In World War I, airplanes were a relatively new item. The Wright brothers made their first sustained flight on December 17, 1903, so by 1918, they were still barely more than a novelty, but that didn’t matter. The world needed these machines, if the Allied countries were to win World War I. I’m sure that no one really knew how these new machines were going to work out, and I can only imagine how the pilots that had to fly those first planes felt about not only flying in them, but doing combat in them. One of those first crew members was Stephen W Thompson, a 24-year-old gunner on a French aircraft in February 1918.
Thompson was born on March 20, 1894, in West Plains, Missouri. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Thompson was a senior in electrical engineering at the University of Missouri. Men were needed to go and fight, so the school announced that seniors who joined the military before graduation would receive their diplomas in June. Being a loyal American, Thompson enlisted in the Army. He was sent for basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, and by June he was sent to Fort Monroe, Virginia for training in the Coast Artillery Corps. The train ride to his post would change his life forever, when he spotted an airplane in the sky. It was the first one he had ever seen, and when he got the opportunity, he went to the flying field, the Curtis School at Newport News, and asked if he could take a ride. He figured it might be the only chance he would get, and he didn’t want to miss out. Thomas Scott Baldwin, who had been a famous performer in his own balloons and dirigibles, was in charge and he agreed to give Thompson a ride. The plane was a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny and the pilot was Edward Stinson, a prominent flyer at the time who later founded the Stinson Aircraft Company.
After his ride, in which Stinson did a number of aerobatic maneuvers, including looping the loop five times in a row, Thompson said that the only thing that kept him from falling out of the plane at the top of the last loop was the lap belt. I can only imagine how he felt, but that flight changed Thompson’s whole life. He decided to apply for duty in the Air Service. He was accepted, and on February 5, 1918, flying as a gunner on a French aircraft in February 1918, he became the first member of the United States military to shoot down an enemy aircraft. He was not the first person to shoot down another aircraft, because Kiffin Rockwell achieved an earlier aerial victory as an American volunteer member of the French Lafayette Escadrille in 1916. Nevertheless, Thompson was the first “official soldier” to do so. That day, the 1st Aero Squadron had not yet begun combat operations, and Thompson visited a French unit with a fellow member of the 1st Aero Squadron. The men were invited to fly as gunner-bombardiers with the French on a bombing raid over Saarbrücken, Germany. Well, nobody had to ask them twice. The run was successful, but after they had dropped their bombs, the squadron was attacked by Albatros D III fighters. Immediately taking action, Thompson shot down one of them, thereby carrying out the first aerial victory by any member of the US military. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm for the action.
After the war Thompson worked at McCook Field for several years as an engineer. Today, McCook Field is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Following his time at McCook Field, he became a high school mathematics teacher. During World War II, he taught preflight and meteorology. He maintained an interest in aviation and in 1940 he received US Patent Number 2,210,642 for a tailless flying wing. He died on October 9, 1977, in Dayton, Ohio at age 83.
A car race is most often run on a track, with lots of fans cheering everyone on, but in 1908, there was a very strange car race that actually used a track that took the drivers around the world!! How…you might ask?? Well, the car race started in New York City. From there the route took the racers to San Francisco. Normally, San Francisco would be the end of the trail…or the route. You would have reached the Pacific Ocean, and as we all know, cars can’t drive on the ocean…especially cars manufactured in 1908. So, the racers turned to the north and headed for Valdez, Alaska. They would arrive in Valdez in the height of winter…at a time when the Bering Strait was frozen over…theoretically. At that point there was supposed to be an ice bridge across the Bering Strait, making it possible for the cars to drive right over it and into Russia. Once across, the racers would continue on from Russia to Europe and the finish line awaiting them in Paris. It’s amazing to me to think about cars being driven around the world, but of course the Bering Strait in the Winter, supposedly changed everything. In 1908, cars were relatively new, so road infrastructure was limited to only metropolitan areas, and even then, a lot of it was cobbled stone. So, I suppose cross country car travel on dirt trails was not that uncommon.
