Sometimes, the best laid plans fall just a little bit short of the dream come true. The big plan for our lives, becomes the backup plan. As a trained dental hygienist, my grand niece, Christina Masterson will always have that profession to fall back on, but the doing hasn’t lived up to her expectations. So, it’s back to the drawing board for Miss Christina. With a strong family background in Christianity, she has decided to go to Bible college. I don’t know exactly what her future in this area would look like, but Bible college doesn’t always mean being a preacher. It could be that she will decide to preach, but she could also go into youth ministry, music ministry, or even author Christian books. Christina hasn’t said specifically, what her future looks like in her own head, but she is excited at the prospect of moving forward with this new master plan.
It would be impossible to say for sure where the future will take Christina, but she is excited about it, and that is what matters. Even if she doesn’t go into a field that uses her Bible college lessons, studying the Bible is never a bad idea. In fact, it is something we should all take the time to do…at least on our own, because no matter what future choices we make for ourselves, our lives will always go better if we put God in charge of our plans.
Christina is a sweet girl, the oldest of my nephew Rob Masterson’s four kids. She is also the oldest of her mother, Angela Beck’s four kids. The rest of the kids are a bit younger, and still in public school. The younger ones may not realize it, but they are probably looking to Christina to show them the way to go. It’s probably a lot to put on a young woman’s shoulders, but she can do it…if she doesn’t sell herself short. Being a role model is not an impossible task. All that is needed is to realize that some little people are looking to you to show them how to be great, and I think she’s got this. Today is Christina’s birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My sister, Alena Stevens has had a dream for a number of years now…to be a grandma. That dream finally came true almost a year ago when her little granddaughter, Elliott Michelle Stevens was born on August 3, 2018, which is also our grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer’s birthday. I know she would have been so happy to have her great great granddaughter born on her birthday. Grandbabies are always wonderful, and it’s especially cool when they become a birthday present too. And it’s cool for everyone, from the parents to the grandparents.
Alena has worked for the Natrona County School District as the Refocus Room teacher for a number of years now. She says that she really has a heart for helping these students get themselves back on track. She understands the emotions they sometimes deal with, and that is not always easy to do. Working in the school district also gives her the summers off, as well as any school holidays and national holidays. That is going to be especially nice for her now, because her son, Garrett, daughter-in-law, Kayla, and little Elliott live in Sheridan and Alena lives in Casper, making it difficult to visit during the school year. Thankfully Sheridan isn’t that far away, so visits are possible on the weekends too.
Alena is a teacher in the Refocus Room at Verda James School, but she is also a great hairstylist and a great interior decorator too. Her home is beautifully decorated, with a style that some of us can only dream of producing in our own homes. She uses everything from wallpaper to stencils to dual colors in a room, to create a warmth and beauty that is just stunning. It is a talent that I wish I had, but I believe it is a gift that not everyone is given. She has an eye for it for sure, and that is what it takes to envision the way a room will look once you put your ideas in place. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
A fireman…it seems to be the every little boy’s dream, and my grandson was no exception, but what has made him the exception is the fact that he has gone through all the training to actually become a fire fighter, and he never faltered. Josh began his journey while he was still in high school. He was in his element…immediately. Josh had some wonderful mentors along the way, all of whom made this dream interesting and who confirmed his destination. They helped Josh to know that his dream was the right dream for him.
Through the Boces program, Josh started his studies while he was still in high school, and then has continued his studies as a full time college student, achieving his Associates Degree in Fire Science in one year of full time college instead of two. His is looking forward to continued study to become a Paramedic, and he will also be looking into getting hired by one of the local fire departments. He is so excited about that prospect that he can hardly wait. I suppose it is the same with any course of study. You have learned the things you need to know for your career, and now you are just itching to get at it. That is exactly where Josh is right now…standing on the threshold of his future.
