My nephew, Isaac Spethman has always been an innovative young man, wanting to work from a young age, which we were all proud of, but also found to be really cute thing for a little boy to want to do. Isaac hasn’t changed much over the years, other than his size of course. He is still in the process of shaping up to be an excellent young man, and one who makes us all proud.
Isaac isn’t perfect, of course, what boy is, or girl for that matter. He plays rough with his siblings, Xander, Zack, and Aleesia, and fights with them too, picks on his little sister, Aleesia. Kids can be enough to drive their parents crazy sometimes, but they are also a very rewarding part of life. I don’t know one parent who would trade one minute of fighting for peace and quiet.
Isaac started wrestling this year and seems to excel at it too. He won his first match. Not bad for a new wrestler, but then he does have brothers and I know they do a lot of wrestling, although probably not the legal kind. Isaac is quick, and seems to be able to break out of a hold pretty easily. I know he will have a very successful year, and while I wont be at the matches, I’ll cheer him on from home. Have a great year Isaac.
Recently Isaac has been asked to be an usher at church. It is a job he takes very seriously, and he does an excellent job. I think he is the youngest usher we have, and the people of the church are very pleased with him too. Isaac is and always has been a boy who takes responsibility very seriously. He remembers what he is supposed to do, and does it exactly as he is supposed too. He is meticulous about it. That is very unusual in a young boy, but then Isaac isn’t your average young boy. And he is shaping up to be a great young man. Today is Isaac’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Cassie Iverson is a woman of deep convictions. She has researched her positions on things, including vaccinations, education, government, and a number of other things, and she has made up her own mind how she feels about all these things. Whether you agree with her choices or not, I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and the right to make their own choices for their family, and especially for their children. Cassie and her husband, Chris have dealt with more medical issues with their son, Lucas, than anyone should ever have to, and they have done well with his upbringing. Having a child with disabilities is hard, but when those problems also include the need for many surgeries, it is really more than any parent should ever have to face. They are very much fighting for their child’s life and they are determined to win that battle. Any time a parent has to fight for the life of their child, I think they should be considered noble fighters.
Cassie have become a fund raising guru, and for anyone who has ever had to do and fund raising, you know how hard a job that is. Nevertheless, trips to Colorado for surgeries are expensive, and so sometimes you have to work hard to come up with the money for them. Cassie does what she has to do. It’s for their son, and that makes the work worth while. Anyone who has met Lucas knows what a sweet boy he is, and also that he is a fighter. Once you meet him, you can’t help but love him, and root for his victory in everything he has to deal with. While things are sometimes tough for Cassie and Chris, there are many good times too.
The take as many opportunities as they can to go camping, fishing, and photographing. Cassie loves to take pictures of nature, as well as having a business in photography where she takes family, baby, and graduation photographs. Those are great, but for me, it is the nature pictures that are amazing. Anyone can snap a picture of a mountain in the distance, but not everyone has an eye for it. If you have an eye for it, the scene really jumps out of the photograph and makes you feel like you are right there. Cassie has that ability, and that is what makes her pictures great…not to mention that she has so many great nature scenes to photograph in Wyoming. She even sells her pictures, which gives other people the chance to see things through her eyes. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Memorial Day…an often misunderstood day, is actually a day to remember those military men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom…they gave their life in service to their country. Whether we know it or not, I’m sure that every family has lost a love one to war…some war in history. It might be many years in the past, and we may not even know about it at all, nevertheless, it is our duty to remember and to honor them, because they sacrificed their very lives that we might live in a free nation. It is so hard to think of someone that we care about, being killed in a foreign country while fighting a war.
I am one of those people who doesn’t personally know of a family member lost in a war, but my Uncle Jim Richards brother, Dale was lost on the beaches of Normandy France on July 30, 1944. It is incomprehensible to me to think of his family getting word of his passing, only to find out that they would have to foot the bill to bring him home for burial. There simply were not enough funds, and so Dale was buried at the Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial, in Normandy, France. I can’t begin to imagine the awful day when the summer suddenly seemed as cold as ice. No parent should have to outlive their child, but with war comes death, and someone’s son or daughter will not be coming home again. I heard it put best in a song by Tim McGraw. The song, If you’re Reading This talks about getting a “one way ticket” over there. Unfortunately, far too many of our young men and women have been given that one way ticket, and while they paid with their lives, their families paid too. Their loved one is forever take from them, and they are left to mourn…to try to go on with their lives.
