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My nephew, Garrett Stevens is a welding inspector working for EMIT. Last year, Garrett went to Denver for a three-week school to learn to be a welding inspector. After the school was done, he had to pass 3 or 4 tests before he was given the certification. This process was very difficult, and the person who was sent before Garrett was not able to pass the course, so we are all very proud the Garret was able to pass, and he loves the new job and his new responsibilities.

Garrett and his wife, Kayla welcomed their second daughter, Maya just under two years ago, and since that time, they have begun to feel like the walls are closing in on them, so the time has come to sell their home. They have been busy getting a few things renovated and updated so they will get a better price for the house. When I say “they” I include the girls, or at least their daughter Elliott, who is almost six years old. Garrett is a very hands-on dad, and his girls love him to the moon and back. Elliott has been helping with the painting of the kitchen. This isn’t the first painting project Garrett and Elliott have tackled. They painted her playhouse and really had a good time doing that. Elliott is a big helper. She also helped with planting flowers in the front yard. She really like that she is helping her parents get ready to put their house on the market so they can find a bigger house. At two years old, Maya is limited on what she can do, but she wants to be a part of things too, so they give her little projects as well. Garrett and Kayla are really good parents, and time with their girls, even if it’s working to get the house ready to sell, is very important time for them.

Garrett and Kayla bought a camper this year, and they are planning some fun camping trips. They have made plans to go up to the mountains, the Tongue River Reservoir in Montana, and to Pathfinder Reservoir with his family for the traditional Steven’s Family Summer Camp Out. They really enjoy camping, and spending time with the family. The new camper will give them plenty of room for their family to enjoy the great outdoors. Today is Garret’s birthday. Happy birthday Garrett!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Fifty years ago today, on June 8, 1974, my friends and now sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Debbie and LJ Cook said “I do.” It was a beautiful ceremony. The bride’s mother, Joann Schulenberg was an amazing seamstress, and she made the wedding gown and the bride’s maid’s (me) dresses. Debbie and LJ have had a long and happy marriage, filled with mostly good things. They had three daughters, Machelle Moore, Nancy Cook (who went to Heaven shortly after her birth), and Susan Griffith. They lived in Casper, Wyoming for a short time after their marriage, then moved too Thermopolis, Wyoming for a short time, before moving to Powell, Wyoming, where they would make their permanent home and raise their girls. The girls have married now, and sons-in-law, Steve Moore and Josh Griffith have joined the family. In addition, grandchildren Weston Moore, Jala Satterwhite, Easton Moore, and Kaytlyn Griffith have also blessed the family.

Their daughter, Susan was telling me about her favorite memories from her childhood. She is reminded of their gardens, both floral and vegetable. Debbie and LJ plant a garden every year, and they have since the girls were little. They truly have green thumbs too, because Susan says, “consistently, they always have such beautiful flowers in their yard, and beautiful veggies growing in the garden.” She says, “The taste of home-grown tomatoes will always remind me of growing up, eating them like apples.” Unfortunately, their garden was damaged this year by the cold weather, so they had to go to the greenhouse twice and plant twice. Hopefully they end up getting some good ones with the second planting. This year, Debbie and LJ added raised beds to their gardening toolbox. They’re so much easier to take care of!

Susan loves that her parents still live in the house where she grew up. People don’t often stay for many years in the home where they raised their kids, but it is very cool when they do. Susan also loves that her daughters and nephews know that house as well as she does, and for them to see where she and her sister grew up. The kids also have the blessing of being able to glean the wisdom their grandparents have to share, about everything from gardening to school to life. Growing up near your grandparents is a huge blessing, even if you move away after your grown. Those young years spent around grandparents will go with you wherever you go.

Since LJ retired, he and Debbie spend most of their time together. If it’s possible, they have grown closer, and their love has grown deeper. They also have their sweet little dogs to keep them on their toes and the dogs also give everyone some good entertainment. The past fifty years have really flown by. In many ways, it seems like just yesterday that they were married, and yet, we know it isn’t. Many marriages these days don’t stand the test of time, but the love Debbie and LJ have for each other has done just that, and I have no doubt their love will grow deeper and deeper for the rest of their lives. Happy Golden Anniversary Debbie and LJ!! Congratulations on 50 years together!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

As with my dad, Allen Spencer, the longer my mom, Collene Spencer is in Heaven, the more I miss her. I was actually thinking about her a couple of days ago, not that I don’t think of her every day, but this was on a more specific subject. Mom was such a deeply Christian woman, and she worked very hard to educate herself in God’s ways and in His Word. Now, as I take my own walk in the Lord, I find myself reflecting on all the people my mom influenced to turn their lives over to the Lord. My parents were great spiritual leaders, and while they didn’t travel the world evangelizing, they spoke to those they could, and their good clean lives did the rest. After my mom’s funeral, I was surprised at the people who told me about how my parents’ lives had influenced them. To say the least, I was amazed. My parents, in their own quiet, unassuming way drew many people to the Lord.

