Powell

After high school, my grandnephew, Weston Moore decided that he wanted to make a chenge in his life. So, he and a couple of friends made the move last April from Powell, Wyoming to Butte, Montana. They just wanted to get out of a small town and try living in a bigger city for a while. It’s only 4.5 hours from Powell to Butte, but it’s far enough to make any kind of regular visits difficult. It’s enough to give these young men a taste of adult life, and they are doing very well with it. They have jobs, and they are making friends…basically settling in well. Weston has come home a couple of times for visits, but it’s just not the same for his family…parents Machelle and Steve Moore, and brother, Easton Moore. His family wishes it wasn’t quite so far.

In February, Weston realized a longtime dream of his…adopting a fur baby. The family all met up in Billings for the day so Weston could pick up Kuvo…a Malamute puppy. Kuvo is so cute and very lovable. Apparently, Kuvo is quite a character, and keeps Weston and the guys quite entertained with his antics. Kuvo really is a beautiful dog. He reminds me of the dogs on “Snow Dogs.” Who knows maybe he will eventually have a team of Malamute dogs, and he can take them to Alaska for the Iditarod…well, you never know…it could happen.

Weston has been enjoying bachelorhood and is in no hurry to get tied down. He is just enjoying his freedom and relaxing. He recently got a new gun, so I’m sure he’s been out doing some target practice. And speaking of target practice, on one visit home, Weston and his dad went out in the back yard for some knife throwing practice. It’s an interesting idea, but not that one I think I would be very good at, but then the Moore family are very outdoorsy, so they like that stuff.

Weston also likes video games, like most people his age. And he loves posting funny stuff online. That doesn’t mean he never posts serious stuff too, but he has a great sense of humor, and the funny stuff makes him happy. Weston is usually wearing a smile, and that makes those around him smile too. People just naturally like to be around him. While his family misses him, we all wish him well in Butte, or wherever he might eventually land. Today is Weston’s birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Machelle Moore has been looking at a different kind of future these days. As a mom, I know that the years of her children’s childhood have flown past with unbelievable speed. Her eldest son, Weston moved to Butte, Montana from their home in Powell, Wyoming this past year, and while that isn’t a cross country move, it does leave Machelle’s home with three people instead of four. Now, her youngest son, Easton is going to be graduating from high school, and the inevitable time when he will also leave home is just around the corner. Easton hasn’t specifically made plans to move out or away, but Weston hadn’t either…until he did. Most parents will face the empty nest moment at some point in their life, and it is not an easy one.

Machelle and her husband, Steve have been happily married since August 14, 1999, but when their boys are both out of the house, that inevitable feeling of a “too quiet house” will creep in. They will have to learn to find new hobbies, new activities, and new ways to spend their evenings. The good news is that Machelle and Steve have a great marriage. They love to do lots of things together, like camping, hiking and exploring, and their favorite…rock hunting. I know that like every “empty nester” among us has found, life does go on and it’s even good, whether our children live at home or not. And eventually, the grandchildren start to come, and the home is filled with new life. You never know whan that will start, however, so Machelle and Steve will have lots of good times in the meantime.

For now, Machell and Steve are busy with all the senior year activities that Easton has going on, like prom and Easton’s dating and working life. There are lots of exciting things happening during a kid’s senior year, like senior pictures, and soon graduation planning and rehearsals. The only problem with all that activity is that it only serves to make the year go by faster…rather defeating the whole idea of “putting the brakes” on the year. Well, as we all know, it just doesn’t work that way. Nevertheless, Machelle and Steve will survive the empty nest, whenever it arrives, just like the rest of the parents in the world have done. For now, I pray the time slows down just a bit before that fateful day arrives. Today is Machelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As I was thinking about my brother-in-law, LJ Cook’s birthday, I decided to talk to his daughters Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith about the special memories they had of their dad. Susan started thinking back on all the experience her dad had gained while he was in his working years, and how that made him the person he is today. She thought, and I agree that those things are LJ had been a Deputy Sheriff and later a truck driver, but he really always wanted to live in a small town. I think he liked knowing many of the people he lives around. So, he and his wife, my sister-in-law, Debbie moved their family to Thermopolis, Wyoming. They loved living in Thermopolis, and my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce loved going up there to stay for a week in the summers to hang out with their cousins. Then LJ got an offer he couldn’t refuse, and the family moved to Powell, Wyoming where he began managing Empire Gas. That move would change the life paths of the whole family. Susan tells me, “Dad was the manager of the store, and was put in charge of all the propane tanks in the Big Horn Basin, which is a big area. It was his job to go to each tank and refill them. It was the late 1980s, so there were more people then using propane than there are now. They needed the propane to cook, and some to heat their houses with. He tells me about some of the places he got to go to switch out the tanks. He met a huge array of people and got to see a lot of cool places that the average person doesn’t get to see, since all of the tanks were on private land. Listening to him talk about the job made it sound like the most ideal job.” I think for LJ, it really was.

