My sister, Cheryl Masterson is the oldest of the five girls that my parents had. For me, the second child, maybe more than the others, Cheryl was a mentor of sorts. As the sister who was just two years younger, following the footsteps of my big sister was just what I wanted to do. She was always the cool one. She could dance, and I was really awkward in that department, no matter how hard I tried to learn the latest dance steps from her, I just didn’t have the moves. She never ridiculed me, which she might have been justified in doing, but rather just showed me again.
Today, my sister is once again becoming a mentor, as we move through these chaotic times in the history of our nation. The worse things get, the more Cheryl encourages all of my sisters and me to press into God. While things seem to be heading in the wrong direction, we all know that God has a plan for us all. We are seeing such a great turnaround in our nation. The faith of many is being tested, and it is up to us to find out where we are in our faith life’s. Cheryl is very rooted and grounded in her faith. She is in the word pretty much every free moment she has.
Cheryl is also very family oriented. Her whole family comes to her house to have dinner on Tuesdays, and they have a wonderful time. Cheryl has five children, 15 grandchildren (two who live in Heaven now), and six great grandchildren. Of course, they can’t always make it to her house, but they try to get there. Her youngest granddaughter, Aleesia Spethman, is the granddaughter who is after her heart. They are two if a kind, and they love to spend quality time together. In fact, Cheryl and Aleesia are so close that they try to spend time together almost every day. These are sweet times for my sister, who knows that the years go by too quickly and there will come a day when Aleesia is more interested in friends than spending time with her grandma. Nevertheless, Cheryl has been a wonderful mentor to Aleesia too, and that will go with Aleesia all of her life. Today is Cheryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Cheryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand-niece, Aleesia Spethman, loves being in the water. Whether it’s Water World, the lake, city pools, or the pool that has been in her yard all summer, spending time in the water with family and friends is the best way to spend the summer. Aleesia’s favorite pool at Water World is the Wave Pool. The wave pool allows people to surf the waves, even though they are not on the ocean. Even if you don’t surf, I guess you would get the feeling of swimming in the ocean anyway.
Aleesia and her mom, my niece, Jenny Spethman are best friends. She is Jenny and her husband, Steve Spethman’s youngest child, and their only daughter (here on Earth, anyway. Aleesia’s sister, Laila lives in Heaven). Jenny always wanted a girl, but after three boys, and Laila’s passing, wasn’t sure she would get one. Jenny loves all of her children, but the boys are into sports, and working now, so Jenny and Aleesia get to do the girl things like shopping. Aleesia likes to shop with her mom, but she also likes it when her dad goes to the mall with them, because she and her dad can play in the video arcade while her mom goes shopping. Aleesia loves her dad, and she really has him wrapped around her finger. She can get him to do just about anything she wants him to, including dancing at her cousin’s wedding…in front of people, which Steve would rather not do. Nevertheless, for his girl…he will do it…just because she is his girl. Jenny has a three wheeled bicycle with a basket in the back, and Aleesia loves to be taken on rides in that bike, with her mom, or even her brothers.
Being the only girl child in the family isn’t always easy. The boys protect Aleesia, but they also pick on her. Aleesia’s brother Xander has a girlfriend now, Alli Simpson. That has been a good thing for Aleesia, because now the girls can stick together, as I’m sure the boys pick on Alli too. Of course, Aleesia has a group of girlfriends that she has known since she was 1 year old. They are all best friends, and love to do the same things, so whenever she can, Aleesia “escapes” the boy world she lives in and hangs out with her girlfriends, in Aleesia’s world. Aleesia also has another best friend…her grandma, my sister, Cheryl Masterson. They love to hang out after Cheryl gets off work most nights. It’s been a long standing tradition almost since Aleesia was born. I suppose that one day that tradition will end, but my sister sure is enjoying it now, and hoping it continues for quite a while before that day comes. Today is Aleesia’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Aleesia!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand-nephew Jaxon Killinger is a sweet little boy, who is shy and timid…until he gets to know you, then he is very outgoing and very silly. He is like my niece, Lacey Stevens in that way. Jax loves to make Lacey and his dad, Chris Killinger laugh by dancing and being goofy, and I’m sure he has great success in his endeavors. Lacey first met this sweet little guy when she began dating his daddy, and she fell in love almost immediately with him and his big sister, Brooklyn Killinger.
