celebrate

Mother’s Day has changed for me over the years, as it does for everyone as the years of their lives go by. I was very blessed to have two wonderful women on this earth to call “Mom,” one from my birth, and the other from my marriage. They both live in Heaven now, and I miss them both very much. Now, I find Mother’s Day a hard one to sometimes. While I am a mom, and my girls are moms, I don’t have a mom here on Earth to celebrate with. It leaves me feeling a bit empty, I guess. My moms were so special to me, and I loved them so much, and I know they are having a wonderful time in Heaven, but they aren’t here…and that makes all the difference.

My moms were both women of honor. They loved me and the rest of the family unconditionally. They taught us so many things over the years. They made us laugh, and cry a few times too. They were our disciplinarians, our nurses, teachers, chefs, and even our playmates. They were there when our lives seemed to be crashing down around us, and they were there when we were soaring above the clouds. The were our cheerleaders in ever adventure we chose to take…always telling us that we could make it. They picked us up when we fell, and made us realize that we could try again. They expected the best from us and gave us their best in return. They were the best moms ever, and I am better for having been their child. Thankfully they never asked for payment for what they did, because they are worth more than I could ever repay.

My girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce are both amazing moms too, and they have given us four beautiful grandchildren. The family continues to grow as we add fiancées, girlfriends, and boyfriends, as well as great grandchildren. And the blessing of all these new ones are great and wonderful. I love watching as my kids and grandkids go forward into their adult lives, living out their dreams. I realize just how awesome God has been in my life to give me such wonderful blessings. He has given me far more than I could ask or think of, just because He loves me. This Mother’s Day might be a little bit more lonely that others have, but the fact has not gone unnoticed to me that I am one blessed mom, grandma, daughter, and daughter-in-law.

Since both of my dads, Al Spencer (my dad) and Walt Schulenberg (my father-in-law) are in Heaven now, I don’t have a dad on Earth to celebrate with, but my husband, Bob Schulenberg is still with us…eight months after suffering a heart attack, and receiving miracle care and a miracle healing, and for that, my family and I rejoice and praise God, every day. This year could have been very different, and yet God stepped in and made a way for us. That is my biggest reason to celebrate this Father’s Day. Every day beyond October 14, 2018, is a gift. A precious gift from God. So to my husband, I wish a very special Father’s Day. I am so thankful that you are still with us.

The example my dad and my father-in-law set for their children is one of kindness and love. It is an example that we all try to follow, because they were both great family leaders. They were hard working, and took care of their families so that they never wanted for anything. Having a great dad is not automatic…unfortunately. As the saying goes, “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone very special to be a dad.” It takes someone very special to be there through thick and thin…when their children are being good and when they are being bad. Children need to know that no matter what mistakes they make, their parents will always love and support them as they work through life’s ups and downs. Growing up is hard, and we don’t always make that journey smoothly. It is a road often filled with big rock and pot holes. We stumble along, and if there is no one there to pick us up and put us back on out feet, things don’t always go very well. I am so thankful for my two dads, who were good dads to me and my siblings, and well as Bob and his siblings. I firmly believe that it was because of them that Bob and I became the parents we are.

I also feel very blessed that my daughters, Corrie and Amy have been blessed with the wonderful husbands they have. Kevin and Travis are the kid of dads I would have wanted for my girls and their children, if I could have picked. Thankfully, God chose these men for my girls, and I an very proud of the families they have raised. Their homes are filled with love and much laughter, as well and encouragement and forgiveness. Their children know that their parents are there for them, no matter what. Now the next generation are coming into the age to have kids, beginning with Corrie and Kevin’s son, Chris, who is taking the lessons he learned from his parents, and applying them to his own daughter. Chris is a great dad, and I know that he will raise great kids. Happy Father’s Day to my guys, and all the dads out there!!

Leap Day Babies, by definition are numerically challenged…not age challenged or mathematically challenged, although both of those things come into play…simply numerically challenged. Things just never quite add up for them. They start off behind the rest of the kids born that year, because when that first birthday rolls around, the other kids turn one, but a Leap Day Baby only turns ¼. It’s because the 29th of February only happens every four years. I call those other three years nano-birthdays, because the birthday arrives somewhere between 11:59:59pm and 12:00am. It is a nano-second in time, and that is when that missing birthday occurs. Even their younger siblings pass Leap Day Babies up. The Leap Day Baby is pretty good at fractions, however, because after their first year of life, they are ¼. After their second year of life, they are ½. And after their third year of life, they are ¾. It isn’t until their fourth year of life that the Leap Day Baby turns 1. This is a fact of life that my granddaughter, Shai Royce has had to live with since her birth 21 years ago. She wasn’t always sure she liked it, because the boys, her brother, Caalab Royce, and cousins, Chris and Josh Petersen loved to tease her by saying, “I’m older than you” and it was true in every way except the number of years each had spent on the earth.

