Him we have victory and everlasting life. What a wonderful reason to celebrate His birthday. He is the Savior of the World, and His way is so easy for us to follow.

Like it or not, this Christmas brings us to the beginning of the last week of a horrible year, and one the likes of which many of us hope never to go through again. January of 2020 found us facing the beginning of the pandemic, and by March we were in quarantine, and the economy was shut down. The year got steadily worse until many of us found ourselves weary, and ready to start a new year. For my family, that has not changed. We are really ready for 2021. Even today was a sad day, but I will tell of that story tomorrow. I believe the new year will be much better, and as bad as 2020 has been, I am very optimistic for the new year, not for any political or human reason, but because I believe that God is good to us and because he sent His son to die for us, He will not leave us without hope. Therefore I will have hope for 2021. Merry Christmas to all!!

With the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Lothair II in 1137, Henry the Proud was the Welf heir of the patrimony of his deceased father-in-law, and possessor of the crown jewels. I always find that strange. Because Henry the Proud had married the Emperor’s daughter, Gertrude, it was he and not the Emperor’s daughter who became the heir and who possessed the crown jewels. Her name is often not mentioned at all. Still, as most of us know, the wife should never be discounted as being insignificant. She will prove you wrong every time.

The Siege of Weinsberg took place in Weinsberg, which is in the modern state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. At that time, Weinsberg was part of the Holy Roman Empire. As often happens, nations and kingdoms often disagree on matters, and wars ensue. The Siege of Weinsberg was a decisive battle between two dynasties…the Welfs and the Hohenstaufen. For the first time, the Welfs changed their war cry from “Kyrie Eleison” to their party cries. The Hohenstaufen used the ‘Strike for Gibbelins’ war cry. Unlike wars these day, apparently, the war cry was very important. I suppose that it was similar to “Charge!!” It was a necessary command to let everyone know that the moment of truth had arrived. Part of the problem might have been the same one that I found odd…Henry the Proud was the son-in-law, and not the son…meaning that had the daughter not married, someone else would have been made the heir.

Henry was a loyal supporter in the warfare between his father-in-law King Lothair and the Hohenstaufen brothers, Duke Frederick II (who was Henry’s brother-in-law, having been married with his sister Judith) and Conrad, then duke of Franconia and anti-king of Germany. While engaged in this struggle, Henry was also occupied in suppressing an uprising in Bavaria, led by Count Frederick of Bogen, during which both duke and count sought to establish their own candidates as bishop of Regensburg. After a war of devastation, Count Frederick submitted in 1133, and two years later the Hohenstaufen brothers made their peace with Emperor Lothair. Because of his loyalty, Henry stood as a candidate for emperor when his father-in-law passed. However, the local princes were very much against him, so they elected Conrad III, a Hohenstaufen, in Frankfurt on February 2, 1138.

Conrad III immediately began the process of governing, no matter how improper or illegal his reign was. When Conrad III gave the Duchy of Saxony to Count Albert the Bear, the Saxons rose in defense of their young prince, and Count Welf of Altorf, the brother of Henry the Proud, began the war. The reign of Conrad was illegal. He was not the emperor Lothair II had planned to pass his mantle to. The crowning of this illegal emperor outraged the Welfs, and the immediately retaliated. Conrad III had planned to destroy Weinsberg and imprison its soldiers. Still, he was not completely heartless, and in a kind hearted moment, he suspended the final assault after a surrender was negotiated. Conrad III could not kill the women and children. He told the women of the city that they were to be granted the right to leave with whatever they could carry on their shoulders. He though he was going to let them have enough to set themselves up elsewhere, but he underestimated the women.

I don’t know if the women planned what happened next…they must have, because with one accord, they left their possessions, lifting their husbands and children on their backs, they headed out of town. Of course, it was within the power of the emperor to then kill the women too, but he was honorable. When the emperor, saw what was happening, he actually laughed and accepted the women’s clever trick. He decreed that a king should always stand by his word…and he let them go with their families intact. This story became known as the “Loyal Wives of Weinsberg” (Treue Weiber von Weinsberg). The castle ruins are today known as Weibertreu (“wifely loyalty”) in commemoration of the event. I cant say if the story is true, or a fable, but either way, it speaks to the true love a wife has for her husband.

