When we pass from this life to Heaven, we all hope that we, in some small way, have made a difference…even a small one. For many of us, that is really a pipe dream. We live our lives, maybe making a difference in the lives of our children and family, but we live our lives in relative anonymity where the rest of the world is concerned. Even most of the pastors I have known, only influenced their church members, and really no one else. In the case of my pastor, Dan Carlin, that is simply not the case; and his passing on December 9, 2020, has affected people all over the world. Pastor Dan was given a vision to take our service to television, and it has been on KTWO television on Sunday mornings at 9:30 all over Wyoming since that time, over a decade now. It is also livestreamed on Facebook. Many people have grown and been blessed because of his vision.
Pastor Dan has been my pastor since 1983. During those years, my faith and the faith of my entire family truly exploded. The growth was truly astounding. Before moving from the church we had been attending, we knew that we were saved, but that was as far as we were taught that God took things. Beyond that, we had been taught that we were basically on our own, and the things that happened to us and our family members were just God’s way of “teaching us something.” We knew that couldn’t be all there was, because we knew that the love of God, the mercy of God, and the grace of God go much further than that. Yes, we heard other evangelists over the years, but the person who was the main source of our teaching about the true nature of God was Pastor Dad and his wife, Pastor Fran…and we are forever grateful for their tutelage. Pastor Dan has truly been my spiritual Dad and Pastor Fran, my spiritual Mom. There can be no greater blessing. That is what makes saying goodbye to him so very hard, but today we had to do just that.
For every person, there is a time to die, and for someone who is saved, that is a time of rejoicing. Pastor Dan was excited to go. Sure, he hated to leave his family and his church family, and he made sure that he told each of us “goodbye” before he left us. His family told him that the decision was his, and that if he went home to Heaven they would be happy for him, even though they would be sad for themselves. Heaven is a far better place…one without sickness, sadness, pain, or evil in any form. Who could ask for anything more than that. It is a place where you can meet Jesus…our Lord and Saviour. It is a place where you can finally see the face of God. It is a place of joy unspeakable, where everyone lives in perfect harmony. There is perfect peace in God’s perfect Heavenly home. We love and miss you very much, Pastor Dan.
The other day, I saw on her Facebook, where my grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock’s mom, Chelsea Hadlock had registered him for middle school for the fall semester. Chelsea mentioned that she suddenly felt old, and I found myself shocked that Ethan could be so grown up…already!! My sister and Ethan’s grandmother, Allyn Hadlock told me, “It seems like just yesterday that he was 2 and I was chasing him around our house. He loved the chasing game and I would catch him and give him little love pat spankins.” None of us can believe that he is almost in middle school now. The time has flown by so fast. While Ethan is growing up fast, he is not outgrowing everything he likes to do. He still loves games, but now it’s board games, “I Spy” games, video games, and sports. Typical of kids his age.
Ethan loves to get together with the whole family. He is a very social kid, and the family had a great time at Christmas and New Year’s. They hung out and enjoying each other’s company. They played bingo, letting Ethan and his sister, Aurora Hadlock take turns being the bingo callers. They loved rolling the cage around and getting the numbers out. Ethan is very kind and empathetic, and he truly cares about people. He wants to make sure that family and friends around him are comfortable and feel loved. He really is the sweetest boy, and it is something our whole family knows. Ethan’s dad, Ryan Hadlock is a playful teaser from way back, and Ethan has proven to be a quick study in that art. He has already started giving all of the family a hard time whenever he gets a chance.
Ethan and his cousin, Adelaide Sawdon have formed a special bond and can often be found “securing the perimeter” anytime they are together. Apparently, they both have an interest in spy games. They take their toys guns (whether an actual toy gun or a stick they have fashioned into one) and walk around the area we are in to ensure no spies, enemies, or unwanted guests can get in. He takes care to be patient and kind when explaining the rules of the game to his younger cousins, so they have a chance to play with their older and “adored” Ethan. He is so fun loving and the best nephew in our family…never mind that he is the only nephew!! His sweetness would still make his the best one.
