My niece, Chantel Balcerzak says of her husband Dave Balcerzak, “Life isn’t necessarily exciting, but maybe that in itself is pretty exciting. I read once that contentment started in your 50s. At the time, about 20 years ago, I thought if it was true then it was rude!! Nevertheless, it is true. Dave and I are content, occasionally blissful, and far more confident than I ever imagined. He’s a genius, he diets until he’s done or not! Either way he’s a total stud!! He works on his car or plays video games, and we take walks. We are content…nowhere near finished…content.” What a beautiful sentiment. I think lots of us in our “beyond 50s years” feel the same way, but we have never really put it into words, and certainly never quite so eloquently.

Dave has been such a good role model for his kid and bonus kids, who never consider him their stepdad. He is just “Dad” to them, and he was there when he didn’t have to be, but he chose to be. My grandniece, Siara Kirk (his bonus daughter) tells me that if Dave has to be up early, before Chantel gets up, “He also leaves the cutest notes for my mom in the morning, when he wakes up and leaves before she wakes up.” It’s an endearing thing for Siara to see her mom so loved. And it’s such a beautiful thing for Chantel to wake up to.

Dave, Chris Kirk (Siara’s husband), and her brother, Jake Harman (Dave’s bonus son) all three-way call each other to play video games. It’s one of the ways they stay connected in a busy world. Dave is always so welcoming to everyone and so kind. Siara has multiple customers, at the banks where she works, who Dave helps to fix their computers…always for a good price, and they adore him. I can totally relate to that, because he is my computer guy too…and in fact really bailed me out when he managed to rescue all of my many photographs after my hard drive totally crashed. The photographs were irreplaceable. Needless to say, I cried when he saved them!!

Dave also helps all the older people in the neighborhood when they need help!! That is so sweet, because as we all know, it’s hard for the elderly population to get some of the things done that they need done around their houses every day. And while it can be a bit comical, such as the lady across the street who always puts the batteries in her television remote backwards, Dave never laughs at her. He just goes over and fixes the remote for her. Dave is always very supportive of Chantel’s endeavors. Chantel loves to paint. She is a great artist, and even like painting houses, which could become a new career. Currently she is planning to paint Siara and Chris’ home, and so in true Dave style, he surprised Chantel with a “fancy paint gun” so she would have what she needed to succeed. Siara says, “He is always so encouraging and believes in his loved ones more than they do at times.” Dave also loves to go on trips with Siara, Chris, and Chantel. They have such a great time. They have attended football games at the University of Wyoming, as well as, attending the “Hairball” concert. They all had a great time.

When it comes to his dogs, all bets are off. Dave is a “sucker” for those puppy faces. They can usually get away with just about anything…unless Chantel steps in to “make them” behave. Nevertheless, the dogs know that if they “smile” for “Daddy” they will get a treat, and Dave can never refuse. He is just too soft hearted, and the pups know it, but Dave isn’t the only one to ever find himself in that position. A dog lover is a dog lover, and those pups know it. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Aunt Ruth  for bookmarksCaryn PictureEvery time I think of my Aunt Ruth Wolfe, which is often, because I remind myself of her so much, I can easily see how much alike we are, and yet how very different. We were both passionate about a sport. For her it was horseback riding and racing. For me it was gymnastics. Aunt Ruth could handle horses as if they were an extension of herself. I never watched her ride or race, that I can recall, but I have seen pictures of her with her horses. It was so clear to me that she loved each and every one of them, and they loved her too. Her ability to ride was amazing. My Uncle Bill Spencer, her brother, told of the races she had won, and you could tell that he was so proud of his little sister, and her wonderful ability. I know he was, because of the number of pictures of her with her horses that graced the family history that Uncle Bill so lovingly put together.

Aunt Ruth could pick up any musical instrument and play like an expert, which is one of the areas she and I differ, because I can’t play any musical instrument. From what my cousin, Shirley Cameron has told me, her mom was able to play any instrument instinctively…and she played them beautifully. In my defense, I am more of a techy or geek, whichever you prefer. When it comes to computers, I can instinctively maneuver just about any area I need to. I don’t know if Aunt Ruth ever had a chance to use a computer, but my guess is that she didn’t. However, I have a feeling that she might have been quite capable too, at least she would have been if I’m right about how much we were alike.