My uncle, George Hushman was “gone” on my aunt, Evelyn Byer from the moment he met her. You can’t blame him, because she was a beautiful woman. Once they were together, not much else mattered. They would have been as happy living in a shack in the slums, as they would have living in a palace. In reality, they lived in a beautiful, modest home, that they built themselves…or at least helped build. I’m sure that a contractor was involved too. I remember that house well. Uncle George would have given Aunt Evelyn the moon if he could have. Like many young couples, there were love notes. I happen to see on as I was helping to scan the family pictures. It was not long, but it was very sweet. Uncle George wrote, “Dear Evelyn, I love you very much. Be home suddenly. Love, Your Hubby.” It was a simple gesture, but the “suddenly” part is what caught my attention. It implied that he would really hurry home, and he couldn’t wait to see her. That was the kind of love they had.

My sisters and I spent many fun filled days there hanging out with the Hushman kids, Susie, George, Shelley, Shannon, and Greg. Aunt Evelyn and our mom, Collene (Byer) Spencer, were very close, so naturally, the two families spent lots of time together. Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George were fun-loving people. They had so much in common with my parents, and they were as much friends as relatives. For many years they were on a bowling league together, went on date nights together, and spent lots of time at each others house. There is a lot to be said for good friends, and when that good friend is also family, there is a surety that the friendship will last a lifetime…and so it did.

As the years went by, the foursome grew older, and even though they still loved each other very much, they couldn’t get together as much as they used to. It was a disappointment for all of them. Before long they were going home to Heaven…one by one. That is what made all of us the most sad. Uncle George was the last one to go home, and we were very sorry to see him go, because it was truly the end of an era. The foursome was gone now, and there would be no more of their dates, bowling, or their antics…which we all saw from time to time. It was really a sad time. Today would have been Uncle George’s 94th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle George. We love and miss you very much.

Each year, on the anniversary of my dad, Allen Spencer’s homegoing I am amazed that another year has passed. How can it possibly be 13 years since I last saw my dad? Of course, I know that my parents are in Heaven, and in my future, but that does not lessen the feeling of loneliness and sadness that I feel each day in their absence. I don’t believe anyone ever really gets used to not having their parents in this world with them. Nevertheless, my parents are in Heaven, and each day their is as the first day they went to Heaven. There is always a spirit of celebration and joy in Heaven. There is no better place to be. For that part, I am happy for them, and only sad for me, and for my sisters and our families, all of whom miss my parents very much.

My dad was the spiritual patriarch of our family, always leading us in the way we should go, both in our spiritual life and in our daily physical life. Whenever we had a problem that seemed to big to handle, Dad would sit us down and say, “This is what we are going to do.” We never worried after that, because our dad had stepped up to lead us into God’s victory. He always had a level head in times of turmoil, even if it wasn’t turmoil in our family. We have witnessed so many tragedies in our lifetimes…from national tragedies to personal tragedies, but Dad, and Mom too, showed us that God will never leave us, not forsake us. They were great spiritual leaders for their family, and we are forever grateful for that guidance.

Dad loved to travel, and to show his family this wonderful country. Dad had seen many places in the world during his World War II years of active duty. He has seen places that we will likely never see, but his favorite places were always places in our great nation. Dad loved our country. He was a great patriot, who was loyal to his country unto death. He would never have been disloyal to his country. That was simply not in his nature. He fought too hard for our freedoms, as did all of his fellow soldiers. He would have stood, and did stand in his day, and said “Give me Liberty, or give me death!!” He would have done so, because to lay down and give up was not in his nature. It was through these kinds of teachings that my sisters and I learned how to keep going, to fight and stand for victory. There is not a quitter among us.

I suppose that it is Dad’s teachings we miss the most. He was never harsh. He always taught in love. I remember so many times when I had struggled in school as a grade school student, and I figured I was going to be in so much trouble because of a bad grade. Mom always deferred to Dad. I remember hearing. “Wait until your dad gets home!” Dad was the enforcer of proper education. In reality, I think Mom just thought that where education was concerned, Dad had more patience…and he did. We expected a spanking, and Dad simply said, “Well, we need to work on that.” What a relief. And Dad always did “work” on it with us. When those study sessions were done…we got it. In the end, we were all good students, and in fact the subjects in which I struggled the most, Math and History, have become my favorites and the ones I most excel at these days, because lets face it, we are still learning. That is because of his love of learning. I will forever miss those study sessions with my dad, just as I miss him in so many other ways, and look forward to seeing him again in Heaven. I love you and Mom, Dad, and I look forward to seeing you both again.