I have always known that Josh would make a great fire fighter/paramedic, because of the aptitude he displayed as a young boy helping to take care of his great grandparents. He was very meticulous, gentle, and caring. When Josh was helping, they always felt at ease, knowing that he would follow directions exactly and would always be careful with them. Josh has always had a heart for caregiving, and firefighter/paramedic falls right in line with caregiving, so as a career choice, it makes perfect sense. Today is the culmination of Josh’s dream and hard work, as he graduates with an Associates Degree in Fire Science. Congratulations Josh!! We are so proud of you and all your hard work!!
My niece, Amanda Reed, my brother-in-law, Mike Reed’s daughter is living her version of the dream. She and her family bought a house a little over a year ago, and they have spent the last year fixing it up to be exactly what they want. It’s been a wonderful experience for them, but this year, Amanda got a bug bite. No, she wasn’t bitten by some strange kind of insect, but rather by the need to buy a Volkswagen Beetle. I can understand that bite. I thought I wanted a Volkswagen Beetle once. My best friend had one, and we had some great times in that car. In the end, I got what my dad deemed a family car, and I was too excited about having my own car to be upset about it for long. Nevertheless, I do remember the fun times we had in a Volkswagen Beetle. With Amanda…once the bug bit her, she had to have a Bug. This year, her dream of owning a Volkswagen Beetle came true, when they bought her cute little Bug.
Of course, you can’t always be on land. Amanda and her family love being on the water, and this year, they will be getting lots of that when they go on their first cruise. My sister, Caryl and brother-in-law, Mike are taking their whole family on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas and Key West. I love to go on cruises, and I remember my first cruise. It was amazing. I know that for Amanda and her family, this is an exciting time. There really is nothing better than getting the whole family together for a vacation, where you can just enjoy each other’s company and relax. I hope they have a wonderful cruise, and that it is a trip they will never forget.
Amanda and her family love all kinds of sports. They spend a lot of time at the lake in the summer, but in the winter, they have another way to get in deep. Deep in the snow, that is. The have snowmobiles, and snow motorcycles, and sometimes those items get buried in the deep snow. The only thing left to do is dig them out. Thankfully they have good friends that go along on these excursions, and everybody gets in there to get the unit out of the deep snow. Now personally, I think they might be just a little bit crazy, but then they didn’t ask me, and I suppose that since I’ve never tried it, I should hold my opinion until I can make a more informed judgment…like that will ever happen. As long as they like it, I say to each his own. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Today, my grandson Chris Petersen heads back to Sheridan for his final semester of college. It has been a long two year road, and hard on all of us, but we are proud of what he has done. Nevertheless, while he has been here over a month, it seems like he just got here. Time flies by so quickly, and somehow along the way, this one or that one of your kids and grandkids seem to fly away. Some literally!! As each one goes, you are left to wonder what the draw of that place is, or sometimes, like with Chris, you know that it is not that place, but rather the dream. You know that they have to follow their dream, and you truly want them to be happy…even if that takes them far away from you.
The reality is that the future of our children is not ours to set. It is theirs. All their lives, you watch carefully, noting their talents and abilities, and wondering where their future lies. I think that for most parents, the hope is that their kids future wont take them too far away, because while we have been watching their little lives as they grew, our hearts just never planned for that moment when they would tell us that their future plans and our idea of their future plans are simply not the same. As they leave, you feel like your heart is being torn from your chest. You fell like the tears will never stop, and in reality, sometimes…when you least expect it…when you thought you were finally ok, those wretched tears come rushing back to you again.
As Chris leaves, I think about the fact that once again, half of my children and grandchildren don’t live nearby. It makes me feel lonely. For Chris, the homesickness will flood in, because he is once again alone there, without his family, with whom he is very close. I know he would rather stay here, but he can’t. And with job placement looming ahead, we know that the distance will grow. I want Chris to go where they place him, because it is a once in a lifetime experience. He won’t have to stay there permanently. I know that his ultimate dream lies in a different place, closer to home, if not right here in Casper. But, dreams can change. He may like the place where his job placement takes him. He may choose to stay there, or go somewhere else. And if he does, we will be ok here. We will miss him terribly, and we will notice that empty chair where he should be, but we will know that he is off following his dream…like other family members before him…and we will adjust.
