Values

Caryn, Caryl, and CherylSo much has changed since I was a kid, or even a young mother. No, I’m not talking about walking 5 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways…mostly because that was a story that belonged to my dad…who assured us that it was exactly what he did. I’m talking about the way people discipline…or often, don’t discipline their kids. It’s not exactly the fault of the parent that doesn’t discipline either, because these days disciplining your child is a step most young parents take with great apprehension, and who can blame them. Years ago, some idiot who had no kids, decided that it was cruel and unusual punishment to spank your kids…probably because they got spanked and didn’t like it, but since they don’teven have kids, they shouldn’t tell the rest of us how to discipline our kids.

I’m very much against child abuse, or the abuse of anyone for that matter, but a correctly administered spanking is simply not abuse…it is a show of love. A child who is given no boundaries, doesn’t feel loved. Imagine putting your one year old on the roof of a building with nothing to stop them from falling off and walking away. Are you showing love? No, you are showing them that you don’t care about them.

Well, I can tell you that my parents loved me!! And I can tell you that my girls know they are loved too. And we knew the rules, though I can’t say that we always kept them…but after the spanking, we wished we had. I never liked spanking the girls in public, because it wasn’t about embarrassing them, it was about disciplining them, but the public restroom worked very nicely. Everyone might have known what was about to happen, but the girls had time to compose themselves before they had to face the world again.

Still, there was one way to discipline your child in public and only you and your child knew it, which could be very funny. There is a place at that spot where your neck connects to your shoulder, that can be very painful if pinched. No you don’t have to leave a mark, just give that skin a good squeeze. Your child will let out a yelp and may start crying, like my daughter did, right in the middle of a store, but after she dropped to the floor crying, and I walked on down the isle, she looked up and found everyone staring at her wondering if she was crazy, she decided that I had won that battle. Throwing a fit when no one can You Stepped On My Toesee what is wrong with you can be very embarrassing, and with my daughter, it only happened once. Yes, they got pinched there again if they needed it, but they took their punishment in silence, and behaved themselves afterward…not to mention going to the store became a much more peaceful time for me.

These days,I suppose many people would frown on my discipline style, which just goes to show how much things have changed, but my girls were well behaved, and I could take them anywhere. And once they know that you have ways to discipline that will fit the situation, they tend to choose not to push your buttons. The result of button pushing can be uncomfortable.

There is so much controversy these days concerning guns and gun control, and while I don’t usually write about political events, this one hits close to home for me and my family. For many years, my Uncle Bill was a gun dealer. He and his family had always had guns. He became interested in antique guns at some point and began to collect, deal, and show the guns at gun shows all over the north central part of the United States, and possibly even in the north west part, as well. Uncle Bill and my dad, as well as their sisters were raised around guns, and yet not one of them ever killed someone.

My family and my husband’s family have been around guns all our lives too. Our parents have hunted, as have many of us children and our spouses. If you live in Wyoming, as in many other places, owning a gun is really not so unusual. It doesn’t, however, give any indication that the gun owners here, or anywhere else are likely to commit murder. And, while people who torture animals, often move on to killing people, hunters usually do not. Legal hunters have a respect for the animals they hunt. It is to provide food for their family, that the hunter hunts.

For centuries, people have owned guns, and during all those years, mass school shootings were unheard of…until recently. Christians, like myself, mostly agree that it is largely because we have kicked God out of our schools. That makes so many people angry, because they think we are talking about God being angry at the schools because He was kicked out, but that isn’t it at all. In my opinion, when we removed God from our schools, we stopped teaching morality. Generations of kids have grown up with a changed view of right and wrong. Then those same kids are out there making television shows, video games, writing books, creating pictures, and so many other things that our impressionable kids are viewing. Wrong has become right…if it seems right to the person doing the wrong. It has become a matter of “the devil made me do it” or simply a matter of not allowing anyone to step on our feelings. It has become a good thing to be bad, and a good show is called wicked.

