graduation

My niece, Liz Masterson is a journalism teacher for the Natrona County School District, teaching at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyoming. She is an excellent teacher and is loved by faculty and students alike. One of the perks that being a teacher has given her is summers off, and things like Spring Break, and other school holidays. That fits in quite well with Liz’s love of travel. In the working world, people get only so many vacation days a year, and I don’t know of any other occupation that gives summers off and yet pays you for a year’s work…not that teachers really get paid what they are worth (most of them anyway.) Some teachers are paid far more than their worth, unfortunately. Liz isn’t one of those, and we, her family, are all very proud of her ability, drive, and dedication. All Liz ever wanted to be was a teacher, and she is an amazing teacher.

This week is spring break, and so Liz and her cousins, Jessi Sawdon, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock decided that they all needed a “girl’s trip” to Las Vegas. So, they took Jessi and Lindsay’s daughters, Adelaide Sawdon and Mackenzie Moore to stay with their grandma and grandpa, Allyn and Chris Hadlock, and then the girls took to the air, flying to Vegas. I’m sure they are having a great time, as especially since Liz’s birthday falls in the middle of their trip, it’s a great was to celebrate. Liz has traveled to, to some amazing places, like Rome and several other places near there. She has also traveled to many places in the United States. Liz loves to go to New York City, Rapid City, and places in Texas, as well as many other places in the United States.

She has lived an interesting life for sure, but her favorite thing is her fur babies. Liz has three dogs and a cat, and they vie for her attention much of her time at home. She would love to take all three puppies for a walk, but they all want to go different directions. That just doesn’t work, so whenever Liz goes for a walk, only one dog gets to go, unless she puts them in the baby stroller that zips closed, so they can’t get out. The worst problem with that is that they love to bark at all their friends (dog friends) along the trail.

Liz is an excellent photographer and has a side gig in photography. She has actually taken many of the senior pictures for her students. As a journalism teacher, Liz has been in charge of the yearbook at Kelly Walsh. She also takes all the sports and club pictures…and of course the graduation pictures…quite different in 2020. I don’t know how they would have ever managed the yearbook all these years without Liz’s expertise. She has been an important asset to the school and to everyone else who knows her. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Easton Moore is very excited for his upcoming high school graduation. I think that whether a kid likes school or not, as they near the end of their public-school days, they are just ready to have it over with. This last semester is notoriously the hardest one, because the student really has “short-timers disease” for lack of a better term. Thirteen years of public school is a lot, and that’s if they didn’t go to pre-school, which most kids do these days. Thankfully for Easton, this last semester is a very light and easy one. That makes it easier to handle in his final stretch. Easton hasn’t exactly decided what he wants to do concerning college, tech school, or working.

He loves working on his Bronco, and it sound to me like he could easily make a career of mechanics and/or auto body repair work. That isn’t surprising, because he comes from a long line of mechanics. He has really been changing things up on his Bronco. He has added new headlights, grill, radio, speakers, door speakers, and that’s just for starters. He has future plans to switch out the interior to black…the roof, flooring, dash, console, door panels, and such. He also wants to add a visor to the outside of the windshield. The back window had been broken while the Bronco was sitting in front of the house, so he replaced that and the trim around it. He is hoping that keeps it from breaking again. He also put in a new back window motor, new ignition lock switch, and fixed a leak in the seam around the front window. He took the running boards and replaced the muffler and the heater core…it was blowing smoke into the cab which made him freak out a bit. I can totally understand that!! The Bronco is an unimpressive light tan color, in Easton’s opinion, so he plans to paint it, and put on different wheels and rims. At Christmas, he even put a string of Christmas lights on the Bronco. It looked pretty fancy driving down the road. His mom, Machelle Moore is sure he will think of a bunch of other fun things to do to it too, because his Bronco has really started something in him that, she believes he will end up having a passion to do. He is learning so much about how to do these kinds of things, and he’s not afraid of digging in to figure it out. I’m sure that before long, his Bronco will be a real “chic magnet” and there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s going to be a great year for Easton, and he is very excited to see where things go from here. I think he will excel in whatever he decides to do. Today is Easton’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Jenny Spethman is my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s youngest child, and sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that she is all grown up and a mother of 5 children, one of whom is graduating from high school this year. Jenny seems to take family life so much in stride. Oh, I know there are kid struggles, as there are in any family, but all in all Jenny and her husband, Steve Spethman have been very successful, and they have raised wonderful kids.

