Like most holidays, Valentine’s Day has different meanings for different groups of people. At one time, back in the 400s, it was to celebrate the coming of Spring. It was also a day to celebrate two saints named Valentine. It was a way of honoring them. These days, I think it is pretty much universally known as a holiday to celebrate love, and even friendship.
Of course, the flower, candy, and greeting card industries, as well as the restaurant industry, have really profited from the Valentine’s Day tradition of showing our love, and I think that’s ok. While some people consider the day to be a forced display, I feel like it is a great way to show people how much they mean to you. I don’t really understand why people consider it a burden. In our family we always brought candy to our parents and siblings, and I love to continue that with my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. To see the smiles on their faces, is all I need to feel happy.
With restaurants so busy on Valentine’s Day, my husband, Bob and I always choose a different day to go out for dinner. Many other people feel the same way, and with that, Valentine’s Day has essentially become Valentine’s week. If a couple is going to become engaged on Valentine’s Day, or get married on Valentine’s Day, then no other day will do. That makes sense too. I don’t know how I would feel about getting engaged or married on a holiday, but many people think it’s a great idea to mix the holiday with their special day. Of course, becoming engaged on those holidays is w very different thing. Still, to each his own, as they say. However, you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate Valentine’s Day, it will always be remembered as a day to celebrate love.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a wonderful day, and if you decide to celebrate the coming of Spring, well…it’s truly just around the corner. And about that, I am completely happy. To my family, friends, and my love…Bob, I say Happy Valentine’s Day. May your day, or week be wonderful!!
This past year has been one filled with excitement, change, and growth for my niece, Lacey Stevens. Lacey, who is a hairdresser, opened her own salon. It’s called LuxLou Beauty Salon, and her business is really growing. Most of her family and friends go to Lacey regularly…not to mention the new people who have been referred to her. Lacey not only does people’s hair for their everyday life, but she also specializes in hair and makeup for their weddings, which as we all know is the most important day in a girl’s life. You want the best for that special day, and Lacey is an expert in providing the very best look for that all-important day. Lacey is very good at what she does, and she listens to her clients, to make sure she does exactly as the want it to be. Going forward, I know that Lacey’s business will only grow bigger and bigger.
While her business is really big news, the most exciting news is that Lacey got engaged to her boyfriend, Chris Killinger just before Christmas. These two are perfect for each other, and Lacey is already a wonderful stepmom to Chris’ two kids, Brooklyn and Jaxon. They love her and our whole family, and we all love them. While many people might think that having a “ready-made family” would be tough, Lacey has embraced it and truly considers Chris’ kids her own. That is as it should be. When you marry a person with children, you marry the whole family. The best stepparents know and embrace that, and it helps that Brooklyn and Jaxon are very sweet. Lacey also has a soft heart, and she is very loving to children, so it’s a blessing to all.
Lacey has been helping Chris with updates to their house. They have been painting, and they also updated the bathroom, which turned out great. This is somewhat new to Lacey, but she is always willing to learn new things and help him with improvements to their home. It’s always fun to watch the changes that people go through as they blend their lives. What one person knows and has done, the other might not have, but when you blend them together, each can teach the other something new…be it a skill or a style.
