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.
All dads are special in their own ways, whether they are dad to boys, girls, or a mix of both, once they become dads they truly become a totally different person. A man who has never been a dad, can love children or not, but when the children are his own, they are just different…special, and well…perfect. Their own children are always amazing, and its simply because their are their own. It doesn’t really matter if they wanted boys or girls, or some of each, because when that little one arrives, their Daddy’s Heart kicks into high gear and they find themselves thinking that there never was a greater kid than the one they were given. And each new child is viewed the same.
I’ve seen the Daddy’s Heart in so many people, beginning with my own dad, Allen Spencer, then with my husband, Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg. Whatever their kids needed was priority. I don’t mean to say that we were all spoiled rotten, because we had rules and discipline, but when it came to making our lives wonderful, they were right there, making sure that we were so very blessed. It was not about lots of things, but rather the love they showed to us every day. Whenever things were wrong in our lives, there were our dads, with a hug and the words, “It will be alright.” And, of course, they were right. Everything was always alright, because our dads made sure of it, or maybe it was just their wisdom, in that they knew that the tragedies we faced today were most often not as bad as we thought they were, and tomorrow was another day…that would usually be much better, because things usually look very different the next day.
Then, I watched my sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce step into that role with their children, I could see that another generation of children in my family were in the very best of hands. Their dads, just like my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband before them had the Daddy’s Heart. They would do their very best to teach the kids the right way to go, and to fix the boo boos of life as they came along. Kevin and Travis are dads, and like all good dads, their kids are their top priority. And since their kids are pretty much grown now, I know that they will someday be the grandpas of their family. It is a place of honor and wisdom, and a place of being a little bit different kind of dad than they were before, but still a great blessing nevertheless. Happy Father’s Day to the dads in my life, and all dads everywhere. And a special Happy Father’s Day to my dad and my father-in-law in Heaven. We love and miss you very much, every day.
When a loved one passes away, you don’t get to see them on this Earth any more, but they seem to take up a new kind of space all their own, because they are always on your mind. You may not even realize that you are thinking of them exactly, but they are there in the back of your mind, just beneath the surface, until something happens that brings their memory to the forefront again. It isn’t always a sad thing when it happens, but sometimes it is. I think that as time goes by, we are able to look more to happy memories than lonely tears. I don’t think it is a bad thing to have your loved ones living in your memory, occupying a special place in your heart, or even always being on your mind, it’s just that sometimes it is a little hard when you are hit with a ton of bricks moment…when their memory is thrown out there so unexpectedly that it does bring tears, and you are helpless to stop them. Really, it’s the only way, once a loved one has passed away.
In many ways, we like having them living there, in the back of our minds, because it give us a warm sense of Heaven…a closer connection to it, maybe. Someone very dear to us lives there now, and like my search for new connections in my family history, just knowing they are there, waiting in Heaven for us to join them someday, makes me feel like I am a part of Heaven already. I guess that is really because a part of my heart lives there now, and really always has. It encourages me to keep going forward because for me and my family, there is an expected end…a destination. While my journey must remain here for now, and God is taking the time to show me the beautiful things He has made here, I know that someday, my own journey will take me to a place I haven’t and couldn’t ever travel to before, where I will see my loved ones in person again, but for now I must wait for that glorious day to arrive.
Each item I see that belonged to those I love returns them to the forefront of my mind again. Our memory is often triggered by something we see, hear, or even smell, because in our memory files, our senses are tied to those we love. I’m thankful for those ties really, even though sometimes the memories hurt a little, because it is those memories that keep my loved ones alive, in the back of my mind, waiting for their moment to grace my thoughts once again. I love each and every one of those loved ones, although I cannot picture all of them here. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, a sister-in-law, and three nieces are waiting in Heaven. I love then, and they are always on my mind.
I think it’s a good thing that my niece, Machelle Moore likes to do a lot of outdoor, tomboy kinds of things, because with a husband and two sons, she is pretty much surrounded by those things. Her family loves to go camping and recently purchased her parent’s old travel trailer. They love spending time up in the Big Horn Mountains. The boys get to have lots of time to get out of town and do something different, and for Machelle, that is what it’s all about…spending time with her family and watching her boys grow up. Of course, being married to, Steve, the love of her life is one of the things that is closest to Machelle’s heart, and something that has made her life wonderful for the past fifteen years. Doing things with her three boys is what she most likes to do.
