They never would have known, way back there in elementary school, but my grandson, Josh Petersen and his girlfriend, Athena Ramirez were going to be life-long friends, and now much more. Athena is a name of Greek origin meaning “Wise.” I like that. Years later, they found themselves working together, and they renewed their friendship, and before long that friendship grew into love. I can totally see why Josh is taken with Athena. She has a wonderful, bubbly personality, and a beautiful smile. She is such a happy person, so that smile shows up all the time.
In perfect Athena-style, her favorite flower is the sunflower. She also likes roses, and the two of them together, while not something you would expect to see, are beautiful. The sunflower totally fits Athena’s sunny disposition, so it makes the perfect favorite flower. Athena loves plants in general, so I know their apartment will be filled with beautiful plants. They even went to “Rock the Block” in downtown Casper earlier this month and got to paint so really cute planters. That made Athena very happy, because now she has more planters for the plants she wants in the apartment.
Athena not only loves plants, but she likes to get out in nature and see lots of them. One of her favorite activities is hiking, which my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I love to do as well. She loves spending time at the lake with her family and friends, and swimming and soaking up the sun. Being outdoors makes her feel happy and she spreads that happiness to those around her. Plus, it’s healthy to be out in the fresh air, hiking and enjoying nature. God made a beautiful world for us. Athena really loves to be out in it.
Athena is all about family. She loves her nieces and nephews, and loves spending time with her family. She has also enjoys hanging out with our family, because for her family is number one, and we have become her family too. No matter which family she is with, Athena brings the sunshine with her. I know my mom, Collene Spencer would love that too, because her favorite saying was “Keep of the Sunny Side.” One day Athena can meet her and my dad, Allen Spencer in Heaven, and they will just love her. I think Josh really needed a sunny person in his life. He can be a little too serious sometimes. He forgets to have fun, and Athena has taught him to have fun again. I love the saying they have about each other. Josh is her always, and she is his forever. Just beautiful!! Today is Athena’s birthday. Happy birthday Athena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My youngest grandchild, Josh Petersen is a quiet person…with a big heart. Josh is one of those people who will do his very best to help others with anything they could need. Josh is a hard working young man, who has worked at his first job at Sanford’s Grub and Pub for over six years now, having started when he was just 15 years old. He has worked his way up from dishwasher to kitchen manager, and he is well liked by all of his coworkers. Josh also works for All Out Fire, servicing fire extinguishers, a job I find interesting, although I have never seen him actually do that job. Josh is a loyal worker, and works hard not to miss a day, although Covid did hinder that plan.
This past year has definitely been Josh’s best year yet. In January, he and his best friend, Athena Ramirez realized that after knowing each other since they were in elementary school, this was going to be their forever love. They are so happy together, and we are so happy for them. They really are perfect for each other, and I have never seen Josh happier. They had been friends for a long time, but they rekindled the friendship when the both started working at Sanford’s grub and Pub together. Nothing makes me happier than to see Josh and Athena together. They are just so cute together.
Josh has very little time to spend on his own pastimes, because when he is not working at one job, he is working at the other. Josh has very few days off, but I guess that’s one way to stay out of trouble…right!! Hahahaha!! Just kidding. Josh is a great young man, and I am very proud of him. He is good to his parents and grandparents, and helps out whenever he is able to. I am especially proud of how good he is to his parents. They don’t get to spend much time together, but when they do, they all make it quality time.
In addition to Athena, Josh has another girl he loves very much…his cat, Pip. The good news is that Athena isn’t jealous of Josh’s other girl. In fact, Pip loves Athena and Athena loves Pip. If there are going to be two girls in a guy’s life it helps if the girls love each other. Cats are usually so cuddly, that having one in the house gives you an instant cuddler. That’s the nice thing about having a cat. I’m so glad that everything is looking great in Josh’s world. Today is Josh’s 23rd birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Dave Balcerzak is a gifted computer programmer, and has helped many people with their computer issues, including me. I think the most awesome thing he has done is to rebuild old computers so that he can give them people who have a need for a computer, but cannot afford one. It is a noble thing to do, and very typical of Dave. He is a kind-hearted man, who wants to be able to help people in anyway that he can, and thankfully he has talents that allow him to be able to help a lot of people.