Now that they are engaged, Lacey and Chris are very busily planning their wedding, scheduled for October. I know it is going to be as beautiful as these two are, and we are all very excited for them. I guess Lacey won’t need to hire someone to do her makeup, because she is the best person for the job. Her own hair and makeup always look perfectly stunning, so unless she just wants to be pampered, why go elsewhere. Of course, we don’t know any of the other details of the wedding plans, and that is as it should be, but I know it will be perfect, and I am very happy for these two. Today is Lacey’s 30th birthday. It’s the perfect time for Lacey to begin the next chapter of her life, but I can’t believe she isn’t a little girl of 3. Where has the time gone. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As a kid, and especially as a teenager…those stupid ‘I know everything’ years, I like many kids thought my mother, Collene Spencer couldn’t possibly understand life as it was in my day. I think we all thought our parents were ‘older than dirt’ in our teen years. Then, we grow up and become parents, and suddenly, we find out how much our parents really did know. I found out that my mom was really a wise woman. Yes, she was wise in the ways of raising a family and managing a household, but my mom was also very wise in the ways of the Lord. I think if she had chosen to, she could have been an evangelist…not that she wasn’t really. What ’embarrassed’ me, was simply my mom telling anyone who would listen, about the Lord. When this happened in stores and such, I wanted to crawl under the floor. I kept thinking, “Mom, they don’t want to hear that…from you or anyone else!! Please leave them alone!!” Of course, I was wrong to do that. Mom saw what I didn’t…a person in need of the Lord. I can only imagine how many people she brought to Jesus…either that she knew of or that she never knew of. Knowing my mom, she immediately claimed Isaiah 55:11 over them, which says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Mom knew her Bible, and could be found reading it, listening to it, or listening to Bible teachings every day…pretty much all day. It was only after her passing on February 22, 2015, that I really knew that quietly, behind the scenes, my mom had been ‘secretly’ sharing the gospel with people, and many were saved because of her. She also had a way of being a type of counselor to people…not people with real big problems, necessarily, but just a person who could be counted on to listen when needed. That truly was my mom. She always had an ear to hear, and a caring heart. She was a person who always gave of herself and anything she had, if someone needed it. So many people have told me since her graduation to Heaven, that she was there for them with just the right words, when they needed them most. It was truly ‘Mom’s Secret Legacy’ and so welcomed by so many.
It was her secret, probably because she knew that her girls (I was probably the worst) would try to have her not do the work she felt led to do. She did of course, talk to all of her family, as well as her siblings and Dad’s siblings…whether we wanted her to or not. She wanted all of us to be in Heaven with he when our turn came…and how thankful we all are that she was that way. We all think of a legacy as something that just happens easily, but it isn’t it takes work, time, and sacrifice, and most people do it without even knowing that they are building a legacy. That was my mom, exactly!! Today would have been my mom’s 87th birthday…our New Year’s Baby!! Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom!! I know you and Dad are having the time of your lives!! We love and miss you both very much, and we can’t wait to see you again!!
Christmas Eve…the half day beginning of the Christmas holiday. I say, half day, because many businesses are open half of the day, letting their employees off early to spend time with their families. For some families the opening of gifts is even done on Christmas Eve, while others are preparing for the festivities that will be taking place the next day. For my grandparents, as well as many other people across the world and even in my own family, Christmas Eve seems like the perfect day to be married. In my grandparents’ day, that was often how it happened, because family was gathered and gathering wasn’t always easy, so I suppose it was like “killing two birds, with one stone” for lack of a better analogy.
For my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, it made the season that much more special. We all knew when they got married. From their kids on down to the great great grandkids, we knew, because it was a story that was passed down to every generation and an event that was celebrated every Christmas eve. It was something that made Christmas extra special. Just knowing that the whole family got started on Christmas eve was so very cool, and I think that for many years, we thought we were the only family to have such a special Christmas eve. We weren’t, of course, and in fact, every year other people get married on Christmas eve. Many people think it’s a great day for a wedding, and for those forgetful husbands, a difficult date to forget.
For the rest of the world, Christmas eve is a day to prepare for the morning, attend Christmas eve services, and set out the cookies and milk. Then it’s a matter of trying to get the excited children to go to bed, because they will want to be up by 6:00am…if not earlier!! Before we know it, Christmas will be over, except for the opportunity to reflect on the real reason for the season…our Lord and Savior…Jesus Christ!! Merry Christmas Eve, and happy anniversary in Heaven to my grandparents. Have a wonderful day all!!
I never thought that at 51 years old, I would be saying “goodbye for now” to my dad, Al Spencer. Dad was 83 years old when he went to be with the Lord on December 12, 2007, but he never seemed like he was 83. Now, I can’t believe he has been gone 15 long years. Dad told me once that after you reach 18, you never feel any older. I’m sure there are people who would disagree with that statement, but I believe that it is statements like that made by people who truly believe it, that allow them to stay young. Dad always seemed young to me…right up until he left us. Even after surgery and a very long, drawn out recovery, he still seemed young, or maybe young at heart. He loved to tease his girls and the grandchildren, who loved to run past his chair to see if they were quick enough to get by before Grandpa could swat them. Mostly they were too slow, but they were delighted when they got away with it. Dad was always making jokes, and it really made his day when he could make people laugh. He loved having a house filled with joy.
