Love

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My husband, Bob Schulenberg is truly the love of my life. God blessed me with my husband while I was still in high school. I know I’m not the only person ever to meet their future spouse in high school, High School Sweethearts can be a common term among married couples, and in fact, I personally know a number of just such couples. Our meeting was that type exactly, however. While I was still in high school, Bob wasn’t, and we attended different high schools anyway, so it wouldn’t have been that type of romance exactly…even though the schools were in the same town of Casper, Wyoming, we might never have met even if he was still in high school. No, it was God’s plan…all the way, and that makes it all the more wonderful.

As each year passes, I am more and more amazed at the number of years we have been married. At 18, you can barely consider age 50, much less fathom 46 years of marriage to this 20 year old man to whom you have just said, “I do.” We knew nothing of the world. We were barely past childhood ourselves. In fact, I can’t believe how young we looked back then…like babies. Nevertheless, God blessed me with the perfect man for me. We are largely opposites, but they say that opposites attract. I think that’s true for the most part. There are interests, beliefs, and traits that we have in common, and they are necessary, because to love someone you must also have things in common with them. I feel very blessed to have things in Common with Bob and things where we are different too. We complete each other, and that really is awesome.

Now that we have started a new chapter in our lives, namely, retirement, we have even more option to spread our wings and enjoy our new lives. Retirement is a very different time in a marriage. Many people wonder if they will be able to stand each other, because suddenly they are spending so much time together. I don’t know about other couples, but Bob and I get along very well, even though we are spending a lot more time together. Of course, the truth is we like each other. I mean, we love each other, but we also like each other. We are best friends. If a couple in a marriage aren’t friends, I think they are already in trouble. A great marriage starts out as a good friendship. I am so privileged to be married to my best friend all these years. Happy 46th anniversary to the best husband in the whole world!! I love you Bob!!

Christopher Petersen became my grandson 25 years ago today. He was the baby that changed my title from mom to grandmother. It amazes me that it has been a quarter of a century already. So much has changed, and yet it seems like it was just yesterday. From the wide-eyed little boy to the dad he is now…he has blessed us along the way, and I know that the future will be wonderful too. Chris and his fiancée, Karen have two beautiful children, Cambree and Caysen. Their life is so blessed, and that makes me so happy for them.

When I think of the little boy Chris was and how excited he was to get a brother of his own. I think Chris liked babies even then, or maybe it was because his brother, Josh was his brother. Chris wanted to help and couldn’t wait until Josh could play. That kind of kid love has remained. He still loves the playtime he has with his babies. Chris is patient and fun-loving, and that makes the kids love hanging with Daddy. Chris and Karen have that in common. They both love kids, and kid play, and they totally celebrate their family time. It makes for such a fun home, filled with lots of giggles and smiles. Cambree loves being with her daddy when he isn’t working, and Caysen is already his daddy’s snuggler whenever he gets the chance. Together, Chris and Karen are great parents, and I am so proud of them.

Chris works hard at his job at Craves, where he is a manager. His job is his means to a better life for his family, but the reality is that his family is what it’s all about. Nothing is more important than his family, and that is the way it should be. Kids grow up so fast, which is more and more evident to me when I realize that Chris is 25 years old. His kids will be the same way for him…growing up rapidly, and right before our eyes. It seems impossible that that Chris would have two kids already, but he does, and of course, with Cambree’s arrival, I passed another milestone…great grandma. I could say that it will be a long time before I become a great great grandma, but then I won’t because I know how quickly those years can fly by. I’m glad that Chris and Karen are treasuring each and every day with their babies, because they really do grow us so quickly. Today is Chris’ 25th birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Some birthdays are different beyond anything we could have ever imagined. That is the kind of birthday my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg is having this year. Never in a million years did he expect to be a widower at the age of 53, but that is exactly where he finds himself, and his 13 year old son, Tucker, who also lost his mom. While Ron’s current situation is devastating, I am very proud of how he is handling it and the sadness that comes and go with both Ron and Tucker. While this year started it in the worst possible way, I pray that the rest of the year will get better. I know that his wife, Rachel would want Ron and Tucker, as well as her other children, Cassie and Riley, to be happy in life…as hard as that seems right now.

