father

My grand-nephew, Nick Olsen, who joined our family, when he married my grand-niece, Siara Harman, is truly right where he should be. I think he was destined to be a husband and father, and now, with the recent birth of his sweet Alec Todd Olsen…Nick and Siara are parents. Nick is a wonderful daddy to little Alec, and can often be seen holding him, and the picture is beautiful. Alec loves his daddy so much, even at this early stage in his life. Both Alec and Siara feel very blessed to have Nick in their lives, and he feels blessed to have them in his.

Nick is a quiet man. That’s ok, because his face shows his feelings very well. When Nick looks at Siara, you can see how much he loves his beautiful bride. And when Nick looks at Alec, you can see the great love he has for him and the joy he feels from being a daddy. Not every man has such an expressive face, but Nick certainly does. Or maybe, a lot of men mask their faces, so you can’t see how they feel. I think that it’s very sweet that Nick expresses his feelings like that. I think Siara likes it too.

Nick and Siara make such a cute couple. He is very tall, and she is very short. I think they both knew from the day they met, that they would be together for the rest of their lives. Nick is the type of man who will always be there for his family. He will protect them, provide for them, and love them for all time. It is written all over his face. Siara and Alec are very blessed to have him.

Nick is a Seattle Seahawks fan, while Siara is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Since they are both very into football, I suppose that could get to be a battle of the rivals, although I don’t think these two teams are arch rivals. It makes me wonder if little Alec will follow his daddy’s team or his mommy’s team. I suppose he will root for both for a while, because it is my guess that he will love to watch the games as much as his parents do. For Nick, I’m sure this will become another father/son bonding moment, and that is very cool. Nick’s future is bright indeed. Today is Nick’s birthday. Happy birthday Nick!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

There are two major ways that God has “gifted” His children. Yes, God gives us great and wonderful gifts all the time, but the greatest gift He could give us was His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth as a baby, and went through all the same things in life that we did, but did it all without sinning. Most of us can’t imagine going through 10 minutes without having a wrong thought, action, or attitude. We can be sharp tongued, selfish, and grouchy. Jesus could do none of those things. Everything he did had to be truthful, kind, and selfless. He had to be all the things we could not be, and then he had to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, because the people of Earth were in trouble…and without Jesus, there was no way out of it.

God knew that we were lost and that there was no Earthly way out of the situation, so because He loved the world so much, He sent His Son, Jesus and Jesus willingly came to Earth, knowing what would happen to him when he was a grown man. He could have stopped it. He could have told his Father that he didn’t want to go, but he didn’t. He accepted the unspeakable job that his Father, our God set before him, and he went through with it. I’m sure he thought about how horrible this would be, and I’m sure that a part of him wanted to make the whole progression stop, but he knew that if he didn’t do it, the world would have to pay the price of spiritual death for eternity.

What an amazingly selfless act of love!! Jesus paid it all…past, present, and future. We are free!! We are redeemed!! The horrible crucifixion was a successful payment for our sins. I am redeemed…we are all redeemed, and all we have to do is accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. It’s as simple as that. Thank you Jesus!! Happy Resurrection Day!!

12278715_1030129097051866_7408744507240113633_nJake and IzabellaFew things change a man as much as becoming a father. I think most women understand how they feel when they first hold that baby in their arms, but unless the baby was adopted, the mother carried that baby inside her for nine months. After that, you almost know that baby’s personality. Things are quite different for a man. They don’t have the insight that the mother has. For them, that insight comes when they first get to look at their baby. Suddenly, they know that this little tiny person is a part of them too. Mothers have that understanding every time the baby kicks, but fathers get that little revelation when they first see and hold their child. It is a defining moment in their lives…and it shows on their face. Everything is different now This little human being is theirs. They have a responsibility to take care of this little baby and the baby’s mother. They are now a family man. It’s very exciting, and maybe just a little bit intimidating too.

For Jake this past year has been filled with such wonderful blessings. He is engaged to a wonderful girl…Melanie Price, and is step dad to her little girl, Alice. Jake and Alice get along so well, and they have lots of fun, but now there is little Izabella to complete the family…at least for now. One never knows what the future will hold for them. Right now they are just enjoying their little family to the fullest. If Jake had the jitters concerning his little daughter, he really hasn’t shown it much at all. He has stepped into his new role with confidence and a style all his own, and that is awesome.