With each birthday, the birthday boy or girl gets to choose where the family goes for dinner, and Ethan didn’t hesitate to choose Buffalo Wild Wings for his dinner tonight, so the family will all gather there to eat wings and celebrate their little boy, who isn’t so little anymore. Ethan is now almost 5 feet tall. It looks like Ethan will take after his dad and grandpa, Chris Hadlock, both of whom are very tall. Ethan has so much going for him. He is such a good kid…both kind and tender hearted. He is the kind of kid you like to have around. Today is Ethan’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
A few years back, I connected with a member of my Schumacher cousins, Tracey Schumacher Inglimo, in what would become a quest to get to know all of my Schumacher cousins, and like my Byer cousins, there were lots of them. The journey has been a wonderful trip, as my sisters and I have cultivated friendships with these precious cousins, some of whom we met on our 2014 trip back to our roots in Superior, Wisconsin. Now, four years later, my sister, Cheryl Masterson; her daughter, Liz Masterson; and I have returned to Superior, Wisconsin for a family reunion. We have been so excited for this reunion to happen, and in fact, have looked forward to reuniting with all of our cousins since we first met or found each other on Ancestry and Facebook.
The reunion took place today at Pattison Park, and it definitely lived up to every hope we had for it. These precious cousins were friendly, hospitable, and informative, while also being curious about us too. We all shared tons of stories about our families, and of course, pictures of our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. We hugged on the little ones, most of whom looked at us with a sense of wonder as to who we were, and maybe even wondering if we should be hugging them at all…at least until their parents said it was ok. We moved from group to group, and person to person trying to get to know everyone, all the while knowing that there just wasn’t enough time. We found out who the jokesters were too, because what family would be complete without those wonderful people who keep us laughing. We built bonds that will last a lifetime, and parted ways with expressions of sadness that the time had passed far to quickly. We tried to see how soon we could feasibly do this again, knowing that for most of us Facebook would have to suffice until the next reunion.
The time went by far too quickly indeed, and while we wish we could have had far more time to sit and talk, we all knew in our hearts that we had been given a precious gift…a gift of family, friendship, love, and a sense of belonging, because after all, that is what family reunions are all about. Families grow quickly, and the numbers can quickly grow to a point of losing sight of the ones who started the family in the beginning, but at reunions, those who have left us are remembered and discussed, because everyone is trying to put into context, just exactly where they fit in with all these people. We talked of those who weren’t with us with love and sadness, because they would have really loved that their families have made the effort to keep the closeness going. To all those who made this reunion so very special, we love you and thank you for making our family reunion amazing.
In my niece, Elizabeth “Liz” Masterson’s 14 year teaching career she has molded the minds of about 1680 students. I’m sure that there were some students she couldn’t change much, but many others have been forever changed for the better because of Liz’s teaching abilities. Of course, there are always those special students…who really pull out the best Liz has to give. Those students have stayed friends with Liz since they were students. She has been invited to their weddings, baby showers, and they have remained friends on Facebook, because Liz is the kind of teacher they never want to forget.
Many of her students call Liz, Mast or Miss Mast. It isn’t a derogatory name, but rather a show of respect. It is, of course, the first part of her last name, but the respect is in the way the students say the name. Liz likes the name so much that she even named her photography sideline business, Miss Mast Photography. I think it is a term that shows her how much they like her as a teacher, and that shows in the lifelong friendships she has made with her students.
Liz is an amazing teacher, and she is interested in so many things. Her students see how passionate she is about teaching, an how knowledgeable she is on the subjects she teaches. I have had the opportunity to listen to Liz as she talked about the yearly Holocaust section she does, and as she spoke, I found myself shocked at how much she knew. I always thought of myself as pretty knowledgeable about the Holocaust, but I am finding out that she could easily teach me quite a bit. I think that is what you get when you combine an inquisitive mind with a teacher. Liz is a great teacher, and her students will tell you that she definitely makes learning fun. I wish I could have had Liz be my teacher, but that would have been impossible, unless she decides to leave the high school arena, and teach college, and I took a class.
