My husband’s aunt, Esther Hein really likes flowers. She loves gardening and watching her creation bloom. That is a talent that I just don’t have, but Esther does have it…and many others. She is an artist, and has painted great landscapes, which is my favorite, and on a round saw blade, which is very cool. Esther also enjoys making quilts and sewing other things. She made a set of curtains for my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg, and while she had Alzheimer’s Disease, and didn’t remember many things, she always remembered that Esther made those curtains for her. I always loved that my mother-in-law kept Esther in her heart. I even remember the time that I was helping her get ready for bed, and she didn’t want to go. Suddenly, out of the blue, she said to me, “Don’t Esther!!” Of course, it had a funny connotation for me too, because my mother-in-law often tried to get out of going to bed so early, but I had to work the next day, so she had to go to bed before the 10:00pm news. The funny thing was that for once I wasn’t the one getting in trouble for making her go to bed. She blamed Esther that day.
I’m sure that over the years Esther has had to carry some heavy burdens. She raised three children mostly as a single mom, and did a great job of it. They are all responsible members of society and great people. Esther has taught them the way they should go. She has been active in her church and she loves the Lord. She loves the outdoors and camping, but I’m not sure she has been able to do that very much in the last few years. She loves animals and people. She loves helping people, and in fact, lately she has been helping by delivering food boxes to needy people. There are always needy people these days, from job losses, to home losses, to fire losses, people have needs, and Esther is our there helping to fill those needs. Even though her area of the country, Oregon has been inundated with wildfires this year, just like California, and the smoke was heavy at times, but Esther’s daughter Vina Frye assured me that Esther was safe, and so was she. In fact, it was Vina who told me that Esther was delivering the food boxes. Vina is so proud of her mom and her giving heart…and so am I. Today is Esther’s 80th birthday. Imagine that 80 years old, and she is still helping other people. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Michelle Stevens is a very talented artist, but what I didn’t know, or didn’t realize, is that she also has a heart of gold. I always knew she was a sweetheart, but she is also a wonderful giver and teacher. Recently, I was working on a gift I wanted to give to my sisters, and I knew that if I wanted it to look as good as the picture I had in my head of what it would look like, I would need help. And I knew that Michelle was the one to ask. The gifts were to be a combination of an antique looking heart filled with trinkets, and some lettering, which was where I knew I would need help. Little did I know it wasn’t the only place I would need help.
Of course, with her big heart, Michelle agreed to do the lettering for me…even though in the end, I didn’t really give her the amount of time I should have. Then, as I was gluing the trinkets onto the canvas, I sent her a frantic text. Looking at my work, I thought, “This is awful!!” I was so disgusted that I sent Michelle a text saying, “Ugh!! I’m about as artistic as a box of rocks!! What does this need??” I wanted to cry. Somehow, Michelle saw something I couldn’t. She told me it looked good…and that the problem with homemade gifts is that part way through, you begin to doubt yourself…a time she calls the “ugly teenaged phase.” Well it was ugly alright. My clumsy fingers kept dropping the trinkets and there was shiny glue everywhere. It was a mess. Nevertheless, Michelle knew how to fix it. She also knew how to best phrase what I wanted to say on the project. When she was done, they were a gift I was proud to give to my sisters. I’m sure you’ll agree that in the end, and only because of Michelle’s expertise, they turned out beautifully.
I am so proud of my niece and her wonderful artistic abilities. Of course, her own work is absolutely stunning, but with her teaching abilities, she can take even the most bumbling attempt at art, and make it look amazing. Her artistic ability makes her an excellent artist, and her heart of gold makes her an amazing person and teacher. That is a combination that is so special, and a gift few possess. Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you, and thank you sooooo much for your expert help!!
My grand-niece, Aurora Hadlock is such a sweet, happy girl. She has a zest for life, and most often sees the good in everything. Her positive outlook on life always keeps her upbeat. This year with it’s long Covid Summer has given people lots of extra time to spend together, and when the quarantine lifted, the family began doing a lot of camping and four wheeling. The family has traveled to the Black Hills twice this year, and Aurora’s favorite site is Mount Rushmore…a favorite of mine too. The Black Hills is a family favorite place.
Aurora wants to be a police officer when she grows up. She comes by this decision naturally, because her grandpa, Chris Hadlock is a retired Casper Police officer, and her uncle, Jason Sawdon is a Wyoming Highway Patrolman. Being a police officer is a noble calling, and her desire to help people is inspiring. She wants to keep the public safe, and I really respect that. She may only be 9 years old, but this career decision has been with her for a long time. She had the opportunity recently to sit on the motorcycle of a Casper Police officer, and she was so excited about it.