Nevertheless, Leap has it’s privileges. While the boys had to wait until they turned 16 to get their driver’s license, Shai got to get hers at the age of 4. She got to graduate from high school at the age of 4½. One of the biggest privileges Shai has as a Leap Day Baby is the fact that she can celebrate her nano-birthdays on either the 28th of February or the 1st of March…or both. Her grandpa and I have our anniversary on March 1st, so we liked sharing our anniversary with her on those nano-years, but often it seems that Shai likes to celebrate it on the 28th of February. That has been a distinct advantage for Shai and every other Leap Day Baby…the ability to honestly have an early birthday. This birthday has been a particularly cool one for Shai…especially in the early birthday department, because how many kids say that they actually got to legally drink the day before their 21st birthday? Only the Leap Day Baby. And since the government doesn’t even know what to do about the matter exactly, they even made it legal for her to cheat the system and start legally drinking the day before her birthday.

I guess that while Leap Day Babies only get a birthday once every four years, Leap really does have it’s privileges. For now, Shai might like being older sooner, but some day she will seriously appreciate the fact that she only ages every four years. Today is Shai’s Nano-21st-Birthday. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

First Labor DayLabor Day 1So often, when we have a holiday, people tend to think that it is just another day to have a family dinner and a day off of work. Often, they are celebrating the day for the wrong reason, but not so today. Labor Day is a day for our nation to pay tribute to its workers. No nation can be strong if it has no workers. So, as a show of gratitude, Labor Day was set aside to allow a day of rest for the American worker. When our nation was founded, there was largely nothing here. The native Americans lived in Teepees, so they could be mobile. They needed to follow the buffalo because that was their food supply. But, we had come from nations where there were houses and farms, and ways to get the things we needed.

Nevertheless, this was a new nation, and it was going to take a lot of hard work to turn it into the great nation it has become. The work was going to be a lot of hard physical labor. We would also need those who would teach our children and others so that they could become doctors, scientists, inventors, and all the other jobs that would be needed to take this from a vast empty land, to a thriving nation that would be able to bring about the dreams that we all came over here to fulfill.

After a time of hard work, and much growth, the nation began to give increasing emphasis to a Labor Day holiday. It was decided that we, as a nation, needed to thank our laborers for all they had done to build this country. The first bill to be introduced was into the New York legislature, but the first state to pass a law was Oregon, on February 21, 1887. Over the course of that year, four more states passed legislation to honor laborers through a Labor Day holiday that was created by legislative enactment. Those states were Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. By the end of the decade, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania were also listed among the states honoring laborers with a Labor Day holiday. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The day began with a parade and continued on with lots of festivities. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. That was rather odd, considering the fact that the holiday didn’t become official until 1887, and then it wasn’t in New York City. Later, like many holidays, it began to make less sense to keep the holiday on the fifth, and so the first Monday in September was chosen to be the permanent time to celebrate it. That makes sense when you think about it. If you are going to celebrate the laborers, give them a three day weekend. After all, that is Labor Day 2Labor Day 3cause for celebration for most laborers. Of course, as we all know, the holiday doesn’t give every worker the day off. That would be almost impossible for all the obvious reasons. Nevertheless, as Labor Day arrives, I hope that each and every worker knows that whether they get the day off or not, this grateful nation has set aside this day to celebrate them, and to thank them for making this nation great. Happy Labor Day to workers everywhere!!

My parents on their wedding dayCCI06282012_00015_editedbFrom the moment he first met her, my dad always called my mom, Doll. It was a term of endearment reserved for Dad alone to use. To us, of course, she was mom, or mommy when we were little, but to everyone who really knew her, she was the keeper of the sunshine. Mom was a person who was always happy. Even when times were tough, she managed to lift our spirits by always telling us to, “keep on the sunny side” whenever we left her house. It was the way we went to school, and later to work. Those were the words we heard after we had lunch or dinner at her house. She wanted our world to always have a bit of sunshine in it…even on a cloudy day.

