black hills state university

My niece, Michelle Stevens has always had an artsy flair, so when it came time to decide on a career, there was no real decision to make. She knew that art had to be a part of her life forever. She also knew that she wanted to share her love of art with others, so what better way to do that than to teach art. I know that some people might think of an arts and crafts instructor right about now, but that is nothing like the requirements an art teacher has to have. They have to know how to do every kind of art…painting, sculpting, sketching, and so many others. To be an art teacher, one must be an artist in every sense of the word…and they must also be a teacher.

Looking forward, I can envision Michelle’s life filled with beautiful artwork…moat of which she has made herself. Of course, I don’t know that, it’s just the way I see it. Michelle has always had a artsy flair about her, and now that she has trained for both art and teaching, it is time to take the next turn in the road. School is over and now she is ready to become a teacher of art. The next plan so far is to move back to Casper, and of course, we are very happy about that. We all hope that she will be able to find a teaching position here at home, but of course, that remains to be seen. I think teaching here would be awesome.

This past weekend marked the final step in Michelle’s education, when she walked across that stage to receive her diploma. The excitement was clearly showing on her face. Her parents and boyfriend were in the audience, almost unable to contain their pride. Years of work were behind her now. She had made the cut. We are all so proud of her and so excited to see where life takes her now. Casper couldn’t possible be blessed with a better art teacher than Michelle. She loves her chosen profession, and the really nice thing is that she can mix her favorite pastime with her career. The future is so bright for her…and so colorful. Congratulations on your college graduation, Michelle!! We are so proud of you and we love you!! The future is yours!!

Lindsay & ShannonMy niece, Lindsay met her husband, Shannon Moore while he was coaching the Wyoming Calvary Indoor Football team. It’s amazing where that one moment has taken their lives. If she had to pick one thing about Shannon that stole her heart, it would have to be that he has the kindest heart of anyone she has ever met. Lindsay is a loving, kindhearted person too, and I think she just couldn’t imagine settling for a husband who wasn’t like that. I’m sure that is exactly why Shannon stood out to her, like her knight in shining armor or her prince charming. I think they both knew a long time ago that they would be together always. Shannon made her feel special, comfortable, and included in everything he was doing.

Shannon is a sports guy. His favorite sport is football, but he loves all sports. He played football at Black Hills State University during his college days, but he really never got football out of his system. After the Cavs, his coaching career moved him to South Dakota State University. It was difficult for Shannon and Lindsay, but after she graduated from the University of Wyoming, Lindsay did her graduate work and subsequently went to work at South Dakota State University. Almost immediately after their engagement, they were planning their wedding to take place in Florida on Deerfield Beach, when Shannon was offered his current position as Special Teams Coordinator at Florida International University. Shannon was living his dream. His life was getting better by the minute. Shannon loves sports, and he is blessed enough to have that be his life’s work too.

For Lindsay, I think possibly his contagious laugh was one of the things that made him a keeper. She calls his laugh big, loud, and from the heart. He is always saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” That is one of the things my parents used to say. Lindsay says that always makes her smile or giggle…even if she doesn’t want to. When I mentioned that it would be a Shannon & Rorygood way to end an argument, she told me they don’t really argue, but that it could make her feel better after a bad day…and isn’t that what it’s all about.

Shannon loves kids and really enjoys playing with them. He’s a great entertainer for them, which is a big pro as far as Lindsay’s niece, Rory is concerned. She loves her uncles, and getting a new one was just another plus in her book. His playfulness is such a big part of who he is. Today is Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Mike and MichelleEvery year when our annual trip to The Black Hills is over, I feel a bit of sadness. I always hate to see it come to a close, but this year is a little different. This year it feels like we are leavig something behind…or rather, someone. My niece, Michelle, who is the daughter of my sister, Alena and her husband, Mike, has moved to Spearfish during the time that Bob and I have been on our vacation. She will be going to college at Black Hills State University in Spearfish for the next two years, so she will live there for at least that long. It’s strange to feel like we left something behind, when we didn’t even see Michelle on this trip, but still that’s how it feels.

I remember when Michelle was born. She was a teeny little girl with beautiful eyes. She loved to laugh and made everyone around her smile. With every Michelle Kristine Stevens 6.5 years oldsmile, her eyes danced and her whole face lit up. Michelle was one of those bubbly people who was a lot of fun in any crowd…and yet she was not the type of person to be conceited in any way, and hurting anyone’s feelings was just not her style.

Michelle has always had an artistic flair, and it is that ability that has prompoted this move. She wants to teach art, and to get her degree she must switch from Casper College to a University, in order to get the rest of the needed credits. I believe she will make an excellent teacher…or an amazing artist…if that is what she chooses to do, but the thing that I find very odd, is that she should still be this little girl in grade school. Where have the years gone? Michelle simply should not be old enough to be living on her own…in a different state!! But, she  is and  all those little  girl days are  over for her.

Yes, as Bob and I head home from our vacation, it feels like we are leaving someone Michelle & Alenabehind. That’s because we are. It is little Michelle, who is not so little anymore. She didn’t come over with us, but nevertheless, she is staying behind in The Black Hills to live, work, go to college, and start living her own dreams. For many of us, it is a sad day, because we won’t be able to see her smiling face as much as we used to. For her, it is a bittersweet day, because while she wants to chase her own dreams, she will also feel the twinges of homesickness for a while, and she will miss her family…sometimes terribly. But, she will be fine. She will get used to being away, and the homesickness will ease. All we can ask is that she remembers that we love her, and that she remembers the way home.

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