Love

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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!!

My nephew, Steve Spethman is a great husband and dad. Steve joined our family when he married my niece, Jenny Spethman on September 21, 2002. Their marriage has been blessed with five children, Xander, Zack, Isaac, Laila (who lives in Heaven), and Aleesia. They have such a strong bond, and I think much of that is due to the fact that Steve is a romantic and a protector. He loves Jenny so much, and no matter what happens in life, he is there to show her how much he loves her. He recently took Jenny to a 311 concert just so he could listen to one song that he plays to her all the time, called “Love Song.”

Steve loves to cook and many of us in the family have had the wonderful opportunity to eat some of the great dishes he makes. He also has his own forge, and he has made lots of wonderful knives…all of which he has sold for a very nice profit. Steve also does metal art, but he rarely sells any of that, because he pretty much does that for Jenny, as a labor of love. He is such a hard worker. He works all day and the comes home to work in the forge, making knives and such for extra money. Really, it’s because he loves to make things and he’s very good at it.

Steve is an avid gun owner and loves to go out shooting. He has trained all their kids to shoot, and the boys have all passed their hunter safety classes and go hunting with Steve to help provide meat for the family. The children have also been taught the value of life and to respect life. A big part of gun safety is to teach the gun user that to use the gun in deadly force against another human being must be carefully thought out and used only to protect from attack. The children have been taught these important values.

Steve loves to take his family places and show them the many great things this country has to offer. They love to go to Rapid City and the Black Hills area, especially the water parks. They also love the things that the Casper area has to offer, often going to the summer “Rock the Block” programs and other things that are held at David Street Station. But they also love to go to the Alcova Lake and to Casper Mountain, where they enjoy hiking. Steve also loves to take everyone for rides on his motorcycle, but of course, his favorite riding partner is the love of his life, his wife, Jenny. Steve has made the lives of his family so blessed, and they all love him so much. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We all love you!!

My aunt, Dixie Richards is my mom’s second to youngest sibling. She was always a soft-spoken girl, and still is to this day. Aunt Dixie, and her husband, Uncle Jim Richards have pretty much always been caregivers. They took care of members of his family, and later, they took care of members of her family. They both just have a caregiver’s heart, and though the work is hard, they pushed through the fatigue and got the job done. Being a caregiver is a hard job, and the people who do it can do it to their own detriment. I’m thankful that Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim are still with us after so many years of caregiving.

Their health probably did suffer some as a result of their years of caregiving, but their children, who have watched their parents’ years of service to others and learned to be great caregivers too. The girls have homes just steps from their parents’ home, and they all take meals together. It’s a nice way to help their parents and have that fellowship with them too. As the old saying goes, “children learn what they live.” It’s not that Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim’s kids are little anymore, but they have all learned to be caregivers, and now their children are learning to be caregivers too. It is such an honorable thing to do for your parents and grandparents. Having been a caregiver and part of a caregiver team for 17 years, I can tell you that there is much stress, heartache, lack of sleep, confusion, and lack of resources, that go along with that job. If a person chooses to take that task on, they should be commended, because they truly are superheroes. That is what Aunt Dixie, Uncle Jim, and their kids have been for a long time, and it is something they have done well. Each one of them have that caregiver’s heart, and it shows in all they do.

Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim have been daycare givers for a long time too…at least until their own grandchildren have grown old enough to take care of themselves. They initially ran an actual daycare, to which a number of my cousins and their children went, but later it was just their own grandchildren. It was a great blessing for all the children they cared for, and for their parents as well. Aunt Dixie, who was the main daycare provider during the many years that Uncle Jim worked, always made going there lots of fun for the kids. She is so kindhearted, and all the kids loved her. In fact, many of the cousins and their kids who went there, have told me just how fun their time there was. It was a wonderful blessing for all of them. Today is Aunt Dixie’s 79th birthday. Hapy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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!!