My dad lived an amazing life. He was raised on a farm in the Holyoke, Minnesota area. He went on a number of trips with his older brother, looking for work in the depression years, and then went to California to work for Douglas Aircraft. It really seems that it was this move that would bring him to his World War II destiny. After spending time building planes for Douglas Aircraft Company, the Army Air Forces saw in my dad, that he would be the perfect Flight Engineer and Top Turret Gunner on a B-17 crew, and that was how he spent his wartime service, stationed in Great Ashfield, Suffolk, England. While he never really spoke about it, my mom, Collene Spencer and sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I have always been so proud of him and his service.
Dad traveled to other countries, but in his opinion, the United States was the best country in the whole world, although I’m sure he would have loved to have seen Israel. Dad took our family on yearly vacations…every year, without fail, so we could see what a wonderful country we lived in. My mom, sisters, and I were treated to so many places, with the Black Hills being one of his favorites. He loved the beauty of the area, but more importantly, he loved the patriotism of the area. After his passing, when my husband Bob and I went to the Black Hills for our annual trip to the area, I always felt like I could hear my dad’s echo telling us about the area, and how proud he was to be an American. I like to think of him there, because it was one of the places where he was the happiest.
Dad loved God, family, and country. He was a true Christian, and wonderful husband and dad, and he was a true patriot. He was raised in church, and he and our mom raised their girls in the church. We know who we are, and we know that our God loves us, just like He loves our parents. Now that our parents live in Heaven, I know that they are watching over us and we try to live lives that we know will make them proud. We all miss then terribly, but we know that they are in our future now, and not in our past. We look forward to seeing them again soon. We love you both Dad and Mom, and we wish you were still here.
I married into the Schulenberg family almost 48 years ago. During the early years, when we would make trips to Forsyth, Montana to visit my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s family that lived there. One such visit was for a family reunion. It was at that reunion, that I first met my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg’s half-brother, Butch Schulenberg. For many years, I didn’t see Butch again, and then when my father-in-law passed away in 2015, we were making calls to tell family of his passing. I spoke to Uncle Butch, and it was such a nice, even while sad, call, that Uncle Butch became a very dear uncle to me. I love his kind heart and his caring ways. I think everyone loves Butch Schulenberg, because that is the kind of man he is.
Uncle Butch is a veteran, having served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was a respected member of his company. Butch was chosen to be a driver for an officer. Butch told my husband, Bob and me several stories about his driving days in the service. He told us of so many interesting details that he was privileged to know, but at that time could not speak of. During war, the soldiers are very restricted on what information they can share, mostly because disclosing information could be a detriment to the whole company. Now that the war is long-over, the details of their operations are history…very interesting history. That is something Butch ad I have in common too…history. We both love the details of the past, and the impact they have had on the future. I am proud of his service. He is the kind of soldier this nation is blessed to have…and I’m very thankful he made it home.
These days, Uncle Butch is busy enjoying his retirement, and going to visit his children and grandchildren. He loves taking pictures around his house in Forsyth, Montana. He is a huge fan of the local school sports teams and goes to or listens to as many games as he possibly can. He is one of their biggest fans. He is very community oriented. He loves his small town and feels very connected to all the people there. He is very much a loved member of the community, and he loves all of them too. Today is Butch’s 82nd birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When Chris Kirk married my grandniece, Siara, he became my grandnephew. One of the things that Chris and Siara have in common is a love of exercise. They both work very hard at their fitness goals, and they love to work out together. I am amazed at how strong they both are. In fact, when they began dating, some of the first pictures we saw of the two of them working out together. I was amazed at the abilities of both of them. Chris works hard at the gym too, and he is always trying for personal bests and trying to be in power lifting contests.
