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My sister, Alena Stevens has had a wonderful year. In October, her daughter, Lacey married Chris Killinger, and with that union came two new bonus grandchildren, Brooklyn and Jaxon Killinger. They joined the two granddaughters, Elliott and Maya Stevens, that Alena and her husband, Mike already had. Brooklyn and Jaxon have been such a great blessing to the whole family. Elliott and Maya absolutely love their new cousins, and the feeling is mutual for sure.

The past six months, have found our aunt, Sandy Pattan needing several surgeries, and facing several crisis situations. She is doing so much better now, and that is partly due to the caregiver’s heart that Alena has. I was taking care of Aunt Sandy, when Alena came to me and said that she wanted to take several days. It was such a blessing. Caregiving is a big job. It takes a village, and having my sister there to share that workload has been awesome. Neither of us would consider taking care of Aunt Sandy to be a burden, because it isn’t. Aunt Sandy is a big blessing to our family, and it is very important that she be ok. Alena has been instrumental in making that happen, and now that Aunt Sandy is doing so well, she and Alena have a friendship that is very precious to both of them. They love to do jigsaw puzzles, and so they have been spending hours working on them, and Aunt Sandy has been loving it. The friendship that Alena and I had has grown much deeper too. She is a huge blessing to me as well. Of course, there are others who have helped, and their importance cannot be overstated. We have grown close to Jim and Deb Pattan, as well as Steve and Wanda Beadle, all of whom were very helpful. It truly takes a village to care for someone who has gone through all that Aunt Sandy did. Alena has always had a heart for those in need. her job as a Refocus Room teacher helped so many students who were having difficulties. Now, she is helping in a new way, and that has really presented itself in these hard days. I will be forever grateful to Alena for her help. She has been absolutely amazing.

Since her retirement, Alena has had the opportunity to spend more time in Sheridan, where her son, Garrett, his wife, Kayla, and their girls, Elliott and Maya live. Kayla has to go out of town for work periodically, and Garrett has to work. So, Alena and Mike have been going up to watch the girls for them. I can’t think of anything that Alena loves more. Spending time with her grandchildren is the top thing on her list of favorite activities. It is a win-win for everyone. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Our aunt, Charlys Schulenberg has been through a lot in the past year. She began having some Neuropathy in her legs and feet. Uncle Butch took her to several neurologists trying to find out if there’s a cure for her. The doctors all say they know of none when it gets that bad. One doctor believes that it all started a couple years ago when her red and white blood cells dropped to a seriously low level. She was very weak. They put her in the hospital and found out that she had no cooper in her blood. So, they gave her copper via IVs. This brought her blood back up, but not high enough. They believe the low copper caused her Neuropathy. They also think that there was too much Zinc in the vitamins she was taking. Apparently, too much Zinc can deplete the copper in your system. So, they got rid of all vitamins that had Zinc in them. Meanwhile, she was home waiting to go back to Billings for another week of IV copper infusions. While she was home however, she, being a very determined lady, refused to take this lying down. She was getting around with a walker, but she was really shaky.

Because of all that, she wasn’t supposed to be cooking. Uncle Butch was doing the cooking. They were going to have spaghetti, but they needed French bread and other groceries, so he went down to store. When he came back 45 minutes later, Aunt Charlys was laying on the floor. She had decided to start the spaghetti, and as she was boiling the spaghetti, her feet went out from under her. She hit the pan of boiling water as she fell, and the pan fell on her, spilling the boiling water and hot spaghetti in her lap causing 3rd, 4th, and 5th degree burns from her knees to her chest. Uncle Butch called an ambulance, and they got her to the hospital, and then, she was flown to the University of Colorado Burn Center. While her burns must have kept her in excruciating pain, Aunt Charlys never lost her sense of humor. She joked with the nurses, even though she was the one in so much pain. She has proven herself to be one tough lady.

After a month in the burn center, she was transferred to the hospital in Forsyth, Montana where they live. She spent another month in the Forsyth Hospital. While she was there, she continued joking and just being herself…always positive and happy. I’m sure that like me, the nurses, doctors, and other staff couldn’t believe that this lady, who was in obvious pain was so cheerful and positive. She has never lost her positive attitude. Her burns soon healed and all that’s left is the scars. Uncle Butch is very proud of her, and so is the rest of her family. Charlys is such a sweet, loving person, and I am so thankful that she is still with us.

