Posts Tagged ‘life’
College graduation means the end of all the years of schooling, and the beginning of the rest of your life. Now it’s time to set out set out and find that perfect job to get your career moving in the right direction. That’s supposed to be the next step right? Right, but what about when there is something else that steps in and demands all the attention first. My niece, Lindsay graduated from South Dakota State University on Saturday, with a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. There are so many things she can do at this point. She once told me about all the possibilities, which were widely varied. She will have the ability to go into a wide range of careers…just from one degree. I am very proud of Lindsay’s accomplishments.
Lindsay’s graduation day was a wonderful event that took a tiny, unexpected turn. In front of her family, all of whom were very pleased, Lindsay’s boyfriend, Shannon asked for her hand in marriage. It is a rare event, when the future bride’s family gets to witness the proposal, but this was to be one of those special proposals. I can imagine how my future nephew’s heart was pounding, because even though they have been dating for a long time now, this is a big step, and he wanted it to be perfect. He wanted to ask Lindsay in exactly the right way…the perfect proposal. When Lindsay said yes…Shannon’s heart was really pounding, but then, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Lindsay’s college graduation party was transformed from a graduation party to a very special graduation/engagement party. The celebration that followed was made extra special because while graduation is the end of schooling and the beginning of life; engagements are always the beginning of something. It is the beginning of a new life…one as a couple instead of an individual. Their love is now moving on to the next level…the happily ever after level. The journey ahead is yet to be planned. Like the wedding day, it is theirs to build into the perfect life for them. Congratulations of your engagement,Lindsay and Shannon!! May God richly bless your life together. We love you very much!!
Today is my birthday. The last few days, I have been reflecting on my birthday, and my dad’s birthday just two days before mine, and how much I miss him, and what my parents mean to me. Your parents give you so much, as a baby. They supply everything you need, like food clothing, warmth, love…eveything. But before that, there was something more they did. It was something even greater…the greatest gift. They gave you life. How do you thank them for that? Oh, I know, my parents had me and my sisters, because they wanted a family, but it was their desire for a family that gave me life. It was likely something they gave little thought to…that this was a gift to me, but that is exactly what if feels like to me. The greatest gift.
When I arrived I was nurtured by my mom and dad. When I came home, I met my sister Cheryl, who loved me very much. Like me, she had been given the greatest gift our parents could give us…the gift of life. Because we lived so far away from my mom’s family then, my grandparents made the trip from Casper, Wyoming to Superior, Wisconsin to visit us, and share in the joy of our growing little family. Cheryl and I felt so blessed to have the happiest life there could possibly be. She and I played in our little world, mostly just the two of us, but also with our cousin, Pam, for the next three years in Superior, Wisconsin.
Our family moved back to Casper, where my sister, Caryl was added to our family, 3 years after I was born. Then two years later, Alena, and two years after that, Allyn. Each of us had been given the same greatest gift from our parents. And along with that greatest gift, they had also given us another second greatest gift…the gift of siblings. My parents and my sisters have always been so dear to me. Our family has always been very close, and as it continues to grow, more and more blessings are added. With each new family member, by birth or by marriage, the greatest gift, keeps on giving. So today, on the anniversary of my birth, I want to thank my parents for giving me life. Your gift was so precious and loving…the greatest gift…ever.
Today is my sister-in-law, Rachel’s birthday, and it seemed to me a fitting day to pay tribute to the woman who gave birth to this girl who joined our family 2 years and 9 months ago. Rachel’s mother died when Rachel was a young girl, and yet I believe that the influence of her mother is alive in Rachel today. Rachel showed me this picture of her mother a while back, and told me a few things about her own life, but it wasn’t the things Rachel told me about her life, but rather the way she looked at the picture of her mother that struck me. There was such love in her eyes, mixed with a yearning for just one more moment with her mom. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like to grow up without your mom, especially for a girl. Girls just need their mom at several key points in their life, and my heart hurt for this woman, my new sister-in-law, and the child she had been when her mother was taken from her by illness, as well as the teenager, young woman, and now the adult woman, who still felt the loss very deeply.
