Posts Tagged ‘life’
As our children grow into adulthood, it can be difficult to look at them in this new light. Sometimes, it takes much longer to realize that they are grown adults than perhaps it should take. It isn’t that they are immature, its just that we can’t get past the picture of that child that has lived in our minds all these years. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be your own children either. Nieces and nephews can seem like they just shouldn’t be grown adults…and yet they are. That’s the way I feel about my niece, Jenny. As a girl, Jenny was a teeny little princess type with a cute little smile. She rarely took anything seriously, but rather just liked to have fun. I know, pretty typical of a little girl. Yes, she was typical of little girls, but Jenny was going to become something different…a faith filled woman.
Now, Jenny is grown and has a family of her own. Somehow, it has finally hit me I think, what a very special woman she is. She has been through so many things in her lifetime, and yet the woman I see before me is strong and charming at the same time. She doesn’t let the sadness or problems she faces, define who she is, but rather turns to God to lead her everywhere she goes. As a teenager, like most teenagers, she just didn’t seem like she would have become this strong faith-filled woman, but now, here she is. It is an amazing transformation.
I think that you can tell what a person is really made of as you watch them walk through the trials in this life. Some people are broken by the trials, and some stand firm in their beliefs, and strong in their faith. Nevertheless, you wish there was a way to keep them from going through any trials at all, because you love them. You can’t protect them from everything they will face in this world, but you can equip them with the necessary tools to see them through the trials of life…namely God. Now, as I see Jenny posting on Facebook about how happy she is to be going to church to worship the Lord, it makes me feel very proud of how much she has grown in the Lord.
The person Jenny is today is a direct result of the prayers of her mother. My sister, Cheryl, like the rest of my sisters, my parents, and I, have prayed over our children. I can’t imagine trying to walk through this world without prayers being said over the journey, nor can anyone in the rest of my family. Jenny too, has learned that life must be handled with prayer, and that while sorrows may come, God still has a plan for you, and that miracles still happen today. Those prayers brought Steve into her life, so they could walk the road of faith hand in hand. Jenny knows that God really does still answer prayer today, and when He heals your broken heart, it is in the most wonderful way. And she knows that while sorrows come, God will restore what is missing in their lives, back to them again. Today is Jenny’s birthday. While life has not always been easy for her…Jenny has come through it all, her faith intact and her joy complete, because she has her miracle. I’m very proud of her. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a blessed day!! We love you!!
Lately, my cousin, James Jay Spencer has been on my mind quite a bit. He passed away seven years ago today. Jim was a happy, smiley little boy, whose life ended far too soon, after he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. It had been some time since we had seen Jim, and I really do regret that, because my cousin, Jim was a great guy, and I loved him very much.
During the time of Jim’s illness, Uncle Bill naturally focused on the time he had left with Jim. They spent as much time together as they could. In the last few years of his life, Jim went to see his dad every day, something that pleased Uncle Bill very much. They would do lots of things together…or nothing but sit and talk. It didn’t really matter. They shared a number of interests, making them very good friends. Losing a child, no matter how old, is a devastating event in a parent’s life, and one that they never really get past. It is always there, just under the surface…a bittersweet memory that can be hard to talk about, and easy to cry over.
As a little boy, Jimmy loved to play in the vacant lot across the street from their house. The neighborhood kids played there in the summer, but in the winter, it became an ice skating rink. The kids who had skates skated, and the ones who didn’t like my cousin Jim, just took a running slide on the ice. Jim quickly grew to love the ice. One day when he was about 4 years old, he came running into the house, and when his dad asked if he had been skating, he said “No, I’ve been swiding on my boots!” Soon, his love of the ice turned into a love of hockey. At first, his team couldn’t seem to win a game, but Jim always said the same thing, “We’re gonna win this one, Dad.” As time went on, the team did win and Jim got to be a great hockey player, in spite of the fact that he wasn’t real tall. Then, he passed that love of hockey onto his son, Cody who was a great player too.
Uncle Bill and Jim shared more than a love of sports. They understood each other. Jim’s loss was devastating to Uncle Bill. His mind was already slipping, and the memories of the past were quickly becoming all he had left…his children and his family history. And now, his youngest child was gone. He wrote the things he remembered of Jim’s life…the precious memories…the thoughts and feelings…all the accomplishments…all the things they had done. He set Jim’s place in the family history, and at the end of it all, he finished with the words that were the sweetest to his tired memory, “I called him Jimbo. He called me Daddio.”