Because the Neuropathy in her legs is so bad, she came home in a wheelchair. She couldn’t walk. Uncle Butch got the house set up so she can do things herself. They pulled the carpet up and installed posts by the bed and in bathroom and grab bars in the shower area. When she first came home, Uncle Butch had to help her with bath and bathroom needs, but in true Charlys style, she was determined to do things herself. She worked very hard to make a way for herself. Now, with help of a special chair and the bars on wall, she does many things by herself. All Uncle Butch has to do is stand by to make sure she’s alright. She can pull Herself up out of wheelchair and get things out of the low cabinets. She has one of those two wheeled walkers with solid back legs, and she gets a little further walking with it each day. Uncle Butch says that at times her feet and legs just jump all over the place.

They were scheduled to start copper treatment a couple days before the accident, but they had to cancel that. Meanwhile, their daughter, Andi Kay got a hold of the doctors at the burn center and told them about her copper deficiency. They didn’t want that to continue, so they placed a tube in her nose, that went to her stomach, and fed her copper and drugs straight into the stomach., finally bringing her copper and her red and white cells to normal, Praise God!! With the excellent treatment she was given, she was very soon back to being her old spunky self. Unfortunately, they don’t believe that the damage is done in her feet and legs from the Neuropathy, is reversable. So, she’s in a wheelchair or walking a little with her walker. Meanwhile, being the culinary expert that she is, she has the up the task of “teaching” Uncle Butch to cook, with her supervision, of course. She makes sure to tell him what to do next, even if he probably already knows, but that leaves her basically running the show, and that what is most important. She has been struggling with Macular Degeneration in her eyes, so Uncle Butch reads her the recipes, as well as a lot of articles from papers, a true mark of his love for her. She also has a magnifying glass, that has a small light, and she uses that a lot too.

Their grandson, Christian is living with them and working as a CNA at the Forsyth Hospital. That has been such an amazing blessing. He has been a great help to them. He loves his grandma “to pieces” and gives her all his attention, and the love is “reversed” to him too. Uncle Butch thinks that she wouldn’t be as happy, if Christian wasn’t there. Uncle Butch thinks through all that has happened these last few years, it has only served to bring them closer to one another. They got Aunt Charlys a small electric wheelchair that folds down and is real light. I didn’t know they made folding electric wheelchairs, but it is awesome!! It slides into a trunk or a pickup. She can go shopping with it now. They went to Walmart in Miles City last week, and she had a blast!! Uncle Butch says that you have to watch her, or she’ll run over your feet…kind of like a fifteen-year-old with a driver’s permit, hahaha!! The good news is that now that she has it, she can get out more. Charlys is full of life yet, even with all the problems. Uncle Butch says, “She’s a fighter and she dang sure doesn’t give up.” It’s a miracle that could only be God and the excellent people He placed at the hospitals and at home to care for her. Today is Aunt Charlys’ 82nd birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Charlys!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As is the case with many chemicals, Radium started out as a supposedly harmless chemical, that would later prove to be horrifically dangerous and even deadly. In the early 1920s, a company called U.S. Radium Corp was hiring girls to paint watch faces with radium. It was considered a “plum new gig” because the work was easy, and it paid well for the times. The purpose of painting the watch faces was to make them glow, which the chemical Radium did quite well. No one thought about exposure to Radium might do to the people doing this work. I’m sure it was like the exposure to lead in paint.

In the end, the easy work came at terrible price. As the girls worked on the watch faces, they licked their paint brushes in between watches. This was to give the brush a sharper point. Each time they did this, they swallowed a tiny bit of the chemical. I can’t say that I would be inclined to lick the tip of a paintbrush, but at that time, no one gave it a second thought. To them, it made sense to get the best point on their brush, and thereby, do the best job on the face of the watch.

At first, everything was going along well. The girls made good money, and the glow in the dark watches were a big hit. Still, as often happens with dangerous chemicals, the side effects began to present themselves in the form of horrifying health conditions. “There was one woman who the dentist went to pull a tooth and he pulled her entire jaw out when he did it,” explained Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook. “Their legs broke underneath them. Their spines collapsed.” Unfortunately, many of the so-called Radium Girls died young, and U.S. Radium Corp tried to dodge responsibility.