So many people look at Memorial Day as a holiday…a day to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season for cultural events. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day. However, fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year. But how should we, the living, best honor the lives of all those who have died in service to our country? On Memorial Day, it is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half staff from dawn until noon. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. in reality, this is a day to reflect on the sacrifices made to keep us free. While we feel like we should be honoring veterans who have passed away, the reality is that their day is Veterans Day, which honors the veterans of all wars living or dead. Within the military, there is a very strict protocol concerning the days we honor military personnel. The other thing that we tend to find odd about Memorial Day, is that we can’t go to someone and thank them for their sacrifice, because the way they came to be honored is to have given their life for their country. All we can do is to honor their memory.
It’s hard for me to believe that Bob and I became parents for the first time 41 years ago today. At 7:10am, our precious little girl, Corrie Schulenberg Petersen arrived in this world. When they handed her to me I was in awe. Here she was…our perfect little baby, and she was ours…forever. How could that have been have been 41 years ago, when it feels like only yesterday?
Over the course of the last 41 years, much has changed. Corrie is the mother of a college graduate and a high school senior. She has been at her current place of employment for over 20 years, and they would be in quite a pickle without her capable handling of her duties. Corrie also runs a business from home as a virtual assistant and ghost writer. For those of you who have never heard of such things, like I was, a virtual assistant does all of the things that an office assistant does, but from their home. Corrie has had clients all over the United States. A ghost writer, is an author who writes for someone else. The credit goes to the person who hired her to write the book or article. Corrie is a great ghost writer, but I think she should also consider writing her own book…because she could do it.
When I think of Corrie, the mom…the picture that comes to my mind is of Corrie in a cape with a big “S” on her shirt, because Corrie really has always been Super Mom! When her boys, Chris and Josh were little, she was very active in their school. She headed up the parent organization…what used to be the PTA, and now I believe it is POPI, but I could be wrong on that. She also made sure the boys got to play all the sports their little hearts desired. She kept up with their studies, so she could help when needed, or just to make sure they got everything done in time.
The years have changed many things now, and before long, Corrie and her husband, Kevin will be empty nesters. They already do many things without the boys, since they are working a lot of the time. Chris is getting ready to get his own place, but they will have Josh at home a while…when he’s not working, anyway. Josh has decided to live at home while going to college, so that will delay the sting of his leaving. Empty nest or not, the future is looking bright for Corrie and her family, and while she will always be mom, she might have to retire her cape, because they don’t seem to need Super Mom much now, but Mom…well, they will always need her. Today is Corrie’s birthday. Happy birthday Corrie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
One of the hardest things a parent has to face, is having their child move away. Whether it is to college or a permanent move, it is a tearing time for the parents, who had hoped this day would never come. Parents don’t have children so they can move away, but nevertheless, that is what happens sometimes. Whether it is a job transfer, college, or a move of choice, it is really hard on both parents and children. Since I have never moved away as a child, I can’t speak to the feelings of homesickness that come from living so far from the only home I have ever known. I suppose it could be much the same as the parents are feeling about their child leaving. You want them to be happy, and yet you had always hoped that their happiness would be found in the same city that you live in, and not in a city that is 1200 miles away from you. That is just so far away, that it seems unbearable.
As the parent, in this situation, I think it might be just a bit unique. For the last six and a half years, I have had the great pleasure of working side by side with my daughter, Amy Royce. Friday was her last day, since she is moving to Washington state today. I think the hardest part of her leaving work for good, is seeing her empty chair. Her office is out front, and will continue to be used to do things like make payments and such, until we hire someone to take her place, but it’s really hard for me to go in there, because when I do, I am once again faced with that empty chair…not to mention the task of telling every client that Amy no longer works there. It almost feels like rubbing it in.
It has also been our tradition to go to breakfast with Amy every other week on Saturday, trading off with going to breakfast with our older daughter, Corrie Petersen. As we were having a special breakfast Sunday morning, which included both of them, so that we could all enjoy one more time together, it occurred to me that in the future, we would again be looking at an empty chair…the one Amy used to occupy every other week at breakfast. It is just another reminder of the drastic change that has taken place in our family.
Then, came church. I am used to having Amy sitting on my right and Corrie on my left, but Sunday morning brought yet another empty chair, as Amy and her family spent the morning packing the moving truck they have rented. Amy also sang with me as part of the backup singers for the music ministry, and that felt a little bit lonely too…even though I didn’t stand right next to her. I still knew that she was there, and now I know that she isn’t there anymore.