I think, that is we want to change things in this nation, we need to change what we are teaching our kids in school, and in life. Guns don’t kill people…people kill people, and very often, guns are not the weapon of choice, in fact, guns are used the least amount of the time. We can’t remove every possible weapon for the hands of people, unless we want to live in a Nerf world, and even then, people will use their hands, or they will just use rocks. We have to start teaching our kids and our adults the value of human life, and to respect each person’s right to life. We have to realize that few people intentionally set out to hurt the feelings of others, and as with bullying, the ones who do need to be swiftly punished. We need to stop looking at others as less important than we are, and treat each person with respect, no matter how the look, talk, and no matter what their race, gender, or age is. Our ancestors carried guns for many centuries, and did not shoot up schools or other public places in order to make a point, possibly because of the values our nation started on. Maybe we need to work to make all people feel like they are a person of value, because it isn’t the gun that kills, it is the person bent on revenge who kills people.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of my 4th and 6th grade teacher. She was my absolute favorite teacher in grade school, and I had the distinct pleasure and was greatly blessed to get her as my teacher for 2 years, because she switched from 4th to 6th grades the year I got to 6th grade. The strange thing was that I didn’t know she was the same teacher…at least until that first day, because since her first husband had died, she had remarried. So the first time I had her, she was Mrs Clark, and the second time I had her, she was Mrs Lloyd. Her name didn’t matter to me, all I cared about was the fact that I got to have my beloved teacher for yet another year. Nevertheless, I still had trouble remembering that she was Mrs Lloyd now.

While Mrs Lloyd’s name gave me trouble, I had no trouble loving my teacher. She was like everyone’s second mom. The things she said to you were genuine…straight from her heart. She always looked for the best in her students, and she expected to find good traits in each and every one of her students. Because of her faith in her students, as well as her genuine love for each one, we all tried our very hardest to make her proud of us, and because of her encouragement, we knew that we could do whatever we set our mind to. Mrs Clark-Lloyd made us feel like there was nothing we couldn’t do.

The years since I was in 4th or 6th grade have passed quickly by, but my memories of my favorite grade school teacher have never faded. I could see her face in my memory all those years. I think we all have one or more teachers who inspired us to do our very best, and their lessons don’t fade as the years go by. Mrs Clark-Lloyd was one of those great teachers. Over the years, this tiny woman always seemed larger than life to me. She was like an angel of the human kind, who’s faith in God inspired her to instill faith in her students…faith in God and themselves.

When I first met my nephew, Ryan’s future wife, I liked her, but it was early on in their dating and so often you brush those first encounters off. I guess you don’t get too attached, because in dating, there are those that come and go. Soon, however,  it became apparent that Chelsea was the one for Ryan. I think I was surprised at just how fast it became apparent that Ryan was gone on Chelsea. There were a few struggles…such as when she wanted to move back home to Seattle, because we hated to have them go, even though we know that her family felt the same about her living here. Nevertheless, I always liked Chelsea, and that fondness has grown over the years that she has been a part of our family.

I think most of us really come into our own…once we leave our teenaged years behind, and that is certainly what I have seen in Chelsea. She has such a sweet spirit and a wonderful sense of humor. She is a business woman who has worked very hard to bring in a second income for the family while remaining a stay at home mom, which is a top priority with her. She first started out making jewelry, with a flare for the beautiful and sometimes unusual, at Sophisticate Jewelry. She also has a new venture, which is baked goods, at Momma H’s Tasty Eats. I have personally had her muffins, and I highly recommend them.