My niece, Chantel Balcerzak first met her now husband, Dave when they were kids in elementary school. She liked him immediately, and really never forgot him completely. Nevertheless, they both went their separate ways, and each married other people. After a number of years, families for both, and failed marriages, they met again, and it was like they were never apart. They were both free to marry now, so they did, and they created a blended family. Dave brought his two children, Keifer and Katy to the marriage, and Chantel brought her two living children, Jake and Siara to the marriage. Chantel also brought the memory of her angel baby, Alyssa, who Dave had never met, but because she belonged to Chantel, he loved her as much as any of the children…because that is the kind of man Dave is. Dave and Chantel have been blessed with three grandchildren, Izabella and Jaxx Harman, and Reece Balcerzak. They also have a bonus granddaughter, Alice Green, with whom Dave shares a birthday. And they have a grandson on the way. When I say that Dave has been blessed, I say that because I believe that Dave’s kindness and loving ways, have given him the reward of so many blessings.
Dave has been given one more blessing, and it is one that is of the type that is near to my heart…his heart. Dave developed so heart issues, that at one point caused him to have a stroke, which was caught by a CNA, while he was in the hospital. Her quick action left Dave with no lasting damage from the stroke. His heart, however, still needed some work. As the wedding of their daughter, Siara was coming and Dave was to walk her down the aisle, he worried that he would not be able to do so, but God had another plan. An interesting procedure fixed his heart, and the man who had been only able to take a few steps without being out of breath, was able to walk Siara down the aisle. He is still healthy and very blessed indeed. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As kids, one of the first things we like to do is swing. I suppose it has to do with being rocked as babies or being in a baby swing. Whatever the reason, swinging is a favorite recess pastime…if you can get on one at recess that is. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take very long for kids get bored with regular swinging, and decide that it’s time to change it up a bit.
The first thought is to go higher and higher. That provides a thrill for a little while, but sooner or later, every kid decides that they are brave enough to jump out of the swing. The first few attempts might not go do well, but with lots of practice, they soon become an expert at it. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any more skinned knees or broken bones, but they might be fewer…and maybe further between.
I remember my elementary school days well, and while I didn’t get to the swings first very often, I did learn how to jump out of the swings at some point. I also remember the gravel on the playground, and the times I felt said gravel dig into my knees. It was no picnic. I never broke a bone jumping out of those swings, in fact, I reserved my first broken bone for my 59th year of life…not a great move, if you ask me, but there it is.
While I don’t exactly recall how many times I fell trying to jump out of the swing, I can tell you that it didn’t stop me from trying. The key is in the timing. If you jump too early, you fall, and if you jump too late, you fall. I’m sure you have a little wiggle room, but not very much. Still, with all the falling that happens when kids try to jump out of the swing, you won’t see kids in general quit trying. It’s all part of what makes the swings fun. And seriously, you only live once, so you might as well try the things that look like fun. And to kids, jumping out of the swings is where it’s at…until the next new challenge comes along, anyway.
When my girls were 4 years old and 3 years old, we were living on my in-law’s land, while we got our land ready to move onto. During that time, my sister-in-law, Brenda, and my brother-in-law, Ron were in elementary school and often needed help with their homework. I enjoyed helping them out, so they usually came to me for that help. So, many nights we had a tutoring session at my house. It’s pretty hard to run a tutoring session with small children around, who want to play.
I needed to come up with a way to help my sister and brother-in-law, and occupy my young daughters. Like most kids, the girls just wanted to do the same things the big kids were doing. The problem was that they were too young and would need more help than I could give them right then.
So, after giving it a little thought, I got each of my daughters a piece of paper and a pencil and told them to do their homework too. I was amazed at the way they did their homework. The girls didn’t scribble or draw pictures, but rather they made small careful circles. They were making their letters. As a mother, I was impressed and pleased at their very good attempt to mimic their aunt and uncle’s homework. They even stayed on the lines fairly well.
Things went on that way for a short time, and then Brenda and Ron started needing help with spelling. That…was the beginning of the problem. Before I knew it, Corrie and Amy wanted to learn to spell too. It all seemed innocent and, well even cool, but having them ask how to spell every word they could think of did get old after a while.
On day they started asking me how to spell the names of all their aunts and uncles. I was busy with other things, and really didn’t have time to go through every family member’s name. By the time we got to my sister-in-law, I had had just about enough of spelling. So, when they asked me how to spell Brenda, I very quickly blurted out B-r-e-n-d-a. Well, the girls caught BR, and that is the name that stuck.
At first, Brenda didn’t know if she liked the new nickname or not. When she was little, Jennifer had called her Bea, and she thought it would work into Aunt Bea. She never expected to be BR or Aunt BR. Still, it was a name that grew on her, and the kids really liked it. Before long, everyone was calling her BR. She has it on her license plate, and people have bought her blocks and plaques that say BR. It is her own nickname, unique and original…even if it was an accidental nickname.