While I know that Rachel’s mother was not in her life during the toughest years of her life, I believe that deep down inside of Rachel, her mother’s influence lived on. As Rachel worked her way through the teenaged years, into motherhood, and beyond, the memories of the kind of mother her mother was lived on inside her. A little child remembers the way their mother was…her gentle touch, as she held them close…her perfume, as beautiful as she was…her voice, calling them in for supper…all the little things that made her their mom. I could see in Rachel’s eyes that she carried those memories into her life in the present, and the kind of mother she is to her children.
As Rachel grew, and her life moved forward, through the changes that take place, whether we like them or not, I believe that she chose to be the kind of woman her mother was, and the kind of woman that God would want her to be. And, it is that woman that came into the life of my brother-in-law, Ron 2 years and 9 months ago. With her she brought her daughter, Cassie and son-in-law, Chris; and her two sons, Riley and Tucker. Rachel’s grandson, Lucas would join their family on July 3, 2011. Rachel has made Ron’s life complete. She has brought love and happiness into his life again. Ron’s life following his own divorce was lonely and, to me, it seemed like he wasn’t sure he would ever be happy again…until Rachel came along…bringing with her the best qualities from the memories of her mother. Today is Rachel’s birthday. Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
Today is one of three un-birthdays that Shai, my granddaughter will have before she gets to have her next real birthday. Shai is a Leap Day baby, and officially she is 4 1/4 years old today…or actually on that nanosecond between February 28th and March 1st…that is as close as we can get to her birthday, three out of 4 years. Most people, myself included, think the Leap Day is a cool birthday. It makes her 1 in 1500. That is the odds of being born on Leap Day. Not a rare as lots of other things, but rare enough.
Shai was a little grown up well before the years would make her a young woman, so it is fitting that today she is seventeen, but not really. That has always been the case with Shai, older than her actual years. She took care of my parents when they were sick and she was only 10 years old, or 2 1/2. She babysat for my niece Jenny at 12 years old, or 3. And like most kids, she drove at 16, except that she was really 4.
Like her cousin Chris born the day before Shai, I was there for Shai’s birth, and that was only a week ago, so how could she already be seventeen years old, even if seventeen is really 4 1/4, I take no consolation in the fact that we can call her younger than the years that have passed since her birth, because they have simply gone by too fast. My only consolation is the fact that Shai, like her cousin is a good girl who stays away from trouble and loves the Lord.
Shai doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life yet, and that’s ok. The possibilities are endless, and I know that whatever she does will be perfect for her. She could easily go into nursing, because she has had 7 years of experience in that area, but I’m not sure that is the choice she would make. She is a very social person, and it would not surprise me to see her go into a field like public relations. She worked in my office for over a year, at late 14 through 15 years of age, which is very unusual for a kid of that age. She did so many things early, and it made me even more aware of how fast the years were rushing by.
Today, Shai is unofficially seventeen years of age, and while it seems to me like a week ago, I have long been aware that she was growing up very quickly and right before our eyes. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a great day, and maybe slow down a bit, ok. We love you very much!!
When a couple has been married for many years, as my mom and dad were, before his passing, the years beyond their earthly time together reminds me of the recent version of the Titanic, where Rose had to go on after Jack’s death, to live the life he had encouraged her to live. The loss of a spouse can be such a devastating event, that sometimes people just close themselves off from life, and waste away. Of course, not every spouse who is left behind is physically able to go out and have the many adventures that Rose had, but many of those have children who step in and take them to places they could not go on their own.
Rose could have gone back to the man she was engaged to, who was abusive, and mean in every way, but she chose to take the opportunity that had presented itself, and make a new life for herself…a very brave thing to a single woman to do in that era, considering she also had to escape her mother’s selfish ways, by also not telling her that she had survived.
My mom’s mother, and my mom both lost their spouses after more than 50 years of marriage, and while neither of them would travel alone after that, both have taken many trips over the years since becoming widows. Before my grandmother passed away, 8 years after my grandfather, she took several trips, including one to Ireland with her sisters and brother, and one to Louisiana to visit her son. Looking at the pictures from those places reminded me of the adventures Rose had after Jack passed away. And I’m quite certain that my grandfather would have been most pleased with her travels, and excited that she got to make the journeys.
My mom has also had the opportunity to do some traveling since my dad’s passing. They always loved the Black Hills, and my sister, Cheryl takes her every year over the 4th of July week, when Bob and I, and several other family members go, and she gets to continue to enjoy the magesty of the Black Hills. This past week, Cheryl, Mom and I traveled through Montana, Idaho, and Eastern Washington to attend my uncle’s funeral, and Mom got to go from the lakes to the mountain tops. She didn’t hike, of course, and at times it was hard work to get her where we all wanted to go, but we persevered and it went very well.