LJ has always been a jokester. He told Susan about this one day at work. There was a bee (or some kind of bug) on the window sill of his office while he was working at Empire Gas. He said he somehow cut the head off the bee (Susan thinks he said with his pocket knife). Well, it kept flying around without it’s head. Every time it hit something it world sting it. Susan says, “He said he told his secretary what happened and she took off out the front door. Which is exactly what I would have done if there was an AWOL bee flying around. He laughs so hard when he tells the story. It must have been pretty funny to see her take off out of there so quickly.” And speaking of bees and LJ, apparently they really don’t bother him a bit. LJ’s daughter, Machelle tells me that he has been helping his best friend, Bill with his bees!! LJ does cover up a little, but doesn’t mind getting stung. Bill has a truck load of bees he goes and gets every year in California. LJ goes around to different places where Bill has the bees to collect the honey for him. I guess he wouldn’t have run out of a room with a bee in it.

Recently, LJ had to have back surgery. He was in so much pain, he could barely walk…with a walker. Following his back surgery, LJ Cook had to take things rather slowly for a while. He and Debbie normally spend much of the summer in the Big Horn Mountains camping, but this year was turning out to be vastly different. As he has recovered, he has been able to start swimming, and hopefully that will help with recovery and mobility. He has really missed out on things since his back really got bad. His daughter, Machelle told me that they did manage to get up to the Big Horns over the 4th of July to spend time with the family, and they really enjoyed it.

Machelle told me that LJ has several extra vehicles, and so decided to sell a couple of them. It was his grandson, Easton, who decided to buy the Bronco. Machelle remembers that when they first got the Bronco, she was never allowed to drive it. So, now that her son is going to be the owner, and not her dad…will Machelle be allowed to drive it? Time will tell, I guess. With this family of jokesters, my guess will be…not for a while, hahahaha!!!

Susan tells me that while she was growing up, if she was in a bad mood he would always find a way to make her smile and feel better. You could say he is the best girl-dad Susan could ask for. Even though he used to embarrass her terribly sometimes. Susan reflected, “A few weeks ago, I came down with a bad bug that gave me a low grade fever and it made me think of when I was super little, I would go sit on my dad’s lap and just sitting there made me feel a little better. When I was sick, I was wishing I could go sit on my dad’s lap. Well that definitely can’t happen anymore because I would then get him sick and the world seems to be a different place with regard to sicknesses right now. I know I can still go sit on his lap, but it’s just not the same as an adult.” No, I don’t suppose it would be. Today is LJ’s birthday. Happy birthday LJ!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As another child turns 16, so another child is behind the wheel. My grand-nephew, Easton Moore has reached that milestone year of his life. Easton is the younger of my niece, Machelle Moore and her husband, Steve. It’s hard for me to believe that Easton is 16 years old already. It seems like just yesterday that he was born. That is the way most parents feel about the time their child turns 16. Easton will be getting his license soon. They have to have 50/hours of day and 10/hours of night driving to do before they can get their license. He is almost there. Something new has helped Easton, that his brother, Weston didn’t have the use a driving app. They didn’t have that when Weston was learning. This years lack of snow has hampered Easton’s snow driving experience, but the past two weeks has made up for the winter’s lack of snow, so Easton is catching up fast. Machelle tells me that Easton is really improving with practice. Strangely, Powell, Wyoming, where Easton lives has just now started plowing the streets. Shocking for Wyoming.