Machelle also likes to get away once in a while and go to Las Vegas with her sister, Susan Griffith or her aunt, Rachel Schulenberg. The fast paced party lifestyle is fun to go participate in once in a while, and since her husband, Steve doesn’t like to rally travel much, he stays home with the boys so she can go and have a good time. She also likes to come to Casper sometimes to visit family members here, and while the boys come with her about half the time, they don’t always. Since she and Rachel were good friends before Rachel married her Uncle Ron, and moved to Casper, it is one way to spend time with her friend.
Machelle always liked to come to Casper to visit though. When she came down with her mom, Debbie Cook, to visit her grandparents. As a little girl, she always seemed especially excited to come and spend time with them. As they grew older, she would come and cut their hair for them. She was their personal hair stylist, and that is not an easy thing to have these days, but nevertheless, they had their own personal hair stylist…their granddaughter, Machelle. I suppose that the fact that she loved them with all her heart, did have something to do with that privilege. Machelle would do just about anything for her grandparents. And that has endeared her to many of us in the family. Machelle is simply a good hearted person, and the kind of friend you want to have. Today is Machelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
There is nothing worse, for the youngest sibling, than to be left at home while the rest of the kids get to go to school. They just don’t understand why they can’t go along. I’m sure that after a while they forget some and go find something to occupy themselves until the rest of the kids come home, but that just doesn’t really alleviate that lonely feeling. They love their siblings and they miss them, and that is all there is to it. So every morning they hurry to get ready, hoping that maybe today will be the day when they finally get to go along…even putting on their own backpack to show their mom that they are ready…but to no avail.
My grand niece, Aleesia Spethman is the youngest of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve’s kids. She has three older brothers, and she thinks they are the greatest. They feel the same way about her too. When the boys go outside to play, Aleesia thinks she should get to go outside too. When they go to school, she wants to go too. It doesn’t really matter what the boys are doing, because if they are doing it, Aleesia wants to do it too. Her brothers are the coolest…after all.
Still, like it or not, Fall happens, and the boys have to go back to school, because that is what kids do in the Fall. And that leaves Miss Aleesia standing at the front door, in her Jammys and her boots, with her Little Mermaid backpack, feeling a little bit like she is on the outside looking in. She wants to go where her brothers are, but she is not allowed to do so. It’s simply against the rules. And that leaves a sad look on our smiley girl’s little face.
It’s such a sad little scene…a little girl looking longingly out the door, wishing she could go with her brothers, and do all the cool things they get to do. There she is wondering why she is the baby of the family. It just isn’t fair. Her mommy looks on with her own heart breaking just a little bit for this tiny girl of hers who is already learning that life isn’t always fair. It is a moment that will stay in her memory files, like it will for anyone who sees this picture. There is no way to explain to Aleesia that it has to be this way…for now. No way to explain that before she knows it, she will be in school too, and then she will wish she could stay home with mommy and have girl time. So, Jenny does the only thing she can do. She goes to her girl, and invites her to play some little game, or asks her if she wants to go to the mall, or maybe watch her favorite movie. Before she can shed too many tears, her mommy has her mind focused on other things, and the sad moment is over. She will miss her brothers several more times before they get home, but then…when school is done for the day…she puts on her smiley face again. Her brothers are home…and all is right in her world.
Watching Matthew grow from a baby, to a toddler, to a little boy of nine years, I have seen so many changes in him. He was his daddy’s boy from the very start…in fact I am amazed at just how much he looks like my nephew, Rob Masterson. They are like twins, except for the difference in their ages. They are a lot alike in their personalities too. Both are tough guys, but when it comes to their sisters, they are as kind as can be. Matthew is so patient with the girls. He likes being big brother to Anna, and doesn’t even mind being little brother to Raelynn, and oldest sister, Christina. In some ways, I think it would be hard to be the only boy in a family of girls, but Matthew doesn’t seem to mind. He is so loving and caring toward his sisters, and he would defend them to the end…even against his parents, if he thinks the situation warrants it. Nevertheless, he is not above torturing them himself…but, understand this…no one else had better try.