Change is a part of life, whether we like it or not. Our children, once grown, are not children anymore. They are adults with the right to make their own choices. We can’t live their lives for them. We are their past in a way, even though we will always be there for them, and they can always call our home their home. We are home base, but the world is out there. It is theirs to see and explore. So as each one leaves, all I can think is…and off you go. Remember where you came from, walk with God, don’t forget the way home, and while we miss you, we’ll be alright…right here, holding down the fort.
It’s every school aged child’s dream…enough snow to have the school district call a Snow Day. The only bad thing is that they are always few and far between. Nevertheless, I can remember a few of those snow days from my childhood. They made for good rivals for the storm we had overnight, in the amount of snow received. I remember one storm in particular from those days, when we were told that the snow was very heavy, and people needed to shovel it off of their roof to protect the roof from collapse. Well, like most kids on a snow day, we didn’t need a second invitation to go outside and play. It’s funny how that works. The plan was to go out an shovel off the roof, but while that did happen, there was a lot of playing in the snow too. Now mind you that the school district had decided that it was too cold, too snowy, and definitely the snow was too deep to have the kids walk the relatively short distance…five blocks in our case..to school, but we could spend half the day outside playing in the snow. I could see the problem if it had been blizzard conditions, but it wasn’t. Nevertheless, on a snow day, playing outside all day was far better than trudging off to school.
Deep snow is always extra fun, because it makes building a fort much easier, and believe me, that snow and this snow today…are deep. the snow is heavy and easily formed into walls or snowballs. Before long the fight was on. I’m sure that our parents loved hearing the screams of laughter as their daughters played happily out in the back yard. You see, sometimes, snow days are for adults too. Today for instance, my car could not begin to drive down the alley from my garage, and we will have to go our and dig snow later to get it out so it can be parked in from of the house…if I am to make it to work tomorrow. When my husband, Bob left for work this morning, his truck was dragging on the deep snow, and my car sits much lower than his truck. The snow day of yesteryear that comes to mind was the one where my dad got to stay home too. In fact, he city was even asking people to offer to transport people on snowmobiles in the event of an emergency.
That didn’t affect us in any way though, because we didn’t have snowmobiles, nor did we have need of one. We were busy outside trying to move the snow from one spot to another, so that we could move from point “a” to point “b” with a little bit of ease. And the only reason we were doing that was because we wanted to see just how deep the snow really was. We weren’t going anywhere…we had nowhere to go…because it was a snow day, and everyone knows that everything of any importance to a kid is closed on a snow day…especially the school.
My niece, Andrea Beach has always looked so much like her mom, my sister, Caryl Reed. It was a definite mini me situation. It always strikes me as odd how a set of parents can manage to so closely reproduce themselves in their children. My own daughter, Amy looks a lot like me, but not to the extent that Andrea looks like Caryl. As she has grown, of course, Andrea has taken on more of her own characteristics, and probably looks the least like Caryl that she has at any time in her life. And I guess that is simply the way it goes. We grow up to become our own person, and that applies to our looks as well. I think that even our life experiences can affect our looks, and I don’t mean with gray hair or wrinkles, although I suppose that is possible too. Nevertheless, things like being outdoors a lot, or hairstyle can make us look different than the parent we once look so much like.
Andrea has always loved to cook, and thought about going to culinary school at one point, but that changed when she became the mom of her son, Topher. Now, that is not a bad thing either, because Topher is a great kid, and truly the most important person in Andrea’s life. As our life changes, our priorities change, and for Andrea, there is no greater priority than Topher. They love to goof off together, and especially like taking selfies of all their antics. Of course, you can’t spend your whole life taking selfies, so they also take the time to do homework and play a good game of Tic-Tac-Toe once in a while.
