My niece, Jenny Spethman is a sweet lady with a heart of gold. She is always kind to others and always wears a smile. This mom of four (plus one baby in Heaven) just never loses her hopeful joyous attitude. She greets each day…very early, often before the sunrise, so she can commune with God before the rush of activity that goes along with four active children and a busy husband. She relishes the beauty that God has created for those whose will rise up early. She looks for the beautiful things in God’s nature, in her family, and in her own heart, and she always finds them.

Jenny has such a flair for style, and she can see an outfit where the rest of us see a dud. She mixes a little of this style with a little of that style, and it comes out stunning…always stunning. Maybe it’s the girl wearing the outfit that makes the outfit, in fact, I believe that is the true fact of the matter. I wish I had her flair for putting things together, because no one ever has the same outfit as Jenny does, and yet she is always in style. Her little girl, Aleesia has also benefitted from her mom’s great style, because she always looks so cute in her outfits, and she is always in style too.

Jenny is a true blue friend. No matter what her friends might need, they can count on Jenny to be there…through the good, bad, and the ugly. And because she is a true friend, Jenny has ben blessed with some really good friends too. Jenny’s personality draws people to her and everyone wants to be Jenny’s friend. That is a gift. I think people can see kindness in a person, and that makes that person someone they want to be around. I think that is really what drew her husband, Steve Spethman to her in the first place. They were friends before anything else, and they remain best friends to this day. Of course, for anyone who has been married a long time, you know that friendship is the cornerstone of a good marriage…and without it, the marriage is already on shaky ground.

Jenny has been so blessed with three wonderful sons, who are growing up to be good young men. She was also blessed with two daughters, one of which is in Heaven waiting for the day she can see her mom and dad again, and the other is a source of laughter and joy to them every day on this Earth. For Jenny, everyday is another day in a wonderful life. Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Wedding of Carl and Albertine SchumacherMy great grandmother, Henriette Schumacher came to the United States reluctantly, with her sister, brother-in-law, and their two young children. Henriette’s mother had insisted that she go to help with the children. She was worried about the immigration to a new land so far away, and she figured that if both girls went, they could protect each other, and be company for each other. I think my great great grandmother knew her girls pretty well, and thought that the loneliness might be too much for either of them alone, and so going together would help to alleviate that loneliness. It was in the United States that my great grandmother would meet and marry my great grandfather, and would never again be sorry that she had come here.

When the family moved from Minnesota to North Dakota, they bough some land, and would later move to a better piece of land, with a wonderful artesian well, that worked so well, that it formed a ten acre lake right near the family home. During his courtship of my grandmother, Anna, my grandfather, Allen Luther Spencer stocked the lake with a dozen small catfish from the river. For some years, the catfish were forgotten, until Carl and Henriette’s son, Fred noticed them. My great grandfather, Carl Schumacher built a flat bottomed boat for the three youngest children, who were the only ones living at home then, and they went fishing. By this time, the lake was teeming with catfish, and they practically jumped into the boat voluntarily. Great Grandma Schumacher would fry up those fish, and the family would have a feast. It was catfish that was fed to the threshers when they came too and Aunt Bertie says they tasted so good, that she can  them from memory. Great Grandma rolled them in cornmeal and fried them in country butter, like only she could do. Aunt Bertie said she has never had catfish that could beat her mother’s. Great Grandma Schumacher was also the first one in the whole countryside to make fried chickens from young chickens. Before that everyone used mature chickens, which can be tough, they were stewed with dumplings.

When my great grandmother was in her early fifties, she got rheumatoid arthritis. Before very long, she was unable to do the things she used to do. A very short time later, that she was no longer the person who did the cooking, and while the girls tried to make those Spencer Schumacher Family cover photo2most loved foods taste the same as their mother had done all those years, they could never match the taste. It’s always sad when that happens. You can follow the recipe, but somehow, it just doesn’t taste the same. I think that is because, try as they might, most of those great cooks didn’t use a recipe, and writing it down is really their best guess at the quantities they used, and the person following the recipe is hard pressed to figure out the exact combination. I feel sorry for my aunts, uncle and great grandpa, because they remembered the way things used to be, but knew that they could never be that way again.

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