Matthew has a caregiver’s heart…a bit like his Great Aunt Caryn and his Grandma, my sister, Cheryl. Recently, when his mom, my niece Dustie, had to have surgery, he stayed by her side for two days, making sure that she had whatever she needed. Matthew may be a little boy, but his heart is great big, and he is a family man to his very core. That makes him a hero is his mother’s eyes, and I think there are a lot of us who would absolutely agree with her on that. It’s funny, that while Matthew is going to be a big third grader this year, not much has changed in his personality, because Matthew is clearly a boy who is completely settled on who he is. His family is important, and he is all about what is important.
Matthew is, nevertheless, a macho man. He loves sports. He plays basketball and soccer, and he is learning to shoot. Like most boys his age, he is excited about all of the opportunities that have come his way in the area of sports. He never was the kind of kid to sit around doing nothing. He is always on the move. That is a good thing when it comes to sports. You have to stay on top of things if you are going to be a good player, and Matthew is a mover. He is able to scoot around quickly to be where he needs to be to do some good in the game. I am quite certain that as he grows up, he will be a great player and team member. Today is Matthew’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Matthew!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Kellie is one of the happiest, most positive people I have ever met…in fact, I can’t recall a time when she wasn’t happy. Kellie is one of those people who look for happiness where ever she goes, and when you look for happiness, I believe you will always find it. She doesn’t let the little problems in life get her down. Many of us could learn something from Kellie’s happiness, because it isn’t that no negative things ever happens in her life, but rather what she chooses to do with it that makes her life happy. I love to hear Kellie laugh, because when she does, you are about to laugh too. That’s just the way it is. You can’t be around Kellie when she is laughing and not laugh too. Her laugh is the most contagious laugh I have ever heard.
Kellie is such a free spirit. She knows what she likes, and that’s what she does. Her home reflects her brightly colored tastes. Nothing dreary can exist in Kellie’s place, because that just doesn’t fit in her joy, joy, joy…down in my heart style. If you go to Kellie’s house, you will find it bright and cheery…just like her, but be aware that she has a bird. I don’t know how much Petey is loose in the house, but I think that if Kellie is there, Petey is free to roam. And maybe Petey isn’t the kind of bird who likes to dive bomb people, but many birds are. I do know that Petey likes to nap on Kellie’s shoulder. Why should he be different? Lots of people love to be around Kellie…so you can’t blame him.
Family is the biggest thing in Kellie’s life. She is very close to her parents, my sister, Allyn and her husband Chris, sisters, Jessi and Lindsay, sister-in-law, Chelsea, brother, Ryan, brothers-in-law, Jason and Shannon, and of course, her nephew, Ethan, and niece, Aurora. She loves taking pictures with all of them, to keep as memories of the great times they have had. She loves spending time up on the mountain at her parents place there, just hanging around by the campfire. In Kellie’s life, the only thing more important than her family is her Lord. Kellie loves music ministry, and is an amazing singer, and forever an uplifting person. We are all very blessed to have Kellie in our lives. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
Every time I look at this picture of Bob’s great grandfather, Orin Eugene Noyes, who went by Eugene, I can’t help but notice that he looks like the fictional character Geppetto from the book, Pinocchio, or at least the picture I have in my head of what he would have looked like. I never met Bob’s great grandfather, nor did Bob, because Eugene passed away in 1928, but when you look at him, you can see that he was a nice and very kind man. I wanted to know a little bit more about him, so I began to look for any stories there might be out there. I wasn’t very successful in finding any stories about him, so I decided to see what he did for a living. I don’t know, maybe I had a feeling.
As you all know, Geppetto was a wood carver, more specifically, he made wood furniture. That was how he came up with the idea of making Pinocchio. So, I started looking for any other information on Eugene Noyes. In my search, I found out that his dad was a farmer. That isn’t really anything that would tie in to my idea of who Eugene reminded me of. I kept looking and came across a census in 1910. I was quite surprised to find that Eugene Noyes was the owner of a furniture store. How funny is that? No, he didn’t build the furniture…at least not that I know of, but he sold furniture, and that was what Geppetto did too. I know it is a little odd, but Geppetto is who Bob’s great grandfather reminded me of, and as it turns out, he was a similar type of person.
As I look at this man, who had a big part in giving me my husband, I can see what a gentle soul he was. His face showed such gentleness…such kindness. I think he was a man who very much loved being a father and grandfather, and loved his family with all his heart. No, his life was not childless as that of Geppetto, but I believe that they shared a love of children, and that desire to be parents. Eugene wasn’t always a furniture store owner, but rather a farmer like his father before him. He started out farming, and then owner the furniture store, which makes me wonder if there was a drought, or the crops were lost for some other reason, and he decided to try something different. After about ten years in the furniture business, he decided to retire back to farming, and would do that for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, for those ten years, he was very close to the Geppetto that I have imagined him to be.