Chelsea has almost effortlessly worked her way into the hearts of this family, and we all love her very much. She is a good wife and mom, and those two things go a long way toward earning our love and respect, but what warms my heart today is that in the short time that Chelsea has been coming to our church, I have watched her grow spiritually into a strong woman of God. It is a beautiful thing to see. She is in church every week, and many Wednesday nights, literally absorbing the Word of God. Her family is there and little Ethan is always so excited to go to Sunday School, as I’m sure Aurora will be when she is old enough. Chelsea glows with the happiness that can only come from living in the grace of God. Today she did something that many Christians don’t often do. She brought her neighbors to church, and they were excited to come, because she was excited about her church. That is spiritual maturity and continued growth, and that is something to be proud of. Chelsea, I want you to know how much I love and respect you. You are a blessing to our family. I am so proud of you.

Seventy one years ago today, one of the most horrific attacks ever launched on US soil took place. Following that attack, the United States entered World War II.  That would eventually lead to the men who would become my dad and my uncles, also entering World War II. So many people think that the United States loves to go to war, but that is simply not the case. The United States is a nation of people who try to give everyone the right to live and let live, but if we are provoked or if another nation is in need, most nations or terrorists will find that we are a nation they will wish they had not messed with.

Our family has not lost a soldier to war that I am aware of, at least not as far back and including World War I, so I don’t know what it feels like to lose someone to combat. I do know that whenever our nation is involved in a war, my prayers go out for protection for all our soldiers…those I know and those I don’t.

There have been times when our nation has been divided over whether or not we should be involved in a war, but when it is an attack on our soil, very few people protest the war. It just feels different, more personal, whether we know anyone who lost their life or not. They are our people, and this is our nation…our safe zone, and we don’t like having anyone come in and violate that safe zone. The attack on Pearl Harbor came as such a shock to so many people, because they had been lead to believe that we had made an agreement with Japan that they would honor, but no matter what they are like today, they did not honor the agreement made than, and many people paid for our nation’s trusting ways with their lives.

The attack on Pearl Harbor will forever be embedded in the minds of those who lived it and those who have studied it. Today, I want to honor all the men and women who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor and in World War II, and all the men and women who have served their country in World War II and all the other wars our nation has been involved in. Thank you all for your service.

My Aunt Evelyn was a very social girl. She always had a great group of friends, and they had a club. There were 8 girls and 8 guys, and their parents used to take turns holding parties for the group. They were then envy of all the siblings, who secretly wished they were big enough to be a part of that group. When it was my grandmother’s turn to have the party, they all went to the North Casper Clubhouse, and had a Taffy Pulling Party.  There was a few parents there, but mostly it was the 8 girls and 8 boys at this party, and none of the younger kids were allowed to go, Although they did get a little bit of the taffy…when all the party goers were done, of course. The party was a huge success, and grandma was so proud of how it turned out. I’m quite certain that the younger kids wished they could have had friends like that when they were older, but the club and the group of friends my Aunt Evelyn had were a pretty unique group.

Aunt Evelyn had a special friend named Mabel. Her mother had passed away, and my grandmother welcomed her into the family as much as she wanted to be there. It was a kindness shown by my grandmother and my aunt to a girl who needed the company of women and especially a mother figure in her life. Aunt Evelyn was willing to share her mother with her dear friend. Mabel went on picnics and other family outings too. One day they all went out to Uncle Cliff’s place and the kids found a buggy. They had no horse, but the buggy looked like lots of fun too. There were about 15 kids there, and some rode while some pushed the buggy down a hill. It was great fun until one time they got all tangled up in the wheels and went over in a heap. Clothes were torn, skin was scratched, but nothing was broken. Aunt Evelyn’s and Mabel’s skirts were even torn, and they had to wear an apron backwards to cover up the back of their dresses. Grandpa asked them why they didn’t put the break on, but they said they didn’t know it had a break. that brought much laughter, and my mom says that story still lives on today.

Aunt Evelyn was always a very regal looking woman. She carried herself with grace and beauty. She was a friend to many, and a role model to most people. Today, Aunt Evelyn turns 84 years old. She is still a beautiful and well respected lady. She is still married to the love of her life, and together they have raised 5 children, and have been blessed with many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Happy birthday Aunt Evelyn!! We love you!!