Aurora is very excited about going back to school. Like many children, who were thrust into unexpected online learning, Aurora did not like it at all. The coming year has left her a little bit apprehensive, however, because her big brother, Ethan will not be in her school. He has moved on to middle school. Another missing face is will be that of her great aunt, Alena Steven, who retired at the end of last term. Nevertheless, Aurora is tough, and she will tackle it head on. I’m sure that by the end of the first week, she will be totally fine with the coming year.
Aurora is an artist, and wants to start her own business, selling her paintings and drawings. This is also a goal she comes by naturally, as her mom, Chelsea, who has a business of her own selling jewelry of her own design at the Comic Con Conventions. Starting your own business is not an easy thing to do, so having the experience of her mom and her successful business will be a great help. Aurora’s dad, Ryan has been helping her with a special project…but that is not finished yet, so I’m not going to give it away. That will be a story for next year, and one I am looking forward to sharing. Today is Aurora’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As I was thinking about my niece, Chantel Balcerzak, my thoughts turned to just how sweet and caring she is. I knew what my feeling were concerning my niece, but I thought maybe it would be nice to hear things from a different perspective. I asked my grandniece, and Chantel’s daughter for some of her memories. I was not disappointed.
Siara Olsen, who is Chantel’s youngest child, told me that, as with many kids, one of the best parts about school for her, were the field trips the classes get to go on. All the students in the class got to bring a lunch from home to have for the trip. Chantel always made sure that their lunches on those days were special. She would get Lunchables, chips, and their favorite candy. These might have been things they wouldn’t have had otherwise, but Chantel wanted to make it special. I think Siara, and her brother Jake Harman would tell you that it was more than what was in the lunch, that made it special, it was the love she put into it too.
Chantel was a single mom for part of her children’s lives, and she didn’t want them to feel like they had missed out of time with their mom and the memories that would create, so on what became special nights, Chantel would declare that they were going to have a “Carpet Picnic.” The kids got to pick out their favorite junk foods like, Pigs in a Blanket, Totino’s pizza, and Wheat Thins with Cream Cheese. Chantel laid out a blanket on the floor, set out the food, and they ate dinner, while watching a special movie they had picked out. The memories of those picnics will stay with the kid all their lives, because, of the love she put into the evening.
Because Chantel was a single mom, the kids spend time each year with their dad in Louisiana. That was a hard time for Chantel, because she dearly loved her kids, and hated to be away from them. One year, she had a great idea. Just so you know, Chantel is an artist, and her work is great. So that year, when the kids came home from Louisiana, both of their bedrooms had been completely transformed. Chantel had decorated Siara’s room in a princess theme, and Jake’s room was dragons and knives. Siara tells me that they were amazing. I can imagine, because I have things in my home that Chantel has painted, so I know her talents. Still, when it came to her kids, well it was more than the paint, curtains, and decorations…it was the love their mom put into this sweet gift for their homecoming.
Like many in our family, the Black Hills is a special destination. We all love to go there, and many of us go every year. Chantel’s family is one of those for whom the annual 4th of July trip to South Dakota is a must. The family goes camping, and sight seeing, because as anyone who loves the Black Hills knows, you never see it all over there. Chantel cooked all the best foods on the campfire and everyone ate their fill. Then, Chantel and her husband Dave, paid the way for all of them to head over to the water park! Like everything that Chantel does, these trips were not just about going somewhere, they were about being with her beloved family, because it really is about how much she loves them.
Siara told me that she could go on and on about her mom, because she is her very best friend, and I know that is true. They are very much two of a kind. Chantel is a wonderful person, and she has dedicated her life to her family. Today is Chantel’s birthday. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband, Bob’s aunt, Esther Hein is the oldest child of her parents, Walt and Vina Hein. She was also the middle child of her mother, who had two children from another marriage. Because of the age difference the children, the older children, Marion and Walt were both married while Esther was just a little girl, so she grew up being the oldest child for the most part. Besides her two half-siblings, Esther had two brothers, Edward and Bernard Hein.
The 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 during the winter months, Esther often lived with her brother Walt and his wife Joann, so she could attend school regularly. Those were special days for Esther, who became very close friends with Walt and Joann, as well as little sister. Of course, as with any child, Esther could be trying, to which Joann would exclaim, “Don’t Esther!” A situation that remained with Joann, even when Alzheimer’s Disease stole many of her memories. The three of them would remain close for the rest of their lives. Though they lived far away from each other for their entire adult lives, they talked on the phone often, and visited as often as they could.
