In any war, when soldiers are killed or wounded in battle, their guns, grenades, and bullets were left behind…forgotten. Those who assisted the wounded and carried off the dead, had more important things to attend to than the soldier’s weapons and such, which were simply left behind…discarded. As the front lines shifted from one area to another, battlefields were deserted, and in the absence of the trampling footsteps of the soldiers, the grass and low plants began to grow again. As the months and years passed, trees continued to grow. The littered items somehow became embedded in the bark of the growing trees. That phenomena has always amazed me. How could the tree bark accept this odd foreign object into itself…and yet it did. Of course, it was not without scars that the odd pair would coexist. The foreign items would be wrapped with a knotted looking bulge, or would appear to eat up portions of the foreign object, while completely ignoring another part, as if it was simply laying beside it.
Like the weapons of war, the soldiers’ helmets were often discarded in an injury or more likely death situation. The likelihood of survival for the owner of a helmet that contained a bullet hole, was slim to none. The helmet was not likely to be needed by its owner again, so the helmet lay on the battlefield where it had been discarded. As time went on, the little sapling trees growing up after the end of the war started up under the helmet. In order for the tree to grow up, it had to make its way, somehow through the helmet or to topple it in order to survive. A bullet hole provided the perfect way to get through the heavy helmet. The tiny tree peeked through the hole to find the sunlight necessary for the tree’s survival. As the tree grew, the corroding helmet allowed the hole to be expanded, and the tree became larger. Soon the helmet became a part of the growing tree. There was not a knotted wrapping of the tree around the helmet, but rather the helmet took on a mushroom like appearance. It looked like an odd sort of umbrella to anyone who might come across this odd marriage of nature and the man-made helmet. Only on occasion did the tree protest the marriage, or the helmet refuse to allow the expansion of the hole, thereby creating the knot that was so often seen as the tree absorbed the foreign object. Even then, the tree could not fully absorb the helmet, and so it looked almost like the tree was wearing the helmet on its knotted head…and the branches protruding from the knot looked like messy hair. The strange looking trees, were a lingering reminder of a war that was long over, but somehow not forgotten…and nature prevails.
My niece, Cassie Iverson is a patient, loving mother of two beautiful children 6 year old Lucas, and 2 year old Zoey. She loves to go camping with the family, and they go as often as they can, because Cassie is a photographer, and is drawn to the beautiful side of life. Much of her photography is of nature, which appeals to me very much, as a nature lover too. Good photography requires an eye for staging. It’s strange to thing of staging the shot for nature, but things like what is centered, how much to zoom, and good lighting are vital to taking a great picture. Cassie has that eye for staging, and so her pictures come of beautiful and they draw you into the scene.
She takes pictures of her children and of other people too, and she has a great eye for staging those photos too, but her real love for photography lies in photographing nature. It makes perfect sense, since she loves to be camping more than living in town. She and her husband, Chris like to fish and camp out with the kids…showing them all the beauty that nature has to offer. While she loves photography, Cassie’s kids really are her whole heart.
Her son, Lucas has had some medical issues over the past few years and so now the family is looking to move to a bigger city where the necessary medical facilities are available. They have looked in Montana, Colorado, and Tennessee. At this point, it looks like Tennessee might be the best place for them, so they are hoping to move sometime this summer. I know that many people in the family would rather have them in Montana or Colorado, but that may not be feasible. Time will tell I guess, and we will have to see where they land. Of course, if they move to Tennessee, we will all miss them, but thankfully Facebook can keep us in the loop with their lives. The most important thing for the family is to be near enough to good medical care for Lucas, so they don’t have to travel every time he needs surgery or other treatments. One thing that is for sure, this move, no matter where it takes them, will open up a whole new world of photography vistas for Cassie. I can’t wait to see the pictures she will take now. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Many people think of Kindergarten as almost a play date. They think of a classroom filled with toys, books, and craft supplies, as well as a playground for recess. Many people think of it as a daycare for working parents, and of course, a place for early childhood development. All these are good things, but this was not the original plan for the creator of Kindergarten, German born Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel. He wanted it to be a place that was both ‘a garden for children’, where children meet with environment and also ‘a garden of children’, where they play together and express themselves in a smaller garden world by means of play with their age group. He believed that “children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of peers.”