While my mom’s Christian walk is so important, it is not the only endearing quality my mom possessed. She loved making her daughters smile and would go to great lengths to accomplish her goals. She woke us up each day with a song…often a silly song. If we didn’t smile, she would sometimes make funny faces or act in a funny way. Mom’s laugh was infectious, and you really couldn’t help but laugh. As I think back of the days of my childhood, I realize more and more, just how blessed I am, and how blessed I was then. Mom taught her daughters the things we would need to be successful in whatever we undertook, but first and foremost, she taught us how to care for a family and a home. We all knew how to cook, and we are all good cooks. Mom came from a long line of really great cooks, and she passed all the knowledge down to us. Like her mom, Hattie Byer, she could make a great meal out of just about anything. Mom was born toward the end of the Great Depression, and the people of that era knew that it was essential to be frugal. She had 8 siblings, and Grandma and Grandpa (George Byer) never turned away a hungry soul. The food just had to stretch, and it did. And it still tasted great, even if there was a little more water, a couple more potatoes, and a little less meat in the stew. Mom learned from the best, and her daughters and our families benefitted.

Mom was such a sweet and loving person, and always tried to do right by all who crossed her path. Mom always tried to walk in love toward her fellow man. She was known to stop and pray for someone who had a need. She was a generous woman who always gave as much as she could. Her giving nature, a reflection on her parents and her loving relationship with our dad, showed in everything she did, and was something she tried to also instill in her daughters. We simply couldn’t have asked for a better mom, or dad. Today would have been Mom’s 88th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. We love and miss you very much, and we look forward to seeing you again when we all go to Heaven.

My nephew, Garrett Stevens has been a welder for a long time now. He currently works at EMIT Technologies, but he has been selected to take the certified welding inspector (CWI) test. The CWI is an extremely challenging test with only a 30% pass rate on the first attempt. Right got now Garrett is in classes to prepare him for the test, and he will be taking the test in August. When Garrett passes the CWI, he will be able to work more in quality control. This is such a great thing for Garrett, as it will help him move his career forward in the direction he wants to go. Garrett is a natural at welding. He learned his career easily, and is always striving to improve himself. He is never satisfied with the status quo, choosing excellence instead.

Garrett has chosen excellence in all areas of his life. He has always made his parents, Alena and Mike Stevens so proud. Garrett was their only son, and he is his dad’s son for sure. They love doing things together, even though they don’t get much time to do that these days, now that Garret and his family live in Sheridan, and the rest of his family lives in Casper. Nevertheless, whenever they can, Garrett and his dad get a little fishing in, even doing some ice fishing recently.

Garrett is a hands-on dad who likes to spend quality time with the two daughters, Elliott and Maya, that he and his wife, Kayla have. Kayla tells me that he is great girls dad, which isn’t too far out of his wheelhouse, since Garrett grew up the only boy of his parents’ three children. That meant that Garrett, while all boy, still understood little girls. He and his sisters, Michelle Miller and Lacey Stevens have always been close.

Recently, Garrett and Kayla bought a trampoline and he doesn’t hesitate to jump around and be silly with the girls. Kayla thinks it takes him right back to his childhood since he has such fond memories from the trampoline his parents got for him and his sisters. They had so much fun playing on that trampoline. Now he is making new memories with his girls, and they are loving it. It’s not just the trampoline that Garrett plays on with his girls. The go swimming, to the park, the bouncy game place in town, and running around in their own living room or their yard. The girls will have so many wonderful memories and games to pass down to their own kids someday. Today is Garrett’s birthday. Happy birthday Garrett!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Kayla Stevens is mom to two beautiful daughters, Elliott and Maya, who arrived just under a year ago, on June 24, 2022. With her husband, my nephew, Garrett Stevens and the girls, Kayla is as happy as she can be!! She and Garrett are living their best life, watching their kids growing up and learning so many new things. Kayla and Garrett really enjoy taking their girls to the park, now that nicer weather has arrived. Of course, Elliott is in a number of activities now, so they all stay pretty busy.

Kayla has always been a kind and compassionate lady. That really makes her perfect for her career as a social worker, working at the Veterans’ Administration. Really, that is a unique kind of job. Many veterans have been through so much, it helps to have people who understand the stressors, and are there to help with it. Things like PTSD, have become so well known in recent years, but for years veterans, like anyone who is facing something like that, felt like they had no one to turn to. With Kayla’s kind heart they can feel less alone now. I know that the parameters of Kayla’s job have changed over the years, and now she works from home, but that has not stopped the sweetness of this lady from shining through to these people she works with every day.