The other ways that Aunt Ruth reminds me of me, is that we look a lot alike, and we laugh a lot alike. I have pictures Ruth on a horseAunt Ruth and her race horsethat really remind me of my aunt, and every time I laugh, it is like going back in time. I am reminded of all the times that my family did things with Aunt Ruth’s family. Everything from trips together, to picnics, to times at their home or at ours. We always loved to have them come. It was so exciting to see them, and since they often surprised us, in the later years, it was like having a surprise birthday party. I really miss that. Today would have been Aunt Ruth’s 91st birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Aunt Ruth. We love and miss you very much, and we will see you again very soon.

imageMy grand nephew, Keifer Balcerzak joined our family on June 22, 2002, when his dad, Dave Balcerzak married my niece Chantel. Kiefer was fourteen at the time, and while he was close to being grown, I had the chance to get to know him during the time that Dave and Chantel were dating. He was a great kid then, and is a great young man now. Keifer’s personality is a lot like his dad. He is outgoing and a fun person to be around. It’s strange to think of all the grand nieces and nephews being grown up now, and starting lives of their own, but that is what is happening.

Keifer has always been a worker. He worked for Charter Communications for some imagetime, but recently left there to take his dad’s old position at the State of Wyoming, which Dave vacated when he was promoted. So now Keifer is on the IT Help Desk. I always though his technical capabilities were far above the level it takes to install and repair cable lines. I think Keifer probably got his technical capabilities from his dad, but he has studied and earned his place in IT by his own hard work. Fixing technical issues on computers is no small job. There are enough hackers out there to put any business at risk. The big corporations have to have their own dedicated personnel to keep their computers running with a minimum of downtime. They can’t wait for someone from a tech company to show up to help. Too many people and programs depend on computers that run and run properly.

On May 9, 2015, Keifer married his longtime girlfriend, Katie Davidson. They have been dating for seven years, imageand so they almost seemed married already. They are a great couple, and I know that their marriage will be very blessed. Even though they have been together a long time, marriage is still a wonderful new adventure, and I know they are having a great time. I don’t know Katie very well, but from what I do know, I like her very much. The main thing is that she makes Keifer happy. That goes a long way in our family.

Keifer is a lot like his dad in computer capabilities, but I’m sure he also got his looks from his dad too. The older he gets, the more he looks like Dave. In fact, there are pictures of him that I have almost mistaked for Dave. Today is Keifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Keifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Group of six Knox brothersAfter seeing some old pictures of the Knox family a while back, I have wondered about one picture in particular. I’m never sure exactly why one picture stands out in my mind above all the others I have, but it does happen. This one is a picture of six Knox brothers, John, William, RM, Dr Nicholas, James, and SYT Knox. These men looked so strong and stern. I know that my husband, Bob’s Knox ancestors were both politicians and ministers, but that didn’t mean this picture had anything to do with either of those things. Then I came across a book about Hattie Goodman’s family history search, and found that these brothers were a missing link.

It seems that Bob’s 6th great grandparents John and Jean Gracy Knox, had seven children. They were Allison, John, Thomas, Delia, Mary, Squire, Joseph, and Benjamin. The only descendants that had been found belonged to John and Benjamin. I find it amazing that these family members didn’t know other family members within the family. I suppose that it is because of the fact that communications were no as easy in those days. Families lost touch, and the younger generations got to the point that they did not even know of the existence of great aunts and uncles that they had…especially if their parents and grandparents didn’t talk about them much.

That is probably one of the reasons people finally start looking for their ancestors. Pure curiosity. We know that family members are missing, and we want to know more about them. I think that is the reason most of us look for our ancestors. These brothers were at the Nashville Exposition in the summer of 1897, when they saw a copy of the Knox Tree, and realized that they belonged on it, since they were descendants of John and Jean Gracey Knox’s son, Joseph. They sent in not only their own names, but a number of others who also belonged on it, and ordered copies of the tree. It was at this point that the tree took on new life.