Few things are harder on a mother, than disciplining their child. Especially when their little darling is so heartbroken about it. And then, if he pulls a 1-800-Grandma on them, it can get worse, because for those of you who haven’t guessed, 1-800-Grandma is when a grandchild tells grandma on mommy, and then mommy has to reiterate that the punishment will stand, even in the face of Grandma’s sad and sympathetic look.
Such was the case the other day at a family gathering, when my niece, Chelsea told her son, Ethan, that he couldn’t have a piece of cake, because he had acted up. Of course, Ethan went to sit with his grandma, my sister, Allyn and told her that he couldn’t have any cake. When she asked him why, he said, crying the whole time, “Mommy won’t let me!!” Like me, Allyn has a really soft heart when it comes to those grandbabies, even though we might have done very differently with our own kids. It’s just that…these are our grandbabies, and we can’t stand denying them anything!!
Of course, this new twist to the situation is about to get…ugly for Mommy. Allyn turned to Chelsea and said, “Why can’t he have cake?” That left Chelsea to defend her decision…or Ethan would know that he could get away with it by going to Grandma. So, Chelsea said, “You know you would do the same thing, if you were me!!” Oops!! Allyn, like me, had stepped into the middle of something we really wished we hadn’t. Just why is it that we don’t turn right round and chew out that grandbaby for putting us in the middle? It’s what we would have done if it were our mom, and our children! So what makes this different? Mostly, it’s that we did not dish out the punishment, and after all…its our grandbaby…so how is it that Grandma can’t fix this little heartbreak for him!!! That is a grandma’s job…can’t his mother understand that!!
Nevertheless, Chelsea stood her ground, and Ethan got no cake. He will know the next time, that when his mommy says to do something, she means it. It is a lesson that every good mother has to make sure her child learns. If they don’t, they will always be out of control, and no one will want to be around them. Really, she is doing Ethan and his little sister, Aurora a great service by teaching them the rules when they are little, because if they are little terrors, people don’t want to be around them, and don’t want their kids around them either. Ethan and Aurora are good children, and, as we all know, Grandma’s heart will be ok.
It doesn’t make it any easier to discipline your children, because in reality, it breaks Mommy’s heart too. That is her baby, and even though whatever he did was wrong, not allowing him to have cake is pure torture…for Mommy!!! It is the act of a good mother though, and must be done. Today is Chelsea’s birthday!! She is a good mom. I think Ethan will be a good little boy and will get some cake today. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day, and don’t make Ethan call 1-800-Grandma!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Topher, who is my niece Andrea’s son, is probably a lot like most little boys…into super heroes. They dream of being just like their favorite one. Topher is very into the Avengers, the Justice League, and my favorite, Superman. I think every boy dreams of being a super hero at some point in their lives. I suppose it is the goodness in those little boys that makes them want to rescue people in trouble…to fix whatever is wrong in the lives of loved ones and strangers alike.
Topher is the kind of kid who hates to let people down. He hates to have people upset with him, and he hates to be the reason anyone is sad…or even see people sad. He has a great big heart, and it gets broken when those around him are not happy. Topher likes everything in his world to be…happy. I can’t blame him for that. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we really could live in the Land of Perfect, where everyone is happy and all is well. The good news is that when you get around a kid like Topher, your world seems to take a turn toward the Land of Perfect…at least a little bit. It’s awfully hard to stay sad when you see a smiling, goofy, little face like Topher’s.
Topher is the kind of kid that little kids love to be around. He is very compassionate and caring, and because of his great sense of humor, little kids really Get a kick out of him. Of course, big kids do too. Topher’s big sister, Savannah is one of his favorite people in the world, as are his dad and mom. He has a serious sense of family, and feels very blessed to have the one he has. He also loves his dogs, because they are family too…especially to a little boy.
Topher is such a happy kid that he makes others around him happy too. Maybe that is why he likes super heroes so much. Super heroes save people from terrible situations, and Super-Topher saves people from sad moments and days. Does it get better than that? Today is Topher’s 8th birthday. I can’t believe that he is 8 already. Happy birthday Super-Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!