My sister-in-law, Debbie Cook is an expert craftswoman. In her lifetime, she has made many, various gifts and items to sell, that she handmade with love. Many a baby has a sampler with their name and date of birth on it in cross stitch that is cherished by the child and its parents. Many is the person who owns a quilt made by Debbie’s hands. She has also done sewing through the years, making clothes for her girls, Machelle and Susan. Debbie, along with her parents, Walt and Joann Schulenberg and her sister, Brenda Schulenberg, had booths in many craft fairs over the years, though in recent years craft fairs have somewhat dwindled…a sad thing really, because they provided awesome, and sometimes one-of-a-kind, gifts for many people to give to loved ones.
In the years since she quit participating in craft fairs, Debbie has enjoyed camping a lot. Since her husband, LJ Cook retired, they have been able to go camping a lot more than they could before. In fact, they would probably live in the Big Horn Mountains all summer, if not year round. Of course, their girls, Machelle and Susan probably wouldn’t like that much, because they wouldn’t get to see them as often as they do now. Not that life doesn’t make it difficult, because everyone is busy, but if their parents lived in the mountains, it would be harder to go visit. For Debbie, living in the mountains wouldn’t hinder her hobbies much, because much of it can be done anywhere.
Debbie loves being a grandma, and enjoys spending time with grandsons, Weston and Easton Moore, and granddaughters, Jala Satterwhite and Kaytlyn Griffith. These days, since the kids are all getting grown up, they are a big help to her and LJ too. She used to spend more time with the kids, of course, because when they were in school they often came to her house after school, but now the older three are driving, so there is no need to pick them up or babysit them. It is always sad when the active grandparent days are behind us, then we must wait for the great grandchildren to begin to come. Of course, we still have our grandchildren, but we don’t have the babies, and I think that makes every grandparent a little bit sad.
As life goes on, Debbie and LJ are looking forward to many more years of camping in the Big Horns with their family. They all love to camp as a group, sitting around the campfire at night just enjoying the warmth and !!comradery, as well as the occasional moose that strolls through the camp. They used to go hunting, and liked getting the wild meat, but they haven’t really done that in a number of years. Now they hunt with their eyes, looking for the best specimens, but not shooting them. In that, they have had great success. Today is Debbie’s 68th birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Every wedding anniversary is special, but the anniversaries wouldn’t even exist, were it not for the day to day living of the couple. Marriage is a lot of work, and when a couple marries young, it’s hard to say if they will have the wherewithal to make a go of it. My oldest daughter, Corrie Petersen was just two weeks past the age of 18 when she and her husband Kevin got married. Many people wouldn’t have give them ten cents for their chances of staying together, but they have proven people wrong time and time again. Now, a full 24 years into their marriage, they are like one unit. Of course, that is what God meant when he said in Mark 10:8, “And they two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh.” That is how it is for Corrie and Kevin. They work so well as a team. Corrie and Kevin have gone through so many changes in their lives, and they have weathered each storm, to come out on the other side, stronger than ever. Oh, I don’t mean to say that there haven’t been some tough times, because every marriage has those times. It’s not the number of tough times a marriage goes through, but rather how a marriage comes through the tough times.
Part of what makes a great marriage, is when two people are going in the same direction, with the same goals. It’s not that they can never have differing ideas about things, but rather that they are able to see the other side of the coin, or the other person’s viewpoint. Corrie and Kevin do that quite well. They also support each other in every new venture they might take. I think most marriages find themselves with ever changing hobbies and such, and some can be time consuming. If the spouse is not supportive of the new hobby, there can be a few hard feelings. Over the years Corrie and Kevin have had a few side businesses, such as making cross necklaces, or stained glass, and Corrie was also a virtual assistant. Those things take time, and if you don’t have the support of your spouse, people can encounter problems. Sometimes, even if they are supportive, there can be time conflicts. There wasn’t for Corrie and Kevin, because they often worked together on these things. I’m sure that is not such a strange thing, but not every family has a good working relationship like that.
Corrie and Kevin are two very compatible people and while their marriage started out early in their lives, they are, and always have been very much in love. Theirs is a match made in Heaven and one that will last until death parts them…and I am very happy that they have each other. Today is Corrie and Kevin’s 24th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary Corrie and Kevin!! We love you both very much!!