Having Topher has not decreased Andrea’s love of cooking, however. She may not have gone to culinary school, but her skills have not gone unnoticed at her current job at Diamond Lil’s, which is the restaurant at the Day’s Inn in Rawlins, where Andrea lives and works. She has been there just over a year now, and became the lead cook six months ago. Her cooking is famous in the Rawlins area, and people all over town rave about it. Sometimes, you can’t follow your dream in the way you originally planned to do so, but if you don’t give up, you will find that where there is a will, there is a way. I am often amazed that while our plans didn’t materialize in exactly the same way that we had planned, they can still materialize for us if we keep on keeping on. Today is Andrea’s birthday. I think I need to come to Rawlins to try the food at Diamond Lil’s and Andrea, their fabulous lead cook. Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Yesterday’s rare tornado on Casper Mountain while not scary, because I didn’t know about it until it was over, did take me back a in time a bit, however. A number of years ago, my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim Wolfe were at my mom’s house visiting, we were under a tornado watch. No one was worried about it because it was only a watch, and we didn’t expect anything to come of it. I think we were under the mistaken assumption that we would never have a tornado here…at least I think I was. I’m sure the adults knew that a tornado could happen anywhere, but I was a kid, and I still wanted that cushion of protection. It’s a lot more comfortable to a child to think that these bad things can never come here, and you don’t want your dream world shattered. All too soon you reach an age where you know that storms like these are possible anywhere, and you become watchful, just like my Aunt Ruth was.
As we were visiting, no one was really paying attention to the weather. Suddenly, my Aunt Ruth jumped up and ran to the back door. She looked out the window and said, “There is a tornado somewhere!!” I remember thinking, “No way!! We don’t get those here!!” She insisted that there had been one, but with no way to confirm it right then, they went back to their conversation. I, on the other hand felt a little apprehensive for the rest of the evening. I kept thinking, “Tornados don’t happen here, do they…or do they? Is it save to be here? Should we be going somewhere to hide r something?” Still the adults didn’t seem too concerned, so I went back to what I was doing too, but the memory of that moment has really never left me. I can still vividly see my Aunt Ruth standing at the back door, looking at the sky for clues as to the location of the tornado. I can still hear her voice, clearly saying that there was a tornado somewhere. She was so sure of it
Later that night, as we were watching the news, the weather man said that there had been a tornado on the mountain. I was a little shaken up by that report. The memory of that moment has lived in my memory files for all those years. I don’t know exactly how she knew it that day, but she did. I think I was a little bit in awe of her knowledge of storm systems. I suppose that was because she had been right about it. Now, of course we have things like radar, and rotation patterns to tell us ahead of time that something is coming, but I am here to tell you that those systems don’t always do exactly what they are supposed to do. Yesterday’s tornado on Casper Mountain did not set of any of the warning systems. I wondered how that could be, until I found out that the tornado was called a Land Spout Tornado, and apparently those don’t show a rotation pattern that can be picked up by radar. So even with all the warning systems we have, no system is fool proof, and there can be the rogue storm the goes against everything known to man concerning storms. Still, they happen. I suppose that then the only warning system is a person to can feel the weather, like Aunt Ruth.
Every year, in the tradition my grandparents started, the Byer family gathers to celebrate the Christmas season together, and to keep my grandparents’ dream alive. It was their desire that their children wouldn’t drift apart after they were gone. The family has done their very best to honor their wish, and the Byer Family Christmas Party is a big part of honoring that wish. Over the years, we have all worked together or split the hosting into families, but the party has always been held. Santa Clause has shown up to talk to the kids, bags of treats for the little ones were always given out, and the food…the best in the world. But, the most important part of these wonderful gatherings is the family. Re-connecting with all of them and hearing all about what is going on in their lives…that’s what it’s all about…that’s the dream that our grandparents had for us. The connection to family.