Jake has grown and changed much over the last few years. He has been with FedEx for a number of years now, and is a supervisor for them. He loves his job, but of course, he loves coming home to his family even more. I Jake's family1936548_1047933205271455_63070413229755643_nalways knew that Jake had potential. I knew that he was going to turn into a good man and a great father. Above all else that Jake is…he is a kind man. He is quick to show his love for others. He is full of energy, and like many men, he is a big kid at heart, but when it comes right down to it, Jake would give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. He comes from a long line of people who are like that. For Jake, and his fiancée, Melanie, the journey to their future is just beginning…and, it’s going to be a great life. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Thanksgiving DinnerAs Thanksgiving approached this year, I found myself thinking of the things I’m thankful for. Of course, I’m thankful first and foremost for my loving Heavenly Father. He is always there for me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. How could I possibly ask for more than to have a God who cares deeply about every little tiny part of my life. No human cares that much, not even those who love me with all their hearts, because…well humans just don’t have a love so deep and unconditional.

While this year will find half of my family here and half in Washington, it will feel very lonely, but what I really care about is that my family is all happy, healthy, safe, and sound. And I hope they have a wonderful Thanksgiving too, even though we will miss them very much. I think the holidays are the hardest time to be apart, because the rest of the time work and activities keep you busy and you can forget that they are so far away, but the holidays…well, they are just different. The holidays are all about family. Maybe next year we can be together for one of the holidays. That would be really nice. For now, I am thankful that all of Amy’s family is together for this Thanksgiving holiday. And I’m lonely and sad because of the empty chairs we will have at our table this year.

And this will be the first Thanksgiving with both of my parents in Heaven, and that is very hard for my sisters, and our families. Yet, we are still thankful that our parents are together with other loved ones who have gone to Heaven too. I am so thankful that our parents brought is up to know the Lord, and to know the comfort of knowing where they are now and that they are safe in the loving arms of our Heavenly father. While we will Thanksgiving dinnermiss them terribly today, as we do every day, and the empty chairs that they would have occupied will make us lonely, we know that they are celebrating with us, because they celebrate God’s love with thanksgiving every day, as do we. We will also be missing my father-in-law, and in reality my mother-in-law, who is in a nursing home. For Bob’s siblings, the loneliness is the same as my sisters and me, the empty chairs speak volumes, if we will listen.

Still, not all things about this day will be sad and lonely, because last month, right after I broke my shoulder, I was so blessed when Bob and I were “adopted” into my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen’s family. His parents, Becky and Duane Skelton invited us to spend Thanksgiving as part of their family. Kevin’s parents have been friends of ours for a long time, and it was just such a wonderful thing to do. I don’t think I was ready to try to put on a Thanksgiving dinner. By Christmas, I expect that I will be much more ready, when I host Bob’s family, but for now, I am very thankful for the kindness of such amazing friends. I love both of them very much, and I look forward to the memories we will have of this day.

Lastly, but in no way the least, I am thankful for new and renewed family connections. Over the past couple of years, we have reconnected with cousins that we haven’t seen in quite some time and some we had never met, which has expanded our family in areas that were lacking before. It is so wonderful to have such a large family, Becky & Duaneand to have the opportunity to get to know these cousins that we never knew. They are all such wonderful people with so many different interests and life stories, and yet, we are all connected in the deepest of ways…we are family. And that is definitely something to be thankful for.

While this Thanksgiving is filled with mixed emotions for me and my family, I am truly thankful for every day of life, for every member of my family, for each friend, for job, home, and the beauty of God’s creation here one Earth. And I am thankful that when this life is over, I too will live forever in the loving arms of my Father in Heaven. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! Have a blessed day!!