Easton signed up for a welding course at the college that he is super excited about. The Boces program, which stands for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Has made many college classes available to high school students. It’s a great way to give these kids a chance to get ahead in their college education, and to make sure that the course of study is the career move they want to make. Easton is still is not sure what he wants to do after high school, but taking that class might open some doors for him.

Easton is actively looking for a job, so he can save for a car. He has a stack of applications to fill out and hand back in. Easton is motivated to help whenever anyone needs help. He just jumps up and just does it!! That says a lot about his character. Today is Easton’s 16th birthday. Pretty soon we will all need to get off the sidewalks, as a new driver hits the road. Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As with all children, it’s hard to believe that my grand-nephew, Lucas Iverson is 7 years old today. With Lucas, it might be a little harder to believe than most kids, in fact. Lucas was born with Down Syndrome, but that has been the least of his problems. Lucas has been plagued with a number of health problems that have required multiple surgeries. In fact, according to his mom, Cassie Iverson, Lucas has had more surgeries than he has had years. I’m sure there are those who have had more surgeries, but no matter how you look at it, that is a lot of surgeries for a little guy. Since Lucas’ last birthday, he has had to make trips to Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, every two weeks, with intestinal and immune system issues, typical of Down Syndrome. Now that he has had multiple surgeries, he is better, and they can breathe a little easier where his health is concerned.

Lucas was in Kindergarten this last year, and in their Kindergarten Circus, Lucas got to be a wild cat. I’m not sure how wild is, but I prefer to think of him as a lion, because he is brave and strong…and a fighter. To me that is exactly what Lucas is…a fighter…strong, brave, and fierce. Lucas likes school, with his special needs, he has his own personal teacher. That is really a good thing, and maybe a little unusual in a small town like Powell, Wyoming. Lucas’ parents have considered moving to Colorado or Tennessee, because of so many good opportunities and closer healthcare for Lucas, but the thought of them moving has been a very difficult one for their families, so for now, they will stay in Powell. Of course, the hope is that Lucas will not need any more surgeries in the future. He has really been through enough, if you ask me.

Down Syndrome children often have poor muscle tone, and they have to work very hard to learn to do the things we all take for granted. Right now, in his physical therapy,Lucas is working on jumping. He also loves rolling on the big ball as he phases off with his feet. I think Lucas has one other ace in the hole…his little sister, Zoey, who dearly loves her big brother, and has been instrumental in many of his abilities. She is patient and encouraging, and doesn’t leave him behind, just because he is slower. Zoey is Lucas’ best friend. They love to go camping with their parents, Chris and Cassie. They gt out is the outdoors where they can get some brain boosting and immune system boosting dirt in their hands. Today is Lucas’ 7th birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For my nephew, Chris Iverson and my niece, Cassie Iverson, life has not always been easy. The birth of their oldest child, Lucas, born with Down’s Syndrome brought the beginning of a host of future medical bills, but anyone who knows Lucas can tell you that he is just the sweetest boy. His parents and family wouldn’t trade him for the world. Nor would his little sister, Zoey, who loves him to pieces, and inspires him to progress. Chris homeschools the kids, and lately he has been trying to incorporate some extra work with Lucas, because he is, of course behind other children his age, but he has the added handicap of ongoing medical treatments that have plagued him for a while now. Zoey is two and a half now, so she is at just the right age for starting pre-school, so Chris is starting with her ABCs now.

In his spare time…when he can’t go fishing much…Chris is into video games, especially the online gaming. The competition makes it much more fun than just going against the computer. Right now he is into Horizon Zero Dawn. Now, I can’t begin to tell you what these games are all about, but I would assume some kind of fighting game. Chris has also been training the family dogs, He wants to get them well behaved before too much longer, since they are already no longer puppies. Life for the Iverson family has had its ups, and its downs, but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, it too will come with its share of sadness.