The Great Race of 1908 began on February 3rd of that year and immediately ran into challenges. Just to list a few…cars breaking down multiple times, lack of usable roads, car-hating people giving wrong directions, and, oh yeah, SNOW!!! Nevertheless, the teams persevered, and the first team reached San Francisco in 41 days. The came the obstacle of the fact that the proposed route from San Francisco to Alaska did not exist. I guess that they didn’t think it would be feasible to create the route, so the race organizers allowed teams to ship their cars to Valdez, Alaska, then continue on the Ice Bridge. Some might have called that a bit of a cheat, but I guess if all the racers id it, it wasn’t really cheating. Once in Valdez, the teams found out that there is, in fact, no ice bridge across the Bering Strait anymore, because it melted about 20,000 YEARS AGO. Oops…small oversight. So, the racers were allowed to ship their cars across the Pacific to Japan, then Russia, to carry on. Ok, if you’re like me, at this point, you are starting to see that this race had a lot of flaws in the planning. And honestly, while I knew there was no ice bridge on the Bering Strait today, I was unaware that it melted that long ago…meaning there was not an ice bridge since the “Ice Age!!”
So, was this really a car race around the world or a whole lot of non-sense. To be sure, the six teams did end up in Paris after the race, and they drove all of the route that could be driven, but the reality is that much of the race was simply cars being transported by ships across the ocean. Nevertheless, the “official” race was documented as just that…a car race that went around the world. The cars had to fight mud, snow, and mechanical problems. It was “officially” won by The Thomas Flyer, built by the Thomas Motor Company, was a 1907 Model 35 with a 4-cylinder, 60-horsepower engine capable of reaching 60 mph. It was fully loaded with two shovels, two picks, two lanterns, eight searchlights, two extra gas tanks (with a capacity of ten gallons), five hundred feet of rope, a rifle and revolvers. It was also equipped with an attachable top…much like those used on covered wagons…that could wrap the entire car and offer an enclosed place to sleep. On July 30, after 169 days of travel, the Thomas car entered Paris. Even in Paris, they almost didn’t finish, because a police officer stopped the vehicle, saying it had no working headlight, and couldn’t proceed. A passing bicyclist witnessed the scene and offered to load his bike into the car. Since the bicycle had a working headlight, the officer allowed them to pass. The Thomas Flyer finally finished at 6:00pm. The race was the only “official” car race around the world.
My nephew, Dave Chase loves life, and he likes to live it big. That said, this year was apparently slow, but good. I love hearing about all the adventures Dave and my niece, Toni Chase go on. They do some of the coolest things. This year, Dave stayed true to his usual, consistent self, with lots of travel, including his yearly trip to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Colorado last March, then squeezing in some skiing on the way home. Dave loves all sports, and so he made countless fishing trips, stayed active in basketball, softball, golf (indoor and outdoor), aa well as, cribbage. He also went to Laramie for several football and basketball games. Dave likes to stay busy and connected to the world of sports. It’s just in his nature.
While Dave might be totally connected to the sports, his family takes priority over even that. He and Toni make several trips each tear to Centennial to see his mom, and the rest of the Chase clan. It’s always a great time. The most “memorable” of the Centennial excursions was when Dave decided that he, his little brother Dan, his little sister Jane, Toni, and their pups, Biscuit and Cricket should all make a trip on the back roads from Laramie to Centennial to Steamboat Colorado to look at the changing colors of the leaves. For Dave and his brother, who have the nice comfortable front seats with lots of legroom, the trip was great. The girls and the pups were relegated to the back seats, and it was a bit different. Toni tells me that she, Jane, and the pups were “crammed in the backseat for 7 hours on the bumpy back roads from Laramie, Wyoming through Walden, Colorado over Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat Springs and then back through Steamboat Springs via Hogs Park Reservoir (Medicine Bow National Forest) to Centennial, Wyoming. While that trip was a bit of a trial for Toni (only because of the long drive and now because of the family, whom Toni loves), Dave has always taken her on some really nice trips as a couple too. This year, as a way to get away, they went to Marco Island, Florida for some relaxation and fun in the sun.