Liz is also mom to her four little Fur Babies…dogs, Luka, Scout and Buffy, and her cat, Piper…AKA Kitty. Liz is as good a mommy as she is a teacher. If her babies are spoiled, it is with love. They have to be at the house alone during the day, while Liz is working, so at night she really hates to leave them alone. If she has to be at an event, she usually takes the dogs to her mom, my sister Cheryl Masterson’s house, so she can babysit them. And they totally love that she does that. I think it makes them feel very special. Kitty stays home, because she likes the peace and quiet for a while. Yes, I guess they are just a little bit spoiled, but she likes to think she is molding their minds too. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
No parent is really ready for their child to start dating. You expect that there will be a long line of possible spouses that come through the doors of your home. You somehow never expect the first person they date, to become a fixture in your life, and most of the time you would be right, but when our daughter, Corrie Petersen met her now husband, Kevin Petersen, it was love at first sight. She never had any doubt that this was a forever kind of love, but Kevin became so much more to our family. Looking back, I still find myself just amazed at how Kevin seemed to instantly “fit” into our family. In fact, he fit so well, that he became like a son to Bob and me too, and since it has been almost 25 years now, I guess my 15 year old daughter knew love when she found it.
Kevin told me once that my younger daughter, Amy Royce was the little sister he never had. Kevin showed me just how much he loved both of my girls, when he would come to pick them up for school almost everyday until Corrie got her license…she was after all, 15 years old when they started dating, so she couldn’t drive. He never made Amy ride the bus. She was included too, because she was his little sister. I still see that with Kevin, in the way he teases Amy, or comments on her Facebook page, or just when they are talking. Kevin has been her brother longer that she ever lived without him in her life. That really makes him more her brother, than her brother-in-law. I couldn’t have asked for a better “brother” for Amy either. They are very close, and that is a blessing for both of them. They each became the sibling the other was missing, not because they didn’t have a sibling of their own, because they did, but Kevin didn’t have a sister, and Amy didn’t have a brother.
Kevin has had some health struggles over the past few years, and that has made it difficult for him to do the projects that he loves, whether it be cars or around the house. Still, he doesn’t give up. He may have to rest more often than he used to, but he just takes it one step at a time, and soon the project is done. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Kevin and Corrie have two sons, Chris and Josh, who can come to help their dad with some of the things he needs help with. It not only gets the project done, but allows Kevin, and Corrie too, to see their very busy boys, who now have a place of their own. Kevin is such a family man, it really blesses him when the boys are willing to come and help him, even if he wishes he didn’t need help. Sometimes though, we all have to accept a little help from those around us, whether we like it or not. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Matthew Masterson is the only boy in a family of 4 children. I suppose that could make Matthew a terror…teasing his sisters, tormenting them with his antics, or just being in the room when the girls don’t want him there. Sometimes, those descriptions are actually true, but not for the most part. That’s because Matthew has more protective instincts that he does torment instincts. I think that a boy, who is the only boy in a family is often very protective of his sister or sisters. Most boys realize at an early age, that their job is to protect the women in their lives. That instinct is preparing them for their future roll as a husband and father. While Matthew is still a number of years away from being a family man, he is quite protective of his sisters, and that makes me very proud of him.
Now that Matthew is growing up, he has been allowed to have a Facebook page, because lets face it, social media is a way of life now. Each age group has different reasons for using Facebook, but the main reason for everyone, is to connect with friends and family. Of course, with kids, it has to be monitored by their parents, to prevent exploitation, and Matthew’s parents are very careful to do that. Matthew is learning the Facebook ropes…finding things that inspire him. His mom, Dustie Masterson has also posted things that she hopes will help her son to grow into the kind of man she wants him to be some day. Dustie and my nephew, Rob Masterson, love encouraging their kids to be the best they can be, and to know that if they put their mind to it, they can do anything they dream of doing. I like the inspiring things they share with their kids on Facebook, as well as in their daily home lives. Matthew is growing into a kind, loving young man, who thinks of others before himself.
Matthew loves hanging out with friends, his cousins, Zack, and Isaac Spethman, and sometimes their older brother, Xander Spethman, or their little sister, Aleesia Spethman. He also loves hanging out with his sisters, Raelynn and Anna Masterson, although his favorite people to hang out with are the Spethman boys, because their interests are much the same. Matthew is a curious boy, and he also loves to talk to the adults in the family. He wants to know about things that are going on in the world, and he has an opinion about things too. He has listened to the news, to his parents talk about things, and to his teachers too. By listening, he has an idea about how he thinks things should be. And he also has questions about those same current events. I think that as he listens and asks questions, he will grow into a wise young man. Today is Matthew’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I think of Independence Day, I often think about how the fireworks remind me of the many battles that went on in order to win our freedom. Then, I began to wonder if there was ever a time when the 13 colonies almost didn’t become the United States. Britain was, after all, the world’s greatest superpower at the time. British soldiers fought on 5 continents and they had an amazing navy. They massacred rebels and civilians in Jamaica and India around the same time and retained those colonies. So, why not the 13 colonies of North America? There are many explanations, but the one I found most interesting seems, almost to tie to the way things are in America right now…and really all along.