This year I had a chance to hear about how well Autumn Beadle is doing in school, and her plans to graduate at semester in her senior year, and then it’s on to Nursing School for her. I got to see how much she cares for her grandma, my Aunt Virginia. I got to touch base with Aunt Dixie, Uncle Jim, and their family. We used to see them at the mall a lot, but in recent years that hasn’t worked out so well. I ran into Michael and Deena McDaniels on Black Friday, and we laughed about our shopping trials tonight. I had seen Missy and Mindy Grosvenor at the movies on Thursday, and we had a chance tonight to discuss how much we liked “A Christmas Candle” tonight, as well as how much they like taking care of their niece, Piper and sometimes her brother and sister, Parker and Payton. Cousins, Clyde and Susie Young spend much of their winter months in Arizona these days, but they were able to get home for the holidays and the party.
Anthony McDaniels showed up in a suit, adding a special touch of class to our party, while Shai Royce and Christina Masterson dressed up as twins, even though they are not. Aunt Bonnie’s little grandson, Noah spent the latter part of the evening trying to give her a bunny tail. Aunt Sandy has been a mainstay for information for some of the great stories I have been able to relay about the Byer Family, and has also spent several afternoons with my mom this year at the Senior Center, which my mom has cherished and fully enjoyed. The party has brought Elmer Johnson back into our lives after a time of not being able to be there, and since he and I have connected on Facebook too, we have grown to be even better friends than we were as kids. Aunt Jeanette is doing well, and always brings a smile to my face with her awesome laugh. Corrie and Kevin Petersen and their boys Christopher and Josh have been busily planning for Chris to start college in Sheridan next year and Josh to get his driver’s license. Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George were not able to join us this year, but their granddaughter, Rachelle French took lots of pictures for them so they would not feel left out.
This year’s highlight, however, had to be the idea someone had to open up bags of cotton balls for the little kids to play with. It turned into a cotton ball/snow ball fight, and everyone had a wonderful time. Xander, Zack, Isaac, and Aleesia Spethman; Kya and Noah Hamilton; Logan and Lea Orr; Mateo Steiner and Dera Elvidge; Noah Williams; Parker, Payton, and Piper Dobson; Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna Masterson all had a wonderful time picking up, loading up on, and throwing those cotton balls. I don’t know who thought of it, but it was a great idea.
One year ago today…on her birthday, my niece, Ashley found herself in labor with her first child. While her daughter, Reagan would not arrive until the next day, it would still be a day that would herald a change in her life. That birthday…her 22nd…would be the last day before she became a mother. The last day before her precious little girl would come in and change everything. It is hard to imagine what it is going to be like to be someone’s mother…until it happens to you. We all think we have an idea, but we don’t…not until that little teeny life comes and wraps it’s tiny little fingers around your heart, and you find yourself totally smitten. You can’t imagine the love you feel until you feel it for yourself.
For some time, even before she and my nephew, Eric got engaged, Ashley wanted nothing more than to be his wife, and later, the mother of his children. They became pregnant just 6 months after their marriage, and the excitement of their growing family filled all of us with joy. It had been a number of years since we had a new baby in the family, and it would be Jennifer’s first grandchild. It was an exciting time. I had hoped that Ashley would have the baby on her birthday, and I thought maybe I had picked it. Reagan wasn’t quite ready…but she was just a dream away. So, Ashley’s birthday remained her own, and the birth of her daughter would have to wait for the next day. For one more day, Ashley would be a young wife, but not yet a mother.
Much has changed over this past year. Reagan is almost one…but that is tomorrow’s story. Ashley has been a wonderful mom, and has had a wonderful first year of motherhood. She and Eric and her parents have been remodeling the house that they bought to start their little family in. They are working hard to finish it, while enjoying their time with Reagan and with the horses her parents keep on their land next door. The year has been a busy one, and also one filled with dreams and their becoming reality. Ashley calls it building the dream, and so it is, but this day belongs to her. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!