The fact is that Dave never stops!! And that’s a good thing. It keeps him young, and as anyone who knows Dave will tell you, he is very much a big kid!! He is also an inspiration and a motivation to anybody he comes into contact with!! Dave is nothing is not consistent, and that consistency is not only one of his many great qualities, but one of Toni’s favorites. It gives their lives stability, and it is something Toni can always rely on. She says that it is very comforting. Toni is so impressed with Dave’s consistency, that she took time to look up some synonyms of the word. Synonyms of consistent are “reliable, trustworthy, unfailing, dependable, and harmonious.” How very much perfect those words are for Dave. While that may seem boring to some people, Toni says, “They obviously haven’t met Dave.” I would have to agree with her, Dave is anything but boring. Instead, he is, absolutely dependable, reliable, and trustworthy. In fact, Toni says, “Harmonious is his middle name!! and as for Dave being ‘unfailing,’ well…just ask him.”
Dave has been a loyal employee, of the Bureau of Land Management, for almost 40 years…just 17 days shy of said anniversary…another way his consistency shows. Dave works as a petroleum engineer and as Supervisory Petroleum Engineer for the last 15 years. On December 26, 2023, Dave was granted The Superior Service Award of The Department of the Interior. He also won the Club Championship for Casper Cribbage in May. And on a funny side note, Toni sent me this funny story. “Sandy one of the ladies that Dave works with said that she had this picture from a day when Dave jumped in this new three-wheeler, because he thought it belonged to one of the girls they work with new. As it turns out, it belonged to the district manager…and to top it off, it was actually his wife’s, and she had said that he could never drive it…and then Dave just goes and jumps in it!!” Dave was in the driver’s seat before the district manager got to be there. Somebody is going to be in trouble!! Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband, Bob Schulenberg’ grandmother, Vina Hein was born of Groundhog Day. I don’t know if she thought that was cool or not, but I suspect she did. I think it would a fun birthday to have. Not that I would want it to be mine. Isn’t it funny that our birthday…no matter which day that is for you…always seems like the most special birthday of all. Most of us wouldn’t change that day for any other day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, the first day of the month, the last day of a month, or any day in between, it’s your own day…and that’s all that matters.
Of course, as for Groundhog Day, for the “Winter Weary” ones of the population, that is an important day. I’m sure that Punxsutawney Phil gets his predictions wrong as often as he gets them right. Nevertheless, countless numbers of people watch the news to find out what he had to say today. This turned out to be a rare year, in which Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, and therefore predicted an early Spring. It’s not really surprising, in that we have also had a mild Winter, but it is not common for Winter to give up so easily…and trust me when I say, that I really hope the prediction is correct. I, for one, and over Winter, with the first snow. I can get all the Winter I need in a picture or a Christmas card. I’m so ready for April showers that bring May flowers. I’m ready for lovely walks along the trails near my house, and the greenness that I hope we get again. Come on Spring!!
I think Grandma Hein would have agreed with me on that one, because Winters on the ranch were not easy. The Montana winters can be really harsh, and when you live on a ranch, you might find yourself snowed in for weeks at a time. I can picture Heaven for Grandma as beautiful spring flowers, and soft breezes, not to cold and not too hot…and not too much work to do. Although, I can’t imagine her just sitting around too much. She did like being busy. I look forward to seeing her again, when I get to Heaven. Today is the 115th anniversary of Grandma Hein’s birth…and Groundhog Day too. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma Hein. We love and miss you very much!! And Happy Groundhog Day, everyone.
When we think of things like witness protection or a criminal hiding out, the idea is to find a way to hide in plain sight. A disguise is the first thing that might come to mind, but that is not always the case. When Harriet Tubman, who is best known today as a brave freedom fighter and abolitionist, was in the thick of the movement to free the slaves, she was faced with some particularly dangerous situations. Harriett Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross to enslaved parents, Harriet (“Rit”) Green and Ben Ross in March of 1822. Rit and Ben were enslaved by different families, so it seems unlikely that they would later be able to have a child together, but Mary Pattison Brodess (and later her son Edward), who was Rit’s owner, and Anthony Thompson, who enslaved Ben, would marry, thereby connecting the two families. Thompson ran a large plantation near the Blackwater River in the Madison area of Dorchester County, Maryland. So, Harriett (Minty) was born into slavery. Like most slaves, Tubman was beaten and whipped by enslavers as a child. Those beatings resulted in a traumatic head wound when an irate overseer threw a heavy metal weight, intending to hit another slave, but hit her instead. The injury caused dizziness, pain, and spells of hypersomnia, which occurred throughout her life. The injury resulted in strange visions and vivid dreams, that lasted for the rest of her life. She ascribed to premonitions from God. These experiences, combined with her Methodist upbringing, led her to become devoutly religious.
