Kids

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My niece, Gaby Beach has had a very busy year. Following her graduation from nursing school, Gaby took a job at Wyoming Medical Center, where both she and her husband, Allen Beach now work. Gaby now works in the PCU, which is an area of the hospital for patients who don’t need to be in the ICU, but aren’t quite ready for the care they would get on a regular floor. Gaby really likes her job, and she has been assigned as the charge nurse periodically.

Because they both work at the hospital now, Gaby and Allen decided to buy a house near their work. They had been renting an apartment for Allen’s parents, Caryl and Mike Reed, but the place was far out in the country, and now that they were both working, they felt it was time for a home of their own. They found a great house that wasn’t too far from the hospital, and now they are working on making it their own, and enjoying the time with their dogs, Oly and Jasper. They’ve removed some trees in the back yard that we’re old and growing into power lines. They hope to build a garage in the back yard sometime in the near future, but for now they will most likely settle for a taller privacy fence.

Having school out of the way for now has been really nice for Gaby and Allen, who has a degree in Hospital administration. Gaby’s degree is in nursing, of course, and at some point, down the road, she plans to work toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), but for now she wants to just relax and enjoy her job and life for a while.

They have plans to go to Disney World in April. They have worked very hard, and a fun break will be awesome for them. I’m sure that after a cold winter, a trip to sunny Florida would be really nice. Gaby and Allen really love to travel, but with Covid, they haven’t been able to do much of that, making this trip to Florida a big deal. Covid has kept everyone closer to home these days, but now it’s time to live a little. I know they will have a great time.

Gaby and Allen first met when they were in the Navy, stationed at the same place. That is also where Gaby became interested in becoming a nurse. Being a Corpsman taught her so much about medicine, and so when she was done with her term of service, she went back to school to become a nurse, and she has become an asset to the hospital. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Toni Chase has had a wonderful year with her family. She and her husband, Dave went to Florida in May. By going early in the summer, they dodged the major tourist season, and were able to enjoy a nice, peaceful getaway. It’s probably good that they had that quiet getaway, because when they got back to Casper, they were very busy helping with her son, James Renville and his wife, Manuela’s wedding…which was beautiful, by the way.

Toni’s life has taken a wonderful turn, with the addition of her beautiful daughter-in-law, and watching her son be so very happy. James and Manuela are happy, and for a mom, there is nothing better than knowing that. James and Manuela are beginning their new life together, but they still find time to spend with the family. Whenever they are around, the family dogs, Cricket and Biscuit are on cloud nine. In fact, Cricket loves playing “third wheel” with the kids. It’s like they are triplets, and Cricket thinks the kids are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Planning a wedding is a lot of work. Having planned two myself…plus my own, I know. The parents need a vacation as much as the happy couple does. After the wedding, Toni and Dave took a trip to Colorado for a concert at Red Rocks. They also went to Aspen at the beginning of fall. Toni and Dave love to travel and spend quality time together. They have such a great marriage, and it’s so sweet to see them together. They lead quiet peaceful lives, hiking, traveling, working, and enjoying their family. Life just doesn’t get any better than that. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandniece, Siara Olsen, has been through a year of changes, but now she is one year out, from some of the hardest things that have ever happened her…or to anyone, and her incredible strength is very much evident in who she has become. After losing her son, Alec on January 25, 2020, when he was just 3 months. Her marriage fell apart soon after, and life looked very bleak, but Siara is such an amazingly strong woman, and she wouldn’t give up. She knew that her son and all of her family, who love her very much would want her to keep going, so keep going she did.

The year that followed was a year of firsts. She met her boyfriend, Chris Kirk just over a year ago, and he has a birthday bond with her sweet Alec. About a year ago Siara got her own apartment, and she has been making it her own and is loving every minute of it. Siara has been at Platte Valley Bank for a while now, but she was given her own office about a year ago, and she really likes her new job and office. While the year began harsh for her, it ended with healing. Siara is a strong, independent, and faith-filled woman, and she makes her mom and the rest of the family very proud!! No matter what Siara is hit with, she picks herself up and moves forward every time. Her mom, Chantel Balcerzak says, “Well, I can’t even describe how proud that makes me!”

Siara is a strong woman of faith, and right after high school, she got a tattoo of her favorite scripture, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13. That scripture have seen her through any and all bad times she has seen, because she not only believes this…she moves in it! She is truly inspirational!!