Time flies by so fast. It seems completely impossible that 25 years could have passed since the day my daughter, Amy Royce and her husband, Travis said “I do” and began their life together. So much has changed since those days. Their children, Shai and Caalab are all grown up, and they have added Caalab’s girlfriend, Chloe Foster, to the family. The raised their children here is Casper, Wyoming, and then after Caalab’s high school graduation, the family moved to Bellingham, Washington. The area where they live is beautiful, and the weather is mild, which suits their family, especially Amy, who never liked our cold winters.

I am always amazed when a couple reaches a big milestone anniversary, even though my own marriage has endured, as have those of both my girls, and many other people I know. Still, I am amazed, because as we all know, marriage is not for the faint of heart. It takes work, endurance, stubbornness, and is best handled with prayer. It also takes a knowledge of the kind of person you are, and the kind of person you want to spend your life with. At such a young age, I wonder how it is that anyone can have any idea of who they are or who they want to be with, but it seems to me that more people are staying together these days than they were when I was a kid. Amy and Travis are two of the kind of people who knew that their spouse would be someone they could love forever, and they knew it at a very young age. They are so compatible, and they work together as a team. The ups and downs of life did not deter them from reaching the goal of “together forever!” Their home is filled with love, laughter, and harmony. They have chosen their spouse well, and I couldn’t be happier for them as they reach this milestone day…their Silver Anniversary.

I know that the next 25 years will be for them, as sweet as the first 25 years have been. Their love is real and lasting. They surround themselves with beauty and love, and that makes their life peaceful and sweet. God has richly blessed their union, and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives. Yes, time flies by so fast, and before we know it, 25 years have flown by…as if we weren’t looking, somehow. Our children are grown and have children of their own. They are off living their own lives and all I can think is how proud I am of them. They are successful, and in a lasting marriage. The make a great living, and have a beautiful home, where Travis loves to mow and care for the yard, and Amy loves to grow beautiful flowers to brighten their days. It is a home filled with their own special love. Today is Amy and Travis’ 25th wedding anniversary. Happy Silver Wedding Anniversary Amy and Travis!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

As kids, my sisters and I probably took our parents for granted, but when we look at how hard they worked to make life great for us, it almost brings tears to my eyes. My parents, Al and Collene Spencer worked very hard to give us a good life. They made sure that we got to take vacations…always wanting to make sure we saw this great nation we live in. And it wasn’t just the vacations. It was the kind of home they made for us. No matter what, we always knew that we were all equally loved. We knew that love had nothing to do with whether or not we made mistakes, or even if we got into trouble. In those days, children were spanked to teach proper manners. I know that many people these days disagree with that type discipline, but it was the era we lived in. In those days, children knew that if the neighbor told you to quit tearing something up, you had better quit. There was a measure of respect for our elders and those in authority. I miss that in our world today. Although, I live in a neighborhood, where most of the kids are respectful. We are blessed to live where we do.

Mom and Dad met through her sister, Virginia Beadle, and my mom told me that it was love at first sight. She said that she tole herself that he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. Mom was still a school girl, but as soon as she could, she and Dad were married. Dad was older than mom by twelve years, a common thing in those days. He had fought in World War II, and was ready to settle down and have a family. They married and moved to Superior, Wisconsin as part of their honeymoon. My older sister, Cheryl Masterson arrived ten months after their marriage, and their family was started. I followed almost two years later, and we moved to Casper, Wyoming a couple of years later. Caryl Reed followed three years after me, Alena Stevens two years after Caryl, and Allyn Hadlock two years after Alena. Our family was complete. Dad was always outnumbered, but his girls were his little princesses. He was always patient, understanding of the needs of girls…understanding girls was a necessity for Dad.