The U.S. Radium Corp was founded in 1914 in New York City, by Dr Sabin Arnold von Sochocky and Dr George S Willis, as the Radium Luminous Material Corporation. In essence, the company produced uranium from carnotite ore. Eventually, they moved into the business of producing radioluminescent paint, and then to the application of that paint. As the business grew, they opened facilities in Newark, Jersey City, and Orange. In August 1921, in a hostile action, von Sochocky was forced from the presidency, and the company was renamed the United States Radium Corporation, Arthur Roeder became the president of the company. The company was highly successful. In Orange, where radium was extracted from 1917 to 1926, the U.S. Radium facility processed half a ton of ore per day. The ore was obtained from “Undark mines” in Paradox Valley, Colorado and in Utah. Of course, these days, we know that uranium ore and most of its components are deadly, but back then, these innocent Radium Girls simply placed their trust in the wrong people, and it cost them their lives.

When my husband’s grandfather, Andy Schulenberg began his life, it was in perfect health. He was the oldest child of his parents Max and Julia Schulenberg. For the next fourteen years, siblings arrived on a regular basis, and Andy became the big brother to all of them. As with all big brothers, the younger nine kids looked up to their big brother….even the ones who were born after the incident that changed everything. When Andy was about 14 years old, he was out hunting, when something went terribly wrong. I don’t know exactly how, and maybe nobody does, but Andy was shot in the leg, and it was very serious.

I can’t imagine how worried his parents were when they got the news. You never want to get bad news concerning your child, and this was some of the worst news there is. I’m sure that hearing that he would live was a huge relief, but the loss of his leg…just devastating. No one really knows how a person will be able to recuperate from such a loss. It affects not only the body, but the mind too. Our bodies aren’t designed to lose a limb. Can we survive that? Yes, but it will take time. For Andy, that meant a year in the hospital. He had to be fitted with a peg. They might have had a primitive form of a prosthetic leg, but probably not. So, for Andy, it would be a peg. Andy was a determined young man, and he refused to let this beat him. He was only 14 years old, and he had a life he wanted to live, yes, was determined to live.

So, he persevered and worked hard to recover and to learn how to maneuver. These days, a person who has suffered an amputation would see, not only a doctor, buy also a psychiatrist as well. It is a well-known fact, these days anyway, that such an injury affects the mind as much as the body. That was not as well known in those days, so Andy had to dig deep inside himself and pull out the fortitude and reshape his own life, and later became the sheriff of Rosebud County Montana. I think that the way he pulled himself up and got on with the business of life was just amazing. Today is the 118th anniversary of Grandpa Andy’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa. We love and miss you very much.

Miracles happen every day, whether we realize it or not. Each and every day, people’s lives are changed, people are healed, and circumstances are corrected, in ways that have no logical, scientific, medical, or financial reason. One such case occurred in 2007. A man went to the hospital because he was experiencing minor weakness in his left leg. Of course, as hospitals do, they ran a battery of tests. When they did a CT scan and an MRI, they were shocked to find that the man had an unusually tiny brain. When I say unusually tiny, I don’t mean a little smaller than normal, I mean a lot smaller than normal. Even more amazing was the fact that the man was more or less normal and functional.

Lionel Feuillet, the neurologist handling the case, at the Mediterranean University in Marseille, France, told New Scientist that “visually, it is more than a 50% to 75% reduction.” Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words, but even the pictures are beyond belief. I don’t know how he was even alive, much less functional. The mystery immediately demanded the full attention of all the doctors and quite likely doctors worldwide. In researching the case, they found that the man had a childhood condition called hydrocephalus, commonly called water on the brain. Left untreated, the condition can be deadly. The treatment is fairly simple. A stent is placed to drain the water. This was the treatment the man had received as a boy.

Then, when he was 14 years old, the stent was removed. No specific reason for the removal was stated, but apparently, they decided that he didn’t need the stent any longer. From the situation at the time, he went into the hospital, it’s a logical assumption that his childhood condition continued to affect the man’s brain after the stent was removed, slowly filling over time. Slow enough that the brain was able to remap itself in an amazing display of the brain’s adaptability, which enabled him to live a normal life. His IQ was reported to be 75, which is below the average of 100, but not low enough to be deemed mentally retarded or disabled. I suppose some would call that “the amazing brain” and nothing more, but the brain was created by God, and so could be fixed by God. In fact, I believe that this man’s brain could continue to improve over time. Still, he has led a good life. He is even married and has two children. For a man who is missing up to 75% of his brain, that is amazing.