Tubman became an abolitionist, and started to wage a war on slavery, although she obviously waged war in a very different way than most wars are waged. In 1849, she escaped from her owners and went to Philadelphia, but it was not enough to have her freedom, she wanted her whole family free. So, she returned to Maryland to rescue her family very soon after. It was hard and dangerous work, but she slowly, one group at a time, brought relatives with her out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other enslaved people to freedom. Tubman, also known as “Moses” traveled by night and in extreme secrecy, but as she later said she “never lost a passenger” on her route. After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, she helped guide escapees farther north into British North America (Canada) and helped newly freed people find work. Tubman met John Brown in 1858 and helped him plan and recruit supporters for his 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry.
Tubman, in order to stay safe, had to hide in plain sight, and as an undercover agent helping escaped enslaved people, she was known to carry chickens with her. You might be wondering why that would be. Tubman had to walk right by slavers, and those sent to recapture escaped slaves, so when she thought a slaver might be getting suspicious of her, she would release the chickens and then recapture them. I’m sure the slavers watched the commotion, but they just thought she was a slave recapturing the chickens for her owners. Little did they know how wrong they were. Simply put, the commotion was so distracting that the slave masters didn’t notice who she was! Sometimes, she would also pretend to read a newspaper, because enslaved people weren’t supposed to be able to read, so she wouldn’t be suspected! While her owners had thought she was just a “dumb slave girl” who didn’t know anything, she was actually a very smart woman, who outsmarted them all.
Harriett Tubman is credited with emancipating about 300 slaves…all while hiding in plain sight!! Pretty wise is you ask me. By 1911, Tubman’s body was so frail that she was admitted into the rest home named in her honor. A New York newspaper described her as “ill and penniless,” which prompted supporters to offer a new round of donations. Just before she died, she quoted the Gospel of John to those in the room, “I go away to prepare a place for you.” Tubman was buried with semi-military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.
My sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I decided a while back to start a Sisters’ Book Club. The idea was to pick a book that we all would read, and then we would discuss the book over dinner. We decided to start our book club with books about the Presidents of the United States, and our first book was, of course, about George Washington. We decided to take turns picking the book, and I found one called “The Spiritual Journey of George Washington” and was so excited that I sort of cut in line, because I am the second sister and should have chosen the second book. Thankfully my sister Cheryl forgave my infraction of the rules among sisters and let me go first. Thanks, Cheryl.
This book told of so many amazing things that George Washington did. The most important thing was he Devotion to God. George and his wife, Martha set aside time every day to have Bible study and devotion. They did this as a couple…in full agreement. It was such a strong act of faith and loyalty to God. These times with the Lord truly shaped the kind of man and president George Washington. George Washington had no children of his own, but he raised the two children Martha had from her first marriage. Those children grew up to be respectable people who lived proper lives. He never shirked his duties to Martha’s children. He was a good father, and they loved him very much.
As a soldier and later a General, George Washington was totally a totally amazing “miracle man” without a doubt. He never “sent” his men into battle, he “led” his men into battle. He wasn’t sitting on the sidelines where it was “safe” but rather he was in the thick of it…so much so, that after a battle, his clothes and hat often had bullet holes in them, but he was completely unharmed!! George Washington even had two horses shot out from under him, but he was unhurt. In one of the battles he was in, an Indian warrior, who was a leader in the battle, later said, “Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle, and after all could not bring him to the ground!” The he went on to say, “Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man (indicating Washington) and guides his destinies…he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.” Another Native American chief in the same battle, Red Hawk also claimed to have shot at Washington eleven times without hitting him. That must have been a terrible shock in the midst of battle, nevertheless, Red Hawk was convinced that the Great Spirit was protecting him, so he stopped firing. There are many other examples of God’s hand on the life of our beloved first President and military hero. While Washington died young by today’s standards, it did not die in battle. Rather his death was caused by a combination of a severe cold or flu, followed by an ancient practice of “bleeding the patient” and the lack of a suggested tracheotomy that likely would have saved his life. Our first meeting of the Sisters’ Book Club was a huge success, and we are moving on to a book about our second president, John Adams. Stay tuned.
