My grandniece, Brooklyn Killinger, also known as Brookie, Brookie Lou, or Brooklyn Louise (coincidentally, my niece Lacey Stevens…Brooklyn’s “stepmom” has the same middle name, so Brooklyn Louise is a favorite for her). Brooklyn is a loving little girl, with a motherly way about her. She loves her baby girl doll named Navy. She takes Navy everywhere and she is very serious about her care. Nobody had better be mean to Navy or even accidentally do something that is remotely rough, because they will hear about it from Brooklyn. One time, Lacey grabbed Navy by the foot to move her, and Brooklyn immediately cried, “Don’t grab her by the foot!!” Well, of course, “Grandma Lacey” would never have intentionally been mean to little Navy. Lacey quickly said, “Whoops…sorry!!”

Brooklyn is always thinking of her little family, and so for her birthday, she has asked for a car seat for Navy, because her baby must be kept safe when she is riding in the car. She is also thinking of the future, so she has asked for a little brother doll for Navy and for herself, as the mommy, of course. She will undoubtedly make a wonderful mom someday, because she is practicing for that job now.

Brooklyn is always helpful and especially loves helping people with their needs. As Lacey and Brooklyn’s dad, Chris Killinger look to her future, they can picture her is the role of nurse or some such job that involves helping people. It’s amazing that some kids seem to always have a specific gift, and when the follow that career path, it just isn’t surprising, because it’s who they were their whole lives.

Brooklyn is big sister to her brother, Jaxon Killinger, and she loves him very much. It’s obvious to anyone who sees them, that they are good friends. Brooklyn is such a good big sister, and Jaxon looks up to her. He is about two years younger than his sister, so to him, she knows everything, and she’s still cool…for a while anyway. As we all know, sibling relationships go through many stages, and while Brooklyn and Jaxon will always love each other, they may not always have that same “best friends” relationship. Nevertheless, I think they will manage to find their way back to being good friends again. Brooklyn and Jaxon are also friends with their little cousin Elliott. Unfortunately, Elliott lives in Sheridan, so they don’t get to see her often, but when they do, that all have a wonderful time. Recently they all got to go swimming with Lacey’s mom, Alena Stevens at the Casper Aquatics Center. They all had a blast…enjoying cousin time. Today is Brooklyn’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Brooklyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My parents on their wedding dayDad and MomSixty two years ago today two very special people said “I do.” Those people were my parents, and this year will be the first anniversary that we will spend without either of them, and the first that they will spend together since 2007. That is such a strange thing for me…to think that the two people who brought me and my sisters into this world, are no longer in it with us. It is a change that I never wanted to have happen, and yet I am happy for them, because they are back together again. You see, my parents were more than husband and wife, they were friends…from the first time they met. It was a match made in Heaven, and while I know that life in Heaven doesn’t involve husbands and wives, it does involve friends. That is what we will all be, so they are very much enjoying their time together. While this feels sad to me, it is for them…joyous.

My mother was taken by my dad the first time she laid eyes on him. She thought he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. And Dad was pretty taken with Mom too. I never heard him call her by her name, but rather always by the name Doll. He always wanted her to know that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen too. They never wanted anything more than just to be together. They did as much together as they could, and I think that the years they each worked were for them the hardest, because they had to be apart for hours on end. Not many people can work with their spouse, but my parents could, and did for a number of years. They enjoyed every moment together.

For them, life took on its own pace, and it was often slower than many people today live their lives…including me. They lived on Byer Time, mostly because the song, “Waitin’ On A Woman” hadn’t been written yet. Nevertheless, my dad was used to waitin’ on a woman, and he never got upset about it. He loved her and he was always patient with her slower pace. I, on the other hand, was seldom as patient…unless Dad told me to be quiet. Mom was the Queen of the Castle, and Dad her Prince Charming. She was always so loved by him. He was always so caring. He was really one of the last of the true gentlemen. There seems to be very little protecting of women from things like foul language, splatter from passing cars…you know, all the things men did in the olden days…before women’s lib came upon us. No, I’m not a fan.