This has been an exciting summer for Jax, because it is the first summer he has been able to ride his bicycle without training wheels. He is so excited!! It is a new-found form of freedom, even if he isn’t allowed to go very far just yet. Jax and Brooklyn finally talked their dad into letting them ride around the block, and while Chris was nervous about it, they did great and now they want to go for bike rides around the block all the time. They keep asking to ride further and further too. Typical for kids when they start to spread their wings a little bit. I’m sure that his daddy will have bigger worries, because its obvious to me that little Jaxon is looking to drive soon…at least in boats!!
The family has been doing some camping this summer too. Jax and Brooklyn totally love it especially is their cousin, Elliott is going along. Elliott is Lacey’s brother Garrett and his wife, Kayla Stevens’ daughter, and Elliott is totally taken with Jax. I can’t say that I’m surprised about that, Jax is a little cutie. Elliott just turned three, and had a big party. Jax and Brooklyn were there with their daddy and Lacey, and Elliott wanted Jax’s total attention. She didn’t think that he should be paying attention to anyone or anything but her. Even at three, Elliott has good taste, because Jaxon is a handsome little boy, and while he is three years older than Elliott, that doesn’t matter to her one bit. In her opinion, he is her cousin, and hers alone, hahahaha!! Can’t wait to see what shenanigans these two will get into in the future. Today is Jaxon’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Jaxon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Cassie Iverson has been into taking pictures for a while now, and lately, her husband, Chris has really been getting into photography too. Both of them have always loved nature, camping, fishing, and just enjoying time spent outdoors. I can relate to that, because my husband, Bob and I feel the same way…at least about being outdoors…not so much camping and fishing. Anyone who has spent much time relaxing in nature, will naturally be drawn to the photography of nature, because the beauty of it is something you always want to hang on to. Photography allows us to hang on to those memories. In fact, I saw a saying once that really describes the way a photographer feels, “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” Our memories can be so quickly lost, if we have done nothing to preserve them.
I think that is something Chris and Cassie both understand. They are both very hands on parents. Having a developmentally disabled child and a child who is not disabled, is quite a handful, but they manage very well. Chris has taken to dancing around the living room with the kids. That is a cool thing, because they develop a love of music and get some exercise. I’m thankful that he is so helpful, because having kids is a lot of work, and if the dad isn’t really involved, it takes a toll on the mom. Kids need both parents to be involved in their lives, because they learn different things from each parent. They also like to have special lunches with the kids. Including the kids in activities is a great way to make the kids a part of everything. It’s all part of living life.
As to Chris’ own hobbies, he is a sportsman, so fishing gear and guns are simply a part of the plan. Chris likes to make sure his guns are in perfect working condition, so he makes sure they are properly cleaned. Anyone who is a gun enthusiast knows that having a dirty gun, can be bad in so many ways. It may misfire or worse, if it is not properly cleaned. I think that for most people in Wyoming, if you don’t own or appreciate guns, you are very strange. And the people in our family are definitely gun enthusiasts. Chris also likes to work on his Blazer, although it has been giving him so trouble lately. As I told Cassie, mechanics is a never ending story. There is always something that needs to be worked on. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When a parent loses a child, of any age, each birthday becomes a time to ponder on what might have been, if the child had lived. For so many parents, there are no answers. Their child is gone, and they have no way to gauge where they would be now or what they would be doing. There is just the emptiness of loss that is left, and wondering what might have been.
No new child can replace another child that has passed, but for my niece Jenny Spethman and her husband Steve, the fact that they had a rainbow baby, who was a girl named Aleesia Juliette, in some ways has helped a little bit. They have been able to envision what their little Laila Elizabeth would have been like at these ages. Of course, as I said, that does not replace Laila, and she is missed every single day, but God gave them Aleesia to cheer their broken hearts, at least a little bit.