With Rachel’s passing came other changes for Ron. He had always worked nights, but with a 13 year old at home, he needed to change that to days, so that is what he did. It is a big change for him. He preferred the night shift, but it was important for Tucker, and that is all that matters now. Another change is that Ron is now the “Chief cook and bottle washer,” so to speak. He can cook, but Rachel was a phenomenal cook…a hard act to follow. I believe that Ron with find his own rhythm and cooking style. Tucker likes most of what he cooks now, and they will find things together that they like. Who knows, maybe Tucker will find some good recipes too.

We are all so thankful that Tucker has his dad, who adopted him on June 27, 2019. Tucker is not alone now. He has his dad to help him get through such a sad time in his life. And Tucker is helping his dad too. They depend on each other now, and work together to get through this. When I think of the terrible loneliness that happens after such a loss, it tears at my heart that these guys are going through it I know that in time, there will be less pain, but right now, it is so strong and we have no way to ease their pain. The future will be different than they every planned for it to be, but they will get through it and we as a family will help them to get through it. Today is the first birthday Ron has had without Rachel in ten years, and that will make it a hard day, but I pray that he knows how much Rachel loved him, and that she wants the best for him and her children. She is in Heaven now, but her memory will always live on in our spirits. I pray that Ron can find some measure of happiness today too. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

With each passing year, I find myself more and more amazed that my mom, Collene Spencer could be in Heaven for six years now. For those of us who miss her very much, that thought feels sad, but for my mom, who loved the Lord so much and was excited to see Heaven, these have been wonderful years, that seemed like seconds, I’m sure. Each day for her is now spent in rejoicing, because that was always what my mom wanted. She never desired anything more than to worship God and bask in His presence. Like one of the songs we used at her funeral, and those of many others now, tells us, “We can only imagine what it will be like!!”

Mom enjoyed many things in her lifetime. She liked to travel, go camping, celebrate the holidays, and spend time with family, but more than anything, my mom loved to spend time in the Word. We bought he a Kindle when they first came out, and loaded it with Christian books and the Bible. It made it so much easier for her to read, because it was so light and easy to hold. She had dozens of books at her disposal, and she loved that. She spent her days reading and communing with God while her family was all at work. Anyone who knew her will tell you that my mom was “All about bringing others to the Lord.” She loved people, and didn’t want anyone to be lost, but she really wanted people to know how much God loves them. She never stopped telling others about God’s love for them, and that is to her credit. I can’t begin to count the number of people she led to the Lord in her lifetime.

Of the things on this Earth, the most important to mom was her family. She treasured each and every new baby that was added to her lineage, and I know she can’t wait to meet the ones who have arrived after her homegoing. She also treasured the new spouses and partners. There was a special place in her heart for each of these new additions. When someone loves one of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and beyond, that makes them awesome in Mom’s eyes…and that makes them as much hers as if she had given birth to them. There was always room in Mom’s heart for more loved ones. She loved watching her family grow with each new addition. She considered each one perfect. It s such a wonderful way to look at people, and one we should all incorporate into our own lives. When I think of the life lessons my mom gave us, these things are among the greatest. As I look forward to my own homegoing someday, I can only imagine just how wonderful it will be, and as I continue my life on Earth, it is my desire to live my life in such a way as to make my mom and my dad proud of the child they raised, and the woman I have become. I miss my mom very much, and I am forever grateful for the life she and my dad gave me. Happy 6th anniversary of your homegoing, Mom. We love and miss you very much and can’t wait to see you again.

Let’s face it. This past year has been…the worst. The closures, job losses, and personal losses; many of which are still going on a year later, have made us all edgy, irritable, and even depressed. Many people are still in a place where social distancing is the norm. For my family, Thanksgiving was cancelled, because my husband, Bob and I had Covid-19. Then Christmas was delayed 24 days, because my daughter, Corrie Petersen and her husband Kevin had Covid-19. Kevin got it the worst, as his system is compromised, but after a week in the hospital, he is home and doing very well. We lost out on so much in 2020, and now we are back to almost normal.