While I love the beautiful snow globe scenes that bombard the internet every Winter, I also see in them, the freezing cold temperatures that must always accompany the real-life version. Some people like my sister, Cheryl Masterson and my granddaughter, Shai Royce love most of what Winter brings, snow and cold, but even they don’t like the pounding wind and sun-zero temperatures…or the terrible driving conditions that come along with them. I honestly don’t think any sane person would say they “like” the wind and sub-zero temperatures.
To say that I don’t love a good snowy scene, would be a lie, so I won’t say that. I love looking at winter scenes of all kinds. From the pictures people take and post, to the snow scene “gifs” that are most prevalent at Christmas, I love them all. Nevertheless, from my point of view, my placement in those pictures, is inside the house that is often shown, with a nice cup of hot chocolate and a warm cozy fire in the fireplace. Looking from the inside out on a Winter scene is the best place to be.
I keep asking myself this year, just what it is that places me in the category of the Winter Weary, because we really have had a mild Winter. Still, that week of sub-zero temperatures, and the day of that cold wind, are enough to make me weary from day one. Then, we get our “Annual January Thaw” that comes right before that slap of Winter saying, “And….we’re back!!” that gets me every time!! These past few days of highs in the low 50° temperatures have been absolutely lovely. They would be even better, if they didn’t have to be accompanied by 30 mile per hour winds. Then, just in time for Groundhog Day, the temperatures are going to begin the decent into the 30° range again. Just Yucky!
I admit it, I am a Summer person!! That is my happy place, with Spring and Fall as close seconds, provided they don’t decide to be a snowy Spring or Fall, and that isn’t exactly the case most of the time. The way I see it, Winter around here lasts about nine months, and the rest of the seasons get to split the rest of the year. I think it is just very rude to let us have that “Annual January Thaw” each year, knowing that after that week, reality will be right back, and the Winter winds, and sub-zero temperatures with look us in the face an just roar with laughter again. Nevertheless, fellow “Winter Weary” people, Spring is just 49 days away. Woo Hoo!!!
In the United States, at least, many of us equate the first car to Henry Ford, but in reality, that is not the case. In fact, the first car wasn’t built in the United States at all. Henry Ford made great strides in the automobile industry, to be sure, but he didn’t start it all. That honor goes to two European engineers, Karl Benz and Emile Levassor. Benz and Levassor created the first automobile in the 19th Century.
Benz patented the first automobile in 1886. It was called the Benz Patent-Motorwagen (meaning “patent motorcar”), and it was actually built in 1885 by Karl Benz. This one is widely regarded as the world’s first production automobile…meaning a self-propelled vehicle for carrying people. I suppose that at the time, the vehicle was considered expensive with an original cost of 600 imperial German marks, which equates to approximately 150 US dollars, or about $4,321 in 2020. Karl Benz applied on January 29, 1886, and the vehicle was awarded the German patent number 37435. Following official procedures, the date of the application became the patent date for the invention once the patent was granted, which occurred in November of that year. Benz actually unveiled his invention to the public on July 3, 1886, on the Ringstrasse in Mannheim. About 25 Patent-Motorwagen were built between 1886 and 1893. The car is currently being maintained by Mercedes-Benz Classic.
The “car” was really a glorified tricycle…with a motor, of course. It had three wheels that looked much like bicycle wheels. It would not be the kind of car that a person would want to ride in during the winter months. There is no top on the vehicle at all, and of course, no heat. It’s just you and the elements. Still, you could get where you were going faster, at least for that time in history. So, you didn’t have to be out in the elements as long. The car was a little primitive, but it did set a record or two. On August 5, 1888, Karl Benz wife, Bertha was the first person to drive an internal-combustion- engined automobile over a long distance…about 65 miles. Long for the time, I guess. She was actually field testing the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. They were working on inventing a brake lining and solving several practical issues during the journey. The car did well, and in doing so, she brought the Patent-Motorwagen some worldwide attention and got the company its first sales. It was an amazing day.