As our parents get older, and less able to do the same things they used to when they were younger, and we come to expect less and less of them, and sadly sometimes we include them less in things. It’s not because they don’t want to be included, because they do, but because we don’t think they can do things anymore. As the new year approached, many people were at parties, and many of their parents were at home. Of those that included their parents, and were at a place where they could dance, I have to wonder how many made sure that their parents got to dance. Sometimes, it is harder to pull that off, and all too often the kids just don’t think about it. Still, when that forgotten dancer gets the chance to dance again, it lifts their spirit so much. I got to see that exact thing happen last year at my mom’s New Years Eve party, when her new grandson, by marriage, Jason Sawdon took Mom out on the dance floor and they danced.
Since my Dad’s passing, we had not thought about getting Mom out on the dance floor. Since her knee injury, she has used a walker, and it would have been very difficult for her to dance. Nevertheless, Jason would have none of that. He got Mom, his new grandmother, out on the dance floor and filled in for our dad for that special New Years dance that Mom and Dad always shared. It was such a precious moment, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. It occurred to me that we had inadvertently left Mom out of part of the festivities, leaving her…a forgotten dancer. It wasn’t that we intended to do that, but more that we didn’t think about it. Dad had always had their special dance with her, and he had gone home.
I think that it’s easy to look at that situation and accept that a part of someone’s life might be over, when you are very close to that situation. We girls, being daughters and therefore not thinking like a man might think that was the case, and even the sons-in-law and grandsons who were there at the time of my Dad’s passing, could not see what Mom might need. We had watched with tears in our eyes, as they danced what turned out to be their last dance, because we were so grateful that they had the opportunity again. When Dad was gone on the next New Year’s Day, we thought her dance days were over. What Jason saw was a different need, and maybe Jessi gave him the idea…I don’t know, and I have not asked, because our forgotten dancer got to dance again, and that was all that mattered.
Pam is the oldest of my Aunt Doris and Uncle Bill’s three children, and their only girl. Each of their children were special in their own right. I always thought of Pam as an elegant looking girl. She and my sister, Cheryl had a way about them that I had always wished I had. I don’t know if it was about being older and more sophisticated, or what, but I knew that it was what I wanted to be like, but never felt like I was…at least not until I was much older, and it didn’t matter anymore.
Of course, Pam was much more than that to her little brothers. As the big sister, she knew all the fun stuff to do when they were little boys. I’m sure that as they grew, she wished they would leave her alone…as all big sisters do, but when they were little, she was the one they loved to hang around. She has always had a great smile, and she could always make them laugh when she played with them. They were very blessed to have her.
When Pam and her husband, Mike came out for a visit last summer, we all had a chance to get reacquainted. It was such a lovely visit. We had not seen Pam for a long time, because we all let life get in the way. How sad is that? But with Facebook, hopefully we can stay better in touch with each other now.
Pam is an elementary school teacher, teaching 3rd grade right now, but plans to retire soon. We hope that might mean that she and Mike can come back out and visit for a little longer this time. The little visit we had really just brought with it an appetite for more time with this wonderful cousin. We talked and laughted about the old days, and caught up with the things going on in our lives these days. I could have talked with them for hours, and really hated to see them leave. And, I look forward to the next time we can get together. Today is Pam’s birthday. Happy birthday Pam!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
To every little girl who has a big sister, she is most likely the first person she looked up to. Big sisters are wise, because they have done so much in this world. They can show you all the cool things that they have had the opportunity to see in their lives. They show you the ropes, and they are there for you through thick and thin…even if you fight occasionally in those early years. When it comes down to it they would fight any foe, bully, or even and friend…if they came between them and their little sister. That was and is the kind of friend I have in my big sister, Cheryl. She always seemed so much more sophisticated than I was. And still does to this day. I don’t know how she does it, but she just has that something about her. With all she has done with her life, I find myself feeling very proud that she is my sister.
I suppose there are many younger sisters who feel the same way about their big sisters. I mean, big sisters always seem to have the answers, all the cool friends…not that you get to hang out with them, all of the cool clothes…while you wear hand me downs, and they get to do so much more than you get to do. Still, sometimes, they give you a little bit of their time, and you get to bask in the warmth of being with that person who is so much cooler than you are. You get to go do things together…like exploring in the back yard, or playing with the cool toys they have. Your life is perfect, simply because that cool big sister gave you a few minutes of their time.