My husband, Bob and I were in Montana recently, and we had the opportunity to visit with his uncle, Butch Schulenberg. It had been a while since we had seen Butch and his sweet wife, Charlys. It was such a nice visit. We sat and talked about how life had been treating us all. Things change as the years go by, but they have had some challenges this year. Nevertheless, they are weathering the storms well. Uncle Butch always has taken life with a little grain of salt and a whole lot of humor. It’s a great way to view the things life brings us, and it makes their home a happy one.

With things that happened this year with Charlys, their grandson, Christian Schulenberg, who is a CNA at the nursing home in Forsyth, Montana, is living with them now, so they have extra help when he isn’t working. We are so grateful to Christian for being there for his grandparents. Charlys will be ok, and this situation is temporary. She is in great spirits, and we had a great time visiting with her and Butch while we were there. Butch says he is the chief cook and bottle washer now, and that is ok, because he loves his bride very much. While he may have a few more “duties” these days, for Butch anyway, caregiving has given him time at a slower pace. Where he might have been out and about in town, he is home much more. It isn’t that Charlys needs so much now, but he likes to stick a little closer to her, just in case. Butch is also a great fan of Forsyth school sports. He can’t always make the games, but he always cheers them on, and he wants to know the outcome of the games.

Butch loves taking care of his yard, and it always looks beautiful. Probably its greatest feature is the one that Butch doesn’t have to do anything with…the view of the Yellowstone River. They have a totally unobstructed view of it, and they are above it, so the view looking down on the river is stunning, as his many pictures will show. Butch works pretty tirelessly on his little flower gardens too, and they are really pretty. The only problem he had this year is that he added chickens, and the darned things just wouldn’t lay any eggs. I think he got a bum deal, and he should probably ask for a refund, but that’s just my opinion. Today is Butch’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Butch. We are so glad we got to visit you guys. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Many people have had to switch from their dominant hand due to an accident, stroke, or amputation, but we rarely think of a president find himself in that position. Nevertheless, Thomas Jefferson had to do just that. It can happen to anyone really, but like many a young man, Thomas Jefferson was out to impress a girl. The strange part was that when it happened, Thomas wasn’t a young man. He was, nevertheless, trying to impress a girl. Thomas was 42 years old. He wasn’t the president of the United States yet, but he had been married. He married Martha Wayles in 1772, but she passed away in 1782, so he was alone. He and Martha had six children. Of the six children born to Thomas and Martha, only two survived to adulthood, Martha and Mary. His wife, Martha died four months after the birth of her last child. He had been happy, but his marriage was short. Thomas Jefferson was not perfect, and in fact he made lots of mistakes, and even had children with his slave, but he was a good president…and which of us is perfect, after all.

In 1785, Thomas was in Paris, and he met a woman named Maria Cosway, who was a married woman. Thomas Jefferson took a liking to her, and he was trying to impress her. Well, he shouldn’t have been doing what he did. He knew it, and we know it to this day, but he did try to impress her, by trying to jump over a fence. In the ensuing accident, whereby he fell, Thomas Jefferson broke his right wrist. The surgeon set his wrist, but he didn’t really do a good job of it. After they set his wrist bones, he suffered chronic pain in his left hand for the rest of his life. He was really unable to use his left hand much at all after that.

The accident forced Thomas Jefferson to stay in his house for a month, during which time, his secretary, William Short, had to write his letters for him. For a few months, he used his left hand to write letters including the famous “Head and Heart” letter on October 12 to Maria Cosway. The broken wrist caused him to have to cut short the planned sightseeing trip with Maria Cosway, and it also cause him to have to postpone his journey to the south of France. In the end, his wrist finally healed, but it was never to the point that he could use it as his dominant hand, so he had to switch out his dominant hand and live the rest of his life as a lefty. I suppose some might have said that his infatuation with Maria Cosway cost him the use of his hand, in a sort of “repercussion for bad behavior” scenario, but I don’t believe in the “God will hit you with a lightning bolt” kind of punishment. I know that it likely wouldn’t have happened if he had left Maria Cosway alone, but I just think God tries for grace first.