1915176_1151598431323_6245569_n1016870_10200176569038125_1898537391_nSean Mortensen, who is my niece Amanda Reed’s boyfriend, and the father of her daughter, Jaydn, is a sportsman in every respect of the word. His favorite things to do are snowmobiling and four wheeling, which pretty much covers the entire year. Sean’s days off are spent happily riding…when he isn’t doing something around the house, that is. Sean and Amanda recently bought a house, so there is always work to do there. It’s never easy making a house a home, so, working on the house is a given. Nevertheless, a guy can’t work on the house all the time. So that’s when Sean heads out to go snowmobiling or four wheeling…and its a great family outing for everyone.

Sean and Amanda met in high school, and they have been together ever since. When Jaydn joined the little family, they knew their lives were complete. Eleven years later, they are all three just as happy as they can be together. Their family loves spending time at the lake in the summer, and with daughter Jaydn being born just one day before her dad’s birthday, having a birthday weekend at the lake is their idea of perfect. Having my dad’s birthday just two days before mine, I can relate to how special it is to share that day with your dad. Of course, those fun birthday weekends won’t last forever. Kids grown up, get married, and move away…or at least, move out. Life gets busy and there is often barely time for an hour to have a birthday party, so I hope that they know how blessed they are to have that time now.
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Sean also likes to work on the different toys and vehicles the have, so that keeps him busy as well. Jaydn likes to help him…for now anyway. As she gets older, I suppose that like most girls, that dad time will be replaced by a boyfriend. Nevertheless, for now, they work together as a family to get what they want in life. Sean is a good dad and he is good to Amanda…and for the rest of the family, that is the main thing. Today is Sean’s 30th birthday…the big 3-0. Happy birthday Sean!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

JennyOver the years, I have watched my niece, Jenny Spethman grow in so many ways. Of course, I’ve seen her grow from a little girl into a teenager, adult, wife, and mother, but those are simply the normal changes we all go through in life. Jenny has changed in so many other, more important ways though. Growth can take on very different and complicated forms, but the greatest growth is in the area of the spiritual, and it is in that area that I find Jenny to have almost literally exploded. I have watched her faith in God grow by leaps and bounds.

Life has not always been easy for Jenny. She has had her share of heartaches, as those who know her can attest, but through it all, she and her husband, Steve Spethman have never faltered on one thing…their faith in God. When people lose a child, often the first thing that is questioned is to ask God why He did this, but not Jenny and Steve. They knew that this was not God. Steve, Jenny, Isaac, Zack & XanderAnd they then doubled their focus on God’s word, and his promise that they will see their baby girl, Laila in Heaven, and until then, she is in the arms of Jesus and enjoying time with family who have also gone on to Heaven. Jenny and Steve have been blessed with their three sons, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, as well as their daughters, Laila, and now Aleesia, who is almost 2½ years old. Every day is viewed as a blessing beyond measure, even though they miss Laila terribly.

I had really never thought of Jenny as a morning person, although I don’t know why, but these days, at least, she cherishes the early morning hours, as a time to see God’s great sunrises and reflect on His teachings and promises to her. She also loves to see the moon and stars, again because she knows that God has blessed her life with such enormous beauty. I think that it is in these quiet moments of reflection, often before her family Jenny, Steve and Aleesiawakes up, that Jenny has grown closer and closer to God. She knows that He is not only her Father, Lord, and Saviour, but in all reality, her Daddy and friend. A friend that sticks closer that all others, and no matter what life brings her.

Jenny has grown in so many ways, and each area of growth has made her a more and more beautiful person, both inside and out. I am so proud of her and all that she has become. I look forward to the time to come when I will see her grow even more, especially in her walk with the Lord. Today is Jenny’s birthday. You are an amazing woman, and one I am proud to call my niece. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

2625 (2)What does it take to make a great relationship? I’m sure the answer to that question varies from person to person, and depends on the type of relationship, but when it comes to the relationship between a father and his son, the best way to measure the greatness of that relationship…is with time spent together. Of course, laughter and fun are very important parts of that, but life isn’t always about fun and laughter. Much of life is about work, and about helping each other. It was in that aspect of life that my husband, Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg found themselves spending many hours over the years. My father-in-law could easily be categorized as a workaholic, and he trained his son to be the same. These men would go to work and spent 8 to 10 hours on the clock, doing physical labor. Then they would come home and spend another 2 to 4 hours working on some project at home. To them, it didn’t seem like work, but rather an enjoyable pastime. I don’t think most of us would feel exactly the same way about the work done around the home, and many people don’t about their jobs either, but that is the mentality of a workaholic. Work is fun…somehow.

