It’s so hard to believe that my parents Allen and Collene Spencer, got married 70 years ago today. When they got married, our mom was a young girl of 17½, with stars in her eyes. Dad was 29, which was not so uncommon back then…after all, her parents were 16 years apart. Their ages, young or older, didn’t matter, because their love was real and forever. And they never seemed like they were 12 years apart in age. They became a family of three ten months later, and over the next nine years they became a family of seven, with five daughters to their credit. While we weren’t rich in money, our family was so rich in love.
My sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I went to dinner at Red Lobster last night, and it was so great to think back on the days of our childhood. We talked about the many meals we all had together. It’s funny how so much of life centers around the dinner table, in whatever form that takes for each family. The closeness of our family while around the dinner table, radiated around us when we went to dinner. We laughed about the times we got to get hamburgers from McDonald’s…ordering 15 hamburgers and seven orders of fries. For some reason, the kids at McDonald’s were less than pleases over those big orders. A fact which we found to be quite funny. We also talked about the “Ice Cream Suppers” that our Uncle Bill Spencer (Dad’s brother) initiated. During a visit to Superior, Wisconsin, Uncle Bill decided that we were going to have ice cream for dinner. We all ordered our favorite treats, and when we were done, to our shock, Uncle Bill asked us what we wanted for dessert. Well, he didn’t have to ask twice, because we quickly ordered a “dessert” treat too. What fun that was. Mom and Dad liked it so much that the tradition came home to grace our dinner table every once in a while, too. It was so yummy!
After our wonderful dinner and precious memories of our parents, now both in Heaven, the evening was over. I guess our time around the dinner table mush have bless more people than just us, because as we left, a lady approached my sister, Allyn and told her that they had really enjoyed our laughter. We ere pleased and left the restaurant with even lighter spirits. Today would have been our parents’ 70th anniversary. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!! We love and miss you both so very much, and we can’t wait until we see you again.
Every year, around the time of my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s birthday and also around the 4th of July, Bob and I take our annual hiking trip to the Black Hills. We aren’t always there on Bob’s birthday, which is six days after the 4th of July, and so doesn’t always fall conveniently in the same week. Nevertheless, we celebrate his birthday too, with time together as a couple, doing one of the activities we both have loved to do for years…hiking. It hasn’t always been easy for either of us to hike some of the more difficult trails, and one year, Bob’s back was so out of place, that even the easiest of trails was more than he could handle. That was a rough year. We went to the Black Hills and spent a lot of time in a motel room.
This year was one of the good years…at least in how Bob felt. We weren’t hiking any of the real difficult trails, especially our favorite…Harney Peak (now Black Elk Peak), but we hiked every day, even though it was cold this year and rained almost every day. This has just been a strange summer, and one I haven’t exactly enjoyed to this point, but since the temperatures are moving up, so are the prospects of summertime fun. Now, getting Bob to take time off to from the work he does from home…that’s not so easy.
Bob is a mechanic, and when he retired, he really didn’t intend to “retire” exactly. He just didn’t want to go to work and be on someone else’s schedule. He loves being a mechanic, but he wants to work on the jobs he wants to, on his schedule, and from his own garage. He likes the idea of just going out there whenever he wants to, and taking a break whenever he wants to. Don’t get me wrong, Bob will take most jobs, provided he has the time and ability to do the job. Also, he will pretty much work a job until it is done, unless it is one that is obviously going to take several days. Still, he just likes being in control of his days, weeks, and life in general. And he is so much happier these days. He feels better, even though some days his back hurts from being bent over a car. And he is able to take some time and just go for an evening walk with me…which I like very much. The life of a semi-retired, self-employed mechanic suits him to a “t” so I’m happy. Today is Bob’s 69th birthday. Wow!! It doesn’t seem he is 69 at all. Happy birthday Bob!! Have a great day!! We all love you very much…but especially me!!!
My grandson, Josh Petersen and his fiancée, Athena Salazar met in middle school, and at the time, Athena tells me that she didn’t really like Josh much. That’s not such an odd thing. in those early teen years, everybody feels awkward, and doesn’t really know how to show someone that you like them, and especially for girls, the awkward maneuvering of the teenaged boys makes them someone the girls would rather just avoid. I don’t really know if Josh liked Athena back then, but when they met again, both working at Sanford’s, they knew that things had changed for them. Now before them was a person who was suddenly quite loveable, and they knew that they had found their soulmate for life. Josh and Athena had followed the path of his Grandma and Grandpa Schulenberg, who had known each other all their lives, and for those awkward teen years, she didn’t like him, but then it all changed, and they were together for life. It’s really a sweet story, when you think about it. Today, the story of Josh and Athena is going to the next level. Today, they will marry the love of their lives. They have been waiting for so long, and they are so excited.