Love is in the air, and it has landed on my niece, Jessi and her fiance, Jason. Today, they will say, “I do!” and begin their life together. It is the dream of most young girls…to meet their prince charming and live happily ever after. And it is the dream of most young men to find that one special girl that will make all his dreams come true…his princess. Today that dream comes true for Jessi and Jason.

When you see these two together, it is so obvious that they are in love. They are full of laughter and fun, but it’s in their eyes that you really see it…love. They are two people who are so full of life, and I love their sense of humor…both of them separately…and together. It’s funny, but their combined sense of humor seems almost better than each one separately, which seems impossible. I enjoy watching them together, because they can be so funny.

Yes, there are lots of laughs, but there is something in Jason that that I really liked…it’s how he lifts Jessi up…almost on a pedestal. We were having a cake auction at our church to raise money for the Sunday School. Jessi’s cake was up for auction, and the bids has been raised to a good price. But, that was not enough for Jason. Jessi’s cake had to bring more…it had to be spectacular…Jason insisted. So, out of the blue, at the top of his lungs, he yelled out, “What!!! That’s not enough!! I bid $100.00!!” Everyone in the place was shocked when he yelled out, but very please and impressed for Jessi when the bid was placed. It was just such a sweet thing to do, and in doing it, he placed Jessi up on that pedestal. He showed what he thought of her…how much he thought of her. I was so pleased with him and so proud for Jessi. To be lifted up that way is something every woman wants, and he nailed it. Well done Jason.

So today is the day!! The day when the two shall become one, and travel the rest of life’s journey together, and I am so excited for them. Marriage is such a wonderful place to be. And I can’t think of two people who are better suited for each other. I know that their life together is going to be wonderful…filled with much love and much laughter…and all of God’s greatest blessings. Congratulations Jessi and Jason!! I’m so happy for you!! I love you both!! Happy Wedding Day!!

When my brother-in-law, Mike was dating my sister, Caryl, I think he found himself wondering what he had gotten himself into. The very first time he met all of us, we just started in on our normal teasing. I mean, any guy who was going to be a part of this family might just as well get used to being teased, because we love to tease. Mike was a little unsure of us at first, or maybe he was a little shy, I can’t say for sure, but it didn’t take him long to feel comfortable, and then his own teasing side came out to play with a gusto.

Over the years we have found Mike to be a great addition to our family. Yes, he has a great sense of humor, but he is also willing to pitch in whenever we need help with maintenance and building projects. He is very good at designing and building things.  We are very blessed to have husbands in our family who can take care of everything from the cars to the house.  Since joining the family, Mike has built an enclosed porch and deck at my mom’s house, as well as setting up sprinkler systems, and multiple repairs. The money saved by his talents alone is a lot. When we got Mike, you might say that he came with a lot of extras.

Caryl met Mike through his aunt, who was a patient of hers when she was working at the Wyoming Kidney Center, administering dialysis. Sometimes there are true match makers out there. She and Caryl got along so well, and one day she said you just have to meet my nephew. You two are perfect for each other. Although sceptical, Caryl agreed to meet Mike, and the rest…well, the rest is history, as they say.

Our family has been very blessed with the addition of Mike, and not just in the things he can do for us. Mike is a loving son-in-law and brother-in-law, and while he has a great sense of humor and can tease with the best of us, he has a softer side too. He is a kind man who has a giving nature. That is the best kind of person to add to a family…don’t you agree? Happy birthday Mike!! We love you!!

Sometimes, in our everyday lives, we forget to notice just how much God has blessed us with our spouses. It isn’t necessarily the big things they do for us, but rather it’s the little things, that make us stop and think of how blessed we are. Sometimes in a marriage, we forget to do the little, helpful things for each other, so when your spouse does something that is such a simple act of kindness and love, it can leave you…almost in awe of this love of your life.