Valentine’s Day is a little bit different holiday, since it is mostly about couples, but since Bob and I prefer not to go to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, because of the crowds, we are going to be staying home, but its not going to be just us. This year, our family is a little bit battered, because we have lost one of the members of the couples…my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg. That leaves her husband, my brother-in-law, Ron and their son, Tucker in a very different place than they expected. We decided to ease them into the coming year, that will be inevitably hard, by having a small group Valentine’s Day gathering. There will be five of us, Bob, Ron, Tucker, my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg, and me. Unfortunately, it will be a sad time, because Rachel won’t be with us, but the reality is that it’s about love, and we love Ron and Tucker. We want to help them move forward, and I know that Rachel would be pleased that her guys aren’t alone on this difficult day. We aren’t the only family that is living with battle scars. There are so many families that have lost someone or have someone in the hospital. There are many people who cannot be with their loved ones today. Some have to work, and some live far away too. There are some in my family in that place, and while that feels sad for some of us, they are in the place they need to be.

Today is not supposed to be a sad day, but sometimes that is just the way it is. Nevertheless, we also have reasons to be happy. Family, friends, hope, and love, are all a part of our futures now too. Rachel is in Heaven, but she, along with all of our other loved ones are happy, and they are in our future now. This is a day to rejoice too. There are blessings that come with this day. Wedding anniversaries, like that of my niece Lindsay Moore and her husband Shannon, who’s daughter Hallie was born and went to Heaven on December 19, 2020 can be sad, but they are still celebrating, because they have been together for 7 years now and they will see Hallie Joy again soon. She lives in their future now, not their past. It’s about love, and Hallie would want them to go forward. For me, the main this is that we never forget those we love.

Of course, many of us celebrate this day because we love our own sweethearts. We are all blessed with loved ones, partners, spouses, or other family members. There is really no greater emotion than love. I don’t know how any of us would survive without it. This world can be cruel, and it is love that balances it out for us. So today, we celebrate, even if life has left us a little sad. Because, it is really all about love.

My dear uncle, Bill Spencer, who left us on Christmas day, 2020, was such a favorite of mine. We were a lot alike, and we had many of the same interests. It was Uncle Bill who taught me to play cribbage, but was never one to let me win. I learned to play well, and when I won…I knew I had really won. Back when you could get away with letting your kid drive on your lap, or even themselves with you in the car, well before they were of an age to get a permit, he let me drive to their cabin when we visited. Even my dad was ok with it, so I drove the three of us for quite a while. As a mom, when my kids needed family history information, I knew that my Uncle Bill was the guy to go to. He was the family historian from the time he was eight years old, and I quickly became as obsessed as he was. Uncle Bill did his research the old fashioned was, by making trips to different places to look in cemeteries, county and state records offices, and libraries. It was much harder work back then, and those of us who have been the beneficiaries of Uncle Bill’s hard work, can say that he has done a great work.

Uncle Bill is my dad, Allen Spencer’s older brother. Uncle Bill was ten years younger than his sister, Laura Fredrick, and three years older than his younger sister, Ruth Wolfe. The two boys were in the middle. The family lived many years in Holyoke, Minnesota, and ran a farm there. Uncle Bill, being the oldest son, played a big part in the farming. He, along with mostly my dad and Aunt Ruth helped with haying, and growing the the gardens. Their dad worked for the railroad, and so the farm was largely left to my grandmother, Anna Spencer, and the kids. My Aunt Laura was married during a good part of the younger children’s growing up years. Nevertheless, Uncle Bill and Aunt Laura were very close during his childhood years when their mother was working and Aunt Laura took care of him. They grew to have a close friendship, as well as being siblings.

As they grew older, Uncle Bill and my dad were the definitely the boys of the family. They loved getting into all kinds of trouble. The jumped on the moving trains, even though they had a pass to ride. They played with dynamite, even sinking the gatepost couple of inches. They also loved to go fishing, and often brought home a good catch, which all the family got to enjoy. Even though they were typical boys, I guess they weren’t all bad. I’m sure that when Uncle Bill got to Heaven a little less than a month ago, there was a wonderful reunion between the brothers, as they rest of their family too. It makes me sad to know that all of the siblings are gone to Heaven now, but only for myself and those of us left here. For the siblings it a big celebration. They are all together again. Today would have been Uncle Bill’s 99th birthday…and his first birthday in Heaven. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Bill. We love and miss you very much.

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.

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