My sister-in-law, Debbie Cook is my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s older sister. She was born just 16 months before my husband. Debbie’s birth followed a developmentally disabled older sister, and a miscarriage. Debbie’s own birth was not an easy situation either. She was born very, very premature, and only weighed a little over 2 pounds. When she finally came home from the hospital, she could have used a shoe box for a crib. Still, her life from that point forward, has been picture perfect.
With so much going wrong before and during her life’s beginning, one would expect that her whole life would have been much more tragic, and I suppose it could have been. These days great strides have been made in the area of preemie care. Often these babies started out behind, and stayed behind their whole lives. Now, the medical professionals understand that preemies have some special needs, care can be given to make preemie’s early days more productive. The thing about Debbie’s start is that she wasn’t born “these days.” Debbie was born back in the day when little was known of the needs of a preemie. That makes her prognosis more grave, and her outcome more miraculous. Debbie came out of her humble beginnings, without a “scratch” of a learning disability. I would have to call this one a miracle…plain and simple.
Debbie’s life has been one with relatively few health problems in it, and without learning disabilities, so considering the year of her beginning, things could have been much worse. Many babies born so prematurely don’t survive…even these days. The outcome could have been very different…tragically different. Debbie’s life turned out good. It was not perfect. She lost a daughter of her own, but she had two healthy daughters, and 4 grandchildren. She and her husband, LJ are retired now, and love to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains as often as they can. I’m glad things in her life went the way they did, for the most part. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
For my nephew, Chris Iverson and my niece, Cassie Iverson, life has not always been easy. The birth of their oldest child, Lucas, born with Down’s Syndrome brought the beginning of a host of future medical bills, but anyone who knows Lucas can tell you that he is just the sweetest boy. His parents and family wouldn’t trade him for the world. Nor would his little sister, Zoey, who loves him to pieces, and inspires him to progress. Chris homeschools the kids, and lately he has been trying to incorporate some extra work with Lucas, because he is, of course behind other children his age, but he has the added handicap of ongoing medical treatments that have plagued him for a while now. Zoey is two and a half now, so she is at just the right age for starting pre-school, so Chris is starting with her ABCs now.
In his spare time…when he can’t go fishing much…Chris is into video games, especially the online gaming. The competition makes it much more fun than just going against the computer. Right now he is into Horizon Zero Dawn. Now, I can’t begin to tell you what these games are all about, but I would assume some kind of fighting game. Chris has also been training the family dogs, He wants to get them well behaved before too much longer, since they are already no longer puppies. Life for the Iverson family has had its ups, and its downs, but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, it too will come with its share of sadness.
Chris and Cassie are currently planning a move to Tennessee. It’s not that they don’t love Powell, Wyoming, because they do. Powell has been their home for many years, if not all their lives, but with the medical needs of their son, and the opportunity for both of them to get an education and improve their lifestyle, they need to be in a more populated area that has more to offer their special needs son. They have looked elsewhere, but there is nothing out there that is in Wyoming or even the surrounding states, so the move was inevitable. I know that their whole family will really miss them. It is always sad when your kids move away, but if it is the best thing for them, you have to simply let them go. I know that with Facebook, Skype, texting, and phone calls, they can stay close, and visits to Tennessee wouldn’t be the worst thing either. As for education, Chris plans to go to trade school to become a Plumber, and Cassie is planning to become a Real Estate agent…both occupations that will pay well, and provide for their family. While we will miss them, we also wish them the very best. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My sister, Alena Stevens, is the refocus room coordinator and an educational support staff member at Verda James Elementary School here in Casper, Wyoming. The resource room is really where children are sent when they have a learning disability or in some way need a little bit of extra one-on-one time with an instructor. The student getting this type of support will receive some time in the resource room, which is referred to as a “removal from the regular education environment” portion of the day and some time in the regular classroom with modifications and/or accommodations which may include specialized instruction with their non-impaired peers. It isn’t a punishment, but rather a way to enhance their education, by allowing them to relax, outside of the view of their peers who do not struggle, and get the assistance they need to succeed. Besides helping children who have a special need, Alena is the playground supervisor, so she get to spend time with all the children in the school…and they all totally love her and want to stay friends with her all of their lives.
It seems odd to me that I would have any specific knowledge of the on goings of the elementary schools, because my children are grown and so are my grandchildren, so how would I really know what is going on in the elementary schools? Well, in most cases, I wouldn’t, but because I have become friends over the years with some of the students who came in contact with my sister, and because our grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock and our grand niece Aurora Hadlock, go to the school too, I have seen what a wonderful, positive impact Alena has had on their lives. These kids remain friends with her, years after they leave elementary school, and the ones I know have become such wonderful people, and many of them say that Alena had a big part in that, because as we all know, when kids struggle in school, self esteem suffers, but with the help of wonderful people like Alena, there are a bunch of kids coming out of that struggle on the winning side of life, against all odds.
Not everyone has the ability to look back on their life and see the positive impact they had on the lives of others. Many people even wonder if anyone will remember them very long after they are gone, but when an elementary student remembers a teacher when they are married and have children of their own, you know that teacher was a very special person. That is what I hear about my sister, Alena Stevens, and it makes me proud. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!