My aunt, Deloris Johnson was a beautiful woman, inside and out. She has a shy, but sweet smile, and loving way about her. She loved to sing and dance, and to show other how to do so too. My mom, Collene Spencer would always remember learning the hat-dance when her sister was in fifth grade and she in kindergarten. It was a dance Aunt Deloris had learned in school. All her siblings learned the hat-dance, and all were excited about it, because Aunt Deloris was excited about it. Her excitement was contagious. Life was like that for Aunt Deloris, always some new adventure to excite the soul.
Aunt Deloris was never afraid to try something new, and I believe that had she not left us so soon, she may have discovered some very cool things. They may not have been some world-changing discoveries, but they would have been very cool. She was always figuring out a way to make things work better. Things like inventing the first shoe-watch, although she did not get credit for it. She also invented the great flying trench coat, and took my mom for the maiden flight in that “vehicle.” Of course, it didn’t exactly fly, but it made you feel like you were flying, and my mom never forgot that flight.
Mom and Aunt Deloris were just 5 years apart, and as often happens in families, they were best friends, as well as sisters. Their interests were similar, as were their personalities. My cousin, Ellen talks about her mom’s quirky ways, and I can tell you that my mom shared her sister’s quirkiness. They were both known for their silliness. They didn’t care if their special style of creating laughter was a little less than dignified, all they cared about was that it worked. The loved laughter, and they always seemed to be right in the middle of the laughter in a crowd…and I’m here to tell you that their laugh was very contagious, as was their own personal brand of teasing. I am reminded of the time my grandma, Hattie Byer, their mother, was over having her large family of children arguing while the dishes were being done. She yelled at the kids that she didn’t want to “hear another peep” out of any of them. They all knew that was the final say. Grandma always meant business when she yelled at the arguing kids. As silence reigned over the room, I doubt if any of the kids considered saying anything, including Aunt Deloris, but then suddenly and without warning, Aunt Deloris uttered the forbidden, “Peep!!” Now, having been that mischievous child myself, I can tell you that she may not have even realized that she was about to challenge her mom, but there it was, and her siblings assumed that her life was over. Nevertheless, somehow, her life was spared, simply because Grandma could not hold back the laughter over such a ridiculous response. When Grandma laughed, everyone else knew that disaster had been averted, and they laughed too. I can jut picture it, and each time I picture it, I laugh all over again. It was just a typical Aunt Deloris response to the situation, and it was hilarious. That’s just how Aunt Deloris was. Today would have been Aunt Deloris 90th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Aunt Deloris. I know you will have a day filled with laughter. We love and miss you very much.
The name Bonnie comes from the Scottish word “bonnie” meaning pretty or attractive, which was itself derived from Middle French bonne “good” as a way to describe a fair, good, and beautiful girl. I think that is what my grandparents had in mind when they named my aunt Bonnie Beth Byer, who is now Bonnie McDaniels. I think her husband, Jack McDaniels agreed with that description, because from the first time he laid eyes on Aunt Bonnie, his heart decided to do a dance. Now, no one told me that, but I could see it every time he looked at her. He was so in love with her, and he always knew that she was his bonnie Bonnie…or as the meaning goes, his beautiful Bonnie.
Aunt Bonnie is indeed a beautiful woman, inside and out…and she used to make bonnie cakes before she retired from that. The weddings that her cakes graced are among the most beautiful ever seen. No professional could have bested her in my opinion. There is a beauty that comes from making something with love. Her cakes had the physical beauty, but the love beauty was truly the icing on the cake. There is just something about someone with a great talent, who thinks more about other people that she does herself. That’s just how Aunt Bonnie is, so thoughtful, kind, and caring.
Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jack have always had a lovely place out in the country. It is normally so quiet and peaceful, but there have been a few exciting moments, one of which was the time the bridge burned, when someone set of fireworks on the old wooden bridge that was the only easy way out of their place. The alternate access road was miles out of the way for Aunt Bonnie. For a time, the county had talked about not rebuilding the bridge, but finally they decided to do so. I’m thankful, because if another fire went through the area, it would be difficult for her to escape…and that had me worried. I love my aunt and I want her to be safe. I’m sure that was not the first trial Aunt Bonnie had while living in the country, and probably won’t be the last either. Nevertheless, she takes it all in stride, because she is a strong woman, as well as a bonnie beautiful one. Today is Aunt Bonnie’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
No wedding brings with it the guarantee of a lifelong marriage. That is up to the couple who are in the marriage, and it takes two people to make a successful marriage. The years fly by, things in the couple’s life change, and sometimes people decide to move to a new place. It may not be the way other people expected their life to go, but as long as the couple agrees on the new journey, it will work out to bring a beautiful life. I have had to be one of those parents who saw the life of her daughter and her family in a very different way than it turned out to be, and sometimes that is hard for me, because I miss them very much, but they are so happy living in northwestern Washington state, that I can’t help but feel happy for them.
My daughter, Amy Royce and her husband, Travis were married almost 20 years when they decided to pack up and move. They had spent the first 20 years of their marriage here in Casper, Wyoming, and I will be forever grateful to them for doing that, because it gave us the chance to really know their children, Shai and Caalab, and to spend time with all of them. I think that, while it is always hard to have your grandchildren living far away, it is easier when they were close while they were growing up, so they know their grandparents and how much we love them.
Amy has always loved the rain and the beach, and since she visited the Pacific Northwest as a Senior Trip, she has been in love with that area. The funny thing is that since she and Travis moved there, we have had more rain than we used to. These days, Amy and I have sort of a standing joke going. When it rains here, I sent her a text telling her it’s an Amy Day, to which she answers…”Send some my way.” Trying to be cooperative, I tell her that I will, but since it will have to get to her by way of Florida and Japan, it could take a while. Funny thing about that…Amy loves rain so much that she didn’t even care how long it took, just that it was on it’s way.
Amy and Travis are so happy living in their new home and their new state, that I can’t help but be happy for them too. Of course, I wish I had the ability to beam myself over there more often, but I don’t so Facebook, telephone, Snapchat, and texting are the modes of communication for now. I’m just happy that they love living in their beautiful area. Today is Amy and Travis 21st Wedding Anniversary. The years surely do fly by. Happy Anniversary Amy and Travis!! We love you!!
Over the years of my childhood, my dad, Allen Spencer would tell my sisters and me a story about his walk to and from school as a kid. He always said that he and his siblings, Bill and Ruth had to walk five miles through the snow to get to school, and it was uphill both ways. Of course, my sisters and I didn’t believe Dad’s stories…then. And my sisters still might not believe it, but I’m here to tell you that there are certain conditions in which such a journey might actually be uphill both ways, or at least seem like it.
On Saturday, Bob and I headed up to Hot Springs, South Dakota to do some hiking. Our plan was to finish the last 13 miles (26 miles, since we would hike out and back, thereby doing the 13 miles twice) of the Mickelson Trail. The Mickelson Trail is 109 miles one way, and with this last leg of the hike, we will have hiked the entire trail twice, for a total of 218 miles, because of the walk out and back.
Saturday turned out to be the hottest day of the three days we hiked…well over 80. To top it off, we didn’t get started until 1:30 pm, because of our drive over. Well into the heat of the day. We were hiking a five mile stretch, or ten miles total. As we walked, we were thankful that since we were going uphill the whole way over, we would be going down hill the on the way back…or so we thought. It was very hot all day, and several times we thought the trail ahead looked like a down hill slope, only to find that it was not. As the day grew hotter, we started back…noticing as we did, that we were still going uphill. My thoughts drifted back to all those times when my dad had told us his famous story about walking those 5 miles to school on the snow, uphill both ways. I think I now understand that while it couldn’t have been uphill both ways, to a kid walking to school, it could certainly seem like it was uphill both ways. Our hike on Saturday, couldn’t have been uphill both ways either, but somehow in the heat of the day, the trail caused an optical illusion that made it seem like it was uphill on the way over, when in fact it was downhill a good portion of it. Now we were faced with an unexpected uphill hike back.