For six years now, my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen, who is married to my daughter, Corrie Petersen, has been truly the wind beneath her wings. Corrie has been going to college to get her Batchelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN), and since the Guiness Book of World Records calls that the hardest degree to get (I fully agree with that assessment, by the way), she has truly needed that wind beneath her wings. In addition to going to school for her degree, Corrie was also working fulltime as a CNA. Kevin was her cheerleader, chef, housekeeper, shoulder to cry on, advisor, and her encouragement when she didn’t think she could go on. While these things are admirable, they often go unnoticed by the rest of the world. While they are all cheering the accomplishments of the student, they tend to forget that support person who is always there in the background to keep that student from stumbling and falling. Nevertheless, Corrie needed Kevin to be there for her, and he was totally dedicated to her and her every need.

Kevin often set aside his own goals and dreams to help Corrie meet her goals, dreams…and deadlines. That meant no vacations for the past six years. Corrie’s school went year-round, so there were no real breaks. Kevin took care of things on the home front…the pets, cars, house, and meals. He kept things quiet during the days when she had to sleep, because she worked all night. He spent many a night and day alone, because she had to study. Kevin’s support of my daughter was the ultimate show of love, and it makes me very proud of the man she married. Kevin and Corrie love to go camping, but over the last six years, there wasn’t really any time to do that. In addition to everything else going one, Kevin and Corrie had 3 grandchildren (2 more on the way) and their two sons get married, during those six years. Life doesn’t get more hectic than what these two wonderful people were going through, and I know from hectic times in my own life…you can barely think straight when you have everything going on that Corrie had going on. Nevertheless, Kevin was there…holding her hand and more importantly, holding her up.

Now that Corrie’s schooling is finished, and she is working in her dream career…nursing, things have finally settled down. Don’t get me wrong when I say that Kevin is done with the schooling support, because that in no way means that his “support team” duties are over. Those will most likely always be there, because sometimes in nursing, you lose a patient, or one has an outcome that leaves the permanently disabled, or sometimes the fight for the life of a patient is just a difficult one…even when you win. Those are the times when you need your support team a lot. I know that Corrie will always have that great support team, because she has Kevin…the wind beneath her wings, and that will make her road so much easier. Still, the “wind beneath her wings” duties have settled down some, so Kevin and Corrie have been able to go camping twice this summer. They have also had time for a leisurely dinner here and there. They finally have time to be a couple again, and that has been such a blessing for them…and a blessing for this mom and mother-in-law to watch, because I love these “kids” who will always be my “kids” so much, and I want their married life to be filled with every blessing God has to offer them…including a few moonlit nights by the campfire. They deserve so much happiness, and I’m glad they are getting just that. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin, and thanks for taking such good care of my daughter!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For a number of years now, my daughter, Corrie Petersen has been on a wild ride!! Nursing school can’t be described any other way. It is difficult for everyone who embarks on this journey, but Corrie faced a number of other obstacles along the way. Set aside classes and clinicals for just a minute. Like most people in school these past few years there was the Covid-19 angle, and all that it entailed, including being sick. Secondly, Corrie and her husband, Kevin Petersen faced three loses in his family…his stepdad, Dwaine Skelton; his aunt, Nancy Jackson; and his uncle, Rex Jackson. That was followed by two weddings, her son Christopher and wife Karen Petersen on July 23, 2022; followed by her son, Josh and his wife, Athena Petersen who actually married right after Corrie passed her NCLEX test, on June 24, 2023. Also, during that time, Corrie and Kevin became grandparents to Cambree, Caysen, and Justin Petersen, with two more babies, Axel and Cyler Petersen on the way. In addition, to that Justin spent about ten days in the hospital right before last Christmas, with the flu. Oh, and did I mention that Corrie worked full time as a CNA throughout all of this!! Now, let’s get back to that studying. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know where she found the time to fit it all in. I do know, however, that she was one exhausted girl, and all I could do for her was pray over her!!