It is so important that the surviving spouse takes that journey beyond loss, because their spouse would want them not only to survive, but flourish. They would want them to remember the past, but live in the here and now. In many ways, they are taking their spouse along with them…especially if the trip is to a place they both had wanted to go, but didn’t get to. Things change in this life, but life is for the living, and time marches on, so we must keep the love for those lost, in our hearts, and live the rest of our lives in the ways that bring us joy.
Most of the time, when I think about the faces from my parents’ past, I think of ancestors, or school friends, or maybe even old flames. All of those people bring questions to mind, but most of them can be answered, and the relationship laid to rest, at least in the case of old friends or old flames, but some faces continue to run through my mind again and again. Such is the case with the men who served in the Army Air Force with my Dad at Great Ashfield Army Air Base, which is just North of Ipswich in Suffolk, England. I know these men were Dad’s good friends, because they were important enough to him to take their pictures to preserve their memory for the rest of his life, but for whatever reason, their names were not put on the pictures, so I don’t know who they were.
Dad never talked much about the war, something that, while common among people who have fought in such battles, I nevertheless find strange. I always knew that he was a top turret gunner and flight engineer on a B-17 Bomber during World War II, but much of that information came from my mom. I guess she didn’t really know why Dad wouldn’t tell his daughters about something that made her and us so very proud of him either. I guess it just wasn’t his style, or maybe the memories of what he had to do there were just too hard to talk much about. Dad has always been such a gentleman, and had such a gentle spirit, that I’m quite certain that killing, even from a plane with a bomb, and not having to look at the faces of those who died, was something that was hard to live with, even though it was necessary, and even though he felt strongly about the purpose for which he was fighting.
In his letters home to his mom and family, he mentioned some names of friends from home, or people he trained with, but they were so restricted on what they could write about during their time in England, and the people they were with, that few names were mentioned. It was only after Dad had passed away, and we were going through pictures from his past for his slide show, that we found these pictures of his friends from his military days…those faces from Dad’s past, that I wonder about now. It was too late to ask Dad who they were then, and I have always been sorry about that. My niece, Michelle asked him about some of his military days for a report she was doing, but she didn’t know about these pictures then, or she might have asked.
I will probably never know who these men were, or if they were members of Dad’s crew on the B-17 he assigned to, and I am sorry about that. I have been trying to find out more about his military days and the men he served with, and these pictures could have been a great source of valuable information. Sadly, I will probably always wonder about the faces from Dad’s past, and the impact they had on his life.
Remember when life was simple. You were a kid with no responsibilities. You went to school and then you went outside and played with your friends. Sometimes, when life gets to be too much and my stress levels are through the roof, I really wish that I could go back there again, but then I suppose many people do. Life wasn’t always so complicated. Back in the old west, people didn’t have so many places to go. Families spent time together. Kids seldom went to play at someone else’s house, and spending the night was something saved for trips back East to visit family that you had not seen for many years.
The kids in a family had really two places the went…school and church. Other than those places, they were at home, helping out around the place or doing their homework. With no television or radio, there was no big news story to occupy their minds. They used their imaginations to pass the time. Kids might pretend to have families, or they might pretend they were on a train to visit famiy, or maybe even fighting Indians, although I seriously doubt that many girls played that game.
Today, the kids get bored if they don’t have a video game to play, or the MP3 player playing their favorite tunes, or television coming up with newer and more exciting ways to entertain them. Reading books is almost a thing of the past, and I don’t mean because of the Kindle, which I consider to be a form of reading a book, but because they would rather watch a show on television than read about it. Their imaginations don’t seem to be able to take them into the book like we used to be able to do. It’s all about what action is put in front of their eyes, not about turning words into pictures in your imagination.
Now, life is so hectic. Most people have several places to be right after work, and they can’t go home for an hour or more after they get off work. Dinner is often late, or picked up at a fast food joint along the way. There is just no time for a home cooked meal, unless maybe it is on the weekend or in a crock pot. No wonder TV Dinners became so popular…and the microwave, of course. I mean who has time to cook stuff in the oven either. No one!! Life was so simple then…what happened?