It is at this point in time that you really get a full understanding of how much your big sister loves you. It doesn’t matter that most of the time they really want you to just stay out of the way. It doesn’t matter that most of the time they want you to leave their toys alone. Those thoughts fade into a distant memory. You get to hang out with the wisest, coolest person you know. They get to teach you from all the wisdom of their years…even if there are only 2 years between you, and you are only 6 months old at the time. I guess that wisdom isn’t nearly as important as the love your big sister has for little old you.
In years gone by, most farmer’s children worked on the farms of their parents. Many still do, but the way they worked has change quite a bit. Back in the old west and beyond, the fields were plowed on foot using team of horses or oxen to assist in pulling the plow through the hard ground. It has hard work, and usually resulted in the blistering of hands that were not used to it. In those days, the women didn’t usually work the farms, unless there simply was no other choice, and women with calloused hands were looked down upon and thought to be…well, not really a true lady…at least, not by Eastern standards. They just didn’t understand what it took to build the West. Many times, people moved out West with the promise of a homestead, and 5 years to prove the land. Money was scarce, and you did what you had to do…including setting your children to the task of helping out on the farm.
It is my opinion that the way things were done in the old West better trained the children for adulthood. I have watched so many kids go through life without having to shoulder any responsibility, and then continue on in life in the same way. Some becoming “professional students” so that they won’t have to get a job, while their parents pay their way. It’s a sad, sad situation, and one the parents find themselves having trouble getting out of.
The kids in the old West understood that their help was needed or the family was not going to make it. School became a luxury and one that often ended after the eighth grade, if not before. Their time was needed elsewhere. Things have changed dramatically since then. Farm equipment has made the work on the farm much easier, and the children aren’t needed to the degree that they used to be. That is a good thing in that more kids finish school.They also have time to just be kids these days. I’m still not sure which is better…or maybe there is no better…just different.
Our brother-in-law, Lynn is an all around funny guy. He loves to play practical jokes on people, and always has. Add to that his sheer size…he’s 6’6″…and you have little chance of escaping his teasing if he wants to make sure you stay put for it. It could be pure torture, but since it was all meant in fun, we forgave him. Lynn was always a bit of a show off, and liked it when he could beat other people at things. I can’t say that I blame him, really, since it is fun to get attention.
For a number of years Lynn was a deputy sheriff in Natrona county, which included Midwest and Casper, and was a perfect occupation for Lynn, since he was an MP in the service. I guess locking up the bad guys was right up his alley. During the time he was a deputy, his favorite thing was to pull his friends over…just to talk. Of course, he turned on the lights on his patrol car so that everyone thought they had been pulled over for a ticket. What a way to get embarrassed…makes me thankful that I didn’t know him during those years.
These days, Lynn is retired and spends his time camping with his wife, my sister-in-law, Debbie, and being grandpa to his two grandsons and two granddaughters. I’m quite sure he still picks on them as much as he can, and of course, they love it. But, he also spends time showing them the ropes in lawn care, camping, and life, because that is what retirement is all about…isn’t it? Lynn pretty much likes to camp near their home, because during his years of being an over the road truck driver, he got his fill of long distance travel. I’m sure that isn’t a bad thing, since that keeps him close to his girls, Machelle and Susan, and, of course, the grandkids…which every grandparent knows is really important.
Today is Lynn’s birthday, so if you know him and have a chance, you really should play a practical joke on him, along with that happy birthday wish. I mean, seriously…it’s is about time someone pulled one over on him. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I never really had the chance to know my dad’s mom, because she died when I was just a little over 2 months old, but looking through an old autograph book that belonged to her, I found…between the lines written there…a few lessons passed down to me from her. They were lessons taught by the girl she was, to the granddaughter she only briefly knew. It’s funny the things you can learn from words that the teacher didn’t even write. I think that might be because the things that people say or write to you show to a degree the type of person you are. People naturally don’t want to hurt the feelings of their friends, so they try to agree with their friend’s beliefs, or they are careful around them. That was the kind of person my grandmother was. People respected her and wanted to live up to her standards. I like that. Oh, I know that those people might have just said that because it was her, and not meant a word, and I know that many of the autographs were the poetry of that day, and this, in some cases, but it seemed important that she like them and respect them.
One of the things I know about my grandmother from hearing about her all my life is that she was a hard working woman. My grandfather worked for the railroad, and he was away much of the time. That left the running of the farm and the everyday life of the kids to her. She never even flinched. She saw what needed to be done, and she did it. She showed her children the way they should do things, and they all turned into respectable and responsible people. Of course, I realize that the way kids turn out is not totally up to their parents, because the influences of the world are there too, but much of what they learn and live, at least when they are young, is from their parents.