I’m sure this sounds odd to most of us, but when you look at his background, I think you will understand why he felt the way he did. Fröbel had an unhappy childhood with a severe step-mother. He was abandoned and treated in a strict fashion as a child. He got to know what happiness was, when he was living with his uncle’s family while studying at high school. He had a huge desire for education, strong Christian faith and love of nature. He studied mineralogy in Jena, Germany and architecture at the Berlin’s Humboldt University. Inborn skills of an educator helped Fröbel to realize the failure of teaching system because of its incompleteness and the failure to include the outside world in the educational process. The first kindergarten was established by Fröbel in Bad Blankenburg in 1837. He renamed his Play and Activity Institute to a ‘kindergarten’ two years later in 1840. That Bad Blankenburg Infant school used play, games, songs, stories, and crafts to encourage children’s imagination and broaden their physical and motor skills. “Kommt, lasst uns unsern Kindern leben” Come, let us live with our children’ turned into the catchphrase of the early childhood education.
Friedrich Fröbel also used studying and nurturing plants in a garden for stimulating children’s interest in the natural world. In reality, we can trace the similarities to the Montessori school system and the Pestalozzian consideration of importance to grow up in harmony with nature. Fröbel paid much attention to preparing for further school education by training the children through the complimentary self expression, creativeness, collective involvement, and motor activity. He considered training of all the vivid faculties: artistic, imaginative, linguistic, arithmetical, musical, aesthetic, scientific, physical, social, moral, cultural, and spiritual, complete growth and harmonious development to be even more important than any kind of knowledge. Fröbel’s kindergarten system flourished globally. Most kindergartens were organized for children of all social classes, ethnic groups and religious believes, Jewish as well as Christian. Fröbel’s vision of kindergarten seems to be so familiar and proper, however it was a fresh and revolutionary look on early childhood education in his time.
My niece, Cassie Iverson has been into taking pictures for a while now, and lately, her husband, Chris has really been getting into photography too. Both of them have always loved nature, camping, fishing, and just enjoying time spent outdoors. I can relate to that, because my husband, Bob and I feel the same way…at least about being outdoors…not so much camping and fishing. Anyone who has spent much time relaxing in nature, will naturally be drawn to the photography of nature, because the beauty of it is something you always want to hang on to. Photography allows us to hang on to those memories. In fact, I saw a saying once that really describes the way a photographer feels, “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” Our memories can be so quickly lost, if we have done nothing to preserve them.
I think that is something Chris and Cassie both understand. They are both very hands on parents. Having a developmentally disabled child and a child who is not disabled, is quite a handful, but they manage very well. Chris has taken to dancing around the living room with the kids. That is a cool thing, because they develop a love of music and get some exercise. I’m thankful that he is so helpful, because having kids is a lot of work, and if the dad isn’t really involved, it takes a toll on the mom. Kids need both parents to be involved in their lives, because they learn different things from each parent. They also like to have special lunches with the kids. Including the kids in activities is a great way to make the kids a part of everything. It’s all part of living life.
As to Chris’ own hobbies, he is a sportsman, so fishing gear and guns are simply a part of the plan. Chris likes to make sure his guns are in perfect working condition, so he makes sure they are properly cleaned. Anyone who is a gun enthusiast knows that having a dirty gun, can be bad in so many ways. It may misfire or worse, if it is not properly cleaned. I think that for most people in Wyoming, if you don’t own or appreciate guns, you are very strange. And the people in our family are definitely gun enthusiasts. Chris also likes to work on his Blazer, although it has been giving him so trouble lately. As I told Cassie, mechanics is a never ending story. There is always something that needs to be worked on. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Whenever life gets too hectic, I find myself wanting a place of solace, so I can get out of running mode, and into relaxing mode. Many of us don’t realize that our lives are even hectic. We just think it’s normal, and maybe it is, but normal can be very hectic. My Uncle Bill understood how I feel, because he felt the same way too…and he was a kid!! We mistakenly assume that kids can’t have a hectic life, or that things weren’t hectic in days gone by, when life was supposed to be so much more simple. Maybe things were simple back then, but that did not make things easier back then. What takes us minutes to do these days, probably took them hours, making it necessary to cram more things into a working day than we do today. And yet, with our modern inventions, our lives today are always making us rush from this place to that place…always in a hurry.
It’s no wonder that I, like my Uncle Bill, enjoy getting out into nature to hike the trails. When you are out on the trail, you can only go so fast, and it’s harder to rush yourself. The beauty of nature around you draws your attention away from the pressing things in your life, and you find yourself drinking in the smells of the trees and flowers, the singing of the birds, the sound of the breeze through the trees, the beauty of the scenes around you, and the feel of the air on your face. It is the place I want to be and the things I want to be doing. When Bob and I are out on the trail, being one with nature, it is such a beautiful time. And in our hectic lives, we need those breaks to recharge our systems. The trails are perfect for that.