Mom and Dad were together for 54 years of marriage before Dad’s passing on December 12, 2007. Mom followed Dad on February 22, 2015, and now they are together again in Heaven. I’m sure they are enjoying Heaven and being together again. We miss them, but I can’t wish them back here. They would be horrified at what our world has become. Instead, we will go to join them someday, because Heaven is wonderful and we will all be happy together again, when we join them there. Today would have been Mom and Dad’s 67th Wedding Anniversary. Happy anniversary in Heaven, Mom and Dad. We love and miss you very much.

Twenty seven years…it can seem like a lifetime, or as is the case with my daughter, Corrie Petersen, and her husband, Kevin, it can fly by so quickly that it seems impossible that it has been that many years already. Corrie and Kevin began dating when she was just 15 and he was 19. They fell in love almost instantly, and they have never looked back. They married two weeks after Corrie turned 18.

So many things have changed over the course of 27 years. Two sons were born into their union, Christopher and Joshua. They were blessed with much love in their home, which they purchased almost immediately after their marriage, with the down payment coming from a car accident that occurred on their honeymoon. Kevin and his dad, Dean knew how to do bodywork on cars and to paint them, so much of the payment for their damages was left to them following the accident that was the fault of the other driver…who was an honest kid, who accepted the blame and was just thankful that no one was hurt.

Over the years, Corrie and Kevin have had a number of pets, from their first…a Dalmatian puppy, to their currents…a Scottie, two Dachshunds, and a cat. Their love of pets is quite evident, and they have been equally blessed in return. The also shared their love of pets with their sons, who both have pets in their homes, now that they are grown.

With the adulthood of their children, came more changes. the empty nest that many people dread, was not their favorite time, but they have adjusted to it, and the addition of Chris’ fiancée, his little daughter, and with a son to follow in November, life is getting better and better every day. Both of their sons were able to keep their jobs during the Covid-19 Pandemic, and in fact were considered “essential workers,” which helped to alleviate any financial concerns for Corrie and Kevin, concerning their children. Life has been good to them, and the love in their family is filled to overflowing. Twenty seven years have flown by, which is exactly what happens when you are having fun. Today is Corrie and Kevin’s 27th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary Corrie and Kevin!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you both!!

My husband, Bob Schulenberg is a hard working man. He is retired, but he never slows down. Bob is an excellent mechanic. He works on the vehicle of friends and family, most of whom count on him to keep them going down the road, going to their jobs, and their other daily activities. Mechanics has always been Bob’s niche. Mechanics just clicks in his head making Bob a great mechanic. He comes from a long line of mechanics too. Plus, with a brother, friends, and nephews who are mechanics too, he always has someone he can call when a job requires more than two hands. Of course, there are times when there is no one else to call to help, and it is then that I become a mechanics helper too. It’s funny, because I am not mechanically inclined…not really. I can follow instructions, so I can help and over the years, I have learned a thing or two about mechanics. I guess that there is something to be said for being married to a mechanic for 45 years.

Bob and I have taken up the hobby of hiking over the past 25 years too, really getting started right after our youngest daughter, Amy’s marriage to her husband, Travis Royce. I must say that our first hike was…interesting!! Leave it to us to choose a trail that is 6.4 miles with an elevation gain of 1,499 feet. Now the trail was listed as moderate, but I’m not so sure it’s not more like strenuous. At least it felt like strenuous the next day, when we made the necessary decision to lay around the cabin we were staying in, putting lots of Icy Hot on our leg muscles. Nevertheless…we made it to the top that day, and I have the picture to prove it. Hahahahaha!! They say that some situations that seem so awful at the time, will be a source of laughter years later when you are looking back. They are so very right. Since that time we have hiked that same trail 14 times, and many others in the Black Hills several times too. We have Hiked all 109 miles of the Michelson Train that runs from Edgemont to Deadwood. Hiking has become a way of life for us.