Nevertheless, all of that journey (with the exception of the two babies on the way) is behind her now. On May 11, 2023, Corrie graduated Suma Cum Laude from nursing school (and as a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it was an amazing time. Her husband, Kevin; my husband, Bob Schulenberg; and I couldn’t have been more proud. Kevin got to go on stage to place her pin for the pinning ceremony, and then she walked across that stage to receive her Batchelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)!! Going back to work as a CNA, while waiting to take her NCLEX had to be one of the hardest things she had ever done. She scheduled the test for June 14, 2023, and then came the question, “Will I pass??” It doesn’t matter how well you did in school, the NCLEX is not guaranteed. It’s a hard test, designed to tell them if you are a new nurse with the ability to be trained in the practical side of nursing. If a degreed nurse tells you they aren’t nervous or even in a panic, they are either a genius or lying. That test is brutal…or at least the days leading up to it are. Nevertheless, on June 16th, Corrie passed her NCLEX on the first try, and on June 20, she started her new job at Elkhorn Valley Rehabilitation Hospital. Her outlook on life did a full “about face!!” Her life went from a lot of hard work, tears, fatigue, and full-blown exhaustion, to “Oh my gosh!! I’m a nurse, and I absolutely love my job and the people I work with!!” What a great day that was, and what a great career change this has been for her!! Happy doesn’t begin to describe how I feel for my daughter!!

Today, Corrie will work her 5th shift as a nurse. I’m sure that in the grand scheme of things, that these days when Corrie was just starting her new career, just embarking on her future…would seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the years ahead in which she will become a seasoned nurse and take care of countless numbers of patients, but I know that to Corrie, these days will always be among the sweetest of memories. These early nursing days will always be the ones that prove she could do it…that all her hard work, sleepless nights, exhausted days, and even time away from her family (as hard as that was) had paid off. Corrie’s career really began as a caregiver in 2005, helping to take care of her ailing grandparents, Allen and Collene Spencer, as well as Walt and Joann Schulenberg. Truly they had to be mentioned, because it was in their care that the seeds of nursing were sown in Corrie, and I know that they would be, and in reality, they are very proud of their granddaughter…as are we. Today is Corrie’s first birthday as a nurse!! Happy birthday Corrie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

On July 1, 2022, my brother-in-law, Mike Stevens retired from a 39-year career in the oil field business, but this story is not about his retirement or his career, because those are things from his past. Following that retirement, Mike and my sister, Alena have been focusing on two things…relaxation and grandchildren. My sister tells me that they don’t do much, but I think they probably do. Whenever the grandchildren are over, I know that the house is suddenly filled with giggling energy, because that is what grandchildren bring. Two of their grandchildren, Elliott and Maya, live in Sheridan, so they don’t get to see them as much, but with retirement, they are making more trip to Sheridan, and their son Garrett and his wife, Kayla will also be bringing the girls to Casper more often. In the meantime, their bonus grandchildren, Brooklyn and Jaxxon Killinger love to spend time at their grandparents’ house. They often come over after school, and that is when the fun gets going. Mike is a kid at heart, and he loves joking and playing with the grandchildren.

And speaking of joking, Mike’s son, Garrett tells me that his dad is always joking around. He is a great jokester. He always texts Garrett and his sisters, Michelle Miller and Lacey Stevens (soon to be Killinger) a joke or something like it on April Fools’ Day. For the kids, it isn’t April Fools’ Day until they have received their “Dad’s April Fools’ Day Joke Text” from their dad. Nothing is off limits, and the kids know it. A couple of years ago, Mike group texted Michelle and Lacey, saying that the family dogs, Callie and Ozzy got into some poison, and they woke up to them dead in their kennel. Both Michelle and Lacey were crying at work…when they got the text from their dad saying, “April Fools!!” Well, needless to say, the girls were “so mad!!” Garrett was living in Sheridan This year’s April Fools’ Day text found Mike telling the kids that he had won the lottery!! That one was not as successful, as the kids had learned their lesson, and so caught on pretty quickly. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped Mike from sending out those April Fools’ Day Joke Texts or any other day joke texts. Now, with the grandchildren in the picture, Mike has a whole new audience for his jokes.

This year, Mike has had a much more serious role in life. When my sister, Alena Stevens was diagnosed with very early breast cancer and had to undergo a lumpectomy and radiation, her husband, Mike was literally her Rock. No one wants to receive that diagnosis, and not everyone has people standing behind them to support them through the “nightmare.” Alena was very blessed to have Mike and her children behind her when it happened to her. Mike led the way and was a role model for the children on how to “be there” for their mom. That person has to push back their own fears and lift up the person they are supporting. It’s never easy, but it was what Mike did, and what he led his children and grandchildren in doing. He led the way in prayer for her and in his support at home. Now that the cancer is gone, Alena will be forever grateful to Mike and her kids for all they did for her…and to God be all the glory for her healing!! Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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