When my parents got married, it was not uncommon for there to be a number of years difference in ages. My mom’s parents were sixteen years different in age, and my parents were twelve years different in age. The first time Mom met Dad, she was a starry-eyed girl looking at a very handsome man for the first time, but somehow, she knew that he would be the one, and so he was. Of course, it would be a number of years later that they would actually marry, because she had some growing up to do. Nevertheless, she was just 17 years old when they did get married.

They took a honeymoon that took them to their new home in Superior, Wisconsin, and just ten months later they were new parents to Cheryl. Life was good. Mom was making new friends in her new home, mostly Dad’s family, which was fine, because she was a bit shy. In fact, her family has always been her friends, along with a couple of close girlfriends. She liked it that way. Better to have a close circle of friends and family, than a world of acquaintances. The years that followed brought four more daughters, Caryn (me), Caryl, Alena, and Allyn…in fairly close succession. The years also brought a move back to Mom’s hometown of Casper, Wyoming, because she really missed her family…Mom had six sisters (Evelyn Hushman, Virginia Beadle, Delores Johnson, Bonnie McDaniels, Dixie Richards, and Sandy Pattan), and two brothers (Larry Byer and Wayne Byer). Being used to a big family with lots of activities and comradery, Mom had really missed her childhood home, but she also, always missed the family and friends she left behind in Superior, Wisconsin too. Dad missed his family too, but he knew that his bride needed to be close to her family, so he brought her home.

My parents’ story is a true love story, filled with respect for each other, and working toward a common goal. Their favorite place to be, was together. While they loved to travel, it really didn’t matter where they were, as long as they were together. Their life was their family, kids and grandkids. They rejoiced over each and every one of us. When the grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even great great grandchildren began to arrive they were reminded that these were the rewards of long life, and they knew that they were very blessed. They always taught their family to love the Lord, and to have faith in Him, no matter what the circumstances looked like. They taught us that God could always make a way, even when there seemed to be no way. They gave us strength to go on, even when things seemed to be falling apart…not that our lives fell apart much. We really did lead blessed lives, and I think it was the teachings of our parents that made that possible. I am so grateful for the parents that God blessed me with. While there is no marriage in Heaven, I know that they are celebrating the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren that were born into their earthly marriage and having a blessed day.

When a couple has been married a long time, things start changing in their life…things like kids getting married, and kids having kids, become the new normal. That is where my daughter, Corrie Petersen and her husband, Kevin find themselves. The empty nest syndrome has long since come and gone, and now they find themselves in the next phase of their lives. This is the fun phase. Their children are raised, and now they can spoil the grandchildren, and enjoy their adult kids. Their family is growing, with the addition of very soon to be wives for their sons, and of course, those babies. There are no greater words for parents of adult children than grandma and grandpa.

Corrie and Kevin met when she was just 15 years old. Kevin was her first and only love. For him to also be her forever love is amazing, but that is exactly how it went for them. Now, 29 years later, they are still together and still going strong. I can’t say that I am surprised by that, because almost from the very first date, these “kids” seemed married…not the “oh my gosh, I can’t stand to be away from you” kind of love, but more the mature “you’re the one for me, and I can wait to make this right” kind of love. I don’t mean to say that they didn’t love each other very much, but they were very mature. Their love was grown up, and…forever. You just knew that this marriage was going to make it.

After two years, they got engaged, and the wedding was planned for the following year. My girl was going to graduate from high school, turn 18 a month later, and be married two weeks after that. Talk about a whirlwind…for me anyway. A whirlwind of emotions. I thought I was doing ok, but when the kids left for their honeymoon, it suddenly hit me, that my baby girl was married, and she didn’t live at home anymore. She was her own woman, and she had a husband, and very soon a family to take care of. She was a grown adult, but I also knew that the best years of her life were ahead of her, and before long the grandbabies would be coming along. Now the great grandbabies have come along, so I am able to see the next phase for them and for me. Today is Corrie and Kevin’s 29th wedding anniversary. Where have the years gone. Happy anniversary Corrie and Kevin!! We love you!!

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