Love

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Motherhood is such a complex occupation. Your actual title might be mom, mommy, momma, or some other version of the name, but you are so much more. You are a nurse, teacher, nurturer, referee, maid…well, you get the picture. A mother is the wearer of many hats, and we wouldn’t even be here without her. I have been blessed with two moms, Collene Spencer and Joann Schulenberg; two daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce; and two granddaughters-in-law with children, Karen Petersen and Athena Petersen. Babies are such a blessing, and then they grow into wonderful adults and the blessings continue for years to come.

Mother’s Day becomes something different wen you mom or mother-in-law are in Heaven. While they aren’t really gone, they are gone from our view, and that makes us sad. I’m sure that, like me, you probably thought your mom would always be there with you. We never expect them to leave us until they are gone, and then we realize just how much we will miss them. Those moments when we would love to call them, to say Hi, or to ask a question, or talk about our day, or even to cry on their shoulder. The day our mom leaves us is one of the hardest days we will ever have.

When we become moms, we find out how rewarding motherhood can be, but also, just how hard it can be too. Things like diaper changes, formula, and spitting up, soon give way to school days, school supplies, school clothes, and of course, the dreaded homework help. Still, watching them grow and mature is among the most rewarding things we will ever experience. Then, before our very eyes, they are making us into grandmothers, and the cycle of life continues. Our babies having babies and before we know it our grandbabies are having babies. Time just doesn’t stand still. It is always marching on.

Today is a day when we get to celebrate our mothers, our daughters who are mothers, and our granddaughters who are mothers. We celebrate, because they have made us so happy. They are among the most special people ever to walk the face of the Earth. Today is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers in my life, and the mothers in yours. Have a great day, ladies!! We love you so much!!

While some people think that Valentine’s Day is just another “far to commercialized” holiday, I like the idea of telling those you love, that you are thinking of them today. Yes, we should be thinking of them every day, and most of us do that, but to set aside a day to give that little extra, whether it is a card, candy, jewelry, dinner, or just time together is one more chance of letting them know that they are valued. I see no harm in giving just a little bit extra one day a year. You never know how deeply that will affect them. They might be having a really bad day, or just feeling lonely. Life is about connecting with our loved ones, and finding little ways of making them feel loved.

Of course, there is the romantic side of the coin too. Telling our spouse or partner just how important they are to us is so important. Some people think you have to go all out, and I suppose that is part of the problem people have with the day, but I think that some of the sweetest token of affection can be hand-made cards. I think most people have years when things are a little tighter, and if your spouse or partner really loves you, they don’t want to see anyone go crazy in debt for the day. A home-cooked dinner by candlelight can be super romantic, but skipping the day because you think it’s corny…just not cool.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t be the Valentine’s Day version of Scrooge, because that will land you quickly in the doghouse, and I seriously doubt that it will be covered with paper hearts and filled with chocolate candy. The doghouse is not the place anyone wants to spend the holiday that is known for love, unless your valentine is your dog, that is. I suppose that your dog could be your valentine, but my suggestion is that if your dog is your valentine, you had better get your sweet pup an extra serving of Kibble, or you might find yourself kicked to the curb…or sleeping in the kennel for the night!! Whatever you do to celebrate the day, I hope it finds you sharing it with someone you really love. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!! Have a lovely day!!

On January 15, 2024, at 8:31am, my niece, Siara Kirk and her husband, Chris were blessed with the birth of their first child together…a beautiful baby boy named Nathaniel Andrew Kirk. Nataniel was delivered by c-section, weighed in at 8 pounds 7 ounces and was 19.75 inches long. He has dark hair, but not very much of it yet, and I could try to guess who he looks like, but I’m not very good at that. If I had to guess, I would say that I rather think maybe he is his daddy’s boy. Nathaniel is a baby that is so, so very wanted. I know you might say that most babies are so wanted, but for Siara, Nathaniel is her “Rainbow Baby” because she lost her first son, Alec Todd Olsen when he was 3 days short of three months old. For Chris, Nathaniel is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of having a family of his own. When Chris looked at his precious son, he said that it just “feels so natural” to him. Parenthood…oh yes, it feels so perfectly natural, because it is such a wonderful, beautiful, miracle of God!!

When I looked at the pictures of this sweet little family, I could easily see the total love these parents have for their precious little boy. They have both waited so long for this little miracle, and now he is a reality…and they are so blessed. Nathaniel is a good baby, who doesn’t cry very much. I suppose that could change as he gets a little older, but I know that Siara and Chris won’t mind that one bit. Babies get noisy, and there will be far more laughter than tears in the future, and the giggly, laughter moments in the life of a baby are simply the best thing ever. They never get old.

Nathaniel (aka Nathan or Nate the Great) joins his parents to make them a family. His name was chosen with great care. In Hebrew it means “Gift from Heaven” and little Nathaniel is just that a wonderful gift from Heaven. On that day…January 15, that little gift from Heaven made his appearance, and with that, Siara and Chris stepped across another threshold…the one to parenthood. Their lives have been forever changed. Their home is filled with sunshine, their days filled with smiles, the precious sounds of their baby cooing, giggling, and even crying are the greatest sounds they have ever, or ever will hear. Congratulations Siara and Chris, and we welcome little Nathaniel Andrew Kirk. We love you very much!!

Yesterday, in front of family and friends, my niece, Lacey Stevens married the love of her life, Chris Killinger. The ceremony was beautiful, personalized, and sweetly relaxed. Her brother, Garrett Stevens had become ordained to marry, and he performed the ceremony. In many ways, that made the ceremony as sweet as it was. It wasn’t stiff, but was rather comfortable, and even included a little giggling, as a little humor graced the day. It was a beautiful blend of happiness, ceremony, and relaxed humor. As for Lacey’s new husband, well…Chris was so emotional at seeing his bride, that he cried. Some people might think that odd, but it was…perfect. I loved the idea of seeing our new nephew so taken with the woman he had chosen, that he couldn’t stop the tears. I know Lacey and her family would agree with me when I say that it was a beautiful moment.

When Lacey met Chris, as with any new relationship, she didn’t know where this would lead. Nevertheless, she knew that she was taken with the nice man, who treated her with love and respect immediately. They are so perfect for each other. They like the same things, and they are heading in the same direction. The great news is that they now have a wonderful companion with whom to share the road of life. Chris brought some things to the marriage that were unexpected, but things Lacey needed. Lacey wanted to start her own salon (Lacey is a Cosmetologist and now the owner of LuxLou Beauty) and Chris encouraged her to do so. He even helped advertise for her. Chris has a very different career than Lacey (office and purchasing manager for Atlas Aero Service at Natrona County International Airport). Many guys would think that pushing a beauty salon would be…not in their wheelhouse, but Chris is so proud of Lacey’s accomplishments. Lacey brought some things too, especially in light of Chris’ two children, Brooke and Jaxon. Lacey brought a heart big enough to embrace her bonus children. It has been a wonderful thing for everyone. The kids love Lacey very much, and the cousins, Elliott and Maya Stevens, they gained from the relationship. Of course, that wasn’t all either one of them brought to the marriage. One of the greatest things they brought to the marriage is their friendship with each other. They are so kind and loving to each other, and they have the same ideas in mind for the future.

Their wedding was the culmination of the love that has grown between these two wonderful people, and we are so happy for them both. I’m excited to see where life takes them as they begin this wonderful journey together. I know that they will always be happy, because they are perfect for each other. Congratulations of your marriage Lacey and Chris. We wish you the very best life has to offer and claim God’s greatest blessing for you all. Introducing Mr and Mrs Killinger!! We love you!!

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!!

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