As I think about Jenny, I find myself with the same thoughts over and over…a love of God, humbleness, and kindness. Those are things not everyone can have said about them. Jenny is one of those people who absolutely ooze those things. She doesn’t put on airs or act conceited. Those traits live strongly in her heart, and as the Bible says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45. That is very true of Jenny. I don’t think I have ever heard her speak an unkind word to or about anyone. It just really isn’t in her.

These days, Jenny works part-time at the law firm where her mom, works, and everyone there absolutely loves her. Jenny could go full time, and in fact they have offered that to her. Of course, that would mean being in an office all day, and not the “runner” she is now, but Jenny likes being the runner. She runs errands that need done for the office, such as taking legal documents to the courthouse, going to the post office, and anything else they need someone to do outside the office. She also helps out at the reception desk for lunch and breaks for the receptionist. By running their errands, Jenny has developed a great relationship with everyone in the office, and they dearly love her. It’s not that Jenny and Steve need the money anyway, it’s just what Jenny calls “Mad Money” and that is all she wants it to be. Jenny and Steve love to entertain, and she is definitely a fashionista with a flair for the unusual, ina a way that the rest of us are just a bit jealous of. With her “mad money” job, they have the extra money to do all the fun stuff they want to do. Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Gaby Beach has had a very busy year. Following her graduation from nursing school, Gaby took a job at Wyoming Medical Center, where both she and her husband, Allen Beach now work. Gaby now works in the PCU, which is an area of the hospital for patients who don’t need to be in the ICU, but aren’t quite ready for the care they would get on a regular floor. Gaby really likes her job, and she has been assigned as the charge nurse periodically.

Because they both work at the hospital now, Gaby and Allen decided to buy a house near their work. They had been renting an apartment for Allen’s parents, Caryl and Mike Reed, but the place was far out in the country, and now that they were both working, they felt it was time for a home of their own. They found a great house that wasn’t too far from the hospital, and now they are working on making it their own, and enjoying the time with their dogs, Oly and Jasper. They’ve removed some trees in the back yard that we’re old and growing into power lines. They hope to build a garage in the back yard sometime in the near future, but for now they will most likely settle for a taller privacy fence.

Having school out of the way for now has been really nice for Gaby and Allen, who has a degree in Hospital administration. Gaby’s degree is in nursing, of course, and at some point, down the road, she plans to work toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), but for now she wants to just relax and enjoy her job and life for a while.

They have plans to go to Disney World in April. They have worked very hard, and a fun break will be awesome for them. I’m sure that after a cold winter, a trip to sunny Florida would be really nice. Gaby and Allen really love to travel, but with Covid, they haven’t been able to do much of that, making this trip to Florida a big deal. Covid has kept everyone closer to home these days, but now it’s time to live a little. I know they will have a great time.

Gaby and Allen first met when they were in the Navy, stationed at the same place. That is also where Gaby became interested in becoming a nurse. Being a Corpsman taught her so much about medicine, and so when she was done with her term of service, she went back to school to become a nurse, and she has become an asset to the hospital. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Jadyn Mortensen is a complex girl. She has many sides, and many talents. I think that first and foremost, Jadyn is her parents’ daughter. She loves her mom, Amanda Reed and her dad, Sean Mortensen very much, and she is very loyal to them. Jadyn is their only child, and they love her very much too. She also makes them very proud. There seems to be nothing Jadyn can’t do when she puts her mind to it, and she wants to experience life to the fullest.

Jadyn loves horses, and she has a way with them. She is a very talented barrel racer. I have watched her career from vantage point of the pictures her family takes. Jadyn is very photogenic, and Jadyn on a horse is just amazing. She loves her houses and they love her. The two together are a perfect team, acting in unison.

While Jadyn is an excellent equestrian, she is also great at just about every other sport there is, or at least the ones she is interested in. She loves the snow, and snow sports, she loves the water and being at the lake with her parents and their friends’ families. The summer weekends are always full of activity, most often at Seminoe Reservoir. Jadyn fits in with children and adults alike. She always has.