Siara and Chantel have been working out together at lunch to get in shape. Siara’s niece, Chantel’s granddaughter, Izabella Siara Harmon (named after her aunt) often joins them, and she loves the girl-time comradery…and the exercise doesn’t hurt anything either. The three of them are growing stronger every day and feeling great. It has been a hard year, but Siara is a strong woman, and I know that she will have victory in the coming year. Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday Siara!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It’s always so interesting to watch a child grow up and begin to show the direction their heart is going to take them in life. Some kids take longer than others, trying to decide just what it is that holds their interest, but some, like my grandnephew, Ethan Hadlock, have a pretty good idea of what they want to do in life, at a very young age. Ethan has long been interested in becoming a gaming programmer, and as most of us know, that could become a very lucrative career. Most occupations that involve computers and programming are good career moves, but gaming is pretty much in a class by itself, because people love to be entertained and video games are one of the best ways to be entertained. If you have a mind for programming, you have the potential to go far in the tech industry.

While Ethan is great at programming games, he nevertheless, has a number of other interests. Ethan likes gardening, which is somewhat unusual for someone his age, but he has family members who love gardening too, so he has had some practice over the years. I think it’s his tendency an artistic person that makes him a good gardener. Gardening isn’t just about sticking a few plants in the dirt…I can do that, but I am no gardener. You have to love to nurture the plants, design the garden, and actually enjoy the process of gardening. Those are things that I really don’t enjoy, but Ethan really does, and that’s what makes him a great gardener, but gardening isn’t the only creative thing Ethan is interested in.

Ethan is in Art Club again this year. He has really enjoyed that in the past and could even have a career in that field if he chose, or maybe art will end up in his game programming career. His favorite class in school right now, is digital environment, and he won a class award for best photo shop. Photo shop is not an easy task. It’s good that the schools are starting that at a young age. Young minds can take in much information and absorb the techniques. There are careers in that type of work too, so I can see many avenues for Ethan, should he change his mind on game programming.

While his parents, Chelsea and Ryan Hadlock are finding it hard to believe that they officially have a teenager now, Ethan is not a typical 13-year-old boy either. He has received two “Positive Office Referrals” for being great in class and helping his peers. Ethan is such a sweet young man, who is very loving toward all who know him. He is helpful and kind to his sister, Aurora Hadlock. They are really good friends. There is so much to be proud od when it comes to Ethan. Today is Ethan’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Allen Beach has had a very busy year. Following his wife, Gaby’s graduation from nursing school, they decided to buy a house closer to Wyoming Medical Center, where they both now work. They quickly found the perfect house and moved in last March. They quickly set about getting settled and making the house their own. They’ve removed some trees in the back yard that we’re old and growing into power lines. They hope to build a garage in the back yard sometime in the near future, but for now they will most likely settle for a taller privacy fence.

Now that both of them have graduated from college, they have time for all the fun stuff. And speaking of fun stuff…Allen bought an old truck he’s been working on. It seems like most men have a dream of fixing up an old car or truck, and Allen is no different. That’s one way to have fun, but Disney World is another, so Allen and Gaby are planning a trip there in April. I’m sure that after a cold winter, a trip to sunny Florida would be really nice. Maybe they could pack me in their suitcase…if I promise to stay out of the way. No, probably not. Allen and Gaby also have two wonderful dogs, named Oly and Jasper. The dogs are truly their babies. They love playing with the dogs and the dogs love them.

They love to travel, but that has been curtailed these days. That is partly why this trip to Florida is such a big deal. After a wile of being locked down, it’s time to live a little. Allen and Gaby have traveled to many places all over the world, so being locked down is especially tough. Traveling to places like Bali or Japan, are more their style, but they are just places, and the real thing is being together. Allen and Gaby are best friends and have been since they first met, while they were both serving this great nation in the Navy. They both became corpsmen and knew that medicine would be their chosen field. While Gaby chose nursing, Allen chose hospital administration. Both of them are very good at their jobs, and Wyoming Medical Center is very blessed by their service. Today is Allen’s birthday. Happy birthday Allen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

On this, my mother, Collene Spencer’s birthday in Heaven, I am reminded of really, how wise she was, even though my sisters and I did not really realize just how wise she was. They say, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and indeed, the Bible says, “Laughter doeth good like a medicine.” My mother really tried to live that out. She would always remind us to “Keep of the Sunny side of life,” meaning to laugh at hardship and adversity, because you can get through almost anything if you can laugh at adversity. Sometimes, my sisters and I felt like laughter was far too simplistic for what we needed at any given time, but Mom was always full of laughter and song, and her life was really far smoother than ours ever were. For her life was simple. Follow God’s leading, and you will be just fine…and she always was.