Esther is an artist, and many of her pieces of artwork adorned the homes of her family. She is also a good seamstress, and made curtains for Walt and Joann’s bathroom, which they loved very much. She especially liked to paint on unusual objects, like sawblades. She would create beautiful landscapes on both straight sawblades, as well as round sawblades. The effect was amazing. The way that something so mechanical could also take on a rustic look was amazing. Her artistic ability was something that made her brother, Walt very proud. He spoke of it often, and was always quick to point out her paintings to people who visited the house. He proudly told them that the artist was his little sister. Today is Esther’s birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Chantel Balcerzak is a very talented artist, and wedding planner. In the last three years she has planned the weddings of her two step-children, as well as her two children’s weddings. I don’t know about you, but for weddings in three years wold probably put me in the nut house, but Chantel seems to take most things in stride. Wedding planning really is her passion, and the weddings of her for kids are her greatest wedding accomplishments…and her greatest responsibilities. She has taken them very seriously, wanting every detail to be perfect.
Chantel decided after planning a couple of these weddings, that she had a knack for it and so, she started a business called Next To The Dress. The business is doing well, but planning a wedding for a customer and planning a wedding for your child are two different things. When it is your child’s wedding, you also have all the stressed out emotions of your children, as well as your own emotions too. In addition to that, when it is her child’s wedding, Chantel has parts of the planning that normally aren’t a part of the wedding planner’s duties. Being the wedding planner and the mom is a unique role for any wedding planner, and yet being the mom is often how wedding planners come to be wedding planners. They plan a wedding for their child, and then start a business.
Chantel is such a great artist, and she brings all of her artistic abilities to create the wedding of her client’s dreams. She can create just about any design her client can dream up. That kind of talent isn’t easy to find, and it takes a lot of effort on Chantel’s part. She spend hours searching the internet for design examples to show her clients, so that their wedding will become the dream they have always fantasized about. That is really what makes Chantel such a great wedding planner. It is more than just an attention to detail, it is a dedication to the dreams of her clients, and isn’t that what it is all about?
While Chantel is very busy right now, she is very excited for this wedding. It is the last for her children, and that can be a little emotional. Chantel is a sentimental person,so crying at weddings is simply a given. I don’t think any mom can go to the wedding of her child and not be emotional. After all, that bride or groom is the baby she carried for nine months, and then raised to adulthood. They will always be her babies, and as we all know, most mom’s are weepy people when it comes the sentimental things their kids do, like weddings graduations, and parenthood. And Chantel considers herself to be a queen of emotion, so don’t expect anything else. Today is Chantel’s birthday. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Some talents can be learned, but some tend to be things that you are just born with. I was watching a program the other day, and this couple was looking at a place to buy, and the husband mentioned that they could have a garden, and his wife said…”You can have a garden!!” He said, “Oh, because of your brown thumb.” I immediately thought of myself. A gardener I am not…and that is a fact. My husband’s aunt, Esther Hein, however, really likes to plant flowers and nurture them along. It is something that she has a talent for. I wish I did, but I was not born with that talent.
Aunt Esther also is a gifted artist and quilter. I have one of her paintings, and I really love it. Her quilting is well known, as is some of her sewing. She has made curtains and other such things for my father-in-law’s house, and I always liked knowing that those things came from Esther, with love. She made on particularly beautiful quilt for my father-in-law, that he loved so very much. It was always on their bed, and he was always extra careful to make sure that it was never harmed. Quilting is a beautiful art form, for those who are skilled enough to master it. Esther is, and again, I am not.
She also makes out a family calendar every year, with birthdays, death dates, and anniversary dates on it. It is an act of love that she has done for many years for her family members. I remember looking at the calendar she sent to my father-in-law every year. The calendar had birthday and death date of people long passed, and was a great ancestry tool, as well as a way to keep up with important dates, and remember those long passed. Esther is active in her church, and loves the Lord, and she loves to play with her dogs, go camping, and snow shoeing, as well as traveling. We don’t get to see Esther as much as we would like, and we hope that maybe one of these days, her travels with bring her to Wyoming again. Of course, I suppose we should make our travels include Oregon too. Today is Esther’s birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Wherever there is snow, you can bet there will be a snowman. Maybe not in every yard, but in many of them. I’m not sure who first has the idea to make a snowman, but once it got started, it caught on quickly. Now it is simply a winter tradition, and if the littlest ones are too little, their parents will build it fir them or assist in building it if need be.
The building of the first snowman is unknown, but Bob Eckstein, author of The History of the Snowman documented snowmen back to medieval times. He researched paintings in European museums, art galleries, and libraries. The earliest documentation he found was a marginal illustration from a work titled Book of Hours from 1380, found in Koninklijke Bibliotheek, in The Hague. Who knew that snowmen went back that far.
