My niece, Jenny Spethman has such a sweet spirit. She loves the Lord, and loves to study God’s word. Her time spent in the word has given her a wisdom that not many people have. Her favorite time to fellowship with God is early in the morning, before her family is out of bed yet. Because of that, she sees some amazing mornings. Jenny loves the sunrise, and being awake while the moon is still bright in the sky. I think quiet time spent looking at God’s amazing skies, makes Jenny feel closer to God.
Jenny’s life is full and busy. From sports for her three sons, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, to dance classes and shopping with her daughter, Aleesia, Jenny and her husband, Steve are always on the go. I think that the amount of activity this family participates in, would be enough to exhaust most people, but they just keep going. Jenny and Steve want their children to be active, and to be able to enjoy the sports they like. They want them to broaden their horizons and to be able to become the people they want to in the future.
Jenny and Steve love to engage their family in lots of outdoor activities. From motorcycle riding in the summer to snowmobiling in the winter, they have shown their kids that the weather doesn’t have to hamper the fun. They love to go camping and swimming at the lake, and on the mountain too. They often take their kids out to practice shooting, and learning gun safety. The boys love to go hunting with their dad, and once each one has passed the hunter safety course, they are allowed to hunt too. Jenny and Aleesia love to have their girl time outings, and shopping is often the go to plan of the day. With all that activity, you might say that there is never a dull moment. Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Over the past few years, my aunt, Sandy Pattan and I have found that we have some things in common…besides the fact that we are related. One of the most interesting things to me is a mutual love of the family history. All her life, Aunt Sandy has been listening. She listened to the stories her parents, aunts, and uncles told her about the family. She, like me, could picture it all in her head, as if she were standing there watching the whole thing. She could picture the Indian chiefs that her grandfather and her dad, not only knew, but were even respected by, in a time when the Indians and the White Man didn’t necessarily get along. It was a time that she and I could never relate to, were it not for the stories of her parents, my grandparents. And now…in their honor, Aunt Sandy is passing along the history she received from her parents, so that the family history will not fade away. I think that is the reason that she and I love the family history so much. It is like the blood that flows in our veins, a part of our DNA, it is our story, because we came from our ancestors, and their past experiences shaped their lives, and therefore, our lives too.
Aunt Sandy is a loving, caring person. She is quick to do nice things for others, like taking her sister, my Aunt Virginia Beadle to brunch after church on Sundays; or picking my mom, Collene Spencer up, when she was still alive, to go to get togethers with their siblings. Being the youngest of nine children, Aunt Sandy is still able to drive, while some of the siblings aren’t…or weren’t. Of the original nine siblings, only five remain. That is a fact that weighs heavily on Aunt Sandy, and the remaining siblings. I suppose that is partly why she tries to spend as much time as she can with those who remain, and I understand that train of thought. She doesn’t want to waste the time she has left with her siblings. That shows a great degree of not only wisdom, but a deep love for her siblings.
Aunt Sandy is a deep, logical thinker too. I think that is one of many reason that we connect so well. I love our conversations, whether they are about family, politics, or just general interest, because she has amazing insight to so many issues, as well as a great sense of humor. Of course, being the humble person she is, Aunt Sandy would most likely disagree with me when it comes to her amazing mind, but as I have said before, “I call ’em as I see ’em.” Aunt Sandy has a wide range of interests, as do I, and that is part of what makes or conversations so interesting. I feel very blessed to have Aunt Sandy in my life. Today is Aunt Sandy’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Sandy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Saturday afternoon, after hiking the Bridle Trail on Casper Mountain, Bob and I went up to hike the Braille Trail with our daughter, Corrie Petersen, her husband Kevin and her son, Josh. Black out glasses were provided to give a sighted person an idea of what it is like to travel through life blind. Josh and I decided to hike that way, and what an experience that was. I must say that Blind Man’s Bluff will not prepare you for the reality of going through life blind. I have a lot of respect for any blind person who gets out and lives their life on their own terms. It would take a lot of courage. Of course, since I cannot read Braille, we took off the glasses at each sign that told about the area. It was very interesting to hear about the rocks, trees, the creek, and plant life we were seeing around us.
Then, we read the sign about the tornado that had torn through the Braille Trail in 1978. My memory files immediately took me back to July 20, 1978 at 6:40pm. No, I didn’t know that July 20th was the exact date or that 6:40pm was the exact time, but I’m quite sure it was. My Aunt Ruth Wolfe and her family had come to town to celebrate my parents’ 25th Wedding Anniversary, which was July 18, 1978. The memory was so vivid in my memory files that I can clearly see my Aunt Ruth standing in my parents’ kitchen. Suddenly, she stopped talking and almost ran to the back door. She said, “There’s a tornado somewhere!” She was so serious, but I was still skeptical…until we heard that there had indeed been a tornado on Casper Mountain at that exact time. I was stunned. How could she have known that? I was a young mother of two girls then, and had never been around a tornado. Casper doesn’t get a lot of them, even though we have had warnings, and even tornadoes in the area. Casper Mountain gets even fewer tornadoes than the main Casper area. Still, my aunt, who had been around a few of them, knew the atmospheric changes that precede a tornado, and she was certain that one had struck somewhere in our immediate area.