The hike Sunday and the one today were far more pleasant, and the really good news is that as of 10:00 this morning, Bob and I can say that we have hiked the entire Mickelson Trail, from Edgemont to Deadwood…twice. It is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment that we have today. It took us a few years…about 15, I would say, but since we don’t live in the area, that’s not too bad. There were beautiful sections, where we walked for hours through the trees, and boring times, when we found ourselves hiking along the highway, but all in all it was a great journey. Would I do it again? Hmmmm, maybe some sections. Others…well, I don’t think so. Nevertheless, if there was another trail like it, I might consider it. Call me crazy.
My Aunt Virginia Beadle is a soft spoken, teeny little woman, who is beautiful, inside and out. Beauty is a trait the Byer family kids all had in common, although I’m sure the two boys preferred handsome. Nevertheless, my grandparents did give birth to nine very beautiful people. Aunt Virginia was the second of my grandparents’ children, following my Aunt Evelyn, who was about two years older than Aunt Virginia. Like her older sister, Aunt Virginia was a friendly person who was liked by everyone she met. Since the Byer family has lived in this area for many, many years, that could be a very long list of people too. In fact, I am often amazed at the people I run into who know or knew my Aunt Virginia and her siblings.
Being the second oldest brought with it a certain degree of responsibility as the younger siblings came along. While grandma didn’t work outside the home, big families require the cooperation of all its members, and the older ones are first in line to help out. I suppose it was with the older children that the singing while you work tradition came about in my grandparents’ family. They would sing while they did the dishes or cleaned the house. It made for a happy home, and it was with the help of the older siblings, like Aunt Virginia that the younger siblings learned the songs and tradition. It was a tradition that was a tribute to my grandmother, Hattie Byer. She instilled in her children a love of song, happiness, and hard work.
As a child, I remember Aunt Virginia’s soft laugh and her sweet smile. She was always so much fun to be around. Her gentle spirit always made me feel loved. What more could a little kid ask from their aunt. I have always felt very blessed to know my Aunt Virginia. With Aunt Evelyn’s passing in May, Aunt Virginia became the oldest sibling left in the family. In many ways, that is kind of a wake up call for all of us…take the time to touch base with her whenever you can. Today is Aunt Virginia’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Virginia!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
Sometimes, there is such a clear family resemblance that even years after the children are grown, people who knew one of them can tell that another one is a sister. That happened to me when a church camp friend of my sisters, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock, saw me in the mall and asked me if I was their sister. I did not know this man, but he knew them and knew that I bore a definite resemblance to them. I don’t know exactly how often that happens, but my guess is that it maybe happens more than we are aware of. I think many times, people don’t say anything about it. Maybe they are not sure the person is who they think they are, or maybe they aren’t sure the person will remember them. That is sad really, because you never know when you might just make someone’s day, because you remembered them.
My family has been blessed with some beautiful people. From aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces and nephews, as well as grandchildren, they are handsome, and beautiful inside and out. I think that is part of what makes them someone people remember. This was pointed out to my Aunt Sandy Pattan a while back, when she was at Kmart. They were having a Blue Light Special, and she was waiting in line while her things were marked down. Two ladies on the other side of the Blue Light were talking, and obviously looking at my Aunt Sandy. She started to become a little nervous, wondering what was wrong with the way she looked. We always think the worst, don’t we? Once the ladies had finished getting their things marked, they came over to Aunt Sandy, and one of them asked, “Are you one of the Byer girls?” Aunt Sandy said that she was, and the woman said to her friend, “See!! I told you so!!” Aunt Sandy was as surprised as I had been with my encounter, but I think she was right when she said that it isn’t just a person’s looks that makes them memorable, but rather who they are inside. Like my own parents, my grandparents had taught their children to be kind, generous, and thoughtful, and these traits are always remembered, and they make you remember their face too, even if it has changed some over the years.