I know that her kindness is in a big way, what drew Garrett to Kayla in the first place. Garrett and Kayla were introduced by his sister, Lacey Stevens, but it was Kayla who won his heart. Nothing more was needed, once they met, because they knew that their life was real. Now after being married for eight years and having two beautiful daughters, they are happier than ever. The only sad part for the family here in Casper is that they live in Sheridan, and we don’t get to see them as often as we would like. Nevertheless, Kayla is good about sending us lots of pictures and videos of the kids. That really helps. Today is Kayla’s birthday. Happy birthday Kayla!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Story by guest writer, Corrie Petersen

Today is a special day for a special person in my life. My mom’s birthday is today, and I am so grateful for all the things she has done in my life for me and everyone else. She is such a caring person, and she is a Godly woman. She has taught me to believe in God and trust in Him because He will make all things come to pass.

As of today, she has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren with two more great-grandchildren on the way. She loves spending time with all of us and she does all she can to make sure she does just that even though two of her grandchildren and her other daughter, my sister, Amy, and her husband Travis live in Washington State. She loves to visit them in Washington and she and my dad are planning a trip to see them next year.

The past six years have been a roller coaster of events. From me starting college for a nursing degree to all the great-grandchildren that have come along. We’ve experienced some not-so-fun things as well including a death in the family and my dad had a heart attack, but the good thing is that God helped us through each of those days. I know she has helped my family when I was not able to be there for them due to school. Nursing school takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication and during that time, she helped my family in so many ways that I don’t know how to thank her for what she did for them.

My mom has been retired for a little while now and I am positive she and my dad love the retired life they are living. They love to travel and hike while on the way. They bowl together, they hike together, and they go to family events together and they would not have it any other way because they love being together.

Today is my mom’s birthday. Mom, I hope you have a wonderful day. I love you so much.

With each passing year, I find myself feeling more and more blessed with this husband of mine. Bob and I met while I was working at Kmart, where his sister, Debbie Cook also worked, 49 years and 4 months ago. We have been married for 48 years as of today. There were people who didn’t think we has a chance for a lifelong marriage, but they were all wrong. I guess you could say that we are both stubborn…in a good way. We made a commitment, and we were determined to stay committed. The rest, as they say, is history. We have been blessed with two daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce; two sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce; four grandchildren, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen; a granddaughter-in-law, Karen Petersen and soon to be granddaughter-in-law, Athena Salazar; and three great grandchildren, Cambree, Caysen, and Justin Petersen. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Through the years, our lives have taken a number of turns. Things we expected and things we didn’t. We have made major job changes, to jobs we didn’t expect, Bob working for the City of Casper and me at The Stengel Agency, from which we would both retire. Of course, our family has grown and continues to grow. We began our married life living in a mobile home, which we moved several times, and finally in 1995, we moved into town…the best move we ever made. I guess it took us that long to realize that we really didn’t like country life. We became caregivers in 2005, an eventually would take care of all four parents until each one passed away, the final one in 2018. That was probably the biggest, unexpected thing of all. When you are young, you naturally think your parents will live forever. We miss them very much and consider ourselves blessed to have had them with us for so long.

The future is bright, and with retirement, we have more time to be together. I suppose some people think that all that time together would get…complicated, but for us it has not. We have always enjoyed our time together and have found that working different shifts at times was one of the hardest things we endured. I’ve heard people say that we should have fought less in those years, but we actually fought more, so there is another myth shot down. These days we like to travel, hike, spend time with our family. Of course, Bob still keeps busy working on cars in our garage, and I have my writing. We find too, that we are homebodies to a degree, with Bob needing to be out and about more than I do. So, he runs to the parts house several times a day, hahahaha!! It’s his social life. I like to walk on the trail near our home, and the Carpet Trail (inside our house) in the winter. I always look forward to the warmer weather, because the Carpet Trail can get boring after a while. I would say that we have led a very blessed life!! Happy 48th anniversary, Bob!! I love you more each and every day!! Here’s to many more years of wedded bliss!!

When a couple has daughters, it naturally follows that when those girls reach dating age, the house will be filled with young gentlemen callers. My grandparents, George and Hattie Byer had seven daughters, and two sons…so you can imagine that as time went on, a long line of gentlemen callers went in and out of their home. The first young man to transition from being a gentleman caller to being part of the family was George Hushman, who became Uncle George when he married my Aunt Evelyn (Byer) Hushman. Of course, he wasn’t uncle then, nor was she aunt, because they would be the couple to start the procession of grandchildren who would bless the lives of my grandparents and continue to grow even after their passing.

Uncle George won Aunt Evelyn’s heart pretty quickly, because when he saw her…well, he couldn’t see any other girl again. It was pretty much love at first sight, and that feeling never left them. They could be in a crowded mall, but as far as they were concerned, they were the only ones in the place. Their happy marriage brought them five beautiful children, Sheila (Susie) Young, George Hushman Jr, Shelley Campbell, Shannon Limmer, and Greg Hushman, as well as a number of grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Yes, they were very blessed throughout the years. And, as the Byer siblings married and had children, they got to be aunt and uncle to many nieces and nephews too, making them finally the aunt and uncle I knew from birth.