If you wanted to find either one of these men, the best place to look was in the garage. Even if they weren’t working on a car, they were back and forth from what they were working on to the garage, because that was where all the tools were. And I’m here to tell you that between Bob, his dad, his brother, and his nephew…those guys had projects!! There were times that they came in from the garage and fell asleep in the chair from sheer exhaustion…and it was all their choice!! No one was making them do all these things. Sure, as mechanics, they helped out their friends, and those jobs come when they do, because you can’t plan a breakdown, but these guys had to squeeze those jobs in between all their own stuff and the planed jobs they do for people. It’s almost like they didn’t have time for a holiday. In fact, the only way to get Bob not to spend part of his day working on some project was to take him out of town.

Be that as it may, with all the projects Bob and his dad, and later his brother and nephew did together, their relationship was a very strong one. I suppose it really is a situation of the family that works together, stays together. I know that isn’t how the saying goes, but it really is the truth. Families working together toward a common goal, sharing the same hopes and dreams, and if their hopes and dreams are different that 36scan0061 (4)the others, they respect the right of each individual to have their own hopes and dreams. And they will do whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals. I think that is one of the things that always kept Bob and his dad close. Bob and I did not have to chose to live the same kind of life as his parents. They just wanted us to do was to be happy. I have to say that while Bob is different from his dad in many ways, he is also much the same…at least in all the areas that matter…such as responsibility, dedication, devotion, and the depth of his love, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more than that.

Uncle Larry, Grandpa Byer and Uncle Wayne go hunting.You have heard that for everything there is a season, and that is true in so many ways. One that I doubt if you ever thought about, is the seasons for things we do. Now this isn’t going to be a serious story about philosophical things, but rather it will follow a little bit different path. Typically, for most men, there is football season, baseball season, basketball season, and hunting season, with a few others thrown in there for some people. In times past, most women would have left this to the men, but that has changed, as there are probably an almost equal amount of women that like to do these things too.

As to the season for hunting…which I think just got over…but since my husband and I don’t hunt, I can’t say for sure. I do know that for years my parents went hunting, and I can remember the wild meat…cooked to perfection by my mom. It was so good. Not everyone can cook wild meat to make it not taste gamey, but she could. They went hunting with my grandparents, and I know that my uncles did too. imageEspecially as young men. I doubt if my aunts went, as girls anyway, but I could be wrong on that. I do know that a lot of my cousins hunt…both male and female cousins, so it is something that runs in our family on both sides. Lots of the girls like to go hunting with their husbands, but the thing I find especially endearing are the girls who like to go hunting with their dads, such as my cousin, Jamie Patsie, who was not deterred when her husband Kevin couldn’t go hunting with her. She just talked to her dad, Terry Limmer, and the two of them made a day of it. That is such a cool thing too, because it gave them some father/daughter time.

The little girls in the family maybe can’t go hunting with their dads yet, but that certainly didn’t stop Meadow Nordquist from going out to see what her dad, Aron had shot, and even taking the opportunity to pose for a victory shot with him. She was very excited about her dad’s conquest. I think her sister, Addie was a little put off by the idea of sitting on a dead animal, so she would have none of this whole “picture with her dad’s conquest” thing. I suppose the time will come when she will think differently about that. It may be with her husband, and then her dad though. Time will tell on that, but little Aron & Meadow NordquistMeadow was very excited to see what her dad had shot…and I’m sure they will all enjoy the meat.

Like every other season, hunting has a season, and when that season is over, it’s over. I’m sure it is something everyone hates to have happen…especially if their hunt was not successful, but it is inevitable nevertheless. So, all I can say to that is that it is a good thing that football season is still going on, and basketball season will follow, and baseball after that. Before they know it, hunting season will be upon them again, and they will be back out there looking for the best buck. That’s just the way it is…to everything there is a season.

