Since she was a little girl, my niece Lacey Stevens has loved hair and makeup. After high school, Lacey went to Cosmetology School, and then began working in a couple of the salons in Casper, Wyoming. Then she was hired at Alta Beauty. As it turns out, Alta Beauty would place Lacey on the fast track to a huge success. Lacey was liked and respected immediately upon beginning her job there, and before long she was promoted to assistant manager. Lacey made a lot of friends at Alta Beauty, and her co-workers all looked to her for advise and direction. Her expertise was obvious and had great value, and those who work with her are blessed by her.
Then, the manager of Alta Beauty, Lacey’s boss was promoted to District Manager. That left the manager position at Alta Beauty open…but not for long. Beginning February 1, 2019, my niece, Lacey Stevens, who is all of 26 years old, becomes the new manager of Alta Beauty, and her family couldn’t be more proud of her. That is something that doesn’t happen very often. It takes knowledge and leadership abilities to be considered for such a promotion, and Lacey has exhibited all of those qualities that will make her an excellent manager. Her boss recognized these qualities in Lacey, and promoted her accordingly.
Lacey is an artist in every sense of the word. I suppose many people wouldn’t understand that statement, because art and cosmetology don’t exactly seem to go together, but her canvas is the face and hair of her clients. Everything from an everyday new look, to a Halloween look, to the most important day of their lives. There are a number of women who just won’t trust their looks to anyone else. She is an artist in the world of beauty. Lacey was born for this line of work and she is an expert at it. She did her cousin, Siara Olsen’s makeup for her wedding, as she has done for several others. Her work is amazing. And many people have been grateful for her expertise. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey, and congratulations on your promotion!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My dear grandson, Caalab, today marks the beginning of a completely new life for you. Your graduation is just the first step into that life. You are no longer a child, but a high school graduate. Your hard work has paid off, and all the requirements for graduation have been met. Your public school career is over now, and your future is up to you. That is hard for me to believe, because to me you will always be that little boy who was so quick to smile, and always had some new joke to tell or a new trick to show me. While the joking and trickery continue to this day, the little boy is gone, and before me now stands a man, strong and tall, with a heart of gold. I love the man you have become. You are so caring. You give thought to those around you, and you always try to please others. You think of others long before you think of yourself…a good trait in many ways. Still, I miss that little boy that you were…the one who always had his hand in my hair. I will always have that picture of you in my memory files…twisting my hair or batting it, but never pulling it, because you were always careful not to hurt me.
It is a long road from pre-school to high school graduation, and that makes it extra special. When you started your school career, it seemed like it would be a long time before graduation, but in reality, the time slips by so quickly. Now, all those years are behind you, and you are looking toward a whole new life. Your journey is going to take you far away, and that is really hard for me, but I know that this is your dream career. Music has been your life for as long as I can remember, and yet it was a bit of a surprise to hear that you want to build guitars. It shouldn’t have been I suppose. It really was the next logical step, and I know that you will be great at it. Still, you are leaving and you won’t be able to come home for a weekend here and there. The next time I see you, you will be changed in many ways. You will have spent time in a bigger city, and broadened your horizons. Your life journey will be much different than what I had expected, but that is because your dreams are uniquely yours…and no one else’s. You have to follow your heart and live your dreams…you have to be true to yourself, and be who you were born to be. And I know that you will be very successful at it, because you are an amazing young man.
When it comes to my babies, my heart just can’t seem to understand the whole saying goodbye thing, and that makes this so very hard. Nevertheless, I would ever want to hold you back. You will go forward and you will be successful at all you do, wherever life takes you. Still, I want you to always remember where you came from. Remember the good moral values you have been taught, and always keep God first place in your life, because it was God who made you and gave you the skills you have. As you go through life, you will come to realize more and more that every skill you have came from Him to make you into the wonderful man you have become. I know that your new life will be filled with excitement and interesting new things, so all I can ask is that you remember to call your grandparents once in a while, because we will miss you very much, so don’t forget the way home. Words cannot fully express just how proud we are of you. We love you so much. Congratulations on your high school graduation, my dear grandson, Caalab. Way to go!!
The excitement of having a baby is hard to contain. But, finding out that something is wrong is so completely opposite of that excitement, that it has the ability to make you feel like you are dying, even though you have none of the symptoms of impending death. Those feelings come from the unsure future that you and your baby now face. Your thoughts turn to wondering how you are going to deal with all these new challenges. This is where the parents of a child suspected of having Down’s Syndrome, or any other disability find themselves…and where my niece, Cassie and her husband, Chris found themselves two years ago…and Down’s Syndrome was what little baby Lucas was diagnosed with. I’m sure that Cassie and Chris felt all the normal fears, but they bounced right back and have proven themselves to be very capable parents. Lucas is a blessed little boy!
I suppose that you might think that this is a sad story of shattered hopes and dreams, but you couldn’t be more wrong, because Down’s Syndrome is what Lucas has…not who he is. There is no room for sadness in the home that Lucas shares with his mommy and daddy, because Lucas is a happy, smiling baby, who leaves no room for sadness or regret over what might have been. Lucas loves with all he has, and brings so much joy to his parents’ lives, that they simply can’t see how they could be any happier.
There is no sadness in this family because of Down’s Syndrome, because that is just not what defines Lucas. Instead, there are giggles and smiles. There are all the firsts that every baby has…first tooth, first time crawling, sitting up, and so many other milestones. It may take Lucas longer to do these things, but he will do them. There is nothing holding him back. People with Down’s Syndrome can and do live very productive lives.
There is no room for sadness in the home where Lucas and his parents live…because it is too full of love for sadness to have any space at all. Sometimes, people think that the parents of a disabled child are always thinking of their hopes and dreams, now all crushed into the dirt, but that just isn’t so. Lucas is making new strides every day. His future is as bright as his smile, that is filled with new little teeth. There is nothing standing in the way of success and a happy life for him and his parents. Today is little Lucas’ 2nd birthday. Happy birthday little man!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
We’ve all done it. Set ourselves a goal, moved successfully toward it, only to slip up along the way, and tell ourselves that it’s ok, because no one knows we slipped up. That is true enough, but we know…don’t we? That still might seem like no big deal, except humans tend to be a gullible sort, especially when it comes to allowing ourselves to do something that we want to do, even though we know it is not good for us. So, having convinced ourselves that no one knows that we slipped up, and we aren’t going to let it happen again…just this once.
Right…remember, we are talking about gullible humans. We may not be gullible in the sense of believing anything we are told, but when it comes to believing ourselves, well that’s a different story. How many times have we started out saying, “Well, I won’t work out today, and I’ll get right back on it tomorrow”, but somehow tomorrow never comes. Soon, all thought of success in our goal is gone. Then, disgust and self loathing set in. Pretty soon we figure we don’t deserve to succeed anyway. We are about as low as we can go.
Then, true to the human spirit, most of us wake up. We look the situation over and assess the damage. Then we get back on track and start working toward our goal again, a little worse for wear, and hopefully a whole lot wiser. And if we learn not to lie to ourselves, maybe with a chance of reaching that goal.