When my parents married, it was for life, and to spend as much time with each other as possible. And theirs was a beautiful marriage, filled with so many blessings. They traveled, worked and played together, and they Mom & Dad Alaskan Cruise (formal)Dad and Momtaught their girls about the kind of marriages we would want to have. While our husbands were different that our dad in some ways, they were like him in many others, because we knew the kind of man we would want our husband to be like…a Prince Charming, like our dad. And we wanted to be the Queen of the Castle…just like our mom. Today marks the day that would have been the 62nd Anniversary for these two wonderful people. Happy Anniversary in Heaven, Mom and Dad!! Hope your day is beyond amazing!! We love and miss you both so very much, but we will see you again very soon.

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.

My parents on their wedding dayOne of the things that has always stood out in my mind when I think of my mom and dad, is that he always called her Doll. Many people call their wife honey, sweetie, or baby, but Mom was always Dad’s Doll. It was his way of always reminding her of just how beautiful she was. That was the kind of relationship they had. Dad was always the kind of man who wanted his girl to know that she was his princess, and he thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. She was a living doll, and he made sure to remind her of that fact every day…several times a day.

Theirs was a marriage filled with special moments. From the moments their daughters, Cheryl, Caryn, Caryl, Alena, and Allyn were born to the moments when the grandchildren and great grandchildren arrived, they were blessed with so many special moments to share in their lives. They took many trips through the years, because they both loved to travel, and wanted their girls to see the this country too, and the world if we chose to.

Mom and Dad always had a romantic relationship. I suppose they were just hopeless romantics and that fueled the whole thing. I suppose there are kids out there who are embarrassed about seeing their parents kissing each other, but we were not. It was a normal part of our everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, we still teased them by singing, “Mommy and Daddy are kissing!! Mommy and Daddy are kissing!!” Then everyone would laugh about it. Nevertheless, it didn’t bother them a bit. I think we all got a kick out of their lack of reaction too. It was all a part of who they were together. And it gave us such a sense of security and stability. We just always knew that for as long as they lived, our lives would be just like it was…perfect!! And the only thing that has ever taken that perfectness away, was when Dad left us for Heaven, but only because he is gone from us.
They really lived a fairy tale life. In every way, Mom was Dad’s everything, and he was hers. She loved him from the moment she met him, and I think from that moment on she knew they would get married. Pretty good for a 16 year old girl. And I guess she made up her mind and that was it. They were married 53 years before Dad’s passing parted them, but their love continues on to eternity.

I think the love my parents showed us really defined love for all of us. I know that for me, I will always be able to hear my dad call my mom Doll as one of the most beautiful shows of love there is. Today is my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday Mom, from Dad and your girls too!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I had hinted toward a story a few days ago, and I think today is a good day to take that one further. My niece, Ashley is a very good mom to her daughter, Reagan, and to her little animal children. Everyone needs to be cleaned up and polished. Ashley was this way even before Reagan was born. So every so often, the puppies and kitties must have a bath. Now we are all used to puppies having a bath, but I had never known anyone who gave their kitties a bath before. In fact, thought that was rather dangerous…for the one bathing the cat.  I mean, cats have sharp teeth and claws.

In fact, that danger is something Ashley found out periodically, when her cat scratched or even bit her for doing something the cat didn’t like. I have to say that Ashley is a brave woman to keep coming back. I think that after a cat bit me, I would most likely be too nervous to stick that cat back in the tub, but Ashley and Eric want the cat to be a well rounded kitty. Once again, ok, but I think I would probably find a different way to round him out. Ashley is a very brave girl.

I would expect the cat to not like her very much after, what he might consider such mistreatment, but somehow the cat, as well as all her other animals, love Ashley to pieces. They somehow look at the cat bath as…well, maybe just an Ashley-ism, and so even if their cat friends don’t have to take a bath, it’s ok, because they know their mommy loves them, and maybe their friends are just not loved quite as much as they are. On that, I would have to almost agree. Maybe their cat friends are loved as much, but they certainly are not loved more than Ashley loves her cats, dogs, and horses, because that would be impossible.

