1 2 3 30

When I met my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg for the first time, I wonder what she thought of me. It’s not that my mother-in-law was a snob or anything, because she certainly wasn’t. Nevertheless, I was just 17 years old, so I could have seemed like a frivolous teenager. As I got to know her better, she would say things like, “You have never canned vegetables?” or “You don’t make your own clothes?” Well, the reality was that I was a teenaged city girl, and she was a country girl. In addition, I was from a completely different generation than she was. She had lives through the depression era, when food was scarce, as were many other things. People did what they had to in order to survive. An experience like that is not something people forget easily. It wasn’t that I had never cooked or even helped make jelly, but living in town, we didn’t have the space for a garden, and so didn’t have the vegetables to can. I also knew how to sew, but I have never liked it. Hmmm…maybe I was a frivolous teenaged girl.

Nevertheless, my mother-in-law never looked down on me, but rather I think she had found a “new student” to teach. When I married into the family, I was introduced many new things. I learned canning, some gardening, and even raising cows for family use. Still, you really can’t take the city out of the girl, even if, for a time, you take the girl out of the city. Just like moving her to the city, didn’t take the country out of her. While I can do those things, I can’t say that I love doing those things. Sorry Mom!! Nevertheless, I loved reaping the benefits of her many talents, like knitting, crocheting, canning, baking (from scratch), sewing, and cooking.

When my mother-in-law began to develop Alzheimer’s Disease, we were all saddened. So much of who she was in the past, began to drift away. Still, some of the best memories of her life stayed with her, and for that we were blessed. True, most of the memories were from her distant past, but those were the ones that we didn’t know about. Her life as a girl, things her parents did, places she lived, horses she loved, and stories about her children’s past too. We found a new part of her and a new way to be blessed by her. Mom changed with Alzheimer’s Disease, but she did not get irritable like many people did. She was sweet and accommodating…if you didn’t ask her to get up and walk. She did require a lot of care and eventually we had no choice, but to place her in a nursing home. She didn’t mind. She was a “people watcher” and so it was a good fit. She didn’t walk the last 4½ years of her life, which might have contributed to her good mood. I think, in the end, she appreciated me more, because as her caregiver, I honestly did my best for her…as did our whole team. Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 93rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. We love and miss you very much.

With every passing year, I find myself wondering how it could have been nine years since my mom, Collene Spencer, left us to go to Heaven. Like she lived her life, my mom went out in her own time, and in her own way…on her own terms. I’m sure that you have heard about having a bucket list. Well, my mom had her own kind of bucket list. After my dad, Allen Spencer graduated to Heaven on December 12, 2007, Mom told us that she was going to stay. I don’t know if she thought we thought she would just give up, and maybe we did to a degree, but she told us that she missed Dad very much, but she felt that she had more to give and that there was more life for her to live.

She talked about the things she wanted to do. Her bucket list was filled with simple things really. She wanted to travel to Washington to visit family up there. My Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim were gone, but their kids, Shirley Cameron and Terry Wolfe were still there, as were their families. She wanted to see them again, so Mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson and I went in 2013. It was a good trip, even if part of it included my Uncle Jim’s funeral. The next year, we took her to Wisconsin to she family up in the Superior, Wisconsin area. We reconnected with so many people, and had a lovely time, making lasting cousin friendships. Mom got to reconnect her brother-in-law, Bill Spencer, her sister-in-law, Doris Spencer, as well and good cousin friends, Les and Bev Schumacher, Carol Carlson, Bernice Hutchison, and several of their family members. Mom was so happy to see her relatives on that side of the family, who had become her close friends too.

Mom had always said that she wouldn’t mind going to Heaven straight from church, and she almost did. On Thursday of that last week, we took Mom to dinner at Red Lobster (one of her favorite places). Then, on Sunday, we all went to church, as we always did, but this day was to be different. Mom’s sister, Evelyn Hushman was in the hospital. She had terminal Breast Cancer, and Mom wanted to get all of her remaining siblings to meet at the hospital to have lunch with Aunt Evelyn. They were all able to make it, except Aunt Dixie Richards. They all had a lovely lunch, and really enjoyed the visit. That night, Mom and my sister, Cheryl had a nice dinner and watched a movie. At 10:00pm, Mom said she was going to bed. Cheryl loaded the dishwasher and went in to take Mom her pills, but Mom would no longer be needing those pills, or any other pills. She was lying on the floor, peacefully. She had not fallen, because nothing was disturbed. She could not have laid down there by herself, because her knees would never have allowed that without disturbing everything in the room. You can say what you will, but we know that the angels carefully laid our mom down there on the floor, when they took her spirit to Heaven, because Mom was ready to go. She had been talking about it for weeks, if not months. I think she might have left during church, had it not been for the chance to say goodbye to her siblings. What a blessed way for a blessing of a lady to graduate to Heaven!! We love and miss you so much, Mom. Tell Dad we love and miss him too. You are in our future now, and we will see you both again someday.