Now, over 38 years later, while walking a trail on the mountain, that whole scene replayed in my mind. Life is strange that way. Sometimes, memories come in and out of your life like you are watching a movie. It seemed so real that I felt like I could have walked across the room and touched my aunt. I remembered always being amazed at the wisdom she had concerning tornadoes. In reality, all of my parents siblings were that way. They had the wisdom that comes with their years on the earth. That was how Aunt Ruth got her wisdom too…living life. It was a great memory of her. As to the Braille Trail, since it had the dedication of the Lions Club and the community, the people came together, cleaned it up, and repaired the damage. The Braille Trail has been damaged a total of three times over the years of its existence…the 1978 tornado, the 1985 flood, and the 1995 winter storms, each time the damaged trees were removed, and the trail areas rebuilt, so that the trail could continue to serve the visually impaired and the community at large. I know I will definitely go back again.
You never know what kind of an impact you really have on those around you until you leave this world. It is then that all those whose lives you touched step up and show what you meant to them. Oh they show it in many ways while you are here too, but the people who love you seldom know about all the others whose lives you touched, until you are gone. It is strange to think that you can go all of your life and not know just how many lives your parents impacted, until they are gone. Since my mother’s passing, the outpouring of condolences, food, flowers, Facebook messages, and love from so many sources, has been overwhelming. So many people whose lives crossed paths with hers, and they came away thinking just how sweet she was. She had so many friends that we didn’t even realize were her friends. I always thought of my mom as a bit of a homebody, but she was quietly building her legacy…a legacy of love.
We have been so surprised by the people who have told us how she impacted their lives. Mom was an idealist. She held herself to high moral and social standards, and encouraged others to do the same. We have heard from people who were saved much heartache because of her words of wisdom, and her guidance when they were heading the wrong direction. Her sweet, smiling ways endeared her to so many people from so many different walks of life. Her faith and joy caused her to find great favor with the members of our church. Her neighborliness through the years made endeared her to the whole neighborhood. And of course, there was the love she had for her family and extended family. So many lives, affected in so many ways over the years…all by my mom. She was quietly building a legacy of love, when we weren’t looking.
We have been so amazed by the outpouring of love we have received since Mom’s passing. The stories of how she affected each one, and how their lives were blessed because they knew her, have blessed us so much. It is amazing just how much love multiplies. Mom’s legacy of love has grown and become such a beautiful thing. Over the years, her little idiosyncrasies that might have even been a source of embarrassment for us growing up, I can see now, as just a show of love and kindness that was unique to Mom. It makes me so very proud of her, and it makes me hope that someday, I will leave a legacy of love that is remotely like hers. I know that it would be impossible to ever come close to matching hers, but if I could be half the woman my mother was, I will consider myself very blessed indeed.
How can time pass so quickly…in the twinkling of an eye really, and yet in looking back on the years, they seem so many. Seven years seems like such a long time, but not when you are looking back to the moment you lost your dad…or any other loved one for that matter. When I look back now, it feels like just yesterday, and yet each year as the twelfth of December rolls around, I find myself thinking about just how long seven years is…or any number of years since my dad has been gone. Somehow in my head…or maybe my heart…I never thought I would live even one day without my dad in it. I thought he would always be there to offer guidance, to share laughter and even tears with. In his wisdom, he has taught me so much. He could make sense out of a situation where I found only anger and frustration, and he always dealt with these situations with kindness. He was slow to anger…something many people, including me, could learn from. Now, I have lived seven years without my dad…but not completely without him.
In reality, Dad is with me every day, because words are alive. I still hear his voice, carrying words of wisdom to me at just the moment I need them. In my memory, those words and the sound of his voice live on. I can hear his laughter ringing out after he has just managed to pull one over on me. Dad was always one to look for the positive in every situation. He loved to laugh and tease his kids and grandkids, and we loved it too. Life in our house was full of laughter, and often overly excited kids…much to Mom’s dismay at times, because while Mom was trying to get a couple of things done, Dad had situated himself beside the doorway to the living room in the kitchen, and one of the little kids was running back and forth trying to get by Dad before he could get them. The child was delighted and this game and the laughter was loud and constant. Dad was just as delighted as the kids, because he was, after all, a kid at heart…and always would be.