Chris and Cassie are currently planning a move to Tennessee. It’s not that they don’t love Powell, Wyoming, because they do. Powell has been their home for many years, if not all their lives, but with the medical needs of their son, and the opportunity for both of them to get an education and improve their lifestyle, they need to be in a more populated area that has more to offer their special needs son. They have looked elsewhere, but there is nothing out there that is in Wyoming or even the surrounding states, so the move was inevitable. I know that their whole family will really miss them. It is always sad when your kids move away, but if it is the best thing for them, you have to simply let them go. I know that with Facebook, Skype, texting, and phone calls, they can stay close, and visits to Tennessee wouldn’t be the worst thing either. As for education, Chris plans to go to trade school to become a Plumber, and Cassie is planning to become a Real Estate agent…both occupations that will pay well, and provide for their family. While we will miss them, we also wish them the very best. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageimageIn some ways, I think my sister-in-law, Rachel Franklin Schulenberg, is a lot like me. She has a nostalgic side when it comes to things of the past, as do I. I think we both wish time wouldn’t go by so fast, or that our children and grandchildren wouldn’t grow up so fast. I suppose that is harder when you have family who live somewhere else, as both Rachel and I do. You just miss them so much when you can’t see them often.

Rachel is a strong Christian, who has the heart of a giver. She tries to be helpful to all who need her help. That is such a great trait to have. So many people these days think only of themselves, but not so Rachel. I’m sure that is partly why she has a number of very good friends. People tend to want to be around people who aren’t selfish. I agree with that. Those are the kinds of people I want to be around too.

Rachel is mother to Cassie, Riley, and Tucker, and grandma to Lucas and Zoey. Her children and grandchildren are precious to her. All of them, except Tucker live in Powell, Wyoming, so she doesn’t get to see them nearly as often as she would like to. I think that has to be the hardest think for a mother or grandmother. You miss them terribly when you don’t see them, and you are torn at the end of every visit, because it will be a while imageimagebefore you see them again. Yes, phones and Internet make it easier to be apart, but they don’t compare to being with your child or grandchild. Nevertheless, not everyone wants to live in the same place, and as they grow up, children have to decide for themselves…at least that’s what Rachel and I keep telling ourselves. Maybe someday our minds will take hold of that thought, but I seriously doubt it. In the meantime, I guess we will just have to continue to cultivate our nostalgic side. Today is Rachel’s birthday. Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Mountain ManPeople joke about being tired after they retire, or at least that is what the hats all say, but I don’t really think that is the case most of the time. After all, let’s face it, when you are retired, you can sleep in as long as you choose, and if that still isn’t enough, well, just take a nap in the afternoon. I think that most retired people get up early, because of that afternoon nap. Seriously, there are only so many hours that a person can sleep. I don’t know if my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook is one of those early risers, who nap in the afternoon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Many retired people head south for the winter, or travel all over the country during the rest of the year, but for Lynn, and my sister-in-law, Debbie, the big draw that retirement held, was camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Their idea of a relaxing time is being in the quiet of the mountains, preferably with just the birds and other wildlife as neighbors, unless their kids come up to join Campthem, that is. During the summer months, they will stay in the mountains for weeks at a time, unless some specific thing requires them to come back to town, and back to reality. I think lots of people would call that a little slice of Heaven on Earth. I would have to agree that being in the mountains is most likely right where I would want to be too, but Bob and I would most likely not want to camp out, however. We like to hike, and then we want the comfort of a motel room…at this point anyway.

Since Lynn used to drive truck for a living, and was always on the road, long term travel doesn’t really appeal to him much, but the short drive to the Big Horns is something he really likes. He is getting a little better about other travel on occasion now too, but as far as I know a long trip means driving from Powell, Wyoming to Debbie & LynnCasper, Wyoming…not exactly what most of us would consider a long trip, but it’s a pretty big step for him.