Since today would have been Laila Elizabeth’s fifth birthday, they know that like Aleesia, Laila would have been going to pre-school, and learning all the exciting things that there are to see and do in this wonderful world that God created. She would have been a girly girl, like her sister, and they can envision the two of them giggling and laughing as they play their many little girl games. It’s easy to picture them both dancing around the room together, and yet chasing after their big brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, because no little girl can be the little sister of three older brothers and not be a tiny bit tomboy. Laila would have been the princess of the house, just as her little sister, Aleesia is, and of course, she would be the boss of the boys like Aleesia is too, because those boys just think their sister hung the moon.
None of these things make this day, Laila’s 5th birthday an easier day to take, nor with they help with the day she went to Heaven, November 22, but in some ways, they do give a glimpse into what might have been. And if Jenny and Steve are able to use their imagination a little bit, I’m sure they can picture their little Princess Laila and their little Princess Aleesia playing together. They know too, that they will see Laila again when we all join her in Heaven, and I know that they know that her great grandparents, are all getting to know her right now, but the heart doesn’t understand those things any more than the little kids do. Their hearts just want her back, because thinking about what might have been isn’t the same as havimg her here at all, in fact, it is the hardest thing a parent will ever have to do.
Today is Princess Laila Elzabeth Spethman’s 5th birthday. She knows we love her, miss her, and can’t wait to see her again, and we know that she is happily playing in Heaven and having a wonderful day. You live in our hearts until we see you again. Happy birthday in Heaven Princess Laila!! Have a wonderful birthday!! We love and miss you very much!! Hugs and kisses baby girl.
My grand niece, Hattie Joy Parmely, is celebrating a milestone today. She has arrived at her very first birthday. Her mom, Ashley Parmely tells me that Hattie Joy has lived up to her name quite well, because she is a joy for her whole family to be around. Hattie is a very busy little girl, and sometimes it’s hard for her mom to get pictures of her, because she is moving so fast. I suppose that is why she takes videos to share. And in many ways, I like to see the videos, because it shows me the true Hattie Joy personality that is quickly developing in this baby girl. Hattie is turning into a little toddler now, because she has learned to walk, and she even has three teeth now, so she is starting to love snacking too.
Hattie tries to be very helpful. Her dad, my nephew, Eric Parmely is always working on their house, because they bought it as a fixer upper, and they are quickly turning it into their dream home. Hattie is very much on board with the projects that her mom and dad are doing, and while she may not be the greatest help to them right now, she still helps…like it or not. Of course, helping her dad build is not the only big job that little Hattie does. She makes a great motor for her big sister, Reagan’s tricycle. I suppose it’s a good thing that Reagan isn’t very heavy, but for a little one year old girl, Hattie is fully capable of giving her big sister just the push she needs…provided they don’t run into any obstacles and big sister decides to back up, because Hattie isn’t too sure of how to back up yet. Hattie also helps her mom with the earth moving projects they are doing…one rock or handful of dirt at a time. She has a little trouble with that job though. Once she gets to rocks and dirt in her mom’s hand, she knocks them back out. Some jobs just take a little bit of training.
A girl can’t spend all her time working though, and Hattie loves to dance. She is a little bit too young to go clubbing right now, so she settles for struttin’ her stuff whenever her mom puts on some music. Hattie likes dancing so much, that she has even incorporated it into one of her other favorite activities…eating. She puts some food in her mouth, and then proceeds to dance it down to her tummy…all the while, sitting in her highchair. Now, not everyone can pull that one off, but Hattie does it with style…and with a smile on her little face. It would seem that our Miss Hattie Joy is a born entertainer. With everything she’s got going for her, who knows maybe she will be on Broadway someday, but I guess we will have to let her get a few years under her belt, before we will really know for sure. Today is Hattie’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Miss Hattie Joy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Long before our nation would find itself fighting to keep the right to bear arms, and long before people felt a serious need to teach their kids about guns at an early age, my Uncle Jim Wolfe was teaching his then two year old daughter, my cousin Shirley how to handle a gun. Much of her memory of that early time came from pictures of the process, but sadly those pictures were lost in a fire, and so live only in Shirley’s memory now. She remembers the picture showing a two year old Shirley standing in front of her dad, who squatted down to better match her size, and he was helping her hold the gun. I’m sure he began teaching her to shoot it then or very shortly thereafter, because from her earliest memory clear through adulthood, she remembers guns being a part of her life. By the time Shirley was old enough to hunt, she was an excellent shot, and the two of them very much enjoyed hunting together.