Uncle Bill loved to be out in the woods of Wisconsin and Minnesota, mostly around Holyoke, Minnesota. He talks about going to his private place in the center of a shaded area, to sit on a log, listen to the birds, watch the squirrels, and “even” read a book. I have to wonder if Uncle Bill maybe didn’t like reading very much at that time. It wouldn’t be something so unusual for a boy. Most of them seem to busy with other things to consider reading as an important pass time. Nevertheless, whatever solace we each find in nature is probably unique to each of us. No two people are the same, and no two people have the same stresses, so each finds solace in different things or in different ways, even in the same place.
Little boys have always had the same problem…bossy big sisters, aunts, cousins, babysitters…girls. It isn’t that girls like to be bossy so much. It’s that it is part of their nature. Men are programmed to go out and support the family. They don’t get as emotionally involved with the children. I don’t mean to say they don’t love them very much, because they do, but the day to day discipline, training, nurturing…bossing, they have more of a tendency to leave to the women, and that’s ok, because women are geared to that nurturing training, discipline…bossing part of a child’s life. Women have a tendency to be bossy by nature…which for little boys can create a problem.
Little boys expect their mom to tell them what to do, but those pesky sisters are a different story. Who do they think they are anyway? They aren’t the boss, so why is it that they are always making a guy do stuff that he doesn’t want to do? I mean, boys have better things to do than stand still posing for a silly picture. Boys have better things to do than stay clean for school, or some other equally as unimportant event. Boys have things to do, and it just never fails that just when they are all set to go have fun, here comes their older sister again…making them pose for a picture, or sit still when they have things to do. Why can’t they just mind their own business.
In their defense, it isn’t really a girl’s fault either. Their mom and dad always put them in charge. When they go outside to play, they are told, “Keep an eye on your brother.” When the family goes someplace, they are told, “Hold your little brother’s hand.” And then when they are old enough, they become the built-in babysitter. They are always held responsible for what their little brother does…like they can make them mind. Eventually, they learn to do just that. They become the boss that they will eventually need to be for their own children. They become just like their mom.
It’s all part of the growing up process, for both the little boy, and his big sister, cousin, aunt, or babysitter. It doesn’t mean that it’s anything personal. It’s just that if she can make her little brother or charge do what needs to get done, she can go back to doing what she wants to do. Being in charge of her little brother really isn’t all that fun, it’s a job…like any other job. The sooner she can get that job done, the better. So she does what she has to do. She becomes bossy. And after a while, she finds that being the boss isn’t so bad. You can assign tasks for the younger kids, and get out of some of that work. This could work! “Get over here little brother. Now, stand still, and smile…like you mean it!” Yep, being the boss is ok. Maybe it feels natural. Hmmm, maybe she is bossy by nature.
Once in a while, you come across a baby, who makes the funniest faces. Reagan is just three months old, but she makes great funny faces. She has great teachers, so you might say it isn’t so unusual, except that she was less than a month old when this first picture was taken. How do you get a baby to make the same face as her daddy, when she is not even a month old? I don’t see how, but here is Reagan, my grandniece doing just that. Amazed, I asked her mom how they got her to do that, she said, “We just asked her nicely and she did.” Of course, she had no idea how it happened either, and yet, Reagan did a perfect imitation of her daddy for this picture.
And, we have all seen the pictures that everyone is doing these days, where everyone in the picture has their tongue sticking out, and of course, Little Miss Reagan is no exception. She has to make sure she keeps up with the rest of the in crowd of babies, so as soon as she could work it out, she had her mommy and daddy take the first of these necessary pictures. I mean, a girl has to make the right moves so she can get set up with the in crowd. Not that I expect Reagan to ever have any trouble being in the in crowd, because she has personality to spare. I think she will be a natural in any crowd she wants to be in. Everyone likes a girl with a smile on her face, who can make people laugh.
I think Reagan comes by her knack for cute little faces naturally…I mean when you look at the faces her parents make, you have to assume that some of that will rub off on their children. It could be the faces she sees them making, or it could be that she simply inherited it. It is still very odd how she managed to make the same face as her daddy when she wasn’t even looking at him. Maybe they really are two of a kind, or maybe it helps to just ask. However it happened, my guess is that we will be seeing lots more of this little girl making these funny faces, because I think it is just a part of her nature, and I think that her parents funny faces won’t hurt when it comes to working up a funny face.