We are so happy to have Athena join our family. It is wonderful to see Josh so happy. They couldn’t be more perfect for each other if they tried. They find the same things to be funny, and they love the same things, especially their son, Justin, who was born in 2022 and their little baby boy who will be making his entrance at the end of September. Life is good for these sweet kids, and now it is going to be even sweeter as they become husband and wife. They have so many good things ahead of them and this is just the beginning, the point when two lives who have known each other for so long, and now become one.
Josh and Athena have so much in common, from school days to work, to their likes and dislikes, and their temperaments. They are the kind of people who are always willing to help others, and that endears them to many people. They like to travel and see new places, but they enjoy hanging out at home just as much. Their son, Justin and soon his little brother, Axel are their top priorities, and they love them both so much. They are already such great parents, and so great as a couple, and I know they will be equally as great as husband and wife. Today is the day…their Wedding Day!! Congratulations Athena and Josh!! Congratulations on your marriage!! We are so happy for you both!! We love you!!
I always greet Father’s Day with mixed emotions. I don’t have my dad, Allen Spencer or my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg with me anymore, so there is always a little bit of sadness too, because I miss them both so much. They were both so important to me…they still are, but now they are in Heaven, and in my future. Nevertheless, on this and every day, I think of them lovingly, because they were so influential in my life. God blessed me, my husband, and siblings with two of the greatest dads ever. Both were gentle souls, soft spoken and kind, and both were hard workers. Sometimes, the similarities surprised me, but I always knew that I was loved and valued.
When I met and married my husband, Bob Schulenberg, God gave me a perfect soulmate. Bob took after his dad is so many ways, not the least of which, was his work ethic. They had spent countless hours together working on cars and other projects around his dad and mom’s place. They probably spent just as much time working on our stuff too. Bob was a “girl-dad” and a very good one. Our girls had him wrapped around their little pinky, and he was just fine with that. He was like his dad in so many ways, and that soft heartedness followed him into fatherhood. The girls could have gotten away with just about anything, because like his dad, Bob was a softie.
Now our girls are both married to wonderful men, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce, and we consider ourselves very blessed to have both of these wonderful sons-in-law in our lives too. It is so great to be able to give your daughter in marriage, knowing that the man she is marrying is going to treat her well, provide for her, and take care of her. The years have brought many changes into our girls’ lives, and their husbands have been beside them all the way. they have given us a beautiful granddaughter, and three handsome grandsons, who have all blessed our lives greatly. And now, two of our grandsons are dads too. Chris (Karen) Petersen and Josh (Athena Salazar, soon to be Petersen) Petersen. The next generation of babies have brought us a great granddaughter, Cambree Petersen, two grandsons, Caysen Petersen and Justin Petersen, and two more grandsons on the way. Life is good!! Happy Fathers’ Day to all of the dads in my life, and to all of the other dads out there. Have a wonderful day and know that you are loved and appreciated very much!!
It isn’t often that a couple is together all their lives, but really, that is the case with my in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg. Their parents, or really, their moms were best friends. Walt’s mom, Vina née Leary Schulenberg (later Hein) had two children…Marian in 1927 and Walt in 1929. Joann’s mom, Nettie lost a son, William in 1929, and then went on to have Joann in 1931. I’m not sure exactly when their friendship began, but by the time Joann was born, Vina and Nettie were friends. In fact, that is how Walt and Joann “famously” slept…well napped…together when he was two and she was an infant. I think that story is sweet, but my mother-in-law was always more than a little bit embarrassed, whenever the subject came up.
Of course, they weren’t a “couple” all those years, and in fact, my mother-in law once told me that for a number of years she absolutely did not like my father-in-law in the slightest little bit, but eventually, he grew on her and they started dating. My father-in-law was a very likable guy, so it doesn’t surprise me that she started to like him as time went on. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and while she was a more serious person, his witty personality balanced with her serious one quite nicely.
They went on to have six children and move from Forsyth, Montana to Casper, Wyoming where they raised their family. Like most families, it was a “job market move” that brought them to Casper. My mother-in-law was a stay-at-home mom, and my father-in-law worked at Pathfinder Mines as a mechanic for many years.
Theirs was a long and happy marriage, lasting 64 years before my father-in-law went home to Heaven. I was blessed to marry into this family, and to know these two wonderful people. In fact, anyone who knew them would tell you what a wonderful blessing they were. Dad went home to Heaven in May 5, 2013, and Mom went home on January 4, 2018. We miss them both very much. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad Schulenberg. We love you very much.
