My nephew Steve Spethman is a big, strong man. His shoulders have bailed us out of many a tough spot. When my mother, Collene Spencer was in her late-stage-life weakened-mobility state, we could always count on Steve to single-handedly lift her from an armless chair to a standing position so she could walk out of church using her walker. It would have taken two of us to do what Steve did alone. We were so grateful to Steve. He helped our mom maneuver with grace and dignity. When Steve lifted Mom from her chair, she was up on her feet before anyone around her really realized that she had been assisted. Steve made it so smooth for her, so that she never felt embarrassed. Steve gave her the gift of dignity, and we can never repay him for that.

Steve’s strength has come to our rescue in other ways too. When we wanted to build our mom a deck, Steve was among the people who helped. He and my brothers-in-law, Mike Reed, Mike Stevens, Chris Hadlock, my husband, Bob, and nephew, Garrett did the heavy work so that the deck could become a reality…one that my sisters and I wanted for our mom, but could not have accomplished on our own. I suppose women could do that job, but Steve and the guys carried the heavy load, and made it a much easier job. In fact, they did the deck, while my sisters and I did spring cleaning in the house. We will be forever grateful to these men for what they did for our parents over the years.

Steve is all about family. His children and his wife, my niece, Jenny are his priority. He and Jenny have taught them so much, including the especially important gun safety and usage. In these tumultuous times we all need to know how to protect ourselves. The Spethman family often goes out shooting, and even little Aleesia is learning to shoot. Her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac have all taken and passed the hunter safety courses so they can go hunting with their dad. It is a rite of passage that the boys looked forward to very much, as I’m sure Aleesia will as well. Steve is a good dad who wants the best for his family, and works with each of them to ensure that for them. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When my brother-in-law, Mike was dating my sister, Caryl, I think he found himself wondering what he had gotten himself into. The very first time he met all of us, we just started in on our normal teasing. I mean, any guy who was going to be a part of this family might just as well get used to being teased, because we love to tease. Mike was a little unsure of us at first, or maybe he was a little shy, I can’t say for sure, but it didn’t take him long to feel comfortable, and then his own teasing side came out to play with a gusto.

Over the years we have found Mike to be a great addition to our family. Yes, he has a great sense of humor, but he is also willing to pitch in whenever we need help with maintenance and building projects. He is very good at designing and building things.  We are very blessed to have husbands in our family who can take care of everything from the cars to the house.  Since joining the family, Mike has built an enclosed porch and deck at my mom’s house, as well as setting up sprinkler systems, and multiple repairs. The money saved by his talents alone is a lot. When we got Mike, you might say that he came with a lot of extras.

Caryl met Mike through his aunt, who was a patient of hers when she was working at the Wyoming Kidney Center, administering dialysis. Sometimes there are true match makers out there. She and Caryl got along so well, and one day she said you just have to meet my nephew. You two are perfect for each other. Although sceptical, Caryl agreed to meet Mike, and the rest…well, the rest is history, as they say.

Our family has been very blessed with the addition of Mike, and not just in the things he can do for us. Mike is a loving son-in-law and brother-in-law, and while he has a great sense of humor and can tease with the best of us, he has a softer side too. He is a kind man who has a giving nature. That is the best kind of person to add to a family…don’t you agree? Happy birthday Mike!! We love you!!

For Mother’s Day, my mom often asks us to do the projects she has planned on over the year. It is a great way to get things done that she would otherwise have to pay someone to do. So, we pick out a weekend, and get the plans made, and on the chosen weekend, we all descend on Mom’s house.

This year’s projects consisted of spring cleaning her bedroom, re-painting trim on the house, planting her flowers and cleaning the yard, and building a deck. Seventeen people showed up to help, a pretty good crew. We have been doing this for several years now, but it always amazes me that that so many people can have a general plan, but no true foreman, and yet the as the jobs are laid out everyone steps up and gets started.

At first, it looks like total chaos, then maybe organized chaos, but then suddenly, the different projects begin to come together, and before you know it something amazing has happened. Seventeen people who don’t normally do this kind of work…who are everything from mechanics to teachers, students to insurance agents, in the medical field to police officers to those in the legal field…and yet today we were painters, gardeners, carpenters, housekeepers, and cooks, and that worked for us.

So, why do we do this and how is it that it works for us. Well, love can produce a multitude of talents that we didn’t really know existed. My mom wanted nothing more than to have her children all together. It wasn’t just about the projects, although those were important to her too, but she has always liked it when her children are together. The projects turned out great. And while we are not quite finished, we will be tomorrow, and for another year, we probably won’t all work on a big project. But Mother’s Day will roll around again, and new projects will be dreamed up.  And once again, we will all become weekend warriors, ready to tackle the jobs she needs done. It’s not a bad Mother’s Day gift, after all. And in reality, to her, it is the best gift ever. Having her children all together showing their love for her.

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