Hunting was not the only sport they enjoyed together though. Uncle Jim loved to fish, and taught Shirley to fish, build a campfire, and keep it going. Cooking those fish was a skill learned from her mother, however. Aunt Ruth had a way of cooking fish that was a family favorite, and if you wanted the whole family to like the fish, that was how you cooked them.
Shirley tells me that her dad taught her how to ride a horse, which surprised me a little, because her mom was an excellent horsewoman, who had even raced some. The she said that her mom helped with that, and it all made sense. If Shirley is anything like me, and most kids for that matter, she tended to learn easier from one parent than from the other. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love them the same, but your learning style just seems to fit better with one than it does the other. As for Shirley, she got the best training that both could give and ended up being a pretty good horsewoman herself.
Uncle Jim and Shirley were in many ways, inseparable. She would do whatever he was doing, just to spend more time with her dad. That is the way many girls are…daddy’s girls, and since I was much the same myself, I can totally understand. They worked on cars together, much like my daughter, Amy Royce, but the big difference there is that Shirley really got into it and loved doing it, while Amy just loved to watch her daddy.
Uncle Jim told Shirley that he knew the girl he would marry, long before he met her, because he kept dreaming of her. He just couldn’t see her face. When he came home from the war, he went to Twin Falls, Idaho, because he knew some people there. It so happened that the people he knew were Aunt Ruth’s cousins, who introduced them. He recognized Aunt Ruth before she even turned around. She was the woman in his dreams. It was love at first sight, and the rest is history. They were married for 46½ years before she passed away. Their love was meant to be.
Uncle Jim taught Shirley to dance by letting her stand on his feet, something I remember doing with my dad, although not to learn to dance. For Shirley though, the love of dancing continued all her life. She even danced on his feet while he was dancing with her mom…now that is a sight I would like to have seen. Shirley’s memories of her dad could go on and on, because they are far too numerous to name here, but suffice it to say that he was in every way, her hero. He made her life and the lives of the family, mine included, loads of fun. As his life wound down, I know it was hard for Shirley to see him in the weakened, forgetful state he was in, but she can always take comfort in the fact that his was a life well lived, and he is now in Heaven dancing with the girl of his dreams again…but waiting for that little one who likes to dance on his feet.
My grand niece, Raelynn is becoming a young lady, right before our eyes. As she heads into 5th grade, so much in her world is changing. This past year she ran for class secretary, and during the course of the campaign, she earned the nickname Rapper Rae. I’m sure you can guess how that came about. She is really spreading her wings and flying into new experiences. I can’t say I ever thought of Raelynn as a politician, but since she seems to be, I guess she is a girl after my heart. Now I just have to make sure she gets on the right side of the political arena…but I guess there is a little bit of time for that.
This past school year, Raelynn was finally old enough to get into Legorobotics, which is a club in which the kids build a vehicle with Legos that can perform several maneuvers. They work on these through the course of the year and then there is a competition that the teams are entered in to represent their school. It is a really cool thing for the kids to do, and very much enjoyed by all who participate. Raelynn and her team had a great time. She told her mom, my niece Dustie Masterson, that she had no idea you could build so many things with Legos. Raelynn has always loved art, but now she has discovered science and loves doing experiments. She has always loved school, because learning is awesome.
Raelynn loves riding around with her favorite cousin, Jake Harman, and yelling out to random people things like “Will you be my friend?” or “Where are all the pretty butterflies?”, because those are the random things Jake likes to do. Raelynn is coming into her own in the humor department too, and says lots of funny things if her own. She loves to hum with her dad, my nephew, Rob Masterson, or dance and sing down the isles of stores with her mom. But, for Raelynn, her favorite place to be is church. She loves Jesus and worship. She has a beautiful soul, and to know Raelynn is to love Raelynn. Today is Raelynn’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!