Mom was first and foremost, a woman of God. If you were in her vicinity, you were going to hear about her Savior at some point in the conversation. Sometimes, when she would begin to talk, we…or at least I would begin to cringe, because I thought people would think she was crazy. I was always of the opinion that if God wanted a person saved, He would make it happen somehow, and it was not my job to help. Oh…how wrong that opinion is. The Bible talks about sending the “laborers” out to save the sinners, and I don’t know who I thought that was, but somehow, I didn’t think it was me…or my mom. Still, if not us, then who. A laborer had to be a human, of course, but did it have to be my mom…at a time in my life (the teenaged years), when her speaking out was going to embarrass me. Well, it did, and I had to deal with it, because she had a calling, and she loved her Lord so much that she was going to do what He asked. She saw it as her duty…and of course, it was.

Now, I am very proud of my mom’s accomplishments, in her Labors for the Lord, because when she went home to Heaven on February 22, 2015, I saw, at her funeral, a large crowd of people who knew and loved her, and many who felt like they owed their salvation to her work for the Lord. How could that be? She wasn’t a preacher, evangelist, missionary, or teacher. She was a laborer…just a laborer!! And yet, I know that when it came time to give her the crowns for leading others to the Lord…they were many. She would talk to anyone, anywhere, because she was a laborer for the Lord. Looking back, I am quite proud of my mom, her legacy, and her “almost embarrassing way” of laboring for the Lord, because now I can see that she was far wiser than I ever was. Today would have been my mom’s 86th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. Have a wonderful celebration. We love and miss you and Dad very much.

My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s aunt, Esther Hein and I have a birth story in common…well, a little bit. Hers is quite a bit more extreme than my own. We were both breech babies. A breech birth is really hard on both baby and mommy, and quite often these days, a breech birth would mean a Cesarian delivery. When I was born, they had to dislocate my hips to deliver me, but for Esther, it took 4 days for her delivery. That seems very dangerous to me, because it seems like the stress on mom and baby could be too much. I feel sorry for both moms, Esther’s mom, Vina Hein and my mom, Collene Spencer, because they had to do the work for the babies, Esther and me. I would have to say that they were supermoms, because they made it, and Esther and I got to be here because of them.

Esther is the oldest of Grandma Hein’s second family, my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg and his sister, Marion Kanta being in her first family. She has two younger brothers, Eddie Hein and Butch Hein. Esther and Butch are the only ones left here on Earth. When my father-in-law married my mother-in-law, Joann (Knox) Schulenberg, they took Esther in during the winter months, because the Hein family lived outside of Forsyth, Montana on a ranch, and with the winters in Montana being what they often are, getting her to school wasn’t always easy, so living with her brother Walt and his wife Joann was the best solution. Those were special days for Esther, who became very close friends with Walt and Joann, as well as little sister. Esther grew very close to her brother and sister-in-law. She also got close to their first child, Marlyce. Esther was only 10 years old, when Marlyce was born. That said, she had a number of years of school left, meaning that she might have been living with them for as much as 8 more years, during which time they would also have Debbie, and Bob. During her time there, while she might have been a trial at times, I’m quite sure she was also a big help to them as their family grew. I know they were always grateful for the help. Today is Aunt Esther’s birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Years ago, especially in the old west and during the depression years, travel wasn’t so easy, even from just one town over or across town, so quite often, holidays were mixed with weddings, just because of the convenience of it, and so that family gatherings could serve two purposes. I’m not sure if that was the reason why my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, chose Christmas Eve for their wedding day or not, but the fact that they did, made Christmas Eve just that much mor special for our family. It always seemed like that day had more sparkle and shine to me. I think it did to them too. Having the anniversary cake as part of the celebration…especially a celebration that more often included pie, was just extra.

I think of them more this time of year, even though they have been in Heaven now for 41 and 33 years, respectively. They were the only grandparents I really knew, since my dad’s dad passed before I was born, and his mom just 6 months after I was born. So, Grandma and Grandpa Byer were my only grandparents, and when they left us, it was a very sad day. Of course, we know that they are in our future now, and we will see them again, but on this their joyous wedding anniversary, we miss them even more than we normally do.