For many people, the events of Good Friday, while not forgotten exactly, are “misplaced” with the upcoming commercial holiday of modern Easter. Of course, Easter or Resurrection Day, as it should be called, could not be possible, were it not for the events of Good Friday. Our world was headed for disaster. Our sins had separated us from God, and we had no way to ever get back, because the Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” We couldn’t “un-sin” and so the only destination left for our lives was Hell. It was where we would all go, if something was not done to save us.
Jesus was the only way out. He lived a sinless life, and yet accepted the beating, torture, and death on the cross, because He could see the reward in the end…the restoration of all mankind to a relationship with God again. Why did Jesus accept that horrific punishment? He did it for me…and you, and all mankind, and He purchased that salvation for anyone who wants it. I have often wondered why they called it Good Friday, but even though the death of Jesus was horrific, it was the best day ever…for mankind, anyway.
Resurrection Day is the day when the horrific job given to Jesus was completed. When He rose from the dead on that third day, He rose in victory, having completed the task of redeeming us from the curse of the law. God knew that we couldn’t live perfect, and with Adam’s sin, and every sin that followed, we became more and more filthy and disgusting, but God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall be saved. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are instantly put back in right standing with God. We can live out eternity in Heaven and not in Hell. It is the greatest gift of all time, and it is ours for the taking. Salvation is waiting for everyone!! We only need to believe. Happy Resurrection Day everyone!! Praise God, Jesus is risen!!
Like most holidays, Valentine’s Day has different meanings for different groups of people. At one time, back in the 400s, it was to celebrate the coming of Spring. It was also a day to celebrate two saints named Valentine. It was a way of honoring them. These days, I think it is pretty much universally known as a holiday to celebrate love, and even friendship.
Of course, the flower, candy, and greeting card industries, as well as the restaurant industry, have really profited from the Valentine’s Day tradition of showing our love, and I think that’s ok. While some people consider the day to be a forced display, I feel like it is a great way to show people how much they mean to you. I don’t really understand why people consider it a burden. In our family we always brought candy to our parents and siblings, and I love to continue that with my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. To see the smiles on their faces, is all I need to feel happy.
With restaurants so busy on Valentine’s Day, my husband, Bob and I always choose a different day to go out for dinner. Many other people feel the same way, and with that, Valentine’s Day has essentially become Valentine’s week. If a couple is going to become engaged on Valentine’s Day, or get married on Valentine’s Day, then no other day will do. That makes sense too. I don’t know how I would feel about getting engaged or married on a holiday, but many people think it’s a great idea to mix the holiday with their special day. Of course, becoming engaged on those holidays is w very different thing. Still, to each his own, as they say. However, you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate Valentine’s Day, it will always be remembered as a day to celebrate love.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a wonderful day, and if you decide to celebrate the coming of Spring, well…it’s truly just around the corner. And about that, I am completely happy. To my family, friends, and my love…Bob, I say Happy Valentine’s Day. May your day, or week be wonderful!!
This past year has been one filled with excitement, change, and growth for my niece, Lacey Stevens. Lacey, who is a hairdresser, opened her own salon. It’s called LuxLou Beauty Salon, and her business is really growing. Most of her family and friends go to Lacey regularly…not to mention the new people who have been referred to her. Lacey not only does people’s hair for their everyday life, but she also specializes in hair and makeup for their weddings, which as we all know is the most important day in a girl’s life. You want the best for that special day, and Lacey is an expert in providing the very best look for that all-important day. Lacey is very good at what she does, and she listens to her clients, to make sure she does exactly as the want it to be. Going forward, I know that Lacey’s business will only grow bigger and bigger.
While her business is really big news, the most exciting news is that Lacey got engaged to her boyfriend, Chris Killinger just before Christmas. These two are perfect for each other, and Lacey is already a wonderful stepmom to Chris’ two kids, Brooklyn and Jaxon. They love her and our whole family, and we all love them. While many people might think that having a “ready-made family” would be tough, Lacey has embraced it and truly considers Chris’ kids her own. That is as it should be. When you marry a person with children, you marry the whole family. The best stepparents know and embrace that, and it helps that Brooklyn and Jaxon are very sweet. Lacey also has a soft heart, and she is very loving to children, so it’s a blessing to all.
Lacey has been helping Chris with updates to their house. They have been painting, and they also updated the bathroom, which turned out great. This is somewhat new to Lacey, but she is always willing to learn new things and help him with improvements to their home. It’s always fun to watch the changes that people go through as they blend their lives. What one person knows and has done, the other might not have, but when you blend them together, each can teach the other something new…be it a skill or a style.