When a child is born, their parents have high hopes for the baby’s life, not knowing anything about the child yet, or what talents he or she might have. As the years go by, the parents begin to notice different aspects of this new little person, and get little hints about their interests. Still, they don’t really know who this child will become. That part of their child is still in the future, and what they will be, remains to be seen. It always seems like it is so far in the future, but in fact, it isn’t. It will seem like just yesterday that you wondered who this child would be, and suddenly, they know.
That is the case with my niece, Chantel Balcerzak. When she was a little girl, she was such a little Diva, and trust me when I say that she is still a classy looking lady, but there is so much more to the person that Chantel has grown up to be than that little pretty lady she always was. Chantel’s artistic talents started to shine through early on. She loves to write, decorate, refurbish furniture, and paint…and I, for one, have been the recipient of several of her designs. These days, Chantel’s interests have turned to wedding planning. She has started a Facebook site called Next To The Dress, and she is very good at what she does. I love her ideas, as do the brides and grooms she has helped to achieve their perfect day. She is able to plan any style of wedding, and she makes them absolutely beautiful. I just love Chantel’s creativity. I could never put together the things that she does…both in her weddings and her hobbies. I think that one of the main reasons that Chantel is so good at what she does, is because of her genuinely caring heart. I think it would be unthinkable for Chantel to have a wedding go bad…not because she planned it, but because it wouldn’t be…perfect for the bride and groom.
I don’t know what Chantel’s mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson thought she would become, but I know that she is very happy with the outcome. When a child is born, we know that they are an unwritten book, waiting to fill the pages with the wonderful choices they can make. I think Chantel has written a beautiful book of life for herself, and I am glad that I got to be a part of watching her become the beautiful woman she is….even if she is still a “little” lady. Today is Chantel’s birthday. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
During the twenty six long years when my great grandmother, Henriette Albertine Hensel Schumacher was confined to a wheelchair with debilitating arthritis, her husband, my great grandfather took care of her with the help of his children…especially my great aunts, Bertha and Elsa who gave up the hope of marriage and a family in their young years, for the love of their parents and with and understanding of their need. Because my great grandmother was only fifty years old when she was struck with this disease, her youngest daughters, Bertha and Elsa were only 11 and 8 years old. Those girls would barely remember a time when they were not caregivers for their mother, and later for their father too. The time went by so quickly, and suddenly they looked back and the time for having a family was long past for them.
I don’t think that most people, or at least most of those who have never been a caregiver, have any idea what a monumental job it is to care for someone. It takes a willingness to give up your own desires, hobbies, activities…basically your life, to help someone else who is not in a position to help themselves. And, it isn’t always the person who needs the care that is the most helped, but rather their spouse, who has been trying to handle it themselves, and trying to figure out what has happened to their strength, their ability to handle everything in their life, and how they could have come to a place where their only hope lies in the strength of their children, who still have the advantage of youth’s strength and energy. This was the place my great grandfather, Carl Schumacher found himself in, as the years passed and he came to the understanding that he would have to lean heavily on his two youngest daughters to keep things going.
I have to wonder if great grandpa felt a lot of guilt over what his daughters gave up in life to help him. He was such a loving, caring person, who had always been able to take care of all the needs of his family, and he just could not do this alone. He simply had no choice but to rely on them for help. He was getting older, and he was getting tired. I’m sure Bertha and Elsa would have had it no other way. These were their parents, and they loved them. Still, they never forgot the day that their dad said, “What would I do without you girls?” I know from my own experiences as a caregiver, that while you don’t need to have the patient constantly saying “thank you”, there is something to be said for hearing that your hard work has positively effected their lives. They were both rewarded in later years with wonderful husbands, and even thought it was for a short time they were blessed in that way too in the end.
In my years as a caregiver, I have had the opportunity a number of times to hear or be told that without my help, they couldn’t have stayed in their homes this long, and it does make you feel good about your work. Nevertheless, like my great aunts, I know I would do the work whether the praise came or not, because it truly is about making their lives better, and not about the praise I received. It’s all about the love I have for those I care for. I’m very proud of my great aunts, that they did what they needed to do to help their parents, and someday, I’ll have the chance to tell them that myself.