Ashley has been an animal lover all her life, and every animal she has ever been around knows that very well. She cuddles, and pampers, bathes and then dolls up her pets, until they are among the most handsome you have ever seen. They look and feel very loved, because they most certainly are.

When you are small, and you don’t have much prospect of getting very big, you have 2 choices. You can take the teasing and even bullying that kids can dish out, or you can learn to take care of yourself. As an adult who is only 4’11” tall, you can imagine how little Amy was as a little girl. But don’t let her small size fool you, because if necessary, you will find that there is a tiger living inside that small frame. Of course, like all tiger cubs, Amy’s prowess developed slowly. She first began by making sure that her big sister, Corrie knew who was the tougher of the two. Now Corrie was bigger, and 11 months older, but that didn’t matter. When Corrie was about 3, she came out of the bedroom the girls shared, crying. I asked what was wrong. She said through her tears, “Amy hit me!!” Now, coming from a family of five girls who fought plenty, I couldn’t see much sense in coming between them in their fight, so I told Corrie to “Hit her back!!” That brought immediate shrieks of terror as Corrie yelled, “NOOOOOOOO!!!” Now, I don’t know if Corrie was afraid she would hurt her little sister, or just plain afraid of her little sister, but she never would hit her back. It was probably just as well that Corrie didn’t hit Amy, because through the years, they have always been good friends. They never did fight very much. I guess that it is pretty hard to fight alone, so when your sister won’t hit you back, the fight is…well, over!

Now the same thing did not apply to other children who got on Amy’s bad side. When Amy was just about 2 years old, and about the same time as Corrie’s little mishap with her, the girls began going into the nursery at the bowling alley, while I bowled on a league. One day as I was bowling, I heard this blood curdling scream coming from the nursery. It was a scream that I quickly recognized as my youngest daughter. I ran up to the nursery to see what was going on in there. I asked the nursery attendant what had happened…concern showing on my face, I’m quite sure. She quickly reassured me that everything was just fine…now. Then she explained that one of the other children in the nursery had decided that Amy was like a little toy doll or something, and tried to pick her up. Well, after that scream, that child…and all the others knew that you could play with that toy doll, but do not pick her up…ever!!!

The years have flown by, and that little tiger cub is all grown up…though still not tall. There is one thing that I can say about Amy, and that is…she can take care of herself. She’s not a fighter or a bully. In fact, she really never was…even when she needed to defend herself. She is simply a force to be reckoned with. So, during her teen years, while I won’t lie and say I never worried, I did know that she was pretty capable of taking care of herself, and it really was the other guy who might want to watch out. Amy is a gentle spirit that is quiet and kind. She looks for friends, not enemies. She looks for the best in people, and that is a trait that maybe more of us should have…me included.

Most people remember little about their early years, but sometimes something happens that causes you to keep it in your memory all your life. Often these early memories are from traumatic or perceived traumatic events. Such is the case with me.

I was 2 years old when my family moved from Superior, Wisconsin to Casper, Wyoming. On our way, we camped out. Unlike today, people camping out might get to know their “camping neighbors” and even know their names. Such was the case with our family when we met the Sims family.

They were such nice people, and they were moving too. They had two children, but they were older than my sister and me. Our families had a very nice evening, and the next morning we left the campground and went on our way. It wasn’t until we had gone many miles that I would realize that I left my doll at the campground. I was devastated. I mean she was my baby!

When I was 3 years old my parents bought the home my mother still lives in today. As we settled in, and started to get to know the neighbors, we were very surprised to find that our neighbors across the alley just happened to be the Sims family. It was like so nice to move into a neighborhood and already know some of the people. And even better was the moment when they told me that they were hoping to see us again, because on the day we left the campground, I had left my doll, and they had saved her for me. I was elated.

Our families would live across the alley until Mrs Sims passed away. Mr Sims and their son Harold had passed away before Mrs Sims, and Julie had married and moved to Colorado. We were friends all that time, and Julie babysat for my parents until my sister was old enough to babysit. They even went to the same church as we did. They were a wonderful blessing to our family, and someone we always glad we got to know.

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