The Covid School Year stole so much for our students, but it was more for the high school students, because they missed out on prom, graduations, sporting events that might have meant scholarships, and so much more. Nevertheless, for the ones, like Jadyn, this year was a second chance at the things they missed before. Jadyn got to got to prom this year, and she looked stunning in her gorgeous red dress. She is a beautiful girl, inside and out, and really looks stunning in a prom dress or a pair of jeans, shirt, and cowboy boots. I’m sure rodeo was different too. Many events, if they were held, were without spectators, and that is sad. Parents should be able to watch their child perform. For our kids, we can never go back to such a thing again. Nevertheless, Jadyn has continued to excel, and she has a bright future ahead of her. Today is Jadyn’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Jadyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Raelynn Masterson, is growing up…right before our very eyes. Suddenly, Raelynn is 18 years old…an adult. Covid had an effect on Raelynn, like it did every student, except those who were exclusively online. Many students have chosen to do things differently now, and Raelynn is one of those. So, this past year, she switched from Natrona County High School (NCHS), to our third high school, Roosevelt High School, and not only does she love it, but it has been the best for her learning style. NCHS is a large school, and so there are larger classes, meaning that each student has less individual time with the teachers. The online classes showed Raelynn that the one-on-one time was important to her. NCHS also has longer class times, and alternating daily schedules, where Roosevelt uses the old method of the same daily schedule and shorter class times. Either schedule works, but Raelynn’s personal preference is the old style.

Recently, Raelynn started a new job, her second, at Walgreens, which is where her mom, Dustie Masterson works, but not they are at opposite stores. Raelynn is at the westside and Dustie at the eastside store. Raelynn got tp work once at her mom’s store, and mid-August, Dustie is going to help out at Raelynn’s store. They get along great, so working together, even if only occasionally is a lot of fun. They both have the same sense of humor, and they don’t get embarrassed about some of the goofy things I (and Dustie) have posted online about them. They both love to be silly, and it’s rather a no-holds-barred situation when it comes to teasing. Being a “good sport” is a must when they are teasing each other.

Raelynn has not been in a hurry to learn to drive, in fact she didn’t even start to learn until this past year. She is taking it slow to make sure her really has a good handle on it. There is no sense in rushing and then immediately having your first accident. There are a few kids out there who start out driving like “an old lady,” and never really change that. I think I would rather see a prudent new driver, than one who scares everyone who is in the car with them.

Turning eighteen and graduating from high school next year, Raelynn is looking to the future. She knows that she wants to get her own apartment after high school. She already has a friend in mind to be her roommate, so that’s good. She also plans to go to college. She is a good student, and she wants it all. She has a couple of ideas on what she wants to study, but nothing that has been nailed down enough to say for sure. Nevertheless, she is planning ahead, and that makes Dustie and Rob (Raelynn’s dad and Dustie’s husband) very proud.

Planning ahead is one thing. Having the cool things you want in life is another, and while Raelynn is saving and planning, she did spend that whole first check on…well, her mom doesn’t really know, but stuff she needed, apparently!! Nevertheless, once Raelynn sets a goal, nothing is going to stop her. Dustie says, “She reminds me a lot of me, but much sweeter. She must get that from her dad! This year marks her as an adult but when I look at her I still see my first little miracle (quite literally) from God. He must have known better than me what I needed in my life.” I just couldn’t have said that any better. Today Is Raelynn’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

With school ending for her and high school graduation arriving, my grand-niece, Jala Satterwhite is looking to the future, and making plans for what she wants to do with her life. Jala is ready for a break from school, and has no plans at this time to go to college. Many students are ready for a break from school after so many years in it, and the past two school years have been especially hard with Covid lockdowns, online classes, and now the in school mask mandate. It has been very frustrating. Really, at this point, she wants to work on a ranch. Jala loves horses and riding, and really other animals too, but not like her beloved horses.

Like most kids, Jala is ready to spread her wings, try new things, and get a place to call her own. It’s all about independence, even if their parents weren’t super strict or confining, there comes a time when every kid wants to make their own decisions. That time often arrives right after graduation, be it high school or college. So, once she starts working full time, Jala is going to find a place to rent with one of her friends.

With all the Covid restrictions, Jala hasn’t done any sports for the last couple years. That is a sad turn of events, because Jala was very good in sports, but with the last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year completely online, there were no sports, no conditioning for sports, and a general change of interests in many students. With school back in session now, students are often not ready for the work it takes to get back into competition readiness. It’s almost like it was stolen from them. The same applies to in-school classes…especially at the college level. They found out that it can be done online, so why go in person. Jala has lots of time to go back to college, if she so desires. It’s never too late to learn and to get a degree. I’m sure Jala will make good choices for her future, she is a smart girl, and she will do whats best for her.

I can’t believe Jala’s graduation is here already. I remember when she was born!! Where has the time gone. She should still be a little girl, but time waits for no man, and Jala has grown up, whether we like it or not. The day has arrived. Happy high school graduation Jala!! We love you!!