The Space Shuttle Challenger mission, named STS-51-L, was the twenty-fifth Space Shuttle flight and the tenth flight of Challenger. The crew was announced on January 27, 1985, and was commanded by Dick Scobee. Michael Smith was assigned as the pilot, and the mission specialists were Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Ronald McNair. The two payload specialists were Gregory Jarvis, who was assigned to conduct research for the Hughes Aircraft Company, and Christa McAuliffe, who flew as part of the Teacher in Space Project. The mission was originally scheduled for July 1985, but was delayed to November and then to January 1986. The mission was scheduled to launch on January 22, but was delayed until January 28, 1986. This was definitely a “less than ideal” situation. Delay after delay, maybe should have raised a serious red flag, but somehow, it did not. At least not to the people who could have changed the outcome.
One man…Roger Boisjoly knew that the Challenger space shuttle might fail catastrophically at any time. There may have been others I suppose, but none that chose to try to take action. Boisjoly knew that every mission was an accident waiting to happen. Knowing that, he tried to stop the launch on January 28, 1986. He had a definite sick feeling about this mission, but NASA refused to acknowledge his objections. That fact amazes me!! Boisjoly was a rocket engineer who worked for a company that NASA contracted with. He had noticed that the Challenger’s booster rockets had a major design flaw. Their elastic seals had a tendency to stiffen and unseal in cold weather. I’m sure that most of NASA simply took for granted that there would not be much cold weather in Florida. Nevertheless, on this occasion, the Challenger was scheduled for a winter launch. The time had come, and Boisjoly knew that the temperatures would be too low for the booster rocket seals to handle, even in Florida. He convinced colleagues at his engineering company to formally recommend NASA delay the launch. They did, but NASA ignored that recommendation. It was a life altering, or life ending decision on NASA’s part. Most of us know that the rest is history. The launch took place, the seals failed, and the Challenger exploded less than two minutes after it launched. That day, because of the foolish stubbornness and arrogance of NASA, seven people lost their lives. The air temperature on that January 28 was predicted to be a record-low for a Space Shuttle launch. The air temperature was forecast to drop to 18° F overnight before rising to 22° F at 6:00am and 26° F at the scheduled launch time of 9:38am. For most of us, those temperatures wouldn’t seem to be so severe, but for that little seal, it was very severe. Why couldn’t they have swallowed their pride, and postponed a little longer until the temperature warmed a bit. Were we really in that big a rush to start that mission, that we were willing risk the lives of seven people in the attempt. I love the space program and all that it has accomplished, but the people who made that choice that day were foolish and selfish.
My niece, Lacey Killinger has had a banner year this year. Most of this past year was spent planning for and preparing for her wedding. There were fittings, parties, a bachelorette trip to Nashville, all culminating in the wedding of her dreams on October 28, 2023. On that day, Lacey became not only a wife to Chris, but a bonus mom to her beautiful bonus kids, Brooklyn and Jaxon. Lacey truly loves those two kids. She has a kind heart and a sweet spirit, and the kids really love her for it. It was such a beautiful day, and it was so special to see her dreams come true. They immediately turned into a completed family, even though they were pretty much a family before…from the very beginning to be exact.
Over the past few years, many things in Lacey’s life have been taking an upward turn. It’s not that she was in a slump, because she wasn’t, but rather, it’s because she is receiving so many blessings from God in her life. The Bible talks about overflowing abundance and joy, and that is exactly what is going on in Lacey’s life right now. She owns her own hair salon, called LuxLou Beauty, and she specializes in hair and makeup for weddings. Business is going so well for her, that she is often booked out for months in advance. there is no better to gauge the success of a business than how busy they are.
Lacey and Chris are just perfect for each other. They are of like temperament, and they like many of the same things. They are loving parents to the children, and the kids love them both so much. Their workplaces are much different, but that is to be expected, and both are exerts in their field, so they are successful at their jobs. They are both soft-spoken, and very loving people. Anyone who knows them is blessed by them. They always look forward to summer, as they love to got to the lake and hang out with the family The kids especially love going to the lake to cool off and swim. Family time is very important to the Stevens family (Lacey’s family) as a whole, and they really love to get together for various summertime gatherings, like an annual family reunion. Chris and the kids totally love going and everyone has a great time. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!