The had many hobbies, including their beautiful yard and home, bowling, traveling, and in their early marriage…double dates with my parents, Al and Collene (Byer) Spencer. The two couples were great friends right away and loved spending time together. The Hushman kids and the Spencer girls were often together in those young days. Uncle George and Aunt Evelyn lived long lives too. She passed away on May 4, 2015, at the age of 86, and he passed on December 21, 2018, at the age of 92. Their lives were blessed and happy, and really all they ever wanted to do was to be together. Today would have been Uncle George’s 96 birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle George. We love and miss you very much.

My dad’s mom, Anna Spencer was such a strong woman. My grandfather, Allen Spencer worked on the Great Northern Railway, and so Grandma was in charge of the kids, including her two rambunctious boys, my Uncle Bill and my dad, Allen. Now that doesn’t say that her two girls weren’t a handful too, but my Aunt Laura and my Aunt Ruth, likely caused her a little bit less trouble than her mischievous boys…especially when it came to their use of dynamite. Being farm boys, they used dynamite to remove tree stumps, for their wake-up call on Independence Day, as well as the occasional gatepost (which then had to be raised two inches before their mom came home from town). Nevertheless, Grandma was loved and respected by her children.

Grandma and the kids ran the farm, and that meant putting the hay up into stacks by hand, taking care of the animals and the garden. When they were working, Grandma was all business, but that didn’t mean the kids followed suit. My Aunt Ruth loved horses and dogs too, and goofing off for my Uncle Bill, so he could take a picture of her. Somehow, it once caught my grandma in the picture looking at her mischievous children, goofing off instead of working. Somehow, she was not very amused, but while Grandma didn’t think it was funny, the picture is one that always makes me laugh. I don’t know if my Aunt Ruth got in trouble for “shirking” her responsibilities or not, but I’ll bet she at least heard about it. Grandma was not really a pushover, after all. In those days, when it was time to work, the kids had better toe the line.

During the time when my grandma was raising kids, the country was going through the Great Depression years, and time were tough anyway, so the people also had to be tough. The men were often working somewhere also, and the women had to take on the role of both parents, and even businesswomen. My grandmother ran a hotel for a time, and my Aunt Laura, who was just ten years old when my Uncle Bill was born, was responsible for his day-to-day care. My Uncle Bill actually remembered that time fondly. He and his big sister were very close at that time. I’m sure it was not the ideal situation for my grandmother, who must have felt like she was missing out on the baby years, but she persevered, and the family did well. Grandma was a tough lady, because she had to be, and the family needed her to be. I’m very proud of the strong woman she was. Today, Grandma is in Heaven, but this is the 135th anniversary of that great lady’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma. We love and miss you very much.

It was 47 years ago that my husband, Bob and I said, “I do.” It’s hard to believe that so many years have come and gone. We were just kids back then. I was only 10 months out of high school. Time goes by so fast, and I don’t know how they could have gone by so fast. Every year, I tend to wonder the same thing, and every year I come to the same conclusion…the grace of God. I believe that God sent Bob to me to be my soulmate. He was Heaven sent to me, as a gift of God. We always feel “right” together. We don’t have to “work” at getting along. We just…get along. It is easy for us. I don’t mean to say that marriage isn’t work, because it really is, but for us a loving marriage is so much easier than we would have ever thought.

Bob and I have so much in common. We love doing the same kinds of things…some of which we have developed over the years, because they were not things that we had ever thought we would enjoy years ago. Still, today they are things we have found that we enjoy very much. It’s not just hiking, but it’s where we like to go to hike. We enjoy going to Thermopolis, the Black Hills, Washington state, the Grand Canyon, areas around our city of Casper. These places give us happiness and joy. We like the same television shows. We tend to be very comfortable at home together…granted, we might be taking a nap in our chairs, but that’s ok too. The point is that we are comfortable and happy together…and we are very blessed.

Eash year I find myself feeling more and more blessed with this man God has given to me. God knew exactly the kind of man I would need to make my life happy, and He couldn’t have picked a better man for me. God knew that we would be compatible and comfortable together. We could not have known that for the long run. We were just kids of 18 and 20 years when we got married. What did we know? He knew that we were both stubborn enough to stick it out together and follow His plan for us and our lives. He blessed us with two daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce; two sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce; four grandchildren, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen; as well as fiancées Karen Cruickshank and Athena Ramirez; and great grandchildren Cambree and Caysen Petersen and baby Petersen coming in October. Blessings don’t get any better than those. They have all made us so very happy. Today is our 47th wedding anniversary. I love you Bob…and yes, “I still do.”

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