Whenever a new branch can be added to a family tree, it takes on new life. I have seen many parts of my own family history take on new life when, after months, or even years, of searching, someone connects something in their tree to something in someone else’s tree, and suddenly a link is formed. Of course, it is much easier to find those links these days, because of computers and the internet. I seriously doubt that I would be where I am in my family history were it not for those two tools. If people had to travel to all the different locations, or send out requests to all the different locations to get information, it would take forever to get anything accomplished. I’m glad the Knox brothers were at the Nashville Exhibition in 1897, because is made the process that much easier for everyone researching that line from that day forward, but it would have been a lot easier had computers been around. I suppose that I feel that way because of my own curiosity about my own missing links. I am quite impatient when it comes to that research. I want the information to be available, and when it is not, I am annoyed. Patience is a virtue, but I don’t want to have patience when I want information…do you?

My Uncle Bill is the 2nd child of my dad’s parents, and at 91, he is the one who has lived the longest. He is the last one left. That is something that I find to be sad for those of us who have lost our parent from the Spencer side, and happy that Uncle Bill is still with us. Reaching the age of 90 was something Uncle Bill never expected, and now, he has gone beyond that, and as far as we know, he will still be here next year and the year after that. And that does make me glad, because I love him very much and really don’t want him to leave us yet. I’m happy that God has blessed him with long life.

His health is good, but I suspect he has forgotten more about the family history than most of us will ever know. Uncle Bill became interested in the family history as a young man, and he has kept extensive records. The records he has are more than remarkable, because it was mostly done without the help of computers. He received some help later in life that involved computers, but his research was not done that way. I have also done a lot of research on my family tree, and it was Uncle Bill who inspired me to do so. I must say, however, that I did use the computer a lot, so my research has come from the work of many other people too. Not as remarkable as Uncle Bill’s work, but effective just the same.

Uncle Bill’s life was based in many ways on his childhood experiences. From his love of guns and antiques, to his management skills, he watched those people he respected and sometimes even took on the same causes, as is the case with the aunt who got him started in genealogy. The guns came from his personal experience, and his love of antiques was what got his longest career going. He collected everything… guns, coins, stamps, and antique furniture. Then he decided to start a shop to buy, sell and trade those items. His shop was an amazing place, because you never knew what treasures were hidden there. Eventually, he started a mail order business, and sold his items all over the country, and probably the world.

Today is Uncle Bill’s 91st birthday, and I’m sure that if he were not retired, you would still find him working at his shop in Superior, Wisconsin, doing his very best to make that next sale, or sitting with one of the people that used to stop by just to visit, and  talk about old times. Happy birthday Uncle Bill!! We love you very much and hope you have a wonderful day!!

Lately, I find myself amazed at some of the changes in my grandchildren…especially the 2 that are driving now. They are so different when they are in the car now. My oldest grandson knows the roads he drives on and instead of me telling him where he needs to go or what to watch out for, he has started telling us what to watch out for. And when we were taking him out to the lake to join his family who is camping there for the weekend, we were told we didn’t need directions…Chris would show us how to get there. When did this happen? And my granddaughter gives me directions to places we are going if we go together too. And helps watch the road…especially in the parking lots.

It is just so odd to hear them talking about car parts and things they need to do to their cars. They just shouldn’t be old enough to be doing these things. Where have the years gone anyway? They should be babies still, but here we are at the summer between their sophomore and junior years in high school. The next thing I know they will be graduating or getting married.

I keep thinking of these kids a being little, but in reality the boys are all taller than me now, and while Shai isn’t taller, she is none the less grown up. They are all getting so grown up. The little kid toys have been replaced by computers, smart phones, iPods, jobs, and cars (for two of them anyway). And soon Caalab will be 15 and have his permit. Then before I know it Josh will too. Where have the years gone?

As I look to the future, it occurs to me that my grandchildren will soon be adults with families of their own, and lives of their own. I feel a little sad that they will be so busy that we may not have as much time to see each other as we have in the past. I can only hope and pray that they will still live here so that I can be as close to their children as I have had the great privilege to be with them. They are wonderful people, and I am very blessed to have them in my live. I am so proud of the people they have become. I love you all very much.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Check these out!