This is a guest blog, written by my daughter, Amy Royce, for my birthday. Thank you Amy. I love you.
She has shown that in so many ways throughout my life and the lives of those around her. She was at every single game, play, concert or awards assembly when my sister and I were growing up. This continued on when my kids and nephews were in school and I have no doubt that she will also be in attendance for all of those things for her great grandchildren as well. She is very excited about the arrival of her first great granddaughter in June. More recently, she had taken on the task of caregiver for family several members. She was always willing to put her needs aside to help them. I know that if someone asks, she will do it again and again.
My nephews, Chris and Josh, remember when she would take them to school everyday. She always made sure that they were on time….even if she was having a bad day because she broke her heel or because of a train going back and forth and she was running late for work. (They love bringing this up every now and then! Haha) Not only that, she would pick them up from school and take them to the Boys and Girls Club after school. I remember multiple times when she would take my kids or nephews to work with her when they were sick, just so that my sister and I didn’t have to take time off of our jobs.
Chris also told me that now that they are older, if they ever need someone to talk to or guidance through life, she’s always there. This statement is so true! She has been there with words of encouragement for my sister as she is going through nursing school. She is always there, with a willing ear, for me when I have problems in my job.
Jenny, my mom’s niece, told me that my mom bought her wedding dress for her. She came to the hospital to see all of her kids when they were born. She even let her move into their house for a couple months when she was a teenager. She loves it that my mom goes over and spends one night a week with her mom, Cheryl.
Carrie, our friend and her co-worker, says that my mom always has Godly advice and takes the time to listen. She is always ready to help explain things at work and she takes the time to explain them until Carrie gets it. She takes care of anything going at work when Carrie is not there. She has ALWAYS been there to help her through struggles; big or small. Carrie loves that she knows the Word and can always let her know “what point of view or perspective will better serve her.”
Quite honestly, I could go on for days about how selfless she is, but in addition to all these wonderful things I have told you about my mom, she has found yet another way to make others feel special! On someone’s birthday, when we normally send a quick Facebook or text message, my mom takes the time to write up a complete story. She doesn’t have to….she wants to. Today is my mom’s birthday and this is my story for her. We love you mom. Thank you for all you do…for all of us. Have a great day!
With each passing year, we imagine what Laila might have been like. Seven years ago today, my niece, Jenny Spethman and her husband, Steve welcomed their first daughter into the world. The birth was one of happiness and concern. Their daughter was not well. Her heart was not properly formed…a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, had left her left ventricle underdeveloped. Little Laila would go to Heaven just 18 days later, and just like that, her little life on earth would be over…but not her memory. No, her memory will live forever in the hearts and minds of her parents, grandparents, siblings, and the rest of her family. It’s amazing to me that a child I never got to meet could continue to impress my mind, and the minds of the entire family, with pictures of who she might have become.
At 7 years of age, I can picture the little first grader she would be now. In my minds eye, I can picture her little face with the changes that seven years would bring. I can imagine her laughter, very much like her little sister, Aleesia’s, and a personality to match. I think that when a child is lost, the family tends to look at other children who are the same age that lost child would be, and it is so easy to place the lost child in the same activities, looks, and personalities. Of course, it’s not exact, how could it be, but it’s enough to truly imagine what the lost child would be like at each age. That’s how it is with Laila. It’s how we can imagine the little girl she would be.
Laila left us far too soon, but her memory will live in our hearts forever. From her, we learned not to take life for granted. We learned to take the pictures of even the littlest, most insignificant event, because it may end up being very important. We have learned to spend time with those we love, and to tell each other how much we love each other. We will see Laila again in Heaven, but for now, we all miss her very much. Today would have been Laila’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Princess Laila. We love you.
I think most people have heard the Bible verse, John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” People may not realize that this is a Bible verse, but they know what they thought was an old saying. Either way, the verse was talking about Jesus dying on the cross to save the world from it’s sin, but I don’t think that was all it was about. It hadn’t really occurred to me before, but when my pastor was preaching a couple of weeks ago, this verse was part of his sermon. Of course, he talked about Jesus sacrifice, but suddenly something jumped out in my mind. This verse was about far more than Jesus sacrifice, or it wouldn’t have talked about the greater love a person can have if they choose to lay down their life for their friend. It was about how we are all supposed to be.
It was at that moment that a thought came to me. There is more than one way to “lay down your life.” Of course, the verse meant to die for your friend, and many is the hero who has done that, but it occurred to me that dying is not the only way to lay down your life for someone. In fact, caregivers lay down their life all the time. They set aside their normal life activities, and take the time to take care of another person. I’m not trying to blow my own horn, but rather I want to talk about all of the many caregivers I know of and those I don’t, because their sacrifice is amazing. The patient they care for, would be in a nursing home, were it not for the loving kindness shown to them by a friend or family member who laid down their own life to give that time to another. It is one of the greatest showings of love there is, and it is also very rewarding for the caregiver, although sometimes it is sad too. For just a little bit of time, almost always a relatively short lived little bit of time, at least in the grand scheme of time, you have the chance to be the wind beneath their wings…the one who holds them up and cares for their needs…the one who had the privilege to lay down their own life to care for a loved one.