Those last years…when I realized that he wasn’t invincible, were hard ones for me. I wanted things to go back the way they had been, but that was not to be. The time he spent in the hospital in a coma, I could only think, ” I want to hear his voice again!” And I did hear his voice again. He knew he needed to stay then, because we needed him so badly. I spent a lot of time with him when he got home, nursing him back to health. I didn’t know then how much the extra time with him would mean to me later. It would be a time of storing up his words of wisdom, humor, and just everyday life, in my memory files, for recall when I needed them most. It would be a time of storing up pictures of him for later viewing…pictures of the hard work he put in to come back to us…pictures of his face filled with delight as he pulled one over on us…pictures to draw on later, when I needed to see him again. Now, I see him all over Mom’s house, and hear his voice, always at the moment when I need it the most. I think the time spent so closely in those last days was in some ways a time of preparation for after he went home. I am so thankful for those close times, because I miss him terribly, and those close days are the only consolation I have now. I know that Dad felt how much I loved him, and knew how much we would miss him. But his main concern was that we take care of our mom, which we have done to the best of our ability. That was my dad…never thinking of himself, just of those around him. I can’t believe that seven years have passed by so quickly, and I wish we could have him back. I would gladly go back in time, if I could have him back, but that cannot be, so I will look to the future, when I will see him again. Until then, he lives on in my memory. We love and miss you so much, Dad.
As another Father’s Day arrives, I find myself feeling less and less a part of the day. Yes, my husband, Bob and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis are here, and for them we will celebrate the day to honor them, but my dad and my father-in-law are both gone, and so this day also feels a little empty to me. I really miss my dad, and my father-in-law. Both of these men were so inspirational to me in my life, and I still miss their advise, their smiles, and their ideas about things…but mostly I just miss being able to talk with them. I can’t count the number of times I have wanted to call one of them up, and for a second, I almost forget…then reality sets in…they are in Heaven now.
Having taken care of both of these men in their last years, I feel like we had a bond that not many children are given. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you get to know them very well. You know their habits, their sense of humor, the things that annoy them, and the things that make them happy. For both my dad and my father-in-law, nothing is more important than their family. They always wanted their family around them. It gave them great pleasure to know that their children loved them and wanted to be around them. I find myself thinking every day of each of them, and feeling very blessed to have had them in my life for so many years. My only regret is that they are no longer in my everyday life, like they were.
As I think about their great influence on Bob and me, I realize that had our dads not been in our lives, we would not be the parents and grandparents we are today. It was their love for us that taught us how to love our children, and then we passed that on down to our children. They were not our friends growing up, but rather, just what they should have been…our dads. They became our friends later in life. They, along with our moms, disciplined us, trained us, and in doing so, they taught us how to do the same for our children. They taught us how to live in this world, taught us our work ethic, and our love of God and country. Their sense of humor, taught us to take joy in life and not to allow depression and despair to enter into our lives. What a great tribute to them and our moms that all their children grew up and became responsible adults, who do the right things in life. I thank God for them and for my husband, Bob, and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis…all of whom are wonderful caring dads, who have blessed us with their love and wisdom. Happy Father’s Day to all of 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.
Today marks the first time in my life that I don’t have a dad to celebrate Father’s Day with. After my dad passed away in 2007, I still had my father-in-law that we celebrated Father’s Day with. Nevertheless, it was very lonely, because I missed my dad. And yet, I was blessed in that I still had my father-in-law. Now, those days are over, and I feel very sad again. And when I think of how my sisters-in-law and brother-in law and my husband must be feeling, my heart aches for them, because this is their dad and they have never had to deal with those feelings before…the emptiness that only comes from the loss of a parent. I feel sad for my sisters too, because we know that the death of your parent is not something you ever get over. You simply have to go on with life…because time marches on.
Still, today is Father’s Day, and in our hearts we will all celebrate the men who were our dads. The fact that they live in Heaven now, in no way diminishes the blessing they were to us in their lifetimes. We were so very blessed to have them in our lives for those years that we had them. We were very blessed that they each lived to be over 83 years old…long lives each one. We were very blessed that each of them had sound minds right to the end. They gave us their wisdom through the last conversations we had with them. So many of the elderly have had their minds and memories stolen from them by dementia, so this was a blessing beyond measure for us, and one I wish everyone could have.
My dad and my father-in-law were both hard working men. Their families came first in all things. They would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it, because they both walked in love. We were so blessed to have witnessed the kindness they showed to those around them. It sometimes amazes me just how very much alike they were in so many ways. How I came to be so blessed in that way…overwhelms me. I was blessed beyond measure by the two dads God placed in my life, and my heart acutely feels the pain of their passing to this day. I know that it will feel that way until I see them both again in Heaven…a day I look forward to with much anticipation. Happy Father’s Day in Heaven to my two dads. I love and miss you both very much.