Grandma and Grandpa always made a big deal about Christmas. Even when the family got to be too big to get together on Christmas Day, they started a tradition that continues to this day…the Byer Family Christmas Party. By doing the party, and renting a hall, we could all be together at the same time. There was no way for the family, as big as it had become, to get together on Christmas Day in Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or anyone’s house, for that matter. Their nine children have grown to a family of well over 400, and the Byer Family Christmas Party continues on, in their honor. Grandpa once said to Grandma, “Mommy, look what we started.” Yes, they certainly did start something that has grown into a something big and beautiful…an amazing family. Yes, I do think about them a little more this time of year and miss them even more. Merry Christmas in Heaven Grandma and Grandpa, and all the family who has gone to Heaven before us. We can’t wait until we are all together again.

My great grandniece, Izabella Harman is a spunky little girl, with a sparkling personality. She is the middle child of my grandnephew, Jake Harman and his wife Melanie Harman. Belle, as she is called, loves life, and is excited to be alive. This past summer, her family went hiking on Casper Mountain with her aunt, Siara Olsen and her partner, Chris Kirk. They hiked the Bridle Trail, which I can tell you is not an easy trail. Nevertheless, they made it all the way around the trail. I think often the trail is easier for the kids, because they are more energetic, stronger, and more resilient than adults who may not hike a lot. Nevertheless, everyone made the hike, including Belle’s little brother Jaxx. I love to hike, and I know that trail. I even managed to break my shoulder in a slip and fall on that trail, so I am very proud of their accomplishment.

Bell is currently in kindergarten in school. She is a smart little girl, who loves learning. Like most kindergarteners, she is very close to losing all of her front teeth. She is also a good big sister to her little brother, and a great little sister to her big sister, Alice Green. They love to play and roughhouse. These kids are best friends and very rough and tumble. They don’t whine and cry, but rather they are always full of giggles. It is such a pleasure to hear these kids laughing and playing. In fact, it is a source of entertainment for their parents. There is nothing better than a house full of laughter.

Belle enjoys working out with her grandma, Chantel Balcerzak, and her Aunty Siara. She is a very strong girl, and they are very proud of her abilities. For her birthday, her grandma and aunt took Belle to get her ears pierced. The lady asked her which earrings she wanted, and she picked the biggest “diamonds” on the board. Now, if you know Chantel and Siara, you will know that they love their bling, and it appears that Belle is a diva too. Siara says that she is her mini-me, and since Belle’s middle name is Siara, it makes perfect sense. She is very much a girly girl. I’m told that Belle was so very brave. She didn’t even flinch when she got her ears pierced. Everyone was so proud of her, and now she has her new bling. Today is Belle’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Belle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-nephew, Isaac Spethman has always been ahead of the game. He is highly motivated, and really very skilled, even though he is just turning fifteen today. Most kids, even at fifteen are still just interested in playing video games and hanging out with their friends. Isaac likes to do these things too, but Isaac started his first job when he was just seven. He walked just two doors down the street from his house, where the Grant Street Grocery was located. It was a place he and his siblings liked to go and buy treats, but Isaac had other ideas. He wanted a job. So, he “applied” for one. The owner, thinking that this was just a little boy who was playng grownup, told him to bring in his resume, and they would take a look. Well, they had misjudged Isaac. He went to his aunt, Liz Masterson, and ask for help with his resume. Liz is a teacher, so this was no problem, and when it was finished, Isaac took it to Grant Street Grocery and got the job, even though they had no openings. He helped out by sweeping, straightening, taking out the trash, and they even started teaching him about the cutting of the meat. It was a good job and Isaac learned a lot, about several things. He worked there until they sold the store, and the new owners didn’t see the value this young man holds. His work ethic has not changed, and today, at fifteen, Isaac has a job at Hardee’s in Casper…a job he started in August. He enjoys the work, and they like him too.

Isaac’s parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, have taught him about hunting and gun safety. He has been hunting and been very successful at it. He has also put that “butcher shop” training to good use, because he knows how to handle a knife, both at home and in the field. Isaac’s dad has built a forge for himself and his boys. Isaac forged and sold his first knife this year, so now he will have his own little business, if he chooses to continue forging knives for profit.

Isaac is also in the ROTC at school and really enjoys the discipline and the training. This was something he has chosen to do, and he feels like he has made an excellent choice. Isaac has a mind of his own, and a good head on his shoulders. Isaac is in the process of buying his own truck from our neighbor. Once again, in his own personal style, Isaac is way ahead of the norm for his age. Most kids wait until they turn 16 and then after using their parents’ car for a while, they finally decide that they need a vehicle of their own. Not there is nothing wrong with that, but it just isn’t Isaac’s style. He likes to make his own way. It is a trait that makes me and all his family very proud of him. Today is Isaac’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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