best friend

My niece, Dustie Masterson has been a part of our family, since she married my nephew, Rob Masterson in 2003. Dustie is the perfect wife and best friend for Rob, and they are very happy together. They truly are best friends, who are going in the same direction in all their hopes and dreams. They have three children together, Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna Masterson; and Dustie has what she calls her bonus baby, Christina Masterson, from Rob’s first marriage. I hadn’t heard the term “bonus baby” before, and I really like it. Blended families aren’t always easy, but when people view their step-children as a bonus, it becomes blessed. That kind of attitude is what endears Dustie to all of us. It’s not just how she views Rob’s daughter, Christina, but also, it’s also how she views our whole family. She has family in Ohio, but she also views her family here as her bonus family so to speak. she has embraced our family as if we were her own.

When our parents were sick and in need of help,Dustie always did her share. She was willing to do what was needed. She often bought groceries for my sister, Cheryl Masterson, who is her mother-in-law, and who lived with our parents. Getting groceries was not the easiest thing for Cheryl while she was also cooking and taking care of our parents in the evenings. We took turns with their care, and since Cheryl lived with them, it was logical that she have the night shift. Dustie saved Cheryl the extra job of going shopping, and she never complained about it. She had a helping heart, and we needed her. It was another of the things that endeared Dustie to all of us.

Dustie works hard at her job as the Grocery and Consumables Lead at Sam’s Club in Casper. She is well liked by all her c-workers, because Dustie gets along well with everybody around her. Dustie is just a friendly kind of person who is always willing to lend a helping hand. Dustie is always smiling and is a happy person, and that makes everybody love being around her. She is a great mom, and her kids all feel very blessed to have her. She helps them get their homework done, and makes sure they are ready for the coming day. They always feel confident in their parents, their home life, and their lives in general. Those things…peace of mind and security, are the mark of good parents. Dustie is a blessing to all who know her. She talks about having a bonus child, and a bonus family, but I think that she is the real bonus to all of us. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Christina AnnMy grand niece, Christina Masterson, is leaving her teenaged years behind her today, and moving into her twenties. Like most of us who have been there and done that, she looks back on her childhood with mixed emotions. Most of us can’t believe the crazy, immature, or just plain stupid things we did as kids. Then we just have to chock it all up to being a child, and move forward with our lives. Christina wasn’t always sure what she wanted to be when she grew up, which is also not uncommon for kids, but now she has settled on becoming a dental hygienist, and while that is down the road a little way for her, she is doing the things necessary to launch her dream career. Christina and Shai

I don’t know if Christina has decided where she will go to college, but there’s still time to decide that. The biggest hurdle to cross when working on your education, is money. So Christina is currently working as a hostess at Macaroni Grill in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has been there a while now, so they are getting ready to move her up to server, which is of course, more responsibility and more money. That makes this move very appealing. As we all know, a good server can make pretty good money in tips every day, and it doesn’t take too much effort to check on your tables often to make sure they have everything they need. People reward that attention well.
Christina in Germany
I find it hard to believe that Christina is twenty now. She was born the first of three babies in our family that year…followed by my grandson Christopher Petersen on February 28th and my granddaughter, and best friend of Christina, Shai Royce of February 29th. It was a whirlwind of babies. Back then it seemed like they would always be little, and yet here we are with the first of three turning twenty, and the others soon to follow. Christina is turning into a first class adult, with her whole life ahead of her. That is a great reason to smile, and now with her new career plans in the works, she can help others have a great smile too. Today is Christina’s 20th birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

BobExperienced hikersHaving been married to my husband, Bob Schulenberg for over 40 years, means that I have lived more of the memories in his life with him, than he has lived without me. The first twenty years of his life is all there is that I didn’t witness, and in reality less than that, because we dated for a little over a year prior our marriage. Of course, I haven’t been with him every minute of the last forty one plus years, but I have been there or heard about most of them. That’s because Bob is my best friend, and I am his. We like to do things together. Of course, with work and other things in life, we can’t be together all the time, but when we are together, we enjoy a friendship that has lasted throughout the years, and will continue for the rest of our lives.

For a number of years now, Bob and I have taken our vacation during the week of his birthday. We love going to the Black Hills and hiking there. I don’t know if everyone would consider hiking to be a great way to relax, but we do. It seems that the tougher the hike, the more worth it the journey is. Our hiking has taken us to many places, in search of the next trail, and we both really think it has enhanced our lives. There is so much beautiful scenery in this country, that cannot be seen from the road. You just have to get out there and walk around on nature to see its true beauty. Our time spent hiking, is I think among the best times of our lives.

While Bob loves his time off, I’m not sure he will take well to retirement when that time comes…at least not in the traditional sense of the word. He will enjoy not having to go to work, but I seriously doubt that he will ever stop working on cars. He loves doing mechanic work, and really it is as much a social time for him as it is a side job. People call him up with questions, or to set up an appointment to have him work on their cars, and in reality, when he is in the garage, he is in his element. I have actually had people apologize to me for taking up his time, but working on cars is what makes him happy, so it’s fine with me…as long as he doesn’t forget to go hiking with me…like that would ever happen.

Bob is such a sweet man, who I have to admit spoils me rotten. In fact, I have to be careful what I ask for, IMG_6158IMG_6371because he will do his best to get it for me. Now, I know that you will think that is not a bad thing, and I suppose you would be right, but then, I try not let him spoil me too bad…right, I am a woman, so let’s just be honest. Spoiling is good. And, Bob is good at spoiling. It makes for a great combination…for me anyway. Nevertheless, the thing I want most from Bob…is Bob, so it’s all good. He is the love of my life!! In that way, he can spoil me all he wants to. Today is Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday Sweetie. You are the best husband a girl could ever ask for. Have a wonderful day!! I love you with all my heart!!