Mom was a dedicated servant of God…spreading His word to all who would listen…and some who didn’t want to. She wanted everyone, but especially those she loved, her parents, siblings, husband, children, and grandchildren, as well as all her extended family to be in Heaven when they left this world. She loved the Lord so much and looked forward to the day when she would be able to look upon His face, and thank Him for saving her. She loved going to church and singing praises to God, and hearing His word. She bought many teaching tapes and books, because she wanted to know all she could about this wonderful Saviour who loved her…no matter what!!

Mom loved a celebration. Being born on New Year’s Day, her birthday was always a celebration…Dad always made certain of that. He love a celebration too. Mom loved the Fourth of July fireworks, and the parade. Anyone who knows her…or ever sat next to her…will remember her whooping when a float or one of the fireworks particularly pleased her…and many of them did…many of them!! Looking back now on her whooping, it somehow doesn’t seem so embarrassing as it did in my younger days. I suppose all kids think the things their parents do are embarrassing sometimes. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop Mom. She was filled with joy, and sometimes…no, most of the time…it just bubbled out. She couldn’t have stopped it even if she had wanted to. And that’s ok, because even if you were embarrassed about it, it always made you smile in spite of your dignified self.

Late Sunday night, February 22, 2015, my dear mother left this world to go and meet the Saviour she had so long dreamed of meeting. I know He greeted her with the words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”, because she was definitely that. I also know that she was met with some other cherished words. I expect, like my niece Jenny said, that my dad was standing there at the gates, and he immediately said, “Hello Doll.” It has been just over seven long years since he left us, and Mom has missed him so much. The next sweet words she likely heard were, “Hi Grandma!!” spoken by her two little great granddaughters, Alyssa and Laila, “We’ve been waiting to get to know you!!” And of course, there were greeting from her parents, in-laws, siblings, and other family members who have gone ahead of her. Yes, Heaven gained a new little bit of sunshine last Sunday evening, and the Earth just doesn’t seem quite as bright as it was before, because our Keeper of the Sunshine has gone to her Heavenly home.

Mom went home on her terms. She went healthy. She had a great week, having lunch with her kids, and going to dinner on Thursday night with my sister, Cheryl Masterson and me, at her favorite place…Red Lobster. She went to church on Sunday morning and very much enjoyed being surrounded by her beloved family and church Mom'sFamilyMom afamily, all of whom she considered to be a great blessing. She set up a visit with her sisters, brother, and other family members to go spend the afternoon with her sister, Evelyn, who was in the hospital. She and Cheryl had a nice quiet evening, and then Mom was going to bed, but she decided to go to Heaven instead. Mom, we miss you so much already. Our lives will never be the same again…until we are together forever in Heaven. We love you so very much. We will see you again very soon.

Coast of IrelandWe all have within our DNA, a mix of nationalities, and with that, I think most of us have a little Irish in the mix. I know that in my own roots, you would find Irish ancestors from both sides, and I’m pretty sure Bob’s family is the same. A short time after my grandfather passed away, my grandfather and her sisters and brothers had the opportunity to travel back to Ireland to see the old country and meet some of the family from Ireland. It would be a trip she would remember for the rest of her life. She got to see the castles, kiss the Blarney Stone, and see the green, green hillsides.  She got to see where all tradition started. I wish I could have gone along with her. What a trip that would have been.Corrie & Amy Schulenberg

While I have never been to Ireland, I do have something in my own life that in name only gets its roots from Ireland…Irish Twins. What, you might ask are Irish Twins? Irish Twins are siblings born either in the same year or within 12 months of each other. My daughters, Corrie and Amy were born 11 months apart. My guess is that you know some of these yourself. I know that I have cousins who are also Irish Twins. In fact, my cousins. Susie and George are Irish Twins. While Irish Twins may not have any real ties to Ireland, it is something that I think is very cool.

So, today we celebrate that bit o’ the old country that most likely resides in each of us. Whether you Pucker Upparty at the pub, drinking green beer, or make sure that you are wearing something green, so as not to be pinched, most of us will celebrate the day in one way or another.  It’s not that it is what we would consider a big holiday, but rather a fun holiday…one for goofiness, partying, and as my younger Irish Twin would say, a day to “Kiss me…I’m Irish.” It began however as a Christian holiday. It is also an Irish holiday. So how are the two related? Well, St Patrick’s Day was the day that Christianity came to Ireland…so maybe it should be a bigger holiday that we have made it. So, however you choose to celebrate it, I just want to tell everyone Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

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