Yes, greater love hath no man, than that a man lay down his life for his friend…to actually die for his friend, but there is another way that is just as wonderful, and just as loving…to lay down your own needs, desires, activities, time…to care for another human being who desperately needs your help. So here’s to all the Caregivers I know, and to all those that I don’t know. You truly are among the greatest of people on Earth, because you have make a sacrifice that shows the ultimate amount of love you had for your loved one. It makes me proud to be a part of such an elite, amazing group of people. Today is National Family Caregiver Day, and I hope it is an amazing day for all of you.
My mother’s is a large family. There were nine children, and with each new marriage and birth, it grows larger still. At this point, I’m sure the family is well over 300, and all from my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, but with them, it all started with my Aunt Evelyn. She was their first baby. She was the one who informed my grandmother, when she was asked to go get her daddy, that “You must say Uncle Daddy!” She was the first of the social butterflies in their family, having a circle of friends who did lots of activities, and I’m sure that the younger kids wished they could do that too, but by the time they were of age, things like that weren’t done so much anymore. Fads like that come and go, and unfortunately for the little ones who would have loved to be a part of it, but they just don’t get to. Yes, Aunt Evelyn was the first of her siblings, and that gave her some seniority in the whole getting things by ages thing, but to me, she was just my aunt.
Because of the fact that my mom and Aunt Evelyn had children about the same age, they got together quite a bit. Aunt Evelyn, her husband, my Uncle George Hushman, and my parents went to the military ball together, the fireman’s ball together, and they bowled together. They double dated when my mom and dad were dating, and they spent time at each other’s houses. Because they did, my Aunt Evelyn’s kids, my cousins Susie, George, Shelley, Shannon, and Greg, were some of the best friends my sisters and I had as little kids, and we remain friends to this day, even if we don’t get to see each other as much as we used to.
As kids, we loved going to Aunt Evelyn’s house. She lived right next to the Mills Volunteer Fire Department, and I can’t count the number of times that we were there when the fire alarm went off. I will never forget how loud it was, nor how loud the fire trucks were when they went screaming out those big doors. Not every kid had the opportunity to live right next to that, or even to visit someone who does. It was quite interesting.
Many was the time when we went to Aunt Evelyn’s house and played hide and seek, or went down to the school to play on all the playground equipment there. There was never a dull moment when we went to Aunt Evelyn’s house. Of course, I’m sure that her kids always thought it more fun to come to our house, but that would just have to be their memory.
We lost Aunt Evelyn on May 4, 2015, and I still find it hard to believe that she is gone. Today, she would have been 87 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Evelyn. We love and miss you very much, and can’t wait to see you again.
My niece, Amanda Reed and her family love to spend time at the lake, where they keep a mobile home so they can have a place to stay when they are there. They love the summer, the lake, and all the activities they do there. Of course, that means weekends at the lake and weekdays on the job, which for Amanda means a local bank. It is a job she has had for some time, and that she enjoys. Nevertheless, like everyone else, the days off are what we all work for. A job is great, but your life happens during the time you have with your family, and for Amanda that is Sean Mortensen, and their daughter, Jaydn.
A short time back, Amanda had a bit of a scare concerning Jaydn, when she was bucked off of her horse. It isn’t the first time Jaydn has been bucked off, but during this particular incident, the horse stepped back and onto Jaydn’s elbow. It was not broken, and she was fine except for a few bumps and bruises, but for any mother, an incident like that is heart wrenching. Your mind has such a hard time not dwelling on that picture of what could have happened. Kids, of course, think they are invincible, so Jaydn was good with getting back in the saddle pretty quickly.
In November, Amanda and Sean decided to buy a house on a really nice corner lot in Rawlins. Since then, they have been working to settle in and make this house their own. There is just something special about buying a new house that changes everything…especially your perspective. This house is very nice and big too, which is always a plus. I’m sure Amanda has everything in ship shape already, and the family is ready for the summer to come. There is a big garage in back for Sean too, so I expect that he will be out there tinkering around a lot. All in all life is good for Amanda and her little family. She is doing what she loves, has the family she wants, and a beautiful home. So, you ask, what more could she want? Well, like me, she could as for summer and it’s nice weather to hurry up and get here, because like me, Amanda is a summer girl, and would like it just fine if it was summer all year long. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
During the twenty six long years when my great grandmother, Henriette Albertine Hensel Schumacher was confined to a wheelchair with debilitating arthritis, her husband, my great grandfather took care of her with the help of his children…especially my great aunts, Bertha and Elsa who gave up the hope of marriage and a family in their young years, for the love of their parents and with and understanding of their need. Because my great grandmother was only fifty years old when she was struck with this disease, her youngest daughters, Bertha and Elsa were only 11 and 8 years old. Those girls would barely remember a time when they were not caregivers for their mother, and later for their father too. The time went by so quickly, and suddenly they looked back and the time for having a family was long past for them.