Bob loves comedy. He was the kid who would get up at the crack of dawn to watch the cartoons. After we were married, he often watched “The Three Stooges” and “Laurel and Hardy” every chance he got. It was really funny, because it didn’t matter if he was the only one in the room, he would laugh out loud about a funny scene. Once we were at my parents house. My mom and I were in the kitchen, and suddenly Bob let out a big belly laugh. My mom and I couldn’t help ourselves. We had to laugh too. My mom loved that he could just let go and enjoy the show without any inhibitions. Even out girls know that their dad loved those shows. One of them bought him a full set for Christmas one year. He loved it. Bob’s sense of humor has been a joyful part of our lives for all these years. Today is Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday Honey!! You are the love of my life!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandson, Caalab Royce is a hard worker, who is also very loyal. He stayed at a job he had at Red Robin in Bellingham, Washington, much longer than he really wanted to, but every time he considered quitting, they gave him a raise. So, he stayed and he did a good job for them. Nevertheless, eventually that was not going to be enough, so when he was offered a job as an apprentice in the HVAC industry, he told Red Robin goodbye. I know they were very sad to see him go, as he had been their best worker, but they could see the value in what he was going to do, and they wished him well.

Caalab loves his new job, and who can blame him, really. Yes, the work is hard, but they spend a lot of time on the islands around the Pacific Northwest, and since ferry rides to work are a rather slow-go, the crew usually flies to the job once the trucks are there. Many jobs take several days, so the first day, the trucks and equipment are taken to the site, and after that, the crew flies in each day, over the beautiful island views. So…how’s your commute? I know Caalab’s commute is a lot of fun, and I wish I could ride along just once. Caalab has sent me videos of his commute, and it is just beautiful. He spends a lot of time at Friday Harbor, which is one of my favorite places among the islands there. Of course, I go as a tourist, and have time to spend doing what I like, including whale watching, but he goes to work, so it is different, but he has sent pictures of the amazing views too, so it doesn’t seem like he has it too tough.

Caalab has always had a way with animals, including wild animals. Once at my house, a squirrel climbed up his pant leg and continued toward his shoulder…until Caalab’s face appeared, and the squirrel realized what he was doing. He ran away very quickly then. Recently, when the crew arrived at the job site, the men saw a bird with a string wrapped around it’s wing. The bird was in real trouble. The guys caught the bird and removed the string. Afterward, the bird wasn’t in a real hurry to leave, and it sat on Caalab’s hand for about 5 minutes, until Caalab tossed it into the air and it flew away. It was as if the bird wanted to stay for just a few minutes to say, “Thank you, for saving my life.” It was a really special moment for Caalab, who said it was “straight out of a movie.”

Of course, Caalab isn’t all about his job either. These days, he is “all about Chloe!!” Chloe Foster is the love of his life, and such a sweet girl that everyone can see why he loves her. Everybody has that one person who is just perfect for them, and Chloe is Caalab’s “just perfect” one. He will be the first to tell you that she “completes him” and anyone who knows them can clearly see that it’s true. It seems to me that Caalab flies to work, and floats home. It’s a great commute, wouldn’t you agree? Today is Caalab’s birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My aunt, Bonnie McDaniels often reminds me of my mom, Collene Spencer, who is her older sister. I don’t think it was as noticeable when they were younger girls, but later it became very obvious to me, and to many other people in the family. Aunt Bonnie and her siblings have long been close, but these days, their numbers are getting smaller, as more and more of them go home to Heaven. Aunt Bonnie’s husband, Uncle Jack among them. That has been hard on all of us, but especially Aunt Bonnie, who lost the love of her life when he went home. Still, her family is very close, and they are making sure that she has what she needs, and the she is not lonely.

Aunt Bonnie has always been a very hands on mom, grandma, and great grandma, and that has not stopped. Just the other day, my husband, Bob and I ran into Aunt Bonnie with her grandson, Peter, and his daughter at the mall. The smile on Aunt Bonnie’s told me that she was, as always, very excited and happy to be included in her grandchildren’s family. I’m not sure where they were headed in the mall, but due to her great granddaughter’s influence, I’m sure they were planning on some fun activities.

Aunt Bonnie and I have that “hands-on” grandparenting style in common. We wanted nothing more than to spend lots of time with our grandchildren. It is our opinion that kids need their grandparents as much as grandparents need their grandkids, and I know that many grandparents share that view. Aunt Bonnie has the added fun item for kids, of living out in the country. Her place is beautiful, and all of the family members who have been there, would agree. It’s like going out to a park along the river. Summertime at her house is beautiful. I’m so happy that she has such a beautiful sanctuary. I’m sure it is a very relaxing place to be. Today is Aunt Bonnie’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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