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 uncle, George Hushman was a handsome man, and I’m sure that was what first attracted my aunt, Evelyn (Byer) Hushman to her future husband. I’m also sure that Uncle George was just as taken with Aunt Evelyn’s beauty. They never had eyes for another after that. Uncle George had been raised at the Orphaned Children’s Home in Casper, Wyoming, and really what he craved most, was a family he could call his own. He had some good friends, including my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen great uncle, who sadly was lost at sea during World War II. Still, Uncle George maintained his relationship with the family for many years to come, even calling Kevin’s great grandma, Hettie Saint John, his grandmother, as did his children. Nevertheless, the Byer family would become his own family, when he married my Aunt Evelyn on September 1, 1947, after his own service in the Navy and World War II ended.

Since my parents, Allen and Collene Spencer (Aunt Evelyn’s sister) were always close, the two families spent a lot of time together. I got to know Uncle George very well. He was a soft-spoken man who always made us feel welcome in their home. The living room of their home, which they and the rest of the Byer family built, had an unusually large front window area. It was more than a bay window. There was room for a bunch (maybe even 10) little kids to play behind those curtains, and the window gave us all the light we needed to see and have a playhouse atmosphere. Our playing and laughter never seemed to bother the parents, or if it did, they didn’t show it. Maybe it was the fact that we weren’t bothering them that made the difference.

The two couples did many things together, including bowling, and it was probably their bowling that got my sisters and me interested in bowling. I have been bowling now for 45 years…probably longer than anyone in my family, and maybe both families, and it all started with my parents, Uncle George, and Aunt Evelyn. I’m sure that for the two couples, bowling was a nice night out, and it wasn’t too costly either. Of course, eventually, most couples decide they have had enough of bowling, and it’s time to let the younger generation have a go at it. So, as the saying goes, they just “picked up their toys and went home.” That seems to happen at a certain age…some people take longer than others. I am proud of all the years they bowled, and thankful for the fun they passed on to us. Today would have been my Uncle George’s 97th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle George. We love and miss you very much.

Somehow, this year, this day sneaked up on me. I knew what day my dad, Allen Spencer passed away, and I knew it was coming up, but then…suddenly, yesterday as I was working on my computer, I realized that it was tomorrow, and it hit me like a kick in the gut. I hate that. I prefer to be prepared for the coming of this day and other days like this, so I can steel my emotions to it. It seems impossible that my dad has been in Heaven for 16 years now. There are great grandchildren and great great grandchildren that he never got to meet. There are so many new additions by marriage that he did get to meet…and more than that, they didn’t get to meet him. That is sad indeed, because my dad loved playing with the little kids…hearing their laughter was his delight. He would have loved all of the new spouses too. We have been very blessed with all of them.

My dad and my mom, Collene Spencer gave us all such a beautiful life. They built in us a deep faith in God and a deep sense of family. They are both in Heaven now, but in our memories live the echos of those beautiful moments. Dad always loved to travel, and that started many family vacations. Sometimes, my parents were happy to plan a long vacation, and sometimes, they would just load up the car and go where the road would take us. I suppose people might think that was a weird way to travel, but those were some of the most amazing trips ever. My sisters and I can say that we have visited almost every state in the nation. We took a trip every summer…even in the lean years. I will never forget the “Wyoming Tour” when we took several legs and traveled to each of the four sections of the state. Sometimes, like that year, a tour of our home state was just what we needed, and it was very relaxing and fun.

My dad was a gentle man, as well as a gentleman. I truly think that it was harder on him to discipline is that it was on us. Dad would do his best to try to work things out without the spanking we most likely deserved. I remember so many times that Dad kept the peace in our family. We were never allowed to “let the sun go down on our wrath.” Dad knew that it was essential to say you’re sorry and make up with your loved ones. He family struggled with that, and it caused splits in the family…with everyone but my dad. He got along with all of his siblings. He refused to let it be otherwise. Dad believed in being the peacemaker. And he always was. That was probably one of the greatest and most important lessons ever. I wish my dad was still with us. I miss his teachings, his personality, his gentleness, and his kindness, not to mention his silliness, and he was able to be quite silly. I really miss that too. Today, marks 16 long years without seeing my dad. It is a kick in the gut, and I can’t wait to see him again when I go to Heaven. We love and miss you every day, Dad. Tell Mom we love and miss her too. Hugs to you both.