My mom’s younger brother, Uncle Wayne has always been such a funny man. He loves to make the kids laugh. For as long as I can remember, Uncle Wayne had dentures, and he loved popping them in and out of his mouth when the kids were around. He could pop them part way out of his mouth and make them act like they were going to bite you…all with no hands. The first time we saw it, we screamed with delight, and then we begged him to do it again. When we were little enough not to understand what dentures were, we would try to pop our own teeth out too, a comical site for sure, as we pushed our lower jaw out , or pushed on our teeth with our tongue. Uncle Wayne’s eyes just danced and beamed with delight as he watched us try, then he would show us how “easy” it was, if we just knew how. Every time we saw him we asked again and again, to pop out his teeth. If Uncle Wayne got tired of that, he never showed it. He would simply grin and pop out those teeth, and then sit back with a smile on his face and wait…for a second or two…until the kids started begging him to do it again.
Uncle Wayne’s funny side developed early in his life. He was the younger of my mom’s two brothers, and one of two boys in a family of nine children. You could look at that situation in a couple of ways. You could call him and his brother…out numbered, and you would be right. Or, you could say that the boys had lots of potential victims…for all of the antics boys are bound by their very nature to engage in. Since my mom was born right in between those two boys, and they were often her playmates, and she was either a prime victim or a partner in crime…depending on how she or they felt at the time. To be sure, my mom and her two brothers got into plenty of mischief together. What one didn’t come up with one of the others would, and when you put those three heads together…oh boy, look out!!
Today is my Uncle Wayne’s 75th birthday…which is a landmark by any standards. His life has been one filled with laughter, much of which was his own making…the best kind of life. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!
One of the first things I noticed about my niece, Michelle, as a baby even, was her eyes. They were beautiful, almond shaped, smiling eyes, that brought a sparkle to her entire face. When she smiled, her whole face smiled, and her laugh was and still is contagious. It’s all part of Michelle’s nature. She has a bubbly personality, and that makes her a lot of fun to be around. She never lacks for friends, because she has such a great personality and a love of life. A smile, laugh, personality, and great eyes, are all just part of the outward beauty that is Michelle, but it is her inner beauty that draws most people to her.
Like Michelle’s art work, her beauty comes from deep inside herself. As an art education major in college, and with only one year left before she will be able to teach, it occurs to me that many of our children will learn to express themselves and their own inner beauty from one of the best. Michelle will be a great teacher, as she has already shown in her work as a student teacher. I was never much of an artist, but I can tell great work when I see it, and Michelle’s art is so beautiful. I would love to be able to create the kinds of beautiful pictures and other art work that she creates with ease.
I understand that Michelle will have to go away to college for her fianl year, and that makes me very sad. I will miss seeing her at church on Sundays, or family gatherings, but I know that it will be a growing experience for her too. I only hope that she will be able to come back her to teach, because I think it would be really sad to have her talents go outside of our state. I think the students here would really miss out if she were to get a teaching position somewhere else. And, I’ll admit it…I would miss her very much. Today is Michelle’s birthay. Happy birthday Michelle!! We love you very much!! Have a wonderful day!!
There are some people who, for whatever reason, have a way with children. Bob is that way, and he doesn’t even have to try. Kids just take to him. And it’s not just babies…it’s kids in general. Our grandchildren loved being picked up in his strong arms or sitting on his lap while he showed them things about nature. Bob has always loved sitting out on the front porch in the summertime, just watching nature. And it’s something he enjoys sharing with anyone who wants to come along. The babies loved to come along.
Bob has a way of making kids laugh. Maybe it’s because he is such a big kid himself. He is always doing goofy things to see if he can make people laugh, but the funny thing is that he doesn’t have to. Just his presence in a room draws the kids to him. I don’t really know how he does it. He just seems to be a kid magnet.
This past weekend we went to Gillette for Men’s State Bowling Tournament. As we went into the bowling alley, there were two kids that came charging up to him. Now I’m used to that happening, but not at a bowling alley in a different town! Of course, these kids do know him…they are the children of one of Bob’s teammates. Nevertheless, you can tell by the reaction, that they consider Bob their buddy. I know exactly why they think that. It’s because that is truly what Bob is. He is a buddy to many…adults and children alike. He is a kid magnet, but also an adult magnet. I have a tendency to be somewhat shy…especially around people I just met, but not Bob. He seems to know everyone…and their kids.
The really funny thing is that he doesn’t even have to be the one to initiate a friendship with the children of his friends. Once those kids know that he is a friend of their parents, that is all they need, because Bob has already made them laugh in some way. And he has already been laughing and joking around with their parents.
That is simply what Bob is like. He is a people person, and a man of the highest character. People don’t worry about their kids being around him, because he is like a grandfather to them. He loves his own kids and grandkids so much and loves spending time with them. The boys always manage to get him rough housing, and of course, his granddaughter will always have him wrapped around her finger, just like his daughters did. Yes, he is a kid magnet, but maybe they are magnetic to him too, or maybe he just never really grew up. Now, that makes sense to me.