I don’t think that most people, or at least most of those who have never been a caregiver, have any idea what a monumental job it is to care for someone. It takes a willingness to give up your own desires, hobbies, activities…basically your life, to help someone else who is not in a position to help themselves. And, it isn’t always the person who needs the care that is the most helped, but rather their spouse, who has been trying to handle it themselves, and trying to figure out what has happened to their strength, their ability to handle everything in their life, and how they could have come to a place where their only hope lies in the strength of their children, who still have the advantage of youth’s strength and energy. This was the place my great grandfather, Carl Schumacher found himself in, as the years passed and he came to the understanding that he would have to lean heavily on his two youngest daughters to keep things going.
I have to wonder if great grandpa felt a lot of guilt over what his daughters gave up in life to help him. He was such a loving, caring person, who had always been able to take care of all the needs of his family, and he just could not do this alone. He simply had no choice but to rely on them for help. He was getting older, and he was getting tired. I’m sure Bertha and Elsa would have had it no other way. These were their parents, and they loved them. Still, they never forgot the day that their dad said, “What would I do without you girls?” I know from my own experiences as a caregiver, that while you don’t need to have the patient constantly saying “thank you”, there is something to be said for hearing that your hard work has positively effected their lives. They were both rewarded in later years with wonderful husbands, and even thought it was for a short time they were blessed in that way too in the end.
In my years as a caregiver, I have had the opportunity a number of times to hear or be told that without my help, they couldn’t have stayed in their homes this long, and it does make you feel good about your work. Nevertheless, like my great aunts, I know I would do the work whether the praise came or not, because it truly is about making their lives better, and not about the praise I received. It’s all about the love I have for those I care for. I’m very proud of my great aunts, that they did what they needed to do to help their parents, and someday, I’ll have the chance to tell them that myself.
My cousin, Bill and his brother, Jim were always such fun to be around when we were kids. My sisters and I had no brothers, so there were times when those boys were a little surprising to us. Boys are just very different than girls. Those two loved to try to scare us with ghost stories when we would sleep out in the bus they went camping in. It didn’t take too long for us girls to think maybe we should have slept in the house, but it was all in good fun, and we did survive those nights, after all, so I guess it wasn’t all bad. Most of the time those two boys were just a couple of funny guys. What one didn’t think of, the other one did. We had such fun times with them, when we were kids.
Unfortunately, as time goes by, cousins sometimes end up seeing less and less of each other, mostly due in this case to distance, but also because of busy lives. We kept in touch by mail, and pictures, but didn’t get to see each other like we used to as kids. It is always a sad thing to loose touch with those you love. Nevertheless, as sometimes happens, time can come full circle and that is what happened in this case. Sadly the reason for the reconnection was the age and failing health of our dad’s, but Bill and his family brought his dad, my Uncle Bill out to see my dad, Uncle Bill’s brother. It was a blessed visit in every way. The two brothers had one last chance to be together and relive old memories. It was an act of kindness that will never be forgotten.
Bill is a family man, who loves his wife and daughter, and is totally involved in his daughter’s activities. He and his wife, Maureen keep us up to date on things that are going on back in Wisconsin, especially with Kristin, who has turned into a lovely girl…a tribute to her parents.
I wish the miles didn’t separate our families so much. It would be nice to be able to see them more often. Today is Bill’s birthday. Happy birthday Bill!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
My daughter, Corrie’s family all love pets. No matter how much work they can be, they cannot imagine life with out their furry friends. Their newest addition was Molly, who is a miniature dachshund. Like many animals, Molly has her favorite person/pet out of the family. For Molly, that person is Josh, my youngest grandson. Molly does not appreciate it when Josh is not there There are rules, after all, and Josh is supposed to always be at home, or at the very least, take Molly with him. The latter doesn’t seem to bother Josh much either, in fact, last night he tried to take Molly to Youth Group at our church, which would normally be a problem, but last night it wouldn’t have mattered too much since Josh was the only kid there, and the teacher is my niece, Jessi. I’m quite sure they would have had a wonderful time with Molly. Nevertheless, Corrie caught Josh, and wouldn’t let Molly go. I’m quite sure they were both unhappy with her over that one. In fact, I’ll bet Molly practically glared at Corrie.
As far as Molly is concerned, Josh is her pet, not the other way around. She has it in her head that Josh should be with her all the time. School and other activities are just not allowed unless Molly gets to go too. That is ok with Josh most of the time too, but there is the small matter of homework. Molly doesn’t understand that Josh might be busy. That is when she takes matters into her own hands…or paws, or in this case, teeth. No, she doesn’t bite Josh. She would never do that, but she will use her teeth to pull off Josh’s sock and nibble on his toes. Now nibbling on someone’s toes is…well, eeeewwww, but Molly just doesn’t care what we think. If it will get Josh’s attention, she will do whatever it takes. I guess it is a way of telling Josh exactly how she feels, but I still think it is gross.
Josh and Molly are practically inseparable. There is no doubt that Molly is Josh’s best friend…at least in the animal world, and he is hers. If it were possible, they would never be apart. It’s funny how animals have a certain member of the family that is their favorite, and the animal seems to thinks that the human is the pet. It is a show of love and dedication that you don’t get anywhere else. It is why we have pets I guess. Unconditional love and devotion to another being, whether it is man or animal is something very special.