Chris is a hardworking man, who has moved up faster than anyone else who was hired at WL Plastics when he was. It is Chris’ goal to become a line operator, and he is moving quickly toward that goal. His work ethic is great, and as we all know, lots of people these days want a paycheck, but don’t really want to work. That idea couldn’t be further from Chris’ mind. When he takes on a job, Chris gives it his all. He is loyal to the people he works for, and they appreciate that. I’m sure that is why he is moving up so quickly. He will make a great line operator very soon.
When Siara lost her son, Alec Olsen, she was devastated, and after her first marriage broke up, she wasn’t sure she would ever get to be a mom again. Then Chris came along, and while they are not pregnant yet, Chris has wanted a family since he was 12 years old, so their goal to have a family is a common one for them. In an unusual twist, Chris and Alec share a birthday. That is something that Siara finds very sweet. Her two loves, her husband and her son share a common bond even though they have never met…yet anyway. They will in Heaven, and I think they will love each other very much. Since today is both of Siara’s boys’ birthdays, they have decided to spend the weekend in Denver as a little celebration of the lives of both of them. I can’t wait for Chris and Siara to start a family. Chris is such a loving man, and he has been such a great blessing to Siara. I know he will be a great dad, when that day comes…just as he has been a great husband to Siara. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that four years ago today, my husband, Bob Schulenberg had a heart attack in the Walmart parking lot. It was the Widowmaker…one of the deadliest types of heart attack. MY memory of that event, however, is as vivid today as if I were standing there watching it happen all over again. That day could have changed my life forever and taken his life from him…but it didn’t. My husband is still here because there are heroes among us!! They are everyday people who see a deadly situation, and don’t just turn their backs. They take action. I didn’t see the attack, because Bob had gone to put the shopping cart in the rack. I was checking my phone when a man I don’t know to that day knocked on my window and asked if I “knew this man?” I immediately realized that Bob had taken too long to get into the car.
I jumped out of the car and ran to the other side. There on the ground, with blood coming from his head was my husband. His eyes were open, but he was not there. I immediately thought that I had lost him. Then I came to my senses…sort of and got down beside him. I “demanded” that he wake up. Looking back now, I must have looked crazy, telling my unconscious husband to “wake up and get back to life” basically. Then I noticed someone was there, with a stethoscope!! Who carries a stethoscope in their car, and how did she know we needed her? Only an angel, sent by God to be there!! There were many angels in that parking lot that day. Some I now know, like Sean Pesicka-Taggart, the man who first came to my husband’s aid, and his girlfriend Laura Lance, who was a transport worker at Wyoming Medical Center, at that time (I’m very proud to say that she is now a Radiologic Technologist). Laura assisted the nurse, Ginger Sims who was the one to realize that it was not a fall or hit-and-run, but Bob’s heart that had stopped. She told her son to push the OnStar button and tell the ambulance where to respond. Then, Ginger took immediate action, and if she had not, I would have been a widow today. Ginger was doing CPR, and told me how to do rescue breathing, because I couldn’t think straight. Laura assisted in CPR, thankfully, because that is a hard job, and no one can do it for very long. Then just as suddenly, another nurse, who worked with Ginger saw what was going on, and stopped to help. Valya Boycheva is also a nurse at Wyoming Medical Center, and she took over CPR for Laura. Together the three of them continued CPR until the fire department and ambulance arrived. I’m not sure, but I think Sean called them. When the paramedics took over, I stood back and thought…”How will I ever know who to thank for their assistance?” So many heroes had stepped out of thin air, to give their all for my husband. Somehow, God made sure that I found out who they were, and I have been forever grateful for that too.
There were other angels there that day…prayer warriors!! These people were in the parking lot, and saw the situation, and immediately started praying…Lori DeSanti (a friend of mine from church), Chelsea Kessler (who immediately called her dad and stepmom, Page and Donna LePage…who, not knowing who they were praying for, called my boss, Jim Stengel and got him in prayer too), and Chelsea’s husband, Zack Kessler. There were probably countless other people there praying, because there were angels all over that parking lot that day. I have no doubt about that, and because of all the heroes, prayer warriors and angels there that day, my husband is health and most of all, still with me today.