I know that I will get used to having my daughter and her family living so far away. It will just take time. I know it will be hard for them too, but I think they will have a bit of an advantage over me, and those of us left behind, including their daughter, Shai, who decided to stay in Casper, because they will not be picturing us in places around their world. It will not be normal to have us there at their work, at the restaurants they go too, or the church they attend. They will have a normal that doesn’t include us. We will have to create a new normal that does not include them. Yes, I will get used to having them gone too. I just think it would be easier for me, were it not for that empty chair.
My mom always wanted to hear nothing but happiness in her home. Really, what parent doesn’t? The biggest problem was that she had five daughters who were all very capable of being drama queens, and we didn’t mind a good argument or even a big fight either. That situation made for a house that could, on occasion, be…a little less than happy. I’m sure we pretty much drove her crazy at times. Mom tried a lot of things to restore her preferred mood, like singing “You Are My Sunshine” or doing other goofy things.
Of course, Mom’s cheerfulness wasn’t just during times when we were fighting, and she could get grouchy if she needed too, but then who can’t? The funny thing about some of the things Mom used to do is how totally random they were. Take the Cha-Cha for instance. Most people would never imagine that my mom would do the Cha-Cha…and do it often, but she did. It was all a part of her love for life style. Sometimes, that happiness would just burst out of her, and she had to do something with it. It was like a nervous energy of sorts. You never knew when to expect it. It was totally random, but you had a pretty good idea that this would not be the last time your would see it.
Of course, she did other things with that happy energy, and as kids, and even sometimes as adults, we were a bit embarrassed about some of them. The parade is a prime example. Mom just can’t help but let out a big “Woo Hoo” when the floats go by. She hates for anyone not to be cheered on for their efforts. She stands out in the crowd too, because she always wears her cowboy hat. I used to think that was how everyone knew just who it was doing all the “woo hooing”, but then I realized that lots of people had cowboy hats on…Mom was just the one with the loud voice that happened to be “woo hooing”…and by the way, everyone else was “woo hooing” too, so I seriously doubt that anyone even noticed my mom’s “woo hooing”…except maybe her kids. I used to think, “Oh my gosh!! Do you have to do that?” But these days, it doesn’t bother me. I guess that as we get older, we don’t worry so much about what other people think, and we are finally able to just enjoy the moment. That’s what my mom was always able to do…enjoy the moment. Maybe more of us should be like that.
There is something about naming a child after yourself, or your parent, that appeals to a lot of people. My dad was named after his dad, and my Uncle Bill Spencer was named after his grandfather. Sometimes it’s the first name that came from the parent, sometimes it’s the middle name, or sometimes it’s both. For my Uncle George Hushman, who didn’t know his own family until much later in life, life presented him with a perfect plan for a namesake. When Uncle George married my Aunt Evelyn Byer, he became the second George in the family, because his father-in-law, my Grandpa George Byer was the first George. Since Uncle George didn’t know his family at the time he married my Aunt Evelyn, he pretty much adopted her family as his family.
I don’t know if their first son, George was named after Uncle George or Grandpa George, or if it was both, but I kind of think it might have been both. Then, when he had a son, my cousin George, named his son George. Suddenly there were four Georges in the family. Of course, with the four Georges came the need for nicknames to distinguish between the three and then the four of them. My cousin George became Bub, and his son, my cousin once removed, George became Hush. It seems like anytime a child is named after a parent, nicknames are inevitable, but the parent truly still has a namesake. I’m sure that my grandfather felt honored to have so many named after him, even if he shared that with Uncle George, and I think they both liked the whole thing enough to want a picture of the four Georges as a keepsake. And now, there is a fifth George, with the addition of Tuff.
My husband, Bob was named after his grandfather, Bob Knox, and so my Bob became Bobby to his family…but that was not allowed by his wife, mind you. I can’t say as I blame him, really, I mean it is a little juvenile when you think about it. My nephew, Rob was also named after his dad, and we all called him Robbie, but his wife, Dustie was not allow to use that either…again, too juvenile. Naming a child after someone else can be a little problematic for the one being named, when they grow up and the name seems far too young for them.
For my Uncle Bill, being named after his grandfather was the greatest honor that could have been bestowed on him. He wore the name with pride…often mentioning the connection in the family history along with his signature, as a way of honoring his grandfather. I think that is what having or being a namesake is all about. It is a show of love for the person who had the name first, as well as for the child named after someone very dear to their parents. Maybe it began as a tradition, but even then, it is a show of honor, love, and great respect, and it is a cool thing to do.
When you lose one parent, you feel a like half of your world is messed up. You still have the other parent, but it still doesn’t feel right…doesn’t feel the same as it used to be. I have felt that kind of loss twice in my life, because when you marry into a family, you gain a second set of parents. Having in-laws can be good or bad depending on the relationship you build with your in-laws. For me it was a good relationship, so when my father-in-law passed away, it was my second dad that passed away. I have noticed something quite different with my father-in-law’s passing, from my dad’s passing.