Sometimes, you can see a person who may or may not be related to someone you liked, but looks like them anyway. Whether you ever find out if that person is a relative or not, you still have that nice memory of that person you knew. Of course, family resemblances are always there, but are not always remembered, unless the person stood out in some way. The memory goes a long way if the person was nice to you at some point. Really, who would want to remember someone who was mean, although I suppose that happens too, but I would much rather remember those people who were kind and thoughtful…wouldn’t you?
On Sunday morning, our congregation was treated to my niece, Kellie’s debut on the piano. Kellie is an accomplished singer, and loves music ministry, but this was the first time she had ever played the piano in public. She told us that she loves playing the piano, but until that day, she played in her home…alone. Kellie is a little bit shy, when it comes to performing solos, but she really shouldn’t be, because she has the voice of an angel, and she plays the piano very well too. She told us that God has been leading her to play the piano as part of her music ministry, and I for one hope she will follow that leading and play more often, because it was beautiful. Her God given gifts are many, and her spirit is so beautiful. It is a wonderful mix that makes her the blessing she is.
As I listened to Kellie sing, I once again found myself totally amazed at the woman she has become. Sometimes, it is hard to imagine what a child will become, as you are watching them grow up. Then, when they are grown, and you see what an awesome individual they have become, and you are somehow surprised at what great things they are doing now. I really shouldn’t be, because Kellie has always been this same way, but when I hear her sing solos, and now play the piano too, the beauty of it just brings tears to my eyes. It doesn’t matter how many times I hear Kellie sing, because each time is like listening to an angel in a choir. She puts such feeling into the songs and you know that even though she did not write them, they are just how she feels in her heart. It is God singing through her, and it is beautiful.
Kellie has always been such a sweet girl, and as she has grown into womanhood, her faith has grow to amazing levels. I love the faith filled posts she puts on Facebook, because they are from her heart, yet they minister to so many people. It’s amazing that somehow the things she posts are just the things I needed to see. She is a blessing to anyone who knows her, and an asset to our church. As her aunt, I couldn’t be more proud of her if I tried. From her sweet spirit to her angelic voice, she is amazing. I love you Kellie!!
The morning was beautiful, calm, peaceful, and clear. The perfect day for a Valentine Wedding. The national day of love has become a day to always remember for Lindsay and Shannon. The background was the Atlantic Ocean with the Deerfield Beach Pier stretching out into the calm waters. They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. All the guests gathered, as well as the addition of curious onlookers, who wanted to share in the moment they had stumbled upon. They only served to add to the special beauty of the occasion. Lindsay’s dress was stunning, and was only outshined by the beauty of the bride herself. Shannon was handsome and very happy, as he looked lovingly at the bride, whom he had waited for all his life. They are the picture of a perfect couple, and their long and happy life stretches out into the future. For them, Valentine’s Day will always mean much more than it does for the average couple, because it is the day that they will celebrate as the most wonderful day of their lives…the day the two became one.
As we all know, Valentine’s Day is the day that we celebrate love, and for my niece, Lindsay and her now husband, Shannon, nothing could be more true. This morning began with their wedding on Deerfield Beach in Miami, Florida and will end with them celebrating their love on a ship bound for the Bahamas. When Lindsay told us of their plan to be married in Florida, I must say that I was a bit surprised, because they lived in South Dakota, but they wanted something a bit different when they said, “I do.” Their wedding was certainly something different for this family, but little did they know as they planned their wedding on that beach so far away from their home, that it would now end up being quite near their home. As it turns out, Shannon was offered a job at Florida International University, and they will be living just a few miles from the beach where they were married this morning.
