For a number of years now, my niece, Andrea Beach has been living in Rawlins, Wyoming. This was mainly because her mom and stepdad, Caryl and Mike Reed lived there. Andrea is a single mom to her son, Chris Spicer, and she wanted a good place to raise him. Wyoming was her home, and she wanted to be back there. It really was a good atmosphere for Chris, but now, her mom and stepdad retired, and moved to Casper last year, where they have a ranch.

Chris and Andrea remained in Rawlins for the last year, because he was a senior in high school, and she didn’t want to uproot him during his senior year. Now, Chris is graduating, so May is the last month Andrea and Chris will live in Rawlins. They will be moved to Casper and to the Reed ranch by the end of May. Caryl and Mike have an apartment over their shop, so Andrea and Chris will live there while they look for jobs and a place in town. They are both so excited. The rest of our family (most of us anyway), live in Casper and the surrounding area, so it has long been Andrea and Chris’ desire to be here too, and near the family.

Andrea has been doing a lot if painting in recent years, and she is really good at it. she is hoping to be able to sell her paintings at some of the craft fairs in Casper, when they get settled. She has a varied style, and she likes to paint both landscapes and abstracts. That varied style makes her more versatile in her paintings, and she has some really cool artwork which she would like to try to sell them at some of the craft fairs in Casper in the future.

For now, her main focus is looking for a job and a place of their own, even though there is no rush to get their own place. The main reason to move into town is convenience. The ranch is sure to be a long way from their jobs. Casper offers her many more opportunities than Rawlins did, based simply on the size difference between the two locations. Andrea and Chris are both very excited about the future, and all the changes that are coming in their lives…and we are happy to have them closer to the rest of the family. Today is Andrea’s birthday. Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Since graduating from high school last year, my nephew, Riley Birky, who has always loved the feel of the small towns over the bigger towns and cities, moved to Lovell, Wyoming, where he is currently working double shifts at the Brandin’ Iron Restaurant there. He has his own place, and has a roommate to share expenses with. These days, that’s about the only way the young adults can make it, so I’m glad they are working together on this. It makes it easier for both of them.

This is a whole new adventure for Riley. Being on his own, and in a town that is away from his parents. His mom, my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg calls him a free bird, and says he is doing his thing. She misses him, of course, because he is too far away to visit often. Rachel hasn’t seen Riley since May, but they stay in touch, and these days, with texting, phone calls, and Facetime or Skype, that is much easier to do. Riley has always loved his family very much. His little brother, Tucker will always be his best friend, and of course, loves his mama to the moon and back…which always warms her heart.

Riley is a natural born leader, and it has carried him well in the past. He is hard-working, and is a very trustworthy young man, who always has your back when it is needed. I know that his friends and his employer have seen this before, and continue to see it in him today. Working double shifts is tough, but Riley just takes it all in stride and gets the job done. Riley is a good young man and he makes those who depend on him very proud on his faithfulness. Riley loves Jesus, and knows Him as his Lord and Saviour. He knows that God will guide him in every step he takes.

Riley has a passion for music, and particularly likes to find the meaning in the lyrics. He is a deep thinker, and discovering the meaning of lyrics takes deep thought. I know that Riley loves to lose himself in his music. He also loves to get away to the mountains, because that is his peaceful place. He goes there whenever he can, just to relax, and that makes perfect sense to me. Today is Riley’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Grandma's BabiesAs my two oldest grandchildren approach their 18th birthdays, just a little over a month from now, it occurs to me just how quickly time flies. It seems like only yesterday that we were awaiting their arrival. We never suspected that they would be born just a day apart…Chris on his great grandmother’s birthday and Shai on Leap Day. When Corrie went into labor on the 27th, we all knew the closeness to her grandmother’s birthday. How cool it would be for Chris to arrive on that day, because Corrie had been born the first great grandchild on her great grandmother’s birthday, Bob’s mother, and now, the upcoming birthday was her own birthday, and Chris was her own first great grandchild…a rare occurrence indeed. When midnight passed, we knew we had made it, and we were all very excited about that.

Then, the next day, Amy called me and said that Corrie had “inspired” her, and she was now in labor. I couldn’t believe it. It would be so cool to have a Leap Day Baby, but she would have to hurry, and it almost seemed impossible…but then with our anniversary being on March 1, I thought that day would be cool too. Shai, however, had planned an unusual day for herself, one that would be all her own, and one that would only come every four years…Leap Day.

So it was that we were given two grandchildren, one boy and one girl, in two days. Seriously, does it get any better than that? I don’t think so. The two kids became instant best friends, because of the amount of time they spent together at my house and at Amy’s house, because Amy babysat Chris. I was living on cloud nine at that point, and I felt like the most blessed grandmother in the universe. I had told the girls that I wanted to be a grandmother by the time I was 40, and so they decided to oblige…hitting my goal twice just two months before my 40th birthday. The funny thing was that when Corrie said, “We made it Mom”, I had to ask “made what?” She laughed and said, “You are a grandmother before you are 40!” I had been so excited about the arrival of my first grandchild, that I had completely forgotten my goal.

Now, here we are almost eighteen years later, and looking at both of them getting ready to Christopher, Grandpa, and Shaigraduate from high school, and planning their college days and the rest of their lives, and all I can think is, “Where had all the years gone?” How could those precious little babies suddenly be adults? It seems impossible, and it makes me more than a little bit sad, but then I think, “Hmmmm, maybe I could be a great grandmother by the time I’m 60…not a bad goal at all. Time will tell, I guess. Maybe I’ll need to start putting a bug in those two little babies…now adult’s ears. And maybe, I shouldn’t have let that secret idea be known, because I’m not sure my girls feel ready to be grandmothers just yet. Still, that’s a couple of years down the road, so they will have a little time to get used to the idea. Seriously…it could happen.

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