I found a picture among my Uncle Bill’s family history books, of my dad, Allen Spencer in a water fight with a friend named Ordie at Pattison Park, in Wisconsin, which is just 15 miles east of Holyoke, Minnesota, where the family was living at the time. I could just hear my dad’s laugh as he pummeled his friend with water. Dad had such a great laugh, and he took great pleasure in getting the best of people…in a friendly way, of course. I remember, as a kid, my dad and I used to have sparring matches. Somehow I had it in my head that I could beat him, if I really tried. Our sparring matches weren’t real, of course, but rather a matter of blocking the other persons attempts to pat their opponents face. Dad always won, and he always laughed all the way through our match. I was like a kid with an adult holding onto my head, while I tried to swing and couldn’t hit anything. Dad never held my head, but he almost always blocked my attempts to pat his face. It wasn’t really the sparring matches that drew me back into them, but rather my dad’s laugh. It amused him so much, he laughed in pure delight.
Some memories are so vivid that it’s almost as if you can hear the person. Dad’s voice, the way he teased his girls, his laugh, dancing with him on New Year’s Eve, the swatting game he always played with the grandkids from his chair in the kitchen as they tried in vain to run past him before he could swat them, and the whisker rubs he used to give us…laughing all the while. So many great memories of the wonderful dad that God blessed me with. He could even turn a moment when we were really angry or had been fighting with one of our sisters, into a laughing matter, because it was really hard to keep from laughing when he was laughing. I remember really trying a few times though. We would come to him tattling on whichever sister had so wrongly offended us, and he would imitate our whining…while we tried to keep a straight face. Before you knew it, we were both laughing, and the sister incident was forgotten. That was my dad…always the peacemaker.
When a loved one has gone to Heaven, you just never know what things will bring a memory of them that engulfs you. Sometimes, the sadness is overwhelming, and sometimes the memory brings a smile to your face. Either way, it is always unexpected and you are completely unprepared for it. My dad passed away 6 years ago today, and the memories continue to bring both tears and smiles. My mind shows me video clips of those moments in time, and the happiness we all shared with our dad. I see his smile. I remember his teasing. I hear his words of wisdom. And yes, I hear Dad’s laugh. These memories keep him in my heart until we see each other again in Heaven. I love you Dad!!
Most people think of the 4th of July as a hot, mid-summer holiday to celebrate our independence, and they would normally be right…but not always. In Wyoming, and I’m sure there are a few other places as well, there are times when the 4th of July can be cold. We don’t get that too much, but we do on occasion. The year my oldest daughter, Corrie was born, I recall that it snowed on the 4th, and I found myself thinking, “How can this be happening?” Another year that saw snow on the 4th of July was 1973, which was almost 2 years before I married Bob, so I didn’t know his family then.
Apparently, they decided to take a trip up into the Shirley Mountains that day, and were surprised to find snow…quite a bit, in fact. It was obvious to me that they were unprepared for what they found in the Shirleys that morning, because the kids had on shorts and even, bathing suits. It would seem that it had been pretty hot, so when they came across that snow, everyone wanted the chance to really cool off. Everyone started dancing around on the snow… some of them, barefoot!! They were out there on the snow…dancing!! It made me think of the Ice Capades…or in this case, the Summer Ice Capades!!
They had such a good time, and I’ll bet they didn’t even notice, if their feet got cold. Or maybe they didn’t. The day doesn’t exactly look like it was cold, but it must have been, since there was still snow on the 4th of July. I know that it felt cold on July 4, 1975, when it snowed 4 days after Corrie was born, but maybe this snow simply hadn’t melted yet. That would indicate a colder summer, but not necessarily as cold as it was two years later.
Whatever the case, a surprise snow bank brought a cool down moment to a summer day. Sometimes, it’s the little things, things you would never expect, that end up being fun. And sometimes, when you can let go of the everyday things and see the unusual, and allow yourself to be goofy…you just might find yourself having a really great time. Happy Independence Day everyone!!!