Many of you know that we have been caregivers for Bob’s parents over the last few years, and I would never leave them in a position of having no one to help them. Still, it is a big job, and sometimes, I find myself feeling exhausted. There is no real help for it, as there are only so many hours in the day, and a number of them are required to give them the care they need to continue to stay in their own home.

Bob is usually right there beside me, working to keep them healthy, and many evenings find us sitting in our easy chairs, after getting them to bed, watching television…well, actually, sleeping through the show we are supposed to be watching. Not your typical date night. We used to walk 2 hours a day, but there is little time for that now…and that’s ok. Our time will come around again. This is parent time, and not only is it necessary, it is a very special time in our lives. I suppose some people think of caregiving as a burden, but I think of it as an opportunity to make the quality of life better for my in-laws, and my mom, although she has not needed as much care these days. It is also a time of bonding….of building a relationship that is so mutually blessed, that I feel a bit sorry for those who never have that bonding opportunity with their own parents or in-laws.

Often, with his mother, there is little Bob can do to help, but he shows his appreciation in the little things he does for me. Whether it is cooking dinner, washing the dishes (or helping me wash the dishes), or the many other little things he does for me, just because he knows I am tired, Bob always shows me how much he appreciates me. That means more than any gift he could give, or even places he could take me. He simply understands if I’m too tired to do some things around the house, and he picks up the slack. Love doesn’t manifest itself in any more beautiful way than that…and I couldn’t feel more loved.

There is a country music song by Brad Paisley, called “He Didn’t Have To Be” about a step-dad who was more of a dad than a real dad ever was. After talking with my cousin, JeanAnn, I am convinced that those words describe my cousin Elmer, JeanAnn’s uncle very well too. JeanAnn was a little girl with a need, and Elmer became the dad to JeanAnn, that he didn’t have to be…he chose to be. JeanAnn tells me that Elmer raised her, like she was his own daughter, stepping in to fill a void that desperately needed filling, and not only helped a little girl who needed it, but filled her heart with so much joy and pride, that when she speaks of him, it all comes flowing out like a beautiful waterfall.

When JeanAnn was a very little girl, Elmer bought her a Tweety Bird that said “Hello Buddy!” He and JeanAnn always used to say that to each other, but JeanAnn was to little to say it right, so it came out “Hello Bud!” The name stuck, and Elmer became forever Uncle Bud, and I have a feeling he didn’t mind that, because his very special little niece gave that name to him. Rewards just don’t come sweeter than that!

Some of her fondest memories happened in the month of July. She tells me that she can’t remember one year, except the few that she didn’t live in Casper, that she didn’t spend July 4th with her uncle. Back when you could set off fireworks on your own, they shot off fireworks in Glenrock, along with the occasional hillside fire, of course. Sometimes, they watched the fireworks displays from Elmer’s shop, where she got to play with the various gadgets he had made or bought. Later, when he got a boat, they often spent July 4th at the lake, watching the displays, boating and playing in the water. JeanAnn never had to worry about missing out on the festivities, because she had an uncle who was so good to her, even though he didn’t have to be. When the fair rolled around, JeanAnn always got to go. At the fair, she and her Uncle Bud would ride all the rides. One year he had hurt his back, so JeanAnn was worried that he might not be able to go, but he still took her, and rode the rides with her. She was a teenager by then, and his giving nature meant so much to her. Elmer was always there when she needed him.

Now JeanAnn is grown, with children of her own, who need a man in their lives too. Uncle Bud stepped right in, without ever being asked, and did the same things for Mykenzie and Ethan. He took Kenzie to her first father/daughter dance, and was there for Ethan’s first play. He spent 2 hours last Christmas putting a Lego toy together for Ethan. He has done so many things for JeanAnn, Kenzie, and Ethan, that there simply isn’t enough room here. Just suffice it to say that when other men wouldn’t do for their children, Uncle Bud came to the rescue for at least 3 of them, and became the surrogate dad…he didn’t have to be.

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