When it comes to the tallest snowman, we would have to clarify the 122 feet 1 inch snowman, was actually a snow woman. She was built in 2008 in Bethel, Maine, and was named in honor of Olympia Snowe, a United States Senator representing the state of Maine. In 2015, a man from the Wisconsin was noted for making a large snowman 22 feet tall and with a base 12 feet wide. Still, the average snowman stands between three and six feet tall, because that is the height that the average builder takes the time to do. There are several ways to build a snowman, and in fact the styles can be very creative, or total disasters, depending on the abilities of the builder. Some people are even snowman artists. Their snowmen look like actual sculptures.
As kids, my sisters and I have built more snowmen than we can count. Some turned out great and others, not so much. I don’t recall seeing a lot of pictures of our snowmen, but we came across one of my sister, Cheryl Masterson building one that I’m sure our dad must have helped with. I suppose that milestones like building your first snowman didn’t exactly fall into place the same category as those first steps or high school graduation, but it is still a first. Unfortunately, like most of the lesser firsts, there isn’t usually as much documentation as the subsequent children come along. Or it could be that little firsts like snowmen just don’t seem all that important when you have multiple children. They are just another winter tradition.
My niece, Michelle is probably one of the most different people in our family, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. There is a gentleness about Michelle, and I think that comes from her artistic side. Michelle is in college in South Dakota, and that means we don’t get to see her very much. That makes me sad, because I think that the gentle quality that Michelle gives to our family is something that we need…doesn’t every family? There are many different personalities that make up a family, and each one is important to the family unit.
Through the years, I have watched Michelle grow as a person and as an artist. Her art is beautiful and anyone who has the privilege of seeing it or owning any of it knows just how talented she is. One of my favorites is a sketch of a bench. It has a simplicity to it, and yet you feel like you could sit right down on it…and you would like to. The bench is just that realistic. It looks like the perfect place to sit, relax, and read a book.
Michelle isn’t all about art though. She loves to travel, and like many of us, a cruise ship is one of her favorite forms of travel. I suppose those trips inspire her artistic mind to create new things. I personally love photography, and a cruise is a great way to take awesome pictures, which Michelle is very good at too. I’m sure that her photographic ability comes from her artistic eye. She has taken pictures of many places, and she has done some Photoshop enhancements to make them look simply amazing. I have watched her pictures and her art advance over the years, and they are amazing. I think Michelle didn’t choose to be an artist, but was rather born with the natural abilities she has. Many people would love to have her talent.
Little girl Michelle was such a smiley girl. When she smiled, he whole face lit up with a smile. Some people are blessed with smiling eyes, and Michelle is definitely one of those people. It was one of the first things I noticed about her. I have always loved the way smiling eyes look, and they are something that makes people smile too. People are just drawn to people with a great smile, and smiling eyes. Maybe that is part of the reason why Michelle has always been loved by everyone who knows her. Michelle is such a special person, and I am very proud that she is my niece. Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Sometimes, just when you think you know someone, some little thing changes in their life, and suddenly you find out things about them that you had no idea about. Such was the case with my niece, Lacey Stevens. Lacey is not the kind of person to brag about her talents, and in my defense, maybe that is why I never knew.
Recently, Lacey decided to move out of her parents’ house, and into a little house of her own. Lacey is a cosmetologist by trade, and she had been saving her money for furniture, rent, and the other things she would need to live on her own. While her parents are really proud of how responsible she has been in planning her move, they do, nevertheless, miss her at home. She has been so busy that they have hardly seen her, and that can be hard for first time empty nesters.
It’s not, however, Lacey’s responsible ways that took me by surprise. As I was planning my story, I thought I might show some pictures if Lacey’s new place. I asked her for pictures to showcase her place in my story, and that’s when it happened. It was a simple enough thing on Lacey’s part. She just sent the pictures to me and told me that her favorite room is her dressing room…which I can fully understand, by the way. What girl wouldn’t love it?
The pictures were great, but one thing caught my eye. It was the stunning four painting display on one wall, of a tree against a red, sunset like background. When I told her that it was beautiful, she said a simple, “Thanks, I painted those in high school.” Well, I about fell over. They are, as I said, stunning. Lacey is just so talented. Lacey’s sister, Michelle is going to art school, and I think Lacey should have gone too. I told Lacey that she needs to start selling her work. I think she would be quite successful at it. She is such a natural artist.
I think everyone has a natural talent for something. Lacey, like her mom, my sister, Alena Stevens is a very good cosmetologist, but like her sister, Michelle, she also inherited a natural talent for art. My mom, Collene Spencer is a pretty good artist too, and these girls must have inherited their talent from her or from someone on the Stevens side, but I can tell you that they did not get it from me, because I find stick figures to be a real challenge. Wherever her talent came from, Lacey is an artist in her own right. She just doesn’t pat herself on the back, but I think maybe she should. Of course, she won’t do it, because that’s just not Lacey’s way. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Lacey, your new place is absolutely beautiful. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!