Isaac, who is the youngest son of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve, has always seemed like the quiet one. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that Isaac isn’t all boy. He and his brothers are very rough and tumble. They are always wrestling around, and playing all the tough boy games that boys love. Issac may be the youngest of the 3 boys, but he is no quitter. He will take on his big brothers in any game.
There is one area of Isaac’s life that requires a little bit of a softer touch, however. That is in the area of his little baby sister, Aleesia. You can’t play rough with babies, and Isaac is definitely up for that challenge. Isaac has been the baby of the family for a long time, and he wanted to be the big brother for quite a while now. His big brothers got to be big brothers and now…finally it was his turn. And, think Isaac is doing a wonderful job as big brother.
For now Isaac and his big brothers will have to be gentle with Aleesia, because she is just a little girl, but I think she might want to get busy and grown up tough, because I think the day will come when they will decide that she can handle their type of play. Girls with brothers do tend to be tomboys sometimes…at least until their teens. Then I think Isaac will find himself in charge of making sure nobody picks on her…self appointed in charge.
Isaac is an all around good brother and tough guy, because being the youngest of 3 boys demands that you be able to handle yourself. I remember when he was pretty little, and the older boys still wrestled around with him. I guess with brothers, it’s get tough or cry. Now, mind you, they weren’t mean. It’s just that boys will be boys, and Isaac needed to figure that out right away. And it worked out really well, because all the boys are good friends, and on one thing they all agree…their sister, Aleesia is the best sister a guy could ever ask for. And I think Isaac is the best big brother a girl could ever ask for too.
Today, my niece, Toni will marry her best friend, Dave. I am so happy for both of them. They will be married on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii, in the warm sun, with temperatures around the 80′s. The day will be as beautiful as the couple standing on that beach dedicating their lives to one another for the rest of their lives.
The road to Hawaii has been a road Toni and Dave have traveled over the past several years. I have watched their relationship grow and blossom during that time. They just seemed to click from the start. I have never seen Toni look happier. My beautiful niece literally glowed with happiness. I didn’t know Dave very well then, but I could see how good he was to Toni…how good he was for her, and I liked him immediately. Dave always looked so happy around Toni, and I could tell that she was changing his life forever…they were changing each others lives forever.
So, today is the day…the moment that they will say “I do” and become husband and wife. The excitement travels through the air from Hawaii to Wyoming, because while we are not there on that beach with them physically, our hearts are sharing in the joyous event that is taking place on that beautiful beach so far away. Our minds will wonder if the event has taken place yet, because while we know the day, we do not know the time of the wedding. We look forward to seeing the pictures they will take, and their glowing faces, and then they will go forward as a married couple to spend time seeing the sights and then home to begin their married life together. We pray God’s greatest blessings over their marriage and their little family, and wish for them all the best. Congratulations to you Mr. and Mrs. Chase on this your wedding day. Have a lovely honeymoon. We all love you very much!!
Some people are just naturally happy. That is exactly what I have seen of my husband, Bob throughout our life together, and from the pictures taken during his childhood. Bob’s family took many pictures when the kids were little, and many were spontaneous, so the smiles could not have been planned, and yet, there they were, planted squarely on Bob’s little face. I have looked through a lot of old pictures from when Bob was little, and it’s easy to see the great sense of humor he has.
Bob has always liked things that make him laugh. Two of his all time favorite shows are “The Three Stooges” and “Laurel and Hardy”. In fact, Bob can do a perfect imitation of Stan Laurel when he was doing his whiney face/rub the head thing. It makes me laugh every time he does it. When I am in another room, and Bob is watching a comedy that makes him start laughing, I can’t help but laugh too, because his laugh is contageous. He loves a good comedy show or movie!! He’s not into some of today’s stupid comedy, but the good old fashioned, truly funny comedy…now that’s funny and he could watch it all day.
Of course, laughing at good comedy isn’t the only way to get a laugh. Making other people laugh is just as much fun, and Bob is quite good at that too. He loves to make faces designed to make people laugh, in fact, quite often when you are trying to get him to pose for a picture, you might very likely get a stick out your tongue moment instead of a smile, because he wants to turn the situation around and make you laugh. Our girls are very used to the things their dad might do to get them to laugh, but even they can’t help but laugh to the point of making a face too…it’s just that funny. There really is nothing quite like a good laugh.