My grand nephew, James Renville has been working hard, going to college, and living at home with his mom, Toni Chase and step-dad, Dave Chase. It has been a good way to go for James, because he attended Casper College, and his parents live in Casper, so why pay for a dorm or apartment. James and his parents get along very well, so it has worked out nicely. In addition, living at home gives James’ the ability to enjoy the family dog, which he could not have in a dorm or in most apartments. James has always had a dogs, and right now they Biscuit and Cricket, and they would be lonely without James.

James graduated from college in May, with a degree in Communications and Media. I wasn’t sure just exactly what you can do with that degree, so I did a bit of research. Jobs directly related to your degree include: Media planner, Multimedia specialist, Program researcher, broadcasting/film/video, Public relations officer, broadcasting/film/video, Social media manager, Television/film/video producer, and Web content manager…just to name a few. I’m not sure just exactly what James has in mind for his career, but he has time to explore the great possibilities for career ideas.

James may continue his education, but for right now, he’s taking a break from school. He is working at Home Depot right now, and saving his money, because he wants to travel overseas again. James visited the Netherlands a couple of times, where he has a close friend, and that really gave him the travel bug. His job and living at home allows him to put his money into his travel plans. James has big plans for his life, possibly including moving out of Wyoming, but nothing is set in stone right now, so I guess time will tell. Of course, we hope he doesn’t go too far. Still, the future is wide open, and I’m excited to see where it will take him. Today is James’ birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand nephew, Weston Moore is graduating from high school today and I find it hard to believe that it has already been that many years since he was born. Weston is the oldest son of my niece Machelle Moore and her husband, Steve. He has a younger brother named Easton. Weston was destined to be tall from the moment he was born. He comes from tall stock…with his grandfather, Lynn Cook, who is 6 foot 6 inches, his dad who is well over six feet and his mom who is close to six feet, he is destined to be tall. Last night when we were visiting, he said that someone had measured him and he was 6 feet 5 inches.

Weston recently got a job at Verizon in Powell, and he plans to work for a year before pursuing his higher education. Sometimes, that is a nice thing for a student. Thirteen years of public school is s long time, and sometimes a break is needed before moving on in life. It’s also nice to have the opportunity to brag to younger siblings and cousins when they head back to school and you don’t have to. Nevertheless, pretty soon you begin to think that maybe it is time to get on with it and go back to school. I’m sure that time will come for Weston before the year is over.

Weston’s is considering his options for college, and is looking at Sheridan College, because they have one of the best culinary arts programs. Being a chef is something he has wanted for some time now. Since my grandson, Chris Petersen went through the program, I can say that it is an excellent program, and Chris learned so much in his time there.

Wherever life takes Weston next and in the future, I know that he will do well. He knows how to work hard and doesn’t mind the hard work. When he puts his mind to it, I know he will excel in any endeavor. Today begins the journey into the rest of your life, Weston. Today you cross the threshold between being a kid and being a man. You are a kind and loving man who will go far in this world. I am so excited to see what the next chapter of your life will bring for you. Congratulations on your graduation from high school!! We are all so proud of you!!

Time goes by so quickly, especially concerning the passing of a loved one. My mind just doesn’t want to wrap itself around the fact that it has been four years since my mom went to Heaven. I know that there are many people who have been without their parents much longer than I have, and they know exactly how I feel on this 4th anniversary of my mother’s graduation to Heaven.

As I write this, I can think of so many things I would have loved to tell my mom, who was one of my biggest fans when it came to my writing. She loved the history stories, especially when it pertained to the family history. This year has been such a wonderful year for new and interesting finds, and it seems like I want to call her almost every day to tell her something new. And there are so many days I want to ask her about something I’ve discovered. Sadly, when we are young, we don’t realize just how important those family stories will become when we are older.

Mom, was always the bringer of the sunshine to our house, singing to us when we woke up, when we were sad, or when we were happy. They were usually little one or two line songs, but they said it all. She told us little bits and pieces of life with her siblings, and all the singing they did, giving us a glimpse of all the laughter and fun that was our grandparents house when all the kids were there. Mom was the middle child in a family of nine children, and that probably gave her a unique view of things. She got to participate in the fun things the older siblings are doing, and she was still young enough to enjoy the things the younger siblings were doing. Being the middle child, born between the only two boys, put her in a unique position too. She got in on some of the antics the boys got into…much like the three musketeers. Mom always had a fun-loving attitude, and that made life with Mom lots of fun. Today marks my mom’s 4th anniversary in Heaven. While we know that she is having the time of her life, we miss her very much. We love you Mom.

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