Caryl ReedWhen I asked my niece, Andrea Beach about her thoughts on her mom, my sister, Caryl Reed, her first words were…”She is my hero!” During her children’s childhood, Caryl spent a lot of time as a single mom, while her ex-husband was in the Navy and often away on cruises for as much as a year at a time. Sometimes they were able to come home and spend that year here in Casper, but as the kids got older, moving from school to school wasn’t always easy, so she stayed in Oak Harbor, Washington, and later, Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was a big job, but one she did well, according to Andrea. Having one parent deployed is a tough situation to deal with for a kid, but it is one that was made less difficult for Andrea by her hero…her mom.

Young AndreaAndrea says that she is so impressed with her mother’s faith and her walk with God. She is Andrea’s inspiration and role model. Caryl has, as have we all, been raised in the church, and our walk with the Lord is the guiding light of our lives. We would not want to walk this Earth without God in our lives, because to walk without God is to truly walk alone.

Andrea told about the kind of role model her mother was. To Andrea, Caryl seemed a lot like Mary Poppins, because she was so sweet and pure. She always found a respectable way to handle situations, refusing to resort to things like cussing. Once when Andrea was being picked on, Caryl told her to tell those people to “keep their minds out of the gutter”, to which Andrea said, “That’s just what I told them.” Apparently, Caryl had mentioned that people should keep their minds out of the gutter before. That was part of the upbringing So Happymy sisters and I received from our parents. Cussing was not allowed in our home, and isn’t a part of our lives now either. Like our parents, we all feel like there are ways of expressing ourselves without resorting to cussing…and they were right. I still don’t think cussing is a necessary part of communication.

Caryl is blessed to be married to her best friend and the love of her life, Mike Reed. Andrea says, “They are madly in love and they are a perfect fit.” I think that is such a true statement. In her tribute, Andrea also correctly stated that Caryl “would do anything for her family and those she loves.” And that is a true statement too. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Siara and JakeSometimes, it hard for me to believe that my grand nephew, Jake Harman is so grown up. Jake is the oldest great grandchild of my parents, Allen and Collene Spencer. It seems impossible to me that Jake is 24 years old today. Much has changed in Jake’s life over the past few years. A while back, he started working at a FedEx receiving facility outside Casper, and now he is a supervisor at that location. Jake is not a man of great stature, so it is sometimes hard to imagine him in a supervisory position. And, Jake is a man who likes to joke around…making it difficult to imagine him in a serious position, like a supervisor. Nevertheless, that is exactly where he is, and he is doing very well at his job.

Jake doesn’t like to take life to seriously, preferring instead to laugh and joke around with those he loves. And Jake does 522848_10151136256737237_1891219628_nlove his family. Whenever I see him, he comes up to me and gives me a big hug, telling me that I am his “best friend”, a title I’m sure goes to most of the rest of the family too. Nevertheless, it always makes me feel good to know that he thinks of me as a friend, and not just his great aunt. Of course, his sister, Siara, step-brother, Keifer, and step-sister, Katy are his favorite people to goof off with. They have a great time when they are together. Still, as time goes on, the time that kids get to spend together dwindles some. It is my hope, that the friendship these kids share will always be strong.

The person in Jake’s life who has and always will hold the most special place, other than his parents, is his sister, Siara. Jake lost his first little sister, Alyssa to SIDS when she was just three months old, and while he was quite young then 1471957_10151963680267237_896054705393435108_ntoo, I think that knowing of his first little sister’s passing, makes his younger little sister that much more important to him. He just feels the need to be her protector. It isn’t whether or not she needs protecting anymore, but just that he feels the need to.

Jake is growing with each passing day, and while he, like most kids has his missteps and setbacks, I know that he will succeed in all that he sets his mind to, because he can be very focused on his goals when he wants to. I look forward to seeing where the future takes Jake, because I know that he will do well in life. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When my niece, Susan was a little girl, she had an imaginary friend, like many children do, but her friend’s name was…well a bit unusual as was the fact that her friend was a boy, which was not usually the case with imaginary friends. His name was Stubba. Susan says she liked the word stubborn, but didn’t know what it meant, and that Stubba name came from that word. Susan loved her friend. He went with her everywhere, and they had many adventures together. One thing about an imaginary friend is that they are very loyal. They don’t run off and play with they other kids very much, because they would rather stick close to their best friend.

Recently my daughter Amy, got to thinking about Stubba again, and posted just his name on Susan’s Facebook. Well, that was enough to get things started all over again. Susan commented with, “Oh!!! My long lost friend Stubba!!! I sometimes wish I could go back to those days where my only worry was what my friend Stubba was up to. LOL!!!! Good times!!!” I know just what you mean Susan. There are times I would like to go back to my carefree days too, but then I think…”Naw, I would be missing out on too much,” as would you.

As Susan grew up, her need for Stubba dwindled, and eventually it was time for Stubba to leave us and go where all imaginary friends go. As I recall, in order to let his passing be permanent, Susan told us that he fell out of her grandpa’s pickup bed, and died. We were all a little bit sad for Stubba, who would no longer get to run and play with the little girl he loved so much, but we can all take comfort in the fact that while Stubba is in Heaven now, Susan’s life has been blessed with so much more. I’m quite sure Stubba would be pleased to see that she now has Josh, Jala, and Kaytlynn in her life and that there is most certainly no void there. No…I think Stubba would be very happy for his dear friend, Susan.

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