10436090_10202452553531053_1617650153988223033_nThrough the years, I have seen many changes in my nephew, Steve Spethman. As a young boy, he…like all boys, was mischievous and full of good natured teasing. Since Steve is my nephew, through his marriage to Jenny, my niece, he has only been a part of our family for twelve years. That said, most people might not have known what kind of boy he was, but I knew him, long before Jenny knew him. Steve wasn’t a bad boy…just a boy, and since I had girls, boys were a little foreign to me. Steve also grew up in a family of girls, since it was his mother, sister, and him. Maybe he got away with more than he might have, but he was the little man of the family, and with that came a lot of responsibility too…or at least Steve decided that it was his responsibility.

When he met my niece, Jenny, and then they got married, he took that new responsibility, of being a husband and later a father, very seriously. He became the head of the family, confidently leading his family in the ways they should go…teaching his children what was right. His years of being the little man of the family, had prepared him for being the head of the family. He confidently stepped into the job of being a loving dad to his kids. They meant the world to him. Steve and Jenny were the parents of three sons, Xander, Zachery, and Isaac. Then finally their next baby was to be a daughter.

Losing their daughter, Laila was probably the hardest thing that ever happened to Steve and Jenny, but instead of falling apart, he held them all together. Then after taking a huge leap of faith they stepped out, and tried one more time for a baby daughter, and were blessed with Aleesia. With their life finally filled to the full with a long awaited daughter, Steve began reaching out to other people who had lost a child. His comforting ways have soothed many a broken heart, and lead them to know that all hope is not lost.
I have seen Steve go from being a tough little boy, to a strong man, to a broken hearted man, to a man who can help others heal. The changes have been astonishing. I am quite proud of the many changes that have occurred in him. I’m sure most are the normal changes that occur, but some of them are changes that he has allowed the Lord to make in him. Those are changes of opening his heart to wise teaching, and that is something that has to come from within the man himself. No one can make us accept wise teaching, but us. And that is probably something in Steve that has never really changed. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Elmer Johnson_editedI have always known that my cousin Elmer had a great sense of humor, and like the 2 main cousins he hung out with, Greg and Forrest, he a knack for…well, mischief, and probably getting into a little bit of harmless trouble…mostly with my aunts and grandma.  The more I have written about the family, the more I have found out as these boys were three adventurers, who were always out to see what they could get into, come up with, or get away with.  It is a typical boy thing to, and these were definitely typical boys.

Still, with time, we all grow out of that mischievous age, and move into the normal responsibilities of life, and it is here that we really find out what makes the man. Most men go out and get a job, pay their bills, and become what everyone deems to be a responsible citizen, but some men take on the cares of others in a way that stands out to those who know them. With Elmar, I have found a man who has had such a profound impact on the lives of his niece and her children, that they would bend over backward to do special things for him, like a very special project she has been working on and that I have had the privilege to help with in a small way. Elmer’s love and caring for his niece, JeanAnn, and her children, Mykenzie, and Ethan, has made him so special to them, that they want to come up with special ways to do nice things for him. Even her children are excited about Elmer’s birthday gift. How many of us can say that about our nieces and nephews…or their children for that matter? Ethan, JeanAnn, and MyKenzieThe more I know of my cousin, the more I respect him!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, Elmer still has his amazing sense of humor, and I seriously doubt if he would pass up a chance to tease or pick on JeanAnn and the kids, but they will always know that any teasing he does in in good fun, and unless I miss my guess, they would happily tease him right back. And while they are putting together something really special for Elmer for his birthday, I have no doubt that tomorrow will be a new and very different day. Today, after all is his birthday, not tomorrow. Happy birthday Elmer!! Have a wonderful day. We love you!

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