Now that they are engaged, Lacey and Chris are very busily planning their wedding, scheduled for October. I know it is going to be as beautiful as these two are, and we are all very excited for them. I guess Lacey won’t need to hire someone to do her makeup, because she is the best person for the job. Her own hair and makeup always look perfectly stunning, so unless she just wants to be pampered, why go elsewhere. Of course, we don’t know any of the other details of the wedding plans, and that is as it should be, but I know it will be perfect, and I am very happy for these two. Today is Lacey’s 30th birthday. It’s the perfect time for Lacey to begin the next chapter of her life, but I can’t believe she isn’t a little girl of 3. Where has the time gone. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As a kid, and especially as a teenager…those stupid ‘I know everything’ years, I like many kids thought my mother, Collene Spencer couldn’t possibly understand life as it was in my day. I think we all thought our parents were ‘older than dirt’ in our teen years. Then, we grow up and become parents, and suddenly, we find out how much our parents really did know. I found out that my mom was really a wise woman. Yes, she was wise in the ways of raising a family and managing a household, but my mom was also very wise in the ways of the Lord. I think if she had chosen to, she could have been an evangelist…not that she wasn’t really. What ’embarrassed’ me, was simply my mom telling anyone who would listen, about the Lord. When this happened in stores and such, I wanted to crawl under the floor. I kept thinking, “Mom, they don’t want to hear that…from you or anyone else!! Please leave them alone!!” Of course, I was wrong to do that. Mom saw what I didn’t…a person in need of the Lord. I can only imagine how many people she brought to Jesus…either that she knew of or that she never knew of. Knowing my mom, she immediately claimed Isaiah 55:11 over them, which says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Mom knew her Bible, and could be found reading it, listening to it, or listening to Bible teachings every day…pretty much all day. It was only after her passing on February 22, 2015, that I really knew that quietly, behind the scenes, my mom had been ‘secretly’ sharing the gospel with people, and many were saved because of her. She also had a way of being a type of counselor to people…not people with real big problems, necessarily, but just a person who could be counted on to listen when needed. That truly was my mom. She always had an ear to hear, and a caring heart. She was a person who always gave of herself and anything she had, if someone needed it. So many people have told me since her graduation to Heaven, that she was there for them with just the right words, when they needed them most. It was truly ‘Mom’s Secret Legacy’ and so welcomed by so many.
It was her secret, probably because she knew that her girls (I was probably the worst) would try to have her not do the work she felt led to do. She did of course, talk to all of her family, as well as her siblings and Dad’s siblings…whether we wanted her to or not. She wanted all of us to be in Heaven with he when our turn came…and how thankful we all are that she was that way. We all think of a legacy as something that just happens easily, but it isn’t it takes work, time, and sacrifice, and most people do it without even knowing that they are building a legacy. That was my mom, exactly!! Today would have been my mom’s 87th birthday…our New Year’s Baby!! Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom!! I know you and Dad are having the time of your lives!! We love and miss you both very much, and we can’t wait to see you again!!
Christmas Eve…the half day beginning of the Christmas holiday. I say, half day, because many businesses are open half of the day, letting their employees off early to spend time with their families. For some families the opening of gifts is even done on Christmas Eve, while others are preparing for the festivities that will be taking place the next day. For my grandparents, as well as many other people across the world and even in my own family, Christmas Eve seems like the perfect day to be married. In my grandparents’ day, that was often how it happened, because family was gathered and gathering wasn’t always easy, so I suppose it was like “killing two birds, with one stone” for lack of a better analogy.
For my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, it made the season that much more special. We all knew when they got married. From their kids on down to the great great grandkids, we knew, because it was a story that was passed down to every generation and an event that was celebrated every Christmas eve. It was something that made Christmas extra special. Just knowing that the whole family got started on Christmas eve was so very cool, and I think that for many years, we thought we were the only family to have such a special Christmas eve. We weren’t, of course, and in fact, every year other people get married on Christmas eve. Many people think it’s a great day for a wedding, and for those forgetful husbands, a difficult date to forget.
For the rest of the world, Christmas eve is a day to prepare for the morning, attend Christmas eve services, and set out the cookies and milk. Then it’s a matter of trying to get the excited children to go to bed, because they will want to be up by 6:00am…if not earlier!! Before we know it, Christmas will be over, except for the opportunity to reflect on the real reason for the season…our Lord and Savior…Jesus Christ!! Merry Christmas Eve, and happy anniversary in Heaven to my grandparents. Have a wonderful day all!!