Portrait of Angeloah ShawFor some time now, my Shaw family line has been stalled at Angeloah, who is my 3rd great grandfather. I have always known that he was my grandfather, and that he was a religious man, but other than that, he has remained a mystery to me. Most of the time when a side of my family history stalls, I just move to another branch, because at that point I need a break from the frustration of a fruitless search. That is what I had done on that branch, until I was contacted by a man who was researching a Shaw branch of his family. So far, I have not found a connection between his family and mine. But in my search, I found a story from a history document about Catarogus, Allegany County, New York. In that document, it said that Angeloah’s father was Joseph Shaw. That was what I had originally thought to be correct, but then during my search, I saw where his father had been listed as Nathaniel and also as John. For a time I wasn’t sure what to believe, but this document made it very clear, and it was the first one that did. What it didn’t make clear was who Angeloah’s mother was. I find that so odd…and frustrating!!

From his childhood until about 1860, Angeloah lived in Lyndon, New York, where he met and married his wife, Mary Delilah Sapney. They moved to Derinda, Illinois before 1860, as they were counted in the census taken in 1860. Then in 1864, they moved to Tremplealeau County Wisconsin, and is shown to have owned land by 1869. The land totaled 160 acres, and Angeloah took up farming. his son, my 2nd great grandfather, John Brad Shaw, helped out on the farm until he was 24 years old, before moving to Nebraska. Angeloah and the rest of the family would stay on in Wisconsin for a number of years before following John in 1874 to Nebraska where Angeloah lived out the remainder of his life.

He was a very religious man, and some of the pictures we do have of him showed him reverently holding his Angeloah ShawBible. I’m sure that in the early years he was a preacher of sorts…at least in his family. That reminds me a lot of my dad, in that he was the patriarch of our family. We always looked to him to have the answers and to show us the right way to go in all things. I doubt if any of us would have been who we are today, had it not been for that leading. I can’t say for sure if Angeloah was the same kind of father to his children. Those were very different times, and parenting was different too, so I can’t say what his parenting style was like or what part his faith played in his parenting style.

Basically, that is all I know of my 3rd great grandfather. That makes me sad in many ways. It seems like some families didn’t keep records that were up to date as much as other families. I had hoped that with the abundance of pictures out there, I would be able to find much more documentation on him and his life, as well as his parents. Instead, I am left with nothing but the continuing mystery of Angeloah Shaw.

Uncle George, Aunt Evelyn, Mom, & Dad at the Military BallSo often, we take many of the people in our lives for granted. We just assume that they will always be there, and never consider the events in their past that…were it not for the grace of God, would have taken their lives, possibly before we even knew them. That is the case with my Uncle George. Were it not for the grace of God, he would have been killed in action in World War II, before he ever had the chance to meet and marry my Aunt Evelyn, becoming father of my cousins, and an uncle to me and the rest of the cousins. Uncle George, like my dad, my Uncle Larry, Uncle Wayne, and many other young men of that era, served his country during World War II. Many people serve in the wars our country has been involved in, and many people are injured and killed every day as a result of their service in our wars. In that way, Uncle George is not an unusual statistic, but what is unusual is that Uncle George survived…a head injury!!! He has had a plate in his head since that injury, but in every other way, he has lead a normal life.

People who don’t know about a situation, which was me concerning my Uncle George…until recently when I came across the Wyoming Wounded List where his name appears, usually assume that the person they know, and have known all their lives, was never wounded. Little did I know how very wrong I was. I knew that Uncle George has been in the Navy in World War II, but that was all I knew about his war history, and I only knew that because of a picture of my Aunt Evelyn, Uncle George, and my parents attending the Military Ball. You see, like most of the men who fought in World War II and probably many other wars too, Uncle Wyoming Wounded List in World War II (Uncle George)George never spoke of those days. It was like he either wanted to forget, or more likely that he thought he had simply done his duty and it was no big thing, because he came home after all. Many military men feel that way. They think the heroes are the ones who died for their country, but that is not the only way to be a hero. Just going into battle, makes them a hero!!

After learning about my Uncle George’s injuries from World War II, I feel so much more blessed to have Uncle George in my life. Thinking that, but for the grace of God, he would never have been my uncle, makes that blessing very clear to me, and I thank God for his life and for making him my uncle. I can’t imagine our family without him in it, and I know everyone else agrees with me too. Today is Uncle George’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle George!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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