To add to the incredible events of that day, it seemed only seconds before the firetrucks arrived, with a friend of Bob’s on the crew. Jerod Levin saw me and immediately came to my aid. I was standing there feeling very small and totally lost, and he told me I could go with Bob in the ambulance, and that he would bring my car to the hospital for me!! And, when we got to the hospital…on a Sunday afternoon, all the right people, Jon Cook and Sam Cann (both of whom work in the Heart Cath Lab), just happened to be there, and they know Bob, because he had worked on their cars. From attack to full treatment took two hours…two hours!! How could that have all came together? Only God…only God!! And to this day, I give him all the praise, and I will be forever grateful for the heroes among us, who stepped up to the plate when Bob and I needed them most. They are family now, and they always will be.
My daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Travis Royce, met while he was in high school, and she had just graduated. Nevertheless, once they met, they were inseparable. Looking back now on these 27 years of their marriage, it’s easy to see that they are perfect for each other…they always have been perfect for each other. They have always been headed in the same direction and had the same interests…some of which have been a bit of a surprise to me over the years.
I knew that Amy really loved the beach and really enjoyed the Pacific Northwest, and I knew that Travis had lived in Washington, but somehow it never occurred to me that they would actually move there. Of course, now I can’t imagine them living anywhere else. They love it there, and I love to visit them there, because I have grown to love the beauty of that area too. The rainforest, the beaches, and the islands all hold a great appeal. I don’t say I’d move there, but do I love to visit.
These days, things have changed some for Amy and Travis. They are both working from home now, and they really are enjoying that. Amy’s work as an insurance agent has continued, but since Covid, her company found that they could be just as efficient with agents who worked from home. Travis, on the other hand has decided to open a woodworking business, and I can tell you firsthand that Travis’ work, and that of their son, Caalab is very, very good. Caalab is just learning, but he is his dad’s son, and the talent is definitely in his hands too. The new dynamic of their lives is rather freeing. Their daughter, Shai was also working from home, but her company has asked her to come back to the office in an additional capacity. Shai is an agent too, at the same agency where Amy works, but they want Shai to assist her manager with interviews. So now she is assisting with interviews too, and that job, for now anyway, needs to have her in the office. For Amy and Travis this new lifestyle is very relaxing, but of course it is also a lot of work. While they are at home together, they both work full-time at their jobs. Nevertheless, it is a new dynamic, and it comes at a great point in their lives. Today is their 27th wedding anniversary. I am very proud of the people they have become. Happy anniversary Amy and Travis. Have a great day!! We love you!!
After losing both her husband, our Uncle Eddie Hein and her son, our cousin Larry Hein, within three months of each other, Aunt Pearl Hein went through some very sad and difficult times. That much loss can be devastating to a person. It was very hard on Pearl, but she is starting to live life again. I know that Eddie and Larry would be glad that she is. Pearl was very much loved by both of her men, as was her daughter Kim Arani. While it’s been hard to go forward, Pearl has been making great strides with the help of her daughter and son-in-law, Michael Arani. She has made a couple of trips to Texas, to visit them, and the warm climate, as well as the beautiful scenery have soothed her soul. Of course, it doesn’t really lessen the pain of the loss, but it is a matter of learning to live again.
Sometimes, the heart needs a change of scenery to help with healing, and when Pearl was in Texas visiting Kim and Michael, they took a trip down to Rosemary Beach, Florida, where they stayed at a hotel called “The Pearl,” otherwise known as their happy place. How perfect to find such a hotel with Pearl’s name. That and the peaceful time spent on the beach was sure to warm her heart and was a welcome change from the end of October cold weather that is Forsyth, Montana, where Pearl lives.
Pearl has always been a hard-working woman. She took care of her parents, and later her husband, Eddie when they really needed her help. Caregiving is a big job, and having done it myself, I totally commend anyone who willingly steps into that role. It is truly a life changing undertaking. You sacrifice most of your life on a daily basis, and while many would think that it is a thankless job, it most definitely is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs you will ever undertake. Whether the words “thank you” are ever said or not, and believe me they always are, you feel the “thank you” that comes from their hearts every time you are with them. No words can ever really express their gratitude. All they can do is hope you can see the appreciation in their eyes and know that it comes from their hearts…and believe me, you can. Today is Pearl’s birthday. Happy birthday Pearl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!