It is hard for me to believe that my cute little niece, who has always had a wonderful, bubbly personality is all grown up and married now. Time goes by so fast. She has been a go getter all her life, and I always knew she would go far, I just didn’t expect it to be far away.Nevertheless, I can’t be sad, because she is going to live in a beautiful place, and the beach where they got married, will most likely become a favorite hangout for them. The years ahead hold so much promise for Lindsay and Shannon, and I am so happy for both of them. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Moore, on your marriage today!! I know God will bless you with all the best things He has. We love you!!
Baby girls are always so pretty. It doesn’t matter what they look like, baby girls are just pretty…each with their own look and pretty in their own way. Some people may not agree with me on that, and in fact, I know of people who will tell you that babies aren’t even cute, but there is something about a baby girl that has a cuteness all her own. As they grow into toddlers, they start finding their girly side, and feeling really pretty in their little dresses, or playing dress up in their mom’s things.
Then come the adolescent years, and it seems like everything is off. No matter how much the girl tries, she just doesn’t like the way she looks, and she really wishes that people would not take her picture ever again, because everything is all messed up. Unfortunately, for many of us, those years go on far too long, and she becomes convinced that she will be living in the awkward years…forever!! Of course, those years aren’t nearly as long as she thinks they are, but rather it is that, while she is living in those years, it just feels like forever.
Finally those years are over, and most of us realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that those who really matter can see a beauty in us that we can’t even see ourselves. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that every girl deserves at least one picture that, when viewed by others, brings the same reaction…”Oh, you look beautiful!!” That one picture that is simply, undeniably beautiful. Of course, beauty really comes from the inside of a person, and maybe that is why the picture I ran across of my sister-in-law, Marlyce, looked so beautiful to me. The essence of this picture was so clearly about the beautiful girl my sister-in-law was. Her sweetness, kindness, and gentleness glowed from her face. When I saw that picture, I was unable to look away for a few minutes, because I had never seen such a great picture of Marlyce before. She was beautiful, inside and out. This was her perfect picture…the one every girl deserves to have at least once.
Having your child on someone else’s birthday can be a very cool thing, as I have seen with my own daughter, but having your first child on your own birthday would be even more cool, if you ask me. That is exactly what happened with my grandmother and my Aunt Laura. It was like a birthday present of sorts. I know how cool that shared birthday was for my daughter, Corrie and her grandmother, Bob’s grandmother. They loved it and shared every birthday party for as long as Grandma was still alive. Corrie always felt like she was Grandma’s Girl.
In looking at my grandmother’s photo album, I could easily see that same relationship with Grandma Spencer and Aunt Laura. They liked each other…which is different that loving each other. Many people love their family members, but really don’t like some of them much. Grandma and Aunt Laura went places together, and did things together, and it didn’t seem to be just because they were mother and daughter. I have to think it was partly because of that shared birthday.
As I look at the pictures in the album, many of which my Aunt Laura is in, it occurrs to me that, now I would know her, as a child, anywhere. She was a pretty little girl with long beautiful hair…something my sisters and I also had as kids, and two of us still do. She played the violin as a child, but I’m told she didn’t like it much, and yet she loves classical music, which so often includes the violin. I guess there is a big difference between playing an instrument and listening to an orchestra. On that point, I would have to agree with her. I used to love to listen to the music wen my girls were in orchestra and band, but for me to make those instruments play anything like music…well, can you say “sick duck” or even imagine what one sounds like…that would be me trying to play Corrie’s violin or Amy’s clarinet. I guess that Aunt Laura got pretty good, as did her sister, Aunt Ruth.
My Aunt Laura would have been 101 years old tomorrow, on her mother’s 126th birthday. I know she, my dad, and my Aunt Ruth, along with many other cherished family members are waiting in Heaven for the day of our arrival, and I look forward to seeing them once again. Thinking of your both Grandma and Aunt Laura on your birthdays tomorrow. We love you very much.