The reality is that Britain won many times on the battlefield, but…lost in the taverns. The taverns, you say. How could that be? Well, taverns were everywhere. They were the social network of colonial life, much like the town hall meetings, and even more, like Facebook or Twitter today. Some areas of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania had taverns every few miles. People could get their mail there, hire a worker, talk to friends, sell crops, buy land, and eat a good meal. It was in these places that opinions were formed. People discussed the problems they had with British rule, and talked about how to get rid of the yoke of the Mother country.
Some say that Britain might have had a chance if they had been represented in the taverns too, but I don’t think so. The time had come for Americans to think for themselves, and to run their own lives and their own country. First came the Stamp Act and the Americans protested. More oppression followed, as did the protests. The resistance grew and grew, until war broke out. No matter what it took, the colonies were determined not to lose. The tavern meetings had accomplished what they needed to. No matter how many times it looked like Britain might win, they would not, because of…well, social networking. Social networking, when people get together to discuss right from wrong, and to discuss solutions. Sometimes the solutions are simple, and other times they create enough of a stir to bring about a revolution. No matter what the reason, the colonies were not about to lose, and because of that, we are a free nation and it was on this day, July 4, 1776 that our independence was made a reality, and we became the land of the free and the home of the brave. Happy Independence Day America!!
In this day of the internet, cell phones, television, and radio, a new form of patriotism has emerged. The rights our American soldiers fought for are in peril. In a year in which many Americans were offended by literally everything, and the internet, specifically Facebook, has become one of the greatest sounding boards there is, everyone has stepped up to the plate to state their views and yes, even to hear the views of others. Of course, hearing the views of other people, is not always something that is well received. Sometimes, people lose sight of the fact that since we each own our own Facebook page, we also have the right to say what we want to say. Others may not agree, but that doesn’t matter, because this is our page…our right to free speech.
Of course, people with differing views have the right to challenge our views…to state their own case, as it were, but they don’t have the right to challenge our right to speak our own opinion on our own page. If we are offended by the views of another person, we need to move past the post. Never is this more evident than when the opinions of one person in a family offends another, and they decided to take things to the next level…unfriending. I won’t do that, because while I will state my opinion, and I will respect the rights of my friends to post what they choose, and to debate my opinion, the family connection is far too important to me to argue in such a way.
In history, patriots had to go to the place they were going to protest. And of course, by the time they could get there, it was probably too late to protest. I suppose maybe our politicians were more honest back then, or maybe we just didn’t know all that was going on. It has been said that some presidents would never have been elected if we could have seen them. That is so true, and sometimes I think maybe that should be how it is today. If race, gender, and maybe even party affiliation weren’t able to be seen, who would we elect? That might be something to think about. Maybe we need to stop giving a pass because of race or gender, and make the politicians do what’s right.
My sister, Cheryl Masterson has collected post cards for a long time. For some people, I suppose that might see an odd thing to collect, but when you think about it, they are easy to store and to look back on, and they instantly give you a picture of the place you are visiting, and usually it is a better picture that you could take yourself. Of course, these days, with digital cameras, we can take pretty good pictures, but it isn’t easy to print and mail them. Then again, we have to ability to upload them to Facebook, Twitter, and email, so most of us probably wouldn’t mail them anyway. Nevertheless, just about every gift shop you come across has post cards, and they seem to sell pretty quickly.
Post cards first made their appearance in Austria on this day, October 1, 1869. They were the world’s first postcards, and I’m sure that no one would have ever guessed what an impact they would have on the world. They weren’t something to improve national security, or improve the quality of life, or really to do anything special, other than to allow the purchaser to send a quick note to their family back home to show them what they were doing on their vacation. Nevertheless, they were new and fun.