While both mothers are still alive, and in my family, that is a more stablizing fact, in Bob’s family, it is not so much the case. Since his mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and is in a nursing home, it feels almost like she is gone from us too, in a sense. It isn’t that we don’t go see her often, because we do, but because she doesn’t have any input in family matters. It almost feels like the family is adrift at sea…in separate boats!! Everyone is busy doing their own things, and living their own lives, but that creates a feeling of disconnect in my mind. While some family members call each other and talk about things, others don’t. Some I haven’t heard from since the end of May, when we had Brenda’s birthday party. It is a bit of a lonely feeling.
Other family members, I talk to often, of course, and it is my hope that the family will regroup and become as strong as it was before. I’m sure everyone is just trying to deal with everything in their own way, but for me, it just seems like some of the family has grown farther apart from the rest of us, and I think that is sad. I’m one of those people who likes close family ties, and not talking to the family much is, well…as I said before, like being adrift at sea…in separate boats.
When you are a young person, you can look ahead to the future, and in your minds eye, you see how things will happen just the way you plan or expect them to be. You have no doubt in your mind that you will become what you plan, do the things you plan to do, go the places you plan to go. It is all up to you. It is your life to plan and live as you choose. Then comes the inevitable curve ball. The moment when everything changes. Your world turns upside down, and the things that seemed important before, aren’t anymore. It can be almost anything, from the loss or serious illness of a parent, as it was in my case, to a car accident, to a unplanned baby, to…well, you get the idea. And in reality, most of us have several of these moments that come to pass in our lives, that are life altering, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes…just different than you had expected.
I have had several life altering moments in my life, as have most people, such as falling in love with my husband, and choosing to have children and marriage instead of finishing my college education, which changed my future from a teaching career to the one I now have, which is as an insurance agent. For those who know me, you know that my new career choice and the current boss that I have at that job have made all the difference as other life altering changes have occurred.
For me the biggest and most traumatic curve ball, came when my dad became ill with Pancreatitis on October 1, 2005, in Canada. My sisters and I drove straight through to Canada, and spent the next 2 weeks at his bedside in Canada until he could be transferred by Life Flight to Wyoming Medical Center. After 4 months and 4 surgeries, Dad was finally able to come home. It would be a long recovery. It was during that time that I found out what my second calling was. I was able to understand the medical jargon and so, became one of his main caregivers. My mother would get sick during that same time with a Brain Tumor, that is gone now. Later my in-laws would be added to my caregiving tasks. My father-in-law has Emphysema and my mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s Disease.
After 7 years of caregiving, I am quite sure I could have been a nurse, except that being a caregiver for elderly people is very hard on your emotions. You know you are fighting a losing battle, and your efforts are only holding off the inevitable. I am not sorry to have taken the journey that my curve ball has taken me on, and it is very rewarding when you win a health battle, even if it is only a temporary win. Looking back, later on, I will always know that I did the best I could do, I gave the very best that I could give, and hopefully, 4 lives were made better through my efforts, and those of the team of people who help me every day.
Once in a while, you get the chance to rescue a wild animal, and in an even more rare situation, you might get the chance to raise that animal, usually a baby who has lost its mother, and really has no way to survive on its own. That situation came about for my father-in-law back in about 1946, when a baby deer found its way not only into his care…not only into his heart, but into the family.
My father-in-law has always had a soft heart, and when he found this baby, whose mom was dead, and who was in a lot of trouble out there all by himself…well, he took him in and raised him. The deer settled right in and became part of the family. He revelled in the attention he got from everyone. I suppose the deer thought that my father-in-law was his parent, I mean, what else did he know, except that this person fed him and took care of him…just like a parent would do.
The deer was a part of the family for 2 years, during which time he was included in pictures with the family, and was even photographed by himself, sitting on the hood of a tractor. No he didn’t get there my himself. My father-in-law lifted him up there for the picture, but the deer didn’t see anything wrong with such a thing. He had become so much a part of the family, that he figured that was right where he should be.
The deer shared in their lives for 2 years before they decided that he was ready to be released back into the wild, and once they let him go, they never saw him again. My father-in-law figures that he was probably shot by a hunter, but while I am not against hunting, I have to hope that this little darling somehow got lucky and didn’t end up on someone’s table somewhere. He is just too cute and too sweet to think that he was hunted, killed and eaten. Just my opinion.