Since his retirement, Lynn has become more and more of a mountain man than ever before. I think there was always a bit of Jeremiah Johnson in him, but since he would live on the mountain in a tent these days, he seems more and more so. Even then, I can’t exactly blame him. I would love to have a cozy cabin in the mountains where I could hole up sometimes…especially when the responsibilities of life get a little too overwhelming. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Rachel and RonAround 6 years ago, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg began making these mysterious bi-weekly or even more often, trips to Powell, Wyoming to spend time with his sister, Debbie Cook and her family. Ron had gone up there before, but never to the constant degree that these trips were quickly becoming. That was what made the trips so mysterious…but not for long. Pretty soon, it became quite obvious to anyone who looked at Ron, that he was quickly falling in love with a girl he met in Powell…with a little help from his nieces, Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith. Ron’s new girlfriend, Rachel Franklin had been a friend of the girls from their high school days, so they decided to do a little bit of match making. Little did they know that would lead to a beautiful friendship and later a companionship to last for the rest of Ron and Rachel’s lives. And little did they think that their friend was now going to also be their aunt.

Flash forward now five years, and you will find a couple who are very good together. Where once there had been two people who had been burned by love…two people who were lonely and incomplete…now you find two people who complete each other. Ron had spent a number of years feeling alone and incomplete, and Rachel makes him happy. He has someone to make his house a home…to make it a warm and welcoming place to be. Bachelor pads are ok, when a guy is young, but after a while, they need a woman’s touch. That was really where Ron found himself when he met Rachel. And I believe that Rachel was at the point of needing a man in her life too. There is simply a completeness that comes when you are with the right companion.
Rachel
Since her marriage Rachel has become a grandmother to Lucas Iverson, her daughter Cassie and son-in-law, Chris Iverson’s son. That was a very exciting time in her life. Of course, her two boys, Riley Birky, who isn’t so little anymore, and Tucker Birky, who is growing up fast too, keep her very busy. Riley is into sports, and I’m sure Tucker is not far behind him. Rachel works for a local eye doctor, and really enjoys her job, and the new friends it has brought with it. I’m sure the move from Powell to Casper, Wyoming was a little intimidating, because she really knew very few people, but she has made the transition well, and is quite happy in her new life. Today is Rachel’s birthday…the Big 4-0!! Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

189364_10150121777537236_628887235_6455460_2649592_nBeing a matchmaker can backfire on a person, when things go wrong, or it can bring great joy…usually to several people when things go right. Most often in these situations, the matchmaker is trying to match two of their friends together, so they don’t want things to go wrong. There are no guarantees that either of their friends will still be their friends if things go bad. Of course, in my niece, Machelle’s situation, she had better than average odds…at least on one side, because one of the friends was her Uncle Ron Schulenberg. If things go bad, your uncle is still your uncle right? Nevertheless, Machelle loved her friend, Rachel Franklin too, and she didn’t want to lose that friendship, so she hoped her matchmaking skills would work.

As it turned out, Machelle is a pretty good matchmaker, because her Uncle Ron, and her best friend, Rachel Franklin not only liked each other enough to continue dating, but they decided to get married. That did create a bit of an odd situation, because now, Machelle’s best friend is her Aunt Rachel. Now, I have never heard Machelle call Rachel…aunt, but the reality is that Rachel is Machelle’s aunt. And like it or not, it’s all Machelle’s fault. It isn’t often that you can take a friend that is pretty close to your own age, and change them into your aunt.

Ron and Rachel hit it off immediately, and Ron began making bi-weekly trips from Casper to Powell to see Rachel. Since it was getting to the point where Ron was spending almost as much of his free time in Powell, as he was in Casper…well, the next logical step was to put a lot less distance between Ron and Rachel, so they got married on June 12, 2010, and Rachel and her boys moved to Casper.
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Suddenly, for the matchmaker, the tables had turned. Yes, her matchmaking skills had proved to be very keen. Nevertheless, in the end, she did lose her friend…so to speak. Not only was her friend, Rachel, now her Aunt Rachel, but she had to move 4 hours away, so getting together became much harder. Sometimes, a person can “good deed” themselves right into a situation they don’t particularly like…at least not totally. Nevertheless, Ron, Rachel, and Machelle really wouldn’t have this situation be any other way, because each one is right where that should be. Today is Rachel’s birthday. Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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