As her birthday approaches on August 3rd, it occurs to me that she would have been 126 years old…impossible I know, but it tells me that the lessons of my grandmother really never become out dated. If we stand by our values, and let others know that we stand by our values, they will respect us and our values. If we compromise our values, others will know that we are fake. My grandmother was not fake. She was the kind of person that people wanted to be like. That is a great honor. And her friends felt honored to know her.
For as long as I have known my husband, Bob, he has been a person who loves to laugh, and so loves a good joke and loves to tease. Of course, I have been the recipent of much of his teasing, and so can attest to his teasing personally, and that was ok, since I was raised in a teasing household too. I’m not talking about mean teasing that leaves lasting scars, but rather, practical jokes and other funny stuff. People who have never been around playful teasing are really missing out if you ask me.
In our more that 38 years together, Bob and I have shared many a laugh. It has made our life rich in so many ways. I believe that a house filled with laughter is the best kind home to live in, and teasing is a big part of that. Life can get so serious at times, and if there is laughter in the home, it lightens the mood and makes the tough times so much easier to bare.
Bob can be so funny sometimes, and yet, it hasn’t just been the laughter that has made our lives rich. We have so many things in common, and we love being in each other’s company. There is nothing quite as amazing as spending the rest of your life with your best friend, sharing all the great times that life has to offer. Hiking is our main activity of choice. It is our way of getting away from it all and spending quality time together. Our hikes always include laughter and joking, along with sharing our hope, dreams, and plans for the future. They also include, picture taking, because many of the beautiful places we hike are begging to have their picture taken.
Pictures are a big part of the memories we have from our times together. They I love looking back on all the great shots I’ve taken of the many special places our hikes have taken us. From places right around home to hikes in the Black Hills, and along the Grand Canyon, we have seen so many wonderful sites on foot. I have been amazed at how far our feet have taken us.
This life with my friend has turned out to be the most wonderful journey that we could ever have taken. Our dreams of seeing wonderful places…places most people never see. Places that don’t cost thousands of dollars, and yet they are worth billions of dollars to me…because they are ours. Our footsteps on the many trails we have hiked have made this life with my best friend the best it could have been.
When my grandson, Caalab was 5 years old, he came up to me when we were getting ready to leave to take him, his sister, and his cousins to school, and said, “Good news Grandma!! I just got my driver’s license!! So…I’ll drive!!” I laughed and told him, “I don’t think so.” Of course, he was joking, because that was what Caalab did, and still does. I have thought about that funny little statement many times in the years that have followed, and it has always put a smile on my face. Today, that statement will no longer be a funny little joke, because today, Caalab is 16 years old, and will be going this morning to get his driver’s license. I can’t believe that the years have gone by so fast.
There are those who wish this day hadn’t arrived, and the one I never would have expected is Caalab’s sister, Shai. For so many years, she had wished that she wouldn’t have had a brother, and would gladly have sold him to the highest bidder, or even the best offer, but in the last couple of years. The opinion Shai has of her brother has softened tremendously. She has been taking him to school and other places since she started driving, and while that hasn’t always been wonderful, mostly it was good. Now she is feeling a little bit sad that she won’t be doing that anymore. It feels a little bit lonely, I’m sure. Shai wishes her brother wasn’t going to be driving, because with both of them working and getting out of school at different times next year, they just won’t get to see each other as much as they had when Shai was taking Caalab to school. Nothing will be the same again, probably not for the rest of their lives. Life moves so fast, and sometimes we just don’t notice until the moments have passed us by. Yes, they will always be sister and brother, but they will be busy with their own lives.
I know how she feels. As life changes, it always seems like there is a little twinge of sadness. When they come into my office to show me their license, and then I watch them leave, it feels like you have just turned that little 5 years old loose on the street…in a car…alone!!! It just doesn’t seem possible that they have grown up so quickly, but they have, and will continue to grow up, because non of us can stop the hands of time. Time marches on, and old things are left behind.
So, today when my grandson, Caalab comes into my office to show me his license, I’ll do my best to smile and not shed a tear. We’ll take his picture, like we did his sister and his cousin when they got their licenses. We will all be excited that he is beginning this new phase in his life. No one will have to go pick him up anymore, or plan things around the time he gets off work, because he can take himself now. Still, in the memory files of my mind, I will always see that little 5 year old boy saying, “Good news Grandma!! I just got my driver’s license!! So…I’ll drive!!” Today is Caalab’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!!