As I look through old family pictures from my family and from Bob’s, I have come across a number of postcards that were sent or received, that the family found interesting enough to save for all these years. I always wondered why they would want to save those post cards and even put them in photo albums, but when you consider that they were still relatively new at the time, I guess it makes sense.
I feel very blessed to have not only the post cards now, but the writing that was on the ones that were sent to someone. It gives you not only a feel for the times, but also for what they were doing at the time. Our families clear back to the 1800s lived in a time when people were moving around a lot, both to move and to vacation…not unlike today, I guess. We are a people who loves to see the things our world has to offer, and then we like to have a little souvenier of our time spent there. I know that when Bob and I traveled to Seattle, Washington, I came back with tons of pictures, and several souveniers. It is just the way we do things.
I think that whoever came up with idea to start taking some of the great pictures people took and putting them on a card that other people could enjoy and send to family, really had a great idea. And it is my guess that they made a lot of money for their great idea. For my sister Cheryl, they have been a great source of joy. She can have all the great pictures, even if she is not able to get to the exact same place to take them. For me, I guess, I would rather go get the pictures myself, but not everybody can do that, so post cards are a great souvenier to have.
Many people today believe that we, as a people, spend far too much time online, on the phone, and otherwise technologically engaged. They believe that the world would be better off without all the technology. I think they have not given enough thought to their idea. We can say. “Let’s get rid of the internet”, but then we would lose the ability to run most businesses. We can say, “Let’s get rid of the telephone”, but again most businesses rely on the phone. Yes, things like television, the internet, radio, and even cell phones are a source of entertainment, but that is not all they are. They keep us informed with important news and weather warnings. They keep us in touch with loved ones, they allow us to place orders for supplies to be brought to our stores, they allow us to provide care for our loved ones who are ill, and to be available to them and to nursing staff at the drop of a hat. So, let’s really explore what it might be like if all technology was gone.
On September 1, 1859, amateur astronomer Richard Carrington went up into his private observatory, which was attached to his country estate outside London. After cranking open the dome’s shutter to reveal the clear blue sky, he pointed his brass telescope toward the sun and began to sketch a cluster of enormous dark spots that freckled its surface. Remember that he couldn’t look online for pictures of what he was seeing, nor could he look online for an explanation of it. Nevertheless, he would soon know more about what he saw than he would ever have wanted to know. Suddenly, Carrington spotted what he described as “two patches of intensely bright and white light” erupting from the sunspots. Five minutes later the fireballs vanished, but within hours their impact would be felt across the globe.
There was not a lot of technology in existence when the largest solar storm on record, dubbed The Carrington Event occurred, but by that evening the ensuing anomaly would be know worldwide. It was not technology that would bring the world to a standstill…but rather the lack of technology. At that time, the greatest form of technology the world had was the telegraph. Other than letters, it was the world’s communication. And now it was gone. Sparks flew from the machines, and caught paper on fire that happened to be nearby. All over the planet, colorful auroras illuminated the nighttime skies, glowing so brightly that birds began to chirp and laborers started their daily chores, believing the sun had begun rising. Some thought the end of the world was upon them. In reality, it was a very large solar storm, and it could happen again. In fact, the Earth has had several close calls in 2012, 2013, and 2014. If one of these solar storms had made a direct hit on the Earth, electrical transformers would have burst into flames, power grids would have gone down and much of our technology would have been fried. Life as we know it would cease to exist…and we would be in that state for quite some time. Earth would be instantly plunged into the dark ages. These kinds of solar storms have hit the Earth many times before, and experts tell us that it will happen again someday.
I realize that many people disagree with my views on technology, and by the way I believe it is vital, including Facebook. Nevertheless, it really is impossible to have some technology without having the social media. People are just naturally inventive. It you invent one thing, someone will invent another. So the next time you decide that we should just get rid of technology, think about what it has done for the medical world, the information highway, and national security. And if that doesn’t make you change your mind, imagine not being able to fill up your car, and the fact that it wouldn’t run if you did. Imagine having no electricity, and no way to get the fuel to run a generator. Yes, there are people who are preparing for just such an event, but there really is no way to prepare for all that would be needed if every system known to man was fried. I believe that instead of doing away with technology, we each need to decide how much time we want to spend on things like Facebook, cell phone games, and television, and stick to our decisions. That part really is up to you.