As a young man, my grand-nephew, James Renville wanted nothing more than to leave Wyoming and travel abroad. He thought he might want to live abroad too, or at least somewhere bigger than Wyoming. Covid-19 changed that in a big way, and lately, Wyoming isn’t looking so bad to him. In fact, he has developed an appreciation for his hometown and home state. With all the craziness and chaos going on everywhere else, James said that he realized how blessed he is to live in Wyoming where Covid didn’t touch him or leave him unemployed. In fact, the last year has been a year of change, soul searching, revelation, and really just finding out who James is and what he wants out of life. Everyone needs to have a time like that, and this year was just that for James…a year of growth and personal development. James also spent a lot of time with his dad, Jim Renville. They took the time to become best friends.
James isn’t a typical man in his twenties. He is more reserved, and a lot less the “wild and crazy” type of person that many people his age are. It’s not that James just wants to sit around doing nothing, and there is a bit of the “wild and crazy” in him too. That part of James comes out in his love of aggressive inline skating as he calls it. I call it scary!! Anyway, James is really good at rollerblading…is that the same as inline skating? I think so. Yes, I’m told it is. He also enjoys running/jogging and playing pool. This last year has inspired James to some new beginnings too. James has decided to take up skiing and hiking. I wouldn’t ski, but hiking is my cup of tea, for sure.
James has still done some traveling this past year, because there is a certain girl who has captured his heart, and the hearts of the whole family…Manuela Ortiz, who has been working in New Jersey. James and Manuela have been dating about two years, and while visiting her in New Jersey, James took her to Philadelphia where he popped the question, and she said “Yes,” so in October, they got engaged.
James’ mom, who is my niece, Toni Chase tells me that Manuela is a gift from God, and the icing on the cake of the last year. She is the a big part of the new beginning, but before James could see the gift that Manuela is, he has to seek his own happiness. You can only share your happiness when you are truly happy. This past year many people felt depressed, but James wouldn’t let that get to him. He shunned the depression that many people fought. As James made his journey to happiness, he discovered that while he was truly happy now, he didn’t want to continue the journey without Manuela by his side. They really do compliment each other and are very supportive of one another. James knew that Manuela was the one he wanted to walk the road ahead with him. James was always a quiet man, but really he is selective about who he lets into his life, and that is a good thing. Once he knows a person, he isn’t quiet at all, but has good things to say, and much to contribute. Like many people, me included, James is not outgoing, but when he spots his people he knows them and he’s very down to earth. He is a great blessing to all who have the privilege of calling him their friend. Today is James’ birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Long before she became my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg was friends with her future nieces, Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith. They didn’t know, when their friendship began, that one day, they would be related. As they all grew up, and began to marry, it was Machelle who instigated the union between Rachel and my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, that made Rachel my sister-in-law and “aunt” to Machelle and Susan, as well as all Ron’s other nieces and nephews.
Of course, Machelle could only be the instigator, Rachel and to be the one to win Ron’s heart, if she want to continue the relationship. Well, that was a slam-dunk. According to Machelle, Rachel is a “mother hen.” She is always trying to make sure that her friends and family have what they need. It really breaks her heart when she is unable to help people. It is at those times that she knows that she must put them in God’s hands, which as we know, is not an easy task. Her kind heart and loving ways drew Ron to her, and if that wasn’t enough, Rachel is a great cook. When Machelle was going to introduce Rachel to Ron, Rachel asked her what she should cook. For Machelle, it was another slam-dunk, Rachel’s lasagna!! She wanted to impress Ron, and feed him something besides the “frozen burrito” type meals he had been eating. Machelle calls Rachel’s lasagna, “the best in the west,” and Ron agreed. Rachel made a great first impression. Rachel loves to cook and is never bothered by extra people at dinnertime. She always has ways to make sure there is enough.
Probably the most interesting thing about the relationship between Machelle, Susan, and Rachel is the fact that, while none of them knew of it, until later, all three couples got engaged the same day…not the same year, of course, but the same day…February 13th. That has been a lot of fun for them. They call it Engagement Day, and they make a big deal out of it, texting each other to wish each other “Happy Engagement Day!!” The tradition makes it that much more special for all of them. And I think it is very cool too. It is something you just don’t see every day. Today is Rachel’s birthday. Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
College graduation means the end of all the years of schooling, and the beginning of the rest of your life. Now it’s time to set out set out and find that perfect job to get your career moving in the right direction. That’s supposed to be the next step right? Right, but what about when there is something else that steps in and demands all the attention first. My niece, Lindsay graduated from South Dakota State University on Saturday, with a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. There are so many things she can do at this point. She once told me about all the possibilities, which were widely varied. She will have the ability to go into a wide range of careers…just from one degree. I am very proud of Lindsay’s accomplishments.
Lindsay’s graduation day was a wonderful event that took a tiny, unexpected turn. In front of her family, all of whom were very pleased, Lindsay’s boyfriend, Shannon asked for her hand in marriage. It is a rare event, when the future bride’s family gets to witness the proposal, but this was to be one of those special proposals. I can imagine how my future nephew’s heart was pounding, because even though they have been dating for a long time now, this is a big step, and he wanted it to be perfect. He wanted to ask Lindsay in exactly the right way…the perfect proposal. When Lindsay said yes…Shannon’s heart was really pounding, but then, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Lindsay’s college graduation party was transformed from a graduation party to a very special graduation/engagement party. The celebration that followed was made extra special because while graduation is the end of schooling and the beginning of life; engagements are always the beginning of something. It is the beginning of a new life…one as a couple instead of an individual. Their love is now moving on to the next level…the happily ever after level. The journey ahead is yet to be planned. Like the wedding day, it is theirs to build into the perfect life for them. Congratulations of your engagement,Lindsay and Shannon!! May God richly bless your life together. We love you very much!!