My sister-in-law, Brenda has been a part of my life for more than 2/3rds of her life. That makes her as much my sister as my sister-in-law. Since I married one of the older children in the family, the young girl of 10 that I met while dating Bob, was just a little kid, still playing with dolls and such. It was strange to me that my sister-in-law was going to be so young…only 11, when she would become my sister-in-law. I have watched her grow up from a little girl, to a teenager, to an adult. She has always been a happy, quick to smile girl, and she has an infectious laugh. She was always fun to be around.
Her high school years were to bring a couple of odd incidents, when her car kept getting into accidents without her. After the second hit while parked situation, we began to wonder if BR, as she had been dubbed by my two daughters, who were just trying to learn to spell her name, should have a car, since all of hers seemed to wear a target on them somewhere. Even the car she now owns as an adult, has had its run ins with someone’s car door in a parking lot. While her various cars’ run ins with other cars, while they were innocently parked, have become far fewer, it seems that BR needs to purchase a force field from James Bond’s car designers to truly protect her cars.
These days find BR working in Human Resources at Hilltop National Bank in Casper, where she has been working for many years. She is much loved and respected by her co-workers, as well as all her friends. While her job required that she work long hours sometimes, she still found time to be a part of the team of family members who cared for her parents until her dad’s passing just a little more than 2 weeks ago. I don’t know what we would have done without all her help then, or her continuing visits and assistance for her mom. She was the second in command on my team of caregivers, and I can’t thank her enough for all her help.
Over the years, she and I have worked together on a number of family matters, and that has brought us even closer than we were before. Her banking knowledge and contacts have made so many of the things we have had to do, so much easier. She is my ally in so many ways, and often find myself wondering how I ever managed to be so blessed to have her in my life…and not ever wanting to find out what it would be like if she weren’t in it. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!
Yesterday, my dear father-in-law passed away. It was a hard day for all of us. I have been thinking back over the years that I have been a part of this family. There were so many good memories. I will never forget the first time I met my future in-laws. There is no easy way to meet your boyfriend’s parents. You are simply a nervous wreck. We were going out to their house for dinner, and once I arrived, my father-in-law, broke the ice with his teasing ways. As so many girls who have known him can tell you, his first words were about what a “pretty girl” I was. When I blushed, he knew that I would be a good one to tease. My mother-in-law chewed him out for picking on me, but to that, my father-in-law simply grinned, and I knew I had made a new friend. By the end of the evening, I felt totally at home with my future in-laws.
This hard working man began working when he was just 13 years old. He worked at a ranch, milking cows before and after school. So began his working life, and he would be a hard working man for many years to come. While he was tough in many ways, when it came to his kids, he was a big teddy bear. His family was his life, and he had a soft heart when it came to them. All of his kids knew that they could call him whenever they needed wisdom concerning any situation. He always seemed to have an answer or at least an idea as to how to solve the problem. He had so much experience in so many areas, that often there was no need to call someone else to help. Even when they did need to call someone else, he probably knew someone who could do the job well and for less.
As for me…well, Dad always made me feel special. From that first meeting, until our last visit on Saturday night, his love for me was such a blessing. I felt so honored on the day he said, “You are no longer my daughter-in-law, you are my daughter.” I had the great privilege of taking care of this wonderful man since 2007. During that time I watched his brave struggle against the disease that would eventually take his life. He was not a man to complain, and he always hated to be a bother. Since we spent much time together these last few years, we became very close. His smile will always be in my memory. He was a man who returned the love he was given…in triplicate.
He had a team of caregivers, including his sons, Bob and Ron; his daughters Brenda, Jennifer, and Debbie, when she was in town; daughters-in-law, Rachel and me; his grandchildren, Corrie, Amy, and Barry, and Machelle, when she was in town; and great grandchildren, Chris, Shai, Caalab, and his special caregiver, Josh, who took extra special care of his great grandpa; his sister-in-law, Margee, and her granddaughter, Stasi, who did whatever we asked of them; and of course, his wife, Joann, who watched over him carefully, even though she had Alzheimer’s Disease, and was unable to fully understand what was wrong. There were so many others who showed him kindness and love in these last days, and their love and kindness was not lost to him…the doctors, nurses, and aides at Wyoming Medical Center; Dr Schoeber, Dr Novick, Dr Dowell, Dr Hussieno, Dr Wilkinson, and their kind staff members; the staff at Sharon’s Home Health Care, especially Deb and Sherry; Angie, his respite caregiver; and the nurses and aides and Shepherd of the Valley nursing home, which he loving called the Sheep Herders Place…he had some good times there. I want to thank each and every one of you. Your kindness to him will never be forgotten. We love you Dad, and we’ll always miss you.