My aunt, Evelyn Hushman was the oldest sibling of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer. While she and my mom were eight years between Aunt Evelyn and my mom, Collene Spencer were good friends, as well as being sisters. When my mom and dad, Allen Spencer were dating, they sometimes double dated with Aunt Evelyn and her husband, George Hushman, who were married six years before my parents. They were all good friends and remained good friends for the rest of their lives. Probably the strangest double date was the one where a train, with no lights, blowing no whistle, at a dark uncontrolled crossing, hit their car. If Uncle George hadn’t caught it out of the corner of his eye and yelled at my dad; and had my dad not responded quickly turning with the train and causing only damage to the vehicle, the collision could have been disastrous. Both couples walked away unhurt…the car, not so much!!

The couples also attended the military ball, and later they bowled on the same league together. They just enjoyed spending time together. While Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George’s five kids were older that my sisters and me, (my cousin Greg Hushman is just a month older that my oldest sister, Cheryl Masterson), we all got along well, and our parents made sure we got lots of playtime together. I’m sure that they also figured that with so many kids, it was getter to just get us together and maybe we would entertain each other. We did, but I can’t say that we never got into trouble either…not any real trouble anyway.

Their weekly “double dates” ended when they quit bowling, and the was probably a rather sad time for all of them…like the end of an era. I suppose that all things must come to an end, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it too. Aunt Evelyn bowled for quite some time after that, and I bowled on her team as a sub sometimes, but she was the only one of the four that continued to bowl for a time. Now, all four of them are together in Heaven again. I wonder if they still get together for outings and dinners. Maybe they even go bowling, who knows. I like to think of them that way. Today would have been Aunt Evelyn’s 95th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Evelyn. We love and miss you very much.

My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg is a younger uncle, and while many people might think that would seem weird, Tucker loves every minute of it. He has been an uncle for much of his life, really, because his big sister, Cassie Franklin has three kids, Lucas, Zoey, and Alicen. Tucker is also uncle to his brother, Riley Birky’s two boys, Jace (Riley’s bonus son) and Ryder. Tucker loves kids and is a great source of entertainment for them. He is a teenager, but he is and probably always will be a kid at heart. Tucker is a source of help to his brother, Riley and his fiancée, Sierah Martin. He helps out with watching their boys and keeping them happy and out of trouble. The little boys look up to him and like most little kids, want to be just like their uncle.

Tucker, went through some tough times after his mom, Rachel Schulenberg passed away. Rachel was such a great mom, and these days, Tucker and his siblings just try to live in a way that would make her proud of them. It’s hard to believe that Rachel has been gone now for going on 3 years. Tucker has grown up so much in those years, and I know his mom would be amazed at the young man he has become. He has gone from being an early teenager, to a young man who will soon have his driver’s license and be able to help out running errands, and possible even have a job.

Tucker isn’t really a fan of traditional school, but it is my hope that he will at least continue his schooling online. I know that school is hard, but it is a necessary part of growing up, and I know his mom would want him to have the best education he can get. I think Tucker probably has a mechanical mind like his dad, Ron Schulenberg, uncles and cousins. It tends to run in the family, and his brother likes to tinker as well. Whatever Tucker decides to do with his life, I know he will be successful and will make his mom proud. She loved her children so much, and always wanted the best for them. Tucker is a sweet young man, and I know he will become a great adult too. Today is Tucker’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It’s so hard to believe that my parents Allen and Collene Spencer, got married 70 years ago today. When they got married, our mom was a young girl of 17½, with stars in her eyes. Dad was 29, which was not so uncommon back then…after all, her parents were 16 years apart. Their ages, young or older, didn’t matter, because their love was real and forever. And they never seemed like they were 12 years apart in age. They became a family of three ten months later, and over the next nine years they became a family of seven, with five daughters to their credit. While we weren’t rich in money, our family was so rich in love.

My sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I went to dinner at Red Lobster last night, and it was so great to think back on the days of our childhood. We talked about the many meals we all had together. It’s funny how so much of life centers around the dinner table, in whatever form that takes for each family. The closeness of our family while around the dinner table, radiated around us when we went to dinner. We laughed about the times we got to get hamburgers from McDonald’s…ordering 15 hamburgers and seven orders of fries. For some reason, the kids at McDonald’s were less than pleases over those big orders. A fact which we found to be quite funny. We also talked about the “Ice Cream Suppers” that our Uncle Bill Spencer (Dad’s brother) initiated. During a visit to Superior, Wisconsin, Uncle Bill decided that we were going to have ice cream for dinner. We all ordered our favorite treats, and when we were done, to our shock, Uncle Bill asked us what we wanted for dessert. Well, he didn’t have to ask twice, because we quickly ordered a “dessert” treat too. What fun that was. Mom and Dad liked it so much that the tradition came home to grace our dinner table every once in a while, too. It was so yummy!

After our wonderful dinner and precious memories of our parents, now both in Heaven, the evening was over. I guess our time around the dinner table mush have bless more people than just us, because as we left, a lady approached my sister, Allyn and told her that they had really enjoyed our laughter. We ere pleased and left the restaurant with even lighter spirits. Today would have been our parents’ 70th anniversary. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!! We love and miss you both so very much, and we can’t wait until we see you again.

It isn’t often that a couple is together all their lives, but really, that is the case with my in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg. Their parents, or really, their moms were best friends. Walt’s mom, Vina née Leary Schulenberg (later Hein) had two children…Marian in 1927 and Walt in 1929. Joann’s mom, Nettie lost a son, William in 1929, and then went on to have Joann in 1931. I’m not sure exactly when their friendship began, but by the time Joann was born, Vina and Nettie were friends. In fact, that is how Walt and Joann “famously” slept…well napped…together when he was two and she was an infant. I think that story is sweet, but my mother-in-law was always more than a little bit embarrassed, whenever the subject came up.

Of course, they weren’t a “couple” all those years, and in fact, my mother-in law once told me that for a number of years she absolutely did not like my father-in-law in the slightest little bit, but eventually, he grew on her and they started dating. My father-in-law was a very likable guy, so it doesn’t surprise me that she started to like him as time went on. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and while she was a more serious person, his witty personality balanced with her serious one quite nicely.

They went on to have six children and move from Forsyth, Montana to Casper, Wyoming where they raised their family. Like most families, it was a “job market move” that brought them to Casper. My mother-in-law was a stay-at-home mom, and my father-in-law worked at Pathfinder Mines as a mechanic for many years.

Theirs was a long and happy marriage, lasting 64 years before my father-in-law went home to Heaven. I was blessed to marry into this family, and to know these two wonderful people. In fact, anyone who knew them would tell you what a wonderful blessing they were. Dad went home to Heaven in May 5, 2013, and Mom went home on January 4, 2018. We miss them both very much. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad Schulenberg. We love you very much.

As I was sitting in church yesterday morning, waiting for the service to begin, I looked around me at the people in the room. Most of them I have known for years…them and their parents. Then, I realized how many of the parents are no longer with us. It has happened over time…one here and one there, until suddenly, my generation was the new patriarch and matriarch generation in the church…the elders if you will.

I felt a wave of sadness, as I thought about my parents, and the parents of so many others who have gone home. Of course, the sadness was accompanied by the joy for each of them, who were now living every day in the presence of God. How glorious that must be!! They left this Earth, as well as their children and grandchildren, hoping that they had given us the training we would need to go forward in life and follow God in the way we had been trained. They left this Earth standing on the promise in Proverbs 22:6, that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The people around me had all come up the way I had…going to church with our parents, and so the promise held true.

While I was happy that the people around me, were there to carry on their parents’ legacy of raising their own children in the church, I was sorry that so many of our parents and mentors were no longer there with us. Nevertheless, while we aren’t all queens like Esther was, the verse in Esther, 4:14 holds true, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” It occurred to me that while our parents were no longer with us, the truth was that this wasn’t their time in life…it is ours. We were born for this era, and it is up to us to carry on now. It is up to us to make our parents proud of the people we have become, the people they raised. I left church after the service, feeling a little melancholy, but also a little encouraged, because the people around me, who are carrying on with what their parents taught them, are making their parents proud…we all are. And while this era will have its own issues, the fact remains that each era has its own troubles, as the Bible clearly states in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Our parents carried their day, and now it is up to each of us to carry ours, until our era is up, and then, prayerfully, we have trained up the next generation of warriors to take up the tasks of carrying their day.